145BC – CALABRIA, ANCIENT ROME. After many years of spilling blood for Rome, Gaius Furius Paullus has returned home to spend his remaining days working quietly on the family farm. But it seems death has followed Paullus from the battlefield. Just days after his arrival, bodies start appearing – murdered and mutilated. And as the killings… Read more »
The Lost Ten
A desperate rescue attempt deep behind enemy lines . . . a nail-biting adventure with all the hard-edged appeal of Bravo Two Zero When Valens, a junior officer in the Roman Army, joins a crack squad of soldiers on a dangerous mission, little does he know what’s in store for him. Tasked with rescuing the… Read more »
The Last Hour
A lone figure stands silhouetted atop the Mausoleum of Hadrian. Behind him, the sun is setting over the centre of the known world. Far below, the river is in full flood. The City of Rome lies spread out before him on the far bank. Footsteps pound up the stairs. He’s been set up. An enemy… Read more »
Ancient Warfare: A Very Short Introduction
Greek and Roman warfare differed from other cultures and was unlike any other forms of warfare before and after. The key difference is often held to be that the Greeks and Romans practised a ‘Western Way of War’, where the aim is an open, decisive battle, won by courage instilled in part by discipline. Harry… Read more »
Fire & Sword
The third book in Sidebottom’s epic series set in third century Rome; a dramatic era of murder, coup, counter-rebellions and civil war. Rome AD238. The Year of the Six Emperors. The empire is in turmoil. With the Gordiani, father and son, dead in Africa, the tyrant Maximinus Thrax vies to reclaim the throne. The Senate,… Read more »
Blood & Steel
BLOOD AND STEEL is the second book in the epic Throne of the Caesars series, set in third century Rome; a dramatic era of murder, coup, counter-rebellions and civil war. In a world of battle and betrayal men will fight – and kill – to sit on the Throne of the Caesars. Rome, AD238 Emperor… Read more »
Iron & Rust
Here comes the first book in a new series set in third century Rome, a dramatic era of murder, coup, counter-rebellions and civil war. In a single year six emperors will lay claim to the Throne of the Caesars… SPRING AD235 Dawn on the Rhine. A surprise attack and the brutal murder of the Emperor… Read more »
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 VI: The Amber Road
Warrior of Rome: The Amber Road is the sixth book in Harry Sidebottom’s Warrior of Rome series. AD 264 – The Roman Empire is torn in two. The western provinces – Gaul, Spain and Britain – have been seized by the pretender Postumus. To the east, on the plains of northern Italy, the armies of… Read more »
Warrior of Rome V: The Wolves of the North
AD263 – barbarian invasions and violent uprisings threaten to tear apart the Imperium of Rome. In the north, the tribes are increasingly bold in their raids on the Imperium – their savagery unlike anything Rome has known before. Ballista must undertake his most treacherous journey yet – a covert attempt to turn the barbarians of… Read more »
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. Yet an even greater threat to the Empire… Read more »
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 helplessly, but vows under his breath to avenge… Read more »
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 eastern frontier. The battle-bloodied general Ballista returns to… Read more »
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 citadel of Arete awaits inevitable invasion. One man… Read more »