Authors without Borders have all agreed to write short stories in daily instalments on Facebook. They're free and, in most cases, will appear five days per week until their conclusion. Participants - aside from me - include Ben Kane, Simon Scarrow, Christian Cameron, Simon Turney, Douglas Jackson, Gordon Doherty, Ruth Downie, LJ Trafford, Alex Gough and Sam Taw.
Here is a first taster of my story, featuring the hero of The Last of the Romans, Ambrosius Aurelianus...
Britannia – New Dawn
South West Britannia
Ambrosius Aurelianus awoke to the persistent birdsong of the forest dawn. Still, he reflected, they had a roof over their heads at last, having stumbled upon the long-abandoned settlement. Several habitable huts – one quite large - offered enough space for a company of only two score. True, there were rotten timbers, leaking roofs and holes in the walls you could walk through, but it would suffice.
Since landing upon Britannia’s inhospitable shore, they had come a long way. There had been losses - terrible losses – but they had faced the setbacks with resolve and God had played his part of course; though his new Saxon allies might argue about which particular god had favoured them most. The thought of the Saxons made him smile, for who could have predicted that the Roman exiles would form such a close bond with folk they had only ever viewed as enemies?
The bitter wounds of winter were almost all healed now and, with the unfurling leaves of spring, came renewed hope. They would rebuild this ancient place - and fortify it - for somewhere out there was Vortigern, whose venom would be festering away. Sooner or later, he would seek his revenge and there would be others too – some alarmed by the pact with the Saxons, but the rest simply jealous of their horses, their weapons or their women...
Laying his head upon Inga’s shoulder, he wondered at the tortuous road that had brought the pair of them together: the soldier and the slave-whore. He was still staring at her hair, gilded by the dawn light, when the first hint of trouble came.
There was no neighing of nervous horses nor the strangled cry of a sleepy sentry. No, it was a low, malevolent growl from Ferox, the great Molussian war dog, that alerted Ambrosius. The ill-tempered beast insisted upon sleeping at the feet of his mistress, Inga, and even Ambrosius was not brave enough to argue.
When Ferox growled, a wise man paid attention and when the belligerent beast stood up, it was time to draw out your spatha and pray.
[The story continues...]
You can find the rest of my story, as it grows, on my facebook page: http://on.fb.me/1dO0KSI as well as all the links to other authors' stories.
A BRAND NEW POST-ROMAN SERIES - THE LAST OF THE ROMANS
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454 AD. Northern Italy. Dux Ambrosius Aurelianus has served the Roman Empire with distinction. His bucellarii, a small band of irregular soldiers, have helped to bring a fragile peace to the beleaguered empire in the west. But, with the empire now at peace, his master, Flavius Aetius, decides to chain up his dogs of war. Ambrosius and his men are left to idle away their days in a rural backwater, but Ambrosius’ boredom is brutally swept aside when old rivals seize the opportunity to destroy him. Pursued as a traitor by the imperial guard, Ambrosius takes his loyal band, along with other dissident soldiers and a Saxon girl, Inga, into the mountains.
Since nowhere is safe, Ambrosius travels north, across the crumbling ruins of the empire, to his estranged family in Gaul. But there too, he finds nothing but conflict, for his home town is now besieged by a small army of rebellious Franks. Freedom and peace seem a world away. Whatever course the soldier takes, Ambrosius and his bucellarii will need to muster all their strength and skill to survive.
At the twilight of the empire, they may be the Last of the Romans…
Book 2 of The Craft of Kings series, The Blood of Princes, is out now in paperback and ebook.
When twelve-year-old Edward V inherits the throne, the kingdom is plunged into crisis, so his uncle Richard, Duke of Gloucester, takes the reins of power. But is Gloucester the king’s saviour, or his enemy?
"A masterpiece of adventure and intrigue." Read the full review here.
The Elder family returns in Scars From The Past, book one of a new Wars of the Roses series. What can the next generation of the Elders do when trouble strikes very close to home?
"Derek Birks has taken his usual high standard of storytelling to a whole new level. Scars From the Past is impossible to put down... I defy you to enjoy this book and not want to go back to Feud, where it all started." The Review
Rebels & Brothers: The Complete Series is out on Amazon.
Books 1-4 tell the whole story of the Elders' struggle for survival during 1459-71.
The digital boxed set is a considerable saving on the cost of all 4 books!
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