(From the publisher):
In 58 B.C. Rome was the superpower of the Mediterranean world, and in that year Julius Caesar took up the governor ship of the Roman Province in southern France or Gaul as it was then called. The Roman Senate expected Caesar to govern the province, extract a reasonable amount of revenue, and guard the frontier against incursion by the many Gaulish tribes to the north.
Caesar had something else in mind—the conquest of all Gaul. Within two years he deftly employed his legions to inflict a series of catastrophic defeats upon the Gauls and occupied the eastern half of the country. He then put his troops into winter quarters, sending a single legion, the Seventh under its commander, Publius Crassus, far west into Brittany. His orders were: "Take hostages to keep the peace," which Crassus did. In the Fourth Part of Gaul, the fiercely independent tribes, led by the Veneti, bitterly resent giving hostages to Rome. At first opportunity, the Veneti seize Roman officers as hostages and then demand the return of their own hostages in exchange. When Publius Crassus rejects their demands, the western Gauls revolt. The Fourth Part of Gaul is the story of that revolt as experienced primarily by Marcus Brutus Pontus, a young tribune and staff officer, one of the hostages taken by the Gauls. His captors place the inquisitive young officer in the hands of a Veneti magistrate for safekeeping. This assignment insures him a unique position from which to view the spread of the insurrection, the subsequent naval battle in which he narrowly escapes death, but survives the catastrophic defeat of the Gaulish sailing fleet by massed Roman galleys.
In the aftermath of the battle, many Gauls fleeing Caesar's wrath head for Britain, while a small party of five ships crammed with families and soldiers sails west on the Atlantic Led by a Greek pilot, they follow a long forgotten Carthaginian trade route taking with them their captive tribune, Marcus Pontus. In the course of the long voyage he learns to navigate and handle the ship. His developing relationship with the expedition leader's sister leads him to fully participate in the struggle of the expedition to survive the frigid winter and treacherous attack on the Gaulish settlement at the mouth of the Connecticut River.
In the end, the Gaulish fugitives see their Roman hostage as the key to their survival in the hostile environment of the new land. The Gauls themselves become uniquely dependent on the hostage they have taken.
Original title: The Fourth Part of Gaul: A Novel of the Veneti Gaul Revolt against Caesar and the Epic Voyage of Its Survivors to the New World
Genre: Fiction→ Historical→ Ancient World (Greece, Rome, etc)→ Rome