"Ancient Greece has claimed more than its fair share of outstanding historical novelists - Naomi Mitchison, Mary Renault, Rosemary Sutcliff, William Golding - and Classicist Paul Waters deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as they. Altogether a most powerful and promising debut."
- Paul Cartledge, Professor of Greek History, University of Cambridge
At the end of the third century BC, as Republican Rome's long war with Carthage in Africa draws to a close, a new danger is arising in the east - the ruthless and ambitious King of Macedon, Philip the Fifth, is moving against the independent city-states of Greece and threatening Rome itself.
Against this background, Marcus, a young Roman, embarks on a sea crossing from Italy to Corfu with his father. Pirates, led by the wild corsair Dikaiarchos, ambush the ship and Marcus's father sacrifices his own life in order to save his son.
Marcus vows to avenge his father's death, setting him on a voyage of spiritual and emotional growth that will forge his character. He becomes the confidant of generals and politicians, and is cast into the midst of rising conflict, travelling among the cities of Greece and Italy during a time of political turmoil and cultural upheaval. It is a journey that will bring him at last to his unexpected destiny.
In the tradition of Mary Renault and Robert Graves, Of Merchants and Heroes is a remarkable, beautifully written novel of love, loss and redemption. It is not only a historical adventure; it explores timeless questions of freedom, right and duty.
"This is a delight to read, a finely woven, beautifully plotted masterpiece, and deserves to become one of the classics of historical fiction."
- Manda Scott, best-selling author of the Boudica series
It is the middle of fourth century AD, and the Roman empire has been ruled for a generation by Christian emperors. Three brothers – the sons of the emperor Constantine the Great – are joint rulers and ruthless rivals. Beyond its borders, the vast empire is threatened by foreign enemies. And now, at last, the Church, with the force of the state behind it, is moving to crush all opposition to its power.
But in Britain there is resistance.
Against this backdrop of civil war and disarray, Drusus, a young British nobleman of Roman birth, learns of the betrayal of his father by enemies at court. He faces the loss of all he has known. As his life is torn apart, he must decide who to trust, who to care for and who to fight; and he must make choices which will forge the man he will become.
Cast Not the Day is a tale of love and loss, freedom and tyranny, and of man’s struggle to know himself, set against a world of chaos where faith and reason clash.
"A gripping read, skilfully evoking a world both exotic and oddly familiar."
- The Observer