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CASSIUS CORBULO

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Full Name: Cassius Corbulo
Series Name: Agent of Rome
Nationality: Roman
Organization: Imperial Guard
Occupation Agent

Creator: Nick Brown
Time Span: 2011 - 2023

ABOUT THE SERIES

Cassius Quintius Corbulo is an Agent of Rome.

We first encounter Corbula as he is striving to avoid a minor riot in the small town of Nessara in the Syrian desert, having the unenviable task of rounding up legionnaires which had gotten separated in that far away province of the gradually dissolving Roman Empire. The year is 270 and the leader of the still vast domain was Marcus Aurelius Valerius Claudius, though that fellow would die of plague soon thereafter.

This is not the job for which this 19-year-old had trained. He was a member of the Imperial Security Service, an impressive name for a group described as "an independent wing of the military". Its members, though, were often referred to as "grain men" since the department had been "originally concerned with the supply and distribution of grain to the legions, its officers were spread far and wide across the Empire. Dealing so closely with the provincial populace, they were uniquely well placed to report back to Rome on all manner of issues. Over time they had become the 'eyes and ears' of the emperor and his general staff". Regrettably for Corbula, the original name had stuck.

Described as "naturally rangy" with "long, slender limbs" which remain thin despite hours and hours of rigorous training; Corbulo is still dealing with his inexperience and his slender build did nothing to alleviate his sense of inadequacy. "In truth, he felt very much like an actor playing a role and, as he had a little experience of theatre, he had decided early on that he should at least put considerable effort into his performance."

In the course of his adventures, Corbulo will be joined by Indavara, an ex-gladiator who had done the rare feat of vanquishing his required number of opponents and had earned his freedom. This man who will become bodyguard and close friend to Corbulo, was physically everything that Corbulo wished he could be and Indavara saw in Corbulo a young man with ambition and natural talent as well as a keen intellect.

BOOKS

Number of Books:7
First Appearance:2011
Last Appearance:2023

The adventures of Roman Imperial agent Cassius Corbulo are told, as of this writing, in 7 full-length adventures and one short story.

There is an 8th adventure listed below, Tarchon, by the same author and with the same series name of Agent of Rome. This tale is about a different agent and takes place over two decades before the Corbulo tales being. It is listed below to explain any confusion as to why a Nick Brown Agent of Rome adventure is not with the other Agent of Rome stories.


1 The Siege The Siege
Written by Nick Brown
Copyright: 2011

The year is 270 AD.
"Cassius Corbulo is a young intelligence agent fresh from officer training. He has been assigned the menial task of rounding up wounded legionaries but then urgent new orders arrive. He is the only ranking Roman officer left in the line of the Palmyran advance. He must take command of the fort of Alauran, the last stronghold still in Roman hands, and hold it against the enemy until reinforcements arrive."
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2 The Imperial Banner The Imperial Banner
Written by Nick Brown
Copyright: 2012

The year is 272 AD. The month is April.
"Faridun's Banner, hallowed battle standard of the Persian Empire, has fallen into Roman hands and is to be returned to the Persians as part of a historic peace treaty. But on the eve of the signing the banner goes missing. Recalled to Syria, imperial agent Cassius Corbulo is charged with recovering the flag. Accompanied by his faithful servant Simo and ex-gladiator bodyguard Indavara, Cassius must journey across the dangerous wastes of Syria to the equally perilous streets of Antioch. He and his companions face ruthless brigands, mysterious cults, merciless assassins and intrigue at every turn."
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3 The Far Shore The Far Shore
Written by Nick Brown
Copyright: 2013

The year is 272AD. The month is October.
"When the deputy commander of Rome's Imperial Security Service is assassinated on the island of Rhodes, Cassius Corbulo swiftly finds himself embroiled in the investigation. Assisted once more by ex-gladiator bodyguard Indavara and servant Simo, his search for the truth is complicated by the involvement of the dead man's headstrong daughter, Annia. Braving hostile seas, Cassius and his allies follow the assassin's trail south aboard a ship captained by a roguish Carthaginian smuggler and manned by his disparate, dangerous crew."
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4 The Black Stone The Black Stone
Written by Nick Brown
Copyright: 2014

The year is AD 273. The month is March.
"Obsessed by the solar religions of the east, the emperor Aurelian sets out to obtain every sacred object within his realm. But one - a mysterious rock said to channel the power of the sun god - lies beyond his reach. Warrior-priest Ilaha has captured the legendary stone and is using it to raise an army against Rome. For Imperial agent Cassius Corbulo and ex-gladiator bodyguard Indavara, stopping him constitutes their greatest challenge yet."
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5 The Emperor's Silver The Emperor's Silver
Written by Nick Brown
Copyright: 2015

The year is 273 AD. The month is July.
"Still recovering from his previous assignment in Arabia, imperial agent Cassius Corbulo has been spending most of his time and money on women and wine. Unfortunately for him, word of his achievements has reached the emperor Aurelian's deputy and he is sent north, tasked with smashing a counterfeiting gang. Cassius tracks the criminals to the city of Berytus, where his investigations are hampered by civil unrest and uncooperative officials, not to mention the personal problems of his servant Simo and bodyguard Indavara."
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6 The Earthly Gods The Earthly Gods
Written by Nick Brown
Copyright: 2016

The year is 273AD. The month is August.
"Imperial agent Cassius Corbulo is about to go rogue. His bodyguard, Indavara, has been kidnapped and has seemingly vanished off the face of the earth. Having spent weeks trying to discover his fate, Cassius's time is up: his superiors want him to return to duty. But when an old ally's daughter is enslaved, he feels obliged to repay a long standing debt."
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7 The Last Battle The Last Battle
Written by Nick Brown
Copyright: 2019

The year is 274AD. The month is May.
"Aurelian, Emperor of Rome, has one last enemy left to conquer: in Gaul, the usurper Tetricus holds sway, and Aurelian will need every last man if he is to unify his domain and bring peace to the Empire. One of those men is Cassius Corbulo, now seconded to the legion of Prefect Venator in southern Gaul. When a leading general is abducted on the eve of battle, Cassius is ordered to find and rescue him before the enemy gain crucial intelligence."
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8 Tarchon Tarchon
Written by Nick Brown
Copyright: 2023

Note: this adventure is not about Cassius Corbulo. It takes place several years before Corbulo was born. It is listed here only because it is marked as an Agent of Rome" adventure by the same author.
"Tarchon has nothing. His mother is dead, his father is absent, and he spends his days doing odd jobs – and the odd crime – on the tough streets of Byzantium.
But when an attempted robbery lands him in prison, he is approached by an organisation looking for resourceful, ambitious, young operatives. The rise of the Gothic King Cniva threatens the eastern Roman Empire and the Imperial Security Service is thinly stretched.
Drawn by the promise of money, status and adventure, Tarchon sets out to prove himself and is tasked with increasingly difficult challenges. He is then sent north on his most crucial mission yet; only a successful outcome will earn him the coveted title, Agent of Rome.
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NOVELLAS AND SHORT STORIES

Number of Stories:1
First Appearance:2016
Last Appearance:2016

1 The Flames of Cyzicus The Flames of Cyzicus
Written by Nick Brown
Copyright: 2016

"Set between the events of 'The Siege' and 'The Imperial Banner', this compelling short story follows imperial agent Cassius Corbulo as he investigates a mysterious series of fires."
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MY COMMENTS

The adventures of Cassius Corbulo are included in this compendium of spy fiction because he is trained to be a Roman Empire's version of an intelligence operative. The stories, which are captivating and darned interesting and very, very fast reads, do have a fair amount of that data gathering but for the most part, they are historical fiction - mighty fine examples of that and well worth taking a break from more modern versions of espionage.

I appreciated the fact that Corbulo is both confident and nervous about his own place in the scheme of things when he starts out but he does grow to know he is every bit as capable as the next guy and usually more so.

And throwing in Indavara for added protection, I would not mess with these guys - ever.

So, not a tremendous amount of spy but a whole lot of entertainment. Nick Brown is a terrific writer.

GRADE

My Grade: B+

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