Related to: 'The Scorpion's Strike: Empire X'

Julie Sarkissian blogs about the problems facing the protagnist of her debut novel, DEAR LUCY

Something's Wrong With Lucy - But What?

Lucy is different – that much is clear. She speaks like a child, doesn’t recognize social boundaries, flies into rages, and treasures rotten food. Her cognition is impaired, her vocabulary is very limited and she cannot read or write. But what – precisely – is wrong with her is left up to the reader. Lucy is the protagonist of my novel, DEAR LUCY, and from the first sentence of the book I ever wrote it was obvious that Lucy was cognitively different. The way Lucy describes herself is as “missing too many words.” Her mother calls her “difficult.” Readers of early drafts of the book had a few theories as to Lucy’s condition; autism, Williams Syndrome, Down Syndrome. But Lucy’s mother has kept her from going to school and Lucy has never seen a doctor. So in the fictional reality of the book there is no official diagnosis. But as the novel progressed I wondered – should I have one? I was torn. If Lucy was presenting enough symptoms to point to a real condition, was I ignoring the obvious not to fold that condition into my development of her character? Was it insensitive of me to allude to aspects of certain real, life-altering conditions but not assign a specific condition to Lucy? I worried about appropriating aspects of serious conditions without treating those conditions with proper respect and acknowledgement. And though any clinical diagnosis would probably not be explicit in the novel, I wondered if I would be ignoring an opportunity to bring attention to a real disorder when people asked me about Lucy’s condition, the way The Curious Incident of The Dog in the Night-time did for autism. On the other hand, I had concerns that if I chose a diagnosis for Lucy, I would be ascribing to her qualities that she wouldn’t have otherwise presented. Lucy had her own will over my writing and over the novel. I didn’t want to yoke Lucy’s expression by keeping her behavior and abilities consistent with a clinical condition. Accuracy would also become a critical issue if Lucy’s condition was named. Ultimately I chose not to diagnose Lucy, though I worry the artistic freedom provided by that decision comes at the price of being judged for being too liberal with my treatment of cognitive disorders. Now that publication is a few months away, I am apprehensive of how my treatment of Lucy’s cognitive limitations will be judged. I have yet to talk to a reader who has a learning different child, or works with learning different people, and that conversation is one I will be honored, and not a bit anxious, to have.

Hodder & Stoughton

Retribution: The Centurions III

Anthony Riches
Authors:
Anthony Riches
Hodder & Stoughton

Onslaught: The Centurions II

Anthony Riches
Authors:
Anthony Riches

The author of the bestselling Empire sequence continues his new trilogy: the epic story of the uprising of the Batavi in AD 69. The Rhine frontier has exploded into all-out war. The Batavi cohorts, so recently proud soldiers of Rome, have returned to their homeland, summoned by their new leader Kivilaz: they will be the spearhead of an audacious assault on Roman power. Humbled by the rebels in a battle they should have won, the Romans retreat to their northern stronghold, the Old Camp, to lick their wounds. The 5th and 15th Legions grimly prepare to defend an undermanned fortress against both the Batavi and thousands of barbarian warriors intoxicated by a charismatic priestess's vision of their victory. Four centurions who once fought in the same army find themselves on opposite sides of a vicious civil war. For the Batavi, the prize could be freedom from Roman rule. For the Romans, the choices are victory or the most humiliating defeat their empire has ever known. And for one Batavi soldier, the greatest prize is simply survival in a battle with a cornered, desperate enemy.

Hodder & Stoughton

The Empire Collection Volume III

Anthony Riches
Authors:
Anthony Riches

The most recent three novels in Anthony Riches' thrilling EMPIRE series, including The Emperor's Blood, Thunder of the Gods, Altar of Blood, now available in one page-turning collection.The Emperor's Blood (VII)Centurion Marcus Aquila is back in Rome, hunting the men who destroyed his family. But the urge to exact his own brutal justice upon the shadowy cabal of assassins who butchered his family means that he must face them on their own ground, risking his own death at their hands. A senator, a gang boss, a praetorian officer and, deadliest of all, champion gladiator Mortiferum - the Death Bringer - lie in wait.Thunder of the Gods (VIII)With Rome no longer safe, Marcus and his Tungrian legion are ordered east to the desolate border lands where Rome and Parthia have vied for supremacy for centuries. Ordered to relieve the siege of an isolated fortress, their task is doomed to bloody failure unless they can turn the disaffected Third Legion into a fighting force capable of resisting the terrifying Parthian cataphracts. And Marcus must travel to the enemy capital Ctesiphon on a desperate mission, the only man who can persuade the King of Kings to halt a war that threatens the humiliation of the empire and the slaughter of his friends.Altar of Blood (IX)Ordered to cross the river Rhenus into barbarian Germany and capture a tribal priestess who may be the most dangerous person on the empire's northern border, the Tungrians are soon subject to the machinations of an old enemy who will stop at nothing to sabotage their plans before they have even set foot on the river's eastern bank. With two of the Bructeri tribe's greatest treasures in their hands, they must regain Roman territory by crossing the unforgiving wilderness that was the graveyard of Roman imperial strategy two hundred years before.

Hodder & Stoughton

Betrayal: The Centurions I

Anthony Riches
Authors:
Anthony Riches

AD 69: The Rhine frontier has exploded into bloody rebellion, and four centurions who once fought in the same army find themselves on opposite sides of a vicious insurrection.The rebel leader Kivilaz and his Batavi rebels have humbled the Romans in a battle they should have won. The legions must now defend their northern stronghold, the Old Camp, from the enraged tribes of Germany, knowing that they cannot be relieved until the civil war raging to the south has been resolved. Can they defend the undermanned fortress against thousands of barbarian warriors intoxicated by a charismatic priestess's vision of victory?

Hodder & Stoughton

The Empire Collection Volume I

Anthony Riches
Authors:
Anthony Riches
Hodder & Stoughton

The Empire Collection Volume II

Anthony Riches
Authors:
Anthony Riches

The EMPIRE sequence continues with books IV-VI in Anthony Riches' bestselling series, available in a page-turning collection, including The Leopard Sword, The Wolf's Gold and The Eagle's Vengeance.The Leopard SwordThe Roman agents who nearly captured Marcus Aquila have been defeated by his friends. But to protect those friends from the wrath of the emperor, he must leave the province which has given him shelter. As centurion of the second Tungrians, he leads his men from Hadrian's Wall to the Tungrians' original home. There he finds a different world from the turbulent British frontier - but one with its own dangers. A bandit chieftain is robbing with impunity. And now he threatens to destabilize the whole northern frontier of the empire.The Wolf's GoldMarcus Aquila and the Tungrians have been sent to Dacia with the mission to safeguard a major source of imperial power. The mines contain enough gold to pave the road to Rome. They would make a mighty prize for the Sarmatae tribesmen who threaten the province, and the outnumbered auxiliaries are entrusted with their safety in the face of an invasion. The Tungrians will have to fight to the death to save the honour of the empire - and themselves.The Eagle's VengeanceThe Tungrians return to Hadrian's Wall to find chaos, with the legions overstretched, struggling to man the northern frontier. The Tungrians are sent into the northern wastes, where a lost symbol of imperial power of the Sixth Legion awaits them. Protected by an impassable swamp, the eagle of the Sixth legion must be recovered if the legion is to survive. Marcus and his men must penetrate the heart of the enemy's strength, if they are to rescue the legion's venerated standard. If successful their escape will be twice as perilous...

Hodder & Stoughton

Altar of Blood: Empire IX

Anthony Riches
Authors:
Anthony Riches
Hodder Paperbacks

Thunder of the Gods: Empire VIII

Anthony Riches
Authors:
Anthony Riches
Hodder & Stoughton

Wounds of Honour: Empire I

Anthony Riches
Authors:
Anthony Riches

Marcus Valerius Aquila has scarcely landed in Britannia when he has to run for his life - condemned to dishonorable death by power-crazed emperor Commodus. The plan is to take a new name, serve in an obscure regiment on Hadrian's Wall and lie low until he can hope for justice. Then a rebel army sweeps down from the wastes north of the Wall, and Marcus has to prove he's hard enough to lead a century in the front line of a brutal, violent war.(P)2015 Hodder & Stoughton

Hodder Paperbacks

The Emperor's Knives: Empire VII

Anthony Riches
Authors:
Anthony Riches

'A master of the genre' The TimesThe seventh novel in Anthony Riches' acclaimed Empire sequence brings Marcus Aquila back to Rome, hunting the men who destroyed his family. But the revenge he craves may cost him and those around him dearly.The young centurion's urge to exact his own brutal justice upon the shadowy cabal of assassins who butchered his family means that he must face them on their own ground, risking his own death at their hands.A senator, a gang boss, a praetorian officer and, deadliest of all, champion gladiator Mortiferum - the Death Bringer - lie in wait. The knives are unsheathed, and ready for blood . . .

Hodder & Stoughton

The Eagle's Vengeance: Empire VI

Anthony Riches
Authors:
Anthony Riches
Hodder & Stoughton

The Wolf's Gold: Empire V

Anthony Riches
Authors:
Anthony Riches

Fresh from their victory in Germania, Marcus Aquila and the Tungrians have been sent to Dacia, on the north-eastern edge of the Roman Empire, with the mission to safeguard a major source of imperial power. The mines of Alburnus Major contain enough gold to pave the road to Rome. They would make a mighty prize for the marauding Sarmatae tribesmen who threaten the province, and the outnumbered auxiliaries are entrusted with their safety in the face of a barbarian invasion. Beset by both the Sarmatian horde and more subtle threats offered by men who should be their comrades, the Tungrians must also come to terms with the danger posed by a new and unexpected enemy. They will have to fight to the death to save the honour of the empire - and their own skins.'Some authors are better historians than they are storytellers. Anthony Riches is brilliant at both.' Conn Iggulden

Hodder & Stoughton

The Leopard Sword: Empire IV

Anthony Riches
Authors:
Anthony Riches
Hodder & Stoughton

Fortress of Spears: Empire III

Anthony Riches
Authors:
Anthony Riches
Hodder Paperbacks

Arrows of Fury: Empire II

Anthony Riches
Authors:
Anthony Riches

Alyson Richman

Alyson Richman is the author of The Mask Carver's Son, Swedish Tango, The Last Van Gogh and THE LOST WIFE. The daughter of a painter and an engineer, Richman's novels combine a love of art and research, and have been published in more than ten languages. She lives in Long Island, New York with her husband and two children.www.alysonrichman.comwww.twitter.com/alysonrichman

Amor Towles

Amor Towles has written fiction which has appeared in The Paris Review. He lives in New York.www.amortowles.comwww.facebook.com/AmorTowles

Andrea Wulf

Andrea Wulf was born in India, moved to Germany as a child, and now lives in England. She is the author of several acclaimed books. The Brother Gardeners won the American Horticultural Society Book Award and was long-listed for the Samuel Johnson Prize. Her book Founding Gardeners was on the New York Times bestseller list. Andrea has written for many newspapers including the Guardian, LA Times and New York Times. She was the Eccles British Library Writer in Residence 2013 and a three-time fellow of the International Center for Jefferson Studies at Monticello. She appears regularly on TV and radio.

Andrew Miller

Andrew Miller's first novel, Ingenious Pain, was published by Sceptre in 1997 and greeted as the debut of an outstanding new writer. It won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and the Grinzane Cavour Prize for the best foreign novel published in Italy.It has been followed by Casanova, Oxygen, which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and the Whitbread Novel of the Year Award in 2001, The Optimists, One Morning Like A Bird, Pure, which won the Costa Book of the Year Award 2011, and The Crossing.Andrew Miller's novels have been published in translation in twenty countries. Born in Bristol in 1960, he currently lives in Somerset.

Anna Jacobs

Anna Jacobs grew up in Lancashire and emigrated to Australia, but still visits the UK regularly to see her family and do research, something she loves. She is addicted to writing and figures she'll have to live to be 120 at least to tell all the stories that keep popping up in her imagination and nagging her to write them down. She's also addicted to her own hero, to whom she's been happily married for many years.She is the bestselling author of over eighty novels and has been shortlisted for several awards, and Pride of Lancashire won the Australian Romantic Book of the Year Award in 2006.You can find out more on her website, www.annajacobs.com or on her Facebook page, www.facebook.com/Anna.Jacobs.Books.