Reviewed by: BigAl
Genre: Historical Fiction
Approximate word count: 90-95,000 words
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Keith Nixon is the author of The Fix and The Konstantin Novellas series, both crime fiction. In addition to writing and his day job, Keith reviews for Crime Fiction Lover as well as being one of Books and Pals most prolific reviewers.
“One man stands against the might of the Roman Empire. His name is Caradoc.
In Rome a new Emperor, Claudius, accedes the throne. But he is politically weak, enemies who would take his place circle and plot. If he is to survive Claudius needs a triumph, one that marks him as a leader of men.
Claudius’s eye turns to the mysterious isle of Britannia, home of the supernatural Druids and brutal, wild-eyed warriors, reputed to fight naked. The place not even Julius Caesar could conquer.”
When I read historical fiction I find much of what I get out of it is a greater sense of the true history through the viewpoints of the characters. It becomes more real when experienced through the eyes of someone who was there than it could ever be from reading text books and whatever part of the history teacher’s drone penetrated my thick skull and stuck through the decades since.
I quickly realized that my knowledge of British history from the time this story takes place (first century AD) was a blank slate. Maybe we never covered that in history class except as it related to the rise and fall of the Roman Empire (definitely covered), or possibly I’d purged it to make room in my limited memory for more music trivia. This gave me a chance to learn, or at least refresh, that gap.
At the time the area that is now Britain was controlled by numerous tribes, not the unified country it is today. Cooperation between tribes was critical if they were to resist the invading Romans who were looking to expand their empire. It’s a compelling story with political infighting, war strategy, and family dynamics, all playing a part in the tale. I want to use the cliché “age old story,” because what stood out for me is how human nature hasn’t evolved, with self-interest driving all decisions, people playing both sides of a conflict, and the struggle for power played out in much the same way as it would today.
Uses UK English spelling conventions.
A small number of copyediting and proofing misses.
Rating: ***** Five stars