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Roman Sunset by Elizabeth May
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Roman Sunset

by Elizabeth May

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Recently added byjanerawoof, jmulick, DorianG, RGraf, Lnatal

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Good, descriptive title as the novel concerns Romans and Britons immediately after the Roman legions have departed Britain and only a few soldiers remain. Changes come with the influx of such peoples as Angles and geographical shifts such as the emergence of the kingdom of Rheged and the balance of power. I enjoyed this story very much and recommend it.

It describes an ex-soldier, Quintus Apolinaris, and how, after the attacks on people in his area and burning of his own villa, he assumes the command of a small cavalry fort. The story also concerns refugees from Eboracum, sacked by Caledonians; how the displaced people reach Quintus' fort; and how the Roman soldiers who have remained there defend the land with the aid of civilians. Cadwy, a brewer, and his daughter, Llinos, reach Quintus' fort. Chieftain Coel's village has been put to the torch and most of his subjects killed by the Caledonians. Two brothers from Eboracum, Owain and Emrys, are taken as slaves by the Caledonians. Owain's escape with his newfound friend Flynn was exciting. Emrys becomes a sailor on one of the Caledonian chief's ships and is happy to remain. All refugees decide to band with other friendly tribes and any Roman army still in Britain and fight back against their enemies. Finally, soldiers and Britons work together to build a new settlement, Novatref [name is half Latin, half British=new town], to start their lives anew. Chieftain Coel finally suggests that Novatref should be the nucleus of a new country.

The Welsh names given the natives, modern German names given the Saxon mercenaries, and Scottish names given the Caledonians and Selgovae took getting used to. The word 'boyfriend' used over and over in the book annoyed me. The story was strong, and the novel easy to read. This period in history is foggy, so the author had much room to imagine what might have happened. I find this novel is reminiscent of and bears comparison with [ Roman Wall: A Novel] by [[Bryher]], which I loved. Location is post-Roman Britain vs Helvetia for Bryher and the protagonist of each is an ex-solder. The stories are set 100 years apart. ( )
  janerawoof | Jun 10, 2014 |
Some areas of history are darker than others. Some are written about more than any other topic and become almost cliché. One area of history that is not neglected but not really focused on is the Roman occupation of Britain. Fiction or nonfiction, this period is very interesting. Elizabeth May approaches this period with a story you’ll fall in love with in Roman Sunset.

This is not an historical romance. This is not a boring recitation of the history of Britain during Rome’s occupation. This is a story of a land finding itself on the threshold of a new era and the turmoil, both internal and external, that accompany epic changes.

The Roman Empire is not as strong as it once was. It’s presence on the island of Britain is diminishing. Most Romans left are retired veterans who had planned on living out their lives on peaceful farms with their families. As the Empire pulls back its reach, the ones left in Britain find themselves either dead or forced to take up the sword again as the Picts see the weakening of the Romans and look to reclaim what once was theirs as they wreak havoc throughout the land south of Hadrian’s Wall.

Ms. May does not just tell a tale. She goes into the daily life of a Roman soldier, the thoughts of a retired soldier called back into duty, the grisly acts of the Picts against even the Britains, and the life of a slave trudging through the wilds north of the Wall. A reader cannot help but find themselves in a battle camp smelling the fires, the fear, and the death. The terror of the victim is felt as the Pict searching for them to cut them down. The love of a young couple is not just read about but felt in these powerful words.

You won’t find this book full of intimate scenes between couples. You won’t find gory horror scenes. The battles are scenes descriptive without being too much for the average reader to take it. You won’t find it a quick read. It spans about one year in time and covers many miles of activity and many groups of people.

I read the kindle version. There were a few formatting issues that is common with kindle, but it is nothing that you would find interfering with your reading.

Are you a history lover? Do you like Roman history? Do you like historical fiction? Check out Elizabeth May's Roman Sunset.

Note: This book was given to me as a gift from a co-worker. I was under no obligation to give a good review for this book. ( )
2 vote RGraf | Apr 25, 2012 |
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