Island Of Ghosts

Title: Island Of Ghosts
Author: Gillian Bradshaw
Genre: Historical
Copyright: 1998
Ranking: Very Good
Binding: paperback
LibraryThing: Title:Island Of Ghosts WorkId 290186
Type: Owned
We mutinied when we reached the ocean. We'd been riding for fifty-one days, three companies of us with half a legion and two troops of Roman auxiliaries to guard us. We left Aquincum late in July, and rode through the heat of August: the dust and the flies were appalling. Most of the army bases where we stopped along the way didn't have proper supplies laid up for such a large body of men, as nobody had sent messages telling them to do so; of what they did have, the Roman troops to the best for themselves, leaving us sour barley soup and coarse black bread. We weren't used to the diet, and it made us ill. The hooves of our horses wore down on the paved Roman roads, and the beasts went lame. The Romans refused to give us leather to make horse-sandals, so we cut up the leather bindings of our wagon awnings. Then, early in September when we left the Rhine and turned west into Gaul, it began to rain, and the water ran through the loose awnings and soaked everything: bedding, food, clothes. Everything stank of wet wool, wet horses, rotting barley, and unwashed wet men, and we hated the feel of our own skins. Only our armor and weapons were safe: they had been wrapped in oilcloths at Aquincum and packed into twenty wagons of their own, which the Romans took charge of. (opening passage)