You may notice a silver medal on the top right hand side of my blog, showing five stars. This is from readers favorite, who have awarded me this after reviewing my book, Roman Mask. Readers favorite are The fastest growing book review and award contest site on the Internet. They are the recipient of “Best Websites for Authors” awards by the Association of Independent Authors. They are also used by the large publishing houses Penguin, Harper Collins, Random House, and Simon & Shuster among others.
The reason I went to these guys to review my novel, was because I felt it was important to get a completely impartial view on my novel, from a source that is world recognised and renowned for their fair and honest reviews. Needless to say, I was delighted to receive 5 stars! They also have an annual book award contest in April, so who knows, I might just take part in that too!
Anyway, here is the review I received:
|Reviewed By Cheryl E. Rodriguez for Readers’ Favorite
Thomas MD Brooke narrates a tale of conquest in Roman Mask. Rome is conquering the world, stretching its strength and rule to the north. However, the Germanic tribes are barbaric and aren’t so easily tamed. Cassius Gauis Aprilis is a hero in Rome, renowned for his victory at the Western Gate Pass. Yet Cassius does not feel heroic at all. He is haunted by the blood lust of that battle – the loss of his valiant comrades invades his thoughts. He disguises his shame with wine and women, vowing never to return to Germany. Never say never. Lady Livia, the wife of Augustus, the imperator of Rome, has other plans for Cassius. She desires to know what is really going on in the Roman ruled Germanic province. She commissions him to return to Germany as a spy, masked as an aide to Governor Varsus. Much to Cassius’ chagrin, Marcus Scavea, a young and vibrant soldier, is deployed to accompany and serve him. Cassius must face his fear and return to the land he fights desperately to forget. What awaits him is worse than the nightmare of his past. Friends turn into foes, betrayal and chaos challenge the debilitating fear within him. If Cassius ever wants to return to Rome, his cowardice must submit to courage.
Roman Mask by Thomas MD Brooke is a fascinating work of historical fiction. Brooke uses artistic expression to create a fictional historic account of the battle of Teutoburg. The battle that proved that Rome was not invincible and Germany would not simply bow down to Roman rule. Brooke is a fluent and eloquent storyteller. He illustrates the trauma of battle in his main character, Cassius, who displays all the symptoms of modern day PTSD. As a reader, I became emotionally entwined with Cassius; his fear, inner turmoil, his search for courage and love, his heart and soul injury as a result of betrayal were all depicted with extreme sensitivity. All of the characters were brilliantly written; they grow, evolve and intersect with each other masterfully.
The setting captured the essence of the ancient landscapes of the time period. The images revealed the collision of Roman civilization and Germanic tribal rule. What intrigued me the most was the theme of the narrative – living a lie is easy when hiding behind an illusionary mask. Both the protagonist, Cassius, and the antagonist, Julius, are written as testimonies to this deceptive idea. In all reality, living a lie is not easy at all. Furthermore, once the masks are removed, the truth is exposed. Cassius sums it up poignantly: “I forgot who I was, and I’d rather be the man I am now than go back to living that lie.”
You can find Roman Mask on Amazon here