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The Eagle and the Raven Paperback – Dec 6 2005


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 896 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Canada (Dec 6 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140249486
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140249484
  • Product Dimensions: 11.4 x 5.1 x 17.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 204 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #357,245 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

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Pauline Gedge, the award-winning Alberta writer known primarily for her novels set in ancient Egypt, such as Child of the Morning and Stargate, has also essayed the field of British history, as in this early work The Eagle and the Raven, originally issued in 1978. The blurb tells us that the subject of this novel is Boudicca, queen of the Iceni tribe who led a famous revolt against the Roman occupation of Britain in the middle of the first century. Despite its assurance that her "passion and pride lit up the mysterious world of the Celts," the famous queen only features sporadically in the first three-quarters of this 900-page door-stopper. But lest the reader feel cheated, we have the mystery of the Celts in spades, embodied in the sprawling saga of the great resistance leader Caradoc (a.k.a. Caractacus), who is finally betrayed to the Romans by a discarded lover. There are lush and misty landscapes, druids lurking in the shadows, and much singing and drinking of mead. While there are some fine evocations of the British landscape, and the characters are more convincing than those in Gedge's Egyptian sagas, embarrassingly purple passages abound: "Spring came to Aricia like a jaded old whore, draped in false beauty to hide rampant decay." Do the ancient Celts (as has been suggested) merely provide a convenient ethnic identity for white people, or does their dream of freedom and paradise represent the plight of all oppressed peoples? But freedom is more than dream; it is about real social and economic self-determination, not pretty fables set in the misty hills of Albion. --Robyn Gillam --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"A novel of majestic sweep, splendid assurance, and controlled imaginative power."  —Publishers Weekly


"A big, other-worldly, and beautiful novel. Gedge . . . has brought another age pulsating to life."  —San Francisco Chronicle


"[Gedge’s] uncommonly splendid gift for storytelling is again supreme . . . She gives us the daily life and landscapes of Celtic Britain with an almost psychic immediacy."  —Toronto Star


"A tremendously moving portrait of a people who have long since disappeared—entertaining, knowledgeable . . . Gedge is a writer who can weave a spell with words."  —Montreal Gazette


"It is history . . . it is life . . . there is simply no laying it aside until the end."  —South Bend Tribune
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By "acharra" on June 16 2003
Format: Hardcover
I can't tell you how many times I've thanked my lucky stars that I found this book on a table at Bargain Books. IT DESERVES TO HAVE A PLACE FAR HIGHER as well as to REMAIN IN PRINT! I am currently without it and I am so afraid that something will happen to it that I refuse to allow it mailed to me unless I am its personal messenger. Seriously. I just pray that someday the publisher will somehow have it reprinted.
Pauline Gedge was able to make these historical figure come to life in a way that I didn't know possible. I've been interested in Roman Britain and the Celts for so many years and I've read all that I can get my hands on, yet this is still the best in fiction but I feel that it's much too historically accurate to be simply classified as 'fiction", it is like a history lesson but with all the elements of being there and living it.
If you ever run across this book, BUY it, or write me and I'll buy it from you, because I can definately use another copy-or two, you know...as backup. I mean it.
Thanks for reading my blithering blubber, but I can't imagine what I can do to get this book back in print so I can actually have a copy to read with me here in Portland, instead of in Florida, as I said earlier, I refuse to take my chances mailing it across the entire United States. It's that good.
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By T on Feb. 5 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I can't count on one hand how many books I have started and not been able to read the entire thing. This was one of them :( I was sad because I love Pauline Gedge and was excited to read another of her books. This one was not so good.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 59 reviews
81 of 81 people found the following review helpful
Print it again! Dec 3 2003
By Amazonbombshell - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This is an amazing novel. It is not, as the cover claims, so much about Boudicca -- though certainly plays her part in blazing fire and glory -- as it is another historical Bristish chieftan named Caradoc, who united many of the Celtic tribes of England against Rome and fought determinedly until his eventual defeat in A.D. 50. (For those of you who do not know the story -- it's not a common one -- I won't reveal the rest.) It is also about some of the (also historical) Romans who encountered the power of Britannia, though the ultimate sympathy (wrong word, but close) lies with the British tribes. Ms. Gedge sticks to history as far as she can in her writing, and fleshes it out with incredible skill. The book is 827 pages long and I devoured it.
One of the things that makes this book so good is its chosen subject -- obscure figures who have become the stuff of legend; a mysterious and ancient fight for freedom that yet finds a home in our modern souls. Another is its realism -- brutal violence and desperate betrayal alongside deepest love
and noble ideals held, compromised, lifted up. This story does not shrink from death and wrenching sorrow, nor does it invent a hundred miraculous escapes, nor become so caught up in mysticism that it leaves no room for the ordinary man and woman. It is a tale of real people, intermingling and forging lives in less than ideal circumstances, yet time and again forced onto two opposing sides of an issue that has many more facets than two. It is a terribly sad story, but also a triumphant one, and one to stir your blood as others cannot. It deserves many more than five stars. Print it again!
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Gedge steps out of Egypt March 21 2001
By S. Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Wow! I have always loved Pauline Gedge's novels set in Ancient Egypt. Her attention to detail, historical fact and ability to imagine a civilaztion in the fullest sense of the term based on the knowledge we have available through the work of Egyptologists continues to impress me. In the Eagle and the Raven, Gedge brings her remarkable abilities to another place and time in histroy and is quite successful. I really encourage a reader who wants to see and feel living history to pick up this book. You won't be sorry, I promise.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
The Eagle and the Raven Nov. 10 2002
By nissa - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
My favorite book ever!
If you have ever been transported back in time then you know what it feels like to read this book.When you read the Eagle and the Raven you become a part of the celtic world,you feel the pain of their struggle,you understand their need to remain a free people,and you really start to hate Romans!
It's true,before I read this book I was totaly fascinated by the Roman culture,now it just [makes me mad]
I'm not very good with words so I really can't convey how amazing of a book this is,but I will say that I have read hundreds of books and this really must be one of the best ever writen.I cried in this book,I cry whenever I read it,and I am not a person who cries often.
... if-when-you read it you will understand that that the words of an untrained mind are not able to speak more than simple praise for a book This magnificent.
I'm buying this today and you should too!
READ THIS !
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
One of my favorite books of all times July 21 2009
By Possibility - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I am French. 25 years ago, I bought an abridged and translated version of The Eagle and the Raven and absolutely loved it. Over the following years, I read and re-read it many times until all the characters had become intimately familiar. Then one day, while in a library, I opened an encyclopedia and looked for Boudicca. I knew she had really existed and I wanted to know how much of the story matched reality. Then I looked for Caradoc. And there he was, a real-life character, son of Cunobelin, brother of Togodumnus. I discovered that all the main characters in The Eagle and the Raven were based on real-life characters. Even Aricia and her husband had existed. I was astonished. What had started as a novel had become a startling tale of historical events. Fictionalized, but real nonetheless.
When I came to the United States, I looked for a long time for an English and unabridged edition and, after a few years, to my eternal delight, I was finally able to buy a new copy (Penguin edition). I have read it 4 more times since. I guess I will never tire of reading this book anymore than I would tire of seeing the same friends over and over again.
This is a magnificent novel that has stirred me and moved me, written by a uniquely gifted storyteller. Her main characters are well drawn out, their evolution well developed and explained, the book spans 30 years.

I have read with some curiosity the negative reviews written about this book and must conclude that as with all books, taste is a personal matter. However, regarding the alleged slowness of the first 200 pages, given that the story starts approx. 8 years before the initial landing by the Romans, it gives us time to get acquainted with the main characters of the story. It is essential in understanding the future interaction of all main characters AND the development of the resistance among some tribes. It contrasts with poignancy a way of life before the invasion by the Romans with the brutal oppression that follows, and the usual but unforgivable deportation of natives. It illustrates the choices made by men (Caradoc) and women (Boudiccca) unflinching in their quest for freedom and personal choice vs. the greed, compromises or complacency displayed by others (Aricia and Prasutugas). As in all wars, some will place personal comfort above the needs of a nation. Caradoc, Eurgain, Gladys, Boudicca and Plautius are not cardboard characters, they are alive, well defined, flawed, and so human, and I think of them as old friends who have become intimates over the years. My only regret is that some of the minor characters were not more developed such as Cinnamus, an ever fascinating character, or Vida.

As a foot note, I read a few interviews with Pauline Gedge because I wanted to know more about the author. I discovered that she had worked in collaboration with her then husband who did most of the research while she wrote. Based on the resulting book he must have been an excellent researcher. The internet is a wonderful tool for research, but when this book was written and first published in 1978, the internet didn't exist and all the research had to be done through documents and publications.

I have never read another book by Pauline Gedge, probably because I know that nothing else would be as satisfying as this one magnificent novel. 10 stars and more.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Epic... ...compelling reading. Sept. 20 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I first read this book many years ago as a teenager, and remembered it as being the best book that I had read to that time. A long time has passed, and many, many books later, it remains at the top of the list. I re-read it recently and once again it transported me into GEDGE'S world of Roman conquest, jealousy, greed, ambition, and a people's doomed fight for freedom.
This book is complete, it has it all.
RECOMMENDED!!
I'd write more, but I'm not eloquent enough to put into writing fully the praise this book deserves.

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