Far From Home

Written by K.M. Peyton
Review by Michele Gent

This is the third volume in the Roman Pony Stories trilogy. Minna is watching as Theo, with whom she is hopelessly in love, leads a cohort out of Camulodunum bound for Hadrian’s Wall. On a sudden impulse Minna rushes and pulls herself into one of the last of the baggage wagons.

Minna is now one of the army’s camp followers. These camp followers are mostly centurions’ wives and slaves. Minna’s position is made slightly easier by the fact that the reliable and resourceful Stuf is always there for her. He gives her a cloak and sheepskin and finds food for her. Stuf has not joined the army, but Theo finds his skills of scouting useful.

Then Theo receives orders. In what is now Derbyshire a ruined Roman fort has been taken over by a native tribe of brigands. Theo is ordered to retake the fort before continuing on the march north. As the story is being told from the point of view of Minna, there is no detailed description of the battles. Instead Minna, in hiding with the rest of the women, just hears the screams and shrieks of the wounded. Afterwards she sees the piles of corpses and helps with the wounded. Then she is horrified to find that Theo, the man she loves, is actually excited and enjoys the fighting which results in such carnage. Minna has some serious decisions to make. Eventually she settles for a compromise of realism and is able to look forward to a life of contentment. A life which also includes Silva.

But this is also history for animal lovers, and Silva and the faithful hunting dog Fortis also have their parts to play.

This book gives a graphic picture of the Roman army on the march and shows the period from a different perspective. It comes with a glossary and a map and is suitable for teenage girls.