Rome: The Emperor’s Spy
‘A fine book, one that transcends genre labelling’
54 AD Rome is burning. Only one man can save it. Sebastos Pantera, the spy whose name means leopard, is out in the cold: a man who has ‘gone native’ in his last assignment in Boudican Britain (and yes, some of the surviving characters from the Boudican books do make an appearance here; some as cameos, some essential to the plot). Returning to Gaul, Pantera wants nothing more to do with Rome and its political machinery. His mentor, tutor and spymaster is Seneca, the man who ruled Rome from behind the scenes for the first five years of Nero’s reign. Exiled now, Seneca must work in secret, but when the Emperor Nero finds a prophecy stating that Rome will burn under the eye of the Dog Star, Seneca suspects that one of his other pupils will endeavour to make the prophecy come real: Saulos has made himself leader of a radical religious sect and burning Rome is the least of his ambitions.
Caught between the men of power is a chariot boy, Math, whose father once fought in Britannia. Math despises warriors and everything they stand for, but he admires Pantera from the moment he tails him up from the docks, and finds himself the quarry of the man he thought he was hunting. WIth Math as their lever, Seneca and Nero can level Pantera in from the cold, and set him on the trail of Saulos. A boy’s life is at stake, but so is the survival of the first city of the Empire.