Written by Simon Scarrow
Review by Marilyn Sherlock

Praetorian is the 11th book in the series relating the careers of Prefect Cato and Centurion Macro. A consignment of silver bullion is stolen from under the noses of the Praetorian tribune sent to guard it and convey it to Rome, while back in the city wheat is running dangerously short and a new plot to assassinate the Emperor is suspected. It is up to Imperial Secretary Narcissus to sort it all out, and who better to call in than Cato and Macro. ‘The waiting is over,’ Narcissus says to them, ‘Your Emperor needs you again. Now more than ever.’

I fell in love with this series from the first one I read, and several now grace my bookshelves. Fast tracked into the Praetorian Guard under pseudonyms, Macro and Cato soon lose no time in finding out that the original task of discovering who is behind the assassination plot soon splits into various strands with many suspects. There is Cestius, the leader of a local criminal gang; Pallas, another close adviser to the Emperor and rival to Narcissus; Centurion Lurco and Optio Tigellinus; plus the covert organisation known as the Liberators, to name but a few. Simon Scarrow’s knowledge and understanding of 1st-century Rome is excellent, and he blends together the historical facts and characters to create a book that simply cannot be put down. Everything is there – the sights, sounds and even smells of Rome as well as totally believable characters. Highly recommended.