The Light Bearer is a richly embroidered tale of war, vengeance and spiritual transcendence set in ancient Rome and northern Europe in the first century AD. Encompassing a sweep of events that spans the reigns of two tyrants, Nero and Domitian, it's the story of Auriane, a Germanic tribeswoman who faces the brutal encroachments of imperial Rome; she takes the oath of a warrior, becoming a "shield maiden" to avoid becoming a pawn of Roman diplomacy. When the Emperor Domitian crosses the Rhine with four legions, the north's hope resides in a woman…
The Light Bearer is also the tale of a philosophically inclined senator, Marcus Julianus; through wit, daring and brilliant maneuvering, he struggles to check the murderous whims of the increasingly corrupt Emperor Domitian. When Julianus realizes his efforts are doomed, he orchestrates a complex plot to assassinate the Emperor.
The Light Bearer is the product of twelve years of research into the history, culture and mythology of classical Rome and the proto-Germanic tribes. It received a "starred" review in Publishers Weekly and was submitted by Berkley/Putnam for the Granta Award.
"…a stirring scenario…Gillespie keeps the reader engaged. The Light Bearer taps into one of the most popular themes in historical fiction today, the unsung woman who takes a hand in the shaping of history." — The San Francisco Chronicle