Tag Archives: Nero

Otho’s Regret by L. J. Trafford – Review

Title – Otho’s Regret
Author – L. J. Trafford
Genre – Historical Fiction
Length – 469 Pages
Publication – 24th July 2017
My Rating – 5/5 Stars

Synopsis

Having spectacularly grabbed the Imperial throne by way of a very bloody coup, new emperor Otho is horrified to discover that there is an emperor already in place. His name is Aulus Vitellius and he is relaxing himself in Germania whilst his two generals, the twisted Valens and the handsome but dim Caecina, march two colossal armies to Rome to claim his prize.

With negotiations between the two emperors becoming ever more entertainingly abusive, imperial secretary Epaphroditus has his work cut out trying to save Otho’s throne for him. Hopelessly outnumbered, all looks doomed until a series of unexpected victories give hope to the beleaguered secretary. With the eastern legions declared for Otho and en route to help, all they have to do is stop Valens’ and Caecina’s armies meeting.

Meanwhile, in Rome, a former palace slave, Antonia Caenis, has returned from Judaea with plans of her own…

Review

Otho’s regret is the third book in The Four Emperors series.

You can read my reviews of book one and two by clicking the links below to open a new window.

Palatine- Book 1

Galba’s Men – Book 2

So after the events of the last book Otho is now emperor. Now while he doesn’t seem to be the most natural at the role he does ooze charisma, he’s fair and likeable which people notice.. the issue is he’s not going to get much of a chance to prove himself.

Persuaded by his generals Vitellius decides he should be Emperor and they set out to take the throne by force if needs be.

Vitellius and his generals have very different reasons for their actions and the author did a great job of breathing life into each of them and developing them as much as she did. The two generals Valens and Caecina have to be my favourite additions to the series so far.

With armies on the march espionage is inevitable with both sides planting spies..the fun twist is there’s more than just two players in this tale…someone is lurking..someone has their own motivations to delay Valens and Caecina but you are kept waiting and wodering as the author builds this suspense keeping you hooked until the end.

One person who has made this series stand out for me is Philo. He’s trying to move on with his life after everything has happened to him.. he’s a little out of the loop with events in the palace but soon gets sucked back in.. he even ends up playing his part in the war that is coming. I can honestly say I don’t think I’ll ever love a character as much as Philo.

Epaphroditus surprised me this time around. I never really fell in love with him until now.. this tale shows a different edge to the character which I really enjoyed.

Trafford effortlessly manages to make the tale light-hearted and fun (especially when Sporus is around) but at the same time develops the uncertainty and fears that are brewing.. Building the suspense so much your heart pounds until everything starts to tumble-down around Otho.

I’ve had high expectations with The Four Emperors series which continues to deliver time and time again. It ticks all the right boxes for historical fiction. It’s descriptive but never too heavy, fun when needed but still deals with the serious side of events.

What Trafford has done superbly is make history fun and exciting with the perfect mix of fact and fiction. It’s books like this that keep my love of reading burning strongly, always stoking the furnace..pushing me further, raising that bar which each installment.

I can’t say I’m an expert.. I just know what I like.. and this book is a shining example of what a 5* star historical fiction book should be in my opinion.

My thanks go to Karnac Books for the uncorrected proof copy for review..This will have pride of place on my book shelf.

You can read more reviews on Goodreads and pre-order your copy of the book today on Amazon or purhcase direct from the publishers Karnac

Galba’s Men by L. J. Trafford – Review

Title – Galba’s Men – The Four Emperors Series: Book II
Author – L. J. Trafford
Genre –  Historical Fiction
Length –     431 Pages
My Rating – 5/5 Stars

Synopsis                 

Rome 68 AD. Slaughtering hundreds of civilians at the gates of Rome is hardly the best introduction for new Emperor Galba to his city. However the aged ruler is determined to get on with clearing up the mess Nero left. Assisting him are his three men: Vinius, Laco and Icelus. Also in his entourage one Marcus Salvius Otho. Jovial, charming and fatally reckless Otho is armed with a killer idea: Wouldn’t it be marvellous if the childless Galba adopted him as his heir? Appointing old pal Epaphroditus as his campaign manager, Otho sets about winning hearts and minds in his own unique cheery way. For Epaphroditus it is a harmless way of enlivening his post Nero retirement; either Galba makes Otho his heir, or he doesn’t. What could possibly go wrong? For once the former Palace manipulator has fatally miscalculated. These are paranoid times and Otho’s ‘harmless’ plan is about to bring Rome to its knees.

Review

So this book follows directly on from Palatine the first book in The Four Emperors Series by L. J. Trafford. If you haven’t read the first book I highly recommend you do as this is a brilliant tale which deserves to be read.

This book is based on events around 68/69 AD when Galba succeeded Nero as emperor of Rome. Albeit for a very short time

L. J. Trafford manages to give us real facts about the events but also has fictional side stories to keep you engaged and it’s this mix that makes this series so interesting

Galba arrives in Rome and it quickly becomes apparent he’s not going to make any friends. His reign only lasted 7 months so it’s clear he wasn’t well liked and the way L. J. Trafford portrays him fits with this image

Reading about Galba’s downfall was very gripping but was outshined by one character as with the first instalment.. Philo! The author continues his tale of woe at the hands of Straton just when he hopes his life is on the up. There is so much development for this character during this tale and I think it helped that Galba’s reign was short as it left time in this novel to develop characters like Philo but also Alex, Mina, Sporus & Straton. They all have their part in this story no matter how little.

With so many good characters to use the author had no trouble switching perspectives to allow other’s tales to continue and it was this back and forth that made it all the more gripping as you never had the chance to get bored of a character and you just had to get back to them to see what happened next.

Essentially the end of this book is a repeat of the first instalment.. the emperor is overthrown and it’s bloody, but the author still managed to make the tale fresh and interesting as the build-up is very different and Nero and Galba couldn’t be more different if they tried.

Added shock factor was introduced when the author killed off a few characters. I won’t spoil it by saying who but I did make a little note with a sad face each times.

I think the best thing about L.J. Trafford’s work is how seamlessly she can fit real facts and fiction together so neatly.. nothing feels out of place at all.

We were also introduced to some new characters in this novel. My favourite being Otho who came across as a happy go lucky kind of guy who does things on a whim which is dangerous but very entertaining..his tale will continue in the next book in the series.. I can’t wait for that!

For me this is a shining example of what historical fiction is for me..and I couldn’t fault it. This was my most anticipated book this year and it’s definitely been my favourite read so far.

To me, these are the kinds of tales that make reading as fun as it is.

I’ve already said this but I think it deserves to be brought up again.. Philo.. he outshines this whole series for me and I could read anything with him in it. Such a good character and I hope we see more of him.

Anyone who likes the genre or wants to get into the genre will enjoy this book, great mix of humour, love and death and a perfect blend of characters you’ll love

My thanks go to the author and Karnac Books for the review copy.

If you’d like to buy the book but haven’t read the first installment head to Karnac Books who have a great offer on where you can buy this book and get book 1 at half price.

To find out more head to Goodreads, Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Very Nice Palatine Review – Blog Post by LJ Trafford

LJ Trafford

https://davidsbookblurg.wordpress.com/2015/07/08/palatine-the-four-emperors-series-book-i-by-l-j-trafford-review/

I always like to hear which character readers liked best, in this case its Philo. I have a particular soft spot for Philo as he is the character that I probably know best. This was by necessity since in Galba’s Men he gives a potted history of his life so I had to fix certain facts. Whereby the background of characters such as Epaphroditus remains somewhat sketchy and gets filled in book by book I know who Philo is, how he will respond in any given situation and the very particular way in which he speaks.

But I wouldn’t like to write a book solely from Philo’s point of view. I think it would be far too depressing. To get inside Philo’s head is to enter a pretty dark place. There is a whole slice of his life that he keeps shut off and doesn’t address which limits him…

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Palatine: The Four Emperors Series: Book I by L.J. Trafford – Review

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Title – Palatine: The Four Emperors Series: Book I
Author – L. J. Trafford
Genre – Historical Fiction
Length – 428 Pages (Kindle)
Publication – 30th June 2015
My Rating – 5/5 Stars

Synopsis

Debauchery. Depravity. Decadence.Just everyday life at the imperial palace.Whilst Emperor Nero plays with his new water organ and a cross-dressing eunuch, his wily secretary Epaphroditus manages affairs of state. But dissent and rebellion are growing across the empire, and Nero is soon to discover playtime is over.Praetorian prefect Nymphidius Sabinus, disgusted by the moral degeneracy, secretly plots the overthrow of Nero’s court. Motivated by the traditional Roman values of valour and nobility, yet blinded by his own righteousness, Sabinus is ignorant of what he has unleashed – The Year of the Four Emperors.Palatine is the first in an enthralling four-book series about the tumultuous ‘Year of the Four Emperors’ which will appeal to fans of Lindsey Davis and George R. R. Martin.

Review

I’m a big fan of historical fiction so when I was offered a review copy of this book I was very excited to say the least.

This book focuses on Emperor Nero and his eventual death after the Praetorian prefect Nymphidius Sabinus decides he’s had enough of his behaviour and gets the Praetorian Guard to desert him and back Galba as Emperor.

The author decided to write this book from a number of different perspectives which made it a very interesting read. I think that’s probably the thing I liked the most about the book.. the characters and the sheer number of them. Best of all, the story didn’t feel rushed/forced and flowed nicely from one person to another

I thought each character was handled well and was given depth as the story went on even though it was subtle.. when you finish the book and look back you can see the time that has been put into each of their stories.

Ok.. so you want me to tell you somethings I didn’t like.. Well…there’s nothing really.

For me this was a well-planned/written book that hooked me in. The way the author managed to fit so many little stories into the main story was brilliant! I particularly enjoyed any conversation involving Philo. His life is so wonderfully complicated. Not to spoil anything I won’t say much but he was by far my favourite person in the book. I’ve been left wanting more.

The good news is there are 3 more books planned and I’m looking forward to Galba arriving on the scene. With my limited knowledge of the man I expect the second book will be as good as the first if not better!

I can’t really comment on historical accuracy as I’m no expert but everything seems to fit with me so I hope anyone who enjoys historical fiction will give this book a read. I wasn’t disappointed and I believe you won’t be either

To view the book in more detail head to Goodreads, Karnac Books, Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com