Pantera is sent back to Rome immediately and, in conjunction with those closest to Vespasian, a clandestine operation is set in motion that will undermine Vitellus feeble grip on the throne and elevate their chosen man to power and glory.
Spies, double agents, beautiful women with deadly talents and battle hardened soldiers, senators, slaves and freedmen all have their part to play. Pantera uses every ounce of his knowledge and skills to secure an army and an empire for the man he serves, but there are others with less guile who are hunting him relentlessly. He must survive on his wits and ensure the safety of Vespasian's family is never compromised. This is his biggest challenge, will he win the day?
Manda Scott has written a superlative account of how Vespasian might have come to power and her knowledge of the period is clearly of the highest academic standard. I enjoy fiction set in the Roman period, yet I have to say this book is one of the best I have read in the genre. It is filled with colour, emotion and prose of the highest standard - it may be a weighty tome, but not a phrase or sentence is wasted. The tense story line unfolds with a gentle, teasing pace that immerses you completely into Pantera's scheme, almost making you a part of it.
The unusual premise of having multiple persons telling the story provides a narrative that is filled with passion and fear. Each character has an important part to play in Pantera's grand scheme and stands to lose everything they hold dear - including their life - should they fail. You are privy to every emotion they have as they follow his instructions and carry out tasks that brings Vespasian closer to the Senate.
This epic novel is not released until 28th March, but it has been a privilege to read it and review it prior to launch. I award "Rome: The Art of War" 5 Crosses and bestow Manda Scott with The Golden Hammer & Anvil Shield for writing a book that is breathtaking in its content and thoroughly enjoyable from start to finish.
To celebrate the release of Rome: the Art of War, read my exclusive interview with Manda Scott!
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