Cast to the edge of the Empire, the Sarmatian army must fight in defence of Rome in the second of a new trilogy set in the second century AD, from the author of Smile of the Wolf.
AD 175, Vindolanda, Britannia. After their cavalry was broken by the legions on the frozen waters of the Danube, Sarmatian warrior Kai bought his people's lives with a pledge to serve Rome. Bound to the will of the Emperor, the Sarmatians are ready to fight and eager to die – death in battle is the only escape from the dishonour of their defeat.
Exiled from their home lands, they are ordered to take the Iron Way to the far north and the very edge of the Empire. Here, a great wall of stone cuts across the land as straight as the stroke of a sword. On one side, Rome's dominion; on the other, mist and rumours – stories of men closer to giants, of warriors who fight without fear or restraint.
For a people who knew no borders, who were promised war, garrison duty is cruel punishment. But as insurrection stirs on both sides of the wall, Kai will discover that every barrier has its weaknesses – and he will have his chance to fight, perhaps to die.
Praise for Tim Leach's Sarmatian Trilogy:
'The characters feel rounded and real, and the Sarmatians' attempts to keep their world alive and evade the tyrannous reach of Rome are heartbreaking.' The Times
'Brilliantly atmospheric, utterly compelling and beautifully written' Caroline Lea.
'Tim Leach writes beautifully. This is gorgeous prose, immersing the reader in the trials of this cold, cold place at such a time of brutal crisis. It's lyrical and thoughtful' For Winter Nights
'Superb... This is a thoughtful, literary take on a world that is more often depicted in a boy's adventure way. The focus in Leach's book is not on the fighting, but on the strange, inescapable logic that makes the fighting inevitable' The Times, Book of the Year.
'A poetic, absorbing narrative with many of the same qualities as the medieval Icelandic sagas that it echoes and reimagines' Sunday Times, Book of the Year.
'Smile of the Wolf bares its fangs from the first page. Like a medieval tapestry, the storytelling is rich with imagery. Readers will be lured spellbound into this lyrical and evocative Icelandic saga. It deserves huge success' David Gilman