The Iron Way by Tim Leach
AD 175, Vindolanda, Britannia. After their cavalry was broken by the legions on the frozen waters of the Danube, Sarmatian warrior Kai bought his people’s lives with a pledge to serve Rome. Bound to the will of the Emperor, the Sarmatians are ready to fight and eager to die – death in battle is the only escape from the dishonour of their defeat.
Exiled from their home lands, they are ordered to take the Iron Way to the far north and the very edge of the Empire. Here, a great wall of stone cuts across the land as straight as the stroke of a sword. On one side, Rome’s dominion; on the other, mist and rumours – stories of men closer to giants, of warriors who fight without fear or restraint.
For a people who knew no borders, who were promised war, garrison duty is cruel punishment. But as insurrection stirs on both sides of the wall, Kai will discover that every barrier has its weaknesses – and he will have his chance to fight, perhaps to die.
The Romans had the perfect solution to protect their part of the British Island. Build a wall to keep the “northern hoards” and rabble out. Hadrian’s Wall is a constant reminder that isolationism and border walls do not work.
The northern part of the British Isles has been an area of contention for many centuries. The Romans invading the island did nothing to change that. Therefore, they built a very impressive border wall with guard towers every mile to dissuade foreign invaders from attacking and occupying the region.
Thousands of invaders approached the wall carefully. Surely an attack was imminent! Remarkably no defense was supported on the wall and the army just pushed through on their journey to London. The invaders could not believe the arrogance of the people on the other side of the wall.
A Roman Centurion was the leader of the defense brigade. He considered this posting to be punishment for his inability to control the population. The prefect hated his job and could not wait to retire. His greatest concern was that he would not be invited to return to Rome or its environs, but would instead retire on a small parcel in England. This was one of his greatest nightmares.
This story exemplifies the schism that was the British Isles during the first one thousand years of the current epoch. Being the representative of Rome in such a backward area was tantamount to total ostracizing. The invaders heading toward England simply went to the hole in the wall and advanced on toward London.
This story is a very interesting look at the calamity that befell various nomadic tribes which colonized those islands at the time. The Roman’s promise was that 25 years in the Roman Legions would result in freedom to go home and live a retirement of ease. The Romans knew that this would never happen. Twenty-five years at that time was almost surely a death sentence.
This book is well written and certainly has poetic license at its core because there is no written history of many of these tribes. Read and enjoy! 4.5 stars – CE Williams
Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with the opportunity to read and review this book. These are my unbiased opinions.
Rosepoint Publishing: Four point Five Stars
Genre: Ancient Historical Fiction, Historical Thrillers
Publisher: Head of Zeus—an Aries Book
Publication Date: August 4, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Links: The Iron Way [Amazon]
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The Author: [Goodreads] Writer, climber, whisky drinker, chess dabbler and general purpose layabout. London exile currently encamped in the North and loving it. I’ve studied and taught creative writing at the University of Warwick and worked in bookshops in London and Greece.
If you’d like to know any more about me or my books, just ping me a message. Thanks for stopping by!
©2022 CE Williams – V Williams