Monday, February 25, 2013

Book Review - Roman: The fall of Britannia

Roman- The Fall of Britannia by K Ashman


Review by Jacqui Slaney

As is obvious from my latest reviews, I have read alot of stories about the Roman Army just recently. I have been lucky and all the books I have come across have been enjoyable with plenty of action and very good characters. They are all set in different time periods as well, so you are able to get a different view of the world in each series.

 In this book, Claudius is the Roman Emperor, to gain support in the Senate, he has decided on an invasion of a rebellious island at the edge of the empire-

Britannia. The last unconquered stronghold of the Celts and a land of gold and slaves. A dangerous place of men without fear, led by mystical Druid warriors, yet still to face the might of Rome in the unrelenting expansion of the Empire. Four Roman legions have assembled in Gaul undertaking final preparations for the invasion of Britannia and two young men are posted to a training cohort under the sadistic tutorage of battle-scarred veteran, Remus. The training is brutal but eventually the trainees find themselves involved in their first campaign, the invasion of Britannia. The legions invade in a frenzy of brutality and one of the defending Celtic warriors is forced to flee the battle to embark on a frantic rescue mission to the isle of Druids, where a young girl is due to be sacrificed. Meanwhile a cohort of legionaries under the command of Remus is tasked with finding the source of the Celtic gold. The Romans find themselves in strange and unfriendly environment and as they close in on their quarry, the fates of all four men become intertwined and a long held secret revealed, culminating in a savage climax that affects the very future of Britannia.

The story starts in the arena and follows a gladiator as after a series of events he ends up working for an ex soldier on an estate and takes as his own child a son of a slave.

The child Prydain grows and after being made a citizen of Rome joins the Roman Army along with the Cassus, the Roman son of the ex soldier. The reader follows them through their training and the prejudice that Prydain has to put up with from not being a true Roman.

The POV changes back and forth through the story and the reader also get to know the Britons themselves and their defence against the approaching invasion. It focuses on two young people Gwenno a daughter of a tribe leader and Gwydion a warrior.

I liked this change of perspective as it gives the story more depth and an idea of what exactly being on the end of an invasion by the Romans would be like. 

There is some quite brutal descriptions of battle, but obviously you cannot expect a lot else with this period of history. There is a twist in the tale that you can see coming, but it gives the story some intrigue.

There are numerous complaints you will see in other reviews about the grammar and spelling and that characters when they speak use modern phrasing.

This is all-true, but take it from me it does not distract from the story. Yes, maybe some of the history is not totally spot on, but if I wanted a completely accurate story about the invasion, I would pick up a history book. I found at the start the writing was a little stiff, but as the book goes on the plot flows better and the characters become to be more natural.

I would say, if you are looking for an interesting book, then try this one, It’s not that long and I think it is worth the effort.

8 out of 10