Nic may have escaped enslavement in the mines outside of Rome, but his troubles are far from over. The Praetor War -- the battle to destroy Rome from within -- is in full force, and Nic is caught in the crossfire. The secretive Praetors are determined to unlock a powerful amulet -- one sure to bring the empire to its knees. Worse, the Praetors believe Nic holds the key to finding this amulet, and they will stop at nothing to steal it, even if that means harming the people Nic holds most dear. When the Praetors capture Nic's mother, Nic knows he must do anything to save her. He challenges the Praetors to a chariot race. If he wins, they will release his mother. But if he loses, he must hand over a magic that will certainly bring about the end of Rome as well as his own life. Can Nic once again harness his magic and gather the strength to defeat his enemies? Or will he lose his mother and bear witness to Rome's destruction?
The Rise of the WolfFeatured
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.