Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Guest Post by Gordon Doherty and International Giveaway of Legionary

Beauty in Imperfection by Gordon Doherty

It was a characteristically bleak autumn afternoon in Northumberland as I sauntered along the tumbled ruins of Hadrian’s Wall. After an obligatory imagining of myself kitted out in legionary armour, barking out orders to my cohort, I sat down to take in the landscape. I tried to envisage the rolling hills in the age when the auxiliaries of Britannia would have lined this ominous frontier and garrisoned the forts, milecastles and watchtowers. I imagined a firm and seemingly eternal signpost shouting out to all and sundry ‘This is Rome and she’s here to stay!’. Yet now I could see only the squat remains of foundations and surrounding rubble and the Romans were long gone. A question entered my thoughts, demanding to be answered: how had the greatness of Rome faded from the invincibility of the pax romana to this?
Fast forward a few years: I was strolling along the inner tier battlements of the Theodosian Walls of Constantinople/Istanbul (or more accurately I was tentatively inching along them and trying not to look down – they’re pretty high up and a bit crumbly) around the Golden Gate area. The structure extended north into the smog of the city, sentinel-like towers standing empty but eerily defiant after fifteen hundred years. The place was electric, the air crackling with history and I felt that hunger for an answer again: how could the Roman and Byzantine grip on Europe, Western Asia and Africa have dwindled to nothing, leaving behind a behemoth-like architectural carcass like this?
Having done my reading I now know the textbook answers to the two questions above, but have been left with something far more valuable: a sustained intrigue, nay obsession, over the decline from the pax romana to the post-Roman world and the real answers to these questions.
While the order, prosperity and pristine legions of the high principate are a fascinating blend, I find it somewhat too perfect. What really fires my imagination is the 3rd century AD and onwards, an age which sees Rome’s forts and cities decaying, her pagan ideals being swept into history by Christianity, her economy stagnating and her legions thin, scattered and all-too-mortal. What events could have occurred in this era that have since been lost to the ghosts of the past, echoing along the battlements of these walls and fortifications? What of the people of these times, they would have had to live with the reality that greatness was slipping away from them while they still clung to the ideals of their recent ancestors. And then there were the ‘barbarians’; with the Goths, Vandals, Franks, Alans, Parthians and Huns just a selection of the powerful and now militarily equal peoples pressing relentlessly on the empire’s borders, fiery conflict and desperate and heartfelt emotion must have been rife.
So all this has me jilting the perfection of invincible Rome and falling for the complexity of her flawed descendant. Perhaps it is my admiration for the spirit of the underdog that nudges me this way and I feel that one day a psychiatrist might confirm that. Whatever the reason I’m just grateful for what has turned out to be a perpetual fuel for my writing.
And even now when I visit the ruins, I’m still seeking true answers to those questions that demand to be answered.

Gordon’s first novel, Legionary is now available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and all good stores. More information can be found at www.gordopolis.com/writing

by Gordon Doherty
“The Roman Empire is crumbling, and a shadow looms in the east…

376 AD: the Eastern Roman Empire is alone against the tide of barbarians swelling on her borders. Emperor Valens juggles the paltry border defences to stave off invasion from the Goths north of the Danube. Meanwhile, in Constantinople, a pact between faith and politics spawns a lethal plot that will bring the dark and massive hordes from the east crashing down on these struggling borders.

The fates conspire to see Numerius Vitellius Pavo, enslaved as a boy after the death of his legionary father, thrust into the limitanei, the border legions, just before they are sent to recapture the long-lost eastern Kingdom of Bosporus. He is cast into the jaws of this plot, so twisted that the survival of the entire Roman world hangs in the balance… “

Gordon has kindly offered up three copies of his book Legionary and the winners get to pick what format they would like to read it in! The two choices are either the hard copy version or the kindle version. This giveaway is open internationally and it ends August 23rd at 12:00 a.m.

Giveaway Guidelines:  
-You must be a Follower of this blog through the GFC follower in order to be entered into this giveaway.
-Please leave your name and email address in order for me to contact you if you are the winner. If an email is not listed then unfortunately you will not be entered.
+1 extra entry for being a new follower of this blog. 
+1 extra entry each time you post this giveaway on twitter, facebook and/or on your blog somewhere. To count please leave a link in the comment section.


  1. Great interview! This sounds like a great book! Thanks so much for the giveaway!!


  2. This book sounds exciting. I haven't read a lot of books about Ancient Rome and the setting sounds like a very tumultuous time.


  3. I am a new follower thru GFC.

    Thank you for sharing.


  4. I just stumbled across this and thought I'd say that I've had the chance to read Legionary and one of you is going to be very lucky. Enjoy

  5. Great post! I love ancient Roman history so I would love to read this book. :)



  6. I'm a new follower of the blog. :-)

    Would love a copy of this book - xuwriter at yahoo dot com

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