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Tuesday 21 September 2021

Nick Macklin and his novel Bloody Dominions my Coffee Pot

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Bloody Dominions
 (The Conquest Trilogy, Book 1)

When I began planning the story that would ultimately become Bloody Dominions, I knew that I wanted to set it against a significant period in Roman History. I eventually settled on Caesar’s tumultuous occupation of Gaul. In part this was because the prolonged clash of cultures and violent conflict provided a wealth of opportunities to explore the changing fortunes of war and its impact at a personal level, from the perspective of protagonists on both sides. As my research unfolded however, I was struck by just how heavily the Roman psyche was influenced during this period by the scare they had received 50 years earlier when invading Germanic tribes defeated their legions. Seeing references to the veterans of that war watching their sons and grandsons enlist for a similar campaign, I began to think about the potential for developing that link, on both sides of the conflict. And so, the idea for the Conquest Trilogy was born.

In 113 BC and again in 109/108 BC a Germanic tribe, the Cimbri clashed with and defeated armies of Rome, having crossed into the Roman Province of Gaul. In 105 BC they again threatened Roman territories and two huge armies were dispatched to confront them. Bitter differences between the commanders prevented the Roman armies from co-operating effectively, with devastating results. In October 105 BC at the Battle of Arausio (modern day Vauclause in south east France) the Cimbri inflicted a catastrophic defeat on the Roman armies. Roman losses are described as being up to 80,000 troops, as well as another 40,000 auxiliary troops (allies) and servants and camp followers — almost all of their participants in the battle. The defeat left Rome with a critical shortage of manpower but also with a terrifying enemy camped on the other side of the now-undefended Alpine passes, engendering great fear in Rome about the prospect of invasion. 

Fortunately for the citizens of Rome the Cimbri elected to raid Gaul and Hispania before later deciding to attempt an invasion of Italy. This gave the Romans time to re-organise and elect as Consul, Gaius Marius, the man who would become known as the saviour of Rome. Radically reforming the organisation of the legions, Marius had time to raise, equip and train a ‘new army,’ implementing reforms that helped to establish the Roman army as the dominant military force of the age. At Aquae Sexitae in 102 BC and at Vercellae in 101 BC, Marius inflicted crushing defeats on the Cimbri and their allies the Teutones, re-establishing the pre-eminence of Rome in the region. The battles are also material in shaping the destinies of the protagonists in Bloody Dominions. 

On route through the province the Cimbri had established a settlement where they deposited their baggage before continuing their journey south. The warriors left to guard these possessions and the families that remained with them, together with any survivors from Vercellae eventually emerged, in the guise of the Aduatuci, as one of the pre-eminent tribes amongst the Belgae. The precise location of this settlement has been a matter of debate although recent archaeological evidence suggests that it was near the modern-day city of Thuin in Belgium. The settlement was never named in Caesar’s famous first-hand account of his invasion, 'Commentarii de Bello Gallico', so I took the liberty of creating the fictional settlement of Aduatuca, home of Allerix and Epona, from where they will venture forth to challenge the might of Rome and encounter Atticus and his comrades in the XIIth legion. 

Journey with those at the heart of the conflict as Caesar embarks on the tumultuous conquest of Gaul 58-51 BC. Book One 58-56 BC.

As Caesar’s campaign begins, tests of courage and belief will confront the three protagonists, shaping them as individuals and challenging their views of the world and each other:

Atticus – an impetuous but naturally gifted soldier, whose grandfather served with distinction in the legions;

Allerix – a Chieftain of the Aduatuci, who finds himself fighting both for and against Caesar; and

Epona – a fierce warrior and Allerixs’ adopted sister.

Experiencing the brutalities of conflict and the repercussions of both victory and defeat, Atticus, Allerix and Epona will cross paths repeatedly, their destinies bound together across time, the vast and hostile territories of Gaul and the barriers of fate that have defined them as enemies. In a twist of fate, Atticus and Allerix discover that they share a bond, a secret that nobody could ever foresee…

Trigger Warnings:
Violence, attempted rape.

Buy Links:

Amazon UK     Amazon US      Amazon CA
Kobo     iBooks     Google Play   WHSmith

Nick Macklin

A history graduate, Nick enjoyed developing the skills that would stand him in good stead during the extensive research he conducted prior to writing his novel. Whilst the ancient world unfortunately didn’t feature to any extent in his history degree, (the result of failing miserably to secure the A level grades that would have permitted greater choice) he maintained a lifelong and profound interest in ancient history and especially the Roman Empire, continuing to read avidly as he embarked on a career in HR. Over the next 30 years or so Nick occupied a variety of Senior/Director roles, most recently in the NHS. Unsurprisingly, writing in these roles was largely confined to the prosaic demands of Board papers but Nick never lost the long-harboured belief, motivated by the works of writers such as Robert Fabbri, Robyn Young, Anthony Riches, Simon Scarrow, Matthew Harffy and Giles Kristian, that he too had a story to tell. When he was presented with a window of opportunity c3 years ago he took the decision to place his career on hold and see if he could convert that belief into reality. 

Nick always knew that he wanted to set the novel against the backdrop of a significant event/period in Roman history. Looking to narrow that down to something offering the potential for meaningful character and plot development, but that hadn’t already received exhaustive coverage, he settled on Caesars tumultuous occupation of Gaul. Spanning 8 years, the prolonged clash of cultures offered ample opportunity for the kind of dual perspective from which he was hoping to tell the story, whilst the violent conflict provided a wealth of exciting material to explore the changing fortunes of war and its impact at a personal level. The switching of allegiances, nations fighting for and against Rome also provided the potential for some intriguing plot lines. As his research unfolded, he was also struck by just how heavily the Roman psyche during this period was influenced by the scare they had received 50 years earlier when Germanic tribes invaded their territories and defeated their legions. Seeing references to the veterans of that war watching their sons and grandsons enlist for a similar campaign, he started to think about developing that link on both sides of the conflict. And so, the idea for the Conquest Trilogy was born.

In Bloody Dominions Nick has sought to produce a novel in which unfolding events are experienced and described from the perspective of protagonists on both sides of Caesar’s incursion into Gaul.  Conscious that the role of women in Roman fiction, Boudica aside, is largely confined to spouse, prostitute or slave, Nick wanted to ensure that one of his lead characters was female and a prominent member of the warrior clan of her tribe. The novel is driven by these characters but the framework against which their stories unfold is historically accurate, featuring actual participants in Caesar’s campaign and drawing on real events as they occurred. As such Nick is genuinely excited about his characters and the story they have to tell.

Nick lives in Exeter with his two daughters and is currently juggling work as an Independent HR Consultant with writing the second novel in the Conquest Trilogy, Battle Scars. 

Social Media Links:


Twitter Handles: @NMacklinAuthor @maryanneyarde
Hashtags: #HistoricalFiction #BlogTour #CoffeePotBookClub
Tour Schedule:

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Amazon Author Page: 

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Book One of the Pendragon's Banner Trilogy
The Kingmaking (UK/world edition - US/Canada edition)

Visit my website to view all my - varied genre - books


  1. Thank you so much for hosting the blog tour for Bloody Dominions. We really appreciate all that you do.

    Mary Anne
    The Coffee Pot Book Club


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