Friend's Email: Subject:I have found a book that I think you would enjoy
The King of Ys Vol 1 "Roma Mater" & "Gallicenae"
The King of Ys Vol 1 Roma Mater Gallicenae Author:Poul & Karen Anderson This is an omnibus with two books in it. "Roma Mater" and "Gallicenae" — The King of Ys is a historical fantasy -- it is set in our world just before the fall of the Roman Empire and it mixes in the legend of the mythical city of Ys which was built below sea level on the coast of Brittany. Many of the characters in The King of Ys (Roman emperors... more », Christian saints, etc) are based on legendary and real historical figures and Poul and Karen Anderson include plenty of footnotes which explain the legend of Ys and the culture and religion of the 5th century.
In Roma Mater, we meet Gaius Valerius Gratillonius, a Roman centurion stationed at Hadrian's Wall. Because of his loyalty to would-be-emperor Magnus Clemens Maximus, the commander of the Roman troops in Britannia, Maximus assigns him to be Rome's prefect in Ys so that Gratillonius can keep it loyal while Maximus goes for the purple. Ys, though part of the Roman empire, has been left to itself for years because it's spooky. According to rumors, Ys is ruled by nine witches who, among other things, control the weather to keep Ys safe from enemies intending to invade by sea. These nine "witches" are the God-chosen wives of the King of Ys who is a nasty tyrant. His nine wives use their powers to ask the Gods to bring them a deliverer -- someone to challenge the king.
There are four books in the series and the second two are in Vol. 2 (also posted)