Rome has ruled Syria for over three centuries. But now the weakened empire faces a desperate threat: Queen Zenobia of Palmyra has turned her Roman-trained army against her former masters and the once invincible legions have been crushed. Arabia, Palestine and Egypt have fallen and now Antioch, Syria’s capital, stands exposed.
Cassius Corbulo is a young intelligence agent fresh from officer training. He has been assigned the menial task of rounding up wounded legionaries but then urgent new orders arrive. He is the only ranking Roman officer left in the line of the Palmyran advance. He must take command of the fort of Alauran, the last stronghold still in Roman hands, and hold it against the enemy until reinforcements arrive.
What Cassius finds at Alauran would daunt the most seasoned veteran, let alone a nineteen year old with no experience of war. A mere scattering of divided and demoralised legionaries remain, backed up by some fractious Syrian auxiliaries and a drunken Praetorian Guardsman. With the Palmyrans just days away, Cassius must somehow find the discipline, resourcefulness and courage to organise the garrison, save Alauran and secure Rome’s eastern frontier...
‘Agent of Rome is a masterful debut from a new author completely at home in this era; the writing is deft, the action swift and bloody and the characters believable and engaging. I look forward greatly to the next one.‘ (Manda Scott, bestselling author of the Boudica and Rome series.)
“Once the action kicks off you won’t be able to put it down.” (Anthony Riches, bestselling author of the Empire series)
“Brown’s exhilarating story excels in its perfect pace, vivid combat sequences and superb characterisation. He brings to life Roman warfare in all its raw intensity and excitement … the fear, the tension, the physical endurance and the sheer blood-soaked brutality … The first of a new series, The Siege delivers a thrilling coming-of-age adventure with an unlikely but likeable hero whose exploits are set to win an army of fans”. (Lancashire Evening Post)
“Brown promises to be one of the most exciting sword-wielding writers in an ever-popular arena. In this, his debut, his principal is a 19-year-old fresh-faced officer commanding 100 men in defence of a Syrian stronghold against a vastly superior force. There are echoes of Beau Geste in this death-or-glory stand. (The Oxford Times)
“Brown has given this Roman military/adventure story a great twist in having Cassius hail from the secret service ranks … Much more than a simple military story, The Siege is also a character study and offers a rare glimpse into 3rd century Rome and her occupation of Syria.” (Historical Novels Review)
“Nick Brown has the craft of storytelling at his fingertips … The Siege is a fast-paced and satisfying read.” (Russell Whitfield, author of Gladiatrix)
“The Siege is an excellent debut novel and delivers a thrilling and fascinating coming-of-age adventure.” (bookgazette.com)
“Author Nick Brown has, until this novel, written mostly screenplays. It shows, but not in a bad way. Claimed to be the first in the series, I’ll be lining up for the next one.” (Ian Barry, The Courier-Mail, Australia)
“A fierce and realistic account.” (de Telegraaf, Holland.)
“A Roman Rorke’s Drift. Great characterisation, solid prose and a good sense of pace. Add to this almost cinematic sequences and it was a title that I was not only glued to but one that gave me the type of sword and sandals novel I love…a great debut.” (Gareth Wilson, The Falcata Times)