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The Light Bearer

by Donna Gillespie

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Light Bearer; Lady of the Light

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
411651,432 (4.04)16
Her name was Auriane. She was a warrior, a priestess--and a threat to thepowers of ancient Rome. This breathtaking saga from acclaimed newcomer Donna Gillespie unveils afascinating world of pagans and slaves, warriors and nobles -- and the extraordinary life ofthe woman they called The Light Bearer.

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» See also 16 mentions

English (5)  Dutch (1)  All languages (6)
Showing 5 of 5
Fantastic book! ( )
  Eternal.Optimist | Aug 22, 2018 |
On the day of her birth, Auriane received a mysterious amulet from a priestess-and a doubleedged prophecy of doom and glory. The daughter of a Germanic tribal chieftain, Auriane witnessed unspeakable horrors committed against her people by ruthless invaders. And when tragedy tore her family apart, she took the oath of a warrior, and vowed revenge. Tales of her brilliant swath of conquest carried as far as Rome, to the renowned statesman Marcus Julianus-who felt his destiny intertwined with Auriane's, and wore about his neck an identical amulet ( )
  Lnatal | Jun 23, 2009 |
Really enjoyed this historical novel; romance was done to the right degree without overwhelming the historical aspect, and there was a good amount of action and political developments. Curiously I liked Marcus' side of the story a lot better than the heroine's; I found his plot more interesting, and his portions better written. Fantastic, exciting conclusion. ( )
2 vote Cecrow | Dec 21, 2007 |
Unfinished; page 350 was the point where I gave up. Some books just aren't worth the time.

Plot: Predictable, utterly predictable. Special girl is born with prophecies that she'll be pivotal for her people, and proceeds to live up to every stereotype possible in the setting. On the other side, special boy is found to be heir to a noble family and proceeds to be the only morally non-corrupted person in Rome.

Characters: Out-of-the-box. The good ones are smart and pretty and well-trained and strong, the bad ones are smelly, drunk rapists with room temperature IQs and arrogance to boot. There's not a single character who isn't a stereotype, from the old wise hag who acts strange to the foreign prisoner who trains the heroine and falls in love with her. Plenty of noble savages around.

Style: Boring prose that got tackled with the belief that occasional reversion of word order makes things sound better. Point of view changes randomly in subsequent paragraphs. Historical clichès get paraded, with every sordid bit of gossip being treated as fact, while real political twists are ignored. PS - during the rule of Nero, no such thing as "Switzerland" existed. Yes, it may be easier to give the area that label, but all it does is demonstrate that "historical novel" is a euphemism.

Plus: Hard to think of something.

Minus: It's a gossipy special-girl-saves-the-world (and I bet she ends up with the special Roman, while the current foreign love interest bites the dust in heroic sacrifice at some point). Much pretense to be a historical novel, but scratch the surface and the shine is gone.

Summary: Not worth it, not even for laughs. ( )
1 vote surreality | Sep 26, 2007 |
Fantastic novel with a kick ass heroine before Anita Blake knew how to kick ass. Set in Britain during the attempted Roman conquest. Druids, battles, love and more. Historical fiction at its finest. ( )
2 vote jshillingford | Jun 25, 2007 |
Showing 5 of 5
"Throughout this monumental story, Gillespie constantly increases the excitement and intrigue. There are no flat passages in The Light Bearer, only a fast-flowing stream that erupts into a full-scale torrent at the book's conclusion. Let us hope we will see more from this sparkling new author."
added by themistoclea | editThe Washington Post Book World, Brian Jacomb (Dec 1, 1994)
"For anyone interested in this tumultuous period of Roman despotism and Germanic tribes, Gillespie's epic is an intriguing recording of everyday detail, national issues and, more impressively, overarching influences of religion and psychology."
"In her phenomenal 1994 debut novel, The Light Bearer, Donna Gillespie introduced readers to the Germanic warrior and seer, Auriane, whose fate becomes entangled with the vicious intrigues and tyrannies of ancient Rome. With a keen eye for detail and mastery of the descriptive, Ms. Gillespie immerses us in a time that is both eerily familiar and breathtakingly alien... Filled with the tumult of two worlds at odds with each other, and a fallible heroine at odds with herself, this book leaves us in suspense for the third installment, but it is well worth the wait."
added by themistoclea | editThe Historical Novel Society
"Gillespie's grasp of the daily social, religious and political lives of Germanic tribes and urban Romans alike, and her understanding of the way human deeds are woven by time into myth, keep The Light Bearer rooted in historical plausibility … keeps the reader engaged … The Light Bearer taps into one of the most popular themes in historical fiction today, the unsung woman who takes a hand in the shaping of history.” —The San Francisco Chronicle
added by themistoclea | editThe San Francisco Chronicle

» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Donna Gillespieprimary authorall editionscalculated
van Bronswijk, InekeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Voor mijn ouders
For my parents
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It was a wolf-ridden night.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (2)

Her name was Auriane. She was a warrior, a priestess--and a threat to thepowers of ancient Rome. This breathtaking saga from acclaimed newcomer Donna Gillespie unveils afascinating world of pagans and slaves, warriors and nobles -- and the extraordinary life ofthe woman they called The Light Bearer.

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Book description
In the harsh wastes of the barbarian north, a child is born on dirt and straw in the rude thatched hall of a Germanic tribal chieftain. She is Auriane, destined to follow the pathway of her tribe’s most revered seeress. But as ruthless Roman invaders plunder her people's lands, burn their crops and kidnap their young men for the imperial army, Auriane is chosen to lead her tribal people in their struggle against the empire. 
When the Emperor Domitian crosses the Rhine with four legions, the north’s hope resides in a woman… 

And as the only world she has known collapses around her, Auriane is captured and taken to Rome, and into a life of horror and glory no seeress could have foreseen. 

In Rome, senator and Stoic humanist Marcus Arrius Julianus rises to the loftiest pinnacles of government. Through wit, daring and brilliant maneuvering, he struggles to check the murderous whims of the increasingly corrupt Emperor Domitian. As a reign of terror begins, Julianus orchestrates a vast plot to assassinate the emperor.
Cultured Marcus Julianus and barbarian Auriane meet — and form a powerful bond across the gulf of their vastly different ways of life. 

Domitian condemns Auriane to the arena, where in the halls of a gladiatorial training school she discovers the tribesman who betrayed her people in war. As Julianus’ assassination plot rushes to its cataclysmic conclusion, Auriane must carry out the solemn rite of vengeance before a maddened throng in the Colosseum.

The Light Bearer is the product of twelve years of research into the history, culture and mythology of classical Rome and the proto-Germanic tribes.
Haiku summary
Auriane was a warrior, a priestess and a threat to the power of ancient Rome.

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