Story Rating: 4.5 stars
Audio Rating: 4.5 stars
Narrator: Joel Leslie
Length: 12 hours, 24 minutes
Nova Praetorian is the exciting story of lanista, Quintus Furius Varus, and the man who he is forced to take as a slave, Kaeso Agorix, as they get mixed up in the intrigue and politics of ancient Rome. I read this story last year in book form, and what engaged me the most were the twists and turns this story takes as Quintus and Kaeso learn the truth about Quintus’ mission and what the senator really wants from him. There is a lot of excitement and intensity as the story develops that I really enjoyed. I also loved the romance between the men. Despite being master and slave on paper, Quintus never thinks of or treats Kaeso as a slave, and they have a relationship where Kaeso can speak his mind and challenge Quintus in ways few others can. This is one of my favorite stories featuring ancient Rome and definitely worth reading. You can check out my original review here.
Having enjoyed the book so much, I was excited to return to the story in audio form with narrator Joel Leslie. As always, Leslie gives a smooth and polished performance. The characters all have distinct voices and accents, and even with a large cast of characters it is easy to distinguish among them. There are a lot of Latin words used and Leslie goes seamlessly back and forth between that and English. The tone and pacing work well and overall I enjoyed the book in audio.
I will note that in audio format, I think some of the Roman style of speaking comes across a little more dramatic than it does in print. The formality and often flowery language of the time seemed easier for me to read than it was to listen to for some reason, and I found myself noting the style more often than I did while reading.
Overall, I really enjoy this story, both in book an audio form, and can recommend it either format. I love the way Walker combines the historical storyline with a lot of excitement and intrigue, and this remains a favorite of mine in this time period.