– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –
Today I’m on the ‘Bloody Dominions’ blogtour, organized by The Coffee Pot Book Club.
To promote this book I have a guest post, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.
About the Author :
A history graduate, Nick enjoyed developing the skills that would stand him in good stead during the extensive research he conducted prior to writing his novel. Whilst the ancient world unfortunately didn’t feature to any extent in his history degree, (the result of failing miserably to secure the A level grades that would have permitted greater choice) he maintained a lifelong and profound interest in ancient history and especially the Roman Empire, continuing to read avidly as he embarked on a career in HR. Over the next 30 years or so Nick occupied a variety of Senior/Director roles, most recently in the NHS. Unsurprisingly, writing in these roles was largely confined to the prosaic demands of Board papers but Nick never lost the long-harboured belief, motivated by the works of writers such as Robert Fabbri, Robyn Young, Anthony Riches, Simon Scarrow, Matthew Harffy and Giles Kristian, that he too had a story to tell. When he was presented with a window of opportunity c3 years ago he took the decision to place his career on hold and see if he could convert that belief into reality.
Nick always knew that he wanted to set the novel against the backdrop of a significant event/period in Roman history. Looking to narrow that down to something offering the potential for meaningful character and plot development, but that hadn’t already received exhaustive coverage, he settled on Caesars tumultuous occupation of Gaul. Spanning 8 years, the prolonged clash of cultures offered ample opportunity for the kind of dual perspective from which he was hoping to tell the story, whilst the violent conflict provided a wealth of exciting material to explore the changing fortunes of war and its impact at a personal level. The switching of allegiances, nations fighting for and against Rome also provided the potential for some intriguing plot lines. As his research unfolded, he was also struck by just how heavily the Roman psyche during this period was influenced by the scare they had received 50 years earlier when Germanic tribes invaded their territories and defeated their legions. Seeing references to the veterans of that war watching their sons and grandsons enlist for a similar campaign, he started to think about developing that link on both sides of the conflict. And so, the idea for the Conquest Trilogy was born.
In Bloody Dominions Nick has sought to produce a novel in which unfolding events are experienced and described from the perspective of protagonists on both sides of Caesar’s incursion into Gaul. Conscious that the role of women in Roman fiction, Boudica aside, is largely confined to spouse, prostitute or slave, Nick wanted to ensure that one of his lead characters was female and a prominent member of the warrior clan of her tribe. The novel is driven by these characters but the framework against which their stories unfold is historically accurate, featuring actual participants in Caesar’s campaign and drawing on real events as they occurred. As such Nick is genuinely excited about his characters and the story they have to tell.
Nick lives in Exeter with his two daughters and is currently juggling work as an Independent HR Consultant with writing the second novel in the Conquest Trilogy, Battle Scars.
Book Title: Bloody Dominions
Series: (The Conquest Trilogy, Book 1)
Author: Nick Macklin
Publication Date: 28th June 2021
Publisher: Troubador Publishing
Page Length: 368 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
58-56 BCE. As Caesar’s campaign unfolds, tests of courage and belief will confront the three protagonists, shaping them as individuals and challenging their views of the world and each other:
Atticus – an impetuous but naturally gifted soldier, whose grandfather served with distinction in the legions;
Allerix – a Chieftain of the Aduatuci, who finds himself fighting both for and against Caesar; and
Epona – a fierce warrior and Allerixs’ adopted sister.
Experiencing the brutalities of conflict and the repercussions of both victory and defeat, Atticus, Allerix and Epona will cross paths repeatedly, their destinies bound together across time, the vast and hostile territories of Gaul and the barriers of fate that have defined them as enemies. In a twist of fate, Atticus and Allerix discover that they share a bond, a secret that nobody could ever foresee…
Violence, attempted rape.
Guest Post :
The propensity for works of historical fiction to view events through the lens of one perspective has always frustrated my inner historian. This is particularly true of books relating to Rome. History is of course, written by the winners but in the world of fiction that constraint need not apply. Similarly, the role of women in Roman fiction, Boudica aside, is largely confined to spouse, whore or slave, when adopting an alternative approach might offer a different dimension to a story. I therefore set out to produce a character led novel, with unfolding events being experienced and described by protagonists from both Rome and her enemies, one of whom is a strong female lead.
Experiencing the brutalities of conflict and the repercussions of both victory and defeat my 3 protagonists, Atticus, Allerix and Epona will cross paths repeatedly, their destinies bound together across time, the vast and hostile territories of Gaul and the barriers of fate that have defined them as enemies. As the story unfolds, we will discover that Atticus and Allerix share a bond that nobody could ever foresee…
Atticus is the son of Gaius, a Trader and Estate owner in Verona who is the epitome of a Roman Patrician. Atticus’s grandfather however marched with the legions, reaching the rank of First Spear and serving with distinction as Rome defeated the Cimbri, invaders from the Germanic north. It is to this life, rather than management of the estate to which Atticus is drawn. Recognising that Atticus is perhaps better suited to life in the military in any event, his grandfather engages an ex-legionary to put him through his paces. Training that will stand him in good stead when he answers the call to join the newly established XIIth legion, dragging along his best friend Julius. Atticus adapts well to the training, although it isn’t just his military prowess that marks him out to comrades and officers alike, his striking appearance and impetuous nature bringing their own share of attention. Atticus marches to war on his18th birthday, deceiving his father to avoid saying goodbye when he discovers all in his life is not what it seems…
Son of Albiorix, King of the Aduatuci, descendants of the Cimbri, whose survivors retreated into Belgium, where they became one of the pre-eminent tribes. Albiorix lost his father in the battle with Rome and having sworn vengeance must reluctantly watch Allerix ride to fight alongside Caesar when he answers a call to rid Gaul of the Germanic King Ariovistus. Allerix is not a born warrior but he is a natural and accomplished horseman who leads the brave and skilled cavalry of the Aduatuci with distinction, alongside the legions of Rome. Until he realises that Caesars ambitions extend far beyond defeat of Ariovistus, threatening his home and his very way of life. Joining the alliance of Belgic tribes, who rise up to battle Caesar, Allerix and the Aduatuci find themselves tested beyond measure. Along the way, Allerix will meet and befriend Atticus before facing him in battle.
Albiorix and his wife Olluna had lost their first son to illness. The following spring, Olluna’s brother had died in battle. When she had lost her sister-in-law during childbirth so shortly afterwards, their grief had only been eased by the arrival of Epona to raise as their own. Fiercely independent Epona proves herself to be a naturally gifted warrior, almost from the moment that she insists on being permitted to train alongside her brother. She is particularly skilled with a bow. Possessed of a fiery temperament that sometimes gets the better of her when dealing with people, she is altogether calmer and more patient amidst the fields and stables. Her successes with the sick, injured or simply troublesome horses of the tribe earn her an almost mystical reputation.
Speaking of horses, it would be remiss at this point not to mention Isarno, a magnificent grey Andalusian stallion who Epona gifts to Allerix. Surprised but nonetheless grateful Allerix quickly forms a strong bond with the horse, who proves himself to be both brave and intelligent. Olluna tells him later that Epona believes fate had brought the horse to her and that it was somehow entwined with her and Allerix’s destiny. She is not wrong…
Isarno is named after the Celtic Isarnom or Germanic Isarna for steel.
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