“Count of the Saxon Shore” was a title bestowed by Maximian (colleague of Diocletian in the Empire from 286 to 305 A.D.) on the officer whose task it was to protect the coasts of Britain and Gaul from the attacks of the Saxon pirates. It appears to have existed down to the abandonment of Britain by the Romans.
So little is known from history about the last years of the Roman occupation that the writer of fiction has almost a free hand. In this story a novel, but, it is hoped, not an improbable, view is taken of an important event—the withdrawal of the legions. This is commonly assigned to the year 410, when the Emperor Honorius formally withdrew the Imperial protection from Britain. But the usurper Constantine had actually removed the British army two years before; and, as he was busied with the conquest of Gaul and Spain for a considerable time after, it is not likely that they were ever sent back.