Today I bring you a historical novel that’s set in the 5th century, in the chaotic times after the Roman Empire has fallen. I discovered this book because of the blog tour, thanks to Rachel’s Random Resources. Let’s drink a hot coffee (or tea, if that suits your taste better), and read everything there is to know about the book, including my review! 😉
About the Book
Britain 455AD. The Roman Empire has fallen. As the daughter of a king and a priestess of the sacred grove, Anya’s life in Germania is one of wealth and privilege – until she dares to speak out against the high priest’s barbaric human sacrifices. Her punishment is exile. Forced to leave her homeland, she sails to Britannia, to an island that is sliding into chaos and war, as rival kingdoms vie for power. Alone and far from home, Anya must learn to survive amidst the bloodshed, treachery and intrigue of fifth century Britain. Can she find a place to belong – a home, a hearth, a welcome?
About the Author
Penny’s father, a journalist, instilled her with a love of history from an early age. Family holidays invariably included an invigorating walk up an Iron Age hill-fort whilst listening to his stirring stories of the Roman attack and the valiant defence by the Britons. Consequently, Penny has a degree in Classics and a passion for history and archaeology. She has enjoyed a varied career, including BBC production assistant, theatre PR and journalism, but her ambition was always to write historical fiction. Her first novel, The King’s Daughter, was awarded Editor’s Choice by the Historical Novel Society. Penny has worked on many archaeological excavations, and these ‘digs’ and their evocative finds often provide the inspiration for her books. Penny’s research also takes her to the many spectacular historical sites featured in this novel, including Hadrian’s Wall and Tintagel.”
As I said before, I found out about this book thanks to the blog tour by Rachel, and it’s been a while since I read a historical fiction set around this time, so I wanted to take part in the tour. The blurb got me in the mood for reading about this period!
I’m so glad I read this book! I couldn’t put it down. (
Okay, I had to at some points, but it was really hard…) The story was engaging, and there were way more plot twists than I expected! There was intrigue, adventure, war and peace, character drama… everything. At first I thought it would be way more predictable than it actually turned out to be, than I was stunned by the first real big plot twist.
The chaotic post-Roman world is very well pictured, the uncertain atmosphere (full of bad anticipations but also a tiny flicker of hope) lingers above the pages throughout the whole novel. Unfortunately sometimes a bit more modern words/expressions were used that momentarily made me feel a bit of disbelief, but they were rare, and in general I can say that I was fully sucked in the ancient world of the story.
One of my favorite things about this book was the characters! There are many, some from all the different places Anya (the main character) visits, and some of them don’t have very much time for showing us themselves, but even in spite if that, the reader gets an idea about their motives and thinking, why and how they have become the people they are. They are interesting and have depth. The relationships between them progress slowly, gradually, at a natural pace, which is something I very much appreciate. Especially because I feel like it’s rarer and rarer in books. Or movies. It’s like a fast speeding world requires fast-paced stories, and to an extent I get this phenomenon, but relationships are not like that. They’re not believable that way. If you agree with me on this, keep calm: this book is nothing like that! It’s very eventful, but the pacing is natural!
My only tiny problem with the story is the ending: it’s okay, if we accept that there’s a sequel and the story will continue, and I’m sure together these books give a nice, round story, but nothing is closed at the end. Nobody’s story is finished, we don’t know what is going to happen. I don’t mention it as a huge problem, because it’s not a real cliffhanger – it’s not like ‘OMG, what the hell he/she said to that?’ or ‘OMG I have to know if he/she lived or died after that unexpected terrible thing happened’. It’s nothing like that. It’s way more peaceful, and the story doesn’t end in the middle of some important event. It’s simply clear that if you want to have a satisfying ending, you have to read forward.
And yeah, it achieved that goal: I want to read the next book so much!
Let’s Give It A Grade!
- Story: 5/5
- Characters: 5/5
- Style: 4/5
- The Subjective Factor: 5/5
- GPA: 4.75
I can’t say this book is incomparable to those others in the genre, but it is a strong representative that’s worth reading.
If you like historical fiction that has many things in it, without either being more important than the other: there’s battle, there’re historical curiosities, there’s an emotional side to it and there’s love – but it’s not like the simple story of a war, and it’s not really a romance novel, either. It’s…balanced.
Any lyrical instrumental soundtrack would do.
As I said above, the story is not completely finished in this book. So, yes, I want to read the sequel! Actually, I’m even thinking of getting to it before I read anything else… while my soul is still left in this story.
Please, visit the other stops of this blog tour! 😉