Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
A fusion of Steven Pressfield's Gates of Fire and the movie Braveheart; a novel of ancient warfare, lethal politics, and the final great clash of Roman and Celtic culture.
For three centuries, the stone barrier we know as Hadrian's Wall shielded Roman Britain from the unconquered barbarians of the island's northern highlands. But when Valeria, a senator's daughter, is sent to the Wall for an arranged marriage to an aristocratic officer in 367 AD, her journey unleashes jealousy, passion and epic war. Valeria's new husband, Marcus, has supplanted the brutally efficient veteran soldier Galba as commander of the famed Petriana cavalry. Yet Galba insists on escorting the bride–to–be on her journey to the Wall. Is he submitting to duty? Or plotting revenge? And what is the mysterious past of the handsome barbarian chieftain Arden Caratacus, who springs from ambush and who seems to know so much of hated Rome?
As sharp as the edge of a spatha sword and as piercing as a Celtic arrow, Hadrian's Wall evokes a lost world of Roman ideals and barbaric romanticism.
the tourist, and so she left the curtains open to see the place she’d come to. The wall of Londinium loomed twenty feet high. A century ago the cities of the empire didn’t need walls, so placid was Roman peace, but civil war and barbarian raid had eroded security, and so the provincial capital had been girdled. Their party passed through the Governor’s Gate and marched into the city proper, the smells of urbanity immediately assaulting them. There was bread and sewage, perfume and wet laundry,
a cup.” He led her up a short flight of steps to the dining room and poured himself one. Flowers had been scattered on the central table, and behind there was a mural of some epic Britannic battle, legionaries surmounting splintered chariots and Britons cowering at their feet. Shields, spears, and animal horns decorated the walls, jutting like the doorway’s phallus. “It’s a masculine kind of place,” he said apologetically. “My most recent predecessors weren’t married. It will change with your
trophy. Only one woman didn’t share the mood of triumph. She searched the riders’ faces with growing dismay and then ran wailing to the shrouded body of the Celt that Clodius had killed with the javelin, throwing herself against the horse that bore the corpse and sobbing sorrow to her gods. Arden glanced in sympathy but made no move to comfort. Death was the warrior’s fate, and everyone knew it. Instead, he raised both arms to quiet his rabble. “I’ve brought you guests!” They howled anew,
argued doggedly. “No, he won’t.” “Why are you so certain?” “Because we’ve already sent him one of the heads of the soldiers we killed, preserved in cedar oil, with a warning that yours will come next if he dares try to rescue you. If he truly loves you, he’ll leave you, with me.” “No, you didn’t. I saw the four heads in your Great House.” “You saw four of what were five.” Her heart chilled. “Hool stayed behind for a while to package the head of the man who first tried to save you. We’ve
lightly touching her arms. She trembled. “Come, you know I’ve treated you well. Let’s eat, not argue, and let the Wall take care of itself for an evening.” The simple food was good, her body ravenous. How could such a meal taste better than an elaborate banquet? How could a rude hut seem as comfortable as a Roman mansion? They chatted for a while of simpler things, of the hunt and horses and history of his clan, and let the wine numb their frustration and desire. At length they pushed