The Wolf of Britannia, Part I
"The author is a natural story teller. His domain is the Celts at the dusk
of Roman rule. His stories are humanistic, full of mystery, suspense --yes, and violence where needed. There are so few
good historical novels written today that are not bodice rippers meant only for women that this book is a breath of fresh
air. I dare say women will like this story as much as men. And although it is a "Part I, " Wolf a complete, satisfying
story -- another thing rare in a time of endless sagas with no beginnings or endings...
"Despite the demands
of research, the difficulty of writing about the last days of Celtic Britain with a fresh eye, Hughes succeeds in bringing
us something new in his story of these misty times: an understanding of the best and worst of humanity that feels as if
it were gained firsthand.
story is a great adventure, and those are few and far between..."
--I, The Sun; The Sacred
Wolf of Britannia, Part II
"His prose is always crisp, his scholarship fine-honed but never obtrusive. But these qualities
alone don't make a book exceptional or unforgettable: a story must have the ability to grab you by the throat and not let
you go until the last line on the very last page. Hughes has the gift of breathing life into his characters, which is a skill
that a true historical writer must have, or fail in the task of transporting the reader into a vanished world.
The Wolf of Britannia, part II and you will be transported into the mind of a great
Celtic warrior, Caratacus, as he fights for freedom against the whole of Rome. Wolf of Britannia II has war and death, mystery
and betrayal, love and glory, and an intrepid band of men and women fighting a battle that may be hopeless -- but then,
"Read this prequel to The Sign of the Eagle slowly if you can. Take your time. Savor it.
Delight in Hughes' deft plotting, his ability to breathe life into his characters. If you love historical fiction, I can
nearly guarantee you will devour this books and its sequels and hope for more."
The Sun; The Sacred Band
An historical novel of betrayal and suspense in ancient Rome that will leave you breathless.
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? "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
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.
"Sign of the Eagle" is satisfyingly
complete in itself, yet also forms the first half of Hughes' duology set in the 1st century AD. The next book by Jess Steven
Hughes, one hopes, is coming soon (The Wolf of Britannia, Part I & II).
Read the article on Jess Steven Hughes in Saturday's Spokesman Review: Jess Steven Hughes Reading "The Sign of the Eagle" for the Spokesman-Review