Thrilling, authentic and action-packed, this novel introduces soldier hero Marcus Valerius: a centurion stationed on Hadrian's Wall in the second century during a revolt against the Roman Empire.
Marcus Valerius Aquila has scarcely landed in Britannia when he has to run for his life - condemned to dishonorable death by power-crazed emperor Commodus. The plan is to take a new name, serve in an obscure regiment on Hadrian's Wall and lie low until he can hope for justice. Then a rebel army sweeps down from the wastes north of the Wall, and Marcus has to prove he's hard enough to lead a century in the front line of a brutal, violent war.
This is fast-paced and gripping "read-through-the-night" fiction, with marvellous characters and occasional moments of dark humour. Some authors are better historians than they are storytellers. Anthony Riches is brilliant at both. - Conn Iggulden
A damn fine read . . . fast-paced, action-packed. - Ben Kane
Stands head and shoulders above a crowded field . . . . real, live characters act out their battles on the northern borders with an accuracy of detail and depth of raw emotion that is a rare combination. - Manda Scott
His plots bristle with emotion, realism and electrifying tensions, his multi-layered characters open doors onto the fascinating everyday life of the Roman army and the sense of adventure that underpins the whole series makes each book a fresh source of excitement and enjoyment. Riches knows his stuff and boy does it show . . . While Marcus, his cohorts and the Empire series grow in stature, readers await the next instalment of this challenging and entertaining tour-de-force with a sense of heightened anticipation . . . and armed, of course, with the confidence that once again the 'master of Rome' will not disappoint. - Lancashire Evening Post
Anthony Riches holds a degree in Military Studies from Manchester University. He began writing the story that would become the first novel in the Empire series, Wounds of Honour, after visiting Housesteads Roman fort in 1996. Married with three grown up children, he now lives in Suffolk. He is also the writer of the 'Protector' thriller series.