Welcome to the official announcement blog for Phobetor’s Children! How excited are you for this? Not nearly as excited as I am.
Once named Romans vs Aliens, I started this in 2013 and on 5th October this year I will finally unleash it on the world. Seven years in the making, this is all you need to know about my upcoming psychological science fiction horror set during the 1st century Roman Empire.
What is it About?
It’s the AD70s, The tumultuous Year of the Four Emperors is over; Rome has entered a time of stability under Vespasian and a new dynasty begins. Having just commissioned the building of The Flavian Ampthitheatre (known today as The Colosseum), the new Emperor is keen to consolidate his power and stabilise Rome against enemies on the inside and outside.
Yet deep in the forests of Germania, beyond the borders of the Empire, an unknown threat stirs. Without leaving a trace of its presence, it attacked two forts, leaving destruction and no survivors in its wake.
Vespasian cannot spare a legion. Instead, he puts together a team of retired gladiators. Promising them riches beyond their wildest dreams and the eternal gratitude of Flavian Rome, the five men and one woman will cross from civilised Rome into barbarian Germany, taking their weapons, experience, wile… and personal baggage.
What Genre is it?
Like most of my previous work, this doesn’t fit neatly in any one box.
- Set during the 1st century and researching quality sources, it has historical fiction elements which does its best to keep the credibility of research that readers of the genre expect
- It has psychological horror elements. I have carefully woven complex back stories – and personal traumas – of each character so that those events come back to haunt them
- The nature of the enemy also makes this science fiction. They are not supernatural and not creatures from mythology
If that seems like a strange mix and intrigues you, then read on. I feel the juxtaposition works and pleased with the results so far.
What “Personal Baggage” Are We Talking About?
Personal trauma is never easy reading. Some of these traumas are relatively mild and something most of us have experienced by the time we reach adulthood – betrayal, framed for something we didn’t do, unrequited love, family member died too young, being ostracised from society because of our personal life choices.
Yet some traumas cut far deeper and not so easily overcome. Catastrophic injustice that leave people perceived as a social pariah or as a non-conformist. There is also sexual assault, religious oppression, and being sold into slavery. All these things feature in Phobetor’s Children, and they become more relevant the closer the gladiators get to their destination.
When Is It Out?
5th October. Mostly I did so because I wasn’t certain I would get draft one done by the end of January. Once it because obvious in mid-January that I was going to hit my target, I decided to give myself a much longer time to market it.
Now in early March, draft 2 is finished and I’m preparing to send the manuscript to beta readers who I hope will all be done by the end of April. That will give me breathing space in early spring to get marketing but also put the book itself out of my mind. In May, the edits begin with their comments in mind.
Sounds Great! Tell Me About the Characters?
Methodius: A Greek moneylender. He found himself in the arena after taking a fall for somebody who was up to no good.
Valens: A young man, a heartthrob of the arena captured the hearts of the female audience. But what heartache does he hide?
Nero: A former legionary, found a second career in the arena after his unexpected demobbing just a few years into his career.
Livia Saturnia: High class woman who entered the arena out of boredom and to work off some steam after family tragedy. The only non-slave.
Joseph: The Jewish chief trainer of Livia Saturnia, as “Noxii” he was supposed to die in his first fight, but didn’t, keeping the moniker as a badge of honour.
Seneca: A slave turned Praetorian Guard is less open about his past but this is revealed gradually. He won’t let anyone inside.
I’m excited to finally release it. I feel I’ve been working on it most of my life (I haven’t – having first put finger to keyboard on chapter 1 in 2013).
If you have any questions, add them below and I will edit this thread to include answers.