Plan your journey across the Empire

Huge thanks to Carol and to Jonathan for the link to ORBIS. It’s a sort of Google Directions for the ancient world.

I know I’m not the only author to be delighted at the thought of never again having to take a ruler to a map and then multiply the resulting mileage by the speed of an ox cart in order to get characters to the right place in a plausible length of time.

It should be pointed out, though, that travellers outside the Empire may experience a delay of several hundred years  while they wait for the arrival of suitable transport to Europe.

Gloriously gory

Oh, look! Or perhaps, don’t look. I’ve just found the link to the publicity poster for Deva 2012 – I can’t figure out how to reproduce it here but in case anyone of a nervous disposition is reading this, that’s probably just as well*.

Several of us who merely write about murder and mayhem (as opposed to recreating it) will be over in the park, lurking under a sign saying, ‘Meet the Roman Authors.’  Given the authors involved (see the previous post) I can’t guarantee that it’ll be a sword-free zone, but guests will get a warm welcome, and a chance to win a copy of the next book when it comes out.

*No gladiators were harmed during the making of this poster. Allegedly.

This will be Deva – 2012

I’m anticipating a fairly quiet summer (no new book to promote until January, sigh…) but I couldn’t bear to miss Chester’s spectacular Roman Festival on the first weekend in June. So I’ll be joining a stellar cast of gentlemen – Ben Kane, Anthony Riches, Douglas Jackson and Robert Fabbri – in the book tent. I believe illustrator Graham Sumner will be around somewhere, too. I’m slightly worried about not being macho enough for this company, so if you’re around, please come and say hello, even if it’s only to ask where Book 5 is.

The full programme is here.  Just to whet the appetite, here are a few pics from last year:

Standards on display in the Amphitheatre

The standards of the Legions assembled from across the Western Empire.

Legionaries. Don't ask me which legion.

Hm… I think somebody isn’t paying attention here.

With Graham Sumner and Ben Kane

Getting the book tent ready last year – with Graham Sumner and Ben Kane.

The Emperor Domitian explains a few things to Ben.

The priestess prepares for the Games.

Standing at a not-very-safe distance from the Emperor Domitian, who has the power of life or death over… well everyone, really, but especially the gladiators.

A few of the survivors. Not men to argue with. Behind them the stage scenery (below the walkway) neatly blends in with the real remains of Chester’s amphitheatre. The crowds are sitting where the Roman audiences would have sat.

The whole thing is organised by Roman Tours, who for the rest of the year provide armed guards to escort visitors around the  city. Not because Chester is dangerous, but because it’s so much more fun having Roman remains explained by a big man in shiny armour.