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Homegrown Books: Rivers Ran Red

Updated: Oct 26, 2022

Bronwyn Calder recommends Rivers Ran Red by J.A. Grierson - Cloud Ink Press, 2019

J.A. Grierson read Politics, Philosophy and Economics at the University of Oxford, England and completed a Master of Creative Writing at AUT. She is a published author of non-fiction.

Rivers Ran Red is her debut novel.


An epic of the ancient world highlighting a part of history that doesn't figure largely in the modern imagination. The death throes of the Roman Empire.

The story of Avitus, one of the last Emperors of Rome, and his tangled path to getting there. Along the way we have vivid depictions of late Roman life and bloody battles against the invading army of Attila the Hun. The major set piece is the Battle of the Catalaunian Plains, fought somewhere near the Seine in what is now modern France (the exact location is uncertain) in 451. After this battle in which it is reported 165,000 men died, the ancients wrote "the rivers ran red".

Avitus is a noble man, but in the end we are left the sadness of the end of an era as Europe stands on the brink of a new age and the tragedy of a good man thrust into a treacherous world.

Rivers Ran Red is available in paperback from your local bookshop, the Cloud Ink online shop or as an ebook on Amazon.

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