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The Vestal Conspiracy
The India Summers Mysteries, Book 1
K. M. Ashman
Length: 11 hrs and 16 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
India Summers is a librarian and a talented historian, so when a stranger asks her opinion on an ancient coin she is happy to oblige, but when the same man is murdered less than an hour later, it soon becomes apparent that there is far more to the situation than meets the eye. Recognising her unique talents for historical reference, she is quickly recruited by Brandon Walker, a security service intelligence officer investigating the strange disappearance of a very special young girl.
In 1274, Edward the First ruled England having inherited the crown from his father, Henry the Third. Across the border to the west, the smaller country of Wales was ruled by Prince Llewellyn ap Gruffydd, a direct descendant of Llewellyn the Great. Tensions were strained between the two countries and minor conflicts were commonplace between the lesser nobles, but when Edward found out about Llewellyn’s proposed marriage to Eleanor du Montfort, he was incensed, and in 1275, arranged for her ship to be intercepted as she travelled from France to be with the Welsh prince.
Britannia - AD 60. When her husband dies, Boudicca, queen of the Iceni, expects Rome to enter into a new power-sharing agreement with her people. However, when Rome reneges on the agreement and her daughters are raped by Roman soldiers, Boudicca raises an army to fight back against the occupation. The Britannic tribes rise up and join her in a campaign against their oppressors, and soon her enormous army is sweeping across Britannia in an unstoppable campaign of brutality.
King Henry is dead, and his son, Edward Longshanks, is on his way back from crusade to claim the crown and impose his iron will on a weakened country. The nobles of north Wales are nervous and grow frustrated at the inaction of their own leader, and make a daring pact to replace him with a figurehead to unite the warring factions against the English prince. In the south, two young men attempt to rebuild their lives after a terrifying ordeal in Acre.
The Pyramid of Cheops. The largest and most enigmatic of them all. Possibly the greatest monument of all time and truly a tomb fit for a Pharaoh...or was it? Despite finding a sarcophagus in the King's chamber, many experts now believe that Khufu, the Pharaoh at the time, was never actually interred there. But if that's the case, where is he?
50 AD. The invasion is over, and Roman Legions spread throughout the land, a blood red stain on Britannia. Caratacus has fled south to rebuild his army, and warriors flock to his banner. In the north, a disgraced legionary grasps the chance to regain his honour and joins the Exploratores, the elite Roman unit operating behind enemy lines. Soon he is tasked with disrupting the plans of Caratacus, but deep inside he nurtures a deeper mission, the chance to fulfill an oath made six years earlier.
Britannia 43AD. The last unconquered stronghold of the Celts and a land of gold and slaves. A dangerous place of men without fear, led by mystical Druid warriors, yet still to face the might of Rome in the unrelenting expansion of the empire. Four Roman legions have assembled in Gaul undertaking final preparations for the invasion of Britannia. Two young men are posted to a training cohort under the sadistic tutorage of a battle scarred veteran, Remus. The training is brutal, but eventually the trainees find themselves involved in their first campaign. The invasion of Britannia.
When a 100-year-old crucifix is discovered around the neck of a 500-year-old mummy, Brandon Walker once more calls on the expertise of India Summers to solve the mystery. Within days they realise there is far more to this than a cruel hoax, and it soon becomes clear that there are strong links back to the SS in the Second World War. Ultimately, what they find is not only a cover-up of global proportions and the tragic aftermath of a long-forgotten battle, but a group of dangerous men seeking the most powerful and dangerous Icon the world has ever known.
AD 1177. The threat of war sweeps across the Holy Land, and the kingdom of Jerusalem is at imminent risk of invasion from the massed armies of Saladin. Reports of Saracen patrols devastating towns and villages cause panic throughout the Outremer, and Baldwin, the teenage king beset with leprosy, tries desperately to counter the threat. But nobody knows where the enemy forces are, and the Christian forces are stretched thinly.
1135 AD. Wales is a broken land. Many of its true-born rulers are in hiding, or married into noble English families. But, though low and dim, a flame of vengeance still burns... In the southern kingdom of Deheubarth, Gerald of Windsor governs. Firm but fair, he commands the respect of those he reigns over, and the love of Nesta, his wife. But then treachery strikes from the heart of the English ranks and peace and stability are quickly forgotten.
1081. William's bloody conquest is over and Britain is under Norman rule. But one bastion of resistance remains: Wales. A divided land where brother fights brother and kings battle for power. The English use this to further their own ends, and while one king is tempted by an offer he cannot resist, the others wage war over long-forgotten feuds.
AD 1294. Caernarfon has fallen to Madog, and the Welsh uprising spreads like a wildfire. The four main warlords of Wales join forces to wreak havoc amongst the English settlers and rampage across the country in a frenzy of aggression born of a lifetime of servitude. One by one, Edward’s castles fall before the Welsh onslaught, but though there seems to be little reaction from the king, across the border, he musters his armies and plans the re-taking of his famed Ring of Steel.
Gruffydd ap Cynan is missing, his army scattered. Twelve long years have passed since the king was taken prisoner and his people think him long dead. In the dirty shadows of Chester Castle, a beaten prisoner looks up from the squalor of the street. Dressed in rags, mocked and pelted with filth, he seems a broken man. Yet deep inside, the desire for freedom burns like the hottest furnace.
An uneasy peace reigns in Wales. It's 1109 and the truce with England hangs by the thinnest of threads. While King Gruffydd ap Cynan's rule of law holds in the north, a spirit of rebellion is rising in the south, as tearaway princes and rebels grow to resent England's oppression of their homeland. And when Nesta, married off in a political move by England's King Henry, leaves the safety of her husband's castle to attend a celebration, the rebels seize their opportunity.
When Egyptologists open the lost tomb of a long dead king, they are astounded to find another body entombed alongside him. But this is no ordinary mummy. Not only is it dressed in the manner of a commoner, it also contains a few blood cells that only seem dormant. Becky Ryan, a museum researcher, receives a macabre message from her father, just before he is found dead and follows the clues to uncover what is either a massive hoax, or the greatest ever discovery in the history of mankind. What she uncovers is beyond her wildest dreams…and darkest nightmares.
AD 1136. Across a barren battlefield in the shadows of Kidwelly Castle, the bodies of a defeated army lay abandoned, left to rot as a warning to all who dare rebel against the authority of the English crown. Throughout the kingdom, the people are subjected to a renewed campaign of brutality from the victorious castellans, and any thoughts of freedom are abandoned as they struggle simply to survive each passing day. However, deep beneath the Cathedral of Saint David, in a cold and damp cell that has been his home for many years, an old monk kneels in prayer.
Savage Eden. A time between Ice Ages. Golau, a Cro-Magnon hunter gatherer, is pulled from a freezing lake and nursed back to health by a group of wandering Neanderthal. Miles away, his clan’s peaceful existence is torn apart by an attack from an unknown predatory species and many are taken beyond the ice wall as prey. Golau and some of the remaining men set out in pursuit and are joined by a pod of Neanderthal, seeking answers of their own.