The Heirs of Fortune

Written by Heather Domin
Review by Joanna Urquhart

The second book in Heather Domin’s Valerian’s Legion series follows Rome’s 24th Legion under General Cassius Valerian and his adjutant (and sometime lover) Manilus Dardanus as they wage an uneven war against the forces of the Marcomanni far to the north of the settled provinces of the Roman Empire under Emperor Augustus. When the emperor’s stepson, Drusus, comes to their theater of war, he brings with him all the peril and divisiveness of the imperial court, issues that further exacerbate the tensions already complicating our heroes’ relationship.

As in her previous book, A Soldier of Raetia, Heather Domin excels in both sketching the complicated natures of her characters but also bringing alive the dangers and consolations of their world. Her dialogue is openly contemporary and yet never distractingly so, and the careful sense of fragility she works into her characters’ relationships feels very genuine.