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The Eagle and the Raven
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The Eagle and the Raven

4.15 of 5 stars 4.15  ·  rating details  ·  880 ratings  ·  71 reviews
Spanning three generations, this historical novel tells the tale of Boudicca, the most famous warrior of ancient Britain, and Caradoc, the son of a Celtic king, who sets out to unite the people of the Raven and lead them against Rome.Caradoc's objective is not easily accomplished as the Roman army advances into Britain, raping Celtic women and burning villages to the groun ...more
Paperback, 704 pages
Published October 28th 2007 by Chicago Review Press (first published 1978)
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Kate Quinn
I normally avoid historicals if they contain the words "sweeping" or "three generations" - but this book deserves both without irony. It tells the story of the Roman invasion of Britain, first opposed by the less well-known Caradoc whose guerilla tactics might have been successful if he'd had better luck, and followed by the revolt of the better-known Boudicca. The characters are complex and moving, the battle scenes wrenching, and the history meticulous. Caradoc is a moving hero, a man determin ...more
One of my managers at the bookstore recommended this book to me, I had no idea who Pauline Gedge was and when I did my research I just found a mediocre wikipedia entry; normally I wouldn't go for a complete unknown author but a book about Celtic Historical Fiction is sort of hard to disregard.

Well, to my delight the Eagle and the Raven turned out to be extraordinary, Pauline Gedge may not be a certified historian but she's got her facts straight. Moreover, the way she writes this book is so incr
rating: 2/5

Finally finished. *sigh of relief* My take on this novel is... complicated, outweighed by the negative.

Maybe I came in with too many expectations knowing it would be about Caradoc and Boudicca. I was expecting guerilla resistance, battles, struggles of a people against a domineering, invading empire, all the stuff that usually gets my literary blood pumping. It did provide that in some form but it just didn't work for me.

Overall, it was long and over-descriptive (except when portrayin
If 4.5 stars were an option, I would give this book 4.5 stars. I cannot do things that way so this book is only getting four stars. The first fifty or so pages were slow going. I am not very familiar with this particular time period or the Britannic tribes of this era. I had to focus on some of the names and places before I could continue on with the story. Once I familiarized myself with the different names and places the book moved along rather quickly. (view spoiler) ...more
Laurentiu Lazar
What pique’s your interest in reading a book? I know mine is aroused by the cover picture and blurbs. Oh, and reviews, which I often avoid since they seem to always leak crucial information, so lethal that kills the mood from the get-go. Recommendations are another source. Long story short, we all have our own criteria of selecting books and more or less those are mine. Therefore, judging The Eagle and the Raven just by the cover and blurbs will mislead you to believe that this novel is about Bo ...more
The theme of the book was freedom of the Britons, in the face of Roman invasion and occupation of Britain. I liked that the Roman invasion of Britain was presented from the British tribes' points of view for a change. I saw how they possibly would have interacted, got a feel for some of their culture and sympathized completely with them. After many years, Caradoc asks Plautius--the two have become friends: "How would you feel if this country [Rome] lay under the rule of the tribes who had taken ...more
Atrapada Enunashojasdepapel
En definitiva, una novela imprescindible para cualquier amante del género histórico que logró cautivar a innumerables lectores en su día, y que estoy muy seguro que hará disfrutar a todo aquel que se acerque a ÁGUILAS Y CUERVOS, pues así es como la llaman.
Zena Ryder
I loved this book. The characters are complex and well drawn, and ancient Britain under the Romans is very well described. Without turning the Romans into evil caricatures, Gedge does a brilliant job of motivating the urge for rebellion. Personal relationships, even of some of the relatively minor characters, are completely believable and very moving. She also handles the magical beliefs of the Britons very well. You can get into their skin and see it as they see it, without the author injecting ...more
Victor Bruneski
I wasn't sure if I should give this a 4 star or a 5 star. Let me start off with one problem that a lot of people have with the book, which is really unfair.

I rate the book 5 stars but the book jacket (the one I have anyway) -5 stars. The cover picture looks like you are reading a romance novel, but that's not the worse part. The blurb on the back have some vague thing about Boudicca. People going into this book think it is about her, when it's not. She is a minor character until about the last h
Got through 15% of this book and I am giving up. It is the worst HF book I have read in a long time. This book is very long and the 15% is like one third of a book of average length. Yet I do not feel any closer to the culture or to any of the characters. The book is about some jumble of relationship of some indistinct characters, but the actual details about the culture that I would be interested in are missing. It has a feel of some theatre play, whose plot could be set into just any era, it i ...more
A long-out-of-print book picked up in 2004 via Abebooks. It has a lurid Celtic-style cover and the jacket copy raves on about Boudicca: "Warrior Queen ... She defied the brutal might and seductive corruption of Imperial Rome ... She was the flame-haired Boudicca, Queen of the Britons" etc. etc. Actually the book is not about Boudicca at all -- she only plays a really significant role in the last hundred pages or so. The story starts in AD 32, just before the Romans' second invasion of Britain, a ...more
What an amazing, amazing book.

Pauline Gedge manages to recreate a pre-Roman England (Albion) that feels so alive and so real, which is a skill that few historical fiction writers have, particularly in a setting so far removed from us today. The story she creates is fast moving, keeping me glued to the pages, but she still has a way of packing an emotional punch – I was in tears by the last pages.

I was expecting the story to be more focused on Boudicca, based on the book cover, but I don't neces
A great novel if you like historical fiction. The author really makes the past come alive, and the story seems to be carefully researched. This is a must-read for anyone wanting to learn about Britain in Roman times, a subject not really covered in American schools. In fact, I've read extensively on the history of the Roman Empire, and believe that it should receive much more attention in World History classes. The novel format makes the historical information "go down easy." This book has adult ...more
HIghly recommended to all anglophiles and those who enjoy historical novels. I couldn't put it down. First century Celtic Britain comes alive in this account of the struggle of the freedom-loving, passionate, and barbaric Celts to throw off the yoke of Rome. The Romans were pretty barbaric in their own way as well. Love them or hate them, the players on this stage are so fully realized that you feel you have known them for years. Graphic violence, love, honor, military strategy, religion and cul ...more
Carrie Slager
When I read this book I was, of course, expecting it to be about Boudicca. The blurb and the cover made me expect it to be an epic saga about the warrior queen who led the doomed rebellion against Rome. Yet out of the 892 pages of my edition of The Eagle and the Raven, I would say that less than 200 of them are actually about Boudicca. Most of the novel is about Caradoc (usually called Caratacus), the man who led a failed rebellion before she did. Boudicca’s actual rebellion doesn’t start until ...more
I finished reading this book last month and gave it a four star rating. But I realize now that it was definitely an awesome 5 star read for me. At least once a day something will happen or I will read something that reminds me of the characters and I miss them! I want to read it again.
Shelley Schanfield
I was completely absorbed in the world of Albion that Gedge created. The characters were very complex--sometimes I liked them, sometimes I didn't, but my interest in their fates never flagged. Ifound Gedge's descriptions of the strategy and tactics of both the tribes and the Romans utterly engrossing. The ensuing battles were also well done. They gave a flavor of the horror of war without overdoing it. I rarely give 5 stars, but I might for this one.

Hit all the marks I look for in historical fi
Okay, what did I just read? I normally have a high tolerance for books, but I’m seriously not sure what that was. This is billed as a fictional account of Boudicca, though she doesn’t play any major part in the story until way past the 3/4 mark; which, with the book being close to the 700-page mark, is quite an accomplishment. Instead, we chill out with the family of Caradoc, a prince and later chieftain of one of the southern Celtic tribes.

This is fine; Caradoc’s story is fun and engaging, tho
Very little is written about the Roman takeover of Albion. I don't know a lot about this angle of Roman history at all, so The Eagle and The Raven started off slowly for me. During the first several chapters, I found myself looking up people and places with every turn of the page; there is a lot to keep track of. And Gedge has a tendency to overwrite. Much can get lost in her beautiful yet dense descriptions so one must read slowly and pay close attention--it's not a book you can just breeze thr ...more
The most beautiful book I've read in a long time. Magically in it's scope, a real tour-de-force. The writing is full of dark, beautiful, whispering lyric and completely original. The style of prose is some of the best I've ever read. The history is just amazingly potent. Damn! This story made me feel and I was thoroughly immerged. It's really for the greater part about Caratacus the Boudicca unlike blurb says, but she finishes off the book with her specular death, and I felt a kindredness with h ...more
Rachael Pruitt
This novel is one of those rare books that literally changed my life. I read it when it first came out in the seventies & was enthralled. I had heard of Boudicca when I was a child & knew a little bit about Caradoc & the Roman conquest of Britain, but it was this novel that opened my eyes to the power of the ancient Celtic world and the haunting, true story of an entire culture's struggle for freedom. Gedge's portrayal of the ancient Druids (and the Druid's island sanctuary of Mona, ...more
I had no prior knowledge of any of this history, so I loved learning new things. I was profoundly impressed with how much Roman culture has transformed society, even to the way we think. I know, that's what my history teachers have been telling me for years, but this book made me see it.

The writing was clear and intense in many parts. Not every character was fully developed, but I felt sympathy and connection with those that were. It is a long book, but I never felt bored by it.
after reading some good reviews and then reading some SCATHING reviews of this, I gave it a shot anyway. it was -eh-. (random: I always judge a book by its cover, and this is one of the few times I have been misled. the thrust of this book is not on Boudicca, but on Caradoc, er, a man.)

so, the women were deadly awful. despite showing promise in the beginning. their characters are not developed AT ALL, and they are completely one-dimensional, up until the point at which they DRAMATICALLY transfor
Raiveran Rabbit
Jul 17, 2010 Raiveran Rabbit rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Hardcore historians and fans of UK cultural history. No one else.
Pauline Gedge is a wonderfully rich author. The historical details and backgrounds she provides are breathtaking. It only stands to reason, then, that when she writes of pure tragedy, it is also terribly vivid. Unfortunately, when she does tragedy, it's awful. This book started out interesting, but from the beginning has a steep and dark descent. By about 2/3 of the way through this book, you will heartily wish you had never picked it up and clapped eyes on the first line. While there are intere ...more
Apr 17, 2012 Lynda rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those interested in Celtic/Roman England
Recommended to Lynda by: A special friend who also read historical fiction
Shelves: literature
It's years since I read this book, but it's unforgetable. The vividness of the prose has stayed with me all these years. I still recall details of the peaceful life prior to the Roman wars; especially the storytelling traditions of the peoples, festivals they celebrated, travelling through the forests when hunting. The relationships of the principal characters as they developed and matured were memorable too; believable for the times in which they lived yet timeless in that it was so easy to und ...more
The Eagle and the Raven by Pauline Gedgec is an excellent story about the primitive people of Britain and how they struggled against the disciplined legions of Rome. The leaders change from the charismatic and intelligent Caradoc and his beautiful wife, Eurgain; to Venutius, the spurned husband of Aricia; to Boudicca, the fiery red-haired queen of the Iceni. Battles rage throughout the saga and the sorrow of the defeated implants on one's heart the meaning of freedom that is sometimes lost in sp ...more
I loved this book. I become interesting in Boudica first by reading "Dreaming the Eagle" by Manda Scott. While this book was mislabeled, stating it was about Boudica, it was really about Caradoc then the general uprising against Roman. She didn't really come into her own fierce rebellion to almost the end of the book. This isn't a book about her if that's what you are looking for.

However, it was a fantastic historical fiction based on those times of rebellion and overthrowing the Romans that inv
Well, I got to page 440/891 and Boudicca has been mentioned, what, 3 times? Horribly slow, the same details are repeated over and over again (Samain anyone?) and just not worth my time sticking it out for the rest of the book.
Lovely Rita
I love love love this book so much. I've read it a few times and just started reading it again. After the first time I read it, I did some research to see just how much of the book was fictionalized. Much of it is, out of necessity - not much is known about Caratacus/Caradoc. There's a bit in Tacitus but that's about it. I did like that the story told here is at least possible and I think does an excellent job of explaining why Caradoc made one particular historical choice. Caradoc's reasons for ...more
Brutal! Beautiful! This a great historical fiction novel. I didn't know anything about the time period in which the book is set. Now, I want to learn about the Roman empire was destroyed in the end. They were vicious. I suppose the French, Spanish and British took their lessons from the Romans when they started conquering the world. The main theme is freedom and what that really means to everyone. What is more precious, freedom or civilization? Another topic explored is humans' need to conquer a ...more
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I was born in Auckland, New Zealand, on December 11, 1945, the first of three girls. Six years later my family emigrated to England where my father, an ex-policeman, wanted to study for the Anglican ministry. We lived in an ancient and very dilapidated cottage in the heart of the English Buckinghamshire woodland, and later in a small village in Oxfordshire called Great Haseley. I grew up surrounde ...more
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“... but now men who could work preferred to beg, and the artists forgot that their calling was noble and became imitators instead of creators, charging exorbitant sums for the rubbish they churned out with one eye closed.” 3 likes
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