I haven't read either of the Romulan War books, are they required reading for this book?
No. If you wanted to read them anyway, you should read them first, because ROTF spoils some things about them; but you certainly don't need to read them prior to reading ROTF. I'm starting a new story. There's a gap of over a year between the end of the previous book and this one, because I wanted to make a fresh start.