Monday, 3 February 2014

Chariots of Fire: ROME: THE EMPEROR'S SPY by M.C. Scott

The Emperor's Spy by M.C. Scott
Manda Scott is a brilliant writer. Such a talent.
It has been a couple years since I read some of her Boudica series and while I don't always love the story I do always love the writing quality.
The Emperor's Spy is no different. The writing is highly skilled and even though her story did not always appeal to me, the skill of her writing is never in question.

I believe, for my tastes, the story of Pantera here in The Emperor's Spy has much more to offer me than the Boudica story and I loved the read for most of the book.

From the get go, this book had me hooked. I enjoy a good spy or assassin character and Sebastos Abdes Pantera was one of the best. Cool headed, slippery, charismatic. He is a character I can really sink my imagination into. He is also a character, amoung a few others, who have been carried over from the Boudica series, but by no means do you have to read the Boudica books to enjoy The Emperor's Spy.

I did give it 4 stars not 5 and here's why. While the novelty of the Chariot racing delighted me in the beginning, throughout the rest of the book it wore off and I lost interest in it. I felt there was too much blow by blow of the ins and outs and ups and downs of the sport. In the ring and in the background, but I am sure this won't be reflected in all readers experience with this book.

The other thing that truly bothered me has to do with the ending. The only way for me to talk about it is to mark my thoughts in a huge spoiler alert..

SPOILER! Shield your eyes!
I don't get much out of tender love scenes. The touching, the stroking, the adoring. Don't want to betray my sisterhood, but I find it a weakness in women's writing. So, when I made it through nearly the entire book without any love scenes I was thinking this may be pushing 5 star for me. But then the party was over. And the last few chapters of this book would have been much better suited to a book written especially for women. The love making scene in the dying chapters seemed more about creating a future storyline than a natural progression for the characters. The author needed the main female character to have a connection to the plot going into the second book and this bizarrely timed love scene was included in order to create that plot line. I am sure it could have been done at a much more believable time in the story.
END SPOILER! Unshield your eyes! 

On a final note. The book does rewrite the bible, so if you are heavy into not having Christianity questioned then I wouldn't recommend this book to you.


- MM