James Calbraith is a Poland-born Scottish writer, foodie, coffee-drinker and traveler.
It’s that time again – the premiere of the new volume is fast approaching, and the first marker of the book being ready for release is the map is now done.
There’s only one map this time – but one that shows more of the ancient world than any of the maps before – all of late Roman Gaul and Germania north of Augusta Treverorum.
This should tell you how much greater the scope of the story has become – the interests of Iutes are no longer confined to Britannia, they now enter into the power plays of the late Empire
“The Saxon Spears” got a nice review in this month’s Historical Novels Review – Historical Novel Society.
The book is well-written, and the story gains in interest as Ash matures (…) The action grows swift and tense as the plot develops, and Ash is a dimensional, relatable character (…) an intriguing, textured world that readers will want to explore further.
In “The Blood of the Iutes” the action moves from Britannia to northern Gaul and Germania, introducing a slew of new locations in what is now Belgium, northern France and western Germany.
TORNAC – Tornacum, Tournai
One of the oldest towns in Belgium, the first capital of the Salian Franks.
TRAIECT – Trajectum ad Mosam, Maastricht
Ancient crossing town on the Meuse River.
AKE – Aquae Grani, Aachen
Hot springs resort town, popular with the Legionnaires stationed at the Rhine. Later, capital of the Frankish Empire.
COLN – Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium, Cologne
Capital of the Germania Inferior province, the greatest city on the Roman Rhine.
TOLBIAC – Tolbiacum, Zulpich
A small crossroads town, with roads leading to every corner of Gaul. Place of many famous battles.
ICORIG – Icorgium, Junkerath
A small fortress, guarding an important pass into the Eifel Mountains.
TREVIR – Augusta Treverorum, Trier
The capital of all Gaul, seat of the Emperors.
Here it is – the first line of the first draft of “The Wrath of the Iutes”.
Hoping to keep up the current pace. If all goes well, Book 2 of The Song of Octa might be ready in mid-2021.
Timeline of events up to the beginning of The Blood of the Iutes:
(all dates AD) (contains SPOILERS)
388 – Imperator Magnus Maximus defeated and executed.
389 – Birth of Pascent
392 – Birth of Wortigern, son of Vitalinus.
396 – Birth of Hengist. Martinus dies in Gaul. His cult soon spreads to Britannia.
406 – Birth of Pefen
407 – Imperator Constantine III takes the Legions out of Britannia
409 – Ambrosius born to Aurelius, Governor of Britannia.
410 – Rome sacked for the first time, by Goths. Londin votes to leave the Roman Empire. Civil War begins.
411 – Constantine III defeated in Gaul. Some of his men, under Vitalinus, join General Constantius. Followers of Martinus establish a monastery on the Isle of Tanet.
413 – Wortigern marries Sevira, daughter of Imperator Magnus Maximus.
414 – General Constantius conquers Gaul. Vitalinus and his men are sent to quell rebellion of Bacauds in Armorica. Serfs of Britannia roused to rebellion by followers of Martinus.
415 – Battle of Wollop. Treaty of Sorbiodun ends the Civil War. Britannia split in two, with Aurelius as Dux of the Western half. Vitalinus invited to Britannia to deal with the serf rebels.
418 – Vitalinus suppresses the serf rebellion and is made Dux of the Eastern half of Britannia. Pascent granted Ariminum villa for his service.
423 – Eadgith born in Ariminum.
423–426 – Hengist fights in Frisia.
425 – Ash born in the Old Country. Vitalinus dies. Wortigern takes over as Dux and orders Comites to recruit German mercenaries for the island’s defence.
425-435 – Saxons arrive in the land of Regins and Trinowaunts; Gewisse arrive in the land of Cadwallons; Angles arrive in the land of Ikens.
427 – Aelle born to Pefen. Rhedwyn born in the Old Country.
428 – Iutes arrive in the land of Cants.
429 – Bishop Germanus travels to Britannia, bringing news of Pelagius’s trial and death.
436 – Aurelius dies. His son Ambrosius Aurelianus takes over as Dux. Pefen lands in the land of Regins and takes over an abandoned fortress of Anderitum.
437 – Haegel leads a Iute expedition to Meon.
SPOILERS FOR THE SAXON SPEARS:
439 – Pascent’s 50th birthday feast.
440 – Eadgith banished from Ariminum. Birth of Octa, son of Ash and Eadgith.
441 – Battle of Aelle’s Ford. Pascent and Catigern die. Iutes allowed to settle in selected villages.
443 – Battle of Saffron Valley, defeat of Aelle’s forest army. Iutes allowed to settle in further villages.
SPOILERS FOR THE SAXON KNIVES:
445 – Drust I invades the South. First Coup by Wortimer. Battle of Crei Ford. Iutes allowed to settle in Cantiaca. Birth of Croha.
449 – Bishop Germanus travels to Britannia for the second time, summoned by Wortimer. Wortigern excommunicated.
450 – Council of Sorbiodun. Wortimer’s Second Coup. Wortigern exiled to the West. The Great War with Heathens begins.
SPOILERS FOR THE SAXON MIGHT:
451 – In Battle of Maurica, Aetius defeats Attila’s Huns. Iutes pushed back to Tanet. Octa abducted from his village and taken to the West.
452 – Wortimer and Rhedwyn die. Birth of their daughter, Myrtle. Londin razed. Battle of Eobbasfleot ends the Great War with the Briton defeat. Octa returned to the East. Haesta rebels against Hengist. Iutes land on Wecta.
454 – Pefen dies in Anderitum. Aelle takes over as ruler of Saxons. Battle of Seal Isle. Eadgith dies. Haesta defeated and banished from Cantiaca. Aeric crowned the King of Iutes.
455 – Rome sacked for the second time, by Vandals.
457 – Hengist dies.
It’s not easy being the son of a king.
Octa never wanted to be a mighty warrior, or a great ruler of men – he’d much rather be a clerk or a priest – but he’s resigned to his destiny as the son and heir of the first king of the Iutes. There is only one problem: under his father’s peaceful reign, there aren’t many opportunities for a youth to gain experience in combat and leadership.
So when a Roman legate arrives in Britannia, for the first time in a generation, bringing dire news from across the Narrow Sea and requesting help in the coming clash between rival Imperators, Octa jumps on the chance to prove himself before his friends and his father – no matter the consequences…
THE BLOOD OF THE IUTES – BOOK ONE OF THE SONG OF OCTA – IS SCHEDULED FOR RELEASE ON DECEMBER 15TH!
I’m all but done with the first draft of the new book – should be another week or so. The Blood of Iutes is the first volume in the new Song of Octa trilogy, and the fourth in the overall saga of post-roman Britannia (I haven’t decided on the name yet!).
The story picks up some five years after the end of The Saxon Might, and focuses on a certain young man called Octa – no spoilers for those who haven’t read the previous books! (although if you know your early history of the Kingdom of Kent, you may have had some spoilers already…)
Soon, the preorder should go up on Amazon, but before then, here’s a peak at the cover:
Here’s a little bit of unexpected news about my old steampunk fantasy series, The Year of the Dragon.
I gathered all 8 books into one bundle – what they call on Kindle a “boxed set”, though there is no box, since it’s all virtual… And updated the previous 4-book bundles – or boxed sets – into the new Kindle format.
Everything else stays the same as previously, but if you’ve ever wondered what my first series of books was all about, and why it sometimes reached the tops of bestseller lists in US (a feat I’m still to repeat with Song of Ash!) you now have a chance to get into it. The Complete 1-8 Books Set costs £9.99, which I hope is a fair price for 8 full novels. All bundles are now in Kindle Unlimited, too, so they’re free if you’re a member.
There might be a promo or two in the pipeline over the summer, so stay tuned, and sign up to that newsletter for alerts!
There are two types of people in power.
Those who are there because they want to use power to help people without it; and those who want to use it to help only themselves.
The first kind are not afraid of protests. Sometimes they will even join them themselves. They know the truly powerful protests come from true grievances, grievances that need to be heard, and, if possible, addressed. They know that if the grievance happened on their watch, they screwed something up, and it’s up to them to fix whatever it is, not be angry or disappointed at those who feel their only resort is to turn to violence.
The second kind also know the protests come from true grievances, but they’re not interested in ever solving them. They’re only interested in keeping the power, and quashing any resistance. There is no effort of understanding, of hearing, of helping; the only effort is in subduing and pacifying.
The violence they use makes them seem strong and decisive – but in truth, they are terrified. They are afraid, because they know history is not on their side. Because they know you can’t keep the people subdued by fear alone forever, no matter how many tanks and guns you send against them.
[1st image: Ferguson police officers take the knee in memory of George Floyd/AP]
[2nd image: 1970 riots in Gdansk]
1. CPNRB – Celtic Personal Names of Roman Britain.
The database of all Briton names confirmed in sources and found in inscriptions in the Roman period, from 1st to 5th century AD. Divided by period, location, tribe. Invaluable for coming up with real-sounding secondary characters.
2. DARMC – Digital Atlas of Roman and Medieval Civilizations.
This one has everything. Roman roads, settlements – named and unnamed, bridges, passes, temples, fortresses, villas… the most comprehensive map of Ancient Rome on the internet.
3. ORBIS – Stanford Geospatial Network Model of the Roman World.
Calculator of distances and travel times for the Roman Empire. Google Maps for Ancient Rome, using main roads and sea routes.
4. PASE – Prosopograhy of Anglo-Saxon England.
Similar to 1., a database of names but this time for the Anglo-Saxons. Covers all of Middle Ages, divided by locations, periods, occupations and more.
5. Rural Settlement of Roman Britain. Another detailed map of every archaeological find from Roman Britain.
An even more detailed map of Roman archaelogy than 2., but dedicated solely to Britain, rather than all of Empire. Down to single coin finds.