Wednesday, April 20, 2011

"The Road to Rome"

Ben Kane is the author of The Forgotten Legion and The Silver Eagle. He lives in North Somerset, England.

He applied the Page 69 Test to The Road to Rome, the final book in The Forgotten Legion trilogy, and reported the following:
‘You know what happens. The village is being put to the torch.’ Brennus closed his eyes. Liath. Their newborn baby. What had he been thinking to leave his family at such a time?

‘Why have we stopped?’ Brac pushed past roughly, feet sure on the narrow path.

They ran for a long time, guilt and rage giving them strength. Neither spoke, and they stopped to rest only occasionally. A short distance from the settlement, Brennus at last slowed down and came to a halt. Even the dogs seemed glad of an opportunity to rest. But his cousin kept running.

‘Brac, stop!’

‘Why? They might still be fighting!’

‘And arrive completely winded? What damn use would that be?’ Brennus breathed deeply, calming himself. ‘Always go into combat prepared.’

Reluctantly Brac walked back to where the big man was standing, feeling the edge on a spear tip.

‘This is good enough for a boar,’ said Brennus, baring his teeth savagely. ‘Should kill a bastard Roman or two.’

Brac spat on the ground in agreement, checking every arrow tip was well attached. Then he looked up. ‘Ready, cousin?’

Brennus nodded proudly. It was at times like this that a warrior knew who would stand by him. But a knot of fear was forming in his stomach. Terrified for his family’s safety, Brennus also wanted to protect Brac from danger. As Conall had done for him.

They moved off at a slow trot, concentrating on their surroundings, wary of possible ambush. Following paths familiar to both, they soon reached the edge of the trees. Already it was obvious something was wrong. Summer was a busy time of the year, yet there was nobody out hunting or picking fallen wood, no children playing in the shade.

The sight that greeted Brennus would haunt him forever. Past strips of cultivated land running up to the forest, his village was in...
In this scene, one of the main heroes, Brennus the Gaul, is returning from a hunting trip with Brac, his young cousin. It becomes clear that the Romans have attacked their village. It’s an important part of the book, because Brennus’ life is to change utterly in the hour that follows. Thereafter, his path takes him to Rome, and to the gladiator school where he will meet Romulus, the boy slave, who becomes his protégé and friend. However, the scars of what happen to his family haunt Brennus forever. They also help to take him on a great journey, one that has never been taken before by one of his tribe, or indeed by anyone in Rome. Together with Romulus, Brennus travels to Parthia under the Roman general Crassus. After a heavy defeat at Carrhae in 53 BC, he and his comrades become the Forgotten Legion, and are sent to Margiana (modern day Turkmenistan/Afghanistan). This story has its basis in real fact. Until The Forgotten Legion, few have ever dared to write about what might have happened to the soldiers who were sent further than perhaps any others in the history of the Roman Empire.
Learn more about the book and author at Ben Kane's website and blog.

Writers Read: Ben Kane.

My Book, The Movie: The Forgotten Legion trilogy.

Visit the complete list of books in the Page 69 Test Series.

--Marshal Zeringue