What an amazing read. Geraldine Brooks stunned me. I love historical fiction that teaches me about history inside of a great story, but this book exce...moreWhat an amazing read. Geraldine Brooks stunned me. I love historical fiction that teaches me about history inside of a great story, but this book exceeds expectations all around. The book is about a five hundred year old book, and the history of the people whose lives intersected with the book. The present day protagonist is Hanna, an Australian rare book expert sent to Sarajevo to work on Sarajevo Haggadah which was saved from Serbian shelling by a Muslim librarian. As Hanna investigates the book, the story jumps further and further into the past, where we see the book menaced in other times and places. Sarajevo in World War II, Vienna in the time of the Empire, Venice in the waning years of the inquisition, Spain during the expulsion of the Jews, and finally in Muslim Spain. Hanna has her own journey, which is often painful. Her story has the most complete arc. The historical episodes have well drawn characters, but they come and go. Hanna's discoveries about the book lead into each of these vignettes. Since we are going backwards in time, we get background information about people and events that we've already read about. And Hanna's story is told chronologically, so we have two time streams, going in opposite directions. (less)
This is the story of Boudica told with a pagan worldview. Some people have prophetic dreams. Others have visions of the dead, even if they are wrong a...moreThis is the story of Boudica told with a pagan worldview. Some people have prophetic dreams. Others have visions of the dead, even if they are wrong and the person didn't really die. That's it as far as magic goes. Read this as historical fiction, not swords and sorcery fiction. Though there are plenty of swords.
Scott gives us a wonderful rendition of pre-Roman Britain. I kept wondering how much she made up and what she researched. There are no written records from the British side, only from the (highly biased) Roman side. At the back are notes on her (extensive) research. Scott used archeological finds to bring to life what life was like for these people. She does indeed make up things in order to create a story about Boudica, the woman warrior who defied Rome. She has to, the record is sparse.
Dreaming the Eagle is a very engaging story. This is the first of four books, and follows Breca from 12 years old to a 20-something warrior. Scott does an impressive job of creating tension even though the reader knows the Romans will invade, when her characters do not.
Some of the book is from the point of view of one of Breca's people who is living in Roman Gaul. They even get some emperor time with Caligula.
A solid start to the four book series, I'll be reading the rest.(less)
This is a big story, with a long, slow build, and quite delicious. And very evil. Simmons does a great job of writing with the cold-blooded voice of W...moreThis is a big story, with a long, slow build, and quite delicious. And very evil. Simmons does a great job of writing with the cold-blooded voice of Wilke Collins, the father of the modern mystery and friend of Charles Dickens. When I got to the climax, I was ready to give this 4 stars. The ending didn't do it for me. Too predictable. But Simmons fooled me, there was more to come, and I loved it. If you like 18th century writing, Charles Dickens and horror, this may be a perfect book. Amazing voice, great characters, especially Charles Dickens, and a wonderful, if tragic, story.(less)