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Douglas Jackson was born in Jedburgh in the Scottish borders and now lives in Bridge of Allan. He is an assistant editor at the Scotsman.
Summer, AD 69. Rome and its empire are in turmoil, caught in the coils of a desperate and destructive civil war. The emperor Otho is dead by his own hand and his rival, Aulus Vitellius, occupies the imperial throne. However, a new challenge has arisen in the East - the legions of Titus Flavius Vespasian have declared him their Emperor. In the dry heat of an August morning, Gaius Valerius Verrens prepares for his last day on earth. Wrongly accused of deserting his legion on the field of Bedriacum, it seems he is destined to die a coward's death. Then the executioner's hand is stayed. Vitellius' enemies will spare the life of the man who was once Hero of Rome if he pledges allegiance to Vespasian and his cause. Valerius - tired of the endless slaughter and hoping that he might be reunited with his lost love - agrees. And so he must battle his way south to Rome in order to persuade his friend Vitellius to stand down for the greater good of the city, its people and the Empire. But this is civil war and this is Rome, and Valerius - his loyalties divided and branded an enemy of the people - is trapped in a maze of distrust, corruption, betrayal and blood-letting...
In the dry heat of an August morning Gaius Valerius Verrens wakes filthy and bearded and prepares for his last day on earth. Wrongly accused by enemies on his own side, Valerius is destined to die a coward's death for deserting his legion on the field of Bedriacum. It is the summer of AD 69 and after a year of slaughter and turmoil the Empire remains trapped in the coils of a desperate, destructive civil war. Valerius' old friend, Aulus Vitellius, victor in the decisive confrontation that left Otho's armies shattered, sits uneasily on a golden throne in Rome, and his rival is dead by his own hand. But a new challenge arises in the East where Titus Flavius Vespasian has been declared Emperor by his legions. The only way Valerius can survive to reach Rome and be united with his lost love Domitia Longina Corbulo is to ally himself with Vitellius' enemies. On the way he must battle through a maze of distrust, corruption, bloody conflict and betrayal, with as many perils behind as there are in front. A powerful enemy, a burning temple and divided loyalties all stand in his way, but the prize that awaits has never been more worthwhile.
the Emperor Nero's erratic and bloody reign is in its death throes when Gaius Valerius Verrens is dispatched to Rome on a mission that will bring it to a close. With Nero dead, the city holds its breath and awaits the arrival his successor, Servius Sulpicius Galba, governor of Hispania. The Empire prays for peace, but it prays in vain. Galba promises stability and prosperity, but his rule begins with a massacre and ends only months later in chaos and carnage. This will become known as the Year of the Four Emperors, a time of civil war which will tear Rome apart and test Valerius's skills and loyalties to their very limit. Fortunate to survive Galba's fall, Valerius is sent on a mission by Rome's new Emperor, Otho, to his old friend Vitellius, commander of the armies of the north. Vitellius's legions are on the march, and only Valerius can persuade him to halt them before the inevitable confrontation. In an epic adventure that will take him the length and breadth of a divided land, the one-armed Roman fights to stay alive and stave off a bloodbath as he is stalked by the most implacable enemy he has ever faced.
Following on from Hero of Rome we find Valerius back at the Imperial court. Mentally and physically damaged from his campaigns against Boudicca in ancient Britain and on the wrong side of an increasingly mad Emperor Nero he has been set an impossible task for which failure or success look to carry the same deadly reward. Extensive research, exciting action and great characterisation makes this series of books compelling reads.
The Roman grip on Britain is weakening. Emperor Nero has turned his face away from this far-flung outpost. The Druids are on the rise, spreading seeds of rebellion among the British tribes. Roman cruelty and exploitation has angered their British subjects. The warrior queen Boudicca will lead the tribes to war. Listen to an audio extract by clicking on the orange arrow below. Hero of Rome by Douglas Jackson by Random House Audiobooks
The Roman invasion of Britain with the Brits trying to consolidate an army out of old enemies and tribes who have never trusted each other up against an army with elephants and brilliant tactics. We all know what happened but the telling of it here is thrilling stuff. Good escapism with excellent battle scenes, it follows Caligula with the same slave, Rufus, our hero, but is easily read on its own. Comparison: Conn Iggulden, Simon Scarrow, Harry Sidebottom.