Review Detail

Young Adult Fiction 1082
Danger in Ancient Rome
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
This sequel to Mark of the Thief finds Nic involved in chariot racing as a way to escape the demands of the Praetors, but when they demand the key to the Malice so that he can create a Jupiter Stone for them and allow them to fight against the gods, Nic knows that he has to work with Crispus, his sister Livia, and the love of his life Aurelia to keep Rome, as well as his mother and everyone else he holds dear, safe.
Good Points
Nic is an engaging character who really means well. He's glad to have escaped from the mines, and his most important goal is to keep his sister safe. As he learns magic, it endangers him and his family, since the Praetors want to use everything he learns to their own advantage. They also think that Nic knows more than he does, which puts him into even more danger.

I also really enjoy Aurelia-- as a daughter of a wealthy family, she should be living a comfortable, quiet life, but she wants more. She also is very fond of Nic, and the two have a tentative romance. She is uncharacteristically feisty for the time period, but a lot of fun, and she saves Nic more times than he would like to admit.

While the Praetors are truly evil and are trying to harness magic to destroy the Roman empire, some of the other characters are painted in shades of gray. Nic is wary of Radulf, but is saved by him. Crispus, the son of Valerius, has a different agenda than Nic has. I like it when characters aren't all black and white-- it makes the book more interesting!

Readers who like books like Michael Ford's Fire of Ares (Spartan Warrior series) or Simon Scarrow's Gladiator will find this trip to ancient Rome packed full of great historical details, adventure, and a touch of magic.
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