By Don Helin
Jack Everett and David Coles would like to dedicate their novel, The Last Free Men, to the last men who offered resistance to the might of Rome in ancient Scotland during the second century. In their historical thriller, the hero is half-Roman, half-Briton, and used as a spy by the Romans. He is wrongly accused of murder. Escaping from a lead mine, he is aided by Druids to reach Scotland. Here he plots to bring about the destruction of the Roman legions.
I caught up with Jack and David a few days ago and had a chance to ask them some questions.
Is there anything special you’d like to tell us about The Last Free Men?
“The book is a historical thriller which sets down what we believe may have happened to the Ninth Roman Legion, because it is a matter of historical fact that the Ninth disappeared around that time. Our hero, Marcus Uffin Gellorix, is the result of a union between a married Roman Tribune and a high-born woman of the Brigantean tribe. The hero’s father returns to Rome and his wife, leaving Marcus and Marcus’s mother to their fate. A short time later, attempting to save his commander from a spear thrust, Marcus is mistakenly accused of his murder and sentenced to the lead minds.
The book is multi-stranded and follows the lives of others. Iavolena is the wife of a fort commander who runs off with an architect and started the invasion of Scotland by virtue of the Romans believing she has been kidnapped. Centurion Aemillus Karrus is a career soldier and one-time friend of the hero; Madeltua is the Druid who plots revenge on the invaders from the East who nearly wiped out Druidism from Briton in its entirety.”
Did any particular event inspire the plot?
“David has always had an interest in Roman imperialism and compares it with Britain and its colonies. He talked me into walking parts of the Hadrians Wall that crosses England from east to west and was built to keep out the barbarians. It was an eerie experience, especially when it grew dark and we looked out over a dark, forbidding countryside and imagined how it must have felt to walk that wall 2,000 years before, armed only with a spear and short sword. It certainly worked because I went home and started studying everything I could find on the subject.”
What are you doing to promote your book?
“We have delayed promoting this book because we have done a book deal for three books with a new small publisher who came to our aid when our last publisher ceased trading in this recession. Two of the books, Last Mission and Jihad-Britain, are in final editing and are expected to come out no later than August. We expect Acclaimed Books to apply for registration as soon as its planned portfolio of eight books in this year have been realized. Last Mission is a World War II action thriller set mostly in the United States and tells of Hitler’s last attempt to win the war by stealing an ‛A’ bomb from Los Alamos in New Mexico. Jihlad-Britain is a political thriller which asks the question what happens after 9/11 and 7/7 when insurgents bombed St. Pauls and several other high profile targets on a New Years Eve around midnight killing tens of thousands.
We plan to try to get local press, radio, and television involved as soon as we have a date. Any help ITW can offer on this front would be very welcome, but remember we are in the UK.”
“Virtual Tales have another of our thrillers due out in the near future entitled, The Tourist. We are currently polishing a spy-type thriller called, Deceits.”
When you’re not writing, what are you doing (hobbies, family, etc.)?
We spend most of our time writing, but do find time for families and growing vegetables in my case. David is a member of the Historical Society while I am a member of the Society of Authors.”
Thanks so much Jack and David. Good luck with The Last Free Men. I look forward to reading it.