Authors: Nick Morris
A novel by Nick Morris
“So shalt thou feed on
Death that feeds on human men.”
Published in the United
Kingdom by Purchace Publishing
Copyright © 2012 Nick Morris
Nick Morris has asserted his
right under the Copyright, Designs and
Patents Act 1988 to be identified
as the author of this work.
A CIP catalogue record for
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About this book
The War Raven narrates a barbarian's epic bid for liberty and revenge and heralds the beginning of the end for his mighty Roman oppressors . . .
When a Germanii village is savagely decimated by the Nineteenth Legion of the Roman army, the young warrior Guntram is captured and bound for the gladiatorial school of 1st Century Pompeii. He has had to watch the horrific murders of his mother and sister, but he has also witnessed the survival and abduction of his sweetheart and young brother; if only for their sakes, he determines to channel his relentless fury and formidable strength into ensuring his own survival.
With time and several joyless victories, the tribesman and his Spanish sparring partner win the partial liberty of living outside the gladiatorial school, in between preparing for their next rounds of mortal combat. This affords Guntram the consolation of his love for the beautiful Judaen girl Chayna, yet his sights remain firmly set upon winning the ‘rudis’ – the traditional grant of complete liberty for those rare champions who survive long enough to win the heart of the mob.
Servannus, an enthusiastic sponsor of the games who is remembered by Guntram as the Tribune to the Nineteenth Legion, has not taken the fierce gladiator’s oaths of revenge lightly. Guntram's freedom is set to carry a higher price than he can have imagined, sending him on a harrowing journey that will lead him to the famous historical battle of the Teutoberger Forest, where he longs to settle old scores and pick up the pieces of his broken past.
About the author
The author was born in 1957 in South Wales and began his working career teaching history in Kent. His lifelong passions have included a love of military history, the martial arts, and the history of the fighting arts in all its various forms. He has studied under some of the world's most respected masters, obtaining black belt ranking in Aikido, Judo, and Karate, as well as holding an instructor's certificate in the Israeli Krav Maga combat system.
Nick Morris has travelled widely throughout Europe and the Middle East, and had the opportunity to work in the field of unarmed combat with various Special Forces units including the Sheyatet (navy commandos) and the Golani Regiment in Israel, the American Navy SEALS and the British Parachute Regiment. He now rests his old bones once again in South Wales.
Another novel involving characters in
is in the pipeline. The intended focus will be on a young Roman noble and a Dacian barbarian.
The author looks forward to your responses, once you've emerged from some very bloody armchair battles!
“Let no one weep at my funeral,
for I will live through the mouths of men.”
The crowd’s roar rent the sky above the arena; twenty thousand voices screaming, “Death! Death!” A sea of thumbs jerked towards straining throats and the cry rang out again, this time longer, suspended in the stifling air.
As the clamour receded, the swordsman peered out through the grid of the tunnel gate. Touts scampered amongst the packed rows of spectators, eliciting any last minute changes in the betting stakes. Peddlers threaded amongst the crowd, selling sweetmeats, drinks and seat cushions, keen to secure sales before the spectacle resumed. The swordsman’s gaze swept over the packed higher tiers, where the faithful opened parcels of food and supped from skins of wine as acrobats and musicians performed. A sea breeze rose up, with filtered beams of light from the gently swaying, multi-coloured awning tinging the crowd; one moment coral, emerald, and then amber.
, he thought.
The air seemed to shimmer above the arena surface. The bout had reached its climax, with one man down and the other poised above him. The defeated gladiator was an axe fighter. He lay flat on his back, his bloody thighs bearing testimony to the effectiveness of his opponent’s spear thrusts. Prising off his helmet he raised a shaking hand to the crowd. It was a plea for mercy.
In contrast, the spearman wore only a loin-cloth. His breathing laboured, he placed his spear tip into the hollow of the axe man’s throat, waiting for the Games’
The crowd bayed for death, and on the podium the
hand cut to his throat. The spearman drove his spear down – a quick death.
The swordsman’s attention was drawn to the bead of sweat creeping down his own brow. It stopped at the band of pig grease smeared above his eyes. The next to fight, he knew that any momentary blurring of vision could result in an early passage through the gates of Hades. Ignoring the pervading stench of blood that clung to the tunnel’s stone walls, he watched the victor, spear raised, soak up the crowd’s acclaim. The chants rose higher and a wave of nausea eeled through his guts. But, the tension was no stranger, and he concentrated on his breathing, slowing it down.
Four pairs had already fought, with his school losing three of the four matches to the visiting Capuans. He knew the home crowd would be livid. With his time approaching, he turned away from the gate, towards the waiting area and the first sight of his opponent.
Prior the Capuan was silently performing his stretching exercises. The sleek muscles of his legs and torso shifted smoothly beneath his dark skin like coiling serpents, and his body bore few scars; a testament to his skill. Discussion sometimes took place between gladiators, but the swordsman never spoke with an opponent before a contest; he had no words for the men he must kill.