I’m writing this from a small cottage, nestled in the Cheviot Hills in Northumberland, and even though it is late July, the weather has been disappointing and chilly, so I have a fire blazing in the fireplace. It is a beautiful part of the world and I was hoping on showing you some great pictures of Hadrian’s Wall that runs through this county, unfortunately when I visited the Wall yesterday it was absolutely pouring with rain and I had to halt the exhibition – even the dog wasn’t too keen on going out in it as it was so heavy. Still, never mind, I’m up here for another week, so there should be ample opportunity to re-visit the Wall.
The week hasn’t been a total loss anyway, because I received my first review in a national newspaper (The Daily Mail) for my novel Roman Mask. Unfortunately, I had no idea the review was coming out in the newspaper and because I was in the wild hills of Northumberland, by the time I heard about in the late evening there was nowhere for me to buy a copy of the paper! Luckily a friend of mine sent me the link to their online version! Anyway, this is what the review said:
by Thomas Brooke
The classical world is brought vividly to life in this novel by Brooke, a new voice in the crowded chorus of historical fiction. Set at the height of the Roman Empire’s power, Brooke’s writing brings us both the decadence that eventually undermined and destroyed the seemingly invincible Romans, and the merciless military action that won Rome its mandate to rule in the first place.
The novel’s chief character Cassius (not to be confused with Julius Caesar’s lean and hungry assassin) sups both the outrageous decadence and the dangers of war to the dregs, as he swings between orgiastic fun and a grim struggle for survival against the barbarian Germanic tribes in the dark forests of the Teutoburg.
Anyone who relishes Robert Harris’s Roman fiction should love this book, too.
So I think you’ll agree, it’s a very favourable review, so I’m delighted. Ordering those Advanced review copies before the novel came out really worked for me. Getting reviews is always really nerve-wracking, but you have to believe in your own work and if you are prepared to take the risk it can really pay off for you. After all, if you don’t believe your own book is good enough, how do you expect others to believe it is worth the time and effort to purchase and read?