My Blog

Assassin's Creed Odyssey - Festive Prize Draw!

posted Dec 9, 2018, 4:20 AM by Gordon Doherty   [ updated Dec 18, 2018, 2:10 AM ]

Ho, Ho, How's about a signed first edition paperback of Assassin's Creed Odyssey, the novelisation of the hit game?

I've got 3 copies to give away, and I'll sign and dedicate it to you (or to someone you might want to gift it to).
Fancy it? Just fill your email address in the box  opposite and hit 'Enter now!'. 

***Competition closed on 17th Dec 2018***.

That's it. Good luck and have a great festive break!

Legionary Goodie Bag

posted Aug 22, 2018, 10:21 AM by Gordon Doherty   [ updated Dec 9, 2018, 5:19 AM ]

Roll up! Roll up! Free stuff! 

To celebrate the release of Legionary: The Blood Road, I've put together an exclusive goodie bag - and one lucky reader out there can have it all!

What's in the goodie bag?

How do I enter? Just six quick steps:

Entries close on 10th Sept 2018. Good luck!
The goodie bag!

The signed artwork
The trailer vid, complete with the original score

Author Q&A with Nick Brown

posted Aug 21, 2018, 1:49 AM by Gordon Doherty

I'm delighted to host Nick Brown - top author, and easily one of the most helpful and pleasant guys I've met in literary circles - onto my blog today. I was intrigued to hear that he has branched out from his acclaimed historical fiction roots to launch a brand new fantasy novel 'Marik's Way'. So I invited him to do a Q&A session here to find out a little bit more about his new work and his views on writing fiction in general. There's some potentially stellar (pun fully intended) news in here too. Enjoy!

For those who don't know his background: Nick grew up in Norfolk and later studied history at the University of Sussex. In 2000 he embarked on PGCE course at the University of Exeter and began a career as a teacher of humanities and English. After ten years of teaching in England and Poland, he became a full-time writer in 2011 with the publication of The Siege. Since then five more Agent of Rome novels have followed. Nick is married and lives in the fine city of Norwich. 

Now, on with the Q&A...

Gordon: When did you know that you wanted to be an author?
Nick: I had dabbled since childhood but didn’t really take it seriously until after university and in fact I began with screenwriting. My first novel was science fiction and – if I’m honest – probably not very good. In fact, I seem to remember a couple of literary agents telling me exactly that! But it did get me hooked and I eventually focused on historical fiction with what would eventually become Agent of Rome.  

Gordon: What inspired you to write Marik’s Way?
Nick: I hadn’t actually read any fantasy for a few years but then a good friend of mine introduced me to current authors like Joe Abercrombie and Patrick Rothfuss. I suppose it opened my eyes again to the infinite possibilities of fantasy and I liked the idea of writing without the limitations of history or contemporary reality. As with Agent of Rome, I wanted to set up a character with a lot of potential for adventures of various kinds and I eventually settled on the concept of ‘Jack Reacher with a sword’! Marik is a quite conventional hero in some ways but he has a troubled past that drives him on to try and do good. 

Gordon: You are best known for your works of pacy and gripping historical fiction, so how did you find this switch into the fantasy genre?
Nick: The most obvious difference is the freedom I mentioned earlier; the flip side of which is the lack of existing material for the story. It really is a blank slate and of course there is the additional challenge of creating an entirely new environment. Having now worked on dozens of different projects as a freelance writer, I felt reasonably confident in my ‘world-building’ skills so I really just started writing and later ensured that all the detail was integrated and coherent. Having said that, I definitely used some of what I’ve learned about ancient societies to describe an ostensibly fantastical world. It’s actually a fairly gritty, realistic type of fantasy with no dwarves or magic – yet.
Gordon: If you could sell this book in one sentence what would it be?
Nick: At the risk of repeating myself – ‘Jack Reacher with a sword.’

Gordon: What are you up to next? Will we see any more sci-fi from you?
Nick: No immediate plans for any futuristic shorts or novels though I have recently had a script optioned by some Canadian producers and that is very much sci-fi. It’s early days but watch this space. As ever, I’m working on various freelance projects to pay the bills and then there is the small matter of the seventh – and last – Agent of Rome book to finish. 

Gordon: Who is your biggest inspiration? 
Nick: In the fantasy genre, it still has to be J.R.R. Tolkien. In terms of really transporting the reader and conjuring a fully-realised world, he remains the master. Authors like Patrick Rothfuss possess a similar skill but Tolkien was also so brilliant at crafting compelling plots. In terms of writing style, I am a huge fan of Michael Connelly and Robert Harris – both are so dynamic and precise. 

Gordon: Why should readers try Marik’s Way?
Nick: Although it’s a different genre, I believe it features the same elements of action, adventure, mystery and humour that some may know from Agent of Rome. Hopefully, I’ve also managed to create an exciting, convincing new setting for the story to unfold. 

Gordon: Thanks, Nick. It's always really interesting to understand the psyche of a fellow writer - sometimes reassuringly familiar and sometimes horizon-expandingly different. Some really interesting stuff in there! 

The Dogs of War

posted Aug 16, 2018, 9:09 AM by Gordon Doherty   [ updated Dec 9, 2018, 5:27 AM ]

When writing, I aim to provoke within myself the kind of emotions I want my readers to feel. Terror and horror have to be two of the most powerful emotions, and there was one scene in Legionary: The Blood Road that had cold shivers racing across my skin as I typed. Pavo and Sura are on the run, hiding out in the wilds with their Claudian comrades. They think they have given their darkest enemy the slip, and then, one night, this happens...

Pavo peered through the blackness towards the nightmarish scene at the treeline: one of the Claudia sentries watching the dell’s edge now lay on his back, the snow around him black with blood. A nightmarish shape hovered over him on all fours, jerking and shuddering, pulling sinews from his belly. He remembered stories he had been told as a child: of forest demons, of creatures that lived in darkness and feasted on the flesh of men. For a moment, he felt like a helpless boy. He took a half-step forward to see better, to be sure… then stepped on a twig somewhere beneath the snow.

The creature’s head swung round, ears pricked up, staring at Pavo. Pavo stared back, seeing the spiked collar on the thing's neck, the metal plate armour on its huge chest. The creature's lips peeled back in a low growl, fangs wet with saliva and blood. Now he understood what it was: a Molossian hound.

A dozen more prowled into view and padded forward. They were surrounded.

*SHUDDER*, eh?


The Molossian hounds only play a small part in the story, but I thought they merited a little attention here - not least to show that they are more than just the demonic creatures from the scene above. They are actually noble animals with a long and distinguished history.

This ancient and now extinct breed of hound was once bred in southern Europe. Described as having a wide, short muzzle and a heavy dewlap (skin around the neck), they were employed by man long before the days of the Roman Empire - by the Greeks, the Assyrians and probably even by the Bronze Age Sumerians. It was the Molossi - a Greek kingdom founded by King Molossus, allegedly the grandchild of Achilles  - who gave the dogs their name. Molossi lands stretched from north of Mount Pindus to the headwaters of the Thyamis river, on the Greek mainland, opposite Corfu. They adopted and trained the hounds for herding and for fending off cattle thieves or bandits.

Writing during the Roman Republic era, Polybius writes of generals tying pots of Greek fire to the backs of dogs and sending them running - ablaze - at enemy cavalry. They would run under the horses, causing the riders to be thrown. Cunning and extremely cruel in equal measures.


It was probably Marcus Aurelius who first formally employed the breed (known to the Romans as Canis Molossus) in legionary warfare,  often equipping them in protective spiked metal collars and mail armour, and training them to run in attack formations. The Molossus was used to fight tigers, lions, elephants, and men in battle. They were a common participant in the gladiatorial arena too.

*Update* - it seems the Marcus Aurelius link is disputed. Some claim it is perpetuated myth, others are not so sure dogs were ever used by the Romans as anything more than camp watchhounds.
So, I had a hunt around for some source evidence. The ancient texts do not explicitly detail Marcus Aurelius' use of 'War Dogs', but I did find this very interesting section of the Marcus Aurelius column in Rome, a fantastic monument that depicts his Danubian campaigns:

Left: A section of the Marcus Aurelius column in Rome
Right: A close up of... the war dogs in battle (from big pic - top, just left of centre)?

Anyway, moving on...


"Never, with them on guard," says Virgil, "need you fear for your stalls a midnight thief, or onslaught of wolves, or Iberian brigands at your back."

Aristotle mentions them in The History of Animals, praising their bravery and physical superiority.


Later breeding saw the arrival of the Alaunt - so called because they were favoured by the Alani people (who originated on the Eurasian Steppe, but moved westwards into Europe during the Great Migration). Modern mastiffs are probably descended from these large and formidable creatures.

Now, some visual tidbits:

Left: Fragment of a relief from Nineveh circa 7th c BC, showing Molossian hunting hounds and Assyrian warriors.
Centre: A Roman officer holds a Molossus (or a close relative breed) at bay as his army readies for battle.
Right: Just look at how powerfully built this creature is - it must have been an excellent form of security and a deadly opponent!

In the arena: molossians tackle a tiger for the amusement of the crowds.

Read all about it! - in 'The Blood Road'


Animals in the Military, Kistler

De Re Militari, Vegetius

The Marcus Aurelius column, Rome

A Crimson Peace

posted Jul 19, 2018, 2:21 AM by Gordon Doherty   [ updated Dec 9, 2018, 5:29 AM ]

***Warning*** If you haven't yet read Legionary: The Blood Road, there are spoilers ahead (so perhaps bookmark this page to read later if you have still to read the book)

On the 3rd October 382 AD, after nearly six years of battle, treachery and broken oaths, the Eastern Roman Empire and the Goths met - for once with swords sheathed - in a parley tent somewhere in Thracia. At long, long last, peace talks began...

The nature of this peace deal is hotly-debated right to this day, and rightly so - because the end of the Gothic War was effectively the catalyst for many torrid events that would shake Europe for centuries afterwards - the rise of the Visigoths, Alaric, the sack of Rome in 410 AD… the Fall of the West in 476 AD can even be attributed to the seminal talks in 382 AD. So let's look a little more closely at what exactly happened that fateful day...

The Goths (left) and the Romans (middle) were war-weary. Over the six years of the struggle (right), so many had died and to no avail.

How did the peace talks come about?
Did it follow a Gothic capitulation in battle, or was it a pragmatic end to the war agreed by two exhausted sides well-aware that they were locked in an unwinnable struggle? What evidence we have suggests that the empire was now desperate for the war to end by any means necessary. This is evident in the changing tone of the orator Themistius' speeches: in the earlier years of the war he boomed ‘The Goths will quake. Our mighty soldier-emperor will draw every able man together, our miners will bring iron for them and we will slaughter the barbarian!’, only to change tack in 381, preaching instead that ‘It is an emperor’s job to govern, not to fight...' in an effort to manage the expectations of the imperial populace who had witnessed many reverses against the horde. After the talks, Themistius did the classic 'waving fist angrily after the bad man has vanished round the corner' routine, by claiming that during the peace talks, the Goths wept and clung to Emperor Theodosius’ knees, begging for mercy. In truth the Goths were still very potent at the time of the parley, and in any case, Emperor Theodosius was faraway in Constantinople at the time of the meeting, so it is highly unlikely that they were hugging his knees from (unless they had unfeasibly long arms).

Who oversaw these crucial discussions?
We have only sketchy details of those present. It seems that General Saturninus and Richomeres were there on the Roman side. There is no record of a named leader speaking for the Goths. Indeed, the title ‘Iudex’ (judge or dictator) was never again used by any Gothic force. However, we know of two prominent Goths, present in the horde at that time, who would go on to become rather famous in future years: Alaric and Fravitta. Given Alaric’s tender years (he would only have been a young teenager at the time), it is unlikely to have been him. Fravitta would go on to display a very pro-Roman attitude in the years to follow, so it seems more plausible that he could have been the man negotiating for the Goths.

Were all of the Goths represented at the talks, or just some?
We also do not know how far-reaching the deal was: did it encompass every Gothic tribe roaming in imperial territory, or was it a minor treaty agreed with mere splinters of the Gothic number? The fact that the war did not resume afterwards leads me to believe that it covered most of – or at a least a critical mass of – the Goths in Thracia. Of course, we must remember that great numbers of Goths remained north of the Danube, under the Hunnic yoke (and these subjugated tribes would later become the Ostrogoths).

Where did the talks take place?
Much like the Battle of Ad Salices, nobody knows for certain where these talks happened other than that it was somewhere in Thracia. Given that the Goths were 'compelled' to take part in the talks, it seems reasonable to assume that some
feature might have had a part to play, 'penning' them in somewhere. Perhaps they were driven against the slopes of the Haemus Mountain range? Or maybe all the way back to the River Danube, where their old homelands on the northern banks were now overrun with marauding Huns. In The Blood Road, I speculate that they were 'pinned' against the Black Sea coast, somewhere near the ancient town of Dionysopolis. In truth, it doesn't really matter where they met. What really matters is what they agreed to…

What exactly did the Romans and the Goths agree to that day? 
The exact nature of the peace deal is a highly-contentious matter. There are two broad camps in the debate:

Some historians, such as Halsall and Wyman, claim that the peace deal came in the form of a ‘coloni’ arrangement – i.e. a full surrender of the Goths, who went on to become fully integrated Roman citizens, paying taxes and serving in the legions as regular soldiers. Other historians such as Gibbon, Heather, MacDowall and Friel, argue that the peace deal took the form of a ‘foedus’ – i.e. more like a treaty between equals. In this arrangement, the Goths were not full imperial subjects, and were exempt from taxes. Their only obligation was to muster for war when the Roman Emperor called upon them, but not as legions: instead, they would march with their own tribal generals, retaining their own military traditions. More, they were granted Roman lands to farm as their own. Here are Gibbon's words on the matter of what the Goths got out of the deal:

  • “They (the Goths) obtained, the sole possession of the villages and districts assigned for their residence; they still cherished and propagated their native manners and language; asserted... the freedom of their domestic government; and acknowledged the sovereignty of the emperor, without submitting to the inferior jurisdiction of the laws and magistrates of Rome…”
  • “The hereditary chiefs of the tribes and families were still permitted to command their followers in peace and war”
  • “An army of forty thousand Goths was maintained for the perpetual service of the empire of the East; and those haughty troops, who assumed the title of Foederati, or allies, were distinguished by their gold collars, liberal pay, and licentious privileges”
  • “Their (the Goth farmers') future industry was encouraged by an exemption from tribute, during a certain term of years”

If true, this was a watershed moment – the first time in the empire’s history that it had settled an entire people within its borders and allowed them almost complete autonomy. 

This second theory is certainly more compelling from the storyteller’s point of view, but that alone is not what guides me to favour this option. Surely the empire – having suffered defeat after defeat to the horde since the Battle of Adrianople – would have been under huge pressure to agree peace, even at a high cost? The 4th century AD Bishop Synesius writes that the post-382 AD Goths settled in Thracia were 'brought up differently, in an un-Roman fashion'. Pacatus, the Latin panegyrist, describes how the Goths of fighting age were mobilised en-masse as opposed to being stationed in barracks like regular legions. Heather explains how Gothic bands were attested as serving in subsequent campaigns, but were not listed in the Notitia Dignitatum (a collection of sources detailing the imperial regiments of the later 4th century AD), which further suggests they were mustered and disbanded as and when needed when the emperor called upon them. Halsall – firmly in the ‘coloni’ camp – even concedes that there were irregularities about the Gothic terms and that they might not have been required to pay taxes 'in the normal way'. 
In the Legionary series, I firmly plump for the foedus theory. 

Whether you agree with my take on this matter or not, it is indisputable that the Goths settled under this peace deal retained enough of their identity and culture to become, over time, the Visigoths. The rest, as they say, is history...

Timeline of the Gothic War

posted Jul 15, 2018, 4:41 AM by Gordon Doherty   [ updated Dec 9, 2018, 5:30 AM ]

The Gothic War - a brutal struggle between the Eastern Roman Empire and an entire people fighting for their very existence. The timeline below charts the key 'beats' to this historic war: the rise and fall of emperors, the chaos of battle and the journey of the XI Claudia through it all...

***Warning: series spoilers ahead***

Late 376 AD:
 The Huns surged across the great steppe towards Europe, in what we now call the Great Migration. The Gothic tribes lay directly in the path of these warlike horsemen. So, united under the banner of a Iudex (a judge or dictator) named Fritigern, most of the Gothic groupings travelled to the banks of the Danube, seeking peaceful entry into the Eastern Roman Empire. They probably numbered at least one hundred thousand people.

Left: The Huns came like a storm from the great steppe...
Middle: The Goths were in their path, and had no option but to flee across the Danube and into Roman lands.
Right: The refugees were placed in a temporary camp in Moesia Inferior (a province in the northern part of the Diocese of Thracia).

Early 377 AD: The Romans settled the Goths in a temporary camp somewhere in northern Thracia… then proceeded to make an absolute mess of matters. The odious officer, Lupicinus, oversaw severe maltreatment of what was effectively a refugee population. Tales of his soldiers offering the starving Goths only rotting dog meat, in exchange for their children to sell as slaves, have stained the history books ever since. Inevitably, the refugees broke out in revolt, and the Gothic War began.

Left: The Romans made a mess of the refugee crisis.
Right: Revolt! The Gothic War begins...

Spring 377 AD: The Goths now moved around Thracia as a horde - self-sufficient and with a colossal army that dwarfed the legions present in Thracia. Emperor Valens, engaged on the Persian front, despatched to Thracia what legions he could spare.

Valens managed to conclude a truce on the Persian frontier, allowing him to concentrate fully on troubled Thracia and the Gothic War.

Early summer 377 AD: The Gothic horde rebuffed the empire's first attempt to meet them in battle at Ad Salices (the 'town by the willows'). The result was technically a draw, and this left the Goths penned into the northern part of Thracia, behind the Haemus Mountains, while the bruised legions held Thracia's southern tracts.

Autumn 377 AD: A peace was concluded between Rome and Persia, rendering the eastern frontier stable for now. Emperor Valens set about rounding up the rest of his Persian frontier forces - elite legions and crack palace cavalry - in order to personally lead them to Thracia to end the Gothic War. But this would take time, and in the interim, he despatched one of his best generals, Saturninus, to the troubled land to make sure the Goths stayed penned beyond the Haemus range.

Late 377 AD: Saturninus established stony forts and redoubts in the five key Haemus Mountain passes. He managed to marshal his scant forces and hold these passes for a time… but eventually the Goths overran the blockades and spilled into central and southern Thracia. The legions and the Roman people were forced to take refuge in southern Thracia's high-walled cities.

Left: The Haemus Mountains were like a barrier, penning the Goths in northern Thracia.
Right: But the Goths broke through and marauded around central and southern Thracia.

Early 378 AD: With the Romans holed-up behind their city walls, A Western General, Sebastianus, ventured out into the Goth-ridden countryside to try to curtail the destruction. He lead a tiny crack force of legionaries in a new-style guerrilla warfare - striking at Gothic camps in the night, executing hit-and-run raids on their supplies.

Left: Thracia has been overrun by the Goths
Centre: A legionary can only look on from the stout walls of Constantinople as the Goths ravage the Thracian countryside.
Right: General Sebastianus struck back with what little forces were available, leading guerrilla-style attacks on the Gothic camps.

Late Summer 378 AD: Emperor Valens arrives in Thracia at last, with his finest regiments in tow. They march to a site north of the city of Adrianople and meet the horde on a baking hot summer's day. The Battle of Adrianople turned the golden fields red, and the result has echoed through history as one of the worst defeats ever suffered by the empire. Emperor Valens died in the fray, along with two-thirds of the Eastern Army.

Left: The Battle of Adrianople - one of the darkest days the empire ever experience.
Middle: The battle turns and Emperor Valens senses disaster.
Right: Glory to Wodin! The Goths have smashed the army of the Eastern Roman Empire and are masters of Thracia!

Early 379 AD: A new emperor rose to the Eastern Throne. Theodosius I took control of a realm in turmoil. Thracia was virtually a Gothic land, and the Romans were now the refugees, with just the well-walled cities of the empire serving as islands of sanctuary. Theodosius set about reforming and rejuvenating the broken eastern legions, recruiting slaves and criminals and recalling broken old veterans. He did achieve some success thanks to General Modares and his small band of hand-picked forces, who defeated a significant wing of the horde.

Summer 380 AD: However, the first major meeting of the Eastern legions and the horde (and Theodosius' first chance to prove his mettle as a warrior-emperor) took place somewhere in Macedonia, probably near Scupi. Fritigern's forces routed Theodosius' army, and all the rejuvenation efforts were undone.

Left: Theodosius set out to rejuvenate the broken Eastern Empire.
Right: He led them to war to avenge the defeat at Adrianople... only to suffer another monumental reverse.

Autumn 380 AD: A major split occured in the leadership of the horde. One half left the East behind, heading West in search of fresh spoils there. But Emperor Gratian's Western legions stood against them near the city of Sirmium on the east-west border, and achieved a long-needed victory.
The Blood Road follows the Gothic War to its gory climax.


381 AD: Gratian's forces roved east, in search of the remaining half of the horde. A game of manoeuvring and skirmishing ensued - a struggle that lasted all year and stretched across Thracia and Macedonica. During this period, Iudex Fritigern died.

382 AD: The legions gained the upper hand and forced the Goths into a retreat, driving them into northern Thracia. Cornered, the Goths had no option but to sue for peace. The nature of the peace deal would define all of Europe for centuries to come


Assassin's Creed... and the war that tore Ancient Greece apart

posted Jun 28, 2018, 7:42 AM by Gordon Doherty   [ updated Dec 9, 2018, 5:30 AM ]

I've been quiet for a while, but - by all the gods - I've been busy. This autumn, my top secret project will finally see the light of day!

Late last year, Ubisoft approached me with a view to me novelising the next blockbuster instalment of their hit gaming series 'Assassin's Creed'. Assassin's Creed Odyssey will be set in the cauldron of the Peloponnesian War: Sparta vs Athens, a brutal struggle that redefined warfare. The great clash between these two ancient superpowers has intrigued me since I was a boy. How could I say no?

The Assassin's Creed universe is deep and complex, with a long and successful series of games and accompanying novels. It was a daunting but tantalising prospect to work with such a long-established and well-loved franchise. The experience throughout has been hugely enjoyable: collaborating with the team at Ubisoft and Penguin has honed my skills as a storyteller and allowed me to experience a really immersive, team-based creative process.

The storyline of the novel is an absolute rip-roaring adventure, and while I don't want to give too much away, here's the official teaser:

Greece, 5th century BCE. Kassandra is a mercenary of Spartan blood, sentenced to death by her family, cast out into exile. Now she will embark on an epic journey to become a legendary hero - and uncover the truth about her mysterious lineage.

Get ready for Odyssey: journey deeper in the world of Assassin's Creed in the official novel of the highly anticipated new game, coming October 2018.

The novelisation of Assassin's Creed: Odyssey is available now!

Legionary: The Blood Road

posted Jun 28, 2018, 7:11 AM by Gordon Doherty   [ updated Dec 9, 2018, 5:31 AM ]

The Official Trailer:

381 AD: The Gothic War draws to a brutal climax, and the victor's name will be written in blood...

The great struggle between the Eastern Roman Empire and the Gothic Horde rumbles into its fifth year. It seems that there can be no end to the conflict, for although the Goths are masters of the land, they cannot topple the last of the imperial cities. But heralds bring news that might change it all: Emperor Gratian readies to lead his Western legions into the fray, to turn matters on their head, to crush the horde and save the East!

The men of the XI Claudia legion long for their homeland’s salvation, but Tribunus Pavo knows these hopes drip with danger. For he and his soldiers are Gratian’s quarry as much as any Goth. The road ahead will be fraught with broken oaths, enemy blades... and tides of blood.

The Scourge of Thracia - Il Flagello Dell'Oriente

posted Feb 8, 2018, 7:45 AM by Gordon Doherty   [ updated Feb 8, 2018, 7:45 AM ]
Delighted to see that Legionary: The Scourge of Thracia, has been launched in Italy, thanks to Newton Compton Editori.
The Legionary series has picked up quite a following in the homeland of the Roman Empire, and the even better news is that the next instalment is already being prepared for publication too.
Thanks to all the Italian readers out there for making this a success, and to all my readers in any language!


Felice di vedere che legionari: The Scourge del quartiere è stato lanciato in Italia, grazie a Newton Compton Editori.
La serie Legionario ha raccolto un bel seguito nella patria dell'Impero Romano, e la notizia ancora migliore è che la prossima puntata è già in fase di preparazione per la pubblicazione anche.
Grazie a tutti i lettori italiani là fuori per rendere questo un successo, e per tutti i miei lettori in tutte le lingue!

'Tis the Season for Swords & Sandals

posted Dec 17, 2017, 4:05 AM by Gordon Doherty   [ updated Dec 9, 2018, 5:31 AM ]

Just a quick festive newsletter to let you know the latest in Doherty-world. I'm writing like a dervish, and balancing five projects at the moment. There's quite a big backlog of books ready or nearly ready to go but just awaiting placement (traditional publishing or self-publishing), so I'm hoping 2018 will be a prolific one release-wise. So what's on the go?

The Gothic War is shuddering towards a frantic finale and the net is closing in on Pavo as old enemies approach from every direction. I've only written one-third of the first draft, but it's like settling into a comfy old soldier tunic and boots. I have packed rather a lot of gutter humour into the draft so far... oh, and a fair few horrific deaths :-) The likelihood is I'll have this novel ready for summer (ish) next year.

Forged in Fire
The talented Ms. Prue Batten asked Simon Turney and me if we'd like to put together a boxed set of books in time for Christmas. We said yes, and here it is!

​The fire could be viewed as a) a furious blazing inferno of battle and destruction or b) a cosy Christmas log-fire by the tree. You might have read Strategos: Born in the Borderlands already, but if not, this boxed set might be for you - as it comes with Simon's Roman Epic 'Marius Mules' and Prue's excellent Byzantine Tryptich Chronicles opener 'Tobias'. All for the price of a coffee and a cake. Check it out here.

Empires of Bronze
So the Hittite saga I've been bleating on about for a while now? No, my dog hasn't eaten the script - it's just taking its time to find a home as mentioned. The series, when it arrives, will be known as 'Empires of Bronze', and it will catapult you back to an age before Rome had risen, before classical Greece too. To an age of the first great civilisations and ferocious heroes... and the odd cataclysmic battle here and there. Hoping this will see the light of day in 2018, and when it does, I'll be able to reveal much more about it. I might be completely biased but I believe it is going to be a real thrill-ride of a read - a bit like this pic, even:

Inline image 7

Joint Project with Secret Agent Turney
When the fox flies at midnight and the blue-eyed goat sings soprano... okay, we dispensed with the super-secrecy a while ago: Simon and I have nearly completed a trilogy set in the time of Constantine the Great, during his rise to power. It's a real pow-wow of powerful personas, me taking up the mantle as Constantine and Simon as his great rival, Maxentius. It's Roman, it's written by me and Simon... therefore, as well as having a high number of fart jokes in it, it also promises to be another cracker. Fingers crossed and this might land in 2018 too.

Super-secret project #2
It's super-secret, and super-exciting. All I can say is: watch this space!

So that's what's going on with me. Now, it's time for a break, a mince pie and a beer :)
All the very best to you and your families for the festive period and best of health for 2018.

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