Review: The Eagle and the Raven by Pauline Gedge

Brian G Turner

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#1


The Eagle and the Raven by Pauline Gedge is a fantastic story about Iron-Age Britain just before, during, and after the Roman invasion under Claudius.

It mainly follows the fortunes - and misfortunes - of Caradoc (aka, Caractacus) who grows from being a wild youth happy to raid his neighbours, to being weighed down with the responsibility of leading an uprising against Roman occupation. We also follow Boudicca and other figures as the story develops.

It's a little slow to get started, but in the end it's a brilliantly-written and researched historical novel about the period, and really gives a great perspective of Roman occupation.

From an historical perspective, it is romanticised - the only legend missing from the story is that Caradoc's son, Lyn, become a Pope in Rome. However, Gedge does a great job of entwining many threads of myth together into a coherent story that conveys every sense of containing some truth.

The big flaw is that this book almost certainly influenced Braveheart, with its woaded warrior-chiefs rallying to the cry of "Freedom" - yet Gedge, for all her focus on this, misses the hypocrisy that these are the same people happy to keep slaves themselves.

Still, a great read and definitely one of the classics of Roman Historical Fiction.

Btw, the ebook is only £2.48 on Amazon UK - highly recommended over the much more expensive paperback.
 

Al Jackson

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#2
Britain and the Roman Empire ….... does anyone every write historical fiction about the Roman Empire and Gaul or the Roman Empire and Spain??
I guess the Roman Empire and North Africa but Rome was all over the map between 100 and 300 CE.
 

svalbard

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#3
There are plenty of HF books set in Gaul and other parts of the Roman Empire. Check out Ben Kane's books.
 

Al Jackson

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#4
There are plenty of HF books set in Gaul and other parts of the Roman Empire. Check out Ben Kane's books.
Ok! I had not heard of those.
I notice most are early empire and republic. I know of no one who sets the action in the time of Hadrian and Trajan, besides that one book by Steven Saylor.
 

svalbard

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#5
Deposed

Try this one. Read it during the Summer and loved it.

Also Harry Sidebottom's Warrior of Rome series is good, although I have only read the first two books.
 

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