Warrior of Rome Novels

The Warrior of Rome novels are set during the great crisis of the Roman empire in the mid-Third Century AD. The first three – Fire in the East, King of Kings, and Lion of the Sun – focus on the eastern half of the empire and on the war-torn borders with the rising power of Sassanid Persia. In the second three – The Caspian Gates, The Wolves of the North, and The Amber Road – the action shifts to the north; to the Black Sea and the client kingdoms of the Caucasus mountains, the Crimea and the steppes, and the great rivers that could be followed north to the Baltic.

While each novel is written as a stand alone book, from the start Warrior of Rome was designed as a series centred on the general Ballista and his familia. I wanted the space a series allows to develop themes and characters; to let the latter develop and grow up.

Each novel explores a different theme – one important both then and now. For example, in the first novel, Fire in the East, Ballista is sent to the town of Arete (actually the Greek for virtue) to defend it in the name of western liberty from an inevitable, religiously motivated attack by the Sassanid Persians. When Ballista arrives, fulfilling his orders, he tears down the homes, tombs and temples of the inhabitants, suspends all their civic liberties, and has them strip-searched at the gates. It raises the question, never more crucial than now, how far can the west go to protect its freedom before it destroys the very thing it is defending? All the novels seek to  raise big questions, but each is driven by suspense and action.

In all the books I make a great effort to be historically accurate. I hope that readers who come to them knowing little about the Roman world will finish them having learned a lot, and those who already know a lot will be provoked into questioning some of those things they have always taken for granted, both about the classical past and us.

When asked in an interview to sum up the series in ten words I came up with, “Ballista, Warrior of Rome, Hard Action, High Scholarship, Low humour.”

Warrior of Rome I: Fire in the East

Warrior of Rome I: Fire in the East

The year is AD 255 – the Roman Imperium is stretched to breaking point, its authority and might challenged along every border. The greatest threat lies in Persia to the east, where the massing forces of the Sassanid Empire loom with fiery menace. There the isolated Roman... read more
Warrior of Rome II: Kings of Kings

Warrior of Rome II: Kings of Kings

AD256 – the spectre of treachery hangs ominously over the Roman world. The sparks of Christian fervour have spread through the empire like wildfire, and the imperium is alive with the machinations of dangerous and powerful men. All the while, Sassanid forces press forward relentlessly along the... read more
Warrior of Rome III: Lion of the Sun

Warrior of Rome III: Lion of the Sun

Mesopotamia, AD 260 Betrayed by his most trusted adviser, the Roman Emperor Valerian has been captured by the Sassanid barbarians. The shame of the vanquished beats down mercilessly like the white sun, as the frail old emperor prostrates himself before Sharpur, King of Kings. Ballista looks on... read more
Warrior of Rome: The Caspian Gates

Warrior of Rome IV: The Caspian Gates

AD262 – the imperium is in turmoil after the struggle for the throne. Furthermore, Ephesus, Asia’s metropolis, lies in ruins, shattered by a mighty earthquake. Its citizens live in fear as the mob overwhelms the city, baying for blood to avenge the gods who have punished them.... read more