Third in Richard Blake's "Rodi Chronicles."
Italy, 618 AD
An army of invasion lurks in the Alps. Italy hovers on the brink of chaos.
Rodi, the youngest spy in the Imperial Secret Service, has been conscripted and sent as a spy from Ravenna by Eleutherius the Eunuch, who has plans to snatch the crown from the head of the country’s now Byzantine rulers.
A mere boy in the cut-throat adult world, he finds himself knee-deep in bodies and snow in an Alpine pass which is all that separates post-Roman Italy from savage invaders from the North and East, hell bent on plunder.
Rodi finds an unexpected ally in a young Lombardian prince Aripert, a potential heir to the throne in the new Empire, who leads a small force sent to snuff out a suspected incursion by Frankish soldiers from the North.
But then onto the scene of slaughter ride the Hun-like Avars from the East – they too want booty.
From the frigid Alps of December, to the palaces of Ravenna, to the crumbling, plague-haunted streets of Rome itself, Rodi must race against time to do what may or may not be the Governor’s bidding – and save Italy.
Can a boy succeed where others have failed?
Crown of Empire is a Roman espionage thriller, rich in period detail. It follows on from Game of Empires and Death in Ravenna.