The Shards of Heaven

the-shards-of-heavenAuthor: Michael Livingston

Series: The Shards of Heaven #1

Publisher: Tor

Release Date: November 2015

Rating: 4 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

A step back in time through history mixed with a little Indiana Jones!

The Empire of Rome has been rocked by recent events. Julius Caesar has been murdered.  An assassin has been sent by Octavian to kill the son of Caesar and Cleopatra, but fails at his duty.  After Octavian and Marc Antony have joined forces to avenge Caesar’s death, the empire is split into factions.  A rift is created between Marc Antony and Octavian and Octavian has managed to make Marc Antony appear as a traitor to Rome by choosing to live in Alexandria with Cleopatra and their children.  Octavian’s adopted brother Juba is after religious relics that have mysterious powers.  After he finds Poseidon’s trident, he discovers that the powers are actually from little shards that have been scattered throughout the earth.  Based on his research, he knows that the most powerful relic in the world is the Ark of the Covenant.  If he can find that, he can overthrow his brother’s shadow and rule the world.

This book was an overall enjoyment for me. I have always enjoyed Roman history, even though this particular book has a bit of science fiction to it as well.   There are two sets of main characters that are followed throughout the book, Juba and Cleopatra Selene as their stories are naturally intertwined through actual history.  The second set is Lucius Vorenus and Titus Pullo, who might be recognized as the main characters from HBO’s Rome.  The book follows the history of the events of the battle of Actium and of the suicides of Marc Antony and Cleopatra.  Additionally, the book correctly speaks of the writings of Julius Caesar and the mentioning of both Vorenus and Pullo.  So naturally, the book was very enjoyable (even if the sudden demise of one character doesn’t follow history quite so well.  Hopefully he will be back in book two).

The characters were able to develop themselves rather well. Most of the supporting characters had very few speaking roles, but played their part in mention.  Overall flow of the story was great.  Very little language overall and no love scenes to get in the way.  I’m looking forward to the next book in the series.

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