Anthony Riches, author of the historical fiction series The Centurions and Empire has awarded one eagle-eyed reader a piece of genuine roman history – a solid gold coin Vespasian Aureus coin!
Riches says: ‘My original motivation for buying the coin was primarily one of avarice. I thought to put it on display (too small) or wear it as a pendant (not allowed, my numismatist told me as my chest hair would – genuinely – rub off the soft gold detail!) or perhaps even in a ring (except that’s really not me). I commissioned the purchase from an auction and two weeks later there I was with a 2,000 year old piece of history in my hand!
Reality soon intruded, however. There I was with a coin that lives in my safe and is of no utility whatsoever. And so the idea of rewarding one lucky reader’s mental dexterity and willingness to have a go was born. I settled on using acrostics – puzzles where words are formed out of the first letter of each sentence or paragraph – and inserted one into each book. And those readers who had a mind to go for it entered by the dozen, which was nice. There were some wild guesses, but the majority had clearly set out to puzzle it out, and the majority of them succeeded in deducing the right answers.’
The lucky winner, drawn at random from those entrants who managed to work out the code, was Seb Marr from Chippenham and was presented his prize at a book event in Goldsboro Books, London.
Anthony Riches thrilling finale in The Centurions trilogy, Retributuon, is now available in paperback and includes an additional short story.
Victory is in sight for Kivilaz and his Batavi army. The Roman army clings desperately to its remaining fortresses along the Rhine, its legions riven by dissent and mutiny, and once-loyal allies of Rome are beginning to imagine the unimaginable: freedom from the rulers who have dominated them since the time of Caesar.
The four centurions – two Batavi and two Roman, men who were once comrades in arms – must find their destiny in a maze of loyalties and threats, as the blood tide of war ebbs and flows across Germania and Gaul.
For Rome does not give up its territory lightly. And a new emperor knows that he cannot tolerate any threat to his undisputed power. It can only be a matter of time before Vespasian sends his legions north to exact the empire’s retribution.