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Enemy of Rome: (Gaius Valerius Verrens 5)

by Douglas Jackson

Summer, AD 69. Rome and its empire are in turmoil, caught in the coils of a desperate and destructive civil war.  The emperor Otho is dead by his own hand and his rival, Aulus Vitellius, occupies the imperial throne. However, a new challenge has arisen in the East – the legions of Titus Flavius Vespasian have declared him their Emperor. In the dry heat of an August morning, Gaius Valerius Verrens prepares for his last day on earth. Wrongly accused of deserting his legion on the field of Bedriacum, it seems he is destined to die a coward’s death. Then the executioner’s hand is stayed. Vitellius’ enemies will spare the life of the man who was once Hero of Rome if he pledges allegiance to Vespasian and his cause. Valerius – tired of the endless slaughter and hoping that he might be reunited with his lost love – agrees. And so he must battle his way south to Rome in order to persuade his friend Vitellius to stand down for the greater good of the city, its people and the Empire. But this is civil war and this is Rome, and Valerius – his loyalties divided and branded an enemy of the people – is trapped in a maze of distrust, corruption, betrayal and blood-letting.

Scourge of Rome: (Gaius Valerius Verrens 6)

by Douglas Jackson

70AD. Disgraced, dishonored and banished into exile on pain of execution if he ever returns to Rome, the former military tribune Gaius Valerius Verrens makes his way East through the death and destruction of the savage Judaean rebellion. Valerius knows his only hope of long term survival and a restoration of his family’s fortunes lies with his friend Titus, commander of the Army of Judaea and son of the newly crowned Emperor Vespasian. But when he reaches the ring of legionary camps around the seemingly impregnable city of Jerusalem he finds Titus a changed man. Gone is the cheerful young officer he knew, replaced by a tough, ruthless soldier under pressure from his father to end the insurrection at any cost. Soon, Valerius finds himself at the center of a web of intrigue spun by Titus’s lover, Queen Berenice of Cilicia, and her sometime ally, the general’s turncoat adviser, Flavius Josephus, who have an ulterior motive for ending the siege quickly. Yet the laurels that will regain his honor cannot be won in the negotiations in the murky tunnels beneath Jerusalem. Only amid the fire and blood of battle will he equal the glory that brought him the title Hero of Rome.

Saviour of Rome: (Gaius Valerius Verrens 7)

by Douglas Jackson

AD 72. Titus Flavius Vespasianus, known as Vespasian, is Emperor of Rome – but his grip on power is weakening. Economic disaster threatens the city – and when Rome is threatened, so too is the Empire. Recently married and building a new home, Gaius Valerius Verrens thought he’d at last found a life away from the battlefield. But he is summoned by the Emperor to do one last favor for Rome: he must journey to the remote, mountainous region of Asturica Augusta and investigate claims that a bandit called ‘The Ghost’ is raiding the Empire’s gold convoys. When Valerius arrives, he finds a tortured, gods-forsaken land whose native tribes, exploited for so long, are a growing threat. But treachery lurks in the shadows, and it seems the real danger comes from those closer to him. Valerius must put an end to a conspiracy that would plunge the Empire into a devastating new conflict – but first he must establish who is a friend, and who a foe.

Glory of Rome: (Gaius Valerius Verrens 8)

by Douglas Jackson

77AD. Gaius Valerius Verrens is an honored member of Emperor Vespasian’s inner circle, but the enmity between him and Vespasian’s son Domitian means that, even in Rome, danger is never far away. Meanwhile, in the outer reaches of the Empire, in Britannia, trouble is brewing. The governor, Gnaeus Julius Agricola, is preparing to march his legions north and Valerius is Agricola’s chief legal adviser and deputy governor. It’s the opportunity he seeks to move his wife and son out of reach of Domitian’s wrath. But Britannia is where Valerius cut his military teeth and whetted his sword – and he will soon discover that the ghosts of his past are never far away and are more dangerous perhaps than Domitian. The massacre of a Roman garrison and suspicious death of the legate of the Ninth Legion throw Agricola’s preparations into confusion. Now his eyes turn west to Mona, the Druids Isle, where the Celtic priesthood still harbors hopes of ridding Britannia of Roman rule. But to deal with the Druids and their savage Ordovice protectors Agricola needs a soldier he can trust at the head of the ‘unlucky’ Ninth. Only one man in the province has the experience and the ability. So a reluctant Valerius must put aside his scrolls and pick up his sword once more and march beside the eagle of the Ninth. It’s only as he stands on the shoreline opposite Mona that he understands any glory his new legion wins is likely to be fleeting and tainted – and that he has placed his family in deadly peril.

Hammer of Rome: (Gaius Valerius Verrens 9)

by Douglas Jackson

AD 80. Gaius Valerius Verrens is back where he belongs, at the head of a legion. But this is no ordinary legion. His command is the ‘unlucky’ Ninth, tainted by four decades of ill fortune and poor leadership. A unit regarded as expendable by Valerius’s superior, Gnaeus Julius Agricola, governor of Britannia. Yet all that can be swept aside by a single moment of glory, and the long heralded invasion of the north of the province provides the perfect opportunity. Valerius leads his men to a devastating victory against the recalcitrant Brigantes, infuriating Agricola in the process. Soon, even greater honors beckon with the death of Emperor Vespasian and the succession of Valerius’s friend, Titus. But, back in Rome, the new emperor faces his own challenges, not least from his own brother, Domitian, a man with an insatiable ambition for power and a deadly hatred of Valerius. All Valerius can do is forget the great prizes on offer, concentrate on defeating the savage tribes who lie in the path of the Ninth, and ignore Agricola’s intrigues. But watching his every move is the most formidable enemy he has ever faced: mighty Calgacus, war chief of the Northern alliance.