Book Spotlight – Prelude to Sorrow – Sci-fi

Title: Prelude to Sorrow

Author: Andrew p. Weston

Genre: Science Fiction

Main character descriptions:
Marcus Brutus. General of the 9th Legion and Field Marshal of the combined taskforce.
Samuel Pell. Captain, Royal Marines and commander of the Special Forces contingent.
Jake Rixton. Captain, U.S. Cavalry. OIC of the mounted brigade.
Gul Shaní:  Deputy Magister of the Senatum of Arden.
Psi Calen: Chief Scientific Advisor of the Senatum of Arden.
Va-ákil: Supreme Magnate of the Kresh (Horde).
Altás: Prime Catalyct – Battlemaster – of the Primus Host of the Kresh.
James Houston. Turncoat and murderer. Onetime officer-in-command of the 5th Company, 2nd Mounted Rifles. Now a Horde changeling.


The task force dispatched from Arden to eradicate the Horde menace failed, and for those few left alive, the tenet by which they have survived for so long resounds as never before.

Fight or Die!

Now marooned, out of time and out of place, the survivors lick their wounds and struggle to recover while the Horde gathers their strength for a final strike that will change the course of history forever. The fate of the galaxy – and more – hangs in the balance.

But fate, it seems, isn’t done with the Ninth, and our heroes find themselves forced to mount a last-ditch attempt to end the threat once and for all.

Will the darkness be vanquished, or will our heroes’ efforts finally signal the beginning of the end of their adventure?


Brief Excerpt 250 words:

A deafening cry split the heavens and boomed across the savannah. He looked up and saw what could only be a huge bird in the sky, roaring a challenge that twisted the fabric of everything he held dear and caused every other living creature lurking around the watercourse—both friend and foe—to flee in mutual panic.

Instinct took over, and the entire clan stampeded back through the reeds in a mad dash toward the welcoming protection of the jungle.

The alpha risked a quick glance over his shoulder at their nemesis.

Wings as voluminous as clouds and pregnant with fulgurous discharges blotted out the sun. A monstrous beak and unbelievably large talons blazed like a furnace, searing his eyes and baking the ground where they passed.

Morbid dread froze his heart, and as he watched, the awful thing belched fire and cleaved in two. While the bulk of its mass fell on prey to the northeast, the vehemence of its thermogenic gaze continued on toward his troop, shrieking of death and retribution.

He screeched, and the tribe increased its pace.

Moments later, he could hear his family crashing into the undergrowth. He had no doubt they’d be paying scant heed to the thorns scratching at their faces or the twigs yanking out divots of hair.

Safe now?

His concerns were timely.

Thunder pealed and the ground shook. A sweltering exhalation swept by, igniting leaves, bushes, trees, and exposed fur alike.


Why should readers buy this book?
The story of the “Lost” 9th legion of Rome has been a matter of conjecture for centuries, as well as the subject of countless works and two major Hollywood films. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the truth of their disappearance was explained here, in all its bitter glory?


IXPreludeSorrowLargeAdvert - Copy






Book Links


Amazon UK


Andrew P. Weston is Royal Marine and Police veteran from the UK who now lives on the beautiful Greek island of Kos with his wife, Annette, and their growing family of rescue cats.

An astronomy and criminal law graduate, he is the creator of the internationally acclaimed IX Series and Hell Bound & Hell Hounds (novels forming part of Janet Morris’ Heroes in Hell shared universe). Andrew also has the privilege of being a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, the British Fantasy Society, the British Science Fiction Association and the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers.

When not writing, Andrew devotes some of his spare time to assisting NASA with one of their remote research projects, and writes educational articles for and Amazing Stories.


Review IX – Andrew Weston – Sci-fi/Military/Time Travel/Historical

IX by Andrew Weston

Historical/Military/science fiction/fantasy/time travel.

5 stars.


Soldiers from varying eras and vastly different backgrounds, including the IX Legion of Rome, are snatched away from Earth at the moment of their passing, and transported to the far side of the galaxy. Thinking they have been granted a reprieve, their relief turns to horror when they discover they face a stark ultimatum: Fight or die.

Romans, Native Americans, fierce Celtic warriors, Special Ops, American Civil War fighters – not a huge amount in common one would think. Wrong. Death is what they expect – but not necessarily what they get – at least not where and when they think. From differing backgrounds they are thrown into a war and a world far removed from Earth. The Horde have decimated the galaxy and the Ardenese for decades and now all that remains is myth and the hidden remnants of a once mighty civilisation. The 9th intake is the last best hope for the salvation of Arden, if they can put aside their differences. Technology far beyond ours brought expansion, then it brought war.

Action takes the fore in this adventure which encompasses military, historical, science fiction and fantasy. The characters are varied, at once both complex and simplistic, and often surprising. Death stalks the pages, but his companions are loyalty, courage and dignity.  Well written with twists and turns, and a rather unexpected ending.

Great for fans of sci-fi, time travel fiction and historical.

Character Interview Number Twenty- Five – Marcus Brutus

Tell Us About Yourself

Name (s) Marcus Brutus

Age: Thirty-three.

Please tell us a little about yourself. I was the Triari, – Prime Centurion of the First Cohort of the Ninth Legion of Rome (Hispana), until death took me in the bleak Highlands of Caledonia. As the highest ranking officer to survive, I received a field promotion to General, something I would have preferred to earn by merit. However, by Pluto’s grace, I appear to have impressed those in power, here on Arden, for I was promoted onto their council with the rank of Sub-Commander.

Describe your appearance in 10 words or less. I am not concerned by appearances. However those from the centuries ahead of me, tell me I look like a cross between Javier Bardem and Antonio Banderas, whoever they are? Hopefully they were warriors of high repute?

Would you die for those you love? Of course. My love for Rome and for my brothers is without peer, and rightly so, for the life I led did not leave room for a family. Now we are here and building new ties, we must begin again. Life is precious, and so are those we fight to protect.

What would you say are your strengths and weaknesses? My strength lies in the fact that I never give up, no matter the hurdles I might encounter. Only the strong survive, and I am determined to outlive any who would endanger our safety.

As to my weaknesses? Perhaps it is also my resolve never to give up? I must learn to come to terms with the fact that much now rests on my shoulders. I have more to consider than just personal pride and resolve. My decisions affect others, and the future of an entire new race. Inevitably, this will mean I have to learn to walk away, and come back to fight another day.

Do you have any relationships you prize above others? Why Besides the Legion, my best friend, Flavius Tacitus, is the closest thing I now have to a true brother. He was Decurio of the Legion – what you would call the cavalry officer – until his transference here. Now he serves as my second-in-command.

Unbelievably, I also find I am developing closer ties to some among our former enemies of the Iceni tribes. Cathal MacNoimhin and Searc Calhoun in particular. They are fierce warriors, who, despite their uncivilized ways, have a strong – if somewhat strange – sense of honor. I was astonished to discover how skilled  they were in battle, and the fact that they would fight to the death, rather than let a man die alone. Remarkable!

Can you remember something from your childhood which influences your behaviour? How do you think it influences you? I’m from a long line of warriors. As a boy, I was brought up on honor and tradition. One of the first things that made a strong impression was how people treated the former soldiers of the First Legion Germanica following their disbandment for cowardice during the Batavi revolt. They became pariahs within our communities, outcasts who were shunned and forced to live as outcasts in the wilds.

I vowed that when I grew up, I would never shame my family in the same way. Death before dishonour! Strange, how I ended up keeping to those tenets, only to discover death was only the beginning of my adventure.

Do you have any phobias? Cowards. I hate them with a passion…along with those who refuse to carry their own burden.

Please give us an interesting and unusual fact about yourself. I’m a rather good cook…even if I do say so myself. Years in the field help you make the most of limited ingredients, and it’s true to say, an army marches on its stomach. If you don’t learn to make even the blandest of foods appetizing, well, you won’t last very long. You ought to see what I can do with worms, garlic and eggs!

Apart from that? I love gardening. It must be something to do with enjoying the peace and quiet of watching what you’ve planted grow before your eyes. (A most welcome distraction from endless conflict).


Tell Us About Your World

Please give us a little information about the world in which you live.

As I’m sure you’re already aware, Arden is a world situated a long, long way from Earth. On the far side of our galaxy in fact. (I have learned of such things after I arrived here).
A strange place, for it reminds me in many respects of Gaul in high summer. Endless plains, sprawling forests, and rich wildlife just begging for the hunt.

My dream was to retire to Gaul one day and start a family.

It looks like I might still get to do that, although many millions of leagues away from my original choice.

Do you travel in the course of your adventures? If so where? Travel is difficult because of the demon Horde. Nevertheless, I seize whatever opportunities I can to take Starblaze, my horse, for a run. He’s a fine stallion of impressive Arabian stock. Black as midnight, with a white sigil upon his forehead. Trained for battle and as surefooted as they come.

I know some among our colony like their hover crafts and other futuristic devices, but I prefer the feeling of being connected to my mount as I journey out into the plains surrounding Rhomane. It reminds me I’m alive.

Name and describe a food from your world. Everyone loves the rhobexi here, a fine and robust animal with a taste that reminds me of venison. My personal favourite, however, is yithan. Its appearance resembles that of a gazelle, or particular varieties of mountain goat back on Earth. Tastes the same too, and is particularly fine when roasted over an open fire.

What form of politics is dominant in your world? (Democracy, Theocracy, Meritocracy, Monarchy, Kakistocracy etc.) The form of government here is currently what you’d find in many military regiments, although much more relaxed. A necessity as we face an everyday battle for survival. But in the past, it appears the Ardenese people had a system much like we used to find at home.

From the viewing devices I have witnessed, they had a Senatum, magisters and prefects. Even their main cities posses a similar ring. My men have often wondered if the Ardenese people ever used their vast flying machines to swim the stars to seed distant worlds with the concept of culture and politics. Earth among them, perhaps?

What is the technology level for your world/place of residence? What item would you not be able to live without? I come from the first century, so everything here stretches the imagination. For example, I am only able to converse with you now, due to the presence of tiny mechanical devices in my blood. I have been told such things are called, “Nano-bots”. They saturate my system, and allow me to learn at a vastly increased rate, and enhance my ability to communicate in different languages – Ardenese and English included.

It seems like magic, to me? Things I cannot see, or feel, working away inside me to produce tangible differences. But there you go. I suppose we must accustom ourselves to such changes, for there is no going back.

Now we are here, the one thing I can’t do without is Starblaze. He reminds me of who I am, and where I yearn to be.
Thank you for asking me about my life. I’d love to assist you further, but must be away to oversee the Legion as they go through their drills. Modern or not, this society needs warriors who can fight. Men with spirits of steel. And now we’re here, I must ensure the Ninth remains the backbone of their new, emerging army.


Good day.


Author notes:


Book(s) in which this character appears plus links


The IX


Author name:

Andrew P. Weston

Website/Blog/Author pages etc.


Amazon Author Page:

Character Interview Number Twenty-Four – Alan McDonald – Fantasy/Military

Name (s): Alan (Mac) McDonald

Age: Thirty-something.

Please tell us a little about yourself. I was the officer commanding SBS 4 troop, UK Special Forces Anti-Terrorist Wing. My team and I are specialists in everything to do with killing bad guys in inventive and prejudicial ways. Since our transfer to Arden, however, we’ve transferred all that testosterone onto the Horde.

Describe your appearance in 10 words or less. What James Bond wishes he could look like.

Would you die for those you love? Was that a loaded question? I did die protecting those I love, and was transported to this hell-hole of a planet under attack from soul-hungry mutants. And although there was no one special back home, I must admit, I worry how my parents will take the news of my ‘death’. If only they knew.

What would you say are your strengths and weaknesses? Strengths? I’d say it’s the ability to make the best of any situation. Life has taught me to be flexible, and to adapt to whatever circumstances I find myself in. Just as well really, seeing what happened eh?

As for my weaknesses? Although I try my best to be patient and courteous, I don’t suffer fools gladly.

Do you have any relationships you prize above others? Why Well, my team will always hold a special place in my heart. We’ve seen each other through thick and thin, after all.

But, since I arrived in Rhomane, there’s Jayden. She’s pretty cool for a Tec-head, and has a great In-your-face sense of humour. If I manage not to get myself devoured, I think things could get very serious…if she wants to?

Can you remember something from your childhood which influences your behaviour? How do you think it influences you? I’m 6th generation military. I think that says it all. Both my father and grandfather had a great deal on influence during my early years, and I suppose it was inevitable the course my life…and death would take.

Do you have any phobias? The Horde. Have you met them? Twelve foot high, esoteric concentrations of rabid hunger – with fangs and talons – just itching to shred your soul. Apart from that? Not much fazes me…except for Smurfs. They’re so small and blue…you just can’t trust them.

Please give us an interesting and unusual fact about yourself. I know Victoria’s secret. And it makes me feel kinda…naughty? J

Tell Us About Your World

Please give us a little information about the world in which you live. Arden is a planet on the far side of our galaxy, along the Scutum-Centaurus Arm (Sounds like a bad chest infection doesn’t it?). She has a red sun, and was once the home world of a civilization that had employed advanced technology for over twelve thousand years on more than thirty planets.

In some ways, it’s much like Earth, although the leaves and grass have a coppery-blue tinge, and the air has a permanent zesty tang to it. (Great for gin and tonic)

Do you travel in the course of your adventures? If so where? Travel is pretty much restricted because of the Horde. If we do go out, it’s only in small groups and only then with a heavily armed contingent, (which I so happen to oversee).

We use skimmers, an anti-grav form of hovercraft, and their larger counterpart, a skidder.

However, recently, we discovered an Avenger Class Cruiser in orbit, The Arch of Winter, so who knows what we might end up doing with that. (I know, boys and their toys, but c’mon…her guns are so big and shiny).

Name and describe a food from your world. Lolath is pretty good. It’s very similar in appearance and taste to a cow, although its milk yield is considerably lower. But by far my favourite is rhobexi. It’s what you’d get if you cross a deer with a bull. But how to describe the taste? Very rich, it’s like a blend of venison and lamb, and the more you chew, the more the flavour floods your mouth.

(Nom Nom!) (And I’ve got one of the griddle, right now)

What form of politics is dominant in your world? (Democracy, Theocracy, Meritocracy, Monarchy, Kakistocracy etc.) From what we can ascertain, the politics of the Ardenese people was senatorial based. Saying that obviously makes us think of the Roman Empire back on Earth, but the Ardenese form of government was quite different, as their society was extremely advanced and enjoyed a level of intellectual and cultural sophistication that simply has to be seen to be believed.

We’ve only been able to witness it from archived holo-clips & digi-crystals. However, the examples we saw blew our minds. All representatives worked for the greater good of the people, and, while everyone was viewed as equal, each had a personal responsibility to fulfil their individual roles within society.

Officers of the Senatum – Magisters – were elected each year from the prefects, normal members of society who had been voted to represent each of the cities. While each prefect served on an annual basis, once selected as a Magister, their responsibilities expanded to encompass an entire district. The presiding officer of the Senatum – the Chief Magister – was a tried and tested politician chosen by his peers to serve as their leader. He remained in office for five years.

What is the technology level for your world/place of residence? What item would you not be able to live without? Like you, I come from the twenty-first century. But I was transported the equivalent of twelve thousand years into the future, so, you can only imagine the level of technology the Ardenese must have employed.

I say – must have – because remember, even the most advanced group brought here by the Architect are only from the earth year 4200.

Think of a comparison:

My grandfather was born in the 1960’s. During his life, he saw the advent of space travel, the digital age, world-spanning communication devices you could keep in your pocket, and micro surgery. And they are but a few examples. His grandfather – just two generations before him – would never have dreamed of such things.

So…just try to imagine that level of advancement, multiplied over six hundred generations. That’s what we ended up inheriting.

The trouble is, we don’t know how to use it. The Architect has assisted us in this regard, with nano-technology that enhances our natural learning curve, but it’s still been a monumental struggle.

Out of all the delightful things we’ve discovered, I love the stealth technology, and the micro-singularity grenade. It’s a Special Forces wet dream come true, as it doesn’t leave any mess behind. No witnesses, no long and troublesome reports.

Look, I’d love to stay, but I’ve got a rhobexi burger on the barbecue. It’s just about done, and if I’m not there when it reaches perfection, some swine will eat the evidence.

Thanks for dropping by and asking a few questions. Any time you feel like swapping places, let me know J

Author notes:

Book(s) in which this character appears plus links

 The IX




Author name:

Andrew P. Weston


Website/Blog/Author pages etc.
Amazon Author Page:

New Release and Interview – The IX by Andrew P. Weston – Fantasy/Military/Historical

The IX…

Janet Morris and Perseid Press invite you to read dangerously…

Warriors from the past, present, and future fight to save us all… The IX by Andrew P, Weston.

Available now for pre-order; Kindle ships 26 January. Luxury trade edition from Perseid Press available mid February. If you’re serious about dark and heroic fiction, you’ll want this book:

Like The IX on FaceBook at:

Come and meet the author today.

Welcome to Andrew Weston

Where are you from and where do you live now? Originally, I’m from Birmingham in the UK, although I now live on the idyllic Greek island of Kos in the Aegean Sea.

Please tell us a little about your writing – for example genre, title, etc. I’m a science fiction and fantasy writer, although I also love the paranormal. My latest work, The IX, (Pronounced, ninth) is a monster Sci-Fi epic involving the past, present, and future, that blends Roman Legionnaires, U.S. Cavalry, and modern-day Special Forces into a smorgasbord of kick-ass action against killer aliens on the other side of the galaxy. Here’s a short blurb:

Roman legionnaires, far from home, lost in the mists of Caledonia.

A  US cavalry company, engaged on a special mission, vital to the peace treaty proposed by Presidential candidate Abraham Lincoln.

A twenty-first century Special Forces unit, desperate to prevent a nuclear catastrophe.

From vastly different backgrounds, these soldiers are united when they are snatched away from Earth at the moment of their passing. Thinking they may have been granted a reprieve, imagine their horror when they discover they have been transported to a failing planet on the far side of the galaxy, where they are given a simple ultimatum. Fight or die. Against all odds, this group of misfits manages to turn the tide against a relentless foe, only to discover the true cost of victory might exact a price they are unwilling to pay.

How far would you be willing to go to stay alive?

The IX. Sometimes, death is only the beginning of the adventure.

***You’ll  get to see it soon, courtesy of Perseid Press***

Where do you find inspiration? From everyday life and experience. Some ideas have come to me whilst at work, others in dreams. The inspiration for my latest book, the IX, came after a discussion with ex military colleagues at a reunion dinner a few years back. The conversation centred around what actually happened to the lost 9th Legion of Rome when they disappeared in the mists of Caladonia, circa 120 AD. Nobody knows for sure, and it seems incredible that over 5,000 men and their equipment could simply vanish in that way. I mean, it’s as if they were scooped off the face of the earth. The topic obviously stayed in the back of my mind, because some weeks later, I was watching an old sci-fi movie on TV –‘Millenium’. In that film, time-travellers from the future journey back to snatch people away from scenes of major disaster at the moment of their deaths. It got me thinking…

What if the 9th were snatched away? And…

The rest? Well, you can read about it J

Do you have a favourite character? If so why? In the IX? Yes, Captain James Houston of the 5th Cavalry Company. He’s a backstabbing swine who’d sell his own mother out to save his own skin. Characters like him allow you to play so much. There’s nothing better than getting your readers to hate someone, and then dangling them along with a carrot as the villain seems to get away with everything…Or do they?

Are your characters based on real people? Because of the complicated structure of the IX, some are, especially the Special Forces unit. I based most of the fictional team members on guys I worked with whilst in the military.

Research can be important in world-building, how much do you need to do for your books? Do you enjoy this aspect of creating a novel and what are your favourite resources? I had to do a massive amount of research for the IX. Remember, the inspiration was based on the 9th Legion of Rome. But, how were they structured? Who did what? How did they march, set up camp, and operate? What did they wear, and what weapons did they use. The Caledonian tribes of that time were vicious savages, and experts in jungle, warfare. However, where did they come from? How did they fight? How far would they travel to engage in combat, and what made them capable enough to defeat entire legions?

Many, many facets like this had to be considered, and that was before I’d even started work on U.S. Cavalry companies and the Native American tribes of the eighteenth century. (Thankfully, I had a friend to assist me with that – she’s of Cree descent, and proved to be a goldmine of information.) J

The easiest part related to the Special Forces unit. For that, I drew on firsthand military knowledge and experience.

Once that was done, I then had to make certain the futuristic/scientific tech referred to within the story had a basis in fact I called on my educational background in astronomy and physics for that. Even so, I still had to research the very latest developments, trends, and breakthroughs to ensure the ‘theoretical’ aspects had that ring of truth. Even though this is a science fiction novel, I wanted it to be believable. There’s no doubt in my mind that if you make things too farfetched and super-convenient, it turns readers off.

Despite the work involved, I really enjoy the research aspect, as it adds a depth of authority to your work that improves quality and reading enjoyment.

Is there a message conveyed within your writing?  Do you feel this is important in a book? Usually? Yes, I like to convey a little message…dependent upon the subject matter. I think it makes it more personal, and helps the reader place themselves within the make-believe worlds I create.

With the IX, its:
‘be true to yourself, no matter what circumstance does to you’.

See how you can spot that, as you read through the story.

Do you self-edit? If so why is that the case? Do you believe a book suffers without being professionally edited? Yes, I do self edit, BUT, that’s before I send it into the publisher. I’ve been fortunate enough to work with some ‘strong’ professional editors. Each of them has a different style and personality that rings through during the formal editing stage. So, I tend to stay as ‘neutral’ as I can when I complete my own edits…to make their life easier…and then adopt the House style during the closing stages.

In answer to the second part, YES, I do feel a book suffers without professional editing. I’m an incredibly focused, self-disciplined individual. But boy do I miss things. We all do. Word blindness is the bane of all writers. You need that extra set of eyes to cut and polish the rough diamond you’ve created, and turn it into a lustrous jewel of a masterpiece. (And even then, you have to keep checking…)

Do you think indie/self-published authors are viewed differently to traditionally published authors? Why do you think this might be? Yes I do, because that’s the way the publishing world is geared. Certain big-name ‘Houses’ dominate the industry, and basically, hold all the cards. And as some have no doubt seen, unless you manage to secure a contract with them, you’re not viewed as having ‘arrived’, no matter how skilled you are as a writer. That’s a shame. We’ve all seen the ocean of books filling the shelves out there. Even if you’ve written an absolute masterpiece, without the clout of a massive name behind you, it can sink into the depths and will never see the light of day.

Fortunately, there are a number of smaller, extremely competent publishers coming to the fore. Although they’re independent, they come from professional/recognized backgrounds, and draw quality writers to the fold. Times are changing, but slowly.

What experiences can a book provide that a movie or video game cannot? Imagination! It allows YOU to involve yourself in a make-believe world as you see fit, not the way some glitzy director from Hollywood wants you to. That being said, if any top quality sci-fi directors get to read this, and fancy a brand new project that’s bound to be a sure-fire hit, PLEASE, feel free to contact me on……… J

What three pieces of advice would you give to new writers? Don’t give up. Work hard to improve your craft. And don’t be afraid to take risks.

Most authors like to read, what have you recently finished reading? Did you enjoy it? The last book I read was “Poets in Hell”, from the “Heroes in Hell” shared world saga. A great set of stories delving into the many quirks of the Underworld. If you haven’t read it, I’d highly recommend the entire series.

Can you name your favourite traditionally published author? And your favourite indie/self-published author? Traditional, it’s a tie between – Raymond E. Feist &Julian May. Indie – Laura DeLuca.

Do you have a favourite movie? I think you have to go a long way to beat the sci-fi classic, Forbidden Planet. Well ahead of its time.

Can you give us a silly fact about yourself? I hunt shadows in the dark with a specially designed net.

Book links, website/blog and author links:


Amazon Author Page:


Hadrian’s Wall: Life on the Roman Frontier – Course

Review – Hadrian’s Wall: Life on the Roman Frontier

Online course from Future Learn.

#FLHadrian #Romans #History

I’ve been looking at some more online history courses for a while, but as with most things it is finding both the time and the appropriate course.  I was introduced to Future Learn last year but this is the first course I’ve managed to find time to complete.

So why this course? I’ve studied Roman History before but not specifically Roman Britain. Hadrian’s Wall is one of the most famous and most studied frontier Roman settlements, in fact it is a World Heritage site. It stretches 73 miles in the North of England, some arguing to keep out the Picts and other ‘barbarians’ in what is now Scotland. It was so much more than just a wall – complex and well-manned forts, accompanying settlements, whether the natives liked it or not, and perhaps most importantly the introduction of writing into Britain.  The Romans brought much – religion, trade, Roman culture and laws, politics and soldiers and citizens from all over the Empire. Yet it was not all smooth running, there were uprisings, revolts, and ultimately abandonment by Rome.  40 years after the Wall was built a bloody uprising occurred. This and the Jewish Diaspora which occurred in the reign of Hadrian should be remembered. Violence and terror were among the tools the Romans used to rule. There were even revolts, breakaway emperors ruling for over a decade and much intrigue.

This course covers the period of Roman occupation and beyond; archaeology – including a CSI type murder mystery and the trials of preserving remains so old, the sociological and religious aspects; the coming of Christianity and of course a good helping of history, including how the Roman army change in the . Roman influence is all over Europe, even now, and still hold a lot of fascination. From AD 122 to about AD410 the wall was occupied, initially commissioned by the builder, scholar and Emperor Hadrian, who ruled 117 to 138 AD.  Of course Hadrian was not the first Emperor to covet the misty and mysterious Isles of Britain – Claudius invaded in AD 43.

So enough background – what are my thoughts on this course:

Subject matter: Very interesting and well handled. This is an introduction presented by professors and scholars, many from the University of Newcastle, it gives a good overall view of the era, the history and the challenges. Questions prompt the learning to consider the evidence and interaction with other online students is encouraged.

Time spent: It is stated as 4 hours a week – I’d say for the basics that is about right, although with all the other ‘suggested reading’ it would be a lot more. It depends really on how much time one spends on the discussion forums.

Teaching tools: Videos – useful and varied – I especially liked the re-enactment of the Roman banquet, the videos of the students involved discussing clothing, jewellery and the thoughts of the characters. However – the sound quality of a few of the vids wasn’t great. There was a lot of background hum and noise. Aside from this the videos were a key part of the course.

Reading: The information in the reading sections was not overwhelming – it was informative and thought-invoking but not overly difficult (at least for me).

Quizzes: A useful tool to test what had been learned.

The course was free, although the Certificate of Completion had a cost – if one wanted to purchase.

Summary: Interesting, well taught by knowledgeable staff and students, varied in its subjects and overall very enjoyable.  I would recommend for those interested in Roman History, British History, Archaeology and online learning.