It is a cold morning in AD 71: a small galley clumsily docks at the Place of the Yews in Brigantia, Northern Britain.
Gaius Sabinius Trebonius has arrived at the confluence of what will become known as the Ouse and the Fosse to survey the site for a new Ninth Legion fortress. Cethen Lamh-fada is reluctantly hosting the Briganti king, Venutius, along with a small force of warriors and a bard. Unaware, Gaius goes about assessing and laying out the new fortress. As the Romans prepare to leave the more hotheaded warriors attack the survey party. In the resulting melee Gaius, severely wounded, tumbles into the river between the galley and the dock; Cethen, on impulse, leaps in and saves him.
From this small act begins the ambivalent relationship between the families of Gaius and Cethen that reverberates throughout the Province and even the Empire.
Eboracvm: The Village sets the scene for the often tempestuous and frequently cordial relationships between conquering Romans and rebellious Britons, intertwined with personal feuds and passionate affairs that drive the political landscape of Northern Britannia.
In The Fortress, the Romans continue to build forts and subdue the indigenous tribes. The lives of Cethen, Elena, and Roman Gaius, with their now-adult children play out around their fateful meeting in Roman York. After spoiled, cocky Marcus returns there, he finds himself in terrible danger; Rhun and Coira are caught between the land of their birth and the way of life they’ve come to know.
Filled with action, The Fortress shows realistically how Britons and Romans would have dealt with hardship, danger, and each other. These are our ancestors, warts and all: no reckless heroes and no evil villains; just everyday people with familiar problems that echo down through the centuries.
As the new century dawns, and Rome’s frontiers are again in turmoil. The Year is A.D. 105. The Emperor Trajan is calling in troops from around the empire to secure Dacia’s rich mines of iron, copper, and gold. Britannia’s forts are left under strength and the north is once more in flames as the tribesmen sense weakness in Rome’s armies. The Ninth Legion, based at Eboracvm, must once more bear the brunt of the rebellion when, as the ageing Cethan Lamh-fada observes, ‘They’re having another damned go at it!’
Now settled in Brigantia and living far longer than he ever wanted, Cethan finds his family once more straddling both sides of Rome’s ambition. As two of his sons guide the fate of Rome’s legions, two more try their utmost to hold them at bay. Carved in Stone is set against the uprising of A.D. 105 when Rome abandoned most of the north leaving Agricola’s old forts in ruins, the story completes the saga of Cethan Lamh-fada and his people, and their unending struggle to remain free.
The human face of history beckons the reader on. It is both a political and personal tale, as feuds and friendships develop and run their course.
Sitting perfectly between the Roman soldier bloody buddy dramas of Simon Scarrow, and his more family-oriented Gordianus series by Steven Saylor, Graham Clews has created a saga of Britain and Rome, played out between families: one on each side. Gaius and family, Cethen, Elena and their children; and Cartimundua’s bard, Criff, play key roles in the development of Britain throughout the Eboracvm trilogy.