Triumph in Dust (Twilight of Empire)

Written by Ian Ross
Review by Chris James

Triumph in Dust is the sixth and final instalment of Ian Ross’ popular Twilight of Empire series. While not exactly set in the dying days of Rome, as the series title suggests, it is set in the later Roman Empire, an often overlooked period of history. This book specifically takes 336 AD as its starting point, towards the end of Constantine’s rule, the Emperor famous for (purportedly) converting to Christianity and facilitating its growth as a mainstream religion. Indeed, the career of Constantine throughout the series and in this final novel to a large extent parallels that of the protagonist, Aurelius Castus.

Triumph in Dust takes Aurelius Castus out of retirement and into the borderlands of Rome and Persia, the two ‘superpowers’ of the age. Conflict is never too distant, but whether Rome will invade Persia before Persia invades Rome is anybody’s bet. As master of the horse, an archaic title once held by Mark Anthony, it is Castus’ job to make sure that the eastern forces of the Roman Empire are ready for either. As a veteran and father he must think of his own health and his family’s safety too. Triumph in Dust is a very enjoyable read, with a few unexpected plot twists alongside the usual battles and military proceedings. It is historical military fiction of a high standard. Recommended.