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Ambrosius: Last of the Romans (A Light in the Dark Ages Book 2) by [Walker, Tim]
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Ambrosius: Last of the Romans (A Light in the Dark Ages Book 2) Kindle Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Length: 157 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1134 KB
  • Print Length: 157 pages
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B06X9S7XQ7
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #61,882 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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"I am Myrddin Emrys, known in these parts as Merlin, a healer from Dyfed, beyond the mountains.”

Rome has departed British shores forever and left to their own devices those who were once Romano-British have to look to their own defences as their cultural certainties crumble around them. The man who has declared himself Emperor of Britannia, Vortigern, strives to defend his place of power by buying off the Germanic invaders - Saxons, Jutes and Angles - gifting them land in exchange for military service. But the invaders are not satisfied with such scant pickings and make a play for more. Meanwhile Ambrosius gathers those Britons who have no wish to accommodate with the Saxons and takes up the mantle of ruler of all Britain himself. He must defeat both Vortigern and the Saxons to unite the Britons once more.

'Ambrosius: Last of the Romans' is an ambitious book treading on both the fringes of the what little historical record remains from those Dark Ages and on the margins on myth as the story of King Arthur and his knights developed. The blend is seamless and the introduction of even the traditionally 'magical' elements such as Merlin and Excalibur well handled to keep the sense of this being an historical not a fantasy book.

“There is often an explanation for these so-called miracles, and you have found it, my brother!"

The book is not a fast paced rip-roarer and it does not pretend to be. It sets out a through sense of atmosphere and introduces us into the world of Dark Age Britain very effectively and well. The characters are fairly well drawn, enough that they can be seen as real people and odd flashes of genuine individuality and personality shine through.
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I became aware of Tim Walker and his work when I read 'Abandoned', the novella that sets the scene of fifth century Britannia after the Romans have given up on it. It reminded me of books set in Roman Britannia that I had enjoyed when I was a teenager, in which young people grappled with issues of loyalty and shivered inside their animal -skin jerkins as they braved wild landscapes and wilder enemies to protect those they loved. Here was adult fiction in the same mould, drawing on history, folklore and myth to create a world I wanted to spend more time in.

This is why I am so pleased that the story which follows on from it, 'Ambrosius: Last of the Romans', is a novel long enough to allow readers to make themselves at home in it. And I did that, totally engrossed in the robust adventure that unfolded, always eager to find out what the next chapter would bring, and never disappointed.

Tim Walker paints a characterful and striking picture on a broad canvas. It includes dramatic scenes of battle from the south coast to Maisbeli, a place of mystery now, whose exact location is still being sought in what today is South Yorkshire. He creates honourable chieftains and tyrant kings, bewitching women, and loyal working animals. Fascinating historical asides pepper the dialogue of his thoughtful protagonists. Ambrosius fights a harsh and epic campaign, but this energetic character's diverse qualities appeal to both male and female sensibilities.

I highly recommend this novel to readers who like entertaining and original characters, richly imagined adventure and informed writing.
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There are areas of historical fiction that pose traps and challenges for authors. 'The Dark Ages' is a maze of dubious documentation, written by few scribes. There is also the massive problem of contrasting chronicles and conflicting dates. The author who engages with this era deserves praise for the attempt, and Tim Walker meets the challenges head on.

For those readers who enjoy grappling with this period of history, 'Ambrosius' makes sterling efforts to illuminate the period. The history is very much to the forefront; research into military capacity, tactics and strategies is well founded, and the political machinations of the British and the Saxons throws light on the complexity of the era.

Written in the style of a saga, the book is a fast moving insight into this mysterious era. A good introduction to the historical period for those who wish to explore it.
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