I liked that it wasn’t just a love story. I loved the friendship issues: friendship between lovers (Marcus Lucius and Decima, Marcus Lucius and Julia, friendship between men, different kinds of relationships between people (among all Julia Nerva, Julia Appius, Julia Octavian, emperor Hadrian Appius, emperor Hadrian Pompeius, Appius Maxentius, Julia Maxentius, Pompeius Marcus Lucius.
There is Nerva, who is like brother to Marcus Lucius and to Julia Fabia, but it wasn’t that way from the very beginning. There is Octavian, who acts like the older brother sometimes, but then, he steps back. There is Appius, who could be father to Marcus Lucius, but who acts like an adult friend. Then again Appius was the best friend of Marcus Lucius’s father. Comparing how the friendship between Marcus Lucius and Nerva developed and how Appius and Maximus developed was interesting. Then again you have the struggles and decisions of what is more important: loyalty to your friends or people you care or loyalty to the state and your boss (the emperor and empire in that you believe in as a good soldier). I think it’s a kind of similar struggle that we can experience today.
I also liked the landscapes and English issues. The descriptions were stunning. Lovely langauge and still simple.