This is the second novel of a trilogy, following on from Gladiatrix (HNR 49, pp. 9-10). Lysandra, brought up in the Spartan caste of warrior-priestesses (no, me neither), is now living in wealth and comfort in the city of Halicarnassus, with her own stable of young female gladiators, one of whom is soon to rebel against her.
Realising that she has let herself go, having become too fond of wine, Lysandra resolves to train herself back to fitness; but then it becomes a necessity when the Emperor Domitian summons her to Rome to fight the Gladiatrix Prima, Illeana, known as the Midnight Falcon.
Meanwhile, the Tribune Gaius Minervina Valerian is one of the few survivors of a lost battle against the Dacians, in what is now Romania. He returns to Rome in shame and disgrace and is forced to take menial employment.
This is a fast-paced, colourful, exciting story, with strong (if not subtle) characters. What more could one ask? Well, for some proofreading and editing, for one thing. I counted 40 errors, so many that I actually checked to see whether I had been sent an uncorrected proof copy. The meaning of some of the large number of untranslated Latin words is not immediately obvious from their context, and they are not always correctly used: a member of the equestrian order was an eques, not an “equites”, which is the plural.
That won’t stop me buying the next book in the series. Roma Victrix has plenty of action, violence, and sex of most kinds. If you want a ripping yarn in which all sorts of things get ripped, I recommend Roma Victrix to you.