Reviewed by Carl Delprat
Rome’s Sacred Flame
Vespasian Series book 8
by Robert Fabbri
Corvus – Atlantic Books
Paperback: 384 pages, April 20, 2018, ISBN-13: 978-1782397052
If you ever wish to write a novel, then one with a historical perspective is not a bad way to go. The plot, characters, timetable, eventual outcome and generally a great supply of recorded information are all readily available and awaiting your imagination. I missed out on Robert Fabbri’s preceding books in this series, however Rome’s Sacred Flame has supplied a good insight into his personal style and I’m rather impressed.
Another well-known author Colleen McCullough chose the last days of the old Roman Republic for her series of seven novels. They covered a period from 110 BC to 27 BC. Then there is perhaps one of the greatest historical fiction novels of that period, I, Claudius by Robert Graves, which covers a period from 10 BC to 54 AD and is certainly an old favourite of mine. Since childhood I’ve always had a fascination with historical Roman families
Fabbri has selected the Roman emperor Vespasian as his central figure set within a gory epoch of Imperial Rome for his series of eight novels and is currently preparing the ninth to be named Emperor of Rome. His style of writing gives away little in pause breaks and delivers the goods at a solid pace. Anglo-Saxon curses punctuate the dialogue offering a cultural counterpoint for today’s viewers and with this historical timeframe, there’s no shortage of viciousness. Emperor Nero’s perverse behaviour certainly sees to that.
Throughout the reading my mind often reflected back to Colleen McCullough’s collection. She remodelled Gaius Julius Caesar to her own interpretation and I sensed the same thing happening with Robert Fabbri’s Titus Flavivus Vespasianus. In this book he wastes little time in dispatching friend or foe (including his brutalised wife) into the next world with his trusty gladius. I can understand why this is a bestselling series with an ever-growing audience.
To review the eighth book in a succession is not a good perspective of Fabbri’s overall efforts. However, I can well imagine how they had progressed and also know of the chronological events leading up to this publication, and what an infamous chapter of history I arrived in; with Nero (the Beast 666) at his very worst to work with Robert Fabbri has pulled out all the stops to let him loose within the pages. There are sufficient descriptions of this emperor’s exploits to make him the benchmark for the title of ‘degenerate-despot’.
If you are now considering acquiring Rome’s Sacred Flame, and I certainly recommend that you do, then let me suggest starting off with Tribune of Rome by the same author and then work your way up towards it. This way you will truly benefit from this entertaining history lesson, and Fabbri’s incredible efforts can be appropriately appreciated.
About the reviewer: Carl Delprat is a prolific storyteller. His home is the Australian coastal city of Newcastle, New South Wales. Find his books at: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/CarlDelprat