Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Last Free Men - By Jack Everett & David Coles

Okay -- its time to tell us about that hunky hero in your book.

What's his name?

There are two heroes…

Marcus Uffin Gettorix, a young Romano-British man initially employed by the Roman Army as a scout on the northern border of Britain.

The other is a career centurion, Emelius Karrus, in his mid forties, intensely loyal, capable, dependable. This is the second century; Britain has already been occupied by the Romans for almost a century.

Why did you pick that name?

Marcus is the son of a mixed union; his father is a Senator in Britain as part of his career path, his mother is related to the ruling aristocracy of northern Britain - his name is typical of a mixed marriage.

Emelius is a real historic character, serving in Britain, probably promoted to Tribuen in the field and later serving in Persia.

Give us a brief description of how he looks.

Marcus is tall, and wiry - from his British side and dark haired, olive skinned from his Mediterranean ancestry. Like most of his fellow soldiers, he is tough and very fit. He wears British clothes to pass as a trader but has Roman military uniform which he wears for formal occasions.

Emelius is thickset, has Mediterranean colouring and black eyes. Again, his profession has made him strong and hardy. He wears military gear - a crested steel helmet over crew-cut greying hair, overlapping strip armour sewn to a leather tunic, a leather kilt, grieves and sandal-like hob-nailed boots. For ceremonial occasions, he has a set of helmet and armour decorated with brass detail.

Is there anything unusual about his appearance?

Marcus has an unusual mixture of looks because of his ancestry; blue eyes with dark skin and hair are striking.

Emelius is immediately compelling; he is one of the Legion's principal centurions at the peak of his active career and in the prime of life, his self-confidence colours his whole bearing and character, he stands out in any group.

Who does he love? Why?

Marcus falls in love with Asel, the daughter of a trader when he helps her escape from a prison camp.

Emelius has taken a local woman to wife; when he is posted elsewhere, he will make a small provision for her and leave her.

Does this person love him?

Asel has loved Marcus from the times he has come to her father's house but her father makes jokes about her feelings and she tries to hide them.

Tell us about his family. Are they important to him?

Marcus' father is a distant figure, he returned to Rome when Marcus was a boy but letters are exchanged regularly - Marcus is unusual in having been taught to read Latin; the relationship is a pragmatic one. His Mother is very important, he visits her at her home whenever duties permit, helps with household tasks.

Emelius' family is the Roman Army, no contest.

Where is he from?

Marcus is from the Roman Empire's North West frontier: the area of present day Dumfriesshire in Scotland.

Emelius' antecedents are never mentioned; he signed up for a minimum stretch of 25 years in the army in his teens and this is his life. Having only the two names: Emelius Karrus, we know he is not from Rome itself, perhaps from Sicily.

Does his hometown affect his behaviour, thoughts and attitude?

Marcus is constantly beset by conflict; his two backgrounds make him an outsider in both the Roman Army and in his northern British tribal world, too often he can see both sides of an argument and his covert work as a scout (think of the old Western scouts used by the US army) is a life of deception.

Emelius rarely thinks of his early life. The Army has replaced family, his life is one of certainty, physical well-being and self-reliance.

What does he want out of life?

Marcus wants to settle down with a wife, a family and a farm and let soldiering become distant memories to tell his children - but not yet, when he is old, forty perhaps.

Emelius has what he wants from life, promotion would be good but not all the paperwork he knows it will entail; domestic life is comfortable but not essential - he is a soldier's soldier.

What's his biggest secret? (Only share if it isn't a spoiler in the story.)

Marcus doesn't know what he is capable of… only the Druids know that secret and they aren't telling.

Did you write more than one story about him?

Not so far.

How would he describe you?

Marcus would think we're chair-bound elders.

Emelius would think we're soft-muscled scribes but might concede we have our uses.

Is there anything else about your hero that we need to know? Feel free to share.

As the story progresses, Marcus feels increasingly manipulated and insecure, a tool of the Gods that he scarcely believes in.

Officers like Emelius always have a healthy contempt for the political appointees who command them, he finds his disapproval well-founded. He also finds the hardest thing he had to do in Britain was pay his respects to the widow of his commanding officer.

Please provide your website link.

What is the link to buy your book?

It was wonderful to meet him. Thank you for bringing him to meet us.

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