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Roman Mask cover art

Roman Mask

By: Thomas M. D. Brooke
Narrated by: Steven Crossley
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Summary

Rome AD 9. Augustus Caesar rules Imperial Rome at the height of its power, as the Roman Empire stretches across the known world. Cassius, son of one of her most powerful families, is the personification of Rome's imperial strength: wealthy, popular, a war hero with a decorated military career - none of Rome's fashionable parties are complete without him - except, he hides a secret. After his nerve is broken in Germany, the thought of genuine armed combat is enough to send him into a cold sweat of fear and shame. But this doesn't dissuade him from living off a false reputation so he can continue a life of casual affairs, wine, and parties, as he is seduced by the many vices of Rome. However, his scandalous life is soon upset by a summons from the Emperor's wife. It ends his happy decadent life and returns him to Germany to assist the Roman legions in their greatest ever trial, and the events that will resound down in history, in the dark forests of the Teutoburg.

©2015 Thomas M. D. Brooke (P)2017 Tantor

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Worth ten stars

This is a long complex book and I loved every minute. Cassius and Marcus are fully-rounded characters. I have read plenty of ‘character-driven’ novels where the personalities were nowhere near as well drawn, and this book has story and history and action as well. It is a piece of literature the author should rightly feel proud of. Cassius is a Roman aristocrat, proud, entitled, decadent, and full of bitter self-knowledge. But, as we learn, he is far harder on himself than he should be. His relationship with his young colleague Marcus is one any soldier of today might recognise. I find in some books I simply cannot keep track of the characters. So many are thrown at me so quickly I become confused, especially when the names are ones I am culturally not familiar with though even when they are familiar, if there are too many I get lost. With a paper book I can flip back to check, but with Audible that is not an easy option. I never got lost here. Every character was so well drawn I always felt I knew who they were and could remember what might prompt their current behaviour. At first I felt the narrator voice was too old for Cassius as he partied around Rome, but as Cassius faced his future it fitted better and better. Beautifully written, gripping and beautifully read, I cannot praise it highly enough.

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PTSD in the ancient world

An interesting concept explored in an interesting way. I was slightly put off by a number of howling grammatical errors and one scene was totally ruined by the heroine wearing a cotton stola. There seemed no reason for this rare and expensive fabric so it just came across as a mistake. I know it’s fiction but I should be watching the plot not the details if the writer has got it right.

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A rollicking adventure with lots of surprises

Splendid narration by Stephen Crossley brings the characters to life in a terrific tale from Ancient Rome .
Bravery, nobility , love , humour from the heroes, , treachery, violence and cruelty from the hideous villains . All linked by surprises all along the way

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