Monday 19 August 2019

Rubicon: short stories by Various Authors

Nick Brown, Gordon Doherty, Ruth Downie, Richard Foreman, Alison Morton, Anthony Riches, Antonia Senior, Peter Tonkin, L.J. Trafford, S.J. Turney

shortlisted for Book of the Month

Rubicon: A HWA Short Story Collection

"There is something here to satisfy a whole host of readers with different tastes."


"Ten acclaimed authors. Ten gripping stories. Immerse yourself in Ancient Rome through a collection of thrilling narratives, featuring soldiers, statesmen and spies. Read about some of your favourite characters from established series, or be introduced to new writers in the genre. The stories in Rubicon are, like Rome, diverse and intriguing - involving savage battles, espionage, political intrigue and the lives of ordinary - and extraordinary - Romans, such as Ovid, Marcus Agrippa and a young Julius Caesar."

Nick Brown - Maker of Gold
Gordon Doherty - Eagles in the Desert
Ruth Downie - Alter Ego
Richard Foreman - A Brief Affair
Alison Morton - Mystery of Victory
Anthony Riches - The Invitation
Antonia Senior - Exiles
Peter Tonkin - The Roman
L.J. Trafford - The Wedding

S.J. Turney - The Praetorian

Although there seems to be a recent trend for publishing short story collections written by a variety of authors - presumably with the intention of introducing new authors to new readers - this collection of ten tales is another addition to the trend, but what a delightful addition it is!

Some of the authors I knew: Ruth Downie, Alison Morton, Nick Brown, Gordon Doherty, the others I did not, but for many of them I will be seeking out their novels.

Inevitably where there is a difference of writing style between authors there were some stories that held an edge over others, but there was plenty to keep a reader eagerly turning the pages, and the reader does not need to be a Roman fan to appreciate them. This collection will adequately satisfy any reader who enjoys historical fiction in general, for there is an engrossing mix of style, pace and subject: political, warfare, greed, sacrifice, alternative, mischief, humour... 

We meet statesmen, soldiers, pirates, spies and ordinary people who lived way back then when Rome  expanded, became great and  then faded away, (discounting Morton's alternative Roma Nova series of thrillers which portray the idea of Rome surviving to this day.) 

We meet names we know: Marcus Agrippa, Julius Caesar, Ovid - and many we may not have heard of, or know little about. There is something here to satisfy a whole host of readers with different tastes.

So if the intent is to introduce different authors to different readers via the entertainment of providing deliciously engrossing short stories, well, job done!

© Anne Holt

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