The Wolf of Britannia update
During the last three weeks I worked on the editor's
revision from Sunbury Press of my historical novel, The Wolf of Britannia, Vol. I. I made many of the changes she suggested and I strengthened a couple of
secondary characters. There were only a few sections where I disagreed, e.g. one of them the length of time it takes for a
dead body to decay into a skeleton. Being in law enforcement for twenty-five years, I investigated a lot of homicides, accidental
deaths and coroner's cases (where the deceased had not been seen by a physician in the last ten days and they refused to sign
a death certificate). I emailed back the copy today (September 10). The editor replied soon after that she would check the
manuscript ASAP. In the meantime, she was nearly finished editing Volume II and would email me a copy soon.
of you who don't know, this is the prequel to my historical, The Sign of the Eagle. This
story is about Macha's father, the British Celtic king, Caratacus. Volume 1 is a story about his rise to power beginning when
he was a young man of 16 and takes you to just before the Roman invasion of Britain in 43 AD.
More Praise for The Sign of the Eagle
blog-spot called, The Quill of Tacitus, published my two latest five star
reviews from Amazon. The caption reads, The Sign of the Eagle by Jess Steven Hughes
is Roman historical fiction at its finest. Below are the two five star reviews.
The second is by noted
historical fiction author, Janet Morris (I, The Sun, The Sacred Band, etc.)
The Pursuit of Justice in a Violent Age August
25, 2014 by Gregg Zimmerman
Rome, starting with the first emperor Augustus, spanned about 500 years, and was ruled by approximately 65 emperors (depending
how you count usurpers, upstarts, and self-proclaimed tyrants). So the average tenure of a Roman emperor was a little less
than 8 years, and few of them died of natural causes. The Sign of the Eagle is set in the early reign of Vespasian,
who took the throne during the chaotic year of four emperors (69 A.D.). This was an era of barbarian invasions, sinister political
plots, and military unrest when any given general stationed in the provinces could declare himself emperor and advance with
his army upon Rome on any particular day. This is the backdrop of The Sign of the
fast-paced and extremely enjoyable historical novel.
Protagonist Macha, the daughter of a Celtic king, is married to Roman tribune Titus. She is told by an envoy that
her husband has been arrested for treason, and is part of a conspiracy to overthrow Vespasian. Macha does not take this news
sitting down, plunging into a suspenseful mission to discover the truth and exonerate her husband. The bodies of people who
know too much are falling all around her, but this does not deter the dedicated and courageous Macha from her single minded
pursuit ,that will free her husband and save the emperor. I am particularly impressed by the verisimilitude that the author
achieves. It is clear that he has done his research and is very familiar not only with historical facts and places, but with
the beliefs, habits and everyday life of citizens of every strata of Roman society. This was a very enjoyable and informative
novel, and I look forward to upcoming works of historical fiction by Jess Steven Hughes.
historical novel of betrayal and suspense in ancient Rome that will leave you breathless August 31, 2014 by “lokhos”
Spend some time in Ancient Rome, solving mystery upon mystery as a British Celtic woman raised a
Roman tries to clear the name of Titus, the Roman tribune who is her husband. Got that? The Sign of the Eagle is
a crime thriller, a police procedural, and a correct historical with all the vocabulary and scholarship necessary, rolled
into one delicious package. Threats and plots reach all the way up from the garden villa of our heroine, Macha, to the court
of the Roman Emperor Vespasian.
Macha’s husband Titus is a professional cavalry soldier. When Titus is accused of treason,
Macha’s adventure goes into high gear, with everything she loves at stake.
Rather than ruin the story for you, I’ll not dwell on the plot beyond saying it has turns and
twists enough for any modern reader. This book also has the feel of its period: every detail is correct, from swords and cavalry
tack to combs and pins for our Celtic heroine’s red hair.
Don’t mistake me: this novel is neither bodice ripper nor dissertation, but a full blown novel of ancient
Rome that at times reminded me of Ecco’s “Name of the Rose.” Want to let that sink in? Yes, this is a real
historical novel, not a romance in ancient clothing nor a gamer’s how-to book. Good novels are rare, good historical
novels even rarer.
Buy this book and read it. Buy a couple
to give your more literate friends for Christmas. I bought the trade paper and its production values are excellent; the print
is easy to read, the prose crisp and as sharp and clear as you’d expect from an author such as Jess Hughes, who has
been a police detective and Marine Corps veteran. Hughes knows war and intrigue and human failings firsthand. What Hughes
has learned in life informs this novel with his expertise in treachery, in war, and in crime, lending this story great substance
without ever being wordy or awkward. Men will be as diverted as women by this novel, part action-adventure, part suspenseful
thriller, and part a ticket to another place and time.
of the Eagle is satisfyingly complete in itself, yet also forms the first half of Hughes’ duo-logy set in the 1st
century AD. The next book by Jess Steven Hughes, one hopes, is coming soon.
the Public Safety of Ancient Rome - Part X
Check the Ancient World Notes page for the latest installment of Maintaining
Public Safety of Ancient Rome. In this segment you will read about the establishment of the Urban Guard by Emperor Caesar
Augustus. This was Rome's first police force to recruit Roman citizens instead of slaves.
Book Signing Reminder
be signing copies of The Sign of the Eagle at Barnes & Noble Booksellers, 5353 Almaden Expressway, San Jose,
California, Saturday, Sept. 20th, 12 - 5 pm.
That's all for now. Until next time, Salve
et Vale! Hail and Farewell!
Jess Steven Hughes