M. E. Taylor
A young boy in Roman Britain is sold into slavery.
Set in Roman Britain around 100 AD, about fifty years after the Roman invasion, when slavery was legal and common place. The book follows Verluccus, a ten-year-old enslaved boy who is sold, branded, and gifted to a seven-year-old Roman child, Gaius Marcius, as a playmate. Gaius’s family had recently arrived in the province of Britannia from Italy, with the hope of new opportunities, land, and wealth. Gaius’s father, Lucius Marcius Phillipianus, a wealthy Roman senator, thinks Verluccus is unsuitable for his precious and protected son, describing Verluccus as a dirty, coarse, uneducated ‘brutish Briton.’ Verluccus refuses to obey his master, believing he is not a slave, and escapes the household.
Nine years later, Verluccus is found and returned to the family. Gaius, who had yearned for Verluccus and prayed for him to be restored to him for nine-long years, is delighted. Gaius plans to train and tame Verluccus, and makes him his personal body slave. Verluccus is initially hostile but eventually complies, and serves his young master, while Gaius’s obsession for his slave grows. Meanwhile, Verluccus falls hopelessly in love with Gaius’s sister, Gaia, who is betrothed to another man. Gaia declares her love for Verluccus but knows she would disgrace her family if found consorting with a slave. The secret affair continues, but the couple are separated when Verluccus is required to travel to Rome with his master. Will Verluccus and Gaia reveal their love for one another? And will Verluccus ever be freed from a life of slavery?
Brothers by author M. E. Taylor is a historical fiction novel about life and love in Roman Britain. This is an utterly absorbing novel, about wealth and inequality, love and romance, treachery and betrayal, hidden treasures, and forbidden love. This is a well written and well researched story about the personal lives of the Roman conquerors and their conquered subjects.
With a host of interesting characters, and an intriguing and believable plot, this book will appeal to readers who enjoy historical fiction, historical romance, and anyone interested in Roman Britain. This is a lengthy novel, at just over five hundred pages, but very easy to read and well worth the time investment.
Star rating: 5 Stars
Summary: An utterly absorbing historical fiction novel about life and love in Roman Britain.