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Britannia by Letitia Coyne

 

Maia and her step-brother Cilo were raised in an opulent villa in the Seine Valley, by their vile step-mother.

Cilo enlisted in the army in Britannia at fifteen.

Lucius, Luc, is commander of an auxiliary cavalry unit of Legio XX, Valeria Victrix. The son of a Caledonian mercenary who joined Rome, he and his four brothers are renowned soldiers of great ability and bravery.

At 25 he has served ten years, is looking at another fifteen, and has had enough of killing. Exhausted and battle fatigued after the brutal AD77 Cambrian campaign, he has been weighing up his chances of survival as a deserter.

When Maia is married off to her stepbrother, she is once again abandoned when he returns to Britannia. Seizing her chance to escape, she joins an exclusive group of travelling priestesses on their way to Britannia. But they can only take her some of the way, and she finds herself moving through a complex web of lies and deceptions, where everyone she meets has a separate agenda.

If she can only trust Lucius, he can take her to her husband. Everything she knows about the world will change, if she can survive the journey.


A novel, no longer online

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Listed: Mar 29, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

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Damsel in distress does what she can

By Fiona Gregory, editor

Apr 24, 2010: As the story opens, Maia, born a slave but adopted by a well-off provincial villa owner, is in the odd position of being married to her stepbrother, which is apparently legal, but not to either of their liking. Maia is an innocent, a painfully anxious, downtrodden girl, but fiercely determined NOT to be left behind in the clutches of her demeaning stepmother, whom she recognizes is destroying her. So, the first chance she gets, she escapes on a quest to find her errant husband and get some answers.

The story is told from Maia’s perspective, and the mood changes as she does – sad, hopeful, curious, passionate. The characters she interacts with are complex and ambiguous. The backdrop is the Roman Empire’s campaign to subjugate Britain, which by this point has dragged on to bloody and wearisome lengths. It’s fun to be immersed in a period like this. In fact, I would have enjoyed even more historical detail. For example, I wondered about the Lupae; are they historical or madeup? – they seemed a little improbable, but I may be wrong.

This is no bodice-ripper; the reader has to wait quite a long time for the romance to develop, but when it arrives, it is intense. I am reminded of the Victorian historical romance, like The Last Days of Pompeii (although one chapter gets more sexually explicit than Victorians would!). Some may find the tale to drag a bit at times, or the prose to tend toward the purple, but the first few chapters should be enough to tell you how interested and convinced you will be by Maia, Lucian, and their predicament.

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Editor’s First Impression

By Linda Schoales, editor

Mar 29, 2010: Historical romance set in the Roman Empire in the first century AD. Maia is about to contract a marriage of convenience.

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