Farewell Britannia: A Family Saga Of Roman Britain Paperback – 16 Apr 2008
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the greatest acheivement of this magnificent work is its success in breathing life into real people (THE HERALD)
A vivid and gripping account of Roman Britain, written as a family historySee all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
AD500 was about Britain and Ireland in the `Dark Ages', as the title suggests and `Farewell Britannia' covers the period from 55BC to 430AD. The story is told from the point-of-view of a Romano-Briton at the end of this period as his society descends into anarchy. He reviews the history of his family over 500 years and relives turning points in the family's fortunes, selected by the author to be both dramatic and informative, with the emphasis on the dramatic. There are fifteen chapters, linked by a family tree so you can see that the chapter you are now starting is about the grandson of the woman who was the main character of the previous chapter, plus some words of introduction from the 430AD Romano-Briton. Then it's told from the point-of-view of the chapter's main character and Young shows his eye for a plot that will engage a 21st century audience. There's Caesar's 55BC expedition to England, an attack on the Antonine Wall, an affair between a master and slave, an espionage plot in London, a visit to a druid temple, a death in the baths at Bath, and so on. Personally I didn't find any dud chapters at all, but if you did each one is only 15 pages long so you could easily skip to the next one.
Are there any problems? There's the obvious issue of plausibility with so many dramatic things happening to one family but fiction is the willing suspension of disbelief and I was engrossed in each chapter.Read more ›
"Farewell Britannia" is something of a prequel to Young's 2005 book A.D. 500: A Journey Through the Dark Isles of Britain and Ireland, which recounts the adventures of an embassy dispatched to Britain in the early 6th Century by the Byzantine Emperor. "A.D. 500" struck me as more of an adventure story than "Farewell Britannia,", although it too is well grounded in known events, customs, and archaeology; "Farewell Britannia," given its parallel them of the declining fortunes of a family and a country, is more moving. Both books are well worth reading and savoring.
Only one thing spoils it - and ultimately spoils it quite a bit, detracting from the pleasure of reading. The punctuation is... eccentric, to put it kindly. In some places it reads like a big - really BIG - bag of commas has been taken and strewn over the text like seeds or confetti. There's commas - lots of them - where they're not really needed or absolutely shouldn't be, plus glaring gaps that do need commas to prevent them reading oddly (or, in one case, as comical).
Consequently, to me, reading this book felt like the literary equivalent of driving a car that misfires or stalls every few yards. It doesn't enhance the ride.
In short, a very good and highly recommended book - but any chance of re-editing and re-issuing it, post purging the commas?
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I unfortunately, gave up trying to finish this book. I found the punctuation and writing overwhelmingly irritating and clumsy. Read morePublished on 4 Feb. 2014 by Richard Brown
The author uses his academic knowledge to illustrate this fascinating period. He holds tight to known facts building his story.Published on 27 Aug. 2013 by A. Hetherington
An excellent and involving read which brings the characters to life and gives a real feel of life as the Roman world existed in Britain. Read morePublished on 18 Feb. 2010 by White Cliffs
I thought it a crying shame when this little gem of a book went out of print. The saying 'Do not judge a book by its cover' has never been more true of this novel. Read morePublished on 14 Sept. 2009 by Ben Kane