M. E. Taylor

Publisher: AuthorHouse Pages: 508 Price: (paperback) $31.65 ISBN: 9781665585286 Reviewed: August, 2023 Author Website: Visit »

In Brothers, M.E. Taylor summons the living spirit of an ancient past with rich detail, relatable drama and historical accuracy.

The novel opens in 91 C.E. in Roman Britain, with Lucius Marcius Phillipianus, a patrician and patriarch, looking to ease the woes of his sickly 7-year-old son Gaius Marcius.

Lucius is a Roman citizen who, for all intents and purposes, has been exiled from the capitol to the farthest stretches of the Roman Empire, the Dobanni Territory in Britain. He has relocated with his wife, sons, daughters and retinue of slaves and freedmen.

When Gaius Marcius sees a local boy in the nearby village that he wants for a playmate, his father sends his slaves to procure the boy. That boy, Verluccus, doesn’t go willingly, and after putting up a fight, he’s branded as a sign of his servitude. Gaius is content with his new playmate, but Verluccus quickly escapes. He’s recovered nine years later, after a bloody battle between native British rebels and Roman forces, and returns to his Roman masters with hatred, bitterness and a rebellious spirit.

Soon, though, Verluccus and Gaia, Gaius’s sister, fall in love, even though Gaia is betrothed to the brother of a man Verluccus killed. It’s a dangerous romance—one challenged when Verluccus must accompany his master Gaius to Rome.

Secret love affairs, familial obligations and the links between rulers and ruled underline the action. But one of Taylor’s most impressive feats is his ability to capture everyday details of the ancient world. Taylor has clearly done his research, and his commitment to historical accuracy is sure to please readers interested in ancient history, particularly ancient Roman Britain. The details can be dense, however, so readers with a more casual appreciation for history might find the 508-page length a bit daunting.

Still, Taylor’s narrative acumen helps compensate for this, and there’s enough action, strong character development and human drama to hook any fan of an epic tale well-told.

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