Sat. 24th July: And the winners are…

I’m writing this in the middle of the night – it’s one of those not able to sleep ones, thanks to a troublesome hamstring, and the vestiges of the hangover I have from attending the launch party of Harry Sidebottom’s latest book, Lion of the Sun. (Which, incidentally, is a cracking read. Get out there and buy it!) I have all the names on little bits of paper, ready to pick, but I’ve remembered that my wife wants to do the honours, so you’ll have to wait until a more sociable hour to find out who won! Watch this space…

RIGHT, FINALLY GOT IT DONE! The first person’s name out of the bag was Chantal Sukel, of New York state in the USA. The second was John Powell, of Dublin, in Ireland. Congratulations to you both. Chantal wins the denarius and a signed copy of The Road to Rome, and John wins a copy of the book too. Oh yes, the answer to the question! Caesar’s Fifth Legion, which fought so bravely at Thapsus, was often known as ‘Quinta Alaudae’ or the Fifth Larks. They were also sometimes known as Quinta Gallica. More than a hundred of you gave one or other, or both, correct answers. Commiserations, and good luck next year. I’ll do my best to have a Carthaginian coin as a prize then, if they’re not extortionately expensive to buy.

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  1. Posted 24 July 2010 at 09:37 | Permalink

    I concur, read Harry’s book a little while ago and really enjoyed it, its great to see the roman era getting so many great authors now. I remember only 10 years ago it was such a sparse genre it was a real struggle to get a read, now it could have its own section in a book shop.

    On the prize…{nervous anticipation….} although my lucks not that good im sure! Good luck all.

  2. leslieianjones
    Posted 28 July 2010 at 16:27 | Permalink

    Typical. I chose a name with Drunkards in it and lost…..Oh well. I shall wait for next competition LOL

  3. benkane
    Posted 28 July 2010 at 20:34 | Permalink

    Bad luck! Watch this space, however, as the winner of the denarius and book still hasn’t got back to me. In this internet age, 5 days with no reply seems like an eternity. I’ll hang on a while yet…

  4. Harry Sidebottom
    Posted 29 July 2010 at 09:25 | Permalink

    It took me three days to recover! Thanks for coming to the launch party, and the kind words about Lion. May I urge everyone, after they have bought mine, to rush out and get your new one!

  5. benkane
    Posted 29 July 2010 at 09:55 | Permalink

    My gods – I thought I was bad taking 24 hours to get over the Peroni! Thanks again, Harry – not for the hangover, but for the invite and the good time. I’ll be eagerly checking the bestseller charts next weekend to see how Lion of The Sun is doing.

  6. tomhaslett
    Posted 29 July 2010 at 12:06 | Permalink

    I cannot wait to read the Road To Rome. Having read The Forgotten Legion and the Silver Eagle three times now I am chomping at the bit to see where the story goes. As for Lion Of The Sun. I tried so hard to make it last (along with Holy Warrior) but i read both books in 4 days. Much to my girlfriends annoyance! Great work Ben and Harry if you’re reading this)

  7. benkane
    Posted 29 July 2010 at 12:58 | Permalink

    Good man, Tom! Only two weeks to go for The Road to Rome…hang on in there…

  8. Harry Sidebottom
    Posted 29 July 2010 at 14:00 | Permalink

    Tom, thanks, Harry

    Ben, you went off to bed a couple of hours before me, Harry

  9. benkane
    Posted 29 July 2010 at 14:16 | Permalink

    Ha! That sounds suspiciously like an accusation of fading early. In which case, I am guilty! We should meet up for an Ireland-England 6 Nations game some time, and see who fades first then…

  10. Harry Sidebottom
    Posted 29 July 2010 at 15:00 | Permalink

    That will be me – just can’t take the pace anymore!

  11. benkane
    Posted 29 July 2010 at 15:09 | Permalink

    I know exactly what you mean. God be with the days of our youth!

  12. sinpin
    Posted 30 July 2010 at 18:22 | Permalink

    hi ben , just finished the silver eagle , abo superb , heading on hols 2morro so wont get to get the Road To Rome till i get home , DAMN. Cant wait for Brennus to return , no killing the gaul lol

  13. Posted 30 July 2010 at 19:41 | Permalink

    Ok guys by any chance was Mr Scarrow with you? if yes any dirt to dish…I’m seeing him in a couple of weeks…would be good to give him some stick…LOL.
    Great book Harry…I’m supposed to be sending some questions to you via your publisher to go on my web site…really must get to writing the questions…but books are selling too well at present to find time.

  14. benkane
    Posted 30 July 2010 at 21:31 | Permalink

    Hi sinpin! Glad you enjoyed The Silver Eagle so much, sorry you’ll have to wait till you’re back from hols. Still, something to lift you from those post-holiday blues…

  15. benkane
    Posted 30 July 2010 at 21:33 | Permalink

    No, he wasn’t there, Parmenion, so no dirt to dish, I’m afraid!

  16. Posted 31 July 2010 at 21:14 | Permalink

    Ah well…if i get any i will come back and dish…LOL. So Ben (and Harry if you log back in) what do you read for fun?
    Do you even read anymore? i know some authors cant read the same genre anymore.

  17. benkane
    Posted 1 August 2010 at 12:09 | Permalink

    I’d love to hear any dirt! As for reading, well, after about a three year hiatus when I read nothing but Roman textbooks or my own writing (Argh!), I finally decided enough was enough. Now I read at bedtime, maybe only a few chapters, but I’ve managed to read about 4 or 5 books in the last few months.
    When it comes to Roman fiction, well I still read it – I did for so many years before I was published that I’m not going to stop now. I suspect that most others do too, but don’t admit to it. To give you an idea on what I like, I’ve recently read Best of Men by Claire Letemendia, an excellent English Civil War novel, Raven Blood Eye by Giles Kristian (great, rip-roaring Viking stuff in a similar vein to the wonderful Robert Low), the very well written and in-depth text Carthage Must Be Destroyed by Richard Miles ( amust read if you want to know about Carthage).
    About to go on holiday without kids, and in my rucksack are Harry’s new book, (of which I’ve read just three chapters so far but really enjoyed), Giles Kristian’s second book, Sons of Thunder – I’m also about three chapters into it, and loving it, Boat of Fate (a highly regarded Roman novel from the 1970s), The Cellist of Sarajevo, which I’ve been meaning to read for about 4 years, The Cavalry of the Mid Roman Republic by Jeremiah McCall (can’t get away from texts, even on holiday) plus a few others I can’t think of!

  18. Posted 1 August 2010 at 20:33 | Permalink

    One tip…never challange a scarrow to foose ball….not unless you can lose well…LOL!! Simon self confessed very competitive!!
    The Giles Kristian books both are on my shlef, but i have not read any yet, love Robert Low’s work.
    I dont normally read civil war books but recently was asked to do readers feedback for harper on Peter Ransley’s Plague Child, well worth reading.

    Have you Reach Anthony Riches? where do you stand on profanity in books?

    Have a nice holiday

  19. benkane
    Posted 3 August 2010 at 07:58 | Permalink

    That’s all right, football ain’t my thang. Now rugby, there’s a game!
    I really like Robert Low too. Looking forward to pints with him, Harry Sidebottom, Douglas Jackson and others in November, at the Historical Novel Society’s conference. Just finished Sons of Thunder, Giles Kristian’s second, last night. A stonkingly good read, and now my rucksack is slightly lighter before I’ve even gone away! Have noted the name of Plague Child down, thanks. Sounds a bit like Company of Liars by Karen Maitland, which is about the Black Death. Read that?
    I have both of Anthony Riches’ books, and really want to read them, not least because the subject of the first (the rebellion on Hadrian’s Wall in AD181) is also the topic of my first novel, which still resides on the hard drive of my computer. I told him so in an exchange of emails on RAT, and he was most amused – and a bit relieved that it had never seen the light of day. Seems like a really good guy, especially with his recent full-on walk of the wall in auxiliary kit. I hope to meet him soon too. I’m kicking myself now that I haven’t got his books with me as well.
    Cheers for the good wishes on the holiday. I hope that you have (or have already had) a good one too.

  20. Posted 3 August 2010 at 19:45 | Permalink

    I’m in the process of trying to convince Anthony that he can be rude to me without any come back, he seems to be getting there, but he is still just a dodgy project manager at heart…they can never follow throught to completion…LOL.
    His books are great some people think the profanity level is too high i think it works really well with the plot and characters.
    I have not tried company of liars but have heard of it, will look it out. The peter ransley book suprised me its not my sort of book but i really enjoyed it.
    BTW: i finally got around to an amazon review for you today, on book 2, i will get to book 1 as well. and book 3 once i’ve read it.

    My big tip though is Christian Cameron Killer of Men, i have to say much as i love Simons work, Alex scarrow, yours, anthonys etc.. there is always a stand out book every year for me, last year it was CC humpreys Vlad the last confession, this year its Killer of Men. It is not just writing there seems to be a little bit of soul in there as well…i think the author bordered on over investing himself, he went right to the edge. I promise you will enjoy.

    looking at a holiday in Nimes/ Avignon in a month or so….france is sooo gonna mess up my diet.

  21. benkane
    Posted 4 August 2010 at 08:44 | Permalink

    Cheers for the excellent reviews – they help to balance out the two star ones 🙂 I’m glad you’ve enjoyed the books so much.
    I’d forgotten about your profanity question: it doesn’t bother me in the slightest usually – the only exception I can think of was the excellent series Deadwood. IMO, it went overboard and then sank to the bottom with both the F word and C word. I’m no prude, as you must know from my books, but I started counting one night and lost count (and grew bored) after the F word was used more than 60 times in about 5 minutes.
    Christian Cameron’s books have been on my radar for a while now – I see his posts on RAT regularly too – so I must get around to buying the first one soon.
    Have a great time in France! And surely the good food is part of the hols?

  22. Posted 6 August 2010 at 21:28 | Permalink

    Hello Ben,
    Speaking of Carthaginians…I was just wondering if you had had a chance to see a new series on BBC-TV about Hannibal? It features my brothers and I following his Italian invasion route on bikes and visiting the sites on the way, recreating the battles, climbing the Alps etc.

    It is on at 830pm, Mondays on BBCFour or you can watch it anytime on the BBC i-player:

    We’d love to know what you and your readers think of it!

    all the best

  23. benkane
    Posted 7 August 2010 at 08:18 | Permalink

    Hi Danny!
    How serendipitous that you should contact me – I caught the last few minutes of one of the programmes the other night – I’m not sure which one, and thought to myself – that looks good. Of course I haven’t had a chance to look it up on i-player yet, but I will. Thank you! I loved reading you and your brothers’ reasons for wanting to do the trip. It’s something I could maybe envisage doing in a few years, if my kids are interested! I’ve done a blog post about you – and please let me know if I can give you any more publicity. Keep an eye out next year for Soldier of Carthage, the first book in my new Roman-Carthaginian trilogy!

  24. Harry Sidebottom
    Posted 12 August 2010 at 10:24 | Permalink


    Just a note to wish you all success with Road to Rome, published today.


  25. benkane
    Posted 12 August 2010 at 13:13 | Permalink

    Hi Harry – thanks so much for your good wishes! Many many congratulations to you for the success so far of Lion of the Sun – when I left the UK, I saw it had been at no. 5 for 2 weeks – respect! Just finished it two days ago – and really enjoyed it. A great read.
    Apologies for any oddities in punctuation – on world,s oldest computer in Mostar, Bosnia!

  26. Anthony Riches
    Posted 29 August 2010 at 09:11 | Permalink

    It’s an old thread, so this comment may never see the light of day, but I can’t resist the temptation. Parmenion – f*** off! Happy now?

    Oh, and project managers? Victims of the business mate. If you lot knew what you wanted life would be a lot simpler for us poor unloved (and underpaid) delivery boys (sob).

    Right, back to Fortress of Spears…

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