An archaeological dig in the English countryside might be considered the safest of pastimes, but not for Simon Tappins. His life is turned upside down when a dramatic discovery sends him back two thousand years into a world time forgot. He is plunged into a dangerous period of British history, a pivotal point when the Roman Empire is collapsing and Saxon hordes are invading, sweeping aside the last legions.
Simon is caught between the approaching Saxons and the ferocious but futile last stand of a Roman governor who, with the support of Germanic mercenaries, is intent on escaping with the wealth he has accumulated.
Through all this runs Simon’s quest to solve a mystery. Only the lost crystal of Thar Cernunnos has the power to take him back to his own time, but while clues crop up regularly, they are always enigmatic, often cryptic, and seemingly impossible to solve. However, it is his emotional involvement with native girl Sen’icca that presents the greatest challenge. If he makes the wrong decision now, in two thousand years’ time, the consequences will be fatal.
In accurate and fascinating detail many aspects of everyday life in these times are disclosed. The story explores what it was really like to live in a Roman town. The principal character experiences the sounds of the market place, the smells from the wine bars and food shops, and the choking smoke from the industrial quarter. But it is the people and their cultural and political organization which reveals the unique economic ambience of the town during this dangerous period.
The story also weaves a strange tale of unearthly powers of priests, the terrifying predictions of Celtic Gods and the struggles, perils and small triumphs of surviving in a time filled with savage conflict.