Hadrian’s Wall. For me, that’s where it all started. Several childhood summers spent exploring the forts and watchtowers along the northern frontier, imaginary sword in hand. All with one eye trained north—checking for the oncoming horde.
There’s something about Ancient Rome that keeps a tight grip on our collective imaginations. As a setting, it provides a perfect playground in which to set books, films, TV shows and even video games. The historical figures from the period continue to intrigue us—especially the mad, bad emperors. Here, I’ve picked out five novels which use Ancient Rome to construct different types of stories: from pure historical dramas, to crime, to science fiction—and even included a novel written during the period itself!