Since Joe Tackett has written a novel of battles, war and strife, I thought I would employ a similar model in this review.
On the winning side:
- The list of major players at the start of the book. Huge points to Mr. Tackett for including this list as well as a run down of how each is related to the other; which side the character is on; which tribe they belong to; etc. I love it when authors do this, especially when there are a lot of characters to keep track of. As each character came into the picture, I would flip back and immediately be in the loop.
- The character development in this book was astoundingly well done. The reader is given equal access to the Romans, Celts and Druids. We get to know the characters well and see how they are affected by the battles, people and events surrounding them.
- Objectivity. Although the book followed two distinct groups through war, neither group was strongly portrayed as 'good' or 'bad'. Each was shown to be barbaric in their own way, loyal to the people and cause for which they fought, and human in their daily interactions. Really, it is up to the reader to take sides - although the Celts were, perhaps, more sympathetically portrayed as underdogs.
- Romance. Got to love a little romance and romance, in all of its definitions, is woven through 'A Roman Peace in Briton'. Love affairs, handsome men and gorgeous women who can fight with the best of them, the setting, it all adds up to a romantic time. Love it!
- I couldn't honestly put this into the winning or losing side but I thought it needed to be mentioned as a neutral, make up your own mind, point. The battle scenes are very graphic. Normally I would make this a losing point because graphic, gratuitous violence tends to repel me, but this is a book about war in and about 54 BC. Graphic violence and brutality kind of go with the territory (ergo - the violence is not really gratuitous). Just be prepared.
- One of my favorite characters was the Druid, Rue. I was sad that he didn't have more air time. It would have been a welcome addition to the story had the author more fully chosen to explore Rue's character and the 'gifted' side of his nieces, Thara and Lana.
- The ending. It just felt rather abrupt. Kind of like the author didn't quite know how to resolve the issues. It didn't resonate with the rest of the story.
Character Development 4