This novel is a lively sword and sandal and sorcery story set in the Rome of Claudius and Messalina. It is a “team-up” adventure with Tierney’s Simon of Gitta (i.e. the Samaritan Simon Magus) and Rahman’s Rufus Hibernicus (a.k.a. Dunlaing MacSamthainn), although Simon plays the larger part. It’s a fast-paced adventure story throughout, with some quasi-esoteric details drawn from the Cthulhu mythos.
The co-authors of this fiction have collaborated to good effect. I enjoyed Tierney’s Simon stories collected in The Scroll of Thoth, and The Gardens of Lucullus measures up to them nicely. I might seek out Rahman’s Rufus novel Heir of Darkness on the strength of this read.