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Gods of Rome

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The Rise of Emperors trilogy finally comes to its inevitable, devastating conclusion with Gods of Rome. The series has followed the careers of rival emperors Maxentius and Constantine, from their first meeting as children and blossoming friendship in Sons of Rome, to that friendship turning to rivalry in the second instalment, Masters of Rome. In Gods of Rome, the rivalry turns deadly when the ultimate prize is within each’s grasp – that of command of the empire itself.

This series has been a fabulous, unique reading experience. With each writer taking the voice of one of the emperors, the distinction between the two becomes profound. There is no hidden bias as you may find with one author writing both sides – but secretly preferring one. The rival emperors, Constantine and Maxentius, each have their own very distinct voice.

As you would expect with anything from Gordon Doherty and Simon Turney, the action is intense, the pace is, at times, rather furious, grabbing the reader’s attention and holding it to the very end.

The only problem with the whole trilogy is that one of the heroes had to lose – was destined to lose. And neither truly deserved to. Doherty and Turney draw wonderfully on the political machinations and family rivalries that drew these two former friends, Constantine and Maxentius, to final, devastating contest for Rome itself.

The meticulous research of the history, landscape, military strategy of the time and the war itself, help to recreate the world of the Roman Empire of the 4th century. Both authors draw on the conflicts, not only of politics and protagonists, but also through the rise of Christianity and how the rival emperors harnessed or exploited those divisions within their own camp and the camp of their rival.

Gods of Rome is a wonderful, engaging and fast-paced novel that is entertaining from start to finish. Another Doherty/Turney collaboration that is an absolute triumph.
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Gods of Rome are the thrilling climactic finale of the Rise of Emperors trilogy. Chronicling an epic series overseeing the fall of Rome’s Pagan Religion to the dominant Rise of Christianity. This climatic book focuses on the final battle that decides the fate of Western Europe for centuries to come. There were jaw-dropping battle sequences, you could feel the grittiness of each battle, soldiers fighting for the standards of their Emperor, and you could feel that Rome inevitably, will never avoid civil war. Even during its decline, it will have fights of a colossal scale that will weaken the Empire.

The dialogue is extremely well written, and the world-building has been so meticulously researched that I was immersed. Very well written. I was in the world of Ancient Rome. It’s that immersive. And would I stand with Maxentius or Constantine? I would stand with Maxentius. Constantine may have converted to Christianity to merge his power however, I completely disagree with Constantine’s actions. There are many emotional scenes within this novel, and there is triumph, loss, betrayal and action. This is a book where religion and power are at the forefront. Soldiers worshipping Christ vs Soldiers worshipping Mars and Apollo. It is an epic series that would be perfect for a Netflix or BBC TV series. It’s that epic. Throughout this novel, I was more sympathetic towards Maxentius and hated the people surrounding him. They were unloyal to him, while Constantine had more loyal men to him. I felt Maxentius’s fate was like the Noble Hector. I hope Constantine feels regret for the rest of his life, and the saddest part was watching two friends become two enemies fighting for the heart of Rome. It was a battle that should never have been fought. But as with many Roman Emperors that were often assassinated throughout history, many deserving ones have perished while many unsuited for the role have taken the throne.

As always, the characters are extremely relatable. I like the choice of having both emperors explain their viewpoints in the first person. In some parts, I felt the pacing was a little slow. Other scenes could have been shorter paced. But it is a book of sieges. Lots of them. Assaults? Certainly. It is a fantastic novel chronicling the most important battle of Roman history, one that will decide the fate of Europe for centuries to come. This is a 10/10 from me!
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Gods of Rome is the final instalment in the trilogy that began with Sons of Rome and continued with Masters of Rome (which I have yet to read). Gods of Rome represents the culmination of the story of the relentless battle between Constantine and Maxentius to become Emperor of Rome. For those who have not read the earlier books, Gods of Rome can certainly be read as a standalone as there are brief references to previous events dotted throughout the book.  However, the events in Gods of Rome take place over a much shorter time period than the previous two so to gain a full sense of how two former friends were transformed into implacable enemies,  I’d recommend reading the series from the beginning.

As in the previous two books, the chapters alternate between the first person points of view of Constantine and Maxentius, providing an intimate insight into each man’s character. At one particular point, just before the momentous Battle of the Milvian Bridge, the reader witnesses the same scene from each man’s point of view, which I thought was a brilliant concept.

So what do we learn about the two men? Constantine is driven, battle-hardened and a skilled tactician. However, he is hampered by religious differences within his army which at times threaten to reduce it to a squabbling rabble rather than a united fighting force. It’s not until late in the day that he finds a way to bring the different factions together under a single credo, one which proves decisive.

Maxentius is a planner and more inclined to adopt a defensive strategy. Of the two, he is the one who finds it more difficult to come to terms with the fact his former friend is now his foe. Having said that, both have justifiable reason to hate each other for past actions. One gets a sense of two men fighting a very personal battle but one which has consequences for many hundreds of thousands of others.

Talking of battles, the battle scenes in the book are brilliantly described in all their visceral, chaotic and gory detail, demonstrating not only the authors’ ability to write thrilling and immersive scenes but also their in-depth knowledge of Roman weaponry, military structures and strategy. For example, this as Constantine’s forces attack the city of Verona held by Maxentius. ‘A single sound composed of a thousand threads at any one time, all of them screams or thuds or metallic rasps, whistles, shouted orders, death rattles, cracking stone, surgeons’ saws, fiery explosions, neighing, struggling. Death, death, death.’ Or this, as Constantine leads the attack at the climactic Battle of the Milvian Bridge. ‘Chaos reigned: whinnying, screaming, weapons whacking into flesh, bursting heads and limbs spinning free of bodies, horses rolling, hooves flailing, enemy riders peeling from the saddle, hacked and cleaved from shoulder to gut.’

Obviously the book is dominated by the figures of Constantine and Maxentius, but I found their wives – Fausta and Valeria – equally fascinating. Both are the objects of strategic marriages which in fact have divided more than they have united the rival families.  Valeria acts as a confidante to Maxentius, is never afraid to voice her opinion and exercises power in her own subtle way. Indeed, had she been born male, I suspect she would have made a formidable adversary.  Because of past events, Fausta maintains a relentlessly cold attitude towards Constantine. However, she is also the person who probably understands him best. ‘I know what you are, Constantine. A creature bred in battle, reared on a diet of blood.’  Fausta is a fierce opponent of the war between the two men, not only because Maxentius is her brother and a victory by Constantine would result in his death, but also because she is appalled at the waste of human life – on all sides – that their conflict involves.

In their historical note at the end of the book, the authors explain where fact meets fiction and, where there is either a lack of contemporary sources or a conflict between different sources, the basis for their speculations.  There’s also a useful glossary for those who can’t tell their spatha from their spiculum.

Although students of history will be aware how the conflict between Constantine and Maxentius ends, it takes nothing away from the tension of the final chapters. Gods of Rome is a terrific end to an enthralling series. If you have an interest in Roman history, military history or just like your historical fiction to be action-packed, this is the book (and series) for you
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Gods of Rome is a stunning climax to the Rise of Emperors trilogy. The reader has followed the lives of Maxentius and Constantine in the two precious books, through their childhood friendship and adult rivalries, which have resulted in them being firm enemies. In this non-stop and thrilling climax, there is all to play for, and don't Doherty and Turney manage to ramp up the tension to unbearable heights.
I'm no expert on Roman history, and certainly not on the period leading up to AD312, but the authors manage to convey the chaos of the ruling elite without ever getting bogged down in the minutiae of all the internal power struggles. It's a light touch that I certainly appreciate. The focus is on Constantine and Maxentius, and the men and women who stand at their side. And this is a particular strength of the book. It would be quite easy to forget about the men's wives as the book focuses so much on warfare but Fausta and Valeria are given their own storylines, standing firm besides their men, even if they don't always approve of what they're doing, and not above some treachery themselves.
Maxentius and Constantine are two very different characters, grappling for the same thing, and the reader never tires of their internal monologues as they goad themselves onwards.
From about 50% through the book, I had to force myself not to turn to the back to read the historical notes, and to find out what 'truth' this story was based on. 
I have adored this trilogy of books. It is my type of historical fiction - people who lived and breathed, brought to life and made to live their lives as opposed to authors focusing on the inevitability of what would happen, and presenting it as a fait accompli.
I can only hope that Simon Turney and Gordon Doherty are able to collaborate once more. After all, they have a lot of Roman-era history they could delve into. (Hint, hint, nudge, nudge).
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#GodsofRome
BLURB
For one to rule, the other must die.
312 AD is a year of horrific and brutal warfare. Constantine's northern army is a small force, plagued by religious rivalries, but seemingly unstoppable as they invade Maxentius' Italian heartlands. These relentless clashes, incidents of treachery and twists of fortune see Maxentius' armies driven back to Rome.
Constantine has his prize in sight, yet his army is diminished and on the verge of revolt. Maxentius meanwhile works to calm a restive and dissenting Roman populace. When the two forces clash in the Battle of the Milvian Bridge, there are factors at work beyond their control and soon they are left with carnage.
There is only one way Constantine and Maxentius' rivalry will end. With one on a bloodied sword and the other the sole ruler of Rome...
REVIEW
Well my fellow peeps and fellow travelers along this road to Rome, we have reached the conclusion of this masterpiece of a trilogy. I am simply in awe of how this duo meshed together in such a way as to not only have the reader read the agonies and torments, but to feel them as well. In the first two books we watched a lifelong relationship bloom and then fracture apart like the petals of a rose after a hard frost. The angst and frustration of those first two, so real, so visceral, crescendos in Gods of Rome. The events that transpire in this volume takes that fractured relationship, bringing it to a head: an explosive like roar of a rushing river bursting through a dam. I am simply in awe at how Simon and Gordon intertwined the events between the two implacable enemies with the opposing religious forces that threaten both sides in the conflict. I tell you my fellow peeps and fellow travelers, the climatic battle is a thing of page turning wonder. The treachery, the diabolic goings on...I will say no more. :-) 
I knew a long time ago, when Simon and Gordon started planning this trilogy, that it was going to be a joy to read. I was right.
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Talk about a Bromance set in ~300AD. This trilogy is full of fascinating detail about Rome and how life was back then. But even more so, the authors put together one of the best character studies I’ve ever read in my life.

While books one and two span many years, book three is focused on the last meeting of Constantine and Maxentius. In this book, the focus is not just on Constantine and Maxentius, but also on war strategy and war’s results. You get a lot more bloody/ gory details of how war truly is like. This book continues to show the relationship between Constantine and Maxentius, but also expands its view towards the armies, their fears, and the struggles on how to keep them united.

In addition to the continued character study, book three also provides a great discussion about religion and how everybody and their faith can coexist. The way the authors solved it at the end was done very well, in my opinion.

Till the end, I was wondering how the authors would resolve the story, and while the actual end was a bit abrupt, and for my taste, the war scenes were a bit too much, I still enjoyed the conclusion to this trilogy. 

Note: compared to the first two books, this one is very graphic when it comes to the results of war (blood/ gore).

The writing is phenomenal! It truly feels like you’re in a room with our main characters. You get to know them intimately thanks to the detailed description of their motives, fears, and actions. The depth of the characters, their hopes, plans, ideas, how they always think about their friend, is simply breathtaking.

While the story plays in our “world”, the authors do an amazing job describing, i.e., the paths the armies are walking. Sometimes this is based on the wine and food they are consuming and sometimes it’s through descriptions about what they experience. Thankfully, it’s never too detailed and there are no long travels with excruciating descriptions of the surroundings. But it’s rather a clever weave into the general plot.

Loved the entire trilogy and I am still fascinated by both, Constantine and Maxentius.
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While I am more a fan of a series the dual perspective and development of this story is well done. That being said I can’t give it a 5 but it was overall a good read. 

Doherty does a good job quickly drawing the reader into the story and just growing from there with a bit of action and intrigue. Look forward to seeing what he does next.
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Gods of Rome, Rise of Emperors by Simon Turney and Gordon Doherty, describes the monumental clash between Emperors Constantine and Maxentius, the winner taking control of the Western Roman Empire and Italy. This story takes place during 312 CE.

I spend most of my time in antiquity mucking around with that crazy gang of Julio-Claudians, I now think I need to spend more time residing in the madness that is known as the Tetrarchy of the late 3rd and early 4th Centuries.

Here we start with Constantine taking his armies from Britain and Gaul to invade Maxentius’ forces in Italy. Maxentius is a self-declared Emperor of Italy during the messy time of the post Diocletian Tetrarchy. Constantine’s forces are much smaller than Maxentius’ but far more loyal and battle hardened. He takes his legions through the Italian Alps and takes Turin, Milan, and the heavily fortified Verona. Maxentius’ forces are on the run and hightail back to Rome ready for a siege. In the meantime, Constantine takes forces through the Via Flaminia eventually leading to the Milvian Bridge (now destroyed) on the River Tiber. Maxentius inexplicably, leaves the safety of the walls of Rome to encounter Constantine in what is famously known as The Battle of the Milvian Bridge.

This terrific story is not only a wonderfully detailed recounting of the military action and descriptions of the people making up the forces of each faction. But more importantly, it is the story of two men and their own personal struggles as human beings – each with relatives, wives, children, colleagues, allies and enemies within. The authors really put you in the place of each man, there is no attempt to make either on a hero nor a villain – I certainly went some way to feeling how they must’ve felt. Even just a little bit.

We experience the tensions within their armies – particularly with the internal conflicts between those who have adopted the Christian Faith and those who follow the Pagan Gods of Traditional Rome. Each camp also has their fair share of treasonous members, some closer to home than one would think - Volusianus and Fausta - are classics in this regard.

The action is brutal and realistic (lots of ‘puffs’ of red on impact), the fictional parts (where the authors need to fill-in due to a lack of historical evidence) are credible. In fact, the authors describe their reasoning behind some of the decisions they made in an excellent Epilogue. Turney used an Epilogue to do the same on the one other book I have read of his and it ties the story up very nicely.

Of course, the focus here is the gigantic presence of Constantine – just prior to his ascension to Constantine I or Constantine the Great. The man who really brought Christianity to the Western World. Yes, there’s great debate about how he came about being a Christian and when – but regardless, he was tolerant of the faith, tolerant of all faiths in fact – and allowed the Church to thrive. A true giant of history.

"The Gods are on the side of the strongest"  
 Tacitus

To make this a totally immersive Romatherapy experience, I concurrently read the relevant sections of Gibbons’ volumes 1 and 2 and listened to the appropriate episodes of the Podcasts "History of Rome" and "12 Byzantine Rulers". I recommend both wherever you cast your pods. I’ve had an absolute ball.

For anyone interested in Historical Fiction of Ancient Rome, I can’t recommend these authors enough – they really do humanise the main characters and paint a vivid picture of the times.

5 Stars

Many, many thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for providing me with an advance copy of this book in exchange for my review
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Gods of Rome is book three in the Rise of Emperors series by Simon Turney and Gordon Doherty. This book is based on historical events, namely the battle of Milvian Bridge on 28th October 312 AD between Roman Emperors Constantine I and Maxentius.  If you have read anything about this famous battle then you already know the likely ending to this book, but that doesn’t make it any less enjoyable, especially if you’re a fan of historical fiction books.

I think my favourite part of this book was witnessing the character growth of both Maxentius and Constantine, they both went on their own journey in the series while making some pretty poor decisions and having to deal with the consequences of their actions. I like the book set up where we get alternating chapters between the two emperors, especially as this highlights just how much these poor men had in common with each other, I was rooting for them to realise that and become friends halfway through the book. 

You can tell the authors put a lot of research and thought into this series and were true to the time period of when this all happened, which made this book even more enjoyable to read. If you like historical fiction based on real events then you don’t want to miss this series, seriously, it’s incredible. 

Thank you to Net Galley and Head of Zeus for a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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I loved this series as it made me discover Maxentius and a more human Costantine.
Even if I grew in Latin country and I had to study the battle of Ponte Milvio and blah blah, it was always a sort of us vs the bad guy Maxentius.
I'm happy because this series made me see other side of the two main characters and helped me to better understand how things worked and who were the main characters.
Costantine is usually described as the great-emperor who changed the history and all the blah blah. According to to the writer he's the perfect man or the villain who destroyed the pagan tradition.
Constantine in this series is a balanced man who suffered for his father and lived in dangerous times.
He's not a saint (even if the Orthodox call him a saint) nor an opportunist. He's a clever man who see that times are changes and, being a statesman, act accordingly.
I had fun in reading this book and had fun in reading the part of this book set in my hometown (Turin aka Augusta Taurinorum). 
It was an engrossing and fascinating read, the perfect closure of an excellent historical fiction. These books are well researched and I cannot find any faults.
I would happy to read another series set after Constantine won as his family is quite colourful (Constantinian dynasty is quite variegated and interesting).
One last note: I loved Helena. She's a woman made of flesh and blood and not only the pious lady that discovered the true cross.
I strongly recommend this book and this series.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine
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I have to confess to being a huge fan of Simon Turkey’s previous works so was expecting great things from this series of novels. He (in collaboration with Gordon Doherty) has delivered yet again! They make a formidable writing partnership where superb research and excellent storytelling combine perfectly. Due to this team effort I will be searching out Gordon’s back catalogue!
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The final tale in the trilogy following Constantine and Maxentius from the boyhood brothers -in -laws friendship to adult open hostility.
Across the three books the evolving story from home to Rome and the ever deepening divide between Constantine and Maxentius plays out in a final showdown and battle at the Milvian Bridge, 312 AD. So ended the Tetrarchy and subsequently their rivalry to become sole Roman Emperor. As ever politics, espionage, religion and some quite literal backstabbing followed in abundance on both sides making for a truly remarkable tale.
The background history and characters involved as this whole story evolves simply confirms the depth of research and narrative quality of the two authors.
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When we last were with Constantine and Maxentius it looked like what could have been a lovely brotherhood had suffered irreparable damage that could only lead to war.

Maxentius still holds out hope but the die has been cast… Constantine will march on Rome.

Along the way the blood of many will be shed and the authors managed to wonderfully depict the toll this takes on both men.. it weighs heavy but neither are willing, or able to back down.

What I really find amazing about this series is how seamless each chapter flows into the next, these two authours’ styles blend perfectly together to give us one hell of a richly detailed and exhilarating tale! If you want to get excited about history you can’t go wrong with these two! Doherty and Turney make history come alive!

I also really loved how well the authors showed the discontent of the people, and the legions, with the growing religious tensions added its only a matter of time until the fists start flaying and the swords come out.

I think the most surprising thing is throughout the series I’ve never disliked either Constantine and Maxentius. You always expect to take a side.. but you can’t.. both actually seem to want to do right by Rome and truly believe they are the man to do it, in hindsight I don’t think either man would be able to reconcile the death toll and the pain this journey will cost. They both loose so much.

I’m a big fan of character development and Doherty and Turney are Gods themselves in this arena, not only do the main protagonists develop but they also manage not outshine the rest of the characters, there’s so much packed in it almost seems impossible.

This has been an amazing series to follow and I really hope to see more collaborations, Doherty and Turney bring the best out of each other and as a reader that makes me very lucky..it’s not often you get to read a true masterpiece.

For the lovers of detail and history this book ticks the boxes, for the plot driven lovers you get a detailed plot with beautiful twists along the way..everything flows naturally and damn is it good!
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Although I had not read the other two novels in the Rise of the Emperor series, I found this book easy to get into.   It exceeded my expectations - a wonderful story, full of historical detail and bloody battles as the two protagonists, Constantine and Maxentius -once friends and now enemies - try to outwit each other in a battle for supremacy. Written from both characters' viewpoints it is an interesting and thought provoking read. Neither character comes over as particularly good or bad. Both are seeking what they see as rightfully theirs.  I had no idea the battle of Milvian Bridge, graphically described, actually happened. The vivid portrayal of these two figures and the times they lived in has been brilliantly brought to life. I now need to retrace my steps and read the first two 
Thoroughly recommended..

I would like to thank Netgalley, the authors and Head of Zeus for an ARC of Gods of Rom in exchange for an honest review.
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So, this latest follows on from the first two in the "Rise of Emperors" series in which two friends, now rivals, meet in the ultimate battle for Rome. As Edward Gibbon in his "The Decline & Fall of the Roman Empire" states: "... though the characters of Constantine and Maxentius had very little affinity with each other, their situation and interest were the same ...... " - and that interest was Rome.

Whilst the focus of this narrative is on that fateful year of 312, there is still plenty going on, and despite the known outcome, you still can't help but hope that the underdog will triumph.

Neither man is hero or villain. Unlike the sources from this period, which reflect the propaganda of Constantine and present Maxentius as a brutal tyrant, authors Turney & Doherty provide a carefully constructed, and fluid narrative from the viewpoint of both.

And as the reader progresses through the alternating narrative, you soon realise that both men share more in common than one would expect - both are beset by fractious factions within their support networks; both look to signs, omens and prophecies; both are surrounded by traitors, dissemblers and deceivers, religious discontents, and angry wives.

The authors' notes at the end provide a neat wrap up to this well researched and written series.
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would like to thank netgalley and the publisher for letting me read this outstanding book

think Spartacus and vikings and you get how bloody and barbaric this book actually is..but its based on fact which i was astounded to read....

its a gruesome account of constantine and his battle to take back Rome, the battle scenes are legendary but its the betrayal around him that swings the battle towards the victor

interesting read though at times hard with all those strange names but was interested to see how it all ended though i could have cheated and googled it i wanted to see for myself
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This is the final book in the impressive trilogy and it has been patiently building to this moment - the decisive summer of 312AD.  Alternating chapters follow Constantine and Maxentius (the Eastern candidate-Emperors, Licinius and Daia are left a bit out of the picture). It is a complex situation: all sense of ‘togetherness’ has vanished, every group, each individual seems self-divided, and true authority remains elusive. 

As it opens it looks like Constantine has been dealt a bad hand - his army is split between pagan tribes (Petulantes) and Christian ones (Cornuti), his former friend Maxentius is now his firm enemy and knows his deep vulnerabilities, and even his wife (Maxentius’ sister) seems alienated from him. We soon learn things seem little better for his rival Maxentius, but it is Constantine that has to make a move to claim the imperial throne.

The trilogy is quite an achievement, as it focuses on the decade or so before 312 AD that historians have tended to avoid. It is a decade of jockeying for position with multiple contenders making simultaneous plays for complete power and brokering faithless peaces. But it is like a Mexican-standoff - lots of tension little direct action.

This is part of a recent historical fiction preference for such many-sided tussles. Strong recent examples are Fabbri’s series on Alexander’s Legacy series and Sidebottom’s Throne of the Caesars trilogy. I would say it has equal and opposed virtues to Goldsworthy’s novels. Goldsworthy excels and characterisation, dialogue, and localised events. Our authors not so much, but they have focused on the big narrative arcs and the grand historical scale.

So, given that theirs is a decade of stalemate, they have applied literary imagination to bring out the dramatic potential. They have drawn upon the Game of Thrones precedent for political/personal/continental manoeuvres (though we have also been trained by multi-player strategy games). So, our authors here have played up a love-hate relationship between Constantine and Maxentius, supposed former friends; they have balanced close-up focus (military detail and geographical precision) with big picture geo-strategy, and they have shown how Christianity had become a growing social force, spurned and persecuted, eve self-divided: its disruptive potential entirely misunderstood and mis-managed. 

Naturally, the authors must have studied all kinds of sources to pin down the details. They don’t say so, but Rome’s Arch of Constantine must have been a key source. It shows the Petulantes joining the subsequent Triumph, which suggests they played a role in the fateful Battle of the Milvian Bridge. This final novel is about how Constantine must have got the pagan Petulantes on the same side as the Christian Cornuti.
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Gods of Rome is book three in the series, and it culminates in the most glorious battle for Rome.
I've read and enjoyed the whole series now, which is no surprise as I'm a huge fan of historical fiction.

The strongest part of this enjoyable series for me has always been the two main characters, Constantine and Maxentius. Neither of them is portrayed as a typical hero or villain, but they are wonderfully flawed and so human. Both make good and bad decisions and have to go through difficult times. Their character development was a pleasure to read. Honestly, I wanted both of them to win because I liked them so much.

I#ve always been interested in history, so I knew the likely ending of the book before I started reading. But that is often the case in historical fiction, and for me, the journey is just as enjoyable as the conclusion. It's always interesting to see how authors solve problems and come up with their own take on the story. In this case, I had a rough idea of what would happen but didn't know too much about the time period. So I especially loved that I learned so much while reading an excellent book. You can really feel how well researched the series is and it transports you right back to ancient Rome.
The writing is excellent, and the two authors work perfectly together.

All in all, if you're interested in history and Rome, I highly recommend this series!
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I have been looking forward to the conclusion of this trilogy ever since reading book one, and Gods of Rome finishes it off wonderfully. It is a true testament to the writers that while knowing the outcome at the beginning of book one, I still flew through this book rooting for the man I knew would lose the battle and the war. By not casting either Maxentius or Constantine as the hero or the villain, but just as men of their times, it allows you to understand how they ended up where there did. The best historical fiction opens a window that not only allows you an understanding of the events that occurred, but it gives you a connection to the people who lived at that time and this series does exactly that. Constantine's march on Rome, the planning, execution and use of his troops during battles is eye-opening to read, while also a horrifying look at the cost in lives. You also know the authors have done their jobs brilliantly when the first thing you do upon finishing is search all the main players in the story for more information about their lives and see just how far reaching their impact really was. You certainly do not have to have any background knowledge of this time to truly enjoy this series and learn a lot.  I so thoroughly enjoyed this entire trilogy and cannot recommend it enough to anyone who is a fan of the time period or if you just want to learn more about these remarkable individuals.
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I was invited to read this and downloaded it eagerly, only to get a third of the way through and realise it’s book 3 of a trilogy! I really enjoyed what I read so far but I’m pausing to read the first two books before I go any further. Engaging classical hist fic though.
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