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Wallace Breem

From Academic Kids

Wallace Breem (19261990) was a British librarian and author, the Librarian and Keeper of Manuscripts of the Inner Temple Law Library at his death, but perhaps more widely known for his historical novels, including the classic Eagle in the Snow (1970).

At the age of 18, Breem entered the Indian Army’s Officers Training School, and in 1945 was commissioned as an officer of the Corps of Guides, an elite Cavalry detachment of the North West Frontier Force. After Partition in 1947, Breem returned to England and held a variety of jobs which included labourer in a tannery, assistant to a veterinary surgeon, and rent-collector in the East End of London. He eventually joined the library staff of the Inner Temple in London, in 1950.

Breem was a founder member of the British and Irish Association of Law Librarians (BIALL (http://www.biall.org.uk)), and at various times held the offices of Secretary, Treasurer, Chairman, Vice-President, and President in that organization.

In 1990, BIALL inaugurated the Wallace Breem award in his memory.

Non-fiction

A Sketch of the Inner Temple Library (http://www.innertemplelibrary.org.uk/library-history/library-history.htm)

Bibliography of Commonwealth Law Reports (with Sally Phillips, Mansell 1991)

Breem made many notable contributions to works of scholarship, including the Manual of Law Librarianship, the New Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature, and various papers, reports, articles, and Standards.

Novels

Eagle in the Snow (Gollancz 1970, Sphere 1971), republished 2002, 2003, 2004.

This classic has been described as the most powerful work of English historical fiction. It is set on Hadrian’s Wall and around Mainz (Moguntiacum), and dramatizes the events leading up to the Germanic crossing of the frozen Rhine at the end of 406CE. The main character, Maximus, together with Quintus and many other details from the book, inspired the opening sequence of the film Gladiator, which won five Academy Awards in 2001.

The Legate’s Daughter (Arrow Books 1975), republished 2004.

A political intrigue, set in Rome and North Africa in 24/23BCE.

The Leopard and the Cliff (St. Martin's Press 1978).

A military adventure, set in India in 1919.

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