Bloody Dominions, Guest Post by Nick Macklin

Journey with those at the heart of the conflict as Caesar embarks on the tumultuous conquest of Gaul 58-51 BC. Book One 58-56 BC.

As Caesar’s campaign begins, tests of courage and belief will confront the three protagonists, shaping them as individuals and challenging their views of the world and each other:

Atticus – an impetuous but naturally gifted soldier, whose grandfather served with distinction in the legions;

Allerix – a Chieftain of the Aduatuci, who finds himself fighting both for and against Caesar; and

Epona – a fierce warrior and Allerixs’ adopted sister.

Experiencing the brutalities of conflict and the repercussions of both victory and defeat, Atticus, Allerix and Epona will cross paths repeatedly, their destinies bound together across time, the vast and hostile territories of Gaul and the barriers of fate that have defined them as enemies. In a twist of fate, Atticus and Allerix discover that they share a bond, a secret that nobody could ever foresee…

Author’s Inspiration

I started writing Bloody Dominions about 3 years ago. It was the culmination of a lifelong interest in ancient history, especially the Roman Empire and a long-held belief, motivated by the works of writers such as Robert Fabbri, Anthony Riches and Simon Scarrow, that I too had a story to tell. When I was presented with a window of opportunity, I took the decision to place my career on hold and see if I could convert that belief into reality. I haven’t regretted the decision for one moment and am genuinely excited about my characters and the story they have to tell.

I wanted to set the novel against the backdrop of a significant period in Roman history. Ideally, something offering the potential for meaningful character and plot development that hadn’t already received exhaustive coverage. I eventually settled on Caesars tumultuous occupation of Gaul. Spanning 8 years, the violent conflict provided a wealth of material to explore the changing fortunes of war and its impact at a personal level. The switching of allegiances, with nations fighting for and against Rome, also provided the potential for some intriguing plot lines. As my research unfolded, I was struck by just how heavily the Roman psyche during this period was influenced by the scare they had received 50 years earlier when invading Germanic tribes defeated their legions. Seeing references to the old veterans of that war watching their sons and grandsons enlist for a similar campaign, I began to think about the potential for developing that link, on both sides of the conflict.

The prolonged clash of cultures also offered ample opportunity for the kind of dual perspective from which I was hoping to tell the story. The propensity for works of historical fiction to view events through a single lens has always frustrated my inner historian. This is particularly true of books relating to Rome. History is of course, written by the winners but in the world of fiction that constraint need not apply. Similarly, with a nod to my now grown-up daughters, who have followed me around museums and battlefield sights with varying degrees of interest, the role of women in Roman fiction, Boudica aside, is largely confined to spouse, whore or slave. An essentially accurate reflection of the historical period no doubt, but again it seemed to me that adopting an alternative approach might offer a different dimension to a story, adding to its richness. And so, the idea for the Conquest Trilogy was born.  

I have sought to produce a novel in which unfolding events are experienced and described from the perspective of protagonists on both sides of Caesar’s incursion into Gaul, one of whom is female and a prominent member of the warrior clan of her tribe. The novel is driven by these characters but the framework against which their stories unfold is historically accurate, featuring actual participants in Caesar’s campaign and drawing on real events as they occurred.

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Meet Nick Macklin

A history graduate, Nick enjoyed developing the skills that would stand him in good stead during the extensive research he conducted prior to writing his novel. Whilst the ancient world unfortunately didn’t feature to any extent in his history degree, (the result of failing miserably to secure the A level grades that would have permitted greater choice) he maintained a lifelong and profound interest in ancient history and especially the Roman Empire, continuing to read avidly as he embarked on a career in HR. Over the next 30 years or so Nick occupied a variety of Senior/Director roles, most recently in the NHS. Nick lives in Exeter with his two daughters and is currently juggling work as an Independent HR Consultant with writing the second novel in the Conquest Trilogy, Battle Scars.

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