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Farewell Britannia: A Family Saga of Roman Britain [Kindle Edition]

Simon Young
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Brilliant young historian Simon Young has invented a multi-generational family, part Roman, part Celtic (invaders intermarrying with natives) to tell the dramatic story of 400 years of Roman rule in Britain. Vivid historical detail is balanced by a real feel for the psychological depth of the individual stories.
The narrator is writing this 'family history' in 430 AD, realising the Romans will never return. He chooses 14 of the most interesting, but not always the most admirable, of his ancestors. The big events of Roman Britain are all here: scouting for Caesar's expedition in 55 BC; the Roman invasion in 43 AD; Boudicca's revolt and the massacre of 70,000 Romans; the Pict attacks on Hadrian's Wall; the great Barbarian Conspiracy of 367; and the sudden cataclysmic departure of the legions in 410.
But there are plenty of non-military episodes: spying on the Druids; a centurion dreaming of retirement with a young slave he has bought; an ambitious wife on the northern frontier; a bad poet in Londinium; infanticide in Surrey; a young Christian girl facing martyrdom in a British amphitheatre.

Editorial Reviews

Review

'Those who believe history is so, so dull might pick up Simon Young's new offering and have their view changed' EAST ANGLIAN DAILY TIMES 'For imaginative and thrilling engagement with the history of those... chaotic times, Farewell Britannia will be very hard to beat.' -- Peter Jones THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH 'This is a marvellous book, which beautifully captures the slowly-changing texture of Roman Britain... Thoroughly recommended.' YORKSHIRE EVENING POST 'An entertaining and informative work in a popular genre, this will appeal to old and young alike.' BRITISH ARCHAEOLOGY

About the Author

Simon Young has written for the Guardian, History TodaySpectator, and the Fortean Times.

Product Details

  • File Size: 791 KB
  • Print Length: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Orion (December 9, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004JHY95C
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,307,400 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delighted to see that this book is now on Kindle December 4, 2012
Format:Hardcover
I thought it a crying shame when this little gem of a book went out of print. The saying 'Do not judge a book by its cover' has never been more true of this novel. It's essentially a series of short stories covering the Roman occupation of Britain. The author cleverly uses members of one family to link the stories down the generations. It's wonderfully written, and a compelling read. One of the things I liked most about this collection was the way that the author had used little historical facts or finds and placed them in his stories. There's a great explanation of each at the back of the book.

A highly recommended read. Five solid stars out of five.

Ben Kane, author of Spartacus: the Gladiator.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
In "Farewell Britania," Simon Young explores the rise and fall of Roman Britain through a series of short stories, told in 430 AD by one of the last survivors of a noble Roman family. Each story is based to one degree or another on known events, real persons, or archaeological discoveries, and at the end of each chapter Young carefully explains where his tale is based in fact and where he takes poetic license. Many of the tales are gripping or poignant or both, and Young does a fine job of making the reader feel, just a little, what it might have been like to live through these turbulent times. The notes at the end of the book, about reading and writing Roman Britain, are worth a look for their own sake.

"Farewell Britannia" is something of a prequel to Young's 2005 book A.D. 500: A Journey Through the Dark Isles of Britain and Ireland, which recounts the adventures of an embassy dispatched to Britain in the early 6th Century by the Byzantine Emperor. "A.D. 500" struck me as more of an adventure story than "Farewell Britannia,", although it too is well grounded in known events, customs, and archaeology; "Farewell Britannia," given its parallel them of the declining fortunes of a family and a country, is more moving. Both books are well worth reading and savoring.
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