Guest Post: Blood and Sand's C.V. Wyk

Thursday, January 25, 2018
Title: Blood and Sand
Author: C.V. Wyk
Genre: historical fiction
Series: Untitled #1
Pages: 320
Published: expected January 16 2018
Source: review copy from publisher


The action-packed tale of a 17-year-old warrior princess and a handsome gladiator who dared take on the Roman Republic―and gave rise to the legend of Spartacus...

For teens who love strong female protagonists in their fantasy and historical fiction, Blood and Sand is a stirring, yet poignant tale of two slaves who dared take on an empire by talented debut author C. V. Wyk.

Roma Victrix. The Republic of Rome is on a relentless march to create an empire―an empire built on the backs of the conquered, brought back to Rome as slaves.

Attia was once destined to rule as the queen and swordmaiden of Thrace, the greatest warrior kingdom the world had seen since Sparta. Now she is a slave, given to Xanthus, the Champion of Rome, as a sign of his master’s favor. Enslaved as a child, Xanthus is the preeminent gladiator of his generation.

Against all odds, Attia and Xanthus form a tentative bond. A bond that will spark a rebellion. A rebellion that threatens to bring the Roman Republic to its end―and gives rise to the legend of Spartacus...

Today I am happy to have C.V. Wyk here talking about favorite Romans and how they influenced the story in Blood and Sand.

Most of my favorite Roman figures didn’t make it directly into the book by name, but rather exerted their influence on the characters, plot, and events in BLOOD AND SAND in a subtler way. For instance, the general Gaius Marius was a brilliant tactician who was responsible for making the Roman army the infamous fighting force it was as early as 100BC. The concepts of a standing army and soldiers by trade were introduced under Marius and allowed for non-Romans to earn citizenship and acclaim. Without giving away spoilers, this is…important haha.

Other men like Marcus Aurelias and Tiberius Gracchus inspired the character of Lucius and how a young Roman patrician might have viewed the flagrant inequality and brutality of ancient Rome. Gracchus was well-known for his disdain of social inequality and spent his life trying to fight the tyranny of economic and political oppression. The death of Marcus Aurelias, who is often referred to as the Philosopher Emperor, signaled the end of the Pax Romana and ushered in the decline of the Roman empire.

A few of historical figures who are mentioned in BLOOD AND SAND by name are rather villainous inmy adaptation, specifically the members of the House of Flavius. Crassus was not a Flavian (his real name was Marcus Licinius Crassus), but he was a true Roman general whose greatest accomplishment was defeating Spartacus during the Third Servile War, or The Gladiator War, in 73BC. Titus Flavius was a real emperor after his father Vespasian, but according to historical documents, he was benevolent and well-loved. In the book however, much of his story arc is influenced by two figures: Lucius Aurelius Commodus (the dictatorial son of Marcus Aurelius), and the first true Roman Emperor, Augustus, who ruled as early as 27BC. Augustus was also the adopted son of Julius Caesar and later worked with Mark Antony to bring Caesar’s assassins to justice. Moreover, these men later influenced the Shakespeare quotes that appear at the beginning of BLOOD AND SAND. One line of that quote, in particular, shaped the narrative of this book: O, pardon me, thou bleeding piece of earth! I imagine it was Attia’s lament as she cursed herself for not saving her father or her people.

My last few favorites include Boudicca and Livy. Boudicca was actually Celtic queen who fought against the Roman invasion of Britain. She was a fiery character with a tragic past who really helped shape the histories and personalities of Xanthus, Attia, and Lucretia. Livy, whose full name was Titus Livius, was a well-renowned Roman historian who died in approximately 12AD. His massive history of Rome, Ab Urbe Condite Libri (Books from the Foundation of the City), were incredibly useful during my research for BLOOD AND SAND.

And, of course, there is Spartacus, perhaps one of the most famous Romans of all time. Even here, in his list of my Roman historical figures who influenced the book, there are nearly no women save for the queen of a distant kingdom. But more than any other figure, Spartacus—who had no verifiable or recorded history—was someone open to interpretation, to borrowing and twisting and reconfiguring the facts as we know them. Spartacus not only found a way into this book, but completely took over. But what else would you expect from the slave who defied an empire?

Thank you so much for stopping by and talking ancient Romans with me, C.V.!

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