Worlds Apart is a gripping story told in James Michener fashion combining historical accuracy with a "can't put it down" story line. The first chapter sets the stage of the life of a family in Northern England during the Roman occupation. The reader gets an immediate understanding of what it feels like to endure the hardships when your country and your freedom are being ripped from you and the brave but undisciplined freedom fighters take on the most powerful and well trained army in the world. Then the story switches to Rome and follows a bright young soldier as his courage and integrity help him rise in the ranks of the Roman army. You also get an inside look at the politics and social intrigue of the Roman Empire that will sound all too familiar to the reader of today. The author allows us to experience both sides of this epic battle of the conqueror, who justifies their imperialistic expansion by the improvements in knowledge and quality of life their culture brings, and the conquered with their battle for freedom to chose their own destiny. This book catches the reader up in the lives of the people as they struggle with war on the battle field, in the political arena, between logic and the "religious" magic of the Druids and the ultimate battle of the heart when a Celtic woman must decide between her love and loyalty for her country and the love for a stern but compassionate commander who also happens to be her sworn enemy.
I am a fan of the early Tom Clancy novels and was surprised to find that this novel had many of the qualities that made those books so enjoyable. A great story set in a time of global unrest with good and evil battling for control and with a level of detail that brings you right into the battles and the decisions that lead to success or failure. It tells a war story for those that love war stories and the training and courage of the warriors that fight the battles. It is also a love story that follows two people that are passionate in their beliefs and pursue those beliefs unquestioningly until their lives and their belief systems collide causing them to question their beliefs and their loyalty.
This was one of the best books I have read in a long time and I hope the Author has the sequel in the works because this was one of those rare books you can't put down but you also don't want to end. I miss looking forward to spending some time lost in this story.