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An historic action novel, with a romantic twist (book I)
It is A.D. 71, and Northern Britain is in turmoil. The tribes of Brigantia have chosen to follow the fortunes of the ageing king Venutius, rather than his one tie consort, Cartimandua. Roma will no longer tolerate the king’s constant warring, but is also unwilling to restore ‘Catey’ to her throne. Petilius Cerialis, Britannia’s governor, has ordered the building of a fortress where two rivers meet in the under bellow of Venutius’ kingdom: a place that Rome will one day call Eboracum. For there, he is determined once and for all to halt the endless rebellion of the northern tribes...
Set against the founding of York and the real life characters who created the great city, Eboracum, The Village tells of the struggle of two families: a minor chieftain Cethen Lamh-fada, who lives with his kin at the fork in the rivers; and the Roman engineer Gaius Sabinius, who arrives with orders that will ultimately drive Cethen from his home.
The Village is unique in its approach to the history of the times. While the narrative is replete with action and fact, it focuses on the manner in which Britons and Romans truly would have dealt with hardship and danger. These are the people who were our ancestors, warts and all. There are no reckless heroes and no evil villains; just everyday people with familiar problems that echo down through the centuries. Follow the journey of Cethen Lamh-fada and Elena, his sharp witted wife, as their small family is forced north on a trek caused as much by their own people as those of Rome. From the first skirmish at Cethen’s village to the inevitable clash of arm at Stanwick, The Village is a riveting tale laced with the dark humour, hard romance, and bittersweet reality of life.
The tale is told with a down to earth realism, often laced with humour that is best describes as dark. The book's editor Marg Gilks, sums it up with this endorsement:
Never before has an author brought Roman Britain to life for me as Graham Clews did with this tale of three characters whose lives are torn apart and brought together by the circumstances of their time.
These are not mere characters in a story but living, breathing, feeling people with their own flaws and strengths, people with who the reader can laugh or despair, people that the reader understands and cares about. That they happen to be living in societies that are foreign and long gone to dust is incidental, especially when the author has clearly done his research to make the foreign world of A. D. 70, if not familiar, then alive and real for the reader.