Political turmoil and religious strife complicate a Roman general’s plans for retirement in this sequel.
In the fourth century, Gen. Marcus Augustus Valerias is a legend, a savvy military strategist who demands nothing less from his men than loyalty to him and the Roman Empire. His defeat of the Huns at the Battle of Three Tongues cemented his reputation. He is also a loving husband to Claire, a former queen of Britannia, and stepfather to her daughters, Anne and Elizabeth. At age 55, he moves with his family to an estate near Milan; but he dreads growing older and worries he may become a burden to Claire. Hoping to lift her husband’s spirits, she arranges a reunion with his trusted friend Bukarma. They open a training facility at the villa, but their attention soon turns toward religious and political discord. Valerias’ friend Joseph, a Christian bishop, is targeted by a priest intent on purging his village of anyone he believes is guilty of heresy. Then a new crisis emerges when Valerias learns the Saxons plan to invade Britannia. He fights to save the kingdom only to face an enemy more dangerous than he ever imagined. Prill’s (Into the Realm of Time, 2015) novel seamlessly continues Valerias’ journey, strengthening his relationships with his family and friends while introducing dynamic new characters. Valerias is a man reckoning with his mortality and place in history, and this struggle is an undercurrent running throughout the narrative. A pivotal supporting character in Into the Realm of Time, Claire emerges here as a central figure as her desire to reunite with her son, Douglas, is complicated by a treacherous scheme by a usurper queen to consolidate her power over Britannia. Prill’s lucid and compelling prose style weaves together storylines involving the various players in this ambitious tale. Newcomers to the series may want to start with the first book; but new readers and fans should find references to Valerias’ backstory and the full cast helpful.
A rousing and captivating epic that should satisfy fans of historical fiction.