Monday, October 30, 2006

Boudica and the lost Roman

It took me a while, but I finally managed to get hold of Mike Ripley's Boudica and the lost Roman, 2005, Severn House. He seems to be quite a popular author, although mostly known for Crime Stories. But his Boudica book was out on loan every time I tried to get hold of it, so finally I put in a request.

It's a horrible, awful, realistic and rather good book. It's almost an antidote to some recent Boudica novels. Told in two first person characters and through a couple of letters, it follows the events of Boudica's Iceni uprising in AD 60. Olussa is a merchant who reluctantly gets recruited as a spy by the nasty Procurator Catus Decianus. Roscius is a soldier in Suetonius Paulinus' bodyguard. Olussa manages to get held by Boudica, who gets him to write her story, so is witness to the all sackings of the Roman towns. Needless to say, it all ends rather badly. There aren't many characters to really love in this book, and it amply shows the atrocities of war. There's plenty of period details and a few in-jokes to delight the reader.

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