Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Blog Tour Excerpt: Roman Mask by Thomas M.D. Brooke

Publication Date: June 29, 2015
Formats: Kindle & Paperback
Pages: 388
Genre: Historical Fiction/Adventure/Action

Rome AD 9

Augustus Caesar rules Imperial Rome at the height of its power, as the Roman Empire stretches across the known world. Cassius, son of one of her most powerful families, is the personification of Rome’s imperial strength: wealthy, popular, a war hero with a decorated military career – none of Rome’s fashionable parties are complete without him – except, he hides a secret.

After his nerve is broken in Germany, the thought of genuine armed combat is enough to send him into a cold sweat of fear and shame. But this doesn’t dissuade him from living off a false reputation so he can continue a life of casual affairs, wine, and parties, as he is seduced by the many vices of Rome.

However his scandalous life is soon upset by a summons from the Emperor’s wife. It ends his happy decadent life and returns him to Germany to assist the Roman legions in their greatest ever trial, and the events that will resound down in history, in the dark forests of the Teutoburg…

Praise for Roman Mask:

“Thomas Brooke brings vividly alive the Rome of Augustus Caesar. Violent, sex obsessed – not unlike our own century – we see the savage pleasures of the ancient world through the eyes of a charming rake back from the wars with a not entirely justified reputation for heroism. Brooke’s debut is an undoubted success. I thoroughly enjoyed Roman Mask – the first of a series, I hope.” – David Roberts, Author of Sweet Poison and The Corinth crime novels.

Excerpt from Chapter One:

I awoke in my bed, feeling the softness of the finest quality linen cool against my bare skin. I half-opened my eyes to the late March sunshine that bathed my room in light. Instantly I shut them again at the sharp pain in my head. I tried to swallow the unpleasant taste in my mouth, but it was dry and parched, my throat raw. I turned away from the sunlight and tried to will myself back to sleep – surely it couldn’t be morning already? I hugged a small cushion to my stomach that was fighting for an equal consideration in my morning misery: it growled angrily and I groaned in discomfort. Oh by Hades, a hangover.

Slowly my senses returned to me and I remembered something very important: last night I hadn’t slept alone. I gently stretched my arm behind me to see if there is a warm body still lying next to me. I sighed in disappointment as I found nothing – just the faintest impression of a female form pressed into the surface of the mattress. Tita had already left but, by the feel of it, not early enough to avoid notice. A moment’s apprehension of the trouble this could cause was quickly replaced by the euphoria of finally managing to woo the senator’s daughter to my bed. I grinned broadly despite my thumping headache and sour stomach. My elation almost overshadowed the fast-returning memories of the previous night’s passion – almost but not quite. Her body was exquisite, her soft skin was as beautifully pale as a fine delicate marble figurine, and I remember my fingers tingling as I caressed her supple naked thighs. Thoughts of Tita brought arousal; I groaned in pleasure as I remembered her commenting on my athleticism and muscular form as she ran her long nails down my back.

‘Look at him, Patrellis! The sun high in the sky and Gaius is still abed!’ announced a sharp female voice that I knew only too well.

All sexual arousal was instantly shattered; my eyes popping open at once. ‘Who let you in? Haven’t you got anything better to do than snoop around my home?’ I snapped angrily, the last person I wanted to see right now was my infernal sister.

‘It isn’t your home, Gaius. It’s the property of our father, and as you’ve no income of your own, it’s liable to remain that way,’ quipped my younger sister by three years, Antonia.

‘She insisted on seeing you at once, my lord. She wouldn’t be dissuaded,’ announced my trusted body slave Patrellis, a tall man with an honest hard-working face, his hair turning to grey from its original red. His Celtic roots showed in his bearing: powerful broad shoulders lay concealed under his simple but well-made slave’s tunic, and he towered over the slight petite form of my sister in a light dress of silk. However, it was clear who dominated the doorway to my room and it wasn’t the hulking Celt.

‘Would you like to eat in the tablino or would you prefer the garden veranda?’ demanded my sister, tapping her foot impatiently and making it perfectly clear that remaining in bed was no longer an option.

I grabbed a cushion and threw it at her. ‘In the garden. I need some fresh air.’ The cushion missed Antonia and instead knocked over and smashed a vase our mother had given me. ‘In order to brighten the place up.’ I fell out of bed whilst making the throw and landed heavily on the cold tiled floor with a great ‘ompf!’ Athletic grace? Was that how Tita had described me?

‘Now look what you’ve made me do!’ I shouted at my stern-faced sister as I lay sprawled on the cold floor. I glanced around the bedroom of bright red and black wall panels and conceded that my mother might have a point. Despite the obvious sumptuous wealth and rich furnishings, the choice of colours was a bit dour. Perhaps it was time to have it repainted, this time in a colour scheme of my choosing.

Patrellis jumped at the excuse to run off and find a brush to clear up the mess whilst my sister told me she would await me in the garden and, ‘If you think I am telling mother about the vase, you should think again.’

I slowly picked myself off the ground, shaking my head to clear it. Only now did I realise that I was completely naked. I didn’t mind Patrellis seeing me unclothed – he had seen me naked more times than anyone – but I did begrudge my sister having a good eyeful.

I staggered over to the large bowl of fresh water Patrellis had left out for me and started to splash water onto my face to wake myself up. I soon realised this wasn’t having any effect so I submerged my entire head in the bowl Patrellis had carefully decorated with dried rose petals. ‘Blurruuuuurrah,’ I blurted underwater before bringing my head upwards and shaking off the excess water with a soft cloth. I walked over to a polished silver hand mirror, left on the side, and admired my reflection. Despite the bloodshot eyes, there was no hiding my classic Roman profile, dark colouring and handsome face. My bare shoulders showed welldefined muscles – due to extensive work with the gladius. The very picture of a Roman hero, I thought to myself, inwardly laughing at the notion.

I grabbed a light tunic – one conveniently left out by Patrellis – which I donned on the way to the garden, passing through the Ionian colonnade and a large atrium with its statue of Apollo standing grandly in the centre. Antonia often told me that this was far too large a house for me to live in alone, with a small group of slaves to keep me in comfort. It wasn’t technically mine as Antonia had earlier pointed out. It was owned by my father, just as all the furnishings were, the statue of Apollo, and even Patrellis, his wife Prisca and the other household slaves. Well, if Antonia thought she could move me out so that she and her husband, the insipid lawyer Aulus, could move in, she had another thing coming.



About the Author:

Thomas Brooke lives in London where he works in the exciting, and sometimes crazy, fashion world. He is also a committed writer and he spends as much time as he can in his beloved Northumbrian hills, where up until recently could be seen walking with his black Labrador Fergus, who sadly passed in January 2015. Fergus was a constant companion to the writing of the novel and prevented many writers’ tantrums.

Roman Mask is Thomas Brooke’s second novel, although this will be the first available for sale.

As well as writing novels, he also writes a blog on both historical and fantasy genre novels.

For more information on Thomas M D Brooke, visit www.thomasmdbrooke.com and www.romanmask.com. You can also find him on TwitterGoogle+, and Pinterest.

Blog Tour Schedule:

Monday, August 24
Kick Off & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, August 25
Excerpt & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books

Wednesday, August 26
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation

Tuesday, September 1
Spotlight at Curling up by the Fire

Wednesday, September 2
Excerpt at Boom Baby Reviews

Thursday, September 3
Review at Just One More Chapter

Saturday, September 5
Spotlight at The Never-Ending Book

Monday, September 7
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews

Tuesday, September 8
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Thursday, September 10
Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews

Sunday, September 13
Spotlight & Giveaway at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More

Friday, September 18
Review at Broken Teepee

Wednesday, September 23
Review at Genre Queen


  1. So sorry to hear about the passing of your dog. Best of luck on the book. I know it's a winner. I can't wait to read it.

  2. Book sounds awesome. Cover is a little eerie with that mask but cool.

  3. I am addicted to historical fiction from Roman times since Rosemary Sutcliff. This looks like a good one.

  4. This novel sounds enthralling since the era interests me greatly. Thanks for this great giveaway. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com


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