Memoirs of Spurius

Written by D. Lászlo Conhaim
Review by Eileen Charbonneau

The author takes the considerable narrative skills he’s developed in his tales of the American West and shines them on the Roman Republic of the 2nd century BCE. The story is told as a first-person remembrance of Spurius, a consul of Rome, an historical figure who is known for his struggle against Hannibal’s famous invasion force. Here, in this fictional tale, Spurius turns detective. He brings his talent, ideals, and honor to investigate the cult of the wine god Bacchus. There is an easy tolerance of Bacchanalians and their good-time orgies celebrating excess. But they are far from harmless. It starts through personal involvement as a favor for a family friend who thinks his mother’s been victimized. Soon Spurius uncovers plots to amass wealth through blackmail and usurping of land and property of new cult members. Finally, he’s convinced the existence of the republic itself is at stake. Sound familiar?

Spurius’ Rome is in danger from without and within, and from its own apathy. The edge of seat drama combines with worthy scholarship and an upright, thoughtful hero, to make this novel an appealing reading experience for historical fiction fans.