Ancient World Adventures
I took a couple of books to Pennsic with me this year and I actually did a little reading one free afternoon!
I found a series of books set in the Roman Empire in the first century AD, written by English author Simon Scarrow. The “Eagle” series is not really mystery, but more of a series of swashbuckling adventures through the Roman world, following Centurion Macro of the Second Legion and his newly-enlisted Optio (essentially the XO) Cato. The first book, Under the Eagle, introduced Macro and Cato and introduced Cato to army life when previously he had been a slave in the Imperial palace.
The Eagle’s Conquest takes Macro and Cato to Britain as part of the invading force attempting to conquer a new province. Facing British “barbarians”, Druids, and treachery within their own forces, Macro and Cato struggle to survive in an unfamiliar land. Cato especially faces situations that allow him to start growing up from his posh life in the palace and start to become more of a respected member of his cohort. I’m looking forward to more of these – they’re a fairly quick read and fun stories to follow!
From Rome to ancient Greece in the years following the Persian War, The Sacred Games is the third book featuring Nicolaos of Athens by Gary Corby. In this book, we find Nico and his now-wife Diotima returned from their adventures in the Persian Empire to the disapproval of both of their fathers for their unconventional marriage. The story centers around the Sacred Games held at Olympia – the forerunners of our modern Olympics – and a rivalry between two pankratists. The pankration was an event kind of like a combination of boxing and wrestling but with limited rules. Nico has only four days to discover the truth of the matter or his longtime friend Timodemus will be executed for murder!