Quintus Furius Varus is one of the best lanistas in Rome. Tall and strong in build, fearsome in manner, and sharp of wit, he trains the best gladiators bound for the arenas of Rome. When Senator Servius Augendus seeks personal guards, he attends the Ludus Varus for purchase of the very best. He puts to Quintus an offer he cannot refuse, and Quintus finds himself in Neapolis, contracted as a trainer of guards instead of gladiators.
Kaeso Agorix was taken from his homelands of Iberia and delivered to Rome as a slave. Bought by a senator to be trained as a guard, his fate is handed to the man who would train him. Absent free will, Kaeso knows his life is no longer his own, though he soon realises the gods have favoured him when he learns his new master has a kind heart.
Quintus and Kaeso forge a bond that far exceeds the collar at Kaeso’s neck, and together they discover the senator’s move for promotion has an ulterior motive. Thrown into a world of politics and conspiracy, of keeping enemies close, they move against time to save Rome before traitors and the gods themselves see to their end.
And in doing so, see the dawn of the nova praetorian—the new guard—rise.
Tag Line: A new guard. A new love. A new Rome.
I am a big fan of NR Walker. I’ve not read anything of hers I didn’t like. Most of her works contemporary, although Evolved was kinda sorta scifi-ish? I guess? Which I am not a fan of. And I still really liked it! I am also not a big fan of historical, but sometimes books surprise me. I shouldn’t have been surprised though. Because NR Walker.
This is set during the Roman empire. Gladiators and togas and all that. With that comes a very different way of speaking. And really, if the book was set during the Roman empire but the characters spoke with modern language, I would hate it. So it had to take a big mind shift to suddenly write like this.
And she never faltered. The plot line. the characters, the language, all stayed true to the time period. The politics involved in the story were a bit complex, but it made for some good intrigue.
Quintas, a gladiator trainer, is bribed/threatened into providing security for a senator. He is also given a slave to train. A slave who was stolen from his country after Romans killed his parents. He’s a bit pissed off and mouthy. But Quintas is nothing but respectful and fair and they fall for each other.
There is a lot of training and a lot of politicking. And while there were a lot of details that pertained to the time period, they weren’t overwhelming at all. And reading a book like this gives me lots of possible Jeopardy answers in the future.
Quintas and Kaeso are inseparable throughout. The insecurities are still there for each of them. Quintas thinking Kaeso is with him only because he is a slave and Kaeso thinking Quintas is taking advantage of having his own slave.
The plot never fell flat or veered off course, the romance and sex were plentiful but not overly so and the ending was fantastic.
4 pieces of eye candy
N.R. Walker is an Australian author, who loves her genre of gay romance.
She loves writing and spends far too much time doing it, but wouldn’t have it any other way.
She is many things: a mother, a wife, a sister, a writer. She has pretty, pretty boys who live in her head, who don’t let her sleep at night unless she gives them life with words.
She likes it when they do dirty, dirty things… but likes it even more when they fall in love.
She used to think having people in her head talking to her was weird, until one day she happened across other writers who told her it was normal.
She’s been writing ever since…
Contact N.R. Walker