The Eagle's Conquest by Simon Scarrow
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Poor Cato and Macro just can't catch a break. Vitellius is still as villainous as ever.
Cato is badly burned in battle and makes the acquaintance of the surgeon Nisus (a descendant of Hannibal). They become friendly but the friendship ends abruptly when Nisus falls under Vitellius' spell. Shortly after that while Cato and Macro are fetching new recruits Nisus disappears.
Nisus is fatally wounded while trying to sneak back into camp. Cato is there when he dies and knows he was trying to get a message to Vitellius. Not realizing it's importance but puzzled by marks on a bandage Cato takes the bandage they find around Nisus' uninjured knee.
Lavinia resumes her affair with Vitellius and he uses her to smuggle a weapon into the Emperor's banquet. Cato unravels the message contained in the bandage and he and Macro sneak into the banquet hall in order to stop the assassination of Claudius. Realizing his plan has been foiled Vitellius kills Lavinia and claims the credit for saving Claudius' life.
The book ends with Vitellius as the new favorite of Claudius and accompanying him back to Rome. Flavia telling Vespasian they are going to have a second child. Vespasian also gets his own command and Flavia is staying with him in Britain for the time being.
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