The Shield of Rome
216 BC. The two great super powers of the ancient world, Rome and Carthage are engaged in a life and death struggle to control the known world. Hannibal, the legendary Carthaginian general leads his army across the Alps into Italy and inflicts three mighty disasters upon the poorly led Romans.
After the battle of Cannae, Rome's worst ever defeat in her history, it seems inevitable that the proud Roman republic will fall. In Rome only one man, Quintus Fabius Maximus seems to have the strength to guide the panic stricken city through the crisis.
His heroic spirit rallies his countrymen and a divided Senate but his life is put in danger when a ruthless assassin arrives in Rome with orders to kill Fabius.

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The Fortune of Carthage
Spring 207 BC. Rome and Carthage have been at war for eleven years. Rome has endured the unendurable but as the pulse of the nation beats low, a new call arises that fills every Roman heart with foreboding. An old peril is approaching swiftly from the north to burst in tempest on the wasted fields of Italy. Hasdrubal, son of Hamilcar has crossed the Alps and is intent on joining his brother, Hannibal and deciding the greatest war of the classical age once and for all.
Near Rome, Marcus an ordinary farmer is caught up in a terrible crime that plunges his family into crisis. In his search for justice Marcus slowly begins to realise that his families fate has become entwined with that of the Republic.

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Devotio: The House of Mus
Spring 298 BC. Rome is still a small, unsophisticated and upcoming nation of primitive farmers and citizens struggling to survive in central Italy. Bitter and deadly enemies surround the youthful republic. It is the period of true Roman greatness, an age of loyalty to land, city and the old Roman gods. On the Liris frontier a hard fought peace exists between the hardy Roman colonists and the fiercely independent Samnite mountain tribes.
In the Roman colony of Sora, Gaius, an eighteen year old farmer's son has little inkling that his life is about to utterly change. As tragedy strikes he is forced on a journey that will lead him to the House of Mus and set him on the path to becoming one of the young republic's greatest soldiers.
As Rome prepares for the decisive battle for control of the Italian peninsula at a place called Sentinum, Gaius will witness an act of supreme Roman patriotism, an act of personal devotion that will leave him the sole heir to a noble and heroic  tradition.
The House of Mus is the first instalment of the Devotio series.

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Caledonia - Book 1 of the Veteran of Rome series
Autumn 83 AD. At the battle of Mons Graupius the Roman army led by Governor Agricola destroys the Caledonian confederation that has formed to oppose the Roman invasion.
In the aftermath of the battle a Caledonian boy reveals a secret that has the potential to change Roman strategy in the north forever. Marcus, an auxiliary Roman cavalry soldier is ordered to investigate and promptly disappears into the remote trackless wastes of the north.
In Rome his estranged father and retired Legionary, Corbulo sets out to find his only son and bring him home. So starts an adventure that will take Corbulo to the remotest parts of Caledonia and plunge him into the low intensity conflict that is raging between the scattered Caledonian war bands and the Roman forts and garrisons of Agricola's occupying army.

Corbulo will need all his wits, courage and experience to fend off hostile and proud Barbarian warriors, a gang of murderous mercenaries and the lure of a dazzling prize.
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Hibernia - Book 2 of the Veteran of Rome series
Spring 86. All is not well in the Roman province of Britannia. Fierce and swift moving Hibernian pirates and slavers are harassing the western coasts of the island province and within the upper echelons of the Roman military and civilian establishment there are rumblings of discontent against the tyrannical rule of emperor, Domitian.
In the burgeoning Roman settlement of Londinium, Corbulo, retired veteran of twenty five years service in the Twentieth Legion, has become a successful small businessman and built a new life for himself and his family. But when his closest friend and fellow veteran of the Twentieth goes missing Corbulo is drawn into a web of conspiracy and danger that turns him into a wanted man.
Chased across the length of Britannia by the authorities and an old foe, Corbulo is forced into re-enlisting into a Roman battle group whose commander has received orders to cross the western sea and occupy Tara, capital of Hibernia. As the Roman expedition lands on Hibernian soil Roman arms will soon be tested to their limit and Corbulo in a bid to clear his name and save his family, will find himself travelling west to the edge of the world.
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Britannia - Book 3 of the Veteran of Rome series
89 AD. On the island province of Britannia, Rome is strengthening its grip on the populous and fertile south, but in the mountainous-north, rebellion is brewing amongst the restless and unhappy tribes. Led by their druids and a high king claiming a proud lineage, the Brigantes and Caledonian tribes are willing to risk war against the might of the Legions.
At the Roman outpost at Carlisle, Marcus and the 2nd Batavian Auxiliary Cohort, tasked with keeping an eye on the Britons in their district, soon find themselves embroiled in a bloody, cunning and increasingly ruthless insurgency.
Meanwhile in the rapidly Romanizing south, Corbulo, retired veteran of twenty five year’s service with the Twentieth Legion, has finally retired to a comfortable country life. But when a long forgotten acquaintance re-opens a painful episode from his past, Corbulo and his family are forced onto a journey that will eventually lead them towards disaster.
Enslaved by a ruthless merchant and taken north into the wild trackless wastes of Caledonia, Corbulo must escape and try to find out what has happened to his missing wife and daughter. As the trail leads him across southern Britannia and towards the heart of the rebellion, Corbulo will soon find himself forced to make the most terrible choice a father has ever had to make.

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Hyperborea - Book 4 of the Veteran of Rome series
Winter AD 103. Marcus, veteran of twenty three years service in the 2nd Batavian Auxiliary Cohort, finally returns home to Britannia from serving with his unit on the Dacian frontier, to find that much has changed on his family farm.

Fourteen years have passed since his father's murder but the wounds are still deep and painful. So when a new copy of his father's will surfaces, Marcus embarks on a seemingly hopeless quest to honour and fulfill Corbulo's final wish, an instruction to be buried alongside his old Legionary comrades, on the battlefield, where he once fought against Boudicca, the barbarian queen.
Dogged, at every turn, by his own and his father's past, Marcus must go in search of Emogene, the druid who holds all the answers. As the trail leads him to the sprawling, booming city of Londinium Marcus makes an astonishing discovery that changes everything. Faced with a herculean challenge, Marcus must
decide how far he will go for honour, and whether to follow Emogene to the secretive and mythical land of Hyperborea, an epic sea voyage across the Atlantic ocean, that no Roman sailor dares make.

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Germania - Book 5 of the Veteran of Rome series

Summer 105 AD. There has been no news from Marcus for over a year. On the Isle of Vectis, Marcus’s family are beginning to despair that he will ever return from his epic sea voyage across the Atlantic Ocean.
At the Legionary Fortress of Deva Victrix, home of the Twentieth Legion,Marcus’s nineteen year old son, Fergus, a soldier, dreams of becoming like his grandfather, Corbulo; a hero of the Legion.
And soon opportunity beckons. In faraway Dacia, war has broken out once more between proud Decebalus, King of the Dacians, and the Roman Empire. The Twentieth Legion, is ordered to send a vexillatio to the front, and dispatches Fergus’s company to the Danube.
But with winter intervening to halt campaigning, Fergus finds himself posted to the Legionary fortress at Carnuntum, manning the Danube frontier and participating in an endless, brutal and savage fight for survival against Germanic war-bands who are raiding Roman land.
In deepest winter, Fergus’s company is chosen to escort a Roman diplomatic mission, led by the Legate Hadrian. Journeying far beyond the Imperial borders and deep into Germania, the expedition heads for the sacred grove of the Vandals. And in the snowy, forested wilderness and bitter cold of the Sudeten mountains, Fergus will discover what it truly means to become a hero.

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The Dacian War - Book 6 of the Veteran of Rome series

Early autumn 105 AD. As the clouds of war gather on the Danube frontier, Marcus, retired veteran of the 2nd Batavian auxiliary cohort faces a renewed and catastrophic threat to his family and his farm on the isle of Vectis. Powerful, vengeful forces and a dangerous, resourceful opponent are stalking his family home, intent on taking it from him. Forced onto the run to protect a secret that his enemies wish to use against him, Marcus heads for Rome where he hopes to set matters right. But amongst the crime infested slums of the city and the magnificence and splendour of the Roman colosseum he will discover a different, unexpected path, one that will set him on the road to the very heart of absolute imperial power.
Spring 106 AD. Upper Pannonia. As the winter snows finally recede, Fergus, Marcus’s son and Corbulo’s grandson, now a junior officer in the Twentieth Legion, prepares to take part in Emperor Trajan’s Dacian war. As the Legions are ordered across the Danube frontier and into Dacia, the vexillation from the Twentieth will find itself at the sharp end of the war. Faced with fierce and desperate resistance, Fergus and his comrades must fight for their lives and the honour of their legionary banners. And as the Roman army advances deeper into the Dacian heartlands, Fergus’s skill and courage, fighting in the wild forests and beneath the walls of the lofty, impregnable Dacian mountain fortresses, will not go unnoticed by powerful, ambitious parties back in the empire.

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Armenia Capta - Book 7 of the Veteran of Rome series

July 113 AD. Seven peaceful years have passed since the successful conclusion of emperor Trajan’s Dacian war. Marcus, now a Roman senator and loyal if lukewarm supporter of the powerful senatorial faction committed to world conquest, finds meaning in his military charity work and seeing his family grow and prosper.
But to the east in the Roman provinces bordering the mighty Parthian empire, trouble is brewing. The aging emperor Trajan has set his sights on the strategically important kingdom of Armenia and has resolved that nothing is going to stop him from waging a campaign of conquest on a scale not seen since Caesar’s Gallic wars.
Meanwhile Fergus, Marcus’s son and now head of security for Hadrian, the rising star and leader of the faction committed to retrenchment, becomes embroiled in a major conspiracy whose far reaching consequences will directly affect his family’s security and prosperity.
Summoned to the east and promoted to Prefect of the Seventh Numidian Auxiliary Ala, Fergus must turn his cavalrymen into the finest fighting force in the eastern armies and win back the favour of his patron if he wants to save his family from impending catastrophe.

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© 2017 William Kelso.