“My name is Lucius Aurelius Valens, and I am a soldier in the service of Rome.”
A young Roman officer with a strong sense of justice and duty thwarts corrupt officials plundering the province of Syria and is marked for death. To save his life, he is sent to command a cavalry regiment stationed in ever-restless Judea. He expects only the thankless task of maintaining the Roman peace in a land where he and his soldiers are despised and feared. But this peace is shattered when he and his men discover the massacre of a detachment of Praetorian Guards and the man they were protecting—a member of the Roman Senate and an ally of the emperor Tiberius himself. Plunged straight into a deadly web of murder and intrigue, Valens soon realizes far more is at stake than just his own life and honor.
“I can only tell you what I saw and heard and felt and learned.”
Valens must find those truly responsible. If he fails, he will be forced to destroy the nearest village in savage reprisal. But time is running out fast and there are many—including some under his own command—who are sure the Roman peace can only be maintained by terror and the use of overwhelming force. To save innocent lives, he must first pierce the veil of secrecy surrounding the senator’s strange journey through one of the empire’s most dreary backwaters. What was Decimus Junius Silanus seeking? And why was he killed?
“You must judge for yourselves whether I speak the truth—or whether I have simply lost all sense and reason….”
Surrounded by strange prophecies, eerie omens, and hidden agendas, Valens races to uncover the truth, to confront a ruthless, powerful enemy, and to meet a destiny that he could never have imagined.
Blurbs and Quotes
"The Tribune does for ancient Rome what The Name of the Rose did for medieval Europe and Gorky Park did for the corrupt Soviet Union." — Kevin J. Anderson, bestselling author of the new Dune series
"The Tribune offers a captivating look into the life of an honorable Roman soldier...While the mystery surrounding the murder of the Roman senator provides a compelling story, the finale of the novel packs an even greater punch." — Sheri Melnick, Romantic Times
"Patrick Larkin, co-author of five other thriller and espionage novels, writes directly, with a compelling narrative and descriptive detail...Larkin has a talent for evoking atmosphere and creating characters. Rather than parade his research, he skillfully and naturally weaves relevant facts into scenes and dialogue, which, in a historical novel, is no small accomplishment." — Adelaida Lower, Historical Novels Review, Issue 25, August 2003
"[The Tribune] is historical fiction for everyone. The way the author introduces characters, presents background, and explains the machinations of Roman politics makes this book easily accessible to anyone with even a passing interest in the period. The mystery is only one layer of this complex story. Revelations continue to the final page. I’m looking forward to more...[4 Daggers]" — Deborah Hern, coordinator of The Mysterious Corner at the Romance Reader's Connection
"Being a whistleblower is risky business, especially in ancient Rome... Larkin's story is ambitious and well plotted...fascinating premise." — Publisher's Weekly
About the Author
Patrick Larkin is a bestselling author specializing in historical, military, and espionage thrillers. His collaborations with Larry Bond—including Red Phoenix, Vortex, Cauldron, The Enemy Within, and Day of Wrath—have won critical acclaim for their suspense, realism, and unblinking appreciation of geopolitical and modern military realities. The Lazarus Vendetta and The Moscow Vector, both part of Robert Ludlum’s bestselling Covert-One series, have earned praise for non-stop action, chilling and realistic science, and intricate plotting. The Tribune is the first in a new series of historical thrillers featuring Lucius Aurelius Valens. Larkin and his family live near Austin, Texas.
Being a whistleblower is risky business, especially in ancient Rome. Lucius Aurelius Valens, a foot soldier in the Sixth Legion, witnesses a brutal act of carnage and soon becomes convinced that his superior officer is not only looking the other way, but is complicit in the massacre. A man who prizes his honor above all else, Lucius takes matters into his own hands and leads a small band of troops against the marauders, in the process making bitter enemies of virtually every powerful officer in the Roman army. A just and compassionate high-ranking official transfers Lucius to a patrol in Galilee as a means to escape his situation, but Galilee provides problems of its own. There Lucius collides not only with a complex political situation that threatens to bring King Herod's fury down on an entire city, but also with one of the most pivotal people in human history (yes, thatGalilean). Larkin's story is ambitious and well plotted, but it moves at a snail's pace and is nearly twice as long as it ought to be. Though the "surprise ending" is no surprise at all, it still manages to wrap up a story that, unfortunately, fails to live up to its fascinating premise.