Welcome to the Historical Fiction Online forums: a friendly place to discuss, review and discover historical fiction.
If this is your first visit, please be sure to check out the FAQ by clicking the link above.
You will have to register before you can post: click the register link above to proceed.
To start viewing posts, select the forum that you want to visit from the selection below.

Boudica

User avatar
Margaret
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 2440
Joined: August 2008
Interest in HF: I can't answer this in 100 characters. Sorry.
Favourite HF book: Checkmate, the final novel in the Lymond series
Preferred HF: Literary novels. Late medieval and Renaissance.
Location: Catskill, New York, USA
Contact:

Post by Margaret » Thu September 3rd, 2009, 1:19 am

Annis has just contributed an excellent review of George Shipway's 1968 novel Imperial Governor to HistoricalNovels.info. It's about Boudica's rebellion, but from the perspective of the Roman governor responsible for quashing it.

There's one other novel, that I know of, that focuses on the Roman side of this story, The Horse Coin by David Wishart, published in 1999. Anyone read it?
Browse over 5000 historical novel listings (probably well over 5000 by now, but I haven't re-counted lately) and over 700 reviews at www.HistoricalNovels.info

annis
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 4585
Joined: August 2008

Post by annis » Thu September 3rd, 2009, 3:29 am

I have! It's one of Wishart's best novels, imo, but is very hard to come by now and expensive to buy on the second-hand book market.

User avatar
Margaret
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 2440
Joined: August 2008
Interest in HF: I can't answer this in 100 characters. Sorry.
Favourite HF book: Checkmate, the final novel in the Lymond series
Preferred HF: Literary novels. Late medieval and Renaissance.
Location: Catskill, New York, USA
Contact:

Post by Margaret » Thu September 3rd, 2009, 5:01 am

How is The Horse Coin different from Imperial Governor?
Browse over 5000 historical novel listings (probably well over 5000 by now, but I haven't re-counted lately) and over 700 reviews at www.HistoricalNovels.info

annis
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 4585
Joined: August 2008

Post by annis » Thu September 3rd, 2009, 6:04 am

The most obvious difference is that while "Imperial Governor" is told solely from the Roman POV, "Horse Coin" explores the period of the Boudiccan Revolt from both Roman and British POvs, Though the main character of the novel is a young Roman, Marcus Servinus, his family has been in Britain for a while and have friends among the Britons and can see and understand their distress at the ruthless new policies which are squeezing them financially. The story is told in a more dramatic and personal way, too.

"Imperial Governor" is told in a dispassionate manner which reflects Paulinus' personality, and makes a very effective contrast to the violent and brutal events depicted. Paulinus doesn't really see the Britons as "real" people- apart from a couple of exceptions he regards them as reprehensible savages, though there are some significant ironies when we see how the Romans deal with the Celtic tribes- who are the savages, in fact? Paulinus sees how Roman conquest affects the Britons, but caring about it isn't part of his remit. At one stage he's riding to a meeting with Queen Cartimandua of the Brigantes (one of Paulinus's notable exceptions) and is escorted by a group of Brigantian tribesmen:
"The British warriors rode ahead, around and amongst us, shouting, chattering and singing, with no pretence of order or formation. Physically these Brigantes resembled the natives of our settled areas: tall, powerful men, fair-skinned and red-haired.---All displayed a boisterous cheerfulness contrasting remarkably with the subdued demeanour habitual to our own Britons. Does Rome, I wondered, kill laughter when she conquers?"
There is a reflective wistfulness, but you get the feeling that a disdain for their lack of discipline is his overriding response.

The horse coin which gives Wishart's novel its title is a love token with a Roman symbol on one side and a British symbol on the other. HC is about two cultures, their differences and the possiblity of a meeting point which may eventually lead to a blending and appreciation of both.
Last edited by annis on Thu September 3rd, 2009, 5:54 pm, edited 17 times in total.

User avatar
Margaret
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 2440
Joined: August 2008
Interest in HF: I can't answer this in 100 characters. Sorry.
Favourite HF book: Checkmate, the final novel in the Lymond series
Preferred HF: Literary novels. Late medieval and Renaissance.
Location: Catskill, New York, USA
Contact:

Post by Margaret » Thu September 3rd, 2009, 8:04 pm

They sound like good companion reads - and really quite different, without either being a less authentic reflection of the period and its events.
The British warriors rode ahead, around and amongst us, shouting, chattering and singing, with no pretence of order or formation. Physically these Brigantes resembled the natives of our settled areas: tall, powerful men, fair-skinned and red-haired.---All displayed a boisterous cheerfulness contrasting remarkably with the subdued demeanour habitual to our own Britons. Does Rome, I wondered, kill laughter when she conquers?
Love this quote - it shows several layers of response, from disdain to a glimmer of remorse.

Surviving coins found in the Iceni territory, as well as elsewhere, depict stylized horses, some of them very beautiful. Here's one: http://www.south-norfolk.gov.uk/images/roman_coin01.jpg
Browse over 5000 historical novel listings (probably well over 5000 by now, but I haven't re-counted lately) and over 700 reviews at www.HistoricalNovels.info

annis
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 4585
Joined: August 2008

Post by annis » Thu September 3rd, 2009, 8:39 pm

Yes, and you detect a certain amount of envy in Paulinus's musings as well - as the son of an old aristocratic Roman family, you get the impression that he probably grew up under a weight of high expectations of proper and dutiful behaviour. You suspect that fun was not part of his childhood, and the simple joy of life expressed by the Brigantian warriors strikes him, leaving him with a sense of something lost in his own life. IG is so good because it is a subtle novel of many layers, despite its very straightforward appearance.

User avatar
Margaret
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 2440
Joined: August 2008
Interest in HF: I can't answer this in 100 characters. Sorry.
Favourite HF book: Checkmate, the final novel in the Lymond series
Preferred HF: Literary novels. Late medieval and Renaissance.
Location: Catskill, New York, USA
Contact:

Post by Margaret » Fri September 4th, 2009, 1:21 am

There's a similar quality, I think, in Colleen McCullough's novel about Julius Caesar's early life. As McCullough portrays him, Caesar loved and admired his mother enormously, but she set very high standards for him that did not include fooling around and having fun.
Browse over 5000 historical novel listings (probably well over 5000 by now, but I haven't re-counted lately) and over 700 reviews at www.HistoricalNovels.info

Post Reply

Return to “Ancient”