Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Last Free Men - by Jack Everett & David Coles

1 - Tell us a bit about your book.

The Last Free Men ...

“We, the last men on earth, the last of the free, have been shielded till

today by the very remoteness and the seclusion for which we are famed ...

But today the boundary of Britain is exposed; beyond us lies no nation,

nothing but waves and rocks and the Romans.”

from Calgacus' address to his army at the battle of Mons Graupius.


During the reign of Emperor Marcus Aurelius in the 2nd Century AD, Rome's Ninth Legion was sent to Hadrian's Wall in northwest Britain to quell an insurrection that threatened the Empire's hold on the region. They were never heard from again. Historians have speculated for centuries about what might have happened to the mighty Ninth Legion -- here is one intriguing possibility.

THE LAST FREE MEN is the story of Marcus Gettorix, son of a Roman general and a British woman living in the northwest frontier of Rome's mighty empire (modern-day Scotland). During a battle, Marcus is wrongly assumed to have murdered his commandant. He is sentenced to work in the mines and escapes, the Druids use Marcus as a figurehead and fan the flames of resentment into an insurrection that joins British and Scottish tribes against the Romans. Now allied with the Druids, Marcus lures the ambitious Roman general in charge of the Ninth Legion into a deadly trap destined to create one of history's greatest mysteries.

2 - Tell us about the best friend - gender, age, appearance, how they came to be with the hero or heroine and anything else we need to know about them.

Marcus' best friend is the Centurion, Emelius Karrus, a hard-bitten career officer in the Roman Army who has taken the younger man under his wing. Karrus joined the Roman Army in his teens, signing up for the minimum tour of duty of 25 years. His career progressed; he is now one of the primi ordines, the Legion's five top centurions, the men that the Legions rely upon. Emelius' family is the army; it is not unlikely that there might be some paternal feelings in the relationship.

3 - Who does the "best friend" help in the book?

Emelius helps Marcus. When Marcus is unbelievably found guilty of murdering his commandant, Emelius uses the fact of Marcus' father being a senator, to persuade the military court to commute the usual death sentence to life imprisonment.

4 - Does the best friend have a specific purpose in the book?

Emelius and Marcus end up on opposite sides of the campaign which leads to the destruction of the Ninth Legion. The two personalities lead the reader through the reasons and preparations for this conflict from both viewpoints.

5 - How does your hero or heroine feel about the best friend?

Marcus feels admiration towards Emelius, some one to rely on; this changes to a reluctant respect after their split.

6 - How would your hero or heroine handle their problems or difficulties with the best friend?

Plain speaking and honesty would straighten out most difficulties and problems. Agreement to disagree would handle those problems that could not be settled.

7 - Are there problems between the best friend and your main characters?

There certainly are - more on Emelius' side than Marcus because Marcus' apparent murder of the commandant was so unbelievable and out of character. Only after the younger man's sentencing and escape do the facts become known by which time, Marcus has already changed sides and become a worry to the Roman command.

8 - Do you see the best friend ever having their own story?

It's a possibility. Emelius as we, the authors, know him is a charismatic figure. He is intelligent, capable and a real person with enough gaps in his history to create a highly paced story around.

9 - Was the best friend inspired by anyone you know?

He was inspired by the idealistic figure of the best of modern British Regimental Sergeant Majors - the officers who hold the whole thing together.

10 - Is there anything else about the best friend that we need to know? Feel free to share.

The thing about Emelius is that he is that person everybody looks up to, whom everyone asks advice from. The Roman Army didn't retire their best soldiers - officers or legionaries - at 40 years of age. Emelius and his contemporary centurions were the backbone of the military, the most respected part of the Roman war machine.

11 - Please provide your website link.

12 - What is the link to buy your book?


Righter04 said...

love this stuff Nikki! thanks for making me gotta get that book.

Elspeth said...

You write very well.