The Wall. When the Roman emperor Hadrian first envisioned the awesome edifice in A.D. 122, he used stone, wood, and iron to shield Roman Britannia forever from the unconquered Celtic barbarians. Stretching over seventy milesto divide the island, Hadrian's Wall has maintained the security of the Roman Empire's northern outpost for more than two hundred years. Now a Roman bride has come who will unleash jealousy, passion, and an epic war that will shake a tired and tottering empire to its core.
Tribune Marcus Flavius has secured command at the Wall not through battles fought or wars won, but through his arranged marriage to Valeria, a senator's daughter. He replaces a brutal veteran, Galba Brassidias, an ambitious soldier whose skill in battle is rivaled only by his Machiavellian brilliance. But Galba will do anything it takes to regain his position and dominate the young woman who fascinates and infuriates him.
The intrigue on the Roman side of the Wall is matched by the plotting of Celtic warriors determined to rid their land of the invaders. They are led by the dynamic and mysterious barbarian chieftain Arden Caratacus, a man who seems to know as much about hated Rome as he does of his own people, and who is determined to win the young woman for himself.
Theirs is a story of swirling emotions, ancient warfare, desperate romance, and the final great clash of Roman and Celtic cultures. All will be decided on the field of battle, where the fate of an empire may rest in the strength of Hadrian's Wall.
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William Dietrich is the author of fourteen novels, including six previous Ethan Gage titles—Napoleon's Pyramids, The Rosetta Key, The Dakota Cipher, The Barbary Pirates, The Emerald Storm, and The Barbed Crown. Dietrich is also a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, historian, and naturalist. A winner of the PNBA Award for Nonfiction, he lives in Washington State.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.
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