Book Title: Hadrian's Wall Reviewed By: Rachel A Hyde Written By: William Dietrich Genre: Historical Midlist AD 368 Publisher: Harper Collins ISBN: 006563710 Date: March 2004 Price: hardcover $16.97
This is a story about the strange things that happen on the edge of the world--and that is how Hadrian's Wall appears to the Romans who have to man it. When Valeria comes from Rome as the wife of the newly appointed tribune Lucius Marcus Flavius it sparks off a chain of tumultuous events. To Marcus, marrying her will get him to post he desires but in doing so he ousts the more deserving veteran Galba Brassidias from a position he has worked for all his soldiering life. Over the Wall there is Arden Caractacus who hates everything about Rome and who lusts after Valeria too. One Wall, one position as commander and one woman--but three very different men.
There is a compelling feeling of life on the edge in this novel--not only the edge of the Roman world, and the edge of the Celtic domain but also the edge where the Roman Empire ends and the Dark Ages begin. Perhaps there is nothing new about the basic plot, but respected historical novelist Dietrich knows how to tell his tale, and this is a seething cauldron of passions as the three very different men battle it out to win the fair Valeria and whatever else they desire. Valeria has her own agenda too, and these four characters are interesting enough to carry the story without a cast of thousands. The device of having flashforwards to the inquiry after the momentous events of the actual story does spoil a few surprises and slow up the action (a bit like the adverts? No, not quite as contradictory) but there is still plenty to enjoy. Dietrich knows how to pack his tale into a modest length of pages, and the combination of history, romance and action make this is story to appeal to both sexes and those who like a variety of different fictional genres. Highly recommended.Rachel A Hyde
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