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Lucius comes of age in first century Rome during the age of Cicero and Pompey and is sent on his first assignment to Sicily. On his way he is attacked by Spartacus's rebels, captured by Mediterranean pirates, and involved in numerous other adventures. Eventually he ends up in Asia Minor, where he visits Eastern kingdoms and becomes involved in the war with Mithradates.

The book covers a complicated era in Rome's history, and illustrates many of the reasons for the decline of the Republic. The main action of this story belongs to a critical and interesting period in the last years of the Roman Republic. In 72 B. Many of the evils of these terrible times still remained.

Italy, in particular, abounded with ruined and desperate men. With these and with the fugitives who were always trying to escape from the cruelties of slavery, Spartacus, a gladiator, who in 73 led a revolt at Capua, recruited his army. In the following year this man was at the height of his power. In the same year the insurrection of Sertorius, who had defied the power of Rome in Spain many years, was brought to an end by his assassination.

In Asia Mithradates, king of Pontus, had been driven out of his dominion, and had sought shelter in the dominions of his son-in-law, Tigranes, king of Armenia. A boy tells them to stay silent and be still until his sister Kar , Keeper of the Gate, arrives. Nardole takes out a bag of un-popped popcorn, asking if anyone would like any; at least he's trying to integrate himself better than the Doctor.

The Doctor tells him to knock it off as he's against charm, being told to be silent again. The Doctor shushes everyone and asks if they just heard something; " that was the sound of my patience shattering into a billion little pieces. Kar, the girl who attacked Bill, walks in and claims credit; she apologizes to her brother for taking too long, as she was getting the Gatekeeper weapons.

The Doctor says its an impressive trick if she did kill the Ninth Legion but then wonders where the adults are. Kar says it was a great if costly battle but they beat the Romans. The Doctor laughs that a child beat them, asking if she threw her toys at them. Kar calls them Romans, telling them to be silent; the Doctor and Nardole state that they are not Romans. She tells them the "truth" about Romans; they'll steal from the rich and enslave the poor.

They make an empire out of slaughter and plundering, calling it peace. Taking this in, the Doctor adds a positive about Romans - they have indoor toilets. Noting that that killing Romans would be impossible for Kar, the Doctor remembers she's called a gatekeeper and she has gateway weapons. The question is what kind of gate is that and what's on the other side.

The Doctor grabs Nardole's popcorn bag and tosses into the fire, asking them to "jump out of their skins" so he and Nardole can escape in the confusion. Suddenly, the popcorn pops, scaring the Picts.

Lucius, Adventures of a Roman Boy

The Doctor and Nardole flee. Back at the cairn, Nardole asks if they're looking for Bill. The Doctor tells him that they are looking for maximum danger in the immediate area and walking into it. If she's there, they'll save her; if she's not, she's safe. Nardole rests outside the cairn, while the Doctor goes in and ponders about the gate Kar mentioned; very possibly there's an actual gateway in there. The Pics grab Nardole, telling him that the gate is opening and that the Doctor won't be back. The sun rises; the light enters the cairn and opens a hidden passage with a blue void.

The Doctor enters the portal and sees several hostile creatures floating in the void; one roars at him, startling the Doctor backwards, out of the gateway. Back in the normal world, the Doctor hears Nardole telling a story from outside of the cairn. He leaves to find Nardole in Pic garb, telling stories about his past travels to the assembled group. Seeing the Doctor, Nardole is surprised as the Picts told him that he'd never come back; for him, it's been two days, while for the Doctor, it's been seconds. The Doctor realizes time goes slower in the void.

He asks Nardole if he found Bill; they looked but got no result. The Doctor is still hopeful, telling Nardole that she just wasn't where they looked. In the cave, Bill is awoken by a Roman named Lucius. He tells her to move into a beam of sunlight coming from a hole in the cave to burn the black slime off.

Fantasy & Adventure Novels | Author William B. Chalfant

He gives her some food to regain her strength. Bill says she has to leave, despite protests that the beast is still out there. While searching for Bill with Nardole, the Doctor runs into Kar, who is surprised to see him back from the cairn. He asks if she knew what was in the gate; its a portal between dimensions. Seeing she has no clue, the Doctor dismisses her as nothing more than bluster. Kar reveals its called the eater of light and that each generation a warrior would hold it off. However, it got out and killed the Ninth Legion. Kar says it will die soon because it's weak.

The Doctor tells her that other Eaters will come out of the gateway and there's no way she can hold them back, sarcastically asking if she's holding her weapon the right-way-up.

Kar refuses the Doctor's help, as a scream rings through the air. In the cave, Bill notices Lucius fancies her. She tells him that she's only interested in girls; he compares her to his comrade Vitus, who only likes men. Vitus scoffs he likes men better-looking than Lucius. Lucius accepts Bill for knowing what she likes; Bill then asks about Lucius. Lucius states that for the rest of them, bisexuality is normal for Romans.

Bill laughs at how modern Romans were about sexuality. Lucius offers to be a friend instead, which Bill accepts. They are startled by the creature, which has found their air hole. Outside, a new corpse is found, this time it's a Pict girl.

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The Doctor states that the creature is feeding off the sunlight, hence why it keeps getting darker; there's very little time left to stop it. Kar blames herself; the Doctor realizes the beast was released as a desperate effort to kill the Romans. Kar thought it could be fatally wounded as it slaughtered the Ninth. However, all this did was anger the beast; the Doctor tells Kar that she just doomed the world to protect her home. Back in the cave, Bill has told them of the Doctor and how he can help. However, they are sceptical as a beast of darkness and barbarians await them.

She tells them that being scared doesn't make them cowards; it makes them human. Bill tells them that being scared isn't a plan; she can at least promise them that they won't die in the cave. Lucius rallies his men to follow Bill's plan to seek the Doctor for help against the beast. Seeing the other Romans calling Lucius granddad, she questions why; it's because he's the oldest at Bill silently laughs about this to herself.

Back to the Doctor, he's devised a plan. They need to drive the eater of light back into the portal. However, he is confused by why sunlight opens it. Its because the ancestors who originally built the cairn couldn't properly shut the portal; so they sent a warrior in once a generation to keep the beast from getting out. Nardole compares it to venting an oil gush. Seeing Kar sulk, the Doctor tells her to save mourning the dead for old age; the more time she spends wallowing in that thought, the more people are going to die. He inquires about the mirrors on sticks Kar has, learning it poisons light the beat eats.

The Doctor tells them they need to lure the best to the gate before sunrise when it's weak. Back to Bill, she and the Romans move through a passage in the cave; they spent the last few days exploring to find ways to sneak past the beast. They come across a ladder, which Lucius says leads up to the village of the barbarians; voices and light come from above a trapdoor. Lucius asks Bill if she's sure the Doctor is with the barbarians; "basically, he always ends up being boss of the locals," Bill states.

Cornelius attempts a walking to the ladder but is eaten by the beast. Bill and the others rush up the ladder as the Eater is preoccupied. They pop through into the room the Doctor and Nardole are in; Bill helps block the trapdoor. After greeting the Doctor, Bill smugly says she brought him the Ninth Legion. She then notices Nardole in a 2nd Century robe and face paint, asking what happened; Nardole states that he's blending in, mimicking a Scottish accent.

The Romans take a defensive formation against the Picts, who want revenge. The Doctor and Bill tell them that they don't have time for this.

An Ancient Empire In Today's World

Kar tells Lucius that her people lived in peace until the Romans came, laying waste to everything and everyone they loved. The Doctor tells her the Romans are able to understand her but are confused as to why. Bill says it's because of the Doctor's presence; it allows anyone near him to hear their native language from other people. Both the Roman and Picts realize that their respective enemies are just children. Bill realizes that the Doctor can understand everyone in the universe and they all sound like children to him; the Doctor says there are exceptions.

Nardole thanks him, to which the Doctor says he was talking about Bill. Both groups agree to work together. The plan is to lure the Eater with music to the cairn, where they will force it back into the portal. At the cairn, the Doctor sets up the trap, explaining to Bill that a Pict fighting one off for a few minutes buys years of peace and then they get replaced; however, human lives get used up too quickly, leaving the possibility of eventual failure.

He tells Bill he has a better idea, which she says is the part he never tells her; the Doctor says its usually because he gets interrupted. Bagpipe music plays, annoying Nardole, who finds it worse than jazz. Outside, the beast arrives and runs inside; using the mirrors, light from torches is turned poisonous to the beast, weakening it.

The Romans and Picts stab the best to keep it still until sunrise. The portal opens and the beast is forced inside. The Doctor revealed he plans to fight the beasts for eternity as his ability to regenerate and slow ageing would allow him to indefinitely keep the universe safe. However, he is knocked down by Nardole, who whacks him on the head with one of the mirrors. Kar states that she is the gatekeeper and that it's her responsibility. The Doctor states she'll be a hero for a minute and then the world is doomed.

However, Lucius states that the Ninth Legion will fight as well. His men follow Kar and the bagpipe player into the portal. Lucius gives Bill a smile as he follows as well. Suddenly, the cairn begins shaking. The Doctor says too many people going through the portal destabilized it. Everyone runs out as the cairn as it collapses in on itself; the portal shut forever. Kar's brother tells a crow to spread her name it flies off, cawing. Nardole laughs that the Doctor was wrong; crows in the future aren't in a huff, they're remembering Kar.

The Doctor admits he was wrong about the Ninth Legion.

Classical Studies: Historical Fiction

But Bill says they were both wrong. They weren't missing or killed; they always were here. The last thing they need is Missy getting any ideas if they're gone too long. He then becomes shocked to see Missy casually reading a book in the Doctor's recliner.

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Missy tells the group that she was starting to worry about them since its been days. Seeing how shocked Bill and Nardole are to see her, Missy asks the Doctor if she should have remained below deck; however, the Doctor tells her it's fine. Missy reveals she's been watching their adventure on the monitors. Recapping the end, she asks if it's up to the Doctor's bleeding heart standards. The Doctor says there's always music. Missy asks Bill and Nardole for help hiding his guitar.

He tells Missy that she might understand the universe, but she can't hear its music; however, he's got plenty of time to teach her. She finds herself crying and turns to find the Doctor. Missy is confused as she doesn't understand why she's crying. The Doctor suggests that she's trying to impress him; Missy agrees that it must be part of some kind of scheme.

However, the Doctor adds the other option is much worse; Missy is feeling sorrow for the people who gave their lives, meaning its time for them to rebuild their friendship. Missy is happy to hear it, but the Doctor remains unsure if they're at the right stage of her rehabilitation. Sign In Don't have an account?

Start a Wiki. Contents [ show ]. If you'd like to talk about narrative problems with this story — like plot holes and things that seem to contradict other stories — please go to this episode's discontinuity discussion. The Five Doctors. The Twin Dilemma. Doctor Who. Children in Need Special Born Again. The Christmas Invasion. The Runaway Bride. The Infinite Quest. Time Crash. Voyage of the Damned.

Music of the Spheres. A Christmas Carol. Death Is the Only Answer. The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe. The Great Detective. The Snowmen. Last Christmas. The Doctor's Meditation.