Give Me Back My Legions!: A Novel of Ancient Rome

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9781400111381: Give Me Back My Legions!: A Novel of Ancient Rome

Publius Quinctilius Varus, a Roman politician, is summoned by the Emperor, Augustus Caesar. Given three legions and sent to the Roman frontier east of the Rhine, his mission is to subdue the barbarous German tribes where others have failed and to bring their land fully under Rome's control. Arminius, a prince of the Cherusci, is playing a deadly game. He serves in the Roman army, gaining Roman citizenship and an officer's rank, and learning the arts of war and policy as practiced by the Romans. What he learns is essential for the survival of Germany, for he must unite his people against Rome before they become enslaved by the Empire and lose their way of life forever. An epic battle is brewing, and these two men stand on opposite sides of what will forever be known as the Battle of the Teutoberg Forest-a ferocious, bloody clash that will change the course of history.

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About the Author:

Harry Turtledove is an award-winning and bestselling author of science fiction, fantasy, and historical fiction. His alternate-history works include How Few Remain (winner of the Sidewise Award for Best Novel), The Man with the Iron Heart, the Worldwar saga, the Colonization books, and the Settling Accounts series.

Simon Vance, a former BBC Radio presenter and newsreader, is a full-time actor who has appeared on both stage and television. He has recorded over eight hundred audiobooks and has earned five coveted Audie Awards, and he has won fifty-seven Earphones Awards from AudioFile magazine, which has named him a Golden Voice.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Chapter One

 

Rome brawled around Publius Quinctilius Varus. Half a dozen stalwart lectiarii bore his sedan chair through the streets towards Augustus' house on the Palatine hill. The slaves wore matching red tunics. Their smooth, skillful broken step kept him from feeling the bumps in the cobblestoned roadway.

 

Varus could have lowered the sedan chair's curtains. That would have given him privacy in the midst of untold tens of thousands. But he didn't mind being seen, not today. Anyone could tell at a glance that he was someone important.

 

A wagon full of sacks of grain drawn by two plodding oxen blocked his path. The ungreased axles squealed and groaned. A man could die of old age stuck behind something like that.

 

His slaves weren't about to put up with it. One of the pedisequi who accompanied the litter—a Roman aristocrat was too special to carry what ever he might need, but had underlings to do it for him—called out in Greek-accented Latin: "Make way, there! Make way for the litter of Publius Quinctilius Varus!"

 

In narrow, winding streets packed with people on foot, donkeys, carts, and other wagons, making way for anybody wasn't easy. The gray-haired man driving the wagon didn't even try. "To the crows with him, whoever he is," he shouted back. His accent said he was a Samnite or Oscan by birth.

 

" 'Whoever he is'? How dare you, you—peasant, you!" The pedisequus knew no worse abuse. He was as furious as if he'd been insulted himself. The master was the sun; the slave was the moon, and shone by his reflected light. Varus' man went on, "I will have you know he was consul twenty years ago. Consul, I tell you! He is just returned to Rome after governing the province of Syria. And he is married to Augustus' grand-niece. Gods help you, wretch, if he has to ask your name!"

 

The wagon driver lashed his oxen. He also flicked the lash at a couple of middle-aged women to make them get out of the way. They screeched abuse at him, but they moved. The wagon slid into the space they'd occupied. The litter and its retinue glided past.

 

"Nicely done, Aristocles," Varus said. The pedisequus thrust out his chin and thrust out his chest and marched along as if he were ten cubits tall and eight cubits wide, not a balding, weedy little Greek. Quinctilius Varus smiled to himself. As with anything else, there were tricks to getting the most out of your slaves. Judicious praise at the right moment could do more good than a denarius.

 

Aristocles did more shouting as the litter made its way toward the Palatine. Too many people and not enough room for all of them—that was Rome. Musicians strummed citharae or played flutes, hoping passersby would throw them enough coins to keep them fed. Scribes stood at street-corners, ready to write for people who lacked their letters. Hucksters shouted their wares: "Figs candied in honey!" "Beads! Fine glass beads from Egypt!" "Bread and cheese and oil!" "Kohl to make your eyes pretty!" "Roasted songbirds! Who wants roasted songbirds?" "Amulets will give you luck!" "Wine! Genuine Falernian!"

 

Varus guffawed. So did his bearers. The pedisequi, men who made much of their dignity, only shook their heads. No one but a fool would think a scrawny street merchant lugging an amphora had wine .t for Augustus himself. What ever was in that jug would taste like vinegar—if it didn't taste like piss.

 

When the litter finally reached the Palatine hill, traffic thinned out. This had been a prosperous part of town for many years. Important people—proper Romans—lived here. You didn't see so many trousered Gauls and swarthy Jews and excitable Numidians on the Palatine. People from all over the Empire swarmed to Rome, hoping to strike it rich. No one had ever found a way to keep them out. Too bad, Varus thought.

 

And the Palatine became all the more exclusive when Augustus, master of the Roman world, took up residence on the hillside. He had dominated the Empire for more than a third of a century now. Senators still pined for the days of the Republic, when they were the biggest fish in the pond. Most people didn't remember those days any more. Most of the ones who did, remembered round after round of civil war. Hardly anyone—except those Senators—would have traded Augustus' peace and prosperity for the chaos it replaced.

 

Quinctilius Varus knew he wouldn't. He was part of the new order: one of the many who'd risen high by going along with the man who had—who'd won—the power to bind and to loose. He couldn't have done better under the Republic. Rome couldn't have done better under the Republic, but Rome mattered less to Varus than Varus did.

 

His father, Sextus Quinctilius Varus, had thought differently. He'd killed himself at Philippi along with Brutus and Cassius after they lost against Antony and Octavian—who was not yet calling himself Augustus. Almost fifty years ago now; Publius had been a boy. He was lucky the victors hadn't proscribed the losers' families. He nodded solemnly. He was lucky a lot of ways.

 

Soldiers guarded Augustus' residence. Augustus was no fool—he was about as far from a fool as a man could be. He knew some people still resented his mastery of Rome. Three cohorts of praetorian troops—about 1,500 men—were stationed in the city to protect him. Six more cohorts were based in nearby towns. The armored men in front of the doorway unmistakably separated his house from all the others on the Palatine.

 

Some of the guards were Italians. Others, tall and fair, had to be Gauls or Germans. In its way, it was a sensible arrangement. Rome as Rome meant nothing to the barbarians. Augustus, as their paymaster and commander, did.

 

"Who are you? What do you want here?" the biggest and blondest of them asked, his accent guttural, as Varus' litter came up.

 

Aristocles answered for Varus: "My master is Publius Quinctilius Varus, the ex-consul. He is to meet with Augustus this afternoon." He didn't throw his master's rank in the German's face, as he had with the wagon driver. The praetorian, after all, served a man with a higher rank yet—with the highest rank. But even someone summoned to meet with Augustus was a man of some consequence . . . and his pedisequus, therefore, a slave of some consequence.

 

"You wait here. We check," the guard said. He spoke in his own sonorous tongue. One of the other soldiers ducked inside.

 

"It will be all right, boys," Varus told the lectiarii. "You can put me down now."

 

Gently, the bearers lowered the sedan chair to the ground. Varus got out and stretched. Unlike his slaves, he wore a toga, not a tunic. He rearranged the drape of the garment. At the same time, not quite accidentally, he flashed the purple stripe that marked his status.

 

The soldier returned and said something in the Germans' language to the man in charge of the detachment. That worthy inclined his head to Varus. "You may go in now, sir," he said, respect ousting practiced suspicion from his voice.

 

"Good." Varus left it at that. He never knew how to talk to Augustus' guards. They weren't equals; by the nature of things, they couldn't be equals. But they weren't insignificant people, either. A puzzlement.

 

As soon as he and his two pedisequi went inside, one of Augustus' civilian slaves took charge of them. Varus was sure someone else would bring his bearers into the shade and give them something cool to drink. A great house—and there was none greater—took c

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Book Description Tantor Media, Inc, United States, 2009. CD-Audio. Book Condition: New. Unabridged edition. Language: English . Brand New. Publius Quinctilius Varus, a Roman politician, is summoned by the Emperor, Augustus Caesar. Given three legions and sent to the Roman frontier east of the Rhine, his mission is to subdue the barbarous German tribes where others have failed and to bring their land fully under Rome s control. Arminius, a prince of the Cherusci, is playing a deadly game. He serves in the Roman army, gaining Roman citizenship and an officer s rank, and learning the arts of war and policy as practiced by the Romans. What he learns is essential for the survival of Germany, for he must unite his people against Rome before they become enslaved by the Empire and lose their way of life forever. An epic battle is brewing, and these two men stand on opposite sides of what will forever be known as the Battle of the Teutoberg Forest-a ferocious, bloody clash that will change the course of history. Bookseller Inventory # AAC9781400111381

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Book Description Tantor Media, Inc, United States, 2009. CD-Audio. Book Condition: New. Unabridged edition. Language: English . Brand New. Publius Quinctilius Varus, a Roman politician, is summoned by the Emperor, Augustus Caesar. Given three legions and sent to the Roman frontier east of the Rhine, his mission is to subdue the barbarous German tribes where others have failed and to bring their land fully under Rome s control. Arminius, a prince of the Cherusci, is playing a deadly game. He serves in the Roman army, gaining Roman citizenship and an officer s rank, and learning the arts of war and policy as practiced by the Romans. What he learns is essential for the survival of Germany, for he must unite his people against Rome before they become enslaved by the Empire and lose their way of life forever. An epic battle is brewing, and these two men stand on opposite sides of what will forever be known as the Battle of the Teutoberg Forest-a ferocious, bloody clash that will change the course of history. Bookseller Inventory # AAC9781400111381

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Book Description Compact Disc. Book Condition: New. Compact Disc. Publius Quinctilius Varus, a Roman politician, is summoned by the Emperor, Augustus Caesar. Given three legions and sent to the Roman frontier east of the Rhine, his mission is to subdu.Shipping may be from multiple locations in the US or from the UK, depending on stock availability. 0.249. Bookseller Inventory # 9781400111381

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Book Description Tantor Media Inc. No binding. Book Condition: New. Audio CD. Dimensions: 6.5in. x 5.5in. x 1.1in.Publius Quinctilius Varus, a Roman politician, is summoned by the Emperor, Augustus Caesar. Given three legions and sent to the Roman frontier east of the Rhine, his mission is to subdue the barbarous German tribes where others have failed and to bring their land fully under Romes control. Arminius, a prince of the Cherusci, is playing a deadly game. He serves in the Roman army, gaining Roman citizenship and an officers rank, and learning the arts of war and policy as practiced by the Romans. What he learns is essential for the survival of Germany, for he must unite his people against Rome before they become enslaved by the Empire and lose their way of life forever. An epic battle is brewing, and these two men stand on opposite sides of what will forever be known as the Battle of the Teutoberg Foresta ferocious, bloody clash that will change the course of history. This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN. Audio CD. Bookseller Inventory # 9781400111381

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