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Hero of Rome (Gaius Valerius Verrens #1)

4.02 of 5 stars 4.02  ·  rating details  ·  401 ratings  ·  40 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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Having been greatly disappointed in a Roman military group read [2013], 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. Even so, I still think her story is overdone.

The protagonist is a young Tribune, Valerius, who leads the resistance of the veteran
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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
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,
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
Simon Turney
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
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
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.

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
Mar 12, 2013 Guy rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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
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.
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

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 get´s himself (and few good men) between a rock and a hard place during Queen Boudicca´s 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 supporti
John Salter
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
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
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
Bill Ward
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
Paul Bennett
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.
The Roman side of Boudicca's rebellion. I can see why she got angry now..
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
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
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.
Narra los sucesos en Britania de la rebelión de Boudicca, la reina Icenia y otras tribus celtas. El inicio en mi opinión es demasiado lento, con un personaje inocuo, muy sentimental y que es fácil de olvidar. Sin embargo, a la mitad mas o menos empieza a dibujar un clima más épico e historias que conmueven sin tener el tinte inicial, como el viejo centurión de la milicia, Falco o los últimos días de la unidad tracia de caballería y su líder, Bela. Es una serie de libros alrededor de Gaius Valeri ...more
One of the ways I enjoy historical fiction is how many times a piece sends me to the encyclopedia or other resource to find out more about a certain culture, time, or event. Jackson's Hero of Rome opened the world of early Roman Britain and Queen Boudicca's rightful reprisal to this public-schooled, Gen-Xer from New England. I am glad I read it and will include the rest of the series in my future reading. A wonderful ending too. Thoroughly enjoyed and heartily recommended.
Great stuff. A young nobel noble goes out to help with the Roman colonisation of Britain, and gets caught up in a rebellion caused by greed and corruption. Lots of blood and gore ensues. The description of the battle scenes and strategy behind it all is good. The romance between the nobleman and a local girl a tad contrived. Bringing he back to Rome to meet the folks—really! Possibly a mistress in an insula somewhere, but no more.
As a fan of the Douglas Jackson books I liked this one alot.
Being quite obsessed about Ancient Rome, this was the first book I read where I was confused about where my "allegiance" should lie - wanting Valerius and his friends to survive and prevail but also cheering on the united British liberation army.
Quite looking forward to next books in this series.
Well written - the story rushes forward and though there are some points where the story drags a bit, it immediately moves forward. The action scenes are brilliant but something in the love between the main character and the British girl doesn't work. It is as if the writer doesn't giove a clear picture of her. But in any case, a thrilling book.
Angel Serrano
Después de 20 años de ocupación romana en el Sur de Gran Bretaña, las tribus locales se sublevan y asestan un duro golpe a la primera ciudad romana: Colonia, el antiguo Camelot(?) o el actual Colchester. Un tribuno romano dirigirá la defensa convirtiéndose en Héroe de Roma.
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  • Rome: The Emperor's Spy (Rome, #1)
  • The Siege (Agent of Rome, #1)
  • Marius' Mules: The Invasion of Gaul (Marius' Mules, #1)
  • Tribune of Rome (Vespasian, #1)
  • Wounds of Honour (Empire, #1)
  • Ship of Rome (Masters of the Sea, #1)
  • Lion Of The Sun (Warrior of Rome, #3)
  • Hannibal: Enemy of Rome (Hannibal, #1)
  • Legionary (Legionary, #1)
  • The Gladiator (Eagle, #9)
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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 (5 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)
Caligula (Rufus, #1) Claudius (Rufus, #2) Defender of Rome (Gaius Valerius Verrens, #2) Avenger of Rome (Gaius Valerius Verrens, #3) Sword of Rome (Gaius Valerius Verrens, #4)

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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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