Promised Land opens in AD 413, centred on the Roman town of Burdigala (Bordeaux). Led by their King Athaulf, the town is occupied by the Visigoths who, for almost four decades, have travelled the Empire seeking a place to settle. Too weak to defeat the Roman Empire but too strong to be defeated themselves, the Visigoths under their previous king, Alaric, had briefly even captured Rome without resolving the stalemate over their future.
In Rome the Visigoths captured the Princess Galla Placidia, half-sister to the Emperor Honorius. She has travelled with them as hostage ever since. In Burdigala there begins a relationship between Roman Princess and Visigoth King based on a heady cocktail of romance, political calculation and genuine idealism culminating in marriage and the birth of a son.
Honorius has no children. King and Princess believe their personal union, and in time their son, will unite Romans and Visigoths so changing the then world – and, quite possibly, the world in which we live today.
Except the world is not so easily changed. A Princess seldom lacks for competing suitors. And many are the men who would be King or have their son become Roman Emperor.
Promised Land is a novel. The Dark Ages already throw a long shadow. Invention is necessary sometimes for the book to work and sometimes because that darkness swallowed the facts. For all that, the tale of Athaulf and Galla Placidia is a tale deserving to be told.