Emperor’s Spear (The Imperial Assassin 4)

Written by Alex Gough
Review by Chiara Prezzavento

It’s 213 AD, and if Centurion Sergius Gaius Silus thought he’d left behind the “secret service” of the Arcani, he has another thought coming. When spymaster Oclatinius seeks him out, and the latest mission turns out to involve Atius, Silus’s fellow Arcanus and best friend, who has gone missing in the dangerous lands of Germania while on a secret mission of his own, there is no refusing. So Silus leaves his peaceful new life and his not-quite-ward (it’s complicated…) and is soon plunged back into his former world of danger, violence, and secrecy. Can Silus find his friend in time? And what is Oclatinius hiding, about both Atius’s mission, and unpleasant Emperor Caracalla’s plans for the tribes and lands of Germania?

This is the fourth instalment in a series – but Gough never leaves the reader in doubt, as he tells his stirring tale of espionage, friendship, and derring-do. Silus and Atius are appealing heroes facing mighty dilemmas as best they can. Half-civilised, half-wild Germania makes for an atmospheric setting, and life at the Empire’s edge is portrayed with quick vividness.