Journal

THE SWORD OF ATTILA: military map-makers, Roman and Victorian

One of the characters I most enjoyed creating in my novel Total War Rome: The Sword of Attila was Gnaeus Uago Alentius, a senior tribune of the fabri – the Roman equivalent of the Corps of Engineers – who oversees a military mapping unit in Rome. I'd imagined that by the 5th century AD, Roman proficiency in field survey and road-tracing might have led to a kind of topographical department in the army, with the fabri close to creating detailed maps akin to the early British Ordnance Survey series - something that would have been halted by the collapse of the Roman army in the west shortly afterwards, leaving us no evidence of their work ...

 

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PYRAMID: excerpt from the novel (the wreck of the Beatrice)

In my novel Pyramid, Jack and Costas revisit the wreck of the Beatrice - discovered in my previous novel, Pharaoh - in order to examine the ancient Egyptian sarcophagus of Menkaure for further clues to Akhenaten's lost 'City of Light'. To find out more about the real-life wreck and the sarcophagus, click here. After a horrifying accident with Costas' submersible, Jack has to make a snap decision ...

 

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Diving on the wreck of the Charles P. Minch (1898), Tobermory, Canada

These pictures show my daughter in August 2014 on the wreck of the Charles P. Minch, a wooden schooner that went down in 1898 in Tecumseh Cove off Cove Island in Lake Huron, Ontario. Most of the wreckage lies in 7 to 15 m depth, and in common with the other wrecks here is exceptionally well-preserved in the cold fresh water. Many thanks to the crew from Diver's Den in Tobermory for making this such a great outing for us!

 

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