A collaborative effort of seven authors, A Year of Ravens tells the tale of the Iceni Queen, Boudica and her rebellion against Rome. While the cause and effects of the war are admirably presented, it is the characters that drive this emotion packed, soul searching, heartstring tugging story(or rather stories). From the beginning the readers are treated to a seamless transition from author to author and the way each of them puts their own marks on the growth of each character. Time and time again I was drawn into a character’s mindset and felt the pain, the remorse, the confusion, and even the occasional joy being experienced. One, of the many examples I could choose, of a character’s journey through the book is the fictional wife of the Roman Procurator. Valeria as introduced in the first chapter is a cold as ice Roman matron whose only ambition is to promote her rather timid husband’s career. What she experiences in subsequent events is so beautifully written as to elicit some tearing up even to this old curmudgeon. Also on display are the realities of war and the cruelties inflicted by men(and women) madly entrenched in the rightness of their cause. Whether it’s shield wall action or the rampant, wanton destruction of a town or village, the battle scenes are bloodlust filled events punctuated with the sounds of sword on sword and the screams of the dying.
By way of summation, let me say, from the very beginning with the Intro by Ben Kane to the very, very end with an afterword from each author, this book is a testament to the creative genius of seven wordsmiths. 5 stars