Eagle And The Raven Mass Market Paperback – Dec 6 2005
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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.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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!
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 !
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.
This book is complete, it has it all.
I'd write more, but I'm not eloquent enough to put into writing fully the praise this book deserves.