Blurb: Quintus Furius Varus is one of the best lanistas in Rome. Tall and strong in build, fearsome in manner, and sharp of wit, he trains the best gladiators bound for the arenas of Rome. When Senator Servius Augendus seeks personal guards, he attends the Ludus Varus for purchase of the very best. He puts to Quintus an offer he cannot refuse, and Quintus finds himself in Neapolis, contracted as a trainer of guards instead of gladiators.
Kaeso Agorix was taken from his homelands of Iberia and delivered to Rome as a slave. Bought by a senator to be trained as a guard, his fate is handed to the man who would train him. Absent free will, Kaeso knows his life is no longer his own, though he soon realizes the gods have favored him when he learns his new master has a kind heart.
Quintus and Kaeso forge a bond that far exceeds the collar at Kaeso’s neck, and together, they discover the senator’s move for promotion has an ulterior motive. Thrown into a world of politics and conspiracy, of keeping enemies close, they move against time to save Rome before traitors and the gods themselves see to their end.
And in doing so, see the dawn of the nova praetorian – the new guard – rise.
Story already review previously
A historical romance from one of my favourite historical periods – Roman times, coupled with an absolutely epic performance by Joel Leslie! What’s not to love?? ☺
This story is a product of is time – one of the MC’s is a slave, there is blackmail, political back-stabbing and political villainy; but there are shining moments, like the fairness of Quintus, the affection and bond between Quintus and Kaeso and the backdrop of general Roman life (which appealed to my inner history geek ☺
The narration was nothing short glorious! Joel Leslie is one of the best audiobook performers in the business. He has the knack of knowing how to channel the characters, first by getting the right accent, then their personalities and then their emotions. This is all tied together in the overall tone of the story – in this case, a more somber tone – since some of the topics are serious.
Throughout Joel Leslie’s performance I could visualise the gladiator training area, I could ‘see’ the villas of the senators, feel the decadence of the time. I could also feel the treachery, and the love and affection between the 2 MCs.
This is a well crafted story, with a tour de force performance by Joel Leslie!
Narration: 6 stars out of 5