LEGIIAVG’s own KEITH PERRYMAN gives us an exclusive insight into the writing of his new novel 'Farewell Rome.'
What made you decide to write this book in particular?
I had a head full of personal experiences and a considerable amount of knowledge which I did not want to go to waste unrecorded. Also, although I had written hundreds of articles, letters reports and critiques, I had never previously written a full-length book, let alone published one. More important, I thoroughly enjoyed writing it.
Perhaps a strange question, but why the Roman period ?
By chance, three defining factors all came together almost simultaneously...... Firstly, I am by profession a Solicitor, with a knowledge of Latin, but had never read Roman Law, the basis of most legal systems. On retirement I decided to put that right. Secondly, having chosen Dorset as my retirement home, I immediately discovered that I was surrounded by historical evidence of the Roman occupation of our island. This fired my imagination and I started to explore and to read. Thirdly, I was watching TV one day when a Roman soldier in full armour appeared inviting people to join the Roman living-history society known as Legio Secunda Augusta, LEG II AVG for short. At that time I had just read that it was thought that this Legion was the one which had conquered Dorset. I decided that someone was trying to tell me something, so I joined straight away! Then began for me a memorable association giving talks on the Romans and their Law, to the public dressed in a Toga!
So why does the book have such a strong military theme?
Because the Roman invasion of AD 43 fascinated me. So little was known about what happened, which I found incredible. I wanted to find out why. Furthermore I had considerable military experience in the British Army having spent some years as an infantry officer. I knew exactly what it was like to command a unit as a junior officer, and I had experienced the not-always pleasant inter-action with officer colleagues, and I knew quite a bit about the reaction of men under hardship. In short, I had a head full of such experiences and the Roman invasion of Britannia was a heaven-sent opportunity to build that knowledge into a good story.