by Barbara Galler-Smith and Josh Langstron
Edge Books, 2013, $16.95, 332pp
Release Date: August 15, 2013
History is usually told from the point of view of victors, since they usually control the media and the records. But there are also counter-culture versions of history, and if a people can find solace and inspiration in the heroics exploits of their ancestors, however ultimately doomed they proved to be, these histories have a way of eventually asserting themselves, even if they take the form of legend or fiction. When Julius Caesar massed his armies and navies to seize control of Gaul and
, he had overwhelming advantages of men, weapons, armor, gold coin, and forts. Even so, guardians, warriors, bards and druids of Brittania and
formed alliances to fend off the Roman invaders and defy their conquerors. Galler-Smith and Langston unfold a panorama of conquest, resistance, subjugation, and survival. Inevitably, as the cultures of the conquered and the conquerors begin to blend and influence each other in subtler ways, warriors who once fought on opposing sides find common ground. Others find love in the midst of danger and death, and a new breed arises, like the warriors who sprang from the dragon’s teeth that Cadmus sowed.
This is one of the most enjoyable historical romances I’ve ever read. The fictional characters are well drawn and interesting, and the historical ones anchor the story. Instead of bemoaning the destruction, the authors present the valor, the resilience, and the skills of their protagonists. There is also a neat twist at the end which history buffs may see coming, but most readers will find an elegant surprise. I just wish Edge Books had included bio-blurbs about the authors, and that the authors had provided an explanation of their research and which elements were historical, which fictional. ~~ Chris R. Paige