THE Echo Book Club is this week introducing two novelists from the region with their new books.

First up is Britannia Burning, by Frank Broughton.

He said: “My latest book, Britannia Burning, is a complete departure from my previous trilogy of thrillers set in South America.

“It’s a historical novel set in Roman Britain telling the story of the newly-orphaned seventeen-year-old Flavus, separated from his beloved sister Lucia and sent north from his former home in Verulamium (Saint Alban’s) to live with his uncle Plautius Crito, a cavalry officer serving on Hadrian’s Wall.

“Not long after his arrival at Chesters Fort, Flavus becomes involved in the events leading up to a massive barbarian assault on Britannia, a three-pronged attack by the Caledonian tribes combining with Irish and Saxon allies in an attempt to destroy Roman power, an invasion labelled by a contemporary historian Ammianus as “The Great Barbarian Conspiracy.”

“Flavus accompanies his uncle on an espionage mission north of the Wall, is captured and saved from death only by the courage and resourcefulness of Rianna, a Pictish concubine at the court of King Maglos, leader of the Caledonian tribes planning the assault on Rome.

“Flavus and Rianna survive months of hardship and peril until they once more come face-to-face with a King Maglos in a climactic encounter on the bridge over the River Swale at Catterick Fort.”

Born in Lancashire, Frank read geography at Liverpool University and afterwards spent a postgraduate year in Chile.

During his career, Frank lived and worked in various parts of the country, employed most recently as manager of an environmental team, working with farmers to enhance bio-diversity and the farming landscape. Since he retired, he has maintained his interest in the rural environment by voluntary work with a number of different environmental organisations including the Yorkshire Dales National Park. He is also a keen hillwalker and long-time member of the Swaledale Outdoor Club.

Frank has been a voracious reader and occasional writer since his teenage years and now devotes as much time as he can to writing both fiction and non-fiction. He is also an active member of the York Poets Group. Frank is married with two adult children and two grandchildren.

Our second author is debut novelist Alan Bayles with Mirror Wars: Double Jeopardy.

He delivers a conspiracy theory novel that draws the reader in from the outset. With his love of science fiction and fantasy literature providing the inspiration for his own intricate plot line, Mirror Wars: Double Jeopardy also benefits from the adept use of the author’s experiences as a twin to assist for his doppelganger characterisation.

Alan said his plot pays homage to many of his favourite authors, films, and TV shows, and which is guaranteed to have readers looking forward to the next instalment of Mirror Wars.

He said: “There has been a failed military experiment. A global conspiracy spanning decades. Two worlds colliding.

“On September 12, 1932 a failed military experiment opens the doorway to a parallel world and an ancient empire with ties to our world.

“90 years later Detective Inspector Dave Barnes is summoned to investigate a murder in the quiet English village of Langley Park. Along with his friend and colleague, Detective Sergeant Andrew Jenkins, they begin an investigation which uncovers some startling facts.

“Inspector Barnes is soon joined by Professor Claire Tulley, a history professor who has a personal stake in the investigation.

“Along with Constable Wendy Cooper, they begin to uncover evidence of corruption going not only all the way up to higher echelons of the British Government, but evidence of a global conspiracy spanning decades.

“They are soon embroiled in a fight for not only their own survival, but also for the fate of the world against an enemy that is oddly familiar.”

Alan added: “Born in Hartlepool in 1970, I lived in Langley Park, Durham, England up until 2006, when I moved to Northern Ireland.

“I have been married to my wife, Monica, since 2007.

“I love reading fantasy, science fiction, action and adventure, and thrillers. My favourite authors are Stephen King, James Herbert, Clive Cussler, Dean Koontz, Audrey Niffenegger and Neil Gaiman.

“I am a big Marvel comics fan and enjoy watching all type of movies. Favourite TV shows are Blake’s 7, Babylon 5, and Star Trek.

“In April 2020, my love of fantasy and science fiction inspired me to write my first book – Mirror Wars: Double Jeopardy – which contains nods to some of my favourite authors, films and TV shows that have ignited my imagination over the years.

He added: “Having finished my first novel this year, I am already planning to write my next book, the second part to Mirror Wars.”