Book Title: Wall of Stone
Author: Heather Robinson
Publication Date: 23rd August 2014
Publisher: Independently Published
Page Length: 366 Pages
@Archaeolibrary, @maryanneyarde, @HevRob1,
In AD121 the Twentieth Legion of Rome stands at the northern frontier of Britannia. Forgotten, neglected and dour in spirit, they must still do their duty for an Empire whose meaning is becoming lost to them.
As the lives of the local Teviot family intertwine with the legion, relationships of love and bitter anguish unfurl. Will the invading army push north? Will the disputing native tribes unite in an uprising? Can Marcus be with Jolinda?
When peace is fragile, friendships count for everything...
Fearing the worst, Falco hurried to the side where the two full size stone boars were standing on their hind legs, fore trotters touching in an arch, heads raised in twisted anger at the gargoyle mocking them from above. Each boar had two short tusks protruding from its snout. Only one was cast in bronze. Falco leaned his weight against it, the tusk acting as a lever, thus opening the secret door. Brutus raised his eyebrows in surprise at Lucius.
“Wait here, the chamber is small.” Falco didn't hesitate in entering. This was not a time to ponder what may greet him. Taking the six steps in two strides, he plunged in to the semi-darkness throwing himself to the right as he landed, knowing that the floor sloped upwards on this side and would afford him a small advantage if he survived an assailant's initial thrust of death. No attack came and as his eyes quickly adjusted to the half-light, he shouted for Brutus to join him. “What do you make of this?” Brutus took in the scuff marks in the sandy floor.
“One person, little movement.”
“Hobnails?” Brutus crouched to inspect the prints more closely.
“No, no hobnails Sir, just a lop-sided square,” his respect for the Governor was growing the more he worked with him.
“Any signs of blood on the steps?” Brutus tracked back up.
“No Sir, whatever happened occurred in the street.”
“And what did happen?” snarled Falco as he resurfaced. “Did Guintoli reach the fountain? The evidence indicates he did not. Was Ocella left in the chamber alone? Where are they now? Alive or dead? Either way, it is not looking good for your comrade. Find me answers, and find them now!”
“Acheron!” cursed Brutus quietly under his breath to Lucius, as Falco returned to the guards and priest. “Marcus would not have left Ocella. Whatever Falco thinks, I know that to be true. Perhaps another was waiting in the chamber for them.”
“And I have the hearing of a bat do not forget, Antonini!” Falco roared. “Start caring what I think. Your career, your life, teeters on it!” Falco stopped in mid-stride as if struck by a thunderbolt directly from Jupiter. “By the gods, Cepheus!” The priest tried to run but Falco was quicker. In a blur he had his hand about the priest's throat, his eyes ablaze. “Show me your sandal Priest.”
The sole confirmed what Falco had seen imprinted in the patch of mud beside them, the constellation of Cepheus, a triangle above a lop-sided square, the same square scored in the sand of the chamber. The mud had revealed the complete picture that the dry sand had withheld. The truth dawned on Falco and he drew his words in a low, tight voice. “That fool Ocella could not keep his mouth shut could he? Had to brag to someone of his engineering feat.” The priest's eyes were bulging under Falco's grip, but they shone with a defiant pleasure and he raised his fingers to his jowls in a truculent gesture that became his last act. “You were right Antonini, another was waiting in the chamber. I ignorantly thought only I and Ocella knew of the boar's secret.” The priest slumped, his face puce, and Falco maintained his death grip, driven by the bile taste of treachery.
“Sir, there is a trail of blood,” Lucius reported.
“Show me.” Leaving the priest where he fell for the flies and crows to share, Falco and the four soldiers resumed their search for Marcus and the engineer.
Heather Robinson is a novelist and short story award winner from Wiltshire, UK. Her academic background includes a Bachelor of Science degree with most of her working life spent as an Administration Manager locally. She is also a qualified and experienced radio presenter, hosting a weekly show for Warminster Community Radio. Proud parents of two boys, Heather and her husband Graham share a passion for live music, hiking and motorcycling.
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Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Heather-Robinson/e/B01N9S07M2