The Eagle and the Raven
by Pauline Gedge
Although this epic is touted as the story of Boudicca, Queen of the Britons, she doesn't ride to prominence until the latter part of the book. Most of this exciting tale belongs to Caradoc, king of the Catavellauni, his family and brave kinsmen, and their desperate fight during 40-50 AD against the occupying Romans who, under Claudius' rule, intend to subjugate the warring tribes.
Chosen by Druids to unite the separate kingdoms of Celtic Britain and drive out the Romans, Caradoc succeeds for a time. Eventually on the run, his warriors depleted, he leads his heroic followers across the southern part of England, then to Wales. But nothing--certainly not a barbaric tribe no matter how physically strong and mentally clever their leader is--will prevail against the well-organized, well-armed legions from Rome. Through a rival queen’s treachery, Caradoc is captured and with his equally fierce wife and children sent to Rome.
Boudicca's husband, king of the Iceni, wants continuing peace and the prosperity his people have found under Roman occupation. He sees no benefit in joining the resistance and has for years refuted his wife's urgings to join the warriors. But upon his death, when the Romans cruelly renege on the agreement they'd made with the king, Boudicca vows revenge. She convinces other tribes to join her and leads them in a determined fight. She's a ferocious, bloodthirsty warrior who takes no prisoners and though she cannot win the war, she wages a glorious battle for her people, for herself.
Beautifully written, frighteningly violent, this saga of the Celtic people of Britain is a story that long haunts the reader. I'm pleased to see that Penguin plans to re-issue this novel in 2006. (Word has it Mel Gibson is making a movie based on Boudicca's story.)
~ Pauline Gedge was born in New Zealand in 1945. She now lives in rural Alberta. Her novels are extensively researched and finely crafted.
~ Personal mission statement: “Discard contemporary fiction, don’t try to be significant, don’t try to be relevant, just be myself.” – from an Interview in January Magazine, March 1999.
~ Other Novels:
Child of the Morning - 1977
Stargate - 1982
The Twelfth Transforming - 1984
Scroll of Saqqara - 1990
The Covenant - 1992
House of Dreams - 1994
House of Illusions - 1996
Lady of the Reeds - 1997
The Hippopotamus Marsh: Lords of the Lands, Volume One - 1998
The Oasis: Lords of the Lands, Volume Two - 1999
The Horus Road: Lords of the Lands, Volume Three - 2000