The first in a sharply-written trilogy set in crumbling 7th Century Rome.
THE ROMAN EMPIRE IS DEAD. LONG LIVE THE CHURCH OF ROME!
609 AD. Rome is torn apart by war, plague and internal power struggles between the Emperor, the aristocracy and the Church.
Into this morass stumbles the young and handsome Briton Aelric. His father was murdered, his inheritance stolen. Forcibly separated from the woman he loves, he is determined to win back all that he has lost.
Through his naivety and ambition, he unwittingly becomes involved in a heretical plot that will lead to fraud, high treason and murder.
Introducing the most compelling anti-hero since Flashman, CONSPIRACIES OF ROME takes you back to one of the darkest and least known periods of history.
I can't resist recommending this first volume of a promised trilogy. Set during the last pangs of Imperial Rome, with a vivid account of the machinations of the early Church, it is well-informed, atmospheric and beautifully written. - Literary Review
In a rollicking new historical adventure series, the hero Aelric is a sort of randier version of Sharpe with an eye for the girls and a taste for the odd vat of wine . . . this is rip-roaring historical fiction which avoids taking itself too seriously. Great fun. - Western Daily Press
It's simply the best historical novel I've ever read, perhaps short of C.S. Forester. It's a very great deal better than any of the ancient Roman detective novels I've seen. - L.Neil Smith
The best historical novel I have ever read - L. Neil Smith
An enjoyable read - Historical Novel Society
Like all good historical novels, this book is didactic as well as entertaining . . . [Blake] imparts knowledge through the tale with enthusiasm and ease. But I wouldn't for a second want to suggest that this book is a staid, educational tome. It is in turns foul-mouthed, saucy and violent. Fans of literary sword-play and street fights will not be disappointed . . . With the sad departure of George Macdonald Fraser the time is ripe for a new author able to combine swashbuckling adventure, a cynical view of elites and their self-serving institutions, detailed historical research and - besides all this - an overriding optimism about mankind. It is too early to tell if Blake will be the new Fraser, but Aelric certainly has the potential to be the new Flashman. In many ways Aelric is more interesting than Flashman: better educated, more canny and with a moral sense that more readily overrides his self-interest . This is not to say Aelric is a completely likeable hero: he is a sexual libertine, a ready profiteer and a willing killer. But I for one look forward to reading more tales of his shagging, fighting and looting - albeit as I learn something new about the Dark Ages at the same time. - www.LittleManWhatNow.com
Fascinating to read, very well written, an intriguing plot and I enjoyed it very much. - Derek Jacobi
I've just called to tell you how much I enjoyed it. At times it needed a bit of pruning but it was fascinating to read, very well written, an intriguing plot and I enjoyed it very much. - Derek Jacobi (message over the telephone)