Author Interview: Jeff Hein / The Cimbri Appear



JMR-Welcome to the Books Delight, Jeff. Tell our readers where you live, what you do for fun and what does the perfect day look like?

JH- I live in Medford, Wisconsin. I grew up a couple hours north of here and after my service in the military I am so happy to be back home where we can enjoy all the beautiful seasons, the fishing and outdoor activities, and our wonderful neighbors and friends. I love to read and research but my best relaxing time is when I get a chance to go fishing or just boating on our pontoon with my wife, especially when we can get the kids and grandkids along. My perfect day is waking up just after dawn on a cool autumn morning, on the flowage where my wife and I go camping. The forest is waking up and the smell of woodsmoke drifts by as we prepare to cook breakfast on an open fire. Then a little trip on the pontoon for some fishing and a mid-day shore lunch, then sitting around the campfire after dinner, talking and watching the sunset while enjoying s’mores.  

JMR-What’s your favorite historical time period? Why?

JH- Iron Age Europe. I am fascinated by the cultures that existed throughout Europe prior to the influence of Rome. I think many people tend to assume that before the influence of what is normally referred to as civilization arrived, there was no culture, science, technology or sophisticated knowledge. Though detailed written histories of these cultures have not survived, there are many bits and pieces scattered about thanks to the ancient Greek and Roman historians. In recent centuries, archeologists have pieced together a pretty accurate picture of these cultures. These clues are what I have used to frame the story of “The Cimbri Appear”.

JMR-Who is your favorite historical figure? Why? If you could ask them one question, what would it be?

JH- Well of course that would have to be my main character Borr, who will grow into the Cimbri tribal king Boiorix. He was a real person who severely defeated Rome in several major engagements. But because we don’t know much about him except his name, most of what I wrote about him is fiction. So, I’m going to pick another important character in my book, Gaius Marius, the Roman general and consul who eventually defeated the Cimbri. Marius is a fascinating character who I believe has been under-represented in literature. He totally revamped the Roman Army to meet the changing threats facing Rome at the time and was proven correct when he wiped out the Germans that had ridden roughshod over Gaul for more than a decade and annihilated three Roman armies. His changes led to the legions being more loyal to their commanders than to the senate, and significantly contributed to the civil wars that followed, ripping Rome apart from the inside. Marius is often credited with laying the groundwork for the end of the republic and the beginning of the empire. His nephew, Julius Caesar, captures most of the attention in popular literature, but Marius deserves a significant place in history.

JMR- How did you come to be a writer of historical fiction?

JH- I have always loved to read about ancient history and devoured whatever books and films I could find. I was stationed in the Army in Germany in the 1990s and came across the story of the Cimbri. I was fascinated and sought more and more information about this compelling story of an entire nation that wandered throughout Europe for two decades, nearly bringing Rome to its knees on more than one occasion, yet always turning away. The reason they began their journey, what happened along their journey, and why they always chose to turn away when they had Rome against the ropes are answers that have never been answered completely and I have tried to use the actual historical facts to create a framework within which I created a fictional story that filled in the blanks. 

JMR- You spent a lot of time in the military and moved around the world. What influence did this have on your writing?

JH- My family is German by descent, and I had always had an interest in ancient German and European history. While I was stationed in Germany, I took the opportunity to travel a little bit and use local resources. That’s when I came across the Cimbri’s story. To the best of my recollection, I didn’t decide to write a book until many years later, but the seeds of the story were sowed during this time.  

JMR- Did you visit anyone of the places in your book? Where did you feel closest to your characters?

JH- I was able to visit Denmark, their ancestral home, and traveled throughout Germany, along the Elbe and the Rhine rivers and into the Alps and visited historical sights and battlefields. I was also deployed twice from Germany to Bosnia where I traveled along the Danube through Austria, Croatia, and Hungary, all locations in the story. I was able to walk on the same ground of many of the scenes in my book and cross the same formidable mountains and rivers that they would have had to cross on their journey, imagining what it would have been like to walk over these great obstacles and distances in a time before roads, bridges, and vehicles. At the time it was simply a preoccupation with a fascinating story. But when you walk the same ground that people of the past have tread, you begin to feel the ghosts. It brought the story into reality for me, and I began to develop the story in my mind.

JMR- Jeff, tell us about your new book, The Cimbri Appear.

JH-  It tells the story of the Cimbri, a Germanic tribe living in today’s Denmark. When a jealous god sends a final cataclysmic tidal wave that destroys their homeland they are faced with a momentous decision. 

The Cimbri nation embarks on an unprecedented migration that will take them on a twenty-year quest for a new homeland.

Borr, the son of the Cimbri chieftain Haistulf, grows from a sickly young man into a warrior and leader of renown, and during this time of peace he marries his childhood love and is blessed with a son.

When a devastating plague takes his parents and many of his tribe, Borr is thrust into the leadership of his clan, something he does not know if he is ready for. 

Guided by a mysterious prophecy and responding to a sign from Donar, the Germanic thunder god, the Cimbri select Borr as the chieftain of the entire Cimbri nation. Despite his reservations, Borr promises himself that he will never again let his people suffer. But their rampage in Noricum has attracted the attention of the Roman republic.

It’s available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and

JMR-What projects do you have in the pipeline?

JH- The Cimbri Appear is the first in a series of four or five novels. I am currently working on book two, Rise of the Red Wolf. At the end of the first book, the Cimbri hand the Romans a devastating defeat at the battle of Noreia. In book two, Rome is anticipating the Cimbri will attack, but they unexpectedly turn away from Italy and cross the Alps, rampaging throughout Gaul for four years until once again they come into conflict with a Roman army.

JMR- Tell our readers how to find you on social media and the web.


JMR- What question were you hoping I’d ask but didn’t?

JH- Several of my favorite authors: Bernard Cornwell: The Last Kingdom series; Conn Iggulden: the Genghis and Emperor series; Steven Pressfield: Gates of Fire; and Steven Saylor: Roma. Readers of these authors will enjoy The Cimbri Appear.

JMR- Thank you, Jeff for stopping by The Book’s Delight, it’s been lovely chatting with you and getting to know more about you and your writing. Readers, I know you’ll want to check out Jeff’s books, so I’ve included an Amazon link below


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