Roman Mask

Written by Thomas M D Brooke
Review by Richard Tearle

Gaius Cassius is a hero of Rome, loved and admired by all, but he hides his true feelings: that he was – and still is – terrified by his experiences in Germany. So he lives a hedonistic lifestyle, until he is called on to return to Germany to assist a new governor and liaise with his boyhood friend, Julius Arminius. He travels with Marcus, a young soldier boastful of prodigious swordsmanship and eager for the action that Cassius seeks to avoid. Marcus is in awe of the man he believes Cassius to be.

Based on true events, this is a fast-paced novel that will delight lovers of the Roman genre. However, some characters seemed stereotyped and I spotted the eventual traitor quite early on. Also, Cassius tends not to act like the coward he tells himself he is.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed this.