Rome’s Sacred Flame

Written by Robert Fabbri
Review by Mike Ashworth

Rome, AD 63. Vespasian has been made Governor of Africa. However, this is no reward for faithful service by an increasingly unpredictable Emperor Nero. Vespasian is ordered to journey to a city-state deep in the desert to free 200 Roman citizens who have been enslaved; failure is not an option. Vespasian must battle his way across a barren desert, battling thirst, exhaustion and a band of rebels. It is a desperate race for survival. Meanwhile, back in Rome, Nero’s excesses are fanning the flames of opposition to the Emperor and his allies. Returning to Rome, Vespasian finds himself caught between the need to survive and the desperate entreaties of Rome’s elite for his support as they fear justifiably for their lives.

This is the penultimate story in the very successful Vespasian series. With a taut plot and strong characterization, the author portrays Nero’s derangement, and the licentiousness and cruelty of Rome as it descends into chaos, in a realistic but not overly graphic way. Although part of a series, this can be read as a stand-alone novel. This is an exciting read for all lovers of the genre. Historical fiction at its best. More please!