Hadrian's Wall: A Novel Mass Market Paperback – Mar 1 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
The limit of Roman imperial expansion in Britannia is marked by Hadrian's Wall, a fortification constructed in the second century A.D. to keep the northern barbarians from invading Rome's island province. Award-winning author Dietrich's fourth novel is an epic historical drama of warfare, treachery and political intrigue centered on Rome's most remote and desolate frontier outpost. In the fourth century A.D., the Celtic barbarians are restless, revolt is imminent and the hard-pressed Roman garrison on the frontier has a new cavalry commander. Brutally efficient veteran soldier Galba is replaced by scholarly aristocrat Marcus, whose appointment is the payoff of an arranged marriage to a senator's daughter. When Marcus's beautiful young wife, Valeria, arrives at the frontier, she becomes an unwitting pawn in the plots of Galba, Marcus and the Celtic chieftain, Arden Caratacus. Marcus seeks glory and a return to the comforts of Rome; Galba seeks power and revenge; and Caratacus seeks freedom from Roman oppression. All three men covet Valeria, but for very different reasons, eventually driving her to betray them all in a desperate effort to save them from war and disaster. Murder, betrayal, witchcraft and shifting loyalties add suspense and tension to this vivid tale. Dietrich's descriptions of Roman-style battle are bloody and graphic, with legionnaires wielding shield and sword against naked barbarians shrieking and swinging battleaxes. Dietrich is in top form with this rousing tale.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Dietrich realistically re-creates the tumult and the confusion that characterized Rome's last-gasp attempt to retain its stronghold in Britannia as the empire faltered and began to crumble in the latter half of the fourth century. Built early in the second century, Hadrian's Wall was both an engineering and a military marvel. Eighty miles long, the impressive barrier separated Roman Britain from the barbaric Celtic tribes ever threatening the border. Passed over as commander of the Petriana Cavalry for purely political reasons, battle-hardened Galba Bassidias hatches a treasonous plot to disgrace Lucius Marcus Flavius, the ambitious aristocrat sent to usurp him. When Marcus' betrothed, Valeria, a senator's daughter, arrives from Rome, Galba immediately begins to manipulate them both. However, Valeria proves more resourceful and resilient than Galba ever imagined. Kidnapped by a Celt employed by Galba, she falls in love with her captor, provoking a battle that signals the beginning of the end for both Hadrian's Wall and the mighty Roman Army in Britain. Page-turning historical fiction seething with action, adventure, and passion. Margaret Flanagan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Valeria, a Roman senator's daughter, is sent to marry Marcus Flavius, who is named Tribune at Hadrian's Wall (built by Roman Emperor Hadrian to keep the barbarians out of the Roman part of Britain) because of this arranged marriage to Valeria. Marcus is replacing Galba Brassidias, a career Roman soldier who has spent his life at the wall and resents being replaced for political reasons by someone with less experience. Valeria is almost kidnapped before her marriage by Arden Caratacus, a Celt and former Roman who lives beyond the Wall in the wild north. He eventually does capture her (with Galba's hidden assistance) and takes her back with him to live.
Although I did enjoy this novel, it did not possess as much history, locale and cultuer as Bill's other historical fiction novels, Napolean's Pyramids and The Scourge of God. Hadrian's Wall was more about the story of Valeria and her romances than about the times and surroundings, which were more balanced in the other two novels.
Two centuries after it was built by the Emperor Hadrian, a Roman couple has come to Britannia to take charge of the Wall, which keeps the barbarian Celts out of Roman Britain. Young Valeria is the daughter of a senator, as dowry she's brought this command to Marcus Flavius, who badly needs some military experience to advance his career. But plumping down the beautiful Valeria and the Marcus in the wilds of Rome's frontier provokes jealousy and passions that lead to war. In particular, the brutal and ambitious soldier Galba Brassidias and the Celtic chief Arden Caratacus are both drawn to Valeria and despise her husband.
If some of the characterizations seem kind of idiosyncratic and ahistorical--their actions, emotions, and openness are awfully modern--there's nonetheless ample enough action and romance to speed us past any tendency to overanalyze it as a work of history. There's also a fascinating tripartite culture clash, with the conflict between the somewhat rigid social conventions of Rome and the wilder, freer life of the Celts and then percolating beneath both the burgeoning influence of the new religion, Christianity, which will plow them both under eventually. It's all framed by the device of an investigation into events that have already transpired, which allows for some discursive passages on the background of the tale but does fracture the narrative at times. You may find yourself wondering why Mr. Dietrich doesn't just get back to the main story.
As historical romances go it's not up to the standards of a Sharon Kay Penman, but it's an ideal beach book, one that you can hand to the spouse when you're done with reasonable confidence they'll enjoy it.
During this era, Rome had much difficulty in defending their northern British frontier against the barbarians.
Dietrich crafts an action packed novel making for some heady reading.
A Roman senator, who is deeply in debt and wishing to maintain his career and social status among his peers, pawns off his beautiful young daughter, Valeria, to Lucius Marcus Flavius.
It is a marriage of convenience, for Marcus gains the position of Praefectus and commander of the Petriana Cavalry at Hadrian's Wall, due to his future father-in-law's influence. I guess the adage, who you know and not how much you know, was as important during Roman times as it is today.
Brushed aside for this honorable position was Galba Brassidias, who had waited patiently for years to take over the command of Hadrian's Wall.
Galba cannot hide his rage, when he is told that a new alliance of families had taken place and a position had to be found for a new officer. Apparently, Marcus specifically requested the post of commander of the Petriana cavalry.
And so the drama unfolds as Valeria rides to meet her future husband, who is stationed at the wall, unaware of the brutal events that are about to be unleashed.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
In the days of the Roman Empire, the Emperor Hadrian built a wall across Britannia creating a border between the civilization of the Empire and that of the Northern Celtic tribes. Read morePublished on April 18 2004 by Amazon Customer
Hadrian's wall is over two centuries old and remains a stronghold dividing Roman Britannia from seemingly uncivilized Celtic barbarians. Read morePublished on April 12 2004 by FictionAddiction.NET
I picked up this book expecting historical fiction but what I got was a Harlequin Romance novel. I have read every book written by William Dietrich and was initially very excited... Read morePublished on April 5 2004 by D. Payton
My favorite of all the historical Roman novels I've read so far, this novel centers around a cavalry unit based on the Wall in the 4th century A.D. Read morePublished on March 11 2004 by Andrew J. Brozyna