Douglas Jackson is a Scottish novelist that hails from Jedburgh, Scottish Borders. His first novel was the critically acclaimed Caligula that was published in 2008. His luck at being born in a place so full of history of bloody warfare that it was believed ghosts from thousands of years before haunted it got him interested in history and historical fiction. He attended the Parkside Primary School before proceeding to Jedburgh Grammar School, where he quit a few days to his 16th birthday. With no O level certificate, he did not have any idea of what to do with his life, until a friend found him a placement with a Youth Opportunities Scheme. One of his very first assignments included the restoration of a Roman marching camp, which got him a nice taste of the history of the Cheviot Hills area. Having lived within a few miles of Hadrian’s Wall during his childhood, the experience reignited his interest in the history of the Roman Empire in Britain.
Douglas did not stay at the Youth Opportunities job for long as being a very good English reader and writer he soon got into reporting and journalism for a local paper. For the next three decades, he would work for several organizations that include BP, Shell, Kellogg’s, British Airways, and Life-Time of America among others. However his time working as a journalist and writer detracted from his preferred writing career, and it was not until 2005 that he got down to start writing his first novel. After a year of whistling and writing on the train, he finally had a completed novel that he called “The Emperor’s Elephant” that would later become “Caligula” and “Claudius”. He sold the novels to Transworld for a six figure amount and decided to pursue a full-time writing career after he was offered a deal to write three more novels. He lives with his wife and three children in Bridge of Allan, Trosachs. When he is not writing his historicals he loves to do some fly-fishing and watch some rugby.
Jackson has always been fascinated by History and combined with his love for reading; he knew he was destined to be a historical fiction writer more than anything. “Kidnapped”, by RL Stevenson was the first taste of historical fiction for the young Douglas Jackson. The fascinating characters and sweeping landscapes set in medieval Scotland left an indelible mark on the young author’s mind. However, it was the Flashman novels by George MacDonald Fraser that taught history while at the same time being entertaining, which forged the mind of Douglas. The idea to write a book first came to him while driving home from work one day. A big believer in the mantra of writing about what you know about, his love of history meant that he was best placed to write historical fiction. His first novel had something of a fortuitous beginning as it was borne of a radio program. He was listening to History of Britain by Simon Schama when Timothy West spoke of Emperor Claudius’s triumphant entry into Britain on an elephant. That was the light bulb moment when his first novel that was to become Claudius and Caligula “The Emperor’s Elephant” was born.
“Caligula”, published in 2008 was Jackson Douglas’s first novel. It tells the story of Rufus an animal trainer and slave that becomes the trainer and keeper of Bersheba, the Emperor’s elephant. Rufus and his fellow slave and friend Cupido the gladiator struggle to remain alive amidst the intricate web of plots and counter plots that are commonplace in the Caligulan court. The 2009 published Claudius continues with the story of Rufus as he now serves Claudius on his 43 AD invasion of the British Isles. Through Cupido and Rufus, Jackson takes the reader by the heart and the hand to show them the power soaked and gruesome world of two of the most bloodthirsty Roman emperors. The novels offer a deeper insight into the complex machinations and power and more importantly, what bloody balance of power and the depths people were prepared to sink to, to maintain power or simply stay alive.
“Caligula”, the first novel of the Rufus series is a historical epic combining historical detail and impeccable research in the Conn Iggulden tradition to make for the pace and power of a great thriller. As a young slave, Rufus has spent most of his life as a witness to the massive corruption of the imperial court of the emperor Caligula. Sexual scandal, assassination attempts, conspiracies, gladiatorial contests, huge building projects, and excess are the norm. When Rufus makes his name as one of the best animal trainers and great friend to Cupido, one of Rome’s greatest ever gladiators, he catches the eye of the emperor who buys him from his master, to make him the keeper of his royal elephant. He soon learns that life in the court is run by the ever-shifting moods of Caligula. These moods are as shifty as the sands ranging from megalomania and cruelty to generosity from a man who lives in constant fear of his enemies plotting against him, yet believes he is a living god. Nonetheless, his paranoia is not out of nothing as Cupido and Rufus soon find themselves embroiled in an intricate plot to assassinate the much-hated Caligula.
Claudius the second novel in the Rufus series follows the story of Rufus now working for the emperor Claudius. Set in 43 AD, its chief protagonist is Caractus, a Briton chief determined to keep the Roman Empire out of Britain. Knowing an epic battle is in the offing, he watches the Roman army in their scarlet cloaks spread in massive numbers across the land. Among the troops is a young slave known as Rufus, an unwilling participant in the invasion, charged with the feeding and keeping of the Emperor’s elephant. The emperor has a very special purpose for Rufus as the trainer of his elephant. The Britons have a great fear of the beast and if Rufus can train the animal well, it may well cow the Britons and win the war. In a visceral and gripping narrative of bloodshed, battle, conspiracy, courage, and ambition, Douglas Jackson makes his case for best historical fiction writer of the times.
Books in order of publication:
Gaius Valerius Verrens Books
|Hero of Rome||(2010)|
|Defender of Rome||(2011)|
|Avenger of Rome||(2012)|
|Sword of Rome||(2013)|
|Enemy of Rome||(2014)|
|Scourge of Rome||(2015)|
|Saviour of Rome||(2016)|
|Glory of Rome||(2017)|
|Hammer of Rome||(2018)|
Glen Savage Mystery Book