Palatine: The Four Emperors Series, Book I

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Debauchery. Depravity. Decadence.Just everyday life at the imperial palace.Whilst Emperor Nero plays with his new water organ and a cross-dressing eunuch, his wily secretary Epaphroditus manages affairs of state. But dissent and rebellion are growing across the empire, and Nero is soon to discover playtime is over.Praetorian prefect Nymphidius Sabinus, disgusted by the moral degeneracy, secretly plots the overthrow of Nero's court. Motivated by the traditional Roman values of valour and nobility, yet blinded by his own righteousness, Sabinus is ignorant of what he has unleashed - The Year of the Four Emperors.Palatine is the first in an enthralling four-book series about the tumultuous 'Year of the Four Emperors' which will appeal to fans of Lindsey Davis and George R. R. Martin.

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Part I - Nero: Spring AD 68

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SPRING AD 68

“He looked forward cheerfully to a ripe old age and an unbroken run of good luck”

—Suetonius, “Life of Nero”,

The Twelve Caesars

It was Julius Vindex who started the revolt against Nero. The idea hit him with the force of a slingshot between the eyes: the emperor must go.

So obvious was this thought that Vindex could not believe that everyone else did not share it, and he eagerly scrawled out letters to the governors of the provinces neighbouring his own. Then he waited for the support he knew he would be offered.

When it did not come, when Vindex was left with silence from his contemporaries, he was puzzled rather than down-hearted. But such was his conviction, his itching impatience, that he burst into action anyway.

Tiberius Claudius Epaphroditus was an important man. This was evident by the lavishness of his office. It lay in what the imperial workforce referred to as the old palace. The new palace, built by Nero after the great fire wiped out vast tracts of the city, was a study in opulence: the golden ceilings rotated, blossoms rained onto visitors, and perfume misted from the walls. This was the home of the large-scale imperial entertaining that Calvia Crispinilla, Nero's mistress of the wardrobe, commanded.

 

Part II - Nymphidius Sabinus: Summer AD 68

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SUMMER AD 68

“I must dwell on him for a moment—for he was to be deeply involved in Rome's imminent calamities”

—Tacitus, The Annals of Imperial Rome

One week later, Spain.

Since an assassin had been sent to eliminate him, Gaius Servius Sulpicius Galba had taken refuge within the comforting protection of his Spanish legion's barracks, waiting to see how Vindex's revolt played out.

He was a tall man, though slightly stooped now with age. A long face with cavernous cheeks was overwhelmed by a large hooked nose, above which sat grey, calculating eyes. A distinguished presence, he dispatched orders with one harsh look from his patrician face, recalling the strong men of the republic. Galba, however, was no republican.

He was assisted by two of his staff members, Titus Vinius and Cornelius Laco. Vinius, a man of action, squarely built with a strong jaw and fair eyes. Laco, the legal advisor, epicurean, soft, devious, and developing a sizeable paunch. Galba hoped to use such contrasting personalities to offer him both positions on any decision.

 

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