Soldier of Rome
This is the last novel in the Forgotten Legion series. In it Romulus and Tarquinius finally return to Rome. Romulus is reunited with his twin sister Fabiola, the mystery of who their father really is – which has run through the whole series – is revealed and the threads of the story are finally brought together.
All this is cleverly interwoven with the plot to kill Caesar. Tarquinius of course, being a haruspex (a soothsayer who can foretell the future), has intimations of this, though nothing is clear. We know of course that Caesar was warned to beware the Ides of March and ignored the warning, so this fits in well with the received story. Tarquinius’s ability to see the future will require a suspension of disbelief for modern rationalists, but it is very much in keeping with the thought world of the period and therefore adds to the authenticity. The religious beliefs of the time are convincingly evoked.
The answer to the question about Romulus’s and Fabiola’s paternity is kept secret until the very end, although we have long suspected who it is. The fact that this is the man who raped their mother has provided a tension which has run through the whole book. The resolution is both tragic and satisfying, although I confess to being disappointed that this is the last book in the series. I would really like to hear about the further adventures of Romulus and Tarquinius. However, for those of us who have been enthralled by the series, there is good news. For Ben Kane is embarking on another trilogy, the first book in the series being Soldier of Carthage, set as the title suggests against the background of the struggle between Carthage and Rome.