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BOOK OF THE YEAR 2012, Bronze Medal (ForeWord Reviews)
Jalaam, a bastard son in first-century Judea, escapes the bullies in his village by becoming a stable boy with the Roman cavalry. Given the Roman nickname, Martis, he journeys far from his desert homeland to a forested world called Germania, where three legions have been ordered to subdue the barbarian tribes across the Rhine. Along the way, he befriends Maurus, a giant Mauritanian warrior; Owiti, a stable boy from Abyssinia; and Hannah, a beautiful Hebrew pleasure slave owned by a Roman officer.
Through grit and skill, Jalaam rises to become an Eques sapsarius (Cavalry combat medic). He and Owiti survive the Battle of Teutoburg Forest when Germanic warriors slaughter twenty thousand Roman soldiers. After escaping slavery in Germania, the two take their fighting skills to Pompeii where they become celebrated gladiators. But Hannah, now a wealthy consort, believes that Jalaam was born for an altogether different destiny