Fri. 17th December: Saturnalia!

To this end, well, more so we could meet up, Tony Riches organised a dinner for us Roman authors the other night. He, I, Russ Whitfield and Manda Scott met up in London for dinner and a few drinks. Unfortunately, Harry Sidebottom had to call off at the last moment due to family illness, and Doug Jackson couldn’t come either. Still, we had a great time, no blood was spilled, and we talked a lot about the new Historical Writers’ Association (HWA), the brainchild of the wonderful Manda. More of which anon…

And dang it, we forgot to give each other the gift of statues, which the Romans used to do!

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  1. leslieianjones
    Posted 19 December 2010 at 05:37 | Permalink

    I bet the restaurant owners were so glad all of you didn’t vomit to make way for the next course LOL. By coincidence I just bought Harry’s “Warrior of Rome” parts I & II.

    There were some other choices, but one author seems to always have the same two heroes saving the Empire in differing scenarios. At least Romulus had one thing in mind (ish) LOL

  2. benkane
    Posted 19 December 2010 at 12:32 | Permalink

    🙂 Isn’t that whole thing about Romans vomiting between courses one of those commonly believed ‘factoids’ that is incorrect? I’m sure I’ve read that somewhere.

    I hope that you enjoy Harry’s books – I think they’re very good indeed. The third is the best in my mind (I also think that The Road to Rome is the best of mine, because in my mind, I’ve learned so much since the first one.)

  3. Posted 19 December 2010 at 19:40 | Permalink

    Hope you and your Family have a very Merry Christmas Ben.

    (and i thought book 2 was the best of yours so far)

  4. silvermum
    Posted 19 December 2010 at 22:45 | Permalink

    Hey there I live over the other side of the world in New Zealand and have just finished the road to rome after waiting not very patiently, i might add! Just wanted to thank the man himself whose books have been sooo good that my partner has been getting jealous about his lack of attention!!!
    I would’nt have cared if your books were entirely fiction as i was enthralled from the first pages of the forgotten legion to the last pages of the road to rome, and to my understanding, isnt that what makes a great novel? So i would not be worrying about what those wh*resons out there in cyberspace say if i were you, (all pun intended haha!) i give it a 10 out of 10 for awesomeness!!! thanks again, cant wait for the next book
    bye for now!!!

  5. benkane
    Posted 20 December 2010 at 12:47 | Permalink

    Thanks for your good wishes, Parmenion, and the same to you!
    (Although at the moment, it’s looking quite possible that I’ll be home alone for Xmas. My wife and kids are 300 miles north, with my wife’s parents. I’m supposed to be flying up on the 23rd to join them. Bristol airport is currently closed, and the roads around here and for about 50 miles north, are very very treacherous. I just hope that in the next 3 days, that things improve enough for me to get up there!)

    It’s interesting that you liked the second book most – I much prefer The Road to Rome – but I know you didn’t because you only gave it 4 stars when you’d given the other two 5. Why did you like it best?

  6. benkane
    Posted 20 December 2010 at 12:50 | Permalink

    @silvermum: G’day, and thanks for posting! I’m delighted that you liked the books so much, and my apologies for the wait. Only 6 months to go until Hannibal: Enemy of Rome comes out!

    It’s so cool to know that you’re in NZ, and reading them. I worked and travelled there in 2000 for 5 months. I was based in Christchurch for 3 months – way cool place. Hiked on Stewart Island over the ANZAC weekend. Did loads of other tramping too. I love the country. Where do you live?

  7. Posted 20 December 2010 at 13:26 | Permalink

    Having been snowed in a couple of weeks back i know what its like Ben so i hope it clears for you.

    If you do get the car out, and have not got Grit, take a bag of Cat litter, it works wonders if you get stuck wheel spinning.

    Re the books: book 1 was action but with dispair, being on the run, the battle and the loss and the march east stearting,
    book 2 was action but with hope of escape and something new on the horizon, also the mystery of the unexplored as this is a plot line that hasnt been looked at by others.
    Book 3 well i dont like endings anyway, although the open ending is good. but this book had a little too much mysticism for me, too much staring at the clouds looking for answers. And i know thats who Tarquinius was / is but it was always for me the weakest part of the series. He was a great character as a mentor without that stuff. Also i felt a little bludgeoned by the Fabiola revenge angle.

    this is me really shining a light on little things…i did still go 4 out of 5, i did still enjoy it, these are just the differences between a 4 and a 5.

    if you want to see waaaay to much mysticism…William Napier (book 2 & 3) i say no more.

  8. Posted 20 December 2010 at 15:46 | Permalink

    Happy Saturnalia and Merry Christmas to you and your family. I hop you’ll be able to join them.

    The weather’s been crazy here as well. We got more snow in December already than in other winters from November to March. My place (ancient Cheruscian territory 🙂 ) isn’t that badly off; at least we miss the rain southern Germany gets in between the snow.

  9. silvermum
    Posted 21 December 2010 at 01:26 | Permalink

    Oh my god, Thanx for writing back!!!! Just made my day hehe. I live in a tiny little town called Pleasant Point, just inland from Timaru with my 3 year old Silver, (hence the name silvermum!) and my partner of 11 years in a tiny little place by the river.
    I think it would only be fair to tell you that I didnt have to wait long for the last book, only three weeks, as I only discovered The Forgotten Legion about 6 weeks ago but boy im glad I did now, and hopefully ill get my order in at my local bookshop for hannibal as soon as its out in my country, got a fan for life over here methinks! Hope you and your family have an awesome Christmas, im really excited for my daughter.
    Oh and before I stop rambling, ill also let you know that my favourite so far is also The Road To Rome. I wont post my favourite bit though, as I hate it when others ruin books for me!!
    okay, bye for now

  10. benkane
    Posted 22 December 2010 at 10:28 | Permalink

    @Parmenion: Apologies for the delay in replying – enduring a winter bug like so many others.

    Thanks for your good wishes – currently, the weather situation here and in NE looks OK enough for flights to go tomorrow. Fingers crossed! Cat litter?! I’d not heard of that one before. Ash from the fire works well too.

    Interesting what you say about the 3 books. While you might not like endings, I have a great aversion to series that never end. I first had the feeling in the 90s when reading a highly regarded crime series by an international bestselling author, and I thought to myself, ‘I’ve read all this stuff before.’ I stopped buying those books, and have never gone back. It’s the same with me for all genres, I’m afraid. I swore when I started writing that I’d never write a really long series of books. So there you go – I’ve written it down. You can come and shoot me if I ever go back on it!

    As for the mysticism, the mysticism! In some ways, I’d like to rewrite The Forgotten Legion to ease back on that aspect. A friend said to me after it had been published that Tarquinius was a smartarse. I thought about it and had to agree! Consequently, I reined in on the mysticism for him in The Silver Eagle, and did so even more in The Road to Rome. That’s why I’m intrigued – and confused – by your opinion that you didn’t like the mystical element in the final book. There was way more in The Silver Eagle, what with Fabiola’s hallucinatory visions etc.!

  11. benkane
    Posted 22 December 2010 at 10:32 | Permalink

    @Gabriele: Thanks for your good wishes! May I wish you and yours the very best for Xmas and the festive period too, and may 2011 be the year that you land a huge book deal!

    As I mentioned in my reply to Parmenion, I’m more optimistic about being able to travel tomorrow. Let’s keep on hoping!

  12. benkane
    Posted 22 December 2010 at 10:36 | Permalink

    @silvermum: near Timaru?! I used to do calls to farms around there when I worked out of Christchurch!!
    Glad that you didn’t have to wait long for the third book. You might be interested in the website for ordering your books. Their prices aren’t much more than Amazon’s, but – and it’s a big but – they charge NO postage and packing to anywhere in the world!
    Have a great Xmas – and I know what you mean about being excited for your daughter. We have a 4 year old boy – Ferdia – and a 20 month old girl – Pippa. Ferdia is extremely excited about it all! Pippa doesn’t realise yet, but I’m sure by next year that will all have changed…

  13. Posted 22 December 2010 at 12:02 | Permalink

    Mmmmmm..maybe its because in Silver Eagle it was doing something…I admit that something was Fabiola tripping off her head and flying through the ether, but things happened. R2R was a lot of cloud staring.

    But ultimately its perception isnt it, what works for one fails for another, and as i said these were minor issues, it still got 4/5 !!!

    In Forgotten Legion i would not say that Tarq was smug…as such…but he did have a touch of the Merlin about him, will he be off to albion at some point to assume the role?? LOL!!

    Re endings…i suppose i described things badly..i also dont like the never ending series..EG things like Robert Jordans wheel of time! but in a series there is no need to wrap up every loose end with a neat bow, some authors have to tie everything off, i prefer some things left open to the imagination of the reader. Gemmell was a genius at this.

    I picked up another Kane for my collection the other day, i have all the books in signed HB, but not the proof, I have Forgotten Legion in Spiral bound and now Road to Rome in bound proof, just Silver Eagle to go….

    I hope the travel goes well….its snowing here in Nottingham today so dont come this way!!
    Have a very Merry Christmas.

  14. Posted 23 December 2010 at 17:02 | Permalink

    @ Silvermum & Ben

    if you use

    this searches lots of different book stockists inc bookdepository, albris and many others

    an easy way to find rare , out of print and other books

  15. silvermum
    Posted 28 December 2010 at 22:35 | Permalink

    Hey there yup just out of Timaru, been living around this area for most of my life, small world eh!! I was just reading last night about the Gallic wars, and how the Gauls and the Etruscans were allies back then which made me think – In another story Tarquinius and Brennus could of had some interesting history. Just food for thought really. I just also discovered that Caesar wrote a couple of books so im going on a hunt soon to see if i can find any newish copies, I think that could be a potentially awesome read!
    Hope you are having a great holiday season,
    until next time…

  16. raynergill
    Posted 29 December 2010 at 11:09 | Permalink

    A belated Merry Christmas and Happy New Year too! I hope you and the family have a restful and enjoyable festive season.


  17. benkane
    Posted 30 December 2010 at 10:46 | Permalink

    @Rayner: Cheers! Unfortunately, I had what I reckon was proper flu. More than ten days later, I’m still not right. Never had a bug like it. Hey ho. Xmas was still good, though. I hope you and yours had a good one too, and belated festive wishes to all you readers out there. May you all have a wonderful New Year!

  18. leslieianjones
    Posted 1 January 2011 at 05:07 | Permalink

    Happy New Year to Ben, family and fans. Here’s looking forward to many great roman based books this year.

  19. benkane
    Posted 2 January 2011 at 16:34 | Permalink

    Hi Les – thank you for your good wishes, and the same to you for a wonderful 2011!

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