Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Empire of Dragons by Valerio Manfredi

Southern Anatolia, 260 AD. The town of Edessa, a Roman outpost, is on its last legs, besieged by the Persian troops of Shapur I. Roman Emperor Licinius Valerianus agrees to meet his adversary to draw up a peace treaty, but it is only a trap and the Emperor and his twelve guards are chained and dragged away to work as prisoners in a solitary Persian turquoise mine. After months of forced labour the Emperor dies, but his guards make a daring escape lead by the heroic and enigmatic chief, Marcus Metellus Aquila. They meet a mysterious, exiled Chinese Prince, Dan Qing, and agree to safeguard his journey home to reconquest his throne from his mortal enemy, a eunuch named Wei. Thus begins the adventures of the Romans and the Prince as they journey to China. There they will discover that they aren't the first of their kind to arrive in China: they were preceded centuries before by the survivors of the 'lost legion'.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

The Greener Shore : A Novel of the Druids of Hibernia by Morgan Llywelyn

"After Julius Caesar triumphs over Gaul, the druid Ainvar and his three wives sail west, steering clear of Roman-occupied Albion, to the brilliant green island of Hibernia (so-called because a Roman expedition mistakenly assumed 'winter lasted all year' there). Soon after landing, Ainvar encounters the T?atha D?Danann, the diminutive original folk of Eriu (the island's Gaelic name). The T?atha D?Danann, who usually are invisible to people, ask only to be remembered. Ainvar is distraught when they no longer appear, but is comforted to learn from a bewildered warrior that the T?atha D?Danann once unexpectedly revealed themselves to him. Later, Ainvar briefly inhabits a wolf's body and hears the piercing scream of the death-predicting banshee."

Scheduled for release: May 2006

The Tree of Life (Mysteries of Osiris: No. 1) by Christian Jacq

"In the temple of Abydos, an acacia tree is dying. And its death threatens all of Egypt. For this is no ordinary tree: it sprang forth from the tomb of the god Osiris, the first ruler of Egypt, as proof of his triumph over death. The great pharaoh Sesostris III immediately joins battle against the invisible enemy who wishes to lead Egypt to her doom. But unknown to Sesostris, within his closest circle hides a traitor, a man who dreams of power and glory, a man who will sell himself to the powers of darkness in order to achieve his aim. A young apprentice scribe, Iker, becomes an unwilling player in this mystery. Kidnapped by sailors who refer darkly to a 'state secret', Iker does not know who is trying to kill him, nor indeed who is trying to protect him. Haunted by a vision of a beautiful young priestess, Iker senses that someone is guiding or manipulating him, and that he has set out on a road whose end he does not know. Will the two of them, Iker and Sesostris, the weak young boy and the great man of power, succeed in preventing Osiris from dying for the last time, thereby saving Egypt?"

The Year of the Cobra by Paul Doherty

"At the end of 'The Season Of The Hyaena', the previous book in this trilogy, Mahu had just been recalled to court because the young Pharaoh, Tutankhamun, was suffering from a serious mental illness. 'The Year Of The Cobra' now resumes Mahu's tale: Tutankhamun is unwell, but there is no heir apparent. Egypt's enemies, the Hittites, are advancing through Canaan, and Ay - First Minister of Akenhaten, father of Nefertiti, brother of Queen Tiye - still plots, like the spider he is. The web is woven, the traps set..."

Scheduled for release: April, 2006