Nick Macklin captures the terror and the glory of life in a Roman legion and the intense fight for survival of the brave warriors they fought. This is a novel that stands head and shoulders above competition from better known writers in the genre: Bernard Cornwell, Simon Scarrow and Anthony Riches to name but three. The story of Atticus, Epona and Allerix is written with deep emotion and feeling whilst still evoking the brutality of the age. At times tragic, at times triumphant, this is a novel holding a flaming torch to illuminate the darkness of every motive that is lyrical and visceral, and beautifully realized.
by Robin P, Reviewer Netgalley
A thrilling and engaging read, I immensely appreciated the historical accuracy of the novel as well as the character development. Epona was a firm favorite of mine. I’ll definitely look for more by this author in the future.
by Author Heather Osborne
I am not well versed in Roman history. Sure, I know that whole Et tu, Brute? incident, and that Brutus is (was) an honourable man. I also know that this is quite a violent era. The seemingly unstoppable Roman army ploughed their way through county after country, as they extended their empire. But, I know next to nothing about what nations and tribes ended up on their knees, or even how a Legion worked!! Thanks to this novel I now know a little more about this fascinating time in history.
When Atticus and his friend Julius are new legionaries, in the XIIth Legion, all they want to do is to prove themselves in a fight, to join a battle and gain glory. Unfortunately, Atticus’ first spell with conflict doesn’t bring glory, but an insubordination charge (facepalm moment), immediately putting him at odds with his commander, Aquila (whom I hated with a passion). As both Atticus and Julius find themselves in the midst of more action, they quickly learn that glory means nothing if you are dead.
Allerix and Epona, siblings and the children of King Albiorix of the Aduatuci, are both warriors. While Epona defies all expectations (you’ll have to read the book to find out what those expectations are), Allerix rides out with a group of men to provide support to the Romans. When Allerix meets Atticus, though, it does not take him long to realise that not all Romans are the same, and some of them would choose peace over slaughter.
This book, how do I start? I was simply blown away by the detail, the action and the fighting, the near-endless battles and the terror every time one of my favourite characters found themselves in a fight. The author has done an absolutely marvellous job of getting me to care for all the main characters, bringing life to each one. The battles were depicted with such intense detail that I felt as if I was there, trying to evade death alongside the characters. This book was a whirlwind from start to finish, and I simply could not put it down.
If you know nothing about this era, do not despair! This book does not care whether you are an expert or someone with limited knowledge (like me), it will pull you in just the same. This is book 1 in a trilogy, but it has also only recently been released – this, unfortunately, means I will have to wait to find out what happens next!
by Maddie Smith
At first, "Bloody Dominions" felt disjointed. I struggled a little bit, as I wanted answers to my questions long before the author was willing to give them (a fault of mine). It's a crackingly good story though, so it didn't take me too long to bind my impatience and settle down "for the journey" - and it really is an enjoyable journey. Looking forward to book 2 - and 3! My thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley
by Dawn L, Reviewer NetGalley
The Roman Empire, a force to be reckoned with. I was expecting this novel to be jam-packed with action, conflict and battles, but this novel is also about honour and an unforgettable friendship.
There are several different storylines in this book, But it was Atticus’ and Allerix’s stories that I found the most compelling. Atticus is a legionary, serving under the worst kind of commander (the kind who cares not a whit about the lives of his men). Allerix is a price, son of Albiorix, King of the Aduatuci. Atticus and Allerix cross paths multiple times, but it’s how they cross paths that matter. These two characters fight together and against each other, which made for some truly heart-rendering moments.
The Roman Empire was a force to be reckoned with, and while some of the nations may have realised they stood no chance against such an army, there were those who would rather have died than give up their freedom. This book does not gloss over the horrors of war, nor the consequences for the nations who so much as dared to defy Rome. But this story is not simply wrought with pain and suffering. The friendships of Atticus and his fellow legionaries, as well as his conflict with his commander, and Allerix’s relationships both at home and on the battlefield round out the story to make it both a gripping and highly enjoyable read.
This novel was exciting, compelling, and next to impossible to put down. Reading about the opposing sides of a fight would be in-depth enough, but feeling deeply for the characters as they are thrown into battle again and again truly made this book one that I am thoroughly glad I agreed to read.
by Jamie Caig
I cannot possibly give justice to how great this book is in a few sentences. This is a wonderful portrayal of the Roman conquest of Gaul.
This book has three main characters. First and foremost is Atticus, a Roman Legionnaire who always finds himself in the thick of it. Then, Allerix, Prince of the Aduatuci, fighting alongside the Romans while opposing their every decision. Finally, Allerix’s sister, Epona, a woman smart and strong enough to win almost every fight, no matter how big or strong her opponent may be. This book made me fall in love with all three characters, and I often found myself worrying for their safety. I would put the book down for a moment, to do something, and find myself running back to it, desperate to know what happens next, and hoping that all the characters remain unscathed.
There is action aplenty, although that is to be expected with a book such as this. The immense amount of detail, the concern about the characters, the story in itself – all of it is enough to pull you into the book and keep you there, forcing you to stay up later than you intended because you cannot bear to put the book down and leave it there. This book makes you want to read just one more chapter, and then one more! When I reached the end of the book, I found myself staring at the last page, astonished that the story was left where it was and that I would have to wait to find out how the story continues, as book 2 is NOT OUT YET!
If you want to read a good book, and you are a fan of any kind of action, this book is the one you must get, no questions asked.
by Lost in a Book Blog
It is a rare thing to have a novel recommended to me that I actually enjoy, after 18 months of lockdown and completing at least 30 novels this was not only the highlight but reconfirmation that my bed time reading is really worth the 30 minutes I give it every night. The wonderful thing is that this is the first of a trilogy - I can't wait for the next one. Don't be put off by the large size , it is fantastic value for money to be transported to Gaul 57BC . I think this author has much more to give and he can definitely deliver on the promise. If you like historical content and a well spun story this book gives it in buckets !!
by Nigel P
Action and adventure, the desperate fight for survival and freedom. The Roman Empires' shadow darkened the lives of those who tried to escape it.
This book, in my opinion, had a bit of a slow start. I was confused, I didn’t know who the characters were and I found there was little explanation of their roles. However, I am reluctant to let that affect my review and rating of this book, as when it picked up and the characters found their places in my mind, this story really took off and the flight was a strong and steady one. There are three protagonists in this story and they each brought something fresh and vivid to the story.
If you want to live battles, find friends among soldiers, and spend the entirety of a book perched precariously on the edge of your seat, this book is the one you need to read. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it, and I thought everything had been depicted with such incredible penmanship that I would have no qualms with reading this book again and again, and I am definitely looking forward to book 2!
Bloody Dominions is a new novel from author and historian Nick Macklin.
He takes his readers back to the years 58-56BC. Caesar has launched his campaign to conquer Gaul.
He brings to life Atticus a gifted soldier and military tactician whose grandfather was a member of the legions and who served with distinction. Allerix who is the Chieftain of the Aduatuci who finds himself in the schizophrenic situation of, at times, fighting both for Caesar and against him. And there is Epona, who is the adopted sister of Allerix and also a skilled and fierce warrior in her own right.
The conflicts they engage in are brutal and the impacts on both victor and defeated are powerful.
The main characters are fated to repeatedly cross paths and swords as they are doomed by circumstances to be enemies. However, all is not what it appears. I will say no more on this point as it might risk spoiling the enjoyment of this novel by my readers.
Whilst reading this novel the reader is transported back to the open lands and the dense, dark forests of ancient Europe as they stand shoulder-to-shoulder with tribal warriors and Roman Legionaries as they fight for conquest or to keep their lands free of conquering enemies.
The battle scenes are particularly affecting, especially when friends realise they are fighting against friends.
It's the first novel in the series, so do keep an eye open for the rest of them.
by That's Books
I started writing Bloody Dominions about 3 years ago. It is the culmination of a profound and lifelong interest in ancient history, especially the Roman empire and a long harboured belief, motivated by the works of writers such as Robert Fabbri, Conn Iggulden, Anthony Riches and Simon Scarrow, that I too had a story to tell. When I was presented with a window of opportunity, I took the decision to place my career on hold and see if I could convert that belief into reality. I haven't regretted the decision for one moment and am genuinely excited about my characters and the story they have to tell.
I have always enjoyed creative writing, contributing to various publications at school, sixth form college and university, where I was also part of the editorial team on the student magazine. Whilst the ancient world did not unfortunately feature to any extent in my history degree, the result of failing miserably to secure the A level grades that would have permitted greater choice, I enjoyed developing skills that stood me in good stead throughout my professional career and, more recently, during the extensive research I conducted whilst writing my novel.
When I left college, I embarked on a career in HR and over the next 30 years or so I occupied a variety of increasingly senior roles, culminating in several Directorships in large NHS Trusts. Unsurprisingly, writing in these roles was largely confined to the prosaic demands of Board papers, although I continued to write for personal consumption and read avidly. My inner historian was often frustrated however by the propensity for works of historical fiction to view events from one perspective. History is of course written by the winners, but in the world of fiction that constraint need not apply. Similarly, the role of women in Roman fiction, Boudica aside, is largely confined to spouse, prostitute or slave when adopting an alternative approach might add a different dimension and richness to any story.
I have therefore sought to produce a novel in which unfolding events are experienced and described from the perspective of protagonists on both sides of Caesar's incursion into Gaul, one of whom is female and a prominent member of the warrior clan of her tribe. The novel is driven by these characters but the framework against which their stories unfold is historically accurate, featuring actual participants in Caesars campaign and drawing on real events as they occurred.
I live in Exeter with my two daughters and am currently juggling work as an Independent HR Consultant with writing the second novel in the Conquest Trilogy, Battle Scars.