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Roman Mask

(The Cassius Chronicles #1)

4.28  ·  Rating details ·  673 ratings  ·  87 reviews
Rome AD 9
Augustus Caesar rules Imperial Rome at the height of its power, as the Roman Empire stretches across the known world. Cassius, son of one of her most powerful families, is the personification of Rome's imperial strength: wealthy, popular, a war hero with a decorated military career - none of Rome's fashionable parties are complete without him - except, he hides a
Kindle Edition, 390 pages
Published June 29th 2015 (first published June 1st 2015)
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Average rating 4.28  · 
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Keith Currie
Another month, another novel about the Roman disaster in the Teutoburg Forest; for me this novel was a pretty good retelling of the disaster from a potentially interesting point of view. The protagonist is a Roman war hero, famed for his courage; but behind the outward bravado, he is a man clearly suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, who considers himself at heart a coward. Imagine, then, how he might react and behave when thrown into the military catastrophe which is the Teutoburg For ...more
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Visit Rome at the height of its power through the eyes of a hero who hid his shame at the accolades he thought he didn’t deserve. Cassius was living a lie and he knew it, silencing his torment with wild living and alcohol. As the son of a powerful Roman family, he has prestige. As a hero, he had the adulation of the masses
An amazing retelling of the Teutoberg Forest Disaster! In 9 AD, three crack legions in Germania were nearly annihilated by a confederation of German tribes, led by the Romanized German prince, Arminius, called herein Julius Arminius. All three Eagles were captured. This was a pivotal moment in history and arguably why generally in today's Europe, one could say Romance languages [descendants of Latin] are spoken west of the Rhine and German to the east.

Gaius Cassius Aprilis, Tribune in the Ro
Reeda Booke
This is an excellent debut novel for this author about the battle in Teutoburg Forest between the Germanic tribes and the Roman army during the reign of Emperor Augustus. Full of revenge, blood, and betrayal, many of the scenes were taken from the historical details of the time, including some of the characters. The pacing was quick and I was drawn to the story to its end. What a nasty and terrible battle!

Highly recommended! 5 stars.
Oct 22, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cassius Aprilis, formerly senior tribune of a legion in Roman Germania, has returned to Rome in acclaim after saving his troops from a German ambush. No one knows that the attack broke Cassius’s nerve, forcing him to resign from command. Bitterly ashamed and loathing himself for his cowardice, he returns to his old life of drinking and debauchery among the fast set in Rome. That lasts until Livia, wife of the Princeps Augustus, orders him back to Germania to find out what’s really going on in th ...more
Hans Kerrinckx
Roman Mask
As an archaeologist I read a lot about Roman an Byzantine history, also fiction but those fictional books should be accurate.
Thomas M.D. Brooke wrote a book that is exceptionally researched and very well written. It gives an impression of he harsh Roman society with houndreds of thousands of outcasts. The description of life in the legions is well done, as are the profiles of Varus and his military commanders.
I never write about story lines or spoilers in reviews. But I can tell you t
Shannon Gardner
May 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016
This is an amazing book based on the true story of the Roman Military trying to fight, conquer, and settle the Germanic Tribesmen in September 9 AD in and around the Teutoburgium Forest in Germany. Rome has three legions with their three Golden Eagles in this area, a true sign of Rome's power and strength. These men are trying to build Roman strong holds and military posts all over Germany. They are turning the native citizens into farmers instead of fighters, their small homes into cities and f ...more
John Naylor
Mar 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
I received this book for free via Goodreads First Reads.

I admit that historical fiction is not a genre I am used to or interested in. I try to read as many genres as possible and I recently finished a good book from this genre.

So, I admit I randomly chose this book as my next one to read as I was late for the bus to work one day. I just grabbed it and ran. I am now equally happy and sad I did.

It is quite brilliant in my view. The main character is flawed and in his own mind a failure. A lot of u
Mercedes Rochelle
Aug 06, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Roman Mask got off to a rocky start for me, but as soon as I stumbled across the name “Varus” I knew I was onto something. Our hero, Cassius Aprilis, was introduced to us as a spoiled rich kid, drinking and partying his way through an endless succession of meaningless days. This is not the kind of book I like and I almost put it down, but luckily I was saved by a plot twist when Augustus sent him to Germany as an aide to Governor Varus. Suddenly it all started to make sense. Our Cassius wasn’t r ...more
Sep 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
I love books on Roman history, and let me tell you Thomas Brooke's Roman Mask delivers!!! This book was amazing! Augustus Caesar is Emperor and Rome is at the height of its power, Cassius is our main character, to Rome he is a hero but he knows that is not the case. I really liked Cassius, he was very flawed but there was just something about him that kept drawing me in. When he gets summoned by the Emperor's wife his worst nightmare comes true, he is going back to the battlefield. Will Cassius ...more
Carlos Mock
Oct 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Roman Mask by Thomas M. D. Burke

The Battle of the Teutoburg Forest described as the Varian Disaster (Clades Variana) by Roman historians, took place in the Teutoburg Forest in 9 CE when an alliance of Germanic tribes ambushed and decisively destroyed three Roman legions and their auxiliaries, led by Publius Quinctilius Varus. The alliance was led by Arminius, a Germanic officer of Varus' auxilia. Arminius had acquired Roman citizenship and had received a Roman military education, which enabled h
Sean Flanagan
Jan 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
A great read, whether or not you like [accurate] historical novels. However, don't read it if you don't like heroes with feet of clay.

Thomas M.D. Brooke's first book is very well written (I am horribly pedantic over grammar and punctuation, and to some extent, poor composition); he has a vivid imagination and writing style that draws a reader more deeply into the narrative. His descriptions let readers understand and appreciate conditions that the characters face and deal with — this really enha
Oct 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The author, Thomas MD Brooke, has crafted a surprise hit for Roman historical fiction. As a long-time reader of historical fiction novels such as Harry Sidebottom's Warrior of Rome saga, I came into this novel, which I had not heard of before, with relatively low expectations. I was, however, pleasantly surprised and soon engrossed in reading the story of Cassius Aprilis, a Roman veteran suffering the traumatic effects of his war-time experiences in Germany and forced to return to the place of h ...more
Mar 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Engaging characters enliven ancient history

Many reviewers have thoroughly enjoyed this account of the life and times of the development of the Roman Empire under Caesar Augustus, especially as it applied to the conquest of the Germanic tribes. The hero with his tragic flaw, as well as some of his personal failings, draws a reader’s sympathy and understanding. Love interest never hurts. And the role of strong women, even in the ancient world, is an appealing note. I appreciate the historical foun
Oct 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book. Despite some stereotypical depictions of life in ancient Rome early in the novel, this book has a solid story, interesting characters, and is a real page turner. It was very hard to put down. The author gave plausible personalities to the historical figures he depicts and I feel I got to know characters such as Varus and Arminius. His depiction of the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest was very well done. The title of this book is an interesting metaphor. It could refer t ...more
Glenn Rowe
Nov 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An exciting story well told. The kindle edition, however, desperately needs to be edited and proofread. There are numerous missing or extraneous words, and frequent misuse of homonyms, such as "reigning" (instead of "reining") of horses, a "breech" (instead of "breach") of a defensive line, "you're" instead of "your" and many others.
Apart from that, it was a highly enjoyable narrative of the battle of Teutoburg and the events leading up to it. Even if you already know the historical outcome of
John Zeivel
Nov 13, 2018 rated it liked it
I would give it 3 stars. Decent character development; Good action scenes; Sexual content was not overdone but was appropriate for the genre; Good plot line; Excellent recreation of the environment; Spot-on attention to historical facts & timelines (for an historical novel); Good use of Latin terminology...took me back to 'Caesar's Gallic Wars' in first year Latin class. The only reason that I did not rate it higher is that, I am, admittedly an history geek, so I enjoy extensive detail in things ...more
Dean McIntyre
Jan 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Battle of Teutoburg Forest in the year 9 AD was the greatest disaster for Ancient Rome at the height of its power. An alliance of German tribes, led by a King raised, educated, and trained in the Roman military way, slaughtered and defeated three Roman legions. There is so much to take in in this book: Roman culture, class structure, military practice, aspects and results of Rome conquering and occupying territories, German resistance, and long-lasting political implications. There are fasci ...more
Nov 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Exciting story from a little-discussed time

This story takes place at one of those amazing turning points in history. The story is fresh and the integration with historical fact well done.

This isn't a time about which I had read much, but it was brought to vibrant life in the authors hands.

The only downside was whatio call "lazy editing". Reading such a engrossing story; the effects of simple grammatical and spelling errors were jarring,

Recomended in any case, The author's vision easily compens
Andrew Kidd
Apr 19, 2019 rated it liked it
Informally Entertaining

Balancing disciplined historical reference and entertainment is not easy. The book clearly aims to achieve the second even if the first suffers from a little informality. So yes, it is entertaining if you are not looking for sophisticated reading and are willing to accept some stereotype characters.
Would suggest a finer combing at editing (losses with only one s means something else), and maybe use some paragraphs to explain briefly the functioning and hierarchy in a legi
James Backus
Nov 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Good read of the loss of the three legions in German Forest.

I found the book to be a little slow as the main character stays in Rome. The story ray picks up as he and a young Roman officers are sent to be advisor to the Governor of Germany. I have read several history books as to what could have happened to the lost legions. This was a good historical novel about what may have happened. The characters were well written and I am looking forward to reading the second volume.
Dec 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A Heroes Mettle

The book begins as our hero doubts his place in the accolades of the public. As the story progresses his back story unfolds piece by piece and thru the device of a younger version of himself he is able to begin rebuilding the soldier hiding within. This fresh telling of the Three Lost Legions is an exciting read with strongly written battle scenes and some straining credulity plot twists that nonetheless can be winked at. Enjoyable afternoon read

is revealed
Dick Dubay
Oct 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Good action/adventure

This is a good action adventure story. The characters are interesting and the details of the battles are very well done. This story is well researched and the details of life and love from the time period are well done. If you like historical fiction I would recommend this book for you.
Warren P. Gunderman
Oct 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Exceptional historical novel

Wealth of detail concerning the early Roman Empire woven into an engaging and exciting narrative. Anyone who has an interest in the details of the Roman army under Augustus will thoroughly enjoy this book. The details are fascinating but don't overwhelm the story.
Donna Crow
Nov 10, 2018 rated it liked it
Good book but dry for my tastes

As much as I adored my classic civilization classes, the "art" of war wasn't my favorite part. And knowing this was the beginning of a series, I expected to care enough about the characters to actually but Book 2...but I don't. The characters weren't filled out enough for my taste.

Chris Page
Nov 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved it. I didn't read the synopsis before starting, it came as an offered book on bookbub and I'm trying most freebies because why not? With friends we chat about what we are reading and I was unable to describe what sort of book this was (no zombies!) but turned out to just be an gripping story with a decent historical basis. I did promptly go and "purchase" (kindle unlimited) the sequel.
H. Bryant Blake
Nov 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Almost brings the German Legions to life!

Not a big Roman history buff but am amazed at the engineering capabilities of the Romans and the fact the empire lasted as long as it did! While this book is fiction based on real events it discusses some of the reasons why the Romans were able to accomplish what they did. I enjoyed this book so much I bought the sequel.
Richard Myers
Mar 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Great book

A wonderful book about a real time and place in history. Many characters are real and lived during that time. The descriptions of the “barbarians” and the Roman tactics was spot on. I recommend this book to everyone and I have already purchased the second book in the series.
Apr 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Roman Mask

Have just finished this tale and thoroughly enjoyed it. I have always been fascinated by the battle between Arminius and Varus, which really represented the battle between Rome and Germany and Mr. Brooke has masterfully given an insight into it. Highly recommend this book, and am now to begin Book 2 of the Cassius Chronicles with much anticipation.
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Thomas Brooke lives in London where he works in the exciting, and sometimes crazy, fashion world. He is also a committed writer and he spends as much time as he can in his beloved Northumbrian hills, where up until recently could be seen walking with his black Labrador Fergus, who sadly passed in January 2015.
As well as writing novels, he also writes a blog on both historical and fantasy genre nov

Other books in the series

The Cassius Chronicles (2 books)
  • Bedrock of Empire (The Cassius Chronicles #2)

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