Review: Roman: Fall of Britannia, by KM Ashman

Brian G Turner

Fantasist & Futurist
Staff member
Nov 23, 2002

Prydain and Cassus are friends who sign up to the Roman legions. Gwydion is a Briton trying to become a respected warrior, in spite of the advances of chieftain's daughter, Gwenno. Their lives will become intertwined as Claudius launches the invasion of Britain...

The narrative jumps quickly between the characters, allowing for a fast pace, but at the expense of character development.

Though we're told that Prydain and Cassus grew up as friends, this is never evident - Cassus always treats Prydain with disdain for being a freedman rather than born a Roman citizen.

There is a good attention to historical detail in the setting itself, but the characters are very modern in their speech and sensibilities. Gwydion is a Celt with no respect for his own belief systems, and worries about nudity.

Even still, the story moves with a furious pace. The legionary training scenes, and the battles themselves, are powerful and carried off with great skill.

The plot is decent and everything wraps up nicely at the end, while allowing the series to continue.

It's not a bad story, and I never felt like putting the book down. But it was lacking in depth and attention to character that normally makes for great historical fiction.

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