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Dreaming the Serpent Spear, Manda Scott

Posted: Mon November 10th, 2008, 7:18 pm
by Rowan
It is AD 60 and the flame of rebellion that has been smouldering for 20 years of Roman occupation has flared into a conflagration that will consume the land and all who live in it. There is no going back. Boudica has been flogged and her daughters raped, and her son has burned a Roman watchtower in an act of blatant insurgency.

This is the time to act: the Roman governor has marched his legions west to destroy the druidic stronghold of Mona, leaving his capital and a vital seaport hopelessly undefended in the face of twenty-thousand warriors aching for vengeance. But to crush the legions for all time, Boudica must do more than lead her army in the greatest rebellion Britain has ever known. She must find healing for herself, for the land, and for Graine, her 8-year-old daughter, who has taken refuge on Mona.

Is revenge worth it under any circumstances, or is the cost more than anyone can bear?

Colchester is burning and London is lost without hope. Amidst fire and bloody revolution – a battle that will change the face and spirituality of a nation for centuries to come – Boudica and those around her must find what matters most, now and for ever.

This is the fourth and final book completing the life of Breaca of the Eceni and her fight against the Roman Empire.

While the series is about Boudica, the story itself encompasses so much more than one woman's personal struggle to fight for what she believes in. Through Scott's masterful weaving of the story, we are witness not only to how Rome's presence affected Breaca and her immediate family, but also how it affected her brother who spent the majority of his life as a Roman.

The end of Dreaming the Hound left Breaca a battered (physically) and broken (spiritually) woman. As her war host grows and readies itself to take on the might of Rome, Breaca's son, Cunomar, and her brother, Valerius, wonder which of them will take over what Breaca cannot seem to do.

As with all of the other books, Scott shows her characters getting into situations that cause them to grow and become the people they are destined to be. Breaca has to find within herself the answers to all the questions that not only her family poses, but the gods as well. It's something I think we can all relate to in some way.

Like the rest of the series, I give this a 5 out of 5 stars.

Posted: Mon September 21st, 2009, 1:21 pm
by sweetpotatoboy
I just finished this one at the weekend.
I have to say that, for me, the book was a 3 stars out of 5, but the series overall gets 3.5 to 4.

Without going into too much detail, the author pulled off a real feat of reimagining on this series and managed to sustain a very high level of quality of writing and plotting. But I feel she let herself down by making the whole thing far, far too long. The story did not merit four huge books: one or two would have done, or three or four shorter novels. A more experienced writer would have created a tighter and richer series.
For me, I also found the supernatural/fantastic element of the books overdone; it ultimately made this a fantasy series for me, rather than historical fiction. I can appreciate that spiritual/religious elements would have been an integral part of these characters' lives, but there would have been a way of portraying that without writing as if such elements were as real as the physical world. It is clear from her notes that the author shares such beliefs and it gets in the way of enjoying these books as historical fiction.

But overall, a writer to watch and a memorable reimagining.