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Augustus Caesar rules Imperial Rome at the
height of its power, as the Roman Empire stretches across the known
world. Cassius, son of one of her most powerful families, is the
personification of Rome’s imperial strength: wealthy, popular, a war
hero with a decorated military career – none of Rome’s fashionable
parties are complete without him – except, he hides a secret.
his nerve is broken in Germany, the thought of genuine armed combat is
enough to send him into a cold sweat of fear and shame. But this doesn’t
dissuade him from living off a false reputation so he can continue a
life of casual affairs, wine, and parties, as he is seduced by the many
vices of Rome.
However his scandalous life is soon upset by a
summons from the Emperor’s wife. It ends his happy decadent life and
returns him to Germany to assist the Roman legions in their greatest
ever trial, and the events that will resound down in history, in the
dark forests of the Teutoburg…
Visit Rome at the height of its power through the eyes of a would-be hero who hid his shame at the accolades he thought he didn’t deserve. Cassius was living a lie and he knew it, silencing his torment with wild living and alcohol. As the son of a powerful Roman family, he has prestige. As a hero, he had the adulation of the masses. He had fought in Germany, distinguished, but broken, he ran and now was his chance to truly earn the title “warrior hero” when the Emperor’s wife summons him to her side with a command. With no way out, Cassius was to go back into the bloodiest battles Rome of AD 9 would ever see. What he didn’t expect was to have a young and brash young soldier at his side, by far the best swordsman to be seen. This is Cassius’ story, as he grows from a spoiled socialite to a true warrior and commander when the odds are not in his favor and Rome’s mighty legions are brought to their knees on the battlefield against the German warriors defending their homelands.
Feel the desperation of a force reeling from their greatest defeat ever. Endure the lack of true leadership by men ill-prepared to wage real war and be amazed at their willingness to fall on their own swords to save face. As Cassius takes on more and more of the strategic planning, he finds he has the intelligence to map out the paths of least resistance and the charisma to command men to follow him, even when it is surely to their own deaths. There is a traitor among them and Rome is being repeatedly stabbed in the heart, the blood of their warriors coating the battlefields as the monstrous Germans hack them to pieces, enjoying the torturous screams of their enemies. Where will Cassius lead his followers? Will he ask more of them than he is willing to give? What happened to the coward who ran scared as in his place stands a great warrior, a leader of men, willing to die for those around him if it would give them even a slight chance to live.
I read Roman Mask in one sitting; it was that powerful, that mesmerizing and that well-written. Thomas M.D. Brooke is a master storyteller as he brings the glory and the shame of war to life in a time long ago when Rome thought it was its right to rule the known world. Vicious battles, brave soldiers, bloody battlefields and the brutality of hand to hand combat when one misstep means certain death. Mr. Brooke does not argue the rights of one country over another; he presents a tale of war, of one man’s battle within himself and his chance for personal redemption and honor.
There is tentative romance, heroes falling to the blade as the villain survives. This is war at its worst and best. Heroes will rise, as will the strong and the very lucky, deceit will be uncovered and inhumane torture will turn your stomach, but war is to the death, to the victors go the spoils. Through it all, one man distinguishes himself for the sake of his countrymen, but will he be rewarded if he survives or will knowing he has done the best he could under the worst of circumstances be the only acknowledgement he needs? Powerful reading that should be on everyone’s shelf.
Thomas Brooke lives in London where he works in the exciting, and
sometimes crazy, fashion world. He is also a committed writer and he
spends as much time as he can in his beloved Northumbrian hills, where
up until recently could be seen walking with his black Labrador Fergus,
who sadly passed in January 2015. Fergus was a constant companion to
the writing of the novel and prevented many writers’ tantrums.
Roman Mask is Thomas Brooke’s second novel, although this will be the first available for sale.
Thomas M.D. Brooke is offering 3 Print copies of ROMAN MASK
a Brilliant Gift for yourself or anyone who loves great historical fiction!
Open to US – AUS – UK – EU – CA – New Zealand
Ends December 7, 2015