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.
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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 the Hardcover edition.
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 Bookreporter
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