Tuesday, 25 September 2012

On the march again

I've just this very minute sent the first draft of Sword of Rome, the fourth Gaius Valerius Verrens adventure, to my new editor Simon. It takes Valerius into the opening phase of The Year of the Four Emperors, a fascinating period of Roman history when the Empire is devastated by civil war and neutrality is not an option.
Aulus Vitellius would surprise everybody
When it opens, Nero is still on the throne, but every hand is raised again him. In the wings waits Servius Sulpicius Galba, governor of Hispania Tarraconensis, a man with the bloodlines and ambition to be Emperor, but none of qualities that would make him a good one. At Galba's side rides the equally ambitious Marcus Salvius Otho. Formerly Nero's favourite and a man who traded his wife for advancement, Otho is certain he'll be appointed the elderly Galba's heir, thus opening the path to the throne in a few years' time.
But the fat man who will surprise them all is also waiting for the call from Galba. When Aulus Vitellius reaches his province of Germania Inferior it will set off a chain reaction that threatens to consume a hundred thousand lives.
The characters are in place, the scene is set for a tragedy of epic proportions, and only one man can stop it happening.
Valerius conspires in the death of one Emperor, survives the fall of another, only to be sent on a virtual suicide mission by a third. On the way he'll be stalked by an implacable enemy, faces an impossible dilemma, and is forced to choose between love, honour and duty.

Now, I have an event with the master himself, Mr Bernard Cornwell, to prepare for in London at the weekend. After that it's back to The Excalibur Codex and Nazis, Islamic terrorists, rogue spies and a deranged US politician with a guilty secret.

Life's never dull!