I read this book on holiday and enjoyed it. I have read a lot about the Roman republic and empire ,but to date no fiction from the perspective of the people's that they conquered and their futile fight back against the might of Rome. I will read the next instalment .
"Highly Commended" in the Yeovil Literary Prize 2011
A Roman slave with a serpent tattoo uncovers his true barbarian identity... A battle for power among Frankish warlords leads to a mass exodus across the Rhine... All the while, Marcus Aurelius' Roman army pushes further north, changing everything. These seemingly unrelated events meet in a cataclysm that alters the course of history. In the background, the ageing witch Chlotsuintha predicts it all. Or is she the one pulling the strings to shape her people's future? When Sextus escapes Rome with a pocketful of gold and a knife, how could he even have dreamt of what the fates might have in store for him? Pursued by Roman soldiers for the murder of his master, Sextus enlists the help of a retired gladiator, and falls in love with the gladiator's niece. An invading German army drives them further north, where Sextus discovers his true birthright, and his real name - Galdir. He becomes caught up in a bitter feud as one of the heirs of a dead Frankish warlord; but the blood feud must be put aside when the Romans invade and besiege the Frankish capital. 'Galdir' is enthralling Roman fiction - a tale of love, brutal battles and conflict, in which a mystical prophecy winds its way through an epic saga of struggle against Rome, and the consequences of resistance by the Frankish people, its Warlord and its witches.
Galdir is the story of a Roman slave named Sextus whose journey through life takes him from the lowest ranks of society to the greatest heights as a Barbarian warlord. The novel is written in two parts. The first takes place in ancient Rome where Galdir is a slave in the days of Marcus Aurelius. After murdering his master for raping a young girl, he flees Rome. Frantic to elude his captors, he shaves his head to disguise himself. It is then he discovers the serpent tattoo on his head and begins the journey to discover its meaning and his roots. Slowly, Sextus, who soon learns his real name is Galdir, gains respect and rises to power as a warrior and war chief.
At each stage, the novel is full of intrigue and rich battle scenes. Despite all the fighting, the author writes every combat with rich detail, yet without exploiting the violence and gore. This makes the book palatable for both men and women readers. Written with great detail, the novel is engrossing and full of action. A wonderful tale of adventure!
I have no idea how historically correct this book is and I don't care.
Its a great read and I would say falls somewhere in style between Cornwell and Scarrow.
The main character is flawed, perhaps not as much as in Cornwells novels and much of the focus is on friendships rather than enemies again, like Cornwell. The action and pace is more like scarrows books and though it is perhaps a Roman pulp novel, it drew me in and had me sitting on the train at Liverpool Street for an extra couple of minutes to finish the chapter before getting off.
The violence is graphic enough to appreciate the casual use of weapons, but also doesn't assume that just because the tribes are termed as barbarians, they are all barbaric.
I have to say that I went into Galdir as a read with certain expectations. The title led me to expect a tale of a Roman slave who had somehow become independent and the struggle that would ensue. Such was entirely the case but only for the opening sections of the book.
What Galdir is, in fact, is the tale of a German (Frankish) captive, freed from slavery by his own hand going in search of his birthright, claiming it and then turning upon his former captors. Plot wise I will say no more in case of spoilers, but I will say three things:
The writing is impeccable. Smooth and easy, with strong descriptive, Galdir is easy to become lost in.
The plot plumbs reaches that are not commonly covered by writers of ancient fiction and therefore is of value on that count alone!
The one thing that worried me as I read was where the story was going to lead and how it would conclude. I could only see two possible solutions: a drifting, meaningless descent into mediocrity or a horribly trite (and historically inaccurate) hero wins out against impossible odds situation. I was delighted to discover a direction taken late in the story that escapes both and finishes it beautifully (and coincidentally elegantly sets up a sequel.)
Don't expect a Roman novel. That's not what this is. But go into it with an open mind and be drawn into a world of barbarian splendours.
I can't remember the last time I read a book that wasn't about country matters, my own personal preference. I certainly can't remember the last fictional novel I read .. probably a re-visit to Tolkien's epics two decades ago. When I asked Fredrik Nath to review a short book for me, he told me I would have to read one of his first and sent me this novel. I have to admit to an inward groan .. but a deal is a deal. I owe Fredrik Nath a huge, huge thank-you. As a non-fiction writer I had long forgotten how to read rather than write. How to relax and escape into a different time and different world. Within twenty pages I was sucked in. After four days, picking this tale up in every spare moment, I finished and decided I needed to download the series. For me, reading the work of others is normally about learning and I resent time spent idly. This was not time spent idly. The weave and weft of historical data threaded around this story of escape, personal discovery and martial ascendancy made me think Mr Nath must be a historian? I was wrong, read his Amazon biography. That, in itself, is interesting. Particularly for those of us who try to write around a 'day job' as this author does. An inspiring story, eloquently told. Why wasn't my school history curriculum like this?
Really enjoyed this book. I actually only downloaded it because of the price and was pleasantly surprised. I think there are some pretty unfair reviews out there... This book has a great story, likeable characters and enough pace to keep you engaged. I have read sooooo many Ancient Rome books, most of which I have enjoyed, some I haven't (& haven't finished) but this book was a refreshing change, reading the Ancient Rome era from the opposite side. I am looking forward to reading the next book. I am glad I got the kindle version though, I think the book covers are dreadful!