HH Com 326

Ciaran vic Cairpre, nephew of a Dál Riatan warleader in Scotland, is a hostage of the Romans. When the ursurper Constantine leaves Britain with most of the army in 408 AD, Ciaran, left without protection, becomes a slave by the schemes of the freedman Orontes Vahan, bound on revenge on the northern tribes.

As it turns out Ciaran has a talent to work with horses, the Roman patrician Julius Pollienus buys him and supports him to make a career as charioteer in Rome. Ciaran is fascinated by the Roman culture, but when Pollienus wants him to join the conspiracy against general Stilicho, Ciaran refuses, and his life is no longer safe. Moreover, Orontes has followed him to Rome.

Ciaran, realising that his responsibility lies with his people, flees Rome. (there's a major disconnect in logic here--what does "his responsiblity to his people have to do with not conspiring against the general?)

Upon his return to Britain, he learns his rival, the Pictish chief Eoghanán mac Enfidaic, has married his betrothed and taken over the rule of the Dál Riatans. Ciaran tries to regain his position with help of his contacts to the Romans, but increasing troubles with the Saxon raiders under their leader Aescwyne bind the remaining Roman soldiers to the southern shores. Then Pollienus and Orontes return to Britain to claim the escaped slave.

The Saxon invaders may be Ciaran's only chance, but the price of this alliance could prove too high.

Like many writers of historical fiction you've confused lovingly detailing the place and time with creating a plot. Or at least one here.

Back to basics. Then festoon as needed.


Gabriele C. said...

Lol, the book has a plot. After reading some 150 Crapometer entries I realised my 'hook' doesn't. :)

And boy, did I miss that logical disconnect - Ciaran has a double motive to leave Rome: his life's in danger, and he realises he got carried away by his interest in Roman culture and is needed back home. Where things have become a lot messier than he thought. *evil grin*

Thank you very much.

Gabriele C. said...

Ok, second try, just for fun:

Ciaran vic Cairpre, nephew of a Dálriatan warleader, is a hostage of the Romans in Britain. When most of the Roman army leaves Britain in 408 AD, Ciaran becomes a slave by the treason of the freedman Orontes wanting revenge on Ciaran's people. Bought by the Roman patrician Julius Pollienus and sent to Rome to be a charioteer, Ciaran gets caught up in fascination of the Roman culture and political intrigue. When he refuses to take part in a conspiracy against a Roman general, he is forced to flee. He escapes back to Britain where he learns his rival, a the Pictish chief Eoghanán, has married his betrothed and taken over the rule of his people. Ciaran attempts to regain his position with help of his Roman contacts but increasing troubles with Aescwyne's Saxon raiders limits their assistance, and word gets out of Ciaran's location as Pollineus and Orontes come to Britain to claim the runaway slave. Ciaran is forced to make a dangerous decision. Side with the Saxon raiders in hope of finding a way to regain the rule of his people, or risk capture at the hands of those who would see him dead before letting him go free.

Anonymous said...

You have a protagonist moving through a sequence of problem situations and covering a lot of geography. Described like this he seems to just slip from one lifestyle to the next. It's hard to keep track of who/what the problem is. That seems to keep changing without any resolution. You seem to think we know who you're talking about, but nope, we don't. It might be easier to unify the plot if Ciaran started out as the warleader instead of a mere hostage nephew. Hostage nephews are a dime a dozen, so many are like 4 years old and bratty...