Children of Apollo
Children of Apollo is the first book in a series featuring a grizzled but hopeful veteran of the third century AD Roman legions, young Lucius Metellus Angius. In this opening installment, he returns to Rome from his posting in Africa only to find the heart of the Empire every bit as treacherous and dangerous as its outermost provinces. He meets a young Greek woman and the two fall in love amidst the dangers of half a dozen plot complications, and Haviaras handles it all with smooth skill. The world of third-century Rome—both the city and its African outposts—is colorfully vivid here, and Haviaras manages to invest even his secondary and tertiary characters will believable, three-dimensional humanity. The dialogue can at times be a bit stilted, and unfortunately that three-dimensionality doesn’t always extend to characters’ motivations for doing the things they do, but readers will forgive such minor things on the strengths of the book as whole.