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by Manda Scott
Bantam Press, February 2003
409 pages
18.99 GBP
ISBN: 0593051637

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

The iron age Celtic tribes of Britain left no written record . Manda Scott has taken the discoveries of modern archeology and fragments of mentions of Boudica, the Warrior Queen of the Eceni, in the Roman writings to build a story of Britain in the early part of the first century AD.

Pre-pubescent Breaca gains her first kill feather when she spears the renegade Coritani warrior who murdered her mother, Warrior Queen of the Eceni, and the unborn son she was carrying. Her warrior-smith father teaches her how to make and wield weapons, but Breaca hopes that her future will be as a dreamer of the holy island of Mona, while her younger half brother, Ban, wishes to be a warrior.

Traders from other tribes, and other countries, bring news as well as luxuries, and also act as emissaries. Caradoc, the son of Cunobelin, the Sun Hound and Corvus, a Roman officer, are rescued from a sinking ship by the Eceni. News is brought that perhaps the Romans are considering tryng to regain a foothold in Britain. Meanwhile, life continues. Breaca is growing older. As she reaches puberty, she goes into seclusion for three days, at the end of which, her dreams will set her station in life.

DREAMING THE EAGLE is the first in a projected trilogy detailing the life and times of BOUDICA. Of necessity, Scott has had to invent scenes and conversations, but she does so brilliantly and with a grasp of the early history of Britain. There are maps, lists of characters, and pronounciations to help the story along. If you've read Marion Zimmer Bradley's MISTS OF AVALON, this is the equivalent for Iron Age Britain.

I have a rule. When I travel, I do not carry hard covered books. I usually leave them home in Boston and read other books until I return. When I left for London, I had only read about 1/3 of DREAMING THE EAGLE. I couldn't bear to leave it behind or to pack it in my luggage to read later. I used part of my precious carry-on weight allowance for this book. It was worth it.

Reviewed by Barbara Franchi, September 2003

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