Britain AD 59
‘What about the tribes who are already beaten?’
Paullinus was not smiling now. ‘I know the theory as well as you do. Shave their moustaches, put them in mantles, give them a bath and the result’s civilisation. But only when they’re beaten. And the British will never be properly beaten until we control the whole island. That’ll be a long hard struggle.’
The scars of Roman conquest are still livid, the clash of two disparate cultures a source of bitterness and conflict. The Roman ruling class believe it is their duty to civilise the natives; the British tribes chafe under the conquerors’ yoke.
Marcus Julius Severinus, a young cavalryman in the Roman army, respects the Britons among whom he has been brought up. Newly promoted to Commander of the ‘Foxes’, he believes there is more to be gained by co-operation than by brute force.
Governor Paullinus does not agree. When he attempts to cheat Boudicca, queen of the Iceni, of her rightful inheritance, he underestimates the wave of rebellious fury that engulfs Roman and Briton alike. Even though the final battle is won, Marcus and his family have to pay a terrible price.