Flames of Cyzicus
How long has it been since I last read of Cassius Corbulo in ‘The Black Stone’? Well I’m not sure, but it feels like half a decade. And I don’t know how long we have to wait for the next instalment. It gets like that with a really good series, doesn’t it? Like a drug. You’re waiting, twitching, for your next fix. Luckily, Nick Brown has given me enough of a fix to keep me going until his next novel is released.
Flames of Cyzicus is a short story of around 10,000 words, which is long enough to tell a good story, but short enough to make a quick and easy read in one session. It is a self-contained tale and once again represents Nick Brown at his best.
Corbulo, an agent of Imperial Security (a frumentarius or ‘grain man’) is currently in the Anatolian city of Cyzicus, working on the staff there with the responsibility for arranging the grain supply for a visiting legion, when in the dark of night one of the city’s four main granaries is incinerated. Faced with the loss of a quarter of the grain for which is is responsible, and fearing that other such disaster is still to come, Corbulo sets out on an investigation to discover the cause of the trouble.
If you have read Nick’s series so far you will find this tale to be every bit as action packed, humourous, intriguing, intelligently-plotted, character and plot driven and exotic as the novels. The plot works in a surprisingly tight arc.
If you’ve not read any of Nick’s work, this might very well be your perfect entry point to the series, to dip your toe in the water, so to speak. There are no major spoilers for the other books and just hints as to what Corbulo has gone through, so at 99p you can afford to try it and see whether you fancy the series. My hunch is that you will.
Just go buy it, eh? It’s the price of a packet of biscuits but much more nourishing…