‘MOSAIC -The Pavement That Walked’

1941: the height of the Luftwaffe’s ‘Blitz’on Kingston-upon-Hull and the biggest mystery in Romano-British archaeology starts when mosaic floors from a Roman villa are found in stone quarries near Brough-on-Humber. When archaeologists return to Brantingham quarry in 1948, intending to recover them both, the first and largest one (nearly 5 metres square) disappears overnight. Who took it no-one knows, but even today the locals still blame the U.S.Air Force.....

In the devastated streets of a blitzed city ex-combat flyer Michael Tryton (now Detective Inspector in the Hull City Murder Squad) is soon on the case of that American archaeologist, Zuleika Macsen he first meets near the scene - but another love lies deeper, haunting his every step.

Interleaved with Tryton’s enquiry is Flavius Candidus: military pensioner and expendable civil servant. Arriving in AD 337 at Petuaria Civitas Parisorum (Brough) on a covert mission to check out local loyalties, his plans soon change on meeting the ‘Tyche’- spiritual emblem of the tribe and the wife of powerful villa-owner, Marcus Januarius.

Each man driven by duty, their careful investigations are derailed by fascinating women and recurring events as two strong-minded servants of declining Empire confront powerful vested interest in a climax all their undoing:   “Even as Candidus spoke, he knew what hypocrites they both were. They rode not to save an ala or an empire but in a three-cornered fight over the one woman.”  

‘MOSAIC’- Clive Ashman
(Author’s photographs of wallpainting and a mosaic from Brantingham villa by kind permission Hull&E.Riding Museums)