As huge fans of Caroline Lawrence's Roman Mysteries series, we're thrilled to hear that there's a new series coming from her next year, The Roman Quests. When Orion asked if we'd reveal the cover to book one, Escape From Rome, we were utterly delighted - especially when we saw how stunning it looked. In addition, Caroline provided us with a bit of a glimpse into the series, which has us even MORE excited!
The cover artist for Juba (main character) is Paul Young, logo, lettering and background were all done by James Macey and there will also be inside maps and art by Richard Lawrence.
When my publishers first suggested that I write a series of books set in Roman Britain, my heart sank. How could chilly Britannia compare with sun-soaked Italy? But as soon as I gave it a bit more thought lots of fun things about Roman Britain popped into my head. There were so many that I made a wish list.
Exciting things about Roman Britain:
1. Julius Caesar’s brief invasion
2. Claudius’ conquest, with elephants!
3. Boudicca, the flame-haired warrior queen
4. Mystical, mysterious Druids
5. Legionaries, forts and battles
6. Famous for hunting dogs and prowly wolves
7. Blue tattooed warriors with twisty gold torcs
8. Bath Spa’s amazing ruins and museum
9. Fishbourne Roman Villa
11. Londinium’s amphitheatre
12. Roman Wall Blues
I also made a wish list of things that would please Roman Mysteries fans who probably want something completely new and fresh but keeping the successful formula of the Roman Mysteries.
1. Engaging characters with weaknesses as well as strengths
2. Fast-paced and unpredictable action
3. Historical accuracy but well-embedded so you hardly notice
4. Exotic but real locations
5. Powerful baddies who are never 2-dimensional
6. A little romance, but not too much
7. Humour and squirmy stuff, but not too much
8. Uplifting themes
9. Lots of the five senses, especially taste and smell
10. Cameos by Flavia, Nubia, Jonathan and Lupus… now grown-up!
So I decided to set the books 14 years on from the final Roman Mystery. That brings us to the last years of the Flavian era, when the Emperor Domitian had gone quite bonkers and was killing rich Roman citizens in order to confiscate their houses, slaves and wealth. One night Domitian’s henchmen come to seize a rich townhouse in Rome. The parents’ fate seems sealed, but their children might just get away…
The first book, Escape from Rome, will be published next year. I hope you like it!