The book reviews of UK children's author, Brian Keaney
Set in Augustan Rome, Render Unto Caesar is the story of Hermogenes, a merchant from Alexandra, who travels to the capital to recover a debt owed to his late father, only to find himself ensnared in the financial machinations of Vedius Pollio, the fabulously rich plutocrat, notorious for feeding unsatisfactory slaves to the lampreys in his pond. Refusing to be intimidated by Pollio who seeks to brush him aside as an impudent barbarian, Hermogenes, politely persists with his requests until he finds himself arrested and accused of plotting to kill a consul.
Still refusing to be cowed, Hermogenes sets out to discover what is really at the bottom of the plot to kill the consul. When his own life is threatened he gets himself a bodyguard in the form of a celebrated female gladiator fallen on hard times. Together they manage to outwit the cabal monstrous Roman aristocrats.
Well researched and full of colour, Render Unto Caesar brings first century Rome to life with all its arrogance, cruelty and splendour.