First glimpse: The Girl from the Market

Virunum, Roman Noricum AD370

Her eyes. That’s what drew me. Almond shaped, yet full at their widest, and blue like the Mare Nostrum lapping at the shore by my grandmother’s villa at Baiae. The red hair piled up on her head, gold laced artfully between the strands. Amber drops fell from her ears and nearly met the white curved flesh of her shoulders and touched the heavy rope of amber and gold circling her neck.


The Celtic princeling we were visiting coughed. ‘May I present my daughter, Julia Bacausa?’

I was no fresh-minted tribune but a company commander, heading my own troops for a full season, but I was staring at her as if I was an unemancipated adolescent. The civil governor and the Celt talked about local affairs as they led the way to the dining room. The girl walking silently by her father. Fingers grasping my arm pulled me back into the real world.

‘Don’t even think about it, young Apulius,’ Opsius, the local military commander, hissed as we left the atrium. ‘Not unless you want to be impaled through your arse, praying for death out on a freezing mountain. Come on, let’s get our dinner. I’m starving.’

But it was already too late. She was the girl from the market.



Alison Morton is the author of Roma Nova thrillers –  INCEPTIO,  PERFIDITAS,  SUCCESSIO,  AURELIA,  INSURRECTIO  and RETALIO.  CARINA, a novella, and ROMA NOVA EXTRA, a collection of short stories, are now available.  Audiobooks are available for the first four of the series.

Get INCEPTIO, the series starter, FREE as a thank you gift when you sign up to Alison’s monthly email newsletter. You’ll also be first to know about Roma Nova news and book progress before everybody else, and take part in giveaways.