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40 of 45 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Brutality of Being Abandoned
This is a very interesting historical review about the transition after the Roman empire abandoned the Albion, i.e. the main island of Britain. The upper-tier natives emulated their Roman masters. Little did they know they were to be abandoned to their own devices. They savored their remnants of dignity, but still they had to do what was necessary to survive: to...
Published 23 months ago by Zeyd Ali Merenkov MD

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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Feeble « rich kids » and « losers »
I have not appreciated this book as much as I should have and I was somewhat disappointed with it, like a number of other reviewers on the US and the UK site. Potential readers should be aware that it is NOT a "bad" book. Bits of it are remarkable. This is particularly true for the parts describing the decay of Romano-Briton urban life and the collapse of Roman law and...
Published 21 months ago by JPS


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40 of 45 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Brutality of Being Abandoned, February 21, 2013
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This is a very interesting historical review about the transition after the Roman empire abandoned the Albion, i.e. the main island of Britain. The upper-tier natives emulated their Roman masters. Little did they know they were to be abandoned to their own devices. They savored their remnants of dignity, but still they had to do what was necessary to survive: to abandon their comfortable, Roman-designed lives, and relearn how to live off the land without their previous comforts. What is it like to watch the foundations of your life, the essence of your comfort crumble before you?...the scramble to survive to come to grips with a much reduced quality of life, the agony of reverting to a simpler, more rustic lifestyle?

I recommend the story for its sobering atmosphere: how would we survive if we were retched out of our comfortable, secure existence into a very brutal, chaotic, cruel world?
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Feeble « rich kids » and « losers », April 21, 2013
This review is from: After Rome: A Novel of Celtic Britain (Hardcover)
I have not appreciated this book as much as I should have and I was somewhat disappointed with it, like a number of other reviewers on the US and the UK site. Potential readers should be aware that it is NOT a "bad" book. Bits of it are remarkable. This is particularly true for the parts describing the decay of Romano-Briton urban life and the collapse of Roman law and order shortly after the last Roman troops and the Imperial administration was pulled out of Britain. Also good are the descriptions showing the inability of the Romano-Briton former elites in coping with the new situation and adjusting to the disappearance of their world. Finally, the presentation of the economic collapse, as most long distance trading disappeared and the economy essentially became localized and small-scale is also rather convincing and well-rendered. It was easy for me to believe that it may indeed have happened as described - whether it really did is a different matter entirely and we will probably never know for sure anyway.

There were however several features which either did not suit me or which I simply did not like. Most of them have to do with personal preferences.

One feature, perhaps the least important for me, has already been alluded to by several reviewers. Unlike what has become fashionable in historical novels, there is comparatively little "gore, sex and violence". While there is some action, the book is relatively slow paced. It keeps jumping from one of the main characters to the other while mixing up the present and the past through their memories, with the later explaining the former. While certainly interesting, it lacked suspense, did not grip the reader and did not really engage me. At times, I felt rather detached from the story and I did not really get to care or empathize for any of the characters. There are nevertheless some scenes which I found particularly interesting, largely because they "felt" real. The best of these is probably the attack by a Saxon war band of the town of Viroconium.

The author's characterization was probably one of my main problems with this book. The two "heroes", if they can be called that (because there are not really that) are two "rich and pampered kids" who happen to be cousins and are, respectively, the son of the top magistrate of Viroconium and the son of his brother, the most powerful landlord of the region who seems to have made his fortune breeding warhorses for the Roman army. I could not gather much sympathy for either of the cousins. One is an utterly selfish and impractical dreamer while the other is practical but lacks self-confidence. He seems to spend a fair amount of the book feeling sorry for himself, before he finds his way, at last. In both cases, they are really "losers" rather than "heroes" or natural leaders, largely because of their inability to cope.

Another problem is the author's "Celtic biases" and historical anachronisms, when they are not mistakes. For instance, Constantine's Edict of Milan in 313 did NOT promote Christianity as the Empire's state religion, contrary to what the author claims (twice). It promoted tolerance towards all religions, Christianity included. Also, there was no such thing as a "Briton national conscience", and certainly not among the very Romanized elites, contrary to what the author asserts. Even the reversion of Britons to tribal identities is rather questionable, to the extent that one can wonder how much of these identities were left after three and half centuries of Roman assimilation.

Because of these mixed feelings, I could only give three stars to "After Rome".
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great characters, March 5, 2013
This review is from: After Rome: A Novel of Celtic Britain (Hardcover)
I enjoyed this book so much I couldn't put it down. The characters are brought to life and I loved all of them, especially Meredoc. There is a sweet, loving simplicity to him that makes him a joy to get to know. The author does a nice job in describing the so-called Dark Ages, and being a lover of England's history I was able to both reinforce what I knew and learn some new things. A highly recommended read!
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very Disappointing..., March 21, 2013
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This review is from: After Rome: A Novel of Celtic Britain (Hardcover)
I am sorry to say that without any hesitancy whatsoever this was the most boring and hard to read Llywelyn book ever. Arguably I thought "Horse Goddess" and "Grania" were rather lame as well, however I make a point of re-reading "Lion of Ireland," "Bard," and "Druids" for example at minimum once every couple of years. Llywelyn is a great historical fiction writer. When I noted that she was releasing "After Rome," following a long hiatus from writing I was thrilled. I preordered the book even, months before it's scheduled release.
I managed a little over half way and was so bored with the lifeless characters and a story which just seemed to go nowhere (slowly)that I shelved the thing in the family library and went into my den to retrieve "Lion of..." which I am happily consuming yet again.
Now admittedly every author has a dry spell (I speak from experience) and/or a couple of yarns which just don't quite emerge as visualized. Okay. But for crying out loud don't put them out there. I even wrote Ms. Llywelyn imploring her to remove this book from the shelves, call it a rough draft "oops" and go back to work on it.
If this comes across as a harsh review then I will conclude by suggesting simply read "Bard" then struggle your way through this. This book is beneath the Lady's obvious talents as a writer. That's all...
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Richiedog, April 30, 2013
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This review is from: After Rome: A Novel of Celtic Britain (Hardcover)
Historical fiction at it's best. The Romans have left and now UK can grow and become England, of course, there's the Danes, Norse, and Celts that want a piece for themselves. All in all, a great read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars New Author for me Loved IT, March 25, 2013
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I was very refreshing to find a new author in this area of history.What was even better is that I found she was born and 1938 and has many books out. I will read every one. This was a good interesting look at what it might have been like post Roman era in England.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not up to snuff for Morgan Llywelyn, April 13, 2013
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I was very disappointed with this book. I'm a huge Morgan Llywelyn fan (Druids, Lion of Ireland, Finn MacCool, etc). This story never got off the ground and never really went anywhere. I kept waiting for it to take off and it never did. Had it been any other author I would not have finished it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Meanwhile Back to the Celts, October 28, 2013
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This review is from: After Rome: A Novel of Celtic Britain (Hardcover)
One of the most exciting times in Britain (other than the era of Cadfael or Richard III)made almost dull by sluggish writing. There is a good plot lurking, but its been done by Rosemary Sutcliffe and Mary Stewart.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Rather sad ending to a once glorious career, March 26, 2013
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This review is from: After Rome: A Novel of Celtic Britain (Hardcover)
After Rome: A Novel of Celtic Britain - I agree that this is not up to the very high standards of most of Ms. Llywelyn's novels , but to the reader who said it was her worst effort I have to say that you must not have read her 3 dreadful fantasy collaborations with the stunningly awful and perpetually juvenile Michael Scott ( who , in my opinion , used her and her name in a failed attempt to cash in on the American market ). Her unbearably long and tedious quintet called " The Irish Century " was ruined by her refusal to deal head on with the real life ( and very interesting ) characters of the saga . I believe that this was because having become the darling doyenne of the Dublin Literary and social crowd she was afraid of offending descendants - relatives of the real heroes of the story . Read her boring "1916" and then read Peter de Rosa's rousing " Rebels " which tells the same story . A great opportunity was lost there . I have been a rabid fan of Ms. Llywelyn's novels from the start ; I have 1st edition hardcovers of all of them . But I have to admit that I have been , to put it mildly , disappointed with everything she's written since " Pride of Lions " about 15 years ago . Pity .
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars What a terrible book!, April 8, 2013
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Marjorie (Lafayette, US, Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: After Rome: A Novel of Celtic Britain (Hardcover)
There's a novel lurking in these pages SOMEWHERE, but Morgan Llywellyn hasn't found it.

The subject matter is the plight of the Romanized Britons, left to their own devices after the Roman rule has collapsed and the Roman legions and other imperial institutions have left the island. Faced with barbarian invasion and anarchy, they attempt to re-create some semblance of order. Llywellyn imagines two cousins, both members of the Romanized British elite, who take different paths to do this. One cousin, Dinas, gathers a collection of freebooters and attempts to establish his own little "kingdom" based on rapine and piracy. The other cousin, Cadogan, after his city is devastated by Saxon raiders, leads his fellow citizens into the forests, to farm and build a new town.

This could all be quite fascinating, if there were any semblance of plot or characterization, but the story goes nowhere & the characters are wooden. I slogged through to the end to see if it would get better but no such luck.

I understand this author has quite a good reputation based on her earlier books, but I didn't see anything worthwhile in this one.
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After Rome: A Novel of Celtic Britain
After Rome: A Novel of Celtic Britain by Morgan Llywelyn (Hardcover - February 19, 2013)
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