I've always been a history buff, especially of the Romans, so perhaps I'm prejudiced. This is a fictional account of the revolt of Boudicca, the great Icenian Queen who revolted against the Roman occupation of Britain from the perspective of the military governor of Britain Sutonius Paulinus. Both were real people and the major actions that are described in the book actually happened. Shipway, the author, was in his youth a subaltern (low ranking officer) in cavalry in the British occupation of India, had a real perspective into the minds and culture of imperialist occupiers of a country, and that brings this book to life. His research and the execution of his work into the details of how Boudicca was wronged and how she nearly threw the Roman occupiers out of the country, as well as the mental visions of the campaigns Paulinus ran have the personal touch of one who "was there" and they are vivid. I've read the book several times and still am fascinated by the story and the evolution of the mind of Paulinus, a dedicated Imperialist, who started with no great prejudice of the Britons as people but morphed into a Lt Calley (of My Lai fame) figure is frightening. But the visual details in the prose of the ordinary legionaries and their officers in combat are thrilling and very vivid, for example the scene of how the centurions lined up their legionaries chest deep in the water off Anglesey in Wales to assault the beach made me feel the water, the fear and horror of imminent combat.
Even now as this country is occupying many countries and our soldiers are in many foreign lands, this book brings the insight of ages into what it is like to be a hated occupier in someone else's country. It is really worth a read! Someone ought to make a movie of this, it would be a blockbuster!