“Battle for Rome”

Ian James Ross

This is the third book in the “Twilight of Empire” series that started with “War at the Edge of the World” and continued in “Swords Around the Throne“. The main character is Aurelius Castus, a Roman soldier in Britain in the 4th century AD as the series starts who eventually becomes tribune of a legion. Castus’ career parallels the rise of Constantine and the third book ends with Constantine’s defeat of Maxentius at the Battle of Milvian Bridge in 312 AD.

I’ve enjoyed this series so far. The period isn’t a common one for historical novels about the Roman Empire. There’s a lot of variety in the settings and Ross is particularly good at writing about battles, of which there are many. One thing I appreciated is that Castus isn’t all that bright. It’s not that he’s stupid, but unlike most heroes in historical fiction he makes mistakes and gets taken advantage of. Those failings make him seem a bit more real and a more sympathetic character.