This story deals with the invasion of Britain by the Roman legionaries. Beric, who is a boy-chief of a British tribe, takes a prominent part in the insurrection under Boadicea; and after the defeat of that heroic queen (in A. D. 62) he continues the struggle in the fen-country. Ultimately Beric is defeated and carried captive to Rome, where he is trained in the exercise of arms in a school of gladiators. Such is the skill which he there acquires that he succeeds in saving a Christian maid by slaying a lion in the arena, and is rewarded by being made librarian in the palace, and the personal protector of Nero. Finally he escapes from this irksome service, organizes a band of outlaws in Calabria, defies the power of Rome, and at length returns to Britain, where he becomes a wise ruler of his own people.
Like the other Henty stories, this tale centers around a young man growing into adulthood, while the world around him reels with change. Young Beric is the son of a tribal chieftess in early Briton, and finds himself thrust into leading his own people against the Roman invaders. During the course of his adventures, he meets some followers of the "new" religion—Christianity—and struggles with the differences from his own pagan religion. Any study of early Christianity, Rome, or Britain would be enhanced greatly by this fine novel.
Included in this edition are twelve illustrations by W. Parkinson.