Tuesday, June 17, 2014

HOSTAGE LANDS Read-a-thon (and Hadrian's Wall hike across Britain)

Giles (11) ready for the WALL
Join my son Giles (11) and me as we hike 84 miles across Britain on ancient Hadrian's Wall built AD 120-128 (starting June 19). We will be blogging our progress daily (starting June 19) with lots of pictures, and Giles will be giving his impressions of the experience, and replying to your questions and comments.

Enter to win FREE BOOKS!

On our breaks (me groaning and resting my feet) we will be rereading HOSTAGE LANDS, one of my favorite books to write. Set at the Wall in AD 211, Hostage Lands features the clash of world views, Roman imperialism and paganism, Celt paganism, and nascent Christianity-- and it features treachery, high-octane suspense, and the clash of arms between warring factions.

One unsolicited reader said: "We had trouble putting Hostage Lands down. We are familiar with the great authors. You are a great writer and communicator." Bill Busshaus

Giles and I will begin in the west on the Solway Firth where the Romans actually completed the wall, making our way 84 miles to Wallend near the mouth of the Tyne River on the North Sea where they had started busting stone and building it eight years before. We want to share this experience with as many readers as possible, so come along and join us on our Roman route march adventure!

Enter to win FREE BOOKS!

Here's how it works:
1. Anyone who keeps up through various media is entered to win:
Hand of Vengeance (5 drawing winners)

2. Most active follower wins 3-book grand prize:
Stand Fast, Fathers & Sons, Vol. 1
Hold Fast, Fathers & Sons, Vol. 2
Grace Works (And Ways We Think It Doesn't) new release!

Share and tag at least five friends you think would enjoy following our progress (the more shares and tags the better, #hikehadrian for retweets on twitter), and join us in reading Hostage Lands (or rereading) while we hike Hadrian's Wall, starting June 19 (6-7 fast-paced chapters a day).

How to get started:
1. To enter the drawing, comment on this blog post. This will get your name added to the drawing (subscribe to my blog so you won't miss the latest email notifications on our progress). Tell us what you like about Hostage Lands (or other Bond books)
2. Tweet and/or share on Facebook to earn more entries. Tag Douglas Bond on Facebook shares and include @prpbooks and @bondbooks in your Tweets (and #hikehadrian). Each social media action will earn you one more drawing entry. So the more shares and tags the better (we especially like substantive thoughtful comments)!

Optional participation (but super valuable!): While on our Roman route march, we also invite you to join us in memorizing some of the key gems in Romans chapter 8, "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus!" I love this grand chapter, the Apostle Paul almost giddy with exhilaration at the splendors of the gospel of free grace. Giles and I will be joining in his delight, reveling in this glorious passage together. Comment on the blog and FB on your reflections on this grand text of Scripture (Romans 8--84 miles of ancient Roman wall).

We will do 5 DRAWINGS from readers and followers of our progress who tag the most friends and who make encouraging comments while we are on our Roman route march of Hadrian's Wall (my feet, knees, ankles will be needing the encouragement!).

With tour group at the Wall, April, 2014
Pray also for a fruitful time together, father and son. Giles turns twelve December 24 this year, and I want the hours of time we spend together to be fruitful for the glory and reign of Christ in his heart. We will be blogging about all levels of our progress, Giles telling readers about the experience from his point of view, with video clips along the way. And we will be sharing lots of pictures of this grand stretch of northern Britain so rich in beauty and in ancient history.

"This book is amazing! When I finished Hostage Lands, I wished there was more of it to read. Great book, from cover to cover." (unsolicited Amazon reviewer)

Get started on reading HOSTAGE LANDS

 Dead Words

"Of arms and the man I sing," intoned the teacher, red blotches of exhilaration glowing on her cheeks. She lifted her half-closed eyes to the blackened timbers of the classroom ceiling, and continued. "That is to say, ‘Arma virumque cano.’"

"Arms? Like, well, arms?" said a girl, her nose crinkled in bewilderment as she looked from her copy of Virgil to her own arms.

"Weapons, Sally, dear," said the teacher, Miss Klitsa, blinking rapidly, her bony knuckles turning white as she steadied herself with a grip on her lectern. "Swords, spears, catapults--you know, the tools of warfare. Now then, if I may recommence. ‘Troiae qui primus ab oris Italiam fato…’"

"Hey, I’m getting it. I’m really getting it!" said Sally. "That’d be something about a fat Italian, right?"
Snorts of laughter erupted throughout the classroom.

Miss Klitsa blanched, as if someone had slapped her. Her eyes fluttering at the class over her half-rimmed glasses, she blew her nose and began again.

Neil Perkins watched every gesture of the recitation from his desk at the north corner of the classroom. He always sat in the back, in the north corner, because through the leaded panes of a window he had a pretty good view of a stretch of moorland and sky—and of the wall. All things he’d seen before, too many times, but for daydreaming there was simply no better seat in the classroom. Miss Klitsa’s recitation continued, "…multa quoque…"

Neil rolled his eyes with embarrassment as the teacher’s voice rose and fell, one hand clenched in anguish over her heart, the bony fingers of the other splayed with twitching fervor, changing gestures from hand to hand as she spoke. He frequently asked himself at times like these: Why did Haltwhistle Grammar School, crammed up against an old pile of rocks in the north of England, why did the students from this hole-in-the-wall place have to have a teacher like Miss Klitsa?

Miss Klitsa was not normal. What else was a boy of fifteen to conclude about a sixty-something-year-old spinsters with hair so red it made your eyes go blood-shot looking at it? Worse yet, the curly mass seemed to spew from her head like molten lava from a volcano. Come to think of it, she would have made a great physical science teacher, thought Neil, a living, fire-regurgitating specimen right in the classroom. Or maybe she should have taught ancient history. What could be better than a flesh and blood, walking, sneezing fossil for your ancient history teacher?

Which brings up the matter of her nose. Neil’s mother had tried to explain about chronic sinus difficulties and post-nasal drip, but never to the effect of producing in her son an ounce of sympathy for the poor woman’s condition. Finding a way to steal yet another of Miss Klitsa’s lacy pink handkerchiefs, which she habitually stuffed under her watchband between blowings, was a daily task that Neil assumed with disciplined regularity. Good days he succeeded. Bad days he failed. To date, his collection of pink hankies numbered thirty-four. Thirty-four good days out of forty-five days of school, he had to admit, was decidedly above average.

Northumbrian panorama at Hadrian's Wall, April, 2014
And there were other things about Miss Klitsa, like her tricycle. Neil found it difficult in the extreme to take seriously a teacher who pedaled a giant-sized tricycle, its pink paint chalky with age, its ancient...

JOIN THE FUN! Follow and share (FB share and tag friends and Douglas Bond, and retweet @bondbooks and #hikehadrian) and encourage us along the way!

Donna Eggett, Christian Book Previews: "Douglas Bond knows how to portray people of all ages. He is a rising star in the historical fiction genre for both older and younger people. With a wide but understandable vocabulary, a talent for keeping the plot under control, a penchant for characterization, and a wonderful imagination, Bond presents a tale sure to engross any reader. As well as being a good read for the individual, Hostage Lands makes a fine read-aloud book."

To Start: Make a comment below on this book or any other by Douglas Bond. This enters you in the contest. Then follow, share, tag, and retweet! Be ready for June 19--HIKE HADRIAN begins!

Sample Tweets: Free books drawing! Follow author Douglas Bond  and Giles as they  Wall 84 miles across Roman UK; read Hostage Lands!

Sample Facebook post (tag your friends):  Free books drawing! Follow author Douglas Bond  and Giles on their 84 mile Roman route march of Hadrian's Wall across Britain; (re)read his Roman Britain historical fiction book Hostage Lands! Find out more at his blog  www.douglasbondbooks.blogspot.com and follow for lots of pictures and commentary on daily progress. Ask Giles (11) questions about his experience with his dad on this epic journey!


  1. Thrilled to see this, and incredibly jealous. I've been a fan of the Crown and Covenant series for years (they pretty much defined my touring of Edinburgh a while back), and I've recommended them to numbers of friends and just bought a copy of Duncan's War specifically to give away) but I had not realized until now that Douglas had a book set in Roman Britain--one of my favorite periods. I ordered 'Hostage Lands' ten minutes later, last night, and can't wait to read it! The Anglo-Saxon period is also of especial interest to me (I had the privilege of taking a class in the archaeology of the period at Oxford some years ago) and so I'd love to have a copy of 'Hand of Vengeance' as well!

    1. Thanks Calvin! We drive up from London with a stop in your old stomping grounds at Oxford and then Giles and I start the wall tomorrow afternoon evening. It will be a challenge but should be great fun--and the weather looks okay at the moment anyway. Hope you enjoy Hostage Lands!

  2. I think Hostage lands is my favorite single book that you have written. I love how you really showed the different sides of the people, showing the think from a Roman point of view and somewhat from that of the Celts!

    1. My eldest daughter Brittany says the same thing, though I'm afraid lots of my readers may have missed out on it. Follow our progress and pray for my knee and ankle (and feet)!

  3. Just had the chance to read and review Grace Works! Loved it and I am looking forward to reading more from you brother. Will be in prayer for you and yours!!

    1. Thanks, Josh. I shared your fine review on FB

  4. Our family has been enjoying your Mr. Pipes series. I especially appreciate how you weave the message of the Gospel all through your storyline! I also love being able to introduce my kids to our rich Christian heritage on their level. Looking forward to reading more of what you have written! Thank you!!

    1. Thank you Mrs Hankins! My goal in my writing is to write for an audience of One

  5. What a great trip. I have enjoyed the pictures.