I have just returned from walking Hadrian’s Wall – which I highly recommend – during which I decided to read some Roman historical fiction, and I thought I would share these books with you.
by Tom Sawford
I came across Ross Laidlaw first for his book Attila: The Scourge of God which I thoroughly enjoyed. Laidlaw continues the story of Rome in the 5th and 6th centuries with Theoderic , which covers the life of the cultured Gothic king of Italy who ruled with the blessing of the Byzantine Emperor as vice-regent.
Lately I have just finished the last book in Laidlaw’s trilogy called Justinian: The Sleepless One
Laidlaw has a somewhat limited creative writing style and seems to use the same devices to construct the narrative quite regularly, but he can be forgiven that as he tries very hard to make his books as historically accurate as he can, supplemented by copious notes, appendices and explanations.
Whilst preparing this article I came across this interview with Marie Heese, who has written two novels about one of history’s bad girls; the Empress Theodora. But was she so bad? She proved loyal to Justinian and did a lot to improve the lives of women, especially prostitutes, in the Empire.
Here, Marie Hesse reads from her most recent book and talks about it but I can’t find it on Amazon.