The world of Lucius Sestius

Lucius Sestius Quirinalis lived in the second half of the first century BCE. His father was a younger contemporary of Cicero and Caesar: Cicero defended Publius Sestius in 56 BCE and the young Lucius made an appearance at the trial. In this trilogy, we follow Lucius as he is entangled in the events which took Rome from Republic to Empire.

“The Third Daughter” follows the life of Junia Tertia, who was born at the same time as Lucius Sestius, and lived through the same momentous events. As a woman from a top-drawer family, though, she had a very different perspective. It is likely that the real Sestius and the real Junia Tertia met, and so the novel was born.

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Rome’s End

“Forsyth weaves fact and fiction to produce a page-turning mystery and insight into the end of the Republic.”  – Richard Foreman

“Tightly-written, well-researched, fast-moving, and showing an excellent eye and ear for character and dialogue. A joy to read.” – David Wishart, author of the Marcus Corvinus books 

45 B.C.E. Rome is under a Dictator.
Caesar has won the final battle of a bloody Civil War, and Romans are ready for peace.

So, when Lucius Sestius Quirinalis, an aspiring lawyer, is called into his father’s study one autumn morning, he is thinking of nothing more than the family’s latest case.

The charge against the historian Sallust is his corrupt rule in Roman Africa. But it is his research into the twenty-year-old Catilinarian Conspiracy which is proving unsettling for some.

The Sestius family are alarmed when their friend Caecilius is killed in mistake for Lucius. Their involvement in the case has brought murder to their own house, and Lucius is in danger.

With the aid of Cornelius Rufus, an informant from the Subura slums, Lucius goes into hiding. His mistake is to travel to Hippo Regius where Sallust was governor.

With nowhere left to hide, Lucius risks a return to Rome and a confrontation with Caesar.

In the aftermath of the Ides of March, his questions will be answered.

Caesar, it seems, was not the only one to suffer a betrayal.

The Emperor’s Servant

Rome 23 BCE

In the depths of serious illness, the Emperor Augustus is forced to rethink how he governs the city. He calls upon an unlikely helper.

Lucius Sestius, one of those who fought against Augustus in the early days, desires nothing more than to drink himself happy in the Italian countryside. But the once Republican is called upon to serve the Empire.

To Lucius’ consternation, he is catapulted into office just at a time when a pestilence is sweeping through Italy. Thousands of people are dying and the River Tiber is riding dangerously high.

But Lucius finds himself not only fighting floods and an epidemic. A conspiracy is forming, centered on Lucius’ friend Aulus and the respected Primus, hero of the war in Macedonia. The Emperor feels threatened and Lucius is expected to choose sides.

Lucius tries to bury himself in private life once more, but when Aulus comes begging for help to escape Italy, Lucius cannot refuse. 

It is a mistake that brings the Emperor’s wrath down on him and Lucius’ whole family pays a heavy price to redeem themselves in the eyes of Augustus.

Blood and Shadows

The Battle of Philippi is over. Octavian and Mark Antony have defeated the Republic, and a cause and a generation of young noblemen have been lost.

Lucius Sestius, a lawyer embroiled in the Ides of March, has been driven from Rome by his allegiance to Caesar’s murderers. He has seen his commanders die on the battlefield, and now he and his friends must rebuild their lives, burdened by defeat and grief.
In exile on Sicily, Lucius investigates the mysterious murder of a soldier, just as peace negotiations between Antony, Octavian and the rebel Sextus Pompey are being planned. When another murder threatens the negotiations, Lucius is ordered to make enquiries and provide a convenient explanation. Realising this is his only path to freedom, he returns to Rome knowing that a murderer has gone free.

Back home, the murder of the veteran centurion Crastinus leads Lucius to the terrible suspicion that one of his friends is responsible, and that he himself has allowed this to happen.

Lucius must confront the man whom he fought beside at Philippi. Murder and the truth will out, but at what price?

The Last Republican

Get the complete Lucius Sestius trilogy as a box set

The Third Daughter

Rome, 68 BCE.

Julius Caesar begins his controversial career in government.

At the same time, a third daughter, Tertulla, is born to the Junius family on the Palatine Hill.

Tertulla grows up under the guidance of her brother, Marcus Brutus, and her mother Servilia.

When Tertulla discovers that her mother is Caesar’s mistress, she begins to wonder who her father might be. Frustratingly, she has more questions than answers.

As Rome descends into a civil war, the young woman realises how compromised and conflicted her mother is – torn between Caesar and the old Roman nobility.

After the civil war, Caesar stands victorious. Rome – and Tertulla – look to find some peace.

But her brother is at the heart of a dangerous conspiracy to assassinate Caesar.

The fate of Rome, and Brutus, stand at the crossroads at the Battle of Phillipi.

From the ashes of the Republic an Empire is born.

Tertulla, enduring grief and tragedy, still asks the question – was Caesar her father?

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