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Reviewed by Deepak Menon for Readers' Favorite
Collegium: Brotherhood of Rogues by Philip Remus begins with Gaius Octavius Julius Caesar (whose adoptive father was the great Julius Caesar), one of the principal protagonists, intoxicated by the fruits of victory, arrogantly looking at Agrippa’s fleet and gazing at the impressive fortifications that have done Egypt no good in the end. Caesar has taken the city by land in a broad pincer from which Antonius and Cleopatra could not escape. Caesar reflects on his mother's prophetic words that one day he would rule the world. He discusses his thoughts of cementing his power with his close friends and companions, Duilius, Agrippa, and Calvinus. Caesar explains that though Marcus Antonius has committed suicide, he has become even more dangerous than a mortal man, with many dangerous single-minded followers remaining. Caesar ignores Calvinus' pleading to avoid making the mistakes his father had made before him by allowing his enemies to live. In a nutshell, he puts his true desire to get 'imperium maius' (supreme command of all Roman forces) on hold.
Collegium: Brotherhood of Rogues by Philip Remus begins with a glossary, a pleasant digression from the 'glossary at the end' generally used with esoteric terms and words. From the beginning, the pace is fast and effortlessly generates tension in the reader's mind – it certainly had me turning the pages rather frantically to get to what follows. All the protagonists are powerful personalities with historical roles. Caesar sets the tone for the entire book by stating that he wants to return to Rome as her savior, not her conqueror since he desires people to love him. In Collegium, Philip Remus does not shy away from brutally laying bare the horrors of the times, including episodes of horrendous murder, rape, mutilation, torture, and others, which warrant an adult classification. The gripping pace and incredible story delivered a fast-paced, exciting narrative across numerous scenarios and has few equals in its genre! I am happy to award this wonderful work a glowing 5 stars!