The Conqueror

Author: Bryan Litfin

Series: Constantine’s Empire #1

Publisher: Revell

Release Date: October 13, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Litfin’s Ancient Roman world brings light to members of the early church and the push for Constantine’s conversion.

Brandulf Rex, a barbican warrior from the Germani tribe, has worked his way through the ranks to become one of the youngest speculators of the Roman military.  Now serving the great Emperor Constantine, he has been stationed as both a personal bodyguard and spy for the Emperor.  The three remaining rulers of the tetrarch, Constantine, Licinius, and Maxentius, have become involved in a civil war.  Each rules a portion of Rome, but any of the three would love to be the sole Emperor of the Republic.  Rex is sent on a mission with two other speculators to breach and observe the situation in Rome under Maxentius and infiltrate the ranks of the Pretorian Guard.  Upon arriving in Rome, Rex happens to meet a young woman trying to escape a death sentence in the Colosseum.  This meeting changes Rex’s life in a manner he never could have expected.

Lady Flavia Junia is a senator’s daughter and known Christian in the early church.  At seventeen years old, she is fortunate to have not had to endure the religious persecution of the previous rulers, but Maxentius could be easily persuaded to begin again.  When her father’s political opponent finds a way to have Flavia accused of going against the emperor’s order, she is sentenced to death by way of facing wild animals in the Colosseum.  When she tries to escape and crashes into the arms of a tall, blonde, barbarian, he vows that he will save her.  The adventure this sets the two on puts them in a front row seat for a civil war.

It’s no secret that I thoroughly enjoy a well research novel concerning ancient Rome and Litfin did not disappoint.  The Conqueror is filled with rich Roman history and lush tidbits of the early church in Rome.  Several well-known historical characters that played a part in Christianity becoming the official religion of the Roman Empire make an appearance throughout this book.  Litfin did a great job explaining the events that led to the battle between Constantine and Maxentius as well as a great depiction of the actual battle that led to Maxentius’s fall.

Liftin also does a fantastic job of the portrayal of Roman politics at the time and the ramifications and consequences of different events and actions.  His knowledge of architecture of public buildings was also astounding as he was able to describe buildings and areas, but not bog down the storyline.

The book is very detailed, so readers that prefer a light and casual read will probably need to find something else.  However, if you’re a fan of this time period and history, it will definitely need to find a way to your bookshelf.  There are sexual references made throughout that depict that time period that is being represented, but nothing lewd or inappropriate.  There are also several scenes of violence, but it is a war book after all.

I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

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