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Tros of Samothrace 1: Wolves of the Tiber

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Tros of Samothrace 1: Wolves of the Tiber
Leonaur Original
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Author(s): Talbot Mundy
Date Published: 06/2007
Page Count: 280
Softcover ISBN-13: 978-1-84677-182-8
Hardcover ISBN-13: 978-1-84677-181-1

55 B.C.--an adventurer ensnared in the Roman invasion of Britain

When his ship is taken and his crew slaughtered Tros of Samothrace is captured by Imperial Rome. Whilst his father is held hostage, Tros is coerced by Julius Caesar into helping find the best route for his assault on Britain. Tros must play a double game—he must try to save his father and encourage the British chieftains’ resistance to thwart Rome and its legions—who are ready in Gaul to make the crossing to occupy their lands. Treachery, intrigue and assassination plots threaten, before Tros must accompany Caesar in his amphibious landing and its pitched battle in the surf. Wolves of the Tiber is the first of a series—published by Leonaur—about the adventures of Tros of Samothrace, that will delight lovers of both historical and fantastic fiction. Look out for Dragons of the North, Serpent of the Waves and City of Eagles, all available now—with more to come!

Tros beaked the nearest as she swung, with her sheets let go, but a dozen Romans leaped into the bireme’s bows, where they were massacred with arrow fire from Orwic’s engine, that came near cutting down the Britons who rushed to use their swords.<br>
There was no discipline. No order, no command could have been heard above the shouting and the crash of breaking ships.<br>
Two more of Caesar’s ships collided, and Tros beaked them both, breaking the first on the bows of the other and leaving both to drift on the deafening shoal. But their arrows swept the citadel, and the shock of collision had stopped the bireme’s way, nearly splitting the sail.<br>
Conops let both sheets go in the nick of time to save the bireme from capsizing. And before they could get the mainsail sheeted down again, with ten of Orwic’s Britons dragged and driven aft to help the sailors, the last of Caesar’s ships had crashed alongside.<br>
Grapples struck into the deck and pierced the bulwark. Fifty of Caesar’s legionaries leaped up the bireme’s side, and the fight was on in darkness, with the two ships grinding together in the trough of steep waves.
Then the beacon lights went out, or else were screened. The wind increased to a full gale, and though the moon showed once or twice between the racing clouds there was nothing to show the channel’s course. The Romans, silent, shoulder to shoulder on the heaving deck, were driving the Britons fore and aft in front of them.<br>
Tros trusted then to the gods, and his father’s prophecy, and the strength of the Roman’s grappling chains. He put the helm hard up, until the small ship struck the mud and the bireme’s weight hammered her into it.
Then he sprang from the poop, let go the sheets and, with a shout that the Britons heard above the din of sea and crashing timbers and loose sail, plunged into the fight.<br>
Part of the bireme’s bulwark broke away. She swung down wind in mid-channel, anchored by the other grapnel to the wrecked, swamped, smaller ship, tugging at it like a hooked sea monster, until none could keep his footing and Tros nearly rolled through the gap in the broken bulwark, at grips with a Roman centurion.
Blood and spray churned into scum. A dozen Britons, cornered in the bow, loosed flight after flight of arrows humming through the darkness, so that both sides struggled for the shelter of the citadel. And it was there that Tros’s long sword began to turn the tide of battle, for he caught the stoutest Roman of them all and skewered him through the throat against the bulkhead.
Then Orwic sprang beside him from the shadow, dripping blood from scalp wounds—his Roman helmet had gone overboard—and Conops found Tros, guarding his back with a flickering two-edged knife. They three swept that section of the deck, rallying other Britons to them, until Tros thought of a ruse. But as he thought of it the bireme broke the grapnel chain at last and plunged up-channel, beam to the waves and swaying drunkenly before the wind.<br>
So he seized Orwic’s quivering arm and tugged him—no need to signal Conops, who was like a dog at his master’s heel. They three, and a dozen after them, sprang for the poop, where Conops took the helm and tried to keep mid-channel. Tros stood sword in hand at the edge of the poop bull-bellowing, in Latin, lungs out-thundering the din:<br>
“Omen! An omen! Caesar’s eagle, falling from the sky!”