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After Rome: A Novel of Celtic Britain
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After Rome: A Novel of Celtic Britain

3.16  ·  Rating Details  ·  428 Ratings  ·  98 Reviews
Anarchy rules in Britannia as the Roman Empire collapses,
and two men fight to build stable lives among the chaos.

After more than four hundred years of Roman rule, the island its conquerors called Britannia was abandoned—left to its own devices as the Roman empire contracted in a futile effort to defend itself from the barbarian hordes encroaching upon its heart. As Britann
Hardcover, First Edition, 336 pages
Published February 19th 2013 by Forge Books (first published February 9th 2013)
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Community Reviews

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Colleen Martin
Mar 19, 2013 Colleen Martin rated it it was ok
I'm a third of the way through and NOTHING HAS HAPPENED YET. My god, what a boring book.

Update 3/11/13: More than halfway through and STILL nothing happening. Jesus Christ, what's a girl gotta do to get some plot around here??

Final update (thank god) 3/19/13: What a disappointing, uninteresting waste of time. Disappointing because Morgan Llywelyn has been on my radar for a few years, she being a preeminent author of Irish historical fiction, but I've gotta say, if her other books are as lacklust
Shelley Fearn
Mar 04, 2013 Shelley Fearn rated it liked it
I see that not many have reviewed this novel and I wonder why? Llywelyn writes a credible story of Britain in the years following the end of Roman occupation. Perhaps they don't find the derring-do or romantic adventure found in books about the Roman legions or the days of Arthur. But in reality life was hard and to many it bordered on apocalyptic.

That's precisely what I found so interesting about the book. Dystopian literature is hot right now -- just look at Cormac McCarthy's The Road or eve
Mar 07, 2013 Kara rated it it was ok
Shelves: history-ancient

After a beautiful prologue describing the history of England from the Ice Age to the Fall of Rome in lyrical prose and exquisite detail, we are then taken on a tour of the most boring apocalypse ever!

Because make no mistake, the Dark Ages were the very definition of a post-apocalyptic world, and Llywelyn has researched and reported on that world here to the last detail, but Nothing. Happens.

I'm sorry, call me old fashioned, but I demand my books have plots.
Mar 29, 2013 Judy rated it really liked it
This was an interesting book about Britain after the last Roman Legion left. It was actually NOT about King Arthur. I would recommend that any tea partier who thinks no government is a good thing read this book since it shows what happens to ordinary people when there is no law and order.
Mar 04, 2013 Sally rated it it was ok
Shelves: ipad, arc
This book started out great with 2 very different characters, cousins, with long standing differences, but who complement each other. The last Roman legion has left Britain and civilization is tumbling. If you're one of the people trying to cope, what do you do? Gather an army and become a king? Or work with others to create some security. Well, with such a great beginning, the plot really disappointed me. Why did Dinas have to fail? Why didn't the cousins get together? And why include the horse ...more
Jan 30, 2015 Mimi rated it it was ok
Llywelyn, who has written several books I've greatly enjoyed, addresses an interesting question. What happened in Britain when the Romans left? How did the people address living in a power vacuum? Unfortunately, she wrote a book with a big plot vacuum, so it isn't well answered. It is a question I will continue to contemplate, though.
J.S. Dunn
Apr 11, 2014 J.S. Dunn rated it it was ok
Below expectations, from an author who long ago had a part in my interest in early Ireland. Llywelyn should have stayed with writing for the young adult market, her watered-down versions of Irish myth where one fears the cliches will include a Disneyesque leprechaun tapping away on a shoe under a toadstool. The Prologue and Author's Note contain factual errors. One look at the Select Bibliography shows the obvious: this author has not read any research before the 1990s and much of it from the 19 ...more
Steven Malone
Apr 05, 2013 Steven Malone rated it really liked it
Though a nice enough read, After Rome: A Novel of Celtic Britainis not my favorite of her books.

After Rome takes place in the years following the Roman Legion's with withdrawal from Britain in 410 B.C.E and shows the dangers and decisions faced by the Romanized Britons left behind in a now crumbling and defenseless nation.

As the two main characters struggle to rebuild a semblance of life and safety they gather allies and try to stay alive against the elements and encroaching Anglo/Saxons.

I felt
May 05, 2013 Carolyn rated it really liked it
Great book!
What happens to society when civilization breaks down? I see from previous reviews that some took it as a pro-government involvement book, but I guess I saw it differently. The Roman government so completely took over Britain, that, once the legions left, the people were completely helpless and in desperate need of guidance and good old fashioned work ethic. Also, the book refers to the fact that the Roman government did not take the threat of dangerous outside tribes seriously until
Joe Kendall
Feb 13, 2015 Joe Kendall rated it really liked it
So upon starting this book I was nervous. I had read some of the reviews and saw a lot of negative ones and very few positive. I have read many of Llywelyns books now and have enjoyed all of them, but I started this one with cautious expectations.

Now this book may not be one of her best ones, but I'm not really seeing what people were complaining about. Maybe they don't understand how historical fiction books often work. They aren't necessarily action packed with a huge battle scene at the end.
Apr 28, 2014 Gordon rated it liked it
I was somewhat disappointed in this book since the author is a well known major award winner. This is the first of her books that I have read.

The strength of this book is in the strong characters. The two main characters are interesting and captivating. The supporting people and horse are sufficiently weird that they fit the time period.

The time period information is interesting but not detailed enough.

There was a lot of conflict with various ethnic groups but I felt there was no central confli
Rio (Lynne)
May 02, 2013 Rio (Lynne) rated it liked it
Beautiful cover. Great premises for an amazing story. I have not read about this time period and I really looked forward to sinking my teeth into a new era. It started off interesting, but never actually went anywhere. I wanted more from the characters, who's personalities showed so much potential. Their stories had hope, but went flat. Too bad.
Apr 15, 2013 Diantha rated it it was ok
I kept reading it for the description of England and life after Rome left,but I found the plot lacking and the story ran out of steam. Cadogan was the more interesting character of the cousins. Even the "mystery" of the murder felt tacked on. Disappointing
Missy Sherriff
Apr 26, 2013 Missy Sherriff rated it it was ok
Interesting setting with incredibly accurate research and two main characters brimming with potential....but the story never really comes together. The entire book, taken as a whole, feels more like the preface to an actual tale.
Nov 28, 2015 Finn rated it really liked it
I don't get all the negative reviews for this book. It's unlike anything I've ever read (which is a good thing) and I liked it. The description was particularly well-written and was a character by itself. People are saying that nothing happened, but I disagree. In a life like the one portrayed in this book, your everyday activities can seem pretty boring and non-eventful. And that's how she wrote it, but with a grit and realness that captivated me and held my interest.
I liked Cadogan the best,
Stephanie Elieson
Aug 19, 2015 Stephanie Elieson rated it liked it
I was very intrigued by the setting being the UK after the fall of the Roman Empire, and the subsequent departure of all Romans from the area. It left England and surrounding areas without the leadership, engineering, education, products and money of a system that had controlled everything for centuries.
It wasn't much of a page turner for me. We followed two cousins with personalities that were polar opposites. Both interesting stories, however I can't stand going from one perspective to
Mar 10, 2014 Eliz rated it liked it
i enjoyed this book but I suspect the author did not understand her audience, or else she likes to keep her literary jokes to herself way too much.

Dinas, is riding around with a fake holy grail in his saddle bag, goes to Tintagel, gets into a war with Gorlois, etc. This book is very much hitting the whole Uther Pendragon part of the Arthur Legend right in the heart.

Meanwhile his cousin Cadogan is slowly building the future with his town of mini-forts and fitting into the society that is, not w
Jan 28, 2015 Kathy rated it really liked it
I had read this book before, probably in 2013? Anyway, many people dislike the book. I liked it enough to get through it yet a second time. Why? The history and authentic feel of real life events without a great, dramatic plot for the main characters to play out in some heroic manner. Pretty good trick to allow people of that time to survive in the most challenging circumstances and manage to let life happen. I think that goal was successful. I must admit that I admired the "Lion" book by this a ...more
Becky Norman
Jan 26, 2014 Becky Norman rated it liked it
I am a Morgan Llywelyn fan from way back. Way, way back. I adored Bard, Grania, Druids, and Lion of Ireland - they're some of my favourite books of all time. Yet her newest contributions have fallen short for me and I'm beginning to think it's because she's trying to condense too much into a shorter novel. I don't feel like I know the characters as well as I used to, and consequently I don't care about them as much.

After Rome, like the title suggests, take place in the years after the Romans re
Finally, after years of meaning to try Morgan Llywelyn's writing and luckily for me she published After Rome in February and I figured it would be a great place to start with and it was.

While the book turned out to be different from what I thought it would be I still enjoyed it for what it was. Books set in Britain during the tumultuous time when the Romans vacated the island aren't all that plentiful so I'm glad to have found this one.

The novel follows two cousins over a period of five years wh
Elizabeth Parsons
May 05, 2013 Elizabeth Parsons rated it did not like it
I hated this book. I could barely finish it. The characters are boring, static, and one-dimensional, there is no discernible plot, and the writing at times feels like I'm reading a high-school history textbook. Plus, about two-thirds of the way through the book, there's suddenly a three-year gap in events--not that I'm complaining, because if Llywelyn had included details about those three years the book would be even longer and more boring.

Also, Dinas annoys me to no end. He has less forethough
DH Hanni
Apr 18, 2013 DH Hanni rated it liked it
More like 3.5 stars. This was an interesting book with interesting characters. The book follows a pair of cousins, Cadogan and Dinas, who have very opposite personalities and who approach life very differently. The story is set in the UK after the Romans have left the area and as the Saxons and other 'barbarians' start invading. Once glorious Roman made cities are completely destoryed and there is no longer and centralized government.

Cadogan lives by himself in a house he built himself in the h
Jarl Anderson
Jul 08, 2013 Jarl Anderson rated it really liked it
This is an apocalyptic story: bands of survivors try to eke out an existence after civilization has collapsed. However, in this case, the apocalypse is not the result of a nuclear war or zombie holocaust, but the collapse of the Roman empire, and the effect that it had on those who were "left behind" in Britannia.

As with other books in Llywelyn's more recent work ('Brendan,' 'The Greener Shore'), this novel is experimental and stripped-down, more of an exercise in mood and history than plot and
May 30, 2013 Shari rated it really liked it
Llywelyn is always a good read. She makes the past live and her Celtic novels are the best of their kind.

The disappearance of the Roman legions and administrators from Britannia left a void where a rule of Roman law and society had been absolute. They withdrew in force and left the island fair game for the restless barbarian societies looking for land and power.

The collapse of society's structure left the Britons shocked and dazed, unprepared for the resultant formless society that remained. Tho
Sep 28, 2013 Raymee rated it liked it
After Rome is a historically interesting novel of aftermaths and new beginnings. The power vacuum of Rome Leaving Britannia is a rich backdrop for the main characters, who’s positioning in these events made me want to keep reading to see where they may go, and how their particular story turned out.

Some of these peoples are those formerly in power with the Romans sorting out where they now stand. Others are the disenfranchised who see new opportunity, or invaders sensing plunder in chaos.

Nov 11, 2013 David rated it really liked it
One of the most interesting (at least to me) periods in history is that of Post-Roman Britain, often called the "Dark Ages." Not a lot of historical information exists from this period so many writers take it upon themselves to visualize what life was like. Morgan Llywelyn does it very well. Her world is at once dark and forbidding while at the same time filled with the promise of greater things to come. She tells the tale through two cousins, once close but driven apart by events. Llywelyn desc ...more
Raymond Just
Jun 22, 2013 Raymond Just rated it it was ok
It's hard for me to give Ms. Llywelyn less than at least three stars on anything she writes. She's an amazing storyteller and has had a prolific career writing engrossing novel about the sagas of Ireland in various eras of history. Perhaps that it why After Rome falls a bit short - it takes place in Britain, not her own beloved Ireland, the first time I can remember her moving away from the Emerald Isle. The writing is deft, as usual, and the characters unique enough. But there is no real depth ...more
Lisa Horne
Dec 16, 2014 Lisa Horne rated it it was ok
Not my favourite of Llywelyn's books, but still enjoyable She paints a pretty vivid picture of post-Rome Briton, and the chaos that Rome's departure left behind, but it's pace is quite slow, and the characters are just not engaging. I can think of few characters who annoyed me more than Quartilla.
She's an excellent author, but sadly, this book does not reflect that. Give this one a miss, and check out her other ones, like Grania, Red Branch, and Lion of Ireland.
Coleen Dailey
Dec 02, 2014 Coleen Dailey rated it it was amazing
I have enjoyed every book she has written. This book is set in England right after the legions have pulled out and what the people have to do to survive. Maybe it will lead to another series that deals with English mythology as opposed to Irish. I recommend this to anyone who loves to read history.
Neill Smith
Nov 07, 2013 Neill Smith rated it really liked it
After the last legion left Brittania, civilization changed, at first slowly and then with greater speed. The local officials, British but trained by Rome, tried to carry on as they had been taught but without the legions to enforce the law small bands of local raiders began to loot. This was intensified by the influx of foreign plunderers: Saxon, Scoti, Picts, and others. Set against this background is the story of Dinas with grudges coming from his broken family and a desire to become a king, a ...more
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Morgan Llywelyn (born 1937) is an American-born Irish author best known for her historical fantasy, historical fiction, and historical non-fiction. Her fiction has received several awards and has sold more than 40 million copies, and she herself is recipient of the 1999 Exceptional Celtic Woman of the Year Award from Celtic Women International.
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“In the long run, the fall of one civilization is very much like the fall of another. Only the land remains.” 0 likes
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