The Borderlands series
Book I: Shadow of the Eagle
Faustus Valerianus is the son of a Roman father and a British mother, a captive sold among the spoils after Claudius's invasion. Now both parents have died within a month of each other, and so he sells the family farm and enlists, joining legendary general Agricola's campaign to conquer the entirety of the British Isles culminating in a devastating battle amongst Caledonia's dark mountains.
But Faustus will have to contend with more than ferocious British warriors and whip-cracking elements. For the bonds of blood can weigh heavy on one's soul. The call of his mother's true people. His father's restless shadow. Faustus must carry them with him…
"Shadow of the Eagle is a tour-de-force of Roman adventure. Telling the story of the pivotal years of the Roman conquest of Britain from a number of viewpoints, including that of the natives facing the Roman legions, it follows recorded history closely, tying a very realistic narrative to a world of legend and mystery. Blood, steel, honour, and a deep and gripping tale of the Roman army on the frontier of the empire. Hunter has created an instant classic."
– S. J. A. Turney
"Warlike, woad-daubed tribesmen from the northern wilderness. Disciplined legionaries determined to extend the rule of Imperial Rome into Caledonia. A newly minted centurion who is plagued by the ghost of his disappointed father. A wilful Roman girl following the invincible cohorts... Shadow of the Eagle, a very fine novel about Agricola's campaign in the Highlands in AD83, has all the ingredients for a first-class, page-turning, well-researched and written Roman historical adventure – plus faeries.
Or at least a plausible explanation for our age-old belief in faeries and other hidden folk – who, according to the author, were pre-Celtic occupants of the British Isles, small, dark, blue-eyed people, who lived in barrows and under hills and were expert at concealing themselves from the various waves of invaders to these green shores. I loved this inclusion of the Old People in the story, which lifted the novel far above the usual run of humdrum Roman fiction. We also got selkies, star-gazing druids, sea monsters and other charming mystical elements. And these all worked brilliantly and, more importantly, believably, to enhance this tale. The Roman hero Faustus finds kinship with these shy Old People while prosecuting a brutal war for his Imperial masters. There is a bit of love to be enjoyed along the way, a nice, bloody battle or two, some excellent dialogue and fine, delicate characterisation. Highly recommended!"
– Angus Donald
"Enthralling and authentic historical roman fiction, that brings the period alive and keeps you turning the page."
– Alex Gough
"I only need one word to describe this stunning novel: masterful."
– Anthony Riches
"A haunting, historical epic."
– Gordon Doherty
"Amanda Cockrell has the finest sense of history, character, and narrative I've seen since Rosemary Sutcliff."
– Delia Sherman