By Harry Sidebottom
2 Book Lovers Reviews
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I don’t know why this happens to me, but it seems to occur with much more frequency than in the past. I read a synopsis, fall for a book, then when I go to read it, the book is not what I expected. For whatever convoluted reason, I was expected The Last Hour to be a sort of homage to Colleen McCullough’s The First Man in Rome, a suspenseful, intricate mystery set in the streets of ancient Rome. What Harry Sidebottom delivered was something completely different.
If Marcus Clodius Ballista has a time-traveling doppelganger, it’s Jack Bauer. Sidebottom brought me back to those evenings of watching season one of 24 on the television. I felt the same anticipation, tension and fear that I did then. Our hero has to save the emperor at any cost and only has twenty-four hours to accomplish his goal. It demonstrates the author’s skill when they can keep this level of tension for an entire book.
This was my first adventure with Ballista. I understand that there are some older voyages and battles that I can still enjoy with him. The Last Hour still works well on its own. Ballista was a strong, captivating character. His charisma immediately pulled me to his side.
The Last Hour is a fun, fast-paced book. It was an excellent introduction to the writing of Harry Sidebottom. I love having these books in by back pocket from the Greco-Roman period, they offer up a complete change of pace.