When I mentioned on social networks that I was reading Hero of Rome by Douglas Jackson I was informed that I was going to love this book. Well between the time I started it and finished it I had begun writing my own novel(my first)…the main reason it took me so long to finish Hero. Normally I would have read a book this intriguing in a much shorter time frame but I needed to take time to get my efforts off the ground. The biggest problem I have encountered while having both balls in the air is this; Douglas Jackson is masterful. If I can be one-quarter as descriptive…if I can be one-tenth the character developer that he is, I will be a happy author. He has written a book that draws you right into the hearts and minds of his characters, most especially the main character, Gaius Valerius Verrens.
The place is Britain prior to and then during Boudicca’s revolt. Valerius is a Tribune assigned to Colonia, the town where the temple to Claudius was built. He is due to return to Rome to begin his climb up the political ladder but finds himself instead in an impossible situation having to defend the town against a force of really ticked off British tribes that is at least ten times larger than what he has at his disposal. The first part of the book deals with the politics and policies used by Rome to bring Britain into “civilization”. Naturally some Roman officials are overly dismissive of these barbarians in their charge and that is the fuel that ignites the tinderbox that Boudicca fans into a full fledged bloody revolt. The last part of the book, the revolt itself, is an edge of the seat, page turning brilliant example of great historical fiction writing. When I finished I knew I would be reading the rest of the books in this series which I am told by my social network friends are even better than the first. Oh my!