Ancient ruins have long held a fascination for me, as they do for many people. There’s just something about the crumbling remnants of an age and culture long past that sparks the imagination, that makes us wonder. What was this place? Why is it now in shambles? Who inhabited these walls? What happened to them? Our creativity thrives on such ponderings. They’re a fertile canvas to build our stories upon.
As such, I’m not the first to utilize the Roman ruins left behind in Britain. Many authors before me have also been captivated by the atmospheric remains scattered across the entire breadth of Britain, save the far north of Scotland, and the history behind them. There is much to be intrigued by, from the remnants of the Romans’ magnificent baths at Aquae Sulis (modern-day Bath) and the lost town of Silchester, shrouded in the tall grasses of the Hampshire countryside, to the enormous engineering feat of Hadrian’s Wall, stretching across the wilds of Northumberland, to the cache of late Roman silverware found at Trapain Law in East Lothian and the traces of Roman marching camps discovered as far north as Moray Firth. New sites and artifacts are being unearthed all the time, sometimes layered with the evidence of earlier Neolithic and Iron Age settlements or later Saxon, Norman, and medieval villages.
However, the field of archeology is a relatively modern endeavor. Prior to the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, little care was usually taken to preserve and document ancient sites. There were incidences of historians and antiquarians helping to uncover a discovered site and recording their findings, but, far more often, sites were essentially looted and then either neglected or ignored, left unprotected to be damaged and destroyed by livestock, exposure to the elements, or building projects. It wasn’t until the late nineteenth century that a more scholarly and conscientious approach to studying these sites and preserving them was adopted and embraced. Indeed, the term archeology as the scientific study of ancient peoples and past civilizations wasn’t even adopted into English until 1825.
These Victorians paved the way for a more methodical and scientific approach to examining these ruins and the objects found within them, leading to tremendous breakthroughs in understanding our past—breakthroughs that continue today as Britain’s soil continues to offer up the secrets of its ancient peoples and empires bit by bit as the years pass, be it via a farmer’s plow, a metal detector, or a new public works project.
About the Author
Anna Lee Huber is the Daphne award–winning and nationally best-selling author of the Lady Darby Mysteries and the Verity Kent Mysteries. She is a summa cum laude graduate of in Nashville, Tennessee, where she majored in music and minored in psychology. A member of Mystery Writers of America, Historical Novel Society, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers, she currently resides in Indiana with her family. Visit her online at AnnaLeeHuber.com.
Peacetime has brought little respite for Verity Kent. Intrigue still abounds, even within her own family. As a favor to her father, Verity agrees to visit his sister in Wiltshire. Her once prosperous aunt has fallen on difficult times and is considering selling their estate. But there are strange goings-on at the manor, including missing servants, possible heirloom forgeries, and suspicious rumors—all leading to the discovery of a dead body on the grounds.
While Verity and her husband, Sidney, investigate this new mystery, they are also on the trail of an old adversary: the shadowy and lethal Lord Ardmore. At every turn, the suspected traitor seems to be one step ahead of them. And even when their dear friend Max, the Earl of Ryde, stumbles upon a code hidden among his late father’s effects that may reveal the truth about Ardmore, Verity wonders if they are really the hunters—or the hunted.