Set in 33AD, this is the story of Boudica, the last defender of the Celtic culture and the only British warrior to have stood successfully against the might of Imperial Rome- and triumphed.
Boudica: the last defender of the Celtic culture; the only woman openly to have led her warriors into battle; the only British warrior to have stood successfully against the might of Imperial Rome- and triumphed. This is her story. It is also the story of the two men she loved most: Caradoc, outstanding warrior and inspirational leader; and her half- brother Ban, Roman captive, slave auxiliary and Dreamer- the Druid whose eventual return to the Celts is Boudica's salvation.
It is 33AD, and Breaca, the red-haired daughter of one of the high- born leaders of the Eceni tribe is on the cusp between girl and womanhood. She longs to be a Dreamer, a mystical leader who can foretell the future, but having killed the man who has attacked and killed her mother, she has proved herself a warrior. Beside her is Ban, her half- brother, who longs to be a warrior, though he is manifestly a Dreamer, possibly the finest in his tribe's history. Having saved Caradoc, the future war- leader of his people, who has been shipwrecked on the Eceni shore, Breaca and her family travel to his father's court, where they are betrayed, and Ban is sold into slavery in Gaul. Believing Breaca to have been killed, Ban swears vengeance on Caradoc's tribe, then focuses on staying alive in an alien land where even to admit to being a Celtic Dreamer is to invite instant death.
Ten years later, Ban, whose skill as a horseman has enabled him to join the Roman cavalry, finds himself as part of the new emperor Claudius' invading army. Across the Medway, British forces face the Roman legions. At their head is Breaca, leader of both the Eceni tribe and the warriors of Mona, Britain's bravest fighters. Against her, a key member of Claudius' cavalry elite, is Ban, hatred burning in his heart, vengeance on his lips. Both are unaware of the other's existence. Both are prepared to fight to the death.
DREAMING THE EAGLE is full of brilliantly realised, luminous scenes of real power, as the narrative sweeps effortlessly from the epic- where battle scenes are huge, bloody, and action-packed- to the intimate in which a closely observed scene between two lovers is movingly described. This is a big book with big themes: the clash of opposite cultures, bringing with it the end of a society with its beliefs, moral codes and spiritual values. It describes with total authenticity and a searing intelligence the way we once were, while pointing forward to what we have become.
“'The best in the current crop of novels about Rome, its empire and its victims ... never sentimental and always tough-minded'”
Roz Kaveney, Independent
“'Every so often, a book comes along that totally remoulds a historical figure for our own times ... massively impressive'”
Jane Jakeman, Scotland on Sunday
“'A powerful novel, alive with the love, deceit, wisdom and the heroics of humanity'”
Jean M. Auel
“'Utterly convincing and compelling ... A stunning feat of the imagination and an absolute must-read'”
“'An extraordinary work ... exciting and intriguing, taking you into a world where unbelievable danger and cruelty sit side by side with magic, spirituality and profound human relationships'”
“'Manda Scott has created a fictional universe all her own, but close enough to our reality for it both to warm and break our hearts. Breathtakingly good, it reveals the best and worst in all of us'”