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When I read the printed edition of this book, I skimmed a lot. I am not a big fan of Roman history and I couldn't stay interested in it, but LISTENING to the story was so much better! Trevor White is such a great actor/reader that I was ready to hear the story and was able to catch many clues about the past and future books that I missed in the first read.
I honestly don't know how Alex Scarrow manages to keep each new Time Riders book so fresh!
Once again we have a fascinating period of history being disturbed with catastrophic consequences to our present. This time it is the age of Caesars and gladiators - Ancient Rome 57AD. Historical fact and clever fiction are combined as always to give a fascinating glimpse into the time period with dire stakes imagined for the whole world if Emperor Caligula's reign had continued unabated!
The Time Riders face their toughest challenge yet as a new, terrifying enemy leaves them cut off from their equipment with no way home!
Now if I'm being completely honest, the central Rome story does fall a little flat especially in its resolution.
The real magic of this entry, the fifth of eight so far, is what it contributes to the overall plot of the series that has been slowly unravelling. I am more critical than most readers about books that sacrifice stand-alone value to be a 'stepping stone' in a series.
When it comes to Time Riders though, I've been dying to know more about the shadow agency’s origins!!
Book by book we've been given the barest of information about the inventor of time travel and a future so dismal that the technology will be seen in 2070 as the only chance for humanity to survive.
In 'Gates of Rome' we get the sense that the team is finally on a course to discovering the truth...and that it may be worse than they ever imagined! The POVs from key outsiders, always so brief, are finally expanded in this book to deliver some real pieces of the puzzle.
So while the Rome climax was a little, well, anti-climactic the through plot was set up so tantalisingly that I’ve ploughed straight into book 6 dying to know what happens next!
I think other fans of the series must be feeling about the same as me by this entry – still loving the clever historical plots but ready to know more about the Time Riders and understand their role in the impending end of the world.
“Gates of Rome” from a fans perspective then, is an especially excellent read and I suspect a real turning point in the progress of the series.
On just the basis of the historical action though, my rating could drop to 2.5/5. I tore through the book but the plot was very simple in order to support the large goings-on. Casual readers may be disappointed after so many high-quality stories.
Still highly recommended for all though!!
I have enjoyed listening to the series so far. The stories are usually very good. However the previous books all had something missing, a great villain. Someone you love to hate. Gates of Rome had that villainous somebody and he is brilliant. I don't want to give any spoilers other than, the villain in this book brings the story to life. Also the very talented Trevor White brings each character to life. His accents are fantastic. Whether it's Deep south American, English, Indian, male or female, Trevor nails it everytime.