Praetorian: Eagles of Dacia: Volume 3

Written by S.J.A. Turney
Review by India Edghill

This is the third book in a series, but it’s not necessary to have read the first two to enjoy this delightful romp through the late Roman Empire. In this exciting installment, the evil imperial chamberlain, Cleander, orders our hero, Rufinus, east to Dacia (a province about as far from Rome as Cleander can get him), allegedly to investigate certain commanders who may be plotting treason. Unenthusiastic but choiceless, Rufinus heads east with his feisty lover and former slave, Senova, and his faithful war hound, Acheron (who saves the day several times). They travel through lands of breathtaking yet hideously difficult terrain, at last reaching their destination and the potential perpetrators. Who’s committing treason? When will Rufinus realize that he’s really there to be killed? The villain’s plots mean Rufinus must flee to lands beyond the empire – lands beautiful and almost as deadly as Rome.

This makes it sound rather like a travelogue, but it’s really a mystery – Rufinus has to answer the all-too-common question of qui bono? And even when he learns the answer, how is he supposed to get the information (not to mention Senova, himself, and the faithful Acheron) back to Rome? The detail work is wonderful, and the characters fun to accompany on an ancient Roman road trip. I’ll certainly read more in this series!