Blood and Poison is the brand-new instalment of the critically acclaimed Spies of Rome series – the last hurrah for Rufus Varro In this final farewell to Foreman’s secret agent of antiquity, we follow Varro as he is called upon once more to protect Augustus’ Empire from the enemies that lurk within its borders.
In the footsteps of the previous Spies of Rome instalments, which brought Foreman’s readers blood, honour, vengeance and secrets, Blood and Poison is just as entertaining its predecessors (if shorter, being a novella rather than novel).
For those unfamiliar with the Spies of Rome series, this new Varro story is a perfect introduction to Foreman’s world of swords, satire and spies. The book ticks plenty of the genre’s boxes. For lovers of historical fiction, Foreman’s descriptions, characters and humour transport us into one of the most turbulent times of the post-Republic, Roman Empire. For lovers of crime and spy thrillers, it has plenty of twists to keep readers guessing up to the final pages. And like the protagonists of our more modern-aged crime or spy thrillers, Rufus Varro is a loveably flawed, heavy drinking, womanizing agent.
Like the previous Spies of Rome instalments, Blood and Poison brilliantly demonstrates Foreman’s knowledge and insight into the political chicanery of Ancient Rome. However, we are never clubbed over the head with any of this, and are instead invited to explore what makes the Empire both so relevant and strange.
Jack Ayre is an Editorial Assistant at Aspects of History.