The book “Valerius. Hero of Rome” is the first part of the historical novel by Douglas Jackson. The book takes us to the year 60 CE, when the Romans, under the command of the tribune Gaius Valerius Verrens, must face the rebellion of the Queen of the Britons, Boudica.
Jackson’s new novel is not his historical debut. The author entered the literary market in 2008 and since then he is constantly finding himself in his profession. A journalist by profession, he has spent over 30 years writing articles for newspapers. However, his fascination with the history and culture of Rome forced him to move to a different industry, which certainly worked out for him.
Many modern writers choose the time of the Julio-Claudian dynasty to set their plots in the Roman world because it is one of the best-documented periods. Douglas Jackson decided to show an important moment in the history of Britain in the 1st century CE, namely the rebellion of Boudica, the queen of the Britons. It was certainly one of the greatest independence uprisings of the united tribes of Britain. The Romans, after only twenty years of rule in these lands, had to face a strong opponent.
The Roman soldiers depicted in the novel are war veterans who have been assigned land acquired after Claudius’ invasion. Stationed on British soil, they found themselves in grave danger. The massive and sudden outburst, which the Romans did not expect, forced them into a dramatic fight for their lives. Our main character, barely twenty-something Gaius Walerius Warrens, is placed in such a situation. He must lead experienced veterans settled in the lands of the Britons to defend the conquered land, and on it, the recently built temple of the divine Claudius. This is an extremely difficult task and at the same time honorable for the Empire.
The author in an extremely dynamic and professional way shows us subsequent aspects of Roman camp life. We learn the terms (at the end the author has included a glossary of military terms), the way of fighting and legionary formations. The author tries to give us the mood prevailing both in the camp of the Romans and the Britons, who gradually became willing to fight. The igniting spark was the rape of Queen Boudica’s daughters, which led to an open uprising.
The book is extremely interesting and neatly written. It is certainly worth reaching for the next part and learning about the fate of the legionnaires in Britain.