I am delighted to tell you that the third book in the Hannah’s Heirloom Sequence is now available worldwide on Amazon Kindle (paperback version will follow shortly). Called Embers of Destiny, it is set in the north of Roman Britain, along the frontier which would eventually be defined by Hadrian’s Wall. It is AD80 and although much of this distant province has been pacified, the borderland is not quite subdued.
In recent times, aerial surveys have discovered that there were several forts along this frontier, established long before the famous stone wall constructed during Hadrian’s reign. It is thought that they were set up by Agricola to police the newly subjugated northern border, while he continued on into Scotland (or Caledonia as it was then known). Originally these would have been temporary marching camps, evolving into wooden forts before eventually being rebuilt in stone, indicating long term settlement.
Magnis, where my story is set is one such fort and was still in use in AD160, by which time it had been completely rebuilt in stone, marking it as one of the permanent forts. Even though plenty of artefacts have been found confirming later occupation, there was a dearth of remains for the time period I was writing about. This was very useful as I could weave the story around what we did know and add my own ‘finds’ to suit myself. Soon I was engrossed in learning how forts were organised and what everyday life on the edge of Empire was like. A garrison like this was usually made up from vexillations, or detachments of soldiers, drawn from two or three legions based elsewhere in the province. So having worked out which legions would likely supply soldiers to these outposts, I then augmented them with a contingent of Maxentius’ soldiers who had accompanied him from Rome.
It was also fascinating to research how local tribespeople lived; those native to the area who had been subjugated by the invading Romans. How they lived, what their dwellings looked like both inside and out, their clothing and their language. I admit to getting quite lost in the world of Roman Britain for several weeks and loved every minute of it.
Embers of Destiny is the culmination of that research and is the final book in the sequence – well it should have been. However, as happened when I wrote The Pomegranate Tree, I wasn’t quite ready to let go, so I have begun a prequel. This will be a short story following the lives of Hannah and Maxentius before they meet on Masada. There won’t be any falling through time and my modern couple are not part of this tale. I was just interested in my ancient couple’s journey and in the challenges they faced; one as a young soldier fighting on the troubled eastern fringes of the Empire and the other as a healer in a city descending in chaos. I’m probably about half way through and trying to get my head around Roman Army battle tactics is keeping me out of mischief!