You gotta love a historical romance that not only starts with a glossary but has that glossary's first two words translations of "excrement." That let me know I'm not in Regency Romance fantasyland any longer.
This isn't a Regency Romance. Not by a long shot. The Centurion And The Queen is set in 60 AD Britannia with the Boudicca revolt as a backdrop. Yes, harsh, harsh times and author Minnette Meador refreshingly does not try to sugarcoat her novel. Our hero is the battle worn Marius, a Roman leader, with the job to squash local rebellions. Our heroine is the equally battle worn Delia, sister to an uncaring (and crazy) local King. These are two hardened warriors. They've spent a lifetime killing. Their romance is neither pretty nor nice.
It is believable though. I could understand the attraction between the two. I could see Marius, a man spending almost all of his life amongst male warriors, being attracted to and able to relate to the tough, defiant Delia. Delia is looking for strength, someone to help her with her fight, and finds it in Marius.
I also enjoyed the weaving in of different cultures. The Roman army picked up soldiers all over the world. The secondary characters reflect this diversity.
The violence is graphic (this is wartime – if you are unfamiliar with Boudicca, you can find a summary here). There is incest, rape, and quite a few deaths. The physical relationship between the hero and the heroine is also rough. Think HBO's Rome (as a starting place). Does that detract from the book? Not for me. It adds to the realism. The Centurion And The Queen is very well written and well researched (it seems, I'm no expert in the time period). I enjoyed it and am greatly looking forward to Minnette Meador's next novel.