The Emperor’s Exile (Eagles of the Empire 19)

Written by Simon Scarrow
Review by Marilyn Sherlock

This is the latest book in the saga of Macro and Cato, books which have taken them far and wide in the Roman Empire. It is now 57 CE. Nero is the emperor at the beginning of his reign. Scandalising Roman society, he takes a girl, Claudia Acre, off the streets and makes her his mistress. Eventually tiring of her, he exiles her to Sardinia and orders Cato not only to escort her to the island but also to put a stop to the insurrection of the indigenous people who, refusing to accept Roman rule, are creating mayhem. Famine and plague are also causing problems. Cato, relieved of his position in the Praetorian Guard, is given the task of solving these problems with few resources. He lands in Sardinia with Claudia, takes her to the villa assigned to her, and from then on, there are difficulties in all directions.

Scarrow’s research is thorough. His descriptions of both the area and the people are so good that the reader is captivated, and the background information becomes a living, breathing setting which does not intrude on the story but enriches it. A cast list enables one to know who is who and where they belong, and a map lets the reader follow the tale with ease. His characters simply walk off the page, and the reader immediately becomes involved. A real page turner.

I have enjoyed several books in this series, and this one has not disappointed.