Fire in the East: Book One of Warrior of Rome by Harry Sidebottom

By Harry Sidebottom

Already a bestseller within the U.K., hearth within the East is the 1st gripping installment in an enormous grand narrative―the Warrior of Rome series.

A.D. 255: The Roman Imperium is stretched to the verge of collapse, its authority and can challenged through the territories and alongside each border. One guy is shipped to marshal the defenses of a lonely urban and to shore up the crumbling partitions of a as soon as indomitable image of Roman strength, a guy whose very identify ability conflict, a guy referred to as Ballista. So unfolds an epic drama―a tale of empire, heroes, treachery, braveness, and so much of all, of brutal, bloody battle.

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Yet, like a racehorse, it was bred for one thing, and that was speed and manoeuvrability in smooth seas. If the sea turned rough, Ballista knew he would be safer in a primitive northern longboat. The wind had backed in a southerly direction and was picking up. Already the sea was rising into ugly, choppy cross-waves which were catching the beam of the trireme, making it difficult for the rowers to clear their oars and giving the vessel the beginnings of an uncomfortable lurch. On the horizon to the south, dark stormclouds were building.

But he was a Roman citizen, a member of the equestrian order, the rank just below the senators themselves. He had distinguished himself in campaigns on the Danube, among the islands in the distant Ocean and in North Africa, where he had won the Mural Crown for being the first man on to the walls of an enemy town. More importantly, he had been educated at the imperial court and was a favourite of the then emperor, Gallus. If he was a barbarian, at least he was the son of a king, who had come to Rome as a diplomatic hostage.

He watched uncomprehendingly as the ship got underway. Officers bellowed orders, a piper blew shrill notes, sailors pulled on mystifying patterns of ropes and from below came the grunts of the rowers, the splash of the oars and the sound of the hull gathering pace through the water. Nothing in the great historians of the immortal Greek past - Herodotus, Thucydides and Xenophon - had prepared the bookish young slave for the deafening noise of a galley. Demetrius looked up at his kyrios. Ballista’s hands were un-moving, seemingly clenched around the ends of the ivory arms of the folding curule chair, a Roman symbol of his high office.

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