Here is a creator of historical fiction who does not pander to her readers, but expects they can take in their strides a thoroughly mature, researched-background story. Even her characters are not set in the mold. This is a tale of a stormy period in Britain's history, when the last of the Romans in Britain, who had chosen to stay when the auxiliaries were ordered home, waged continuing war with the invaders from the north- the barbarian Jutes and Saxons. Even at the close there was only a measure of armed truce. Such is the setting for the story of Aquila, who deserted his Legion, only to be confronted with the destruction of his home in the downlands, and his own capture by the Jutes. The story goes on through his escape, his throwing in his lot with the Roman-British leader Ambrosius, his marriage to a British girl and the slow coming of love and loyalty, and the years of struggle for a measure of peace. Not always an easy book, with its unfamiliar names and locales, but a book that rewards careful reading and that tells a good story.