I've forgotten most of the Latin I took in high school and college and confess I had to look up this quote--the opening line of Caesar's Gallic Wars, the text that consumes everyLatin student's second year. However, I've included it here because Ms. Newman has really done her homework (something I didn't do very well my second year or I might not have had to look this up). Her descriptions of life in a Roman villa, battle tactics, and conditions aboard Romanslave ships are incredibly authentic. Alcinia could well be Britaniabut without a description of the building of Hadrian's Wall, and Tiacould be a Celtic Princess in that she worships The Goddess, had ascrying bowl back home, and honed her religious/spiritual powers amongan order of wise women she refers to as The Sisters.
This book is also told in first person, a very difficult thing to do well. EvenDostoyevsky couldn't manage it when he started Crime and Punishment.Five hundred pages into the book he had to go back and re-write it inthird person. In longhand, since the typewriter had not yet beeninvented. Ms. Newman has carried off her first-person narrationflawlessly.
This book has incredible attention to historicdetail, flawless first-person narration, but most importantly, it hasmulti-faceted characters who will engage you. While Tia starts out as a spoiled brat, you can tell from her narration that there is aredeemable person in there and you will get to watch her grow. Sergiusis fierce, but you feel his gentility from the moment you meet him, andyou fall in love with him alongside Tia.
I wanted to give this book five-and-a-half stars. You'll need Kleenex as well. -
Rochelle Weber, Roses & Thorns Reviews