Swords Around the Throne, Hardback

Swords Around the Throne Hardback

Part of the Twilight of Empire series

4 out of 5 (1 rating)


Rome is in peril. The old order is changing. Centurion Aurelius Castus has been summoned back from Britain to find himself caught up in a treasonous conspiracy threatening to bring down the Emperor Constantine.

Rewarded for saving the emperor's life, Castus is promoted to the elite imperial bodyguard: the swords around the throne.

But he soon discovers the court to be as dangerous as the battlefield.

Behind the gilded facade of empire lurks a nest of traitors and one relentless enemy.


  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Head of Zeus
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: War & combat fiction
  • ISBN: 9781784081164



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I'm sure this will become a favorite Roman series and Castus a favorite character. Well written with nonstop action, this one finds Centurion Castus, after his saving the life of Emperor Constantine, now promoted to a Protector [one of the elite bodyguard of the emperor]--a "sword around the throne". Although this promotion means higher status [and his meeting his lady-love, Sabina], it is at best a mixed blessing; the gauche, naïve Castus is thrown headlong into the murky palace politics. Although he states on several occasions he hates them and envies his colleagues in the VI Legion and other legionaries he comes into contact with, we find he still copes very well, in spite of lies, betrayals, treachery and assassination attempts. He still remains honest, stalwart, loyal and kind, although his low self-esteem will still show itself in his thoughts on occasion.The climax comes at the Siege of Massilia [present-day Marseilles] before which the empress tasks him to find a way to surrender the city to Constantine, and to thwart the imperial ambition of her own father who is leading a rebellion. "Find men not afraid of dying," she commands. And so he does and devises a dangerous plan for relief of the city. Outstanding to me were this siege and also the attempted escape over the aqueduct by him and several of his Protector comrades. I felt characterization was deep, even those of secondary figures. My estimation of Sabina went down several notches with her calling attention to Castus's ugliness at one point--to his face; I still don't quite trust her. I hope that eventually Castus and Marcellina, the envoy's daughter from Book 1 will get together; I like her better than Sabina. I'm eager to see how Castus develops and the march of Constantine to hold onto power. Very highly recommended.

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