This was my first Simon Scarrow novel. I enjoy "page turners", historical novels, and have an interest in the Greeks and Romans dating back to schooldays ,so thought there was enough to keep me interested with this - and there was.
Well written, and lightly plotted it zips along at a fair old pace with a story that is a little predictable and feels as though it has been written to be filmed.
It does lack a sense of place, those wanting historic detail will be disappointed and some of the plot twists are formulaic.
But there is no lack of drama, an earthquake and tidal wave set the scene, our heroes are shipwrecked on Crete,a slave revolt ensues, our Roman Centurion heroes battle against the odds, rebellion needs crushing and hostages need saving and senator's daughters need protecting.
At over 500 pages I would have welcomed a little more political intrigue, there are only so many times that sword can crunch bone. A visit to Alexandria provides a glimpse both in terms of description and intrigue of what might have been possible. Equally a character based in Rome would have provided a welcome further dimension to proceedings.
Centurion's Marco and Cato are worthy heroes, the slave leader and Gladiator Ajax a formidable adversary, but Senator Sempronious is bafflingly under-written.
The ending, set for the next instalment, I found irritating and perfunctory, whether my enjoyment would have been enhanced if I had read the back story novels so far I do not know. Yet I did enjoy the characters sufficiently to perhaps read back, to see if it is worth taking in the next in the series.