Lucius is a young Centurion in the time of Hadrian, serving at Trimontium, modern-day Melrose in southern Scotland. Trista is a Roman patrician girl, living in Gaul. She is orphaned and becomes a vagrant when her parents are killed by traitors plotting to overthrow the emperor.
Following the death of his wife, Lucius becomes an imperial agent, operating beyond the borders of the Empire as a trader, seeking signs of invasion. He meets Trista who is under threat of assassination. The story follows their flight across Gaul, pursued by evil forces, to the German forests in a race to avert invasion and the death of the emperor.
REVIEWS & ENDORSEMENTS
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant read, 3 Aug 2013
By jax len
This review is from: Hadrian's Trader (Kindle Edition)
I was given this book by my father who recommended it. Great descriptions of the Scottish Borders and surrounding areas (This author knows the area well and the descriptions of the hills and river Tweed come to life), this is a truly compelling story about a centurion's life serving his leader and country.
With great detail the story tells you of Lucius's life with the Roman empire. The greed, jealousy, internal friction, power and the use of slaves but also of love lost and found. I read this book in two days picking it up at every opportunity to find out what happened next. I really hope there will be a sequel to this and look forward to reading it.
I highly recommend this book. This appears to be the author's first novel and he has captured the essence of Hadrian's army and their daily life. I'm sure we will hear more from Richard Yeo, and I for one am looking forward to it. ~ Jax Len, Amazon
By Elaine Housby
As a general rule I dislike historical fiction and only read this book because the author is local. It has not entirely converted me to the genre but I thought it was very good of its type. It is a real page turner. The writer is a natural story teller and writes very well. It should appeal to both women and men as romance and mysticism alternates with bloody violence. it has an episodic structure but that is not a weakness. There are a number of very strong set pieces, described in vivid and memorable sensory detail. The author has used his experience as a naval officer to good effect, imagining the working life of a Roman centurion in an absolutely convincing way. I suspect that his later experience as a bookseller has informed the description of the hero's later career as a trader, because the details of the little tricks used by stallholders to entice customers seem very real. I had some issues with the dialogue, as I found the use of different modern dialects to distinguish various tribes of the period rather confusing. The ending of the novel seems to be setting up a sequel, and by the time I got to the end I was so involved with the characters that I would definitely read a sequel.
By Noel Entwhistle
Set initially in Roman Trimontium, outside Melrose, it tells the story of a Roman centurian who is forced by circumstance to leave the army and become a trader as cover for spying for the emperor, leading him and his friends into dangerous territory. A rattling good story with good characterisation. ~
By David Husband
I was given this as a present and didn't know anything about it. After a few pages however I couldn't put the book down. The roman elements coupled with local Scottish tribes and some modern day language made it addictive reading. The characters were interesting and made you want to find out more about them and read on. It had a feeling of the film gladiator about it. All in all a wonderful read and make me ready for the -hopefully- sequel . I want another fix! ~
From Amazon: 5 out of 5 stars
A superb new writer, 2 July 2013
This review is from: Hadrian's Trader (Kindle Edition)
Came across this quite by chance, and I'm so glad I did! The author obviously knows the region around the Eildon hills in Scotland really well, and that adds real texture to the writing. It's a great story, and I liked the characters, and was quickly drawn into their lives. The hero is admirable and likeable, and the bad guys really dastardly, and it's a great piece of storytelling. You know people say "I couldn't put it down", well that was really true for me with "Hadrian's Trader". I learned a lot about life in Britain under the Roman occupation, but that aspect was done with a light touch. I suspect that Mr. Yeo may have been in the armed forces as he seems very familiar with the way an army on the move is organised. (But I'm no expert.) And it's not just one for the men, there is deep feeling here and more than just another historical/military novel. There is a spiritual dimension here that I was not expecting, but again, written with a light, subtle touch. I'd recommend this to anybody. ~
This isn't your typical Sword-and-Sandal romp, although there are enough bloodthirsty engagements to keep the action-fans happy. For those of us who love the Romans, despite their ferocious characteristics, it's almost refreshing to come across tribes that are even more vicious! The representation of Roman Britain (and Germany) is realistically drawn, and there are no glaring anachronisms to distract from the rollicking adventures of Hadrian's Trader and his companions ... that is, if you can accept the Cockney accents of the Celts. And I suppose a Cockney accent is just as good as any other to distinguish the different groups that people this book! ~ Jennifer Stewart, The Write Way
Centurian Lucius Terentius Aquilina is sent to a routine posting at Hadrian's Wall. But when personal tragedy strikes, he finds himself being recruited to serve his emperor in a new way, as a spy in the guise of a trader. No longer a simple soldier, Lucius must learn new skills and new ways of thinking - looking to his spiritual as much as to his physical strengths - if he is to remain true to his new friends and save his emperor.
What I liked
Richard Yeo is clearly knowledgable about Roman history, and this shines through the whole plot, whether with legionaries in Caledonia or spies in Gaul and Germania. I found the characters likeable, particularly Lucius and his train of slaves/companions, and the old trader, Josephus. The book has a warm, often humorous feel, which I enjoyed, although it doesn't shrink from the details of battle and assassination either. It also incorporates a spiritual side to the Roman Empire, with the various gods and folk beliefs of its constituent peoples sometimes playing a real part in the action.
What I disliked
There is a lot of cutting back and forth in time in the narrative, as well as cutting beween past and present tenses. This can be a little distracting, as can the use of modern British dialects to represent the different languages of the Roman Empire. Also, I find the sporadic use of the f-word out of keeping with the overall tone of the book.
My overall opinion
Hadrian's Trader is an enjoyable read that kept me interested throughout. It is the kind of book I could see myself borrowing from the library, on a par with Michael Chabon's Gentlemen of the Road. I can definitely see more Lucius Terentius Aquilina adventures in the future. ~ Elizabeth Hopkison, Author, Silver Hands
Detailed recreation of Scottish Border life at the time of Roman occupation, a loyal and empathetic hero and a nail biting denouement combine to make this work of historical fiction gripping from the first page to the last.
We meet Lucius, a brilliant young Centurion in the time of Hadrian, serving at Trimontium – the Eildon hills. But personal tragedy changes the course of his service to his Emperor and he is recruited to be a spy, disguised as a trader, charged with testing the security of occupied lands. We follow his eventful journeys through Scotland and further afield as he learns both a new craft and a new psychology from Josephus, his wise old Jewish mentor.
Meanwhile, Trista, a Roman patrician girl living in Gaul, is brutally orphaned and takes to the road learning to live by her wits. A chance encounter between Lucius and Trista leads them not only into dangerous situations across Europe but also into a tenderly affectionate relationship. Having, at the start, been rescued by Lucius, Trista becomes his rescuer at the finish.
Yeo writes with an assured elegance and familiarity with the era which transports us back through the centuries to a very different Scotland and Europe. It is tempting to describe this novel as an Alistair MacLean yarn set centuries ago except that, underlying Yeo’s skillful storytelling, he shares tantalizing glimpses of other world spirituality. And, while a purist might question the appropriateness of a dialect which seems to hold elements of Cockney – Yorkshire pronunciation, evocative descriptions together with the pace and variety of events keeps the reader wholly engaged.
Living and working in East Berwickshire, Yeo was a naval officer for most of his career. He became a successful thatcher on retirement before, in recent years, owning Slightly Foxed, the Berwick-upon-Tweed second-hand bookstall where he learned to love the minutiae of trading. He is also editor of The Inner Light Journal, an esoteric quarterly, and writes on the subject of geomancy. He has had a lifelong interest in the Roman era, especially its lingering influence upon Caledonia and its Celtic tribes.
Hadrian’s Trader is published by Roundfire Books (2013), price £13.99
To win a copy of Richard Yeo’s book Hadrian’s Trader simply answer the following question: Where did the young Trista live before meeting Lucius?
Submit your answer together with your name, address and telephone number by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by post to P O Box ….. Please clearly mark your entry EBL Hadrian’s Trader Competition. Closing date 31 August 2013.
The winners will be the first correct answers to be opened after the closing date. The Editor’s decision is final and no cash alternative is available. Please indicate on your entry if you would prefer not to receive information from EB Living or its partners.
EB Living July/August 2013 page 12 ~ Eastern Borders Living, Author