Duty is not a popular concept nowadays. It is usually viewed much as the albatross around the neck of the Ancient Mariner, a heavy burden which must be fulfilled if one is not to be crushed by guilt. That is certainly true for oneself when contemplating the growing pile of books my students and others have sent me, asking me to cast my eyes upon pages of pallid prose and turgid tropes so as to bestow even the merest flutter of words in a review.
If you are one such, awaiting my good offices, be sure I have not forgotten you, whoever you are and your book will be quite safe for years to come in my keeping.
However, there is one duty read I find myself unable to escape. A mercifully thin book produced by the cohabiting creativity of the two dreadful females whose blog I so kindly support by allowing them to host my words free of charge. I was poorly repaid for this act of generosity by being presented, around this time last year, with a copy of their (then just released) novella, with the unspoken expectation that I should review it.
Review of Dying to be Roman by Jane Jago and E.M. Swift-Hook
What an appalling fiasco!
To begin, we have a setting which is in the modern day (indeed, with tantalising hints of futuristic devices and transport), but then we are also assaulted by inaccurate Latin, as the rather ridiculous premise of the tale is that Merry England is not English – it is a mere province of the still existing Roman Empire. As if!
I was so shocked and appalled by the idea that anyone could cast aside the entire glorious history of my nation and substitute instead a shallow national grave on the ebbing tide of civilisation, that the story itself seemed barely to matter. Something about athletes being murdered and fish sauce…
Avoid at all costs.
Duty called, I have answered.
One star for a clever-sounding title.