This second book of the five-part Dominus series picks up exactly where the first installment left of: with the death of Gaius’ old friend, and sometimes lover, Lucius. The mystery of who killed Lucius, and why, is a major theme of this book, although the relationship between Gaius and Allerix remains the core of the story. Allerix seems resigned to his fate as Gaius’ slave, although he still plots his revenge against the Roman emperor, and Dominus takes steps to protect his slave’s true identity, a secret that could mean death for both of them if it becomes known. Both men have motives for what they do, but Gaius and Allerix are both struggling against their hearts’ feeling that the other means more to them than they should.
“Games of Rome” is a good second installment of the series. The murder mystery, as well as a few other surprises, provides a nice counterpoint to the developing ‘romance’ between Gaius and Allerix. As in the first book, the historical background of the story rings true, while the dialog is sometimes shockingly contemporary.
With few new characters introduced, this volume flows along quite well. The main players have all been set up in the first book, so there’s very little time wasted getting to know new personalities. The storytelling is quite vivid, not to mention a little steamy in parts. It will probably leave you hoping the next installment is not so far away this time.