Cover reveal and buy link for my latest work, available NOW for pre-order with a publication date of Thursday 2 December. This is a standalone novel — perfect holiday reading — with a low initial price of 99p/99c or equivalent local currency and FREE on kindle unlimited. Any pre-orders would really help to raise visibility, even if you intend to read the book later. Here is a short taster: It is early afternoon — midsummer eve, 451 — and the army of the West under Flavius Aetius, The Last of the Romans, has pinned Attila’s invading Eastern army against the River Seine. The king of the Huns has to fight: http://mybook.to/ScourgeofGod
Horsa was making his way through the ranks, his easy movements and the pitch of his voice contemptuous of the fast approaching threat. ‘Remember what we said, lads. It is a day for shields and spears.’ He shot them a grin and a quip as the ground beneath their feet began to tremble, drawing nervous laughter from the younger members of the comitatus as he walked. Halga watched intently, contrasting their reaction with that of the veterans. Grim-faced and alert, as the outline of the Hun riders and their mounts began to harden from the haze.
Arékan said. ‘I will leave now, Halga. You boys will have enough to do soon, without having to worry about protecting me.’ They exchanged a meaningful nod. Forced to shoulder her shield to use her bow, she was far too vulnerable to stand in the phalanx. Halga watched her go, threading her way through the ranks of stony-faced men as she sought the sagittarii at the rear.
Movement caught his eye as he looked, and Halga watched as the Alan clibanarii lowered their long contus as one. A flash of gold further south showed where the Visigoth king stood beneath his banners, surrounded by the men of his hearth guard. His mouth was drier than old bones, and he felt the urge to piss. It was too late now, and he shook all other thoughts from his mind as he gripped the handle of his shield and his left foot slid forward to brace. ‘Ready boys? It’s going to be a long day. Keep your wits about you, and you will have a tale to bore your grandchildren rigid when you are old and grey.’
A deep-throated howl drew his attention back to the front. The Huns were closer now, their faces dark smudges haloed by leather and steel as they urged their horses forward with the mesmeric bobbing motion of their breed. Enemy war horns keened again, adding to the wall of sound washing over the allied ranks. Roman discipline held, and they stood stock-still, without a whisper, as they prepared to face down the threat. Halga felt the need to answer the challenge in kind, to clatter his spear shaft against the rim of his shield as he too bawled and yelled. But they had all agreed to put up a united front, to follow the Roman custom of meeting an attack in silence the previous night around the camp fires, and he could see the sense in it now. Tens of thousands of men, standing in ranks as quiet as the grave, could be as unnerving as any amount of war cries.
Halga cast a look skyward. The heavens were a vault of the purest blue on this midsummer eve, with only a swelling cloud of vultures to break its completeness; riding the updraft on ragged wings, the dark forms a sinister reminder of why they were there.
A shouted command from the Roman centenarii carried across the allied ranks as the Hun bows came up:
As the order to make ready hung on the sweltering air, shields were hefted, and spears slid proud to make a war hedge all along the line. A quick glance towards the position of the sun told Halga that it was early afternoon, and as the muffled clatter of hide-bound shields told him that the defenders were preparing to face the onslaught, he raised his arm and followed suit. The Huns were coming within bowshot, and as Oswy and Steapel overlapped the rims of their shield with his own, he spoke a final instruction. ‘Unless you are tracking a particular arrow,’ he said, ‘follow my actions. If we can present a solid front, we shall win-out, however many shafts they loose against us.’
The background rumble of a horse army on the move had become a tremulous roar now, and Halga took a peek over the rim of his shield as he waited for the first arrows to arrive. All along the battlefront, Roman commanders roared again:
Already practiced in the response, the allied formations added their voices to the reply, and the answering cry from the army of the West rend the sky as they roared as one:
Again and again the call and response thundered across the plain:
All around him, Jutish and Anglian hands were going to good luck charms and pendants as they sought to invoke the protection of the gods of the North. Halga found a fleeting moment to call upon Woden, the All-father, as Attila’s battalions filled his vision.
Spear-shaker: Victory-giver; Battle-wolf…
This sounds like a great book need to try this on my review list