Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Author’s Inspiration ~ Tim Walker #histfic #Roman @timwalker1666


Please give a warm Coffee Pot welcome to Historical Fiction author, Tim Walker. Tim is going to share with us his inspirations behind his fabulous Dark Age series… 

Abandoned!
(A Light In The Dark Ages Book 1)

Britannia lies shocked and exposed by the sudden departure of the Roman legions in the year 410. A hero arises - Marcus Aquilius - to protect the town of Calleva from an invading Saxon army. The townsfolk must decide if their town and way of life is worth fighting for, or if they should flee to the forest and revert to a tribal lifestyle. Marcus knows he must embrace change and makes his own personal journey to emerge as Marcus Pendragon.

Ambrosius: Last of the Romans
(A Light In The Dark Ages Book 2) 

Britannia lies open to barbarian invasions as it slowly adjusts to life after Roman rule. Cruel high king Vortigern has seized control and chosen to employ Saxons in his mercenary army. But who is the master and who the puppet?

Enter Ambrosius Aurelianus, a Roman tribune on a secret mission to Britannia. He is returning to the land where, as a child, he witnessed the murder of his noble father and grew up under the watchful eyes of an adoptive family in the town of Calleva Atrebatum. He is thrown into the politics of the time, as tribal chiefs eye each other with suspicion whilst kept at heel by the high king.

Ambrosius finds that the influence of Rome is fast becoming a distant memory, as Britannia reverts to its Celtic tribal roots. He joins forces with his adoptive brother, Uther Pendragon, and they are guided by their shrewd father, Marcus, as he senses his destiny is to lead the Britons to a more secure future.

Ambrosius: Last of the Romans is an historical fiction novel set in the early Dark Ages, a time of myths and legends that builds to the greatest legend of all – King Arthur and his knights

Author’s Inspiration
My latest novel, Ambrosius: Last of the Romans, is the second part in a historical fiction series, A Light in the Dark Ages. It follows on from Abandoned! - the starting point of a three-generation story of a family who must use their wits and skills to survive in post-Roman Britannia in the fifth century. The Romans made an orderly withdrawal from their most northerly province between 409-410 AD, after which the lush island was a magnet to invaders from all sides, precipitating a bloody and destructive slide into a time of fear and anguish.
The idea for this story came about during a visit I made to the site of what was once the Roman town of Calleva Atrebatum in Hampshire (later known as Silchester), not far from where I live. The site, maintained by English Heritage, is a square patch of grass surrounded by the remnants of an earth bank. There are no surviving structures on it save for a Christian church added after its mysterious abandonment some years after the Romans departed.
Artist impression of Calleva Atrebatum
Standing in this remarkable space amidst grazing cows, I felt history seeping from the very ground beneath me, heard the march of Roman legionary boots on paved roads, cries from a busy marketplace and the clash of swords from across two thousand years. Later, I read that in 1866 excavators discovered a bronze eagle (note: The Silchester Eagle, housed in Reading Museum) buried where the forum would have stood, thought to be the standard of a Roman legion. Who buried it and under what circumstances remain a mystery. This fact inspired me (as it had inspired Rosemary Sutcliffe years before to write The Legion of the Ninth) to weave a sub-plot into Abandoned! My story involves a slave who stole a bronze eagle from his master and hid it on the night before the garrison marched out for the last time.

The Silchester Eagle
The Romans had defeated the local Briton tribe, the Atrebates, and built their town on the site of an existing settlement from around 50 AD. The conquerors clearly wanted to keep their subjects ‘on side’ and so named their new fortified town after their tribal name, perhaps hinting at a desire for conciliation, assimilation and co-operation. Calleva Atrebatum, literally, the woody place of the Atrebates, was a staging post for legions marching north and west for over three hundred years until one day, around 410 AD, the Roman garrison packed up and marched away, leaving those remaining to organise and defend themselves. Was this viewed as liberation or abandonment by the Britons who remained?
The early part of the Dark Ages is a period of myths and legends, most notably of King Arthur and his knights. It is the realm of archaeologists and sleuth-historians looking for clues to what actually happened in a turbulent period during which there was little record keeping; at least little that survived the pillaging and burning of dwellings and places of worship. It was the age of a desperate struggle for survival, wedged between the end of Britain as an orderly Roman province and the growth of Anglo-Saxon kingdoms.
Enter Ambrosius Aurelianus, a Roman tribune on a secret mission to Britannia. In my story, he is returning to the land where, as a child, he witnessed the murder of his noble father and grew up under the watchful eyes of an adoptive family in the town of Calleva Atrebatum. He is thrown into the politics of the time, as tribal chiefs eye each other with suspicion whilst kept at heel by the high king. Ambrosius Aurelianus is a real, if dimly observed, early high king of Britannia, mentioned by early historians Gildas, Bede the Venerable and Geoffrey of Monmouth. The precise dates of his reign, details of his life, deeds and where his burial or cremation site lie, remain unknown.

Ambrosius Aurelianus

My Ambrosius finds that the influence of Rome is fast becoming a distant memory, as Britannia reverts to its Celtic tribal roots. He joins forces with his adoptive brother, Uther Pendragon, and they are guided by their shrewd father, Marcus, as he senses his destiny is to lead the Britons to a more secure future.

Links for Purchase
Abandoned!
(A Light In The Dark Ages Book 1) 

Ambrosius: Last of the Romans
(A Light In The Dark Ages Book 2) 

About the author
 

Tim Walker is an independent multi-genre author based near Windsor, in the UK. This book, Ambrosius: Last of the Romans, is part two in a three-part historical fiction series under the series title, A Light in the Dark Ages. Part one, Abandoned! is available from Amazon, with part three, Uther’s Destiny, soon to follow.

He has also written and published a children’s book, The Adventures of Charly Holmes, co-authored with his daughter, Cathy; a book of short stories, Thames Valley Tales, and a dystopian thriller, Devil Gate Dawn.
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1 comment:

  1. What a fascinating post! Thank you for sharing your inspirations with us!

    ReplyDelete

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Mary xx