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Hero of Rome (Gaius Valerius Verrens #1)

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating Details  ·  575 Ratings  ·  49 Reviews
The Roman grip on Britain is weakening. Emperor Nero has turned his face away from this far-flung outpost. The Druids are on the rise, spreading seeds of rebellion among the British tribes. Roman cruelty and exploitation has angered their British subjects. The warrior queen Boudicca will lead the tribes to war.

Standing against the rising tide of Boudicca's rebellion is Rom
482 pages
Published July 8th 2010 by Transworld Digital (first published June 29th 2010)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,795)
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Dec 06, 2015 Jane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: lovers of quality Roman military fiction
Recommended to Jane by: A&M group read
Having been greatly disappointed in a Roman military group read [2013] for A&M, since this was my very next Roman novel, I approached this story with trepidation, not knowing what to expect. Enjoyable is too weak a word for this novel! At first I groaned when I read the name of Boudicca, but this was a different take on Boudicca's Revolt against the Romans in Roman Britain. The main story is not hers. Even so, I still think her story is overdone.

The protagonist is a young Tribune, Valerius,
Greg at 2 Book Lovers Reviews
This is the story of the young tribune, Gaius Valerius Verrens. As an officer in the Roman legions, he has been posted to Britain to gain experience and begin his political career. After completing his tour of duty, Valerius is awaiting transport back to Rome where his experience is badly needed to defend the newly established Roman colony of Colonia.

I find it interesting how over thousands of years things really haven’t changed. Valerius is from an “old money” senatorial family, he enters the l
This was a great book. I got to it as a group reading of A&M historical fiction group, and I was very pleasantly surprised. The main character is very well developed and especially the beginning of the story was frankly awesome. The one star was lost because for some reason towards the end, the story ran through events really fast and quite superficially, which made me disappointed, especially after the promising beginning. The book was not all that long, and perhaps it should have been long ...more
A new Roman series for me as wanted a little more substance than the adventures of Macro & Cato of Scarrow fame & this certainly delivered in the opening chapters with our hero being from the privileged class & not a ranker but rather than being stuck-up & manipulative as one destined for politics would be after his army service as a tribune he was a leader of men, got dirty & fought alongside them, endured their hardships..... you get the picture... instantly I was hooked wh ...more
Feb 01, 2015 Mary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I first met Gaius Valerius Verrens in the opening chapters of "Hero of Rome" by Scottish author Douglas Jackson, he was leading his cohort into a Silurian hill fort bristling with Celtic spears on a hilltop in Nero's Roman Britain. In this first novel of a new series, Jackson skillfully fleshed out his new protagonist with a backstory that included tutelage by the famous philosopher Seneca, a deep sense of honor instilled by his patrician father and a warrior's courage developed over his co ...more
Jan 01, 2014 Christopher rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Laurentiu Lazar
Jun 02, 2015 Laurentiu Lazar rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
Finally, the Roman army is readying up to take the battle to the ancient place of Mona, destroy the rebels once and for all and shatter the symbol and power of the druids in the process. Little do they know that in the East, a dangerous foe awaits in the shadows to be awaken – Queen Boudicca. Who will stand in her way, serve as bulwark against her wrath? Tribune Gaius Valerius Verrens and the veterans of the city of Colonia, the first Roman colony in Britain, a landmark of the Roman conquest in ...more
Travis of NNY
A really gritty account of the battle between the Romans and Bourdicca. It took me a while to come to peace and settle my mind on this one but once I got there I was hooked.
Jan 17, 2013 James rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Now this, this was fun. Furthermore, it was more real than his Rufus books, more gritty. Maybe it was the fact that this wasn't centred around an elephant trainer - although, that doesn't make his other works any less enjoyable and impressive - and this one around a Roman legate, I don't know. All I know is this, this book will appeal to those who love Roman Britain; a brilliant Four Stars.

Plot : Four Stars

I had a few negatives in my mind when I started this review, but having written them out
Jun 17, 2013 Brian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am more than a little surprised that this book didn't receive a better overall rating. While I think that Simon Scarrow's series is more fun (without taking away from the drama) this book may be more complete; the characters (Briton as well as Roman) , the historical settings, perspectives (again, you can can see both sides of the coin - motives, atrocities and revenge - Briton and Roman), battles and the emotional impact of these battles. This was as well written a book that I have read.

Simon Turney
May 02, 2012 Simon Turney rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As has been noted in other reviews for 'hero', the only thing that I could see that might put a potential reader off is the fact that Boudicca's revolt is far from anew theme or setting for Roman fiction.

The thing that counters it for me is the angle from which the events are seen. This is not the story of the Iceni warrior-queen, or of Cerialis. This is the story of a young officer, talented and bright, but out of place and often out of his depth. The revolt of Boudicca is not the crux of the s
Mar 08, 2013 Speesh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: the-romans
It's not often you meet a character in the first few pages of a book you just know you are going to like, care about and want to follow in all future books...which you decide you're going to have to be buying even though you're only 10 pages in to the first one.

'Hero of Rome's Gaius Valerius Verrens, Tribune of the XXth Legion, stationed in first century Britain, is one of those characters.

My paperback version of 'Hero of Rome', looks great, feels great, smells and probably even tastes great as
Robin Carter
May 07, 2012 Robin Carter rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of those time when I really should have read the blurb before I bought the book, I often pick up certain authors just because I enjoyed previous books and Douglas is no exception.
The previous books though had been a bit of fun and I have to admit I was getting a little tired of the elephant so I had put off reading this one, every time it got to the top of the reading pile it got jumped by something more appealing until eventually a bit of face book posting guilt got the better of me
Excellent historical fiction. Well told tale of impossible love and conflicting intentions amid almost irreconcilable cultural differences. Amazing how many Roman tribunes wandered first century Britain, falling in love with native girls.

Paradoxical that the stoic philosopher Seneca may have contributed to, if not triggered, the Boudiccan Revolt, which serves as the background for this book. Stoics were supposed to be above such things as greed. But then, greed's like pride, it's pretty universa
Bill Ward
Feb 02, 2015 Bill Ward rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just noticed someone else's review and couldn't believe I've never written a review for what is one of my favourite roman adventures.
Great writing, exciting battle scenes and good characters make this a great roman adventure and being set in Britain gives it some added interest.
The final battle in the temple is really special and I think what makes books like this plus those of Simon Scarrow so special, is the way real history is the background to a brilliant adventure and I love learning thin
Mar 12, 2013 Guy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Any lover of Roman Fiction
Shelves: roman-fiction
Here is an author who really does have a good feel for his subject. The story is set in the middle of a major event in British history, Boudicca's revolt. The hero is real and the story is plausible. Furthermore, the story is very well written with enough backgorund desciption to make it feel very real. I really enjoyed this and went straight to the second in the series.
Brett Stortroen
Aug 21, 2012 Brett Stortroen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent historical fiction work. I loved the detailed terminology and descriptions of the era of the Roman rule in Britannia circa 1st century during the reign of Nero. The story and characters were fleshed out nicely.
Elsye Harwood
Sep 20, 2015 Elsye Harwood rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the third book by Scottish writer Douglas Jackson and I loved it so much I’ve bought the rest of the series. His first two books Caligula and Claudius were good stories with some memorable characters , but there were stilted passages and sections which I didn’t feel worked as well as they could. Either they were clumsy or lacked drama. But there were no such issues in this book.

The story is set in Britannia, right before the Iceni uprising led by the infamous Boudicca. It’s written most
Dannii Elle
Such a shame I can't rate this book any higher. I felt the first half of the book was like attempting to run through quicksand and the second half was like...whatever the opposite of running through quicksand is. The knowledge imparted in this book and the angle from which it was set from all appealed to me throughout, yet there was just something I found difficult to grasp about the first part of the novel. Perhaps it is my own limited knowledge that is at fault, but I felt as though too much w ...more
Nick Brett
A slightly familiar path here, but I suppose it is hard to find freshness in the well-trod area of a Roman actioner.

This one is set in Britain AD60/61 where the resentful locals have been subdued and Nero is the Emperor. Young Valerius is a Tribune in the legions and is sent with a small force to protect the town of Colonia where the locals are causing some unrest. In reality this is the Boudicca uprising and Valerius, his troops and the local auxiliaries are vastly outnumbered……

It’s not bad. I
Nov 29, 2013 Bell rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition

This first novel in a historical fiction series has some good stuff in it...

...and a lot of not so good.

The story follows Roman Tribune, Gaius Valerius Verrens who gets himself (and few good men) between a rock and a hard place during Queen Boudiccas rebellion in Britain. All in all this could have been a solid historical fiction. Setting is good, Jackson obviously knows his Imperial Rome. BUT, the novels fails in basic storytelling. And it fails hard.

The biggest problem lies with the supporting
John Salter
Oct 11, 2013 John Salter rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was in two minds as to whether to give this book four or five stars, shame there's no facility to give 'point marks' because I would have given Hero of Rome 4.5 as it's very very good. However.......

After mulling over a four or five, initially I thought four but then I thought about how many books have gripped me like Hero of Rome did in the last few years; answer, not too many, so in my humble opinion it's worth five!

I found the title slightly deceptive as I had assumed the story would revolv
May 18, 2015 Zack rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Alright, here's the deal. I have read hundreds of Historical Fiction books, but never heard of Douglas Jackson until now. I finished this book and by the end of it can safely say it is BY FAR my favorite book in the entire genre! I couldn't tell you exactly why, as there were many things that made me think that way.
It was written in a style that was the most "like me" as I would have imagined the experiences of the main character. I learned the story of Camulodunum as a child and have read othe
Paul Bennett
Dec 16, 2013 Paul Bennett rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am currently crafting my first novel...if I can just be one-quarter as descriptive and can bring out the emotions and development of my characters one-tenth as well as Douglas Jackson has done, I will be a happy author. A brilliant re-telling of the Boudicca revolt through the eyes and emotions of Gaius Valerius Verrens, a tribune thrust into the maelstrom of rebellion. I know for sure I will be reading the rest of this series.
Feb 08, 2015 Becky rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Roman side of Boudicca's rebellion. I can see why she got angry now..
Aug 14, 2014 David rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed most of this book. It's well written and really conveys the sense of Rome. It's set in Britain in AD about 60. It was complicated by lots of names and most the action was in the early part of the book and the latter, which was a shame as the action was well conceived and well written. The intervening plot was good and a developing love story between the main character Valerius and a local tribes woman. There's contention in the Roman ranks as well as the growing threat from the Icena t ...more
Nov 26, 2012 Ru rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Vividly brutal, but terrific piece of historical fiction. Valerius is the eponymous protagonist in this story of the Roman Empire who ultimately embarks on military campaigns against Queen Boudicca's approach on Brittania in 60 A.D., whom Nero has turned against. The events toward that campaign really exemplify Valerius as a renowned leader, not just in battle, but as a man amongst his peers. He isn't portrayed as a "superman", just as a capable & sympathetic strategist, contrasted against v ...more
It feels somewhat harsh giving this just two out of five as that is a little low on how I feel about the book but I'm basing this review squarely on the annotations for each star. Hopefully for the reasons listed below I will be able to articulate my general feeling of this book.

Having felt a visible upsurge in quality as I read through Douglas Jackson's previous two books, elephant and all (though it and Rufus, her handler, appearing less in Claudius was undeniably an improvement), I had a fair
Mar 21, 2012 Brian rated it it was amazing
There is a large and growing body of historical fiction set in the ancient world. Characterised by almost fetishistically detailed depictions of the mechanisms and paraphernalia of war, this burgeoning toga-lit is aimed primarily at male readers. Hero Of Rome, which begins with Roman soldiers attacking a Celtic hill fort and ends with a vast set piece battle between the massed tribes of Britain under Boudicca and the disciplined but heavily outnumbered legionaries, is a perfect example.

It is al
Not as well written as Colleen McCullough's First Man of Rome series, which I feel to be the best. What kept me interested was the fact it was a battle I had not read about before.
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Aka James Douglas

Douglas Jackson turned a lifelong fascination for Rome and the Romans into his first novel, Caligula. He was born in Jedburgh, in the Scottish Borders and now lives in Bridge of Allan. He is an assistant editor at The Scotsman.
More about Douglas Jackson...

Other Books in the Series

Gaius Valerius Verrens (7 books)
  • Defender of Rome (Gaius Valerius Verrens, #2)
  • Avenger of Rome (Gaius Valerius Verrens, #3)
  • Sword of Rome (Gaius Valerius Verrens, #4)
  • Enemy of Rome (Gaius Valerius Verrens, #5)
  • Scourge of Rome (Gaius Valerius Verrens, #6)
  • Saviour of Rome (Gaius Valerius Verrens, #7)

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“You fought well on Mona, my Mules, but I have brought you here for a little more javelin practice.’ The words carried along the line and Valerius could see men grinning at the unlikely familiarity. ‘Those who stand before you have murdered, tortured and raped Roman citizens, men, women and children; innocents whose only crime was to attempt to bring civilization to this land. They butchered and mutilated your comrades of the Ninth, and the brave veterans of Colonia who fell defending the Temple of Divine Claudius.’ He paused and the silence was filled by a growl, like an enormous dog gathering itself for the attack. ‘We offered them our friendship, our trust and our aid, and they took all with smiles of thanks, but when we turned our backs they reached for the knife and the sword and the spear, as is their way. They believe you are already defeated.’ ‘No!’ The massed roar carried across the valley and echoed from the banks. ‘They are the true face of barbarism. They are your enemy. They show no mercy and they deserve no mercy. Give them none. For Rome!’
‘For Rome!’ The words erupted from ten thousand throats and Valerius felt the ice in his belly melt and the first stirrings of life return to his heart.
‘For Rome,’ he whispered.”
“Foot by agonizing foot Valerius allowed the line to be pushed back. The pressure on his shield was growing unbearable, the scything blows of the British swords threatening to smash even the scutum’s sturdy structure. Beside him, Lunaris snarled and sweated, cursing his inability to fight back.
Every step they retreated allowed more of Boudicca’s warriors to pour over the wall. The soldiers of any other army would have broken. But these were Romans. Roman legionaries. They knew how to fight like no other. And they knew how to die.”
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