Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Light Bearer” as Want to Read:
The Light Bearer
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Light Bearer

(Auriane #1)

by
4.21  ·  Rating details ·  1,228 ratings  ·  101 reviews
On the day of her birth, Auriane received a mysterious amulet from a priestess-and a doubleedged prophecy of doom and glory. The daughter of a Germanic tribal chieftain, Auriane witnessed unspeakable horrors committed against her people by ruthless invaders. And when tragedy tore her family apart, she took the oath of a warrior, and vowed revenge. Tales of her brilliant sw ...more
Paperback, 788 pages
Published November 7th 2006 by Berkley Trade (first published January 1st 1994)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
4.21  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,228 ratings  ·  101 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Lance Greenfield
It took me a long time to read this book, because it is a long book. It is way, way, way, way, WAY too long!

The story is great, but there were many times when I found myself wanting to shout a the words in front of my eyes, for page after page, "Just get on with it!" There was a long period during which reading this book reminded me of my marathon running days. I thoroughly enjoyed the overall experience, but it was sometimes a labour of love: between the 21 and 25 mile points. I suppose that e
...more
Ivana Books Are Magic
This novel opens up on the night of Auriane's birth. Her father? A known German warlord away fighting the enemy (that would be Romans). Her mother? Barely conscious from childbearing pains. Time period? During the rain of Nero the book says. So, you get the picture. It is going to be ancient Romans vs. German tribes kind of book. In other words, a historical fiction with a bit of gladiator action.

I'm going to jump ahead and say that the book is divided in two parts, meaning- the narrative occur
...more
Athena
Sep 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book every spring for several years, bought multiple copies as gifts and even emailed the author to express my gratitude. I still keep two copies on hand, just in case I need to give one away. I stumbled across this book when I had no particular inclination to historical fiction. It rocked my world, made me ask difficult questions of my own person character and helped me remember why I loved storytelling.

Donna Gillespie isn’t one of those writers who puts a book out every year, and
...more
Rick Slane
1000 plus pages of Roman-German historical-fiction from the time of Nero through Domitian.
Hazellie
Sep 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013-books-read
I first read this book in 1994, and I've loved it ever since. Initially, I re-read this book every year, but in the last five years, I've only read this book twice.

I've had so many new books to read that I don't need to re-read as much as I used to, but once in a while I would miss Auriane and Marcus, and want to read about them again. This time, I wanted to savor the story and read it slowly, I wanted to study Donna Gillespie's writing and maybe learn something from her.

But as I read, I forgo
...more
Andrea Olsen
I'm really interested in the history of Ancient Rome and my favorite way to learn about history is through a well researched historical novel. I enjoyed this book and learned a lot about the Roman Emperors, Nero and Domitian.
Half of the story follows the heroine, Auriane, through her struggles against the Roman invasion of the Chattian tribe, of which she is a warrior. I liked her character. Dispersed between Auriane's story is another subplot that takes place in Rome from the POV of Marcus Arr
...more
Pbwritr
Dec 23, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Eileen Anglin
Oct 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm eating this book up. I supposed to be reading reference books right now due to an upcoming class I'm teaching, but can't put this one down!

It's an epic story about Ancient Rome and the destruction of the tribes of Germania with wonderful characters. I actually came to tears or shouted a "YAY!" at a few points while reading this, and dear readers, that is a rare occurance for me even if I'm enjoying a book.

A richly-embroidered tale of war, vengeance and spiritual transcendence, of palace intr
...more
Michelle
Aug 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: general-fiction
This is an absolutely stunning work of historical fiction. I've never seen a thousand page book use each page so well. This book is 24 years old, and I first read it well over a decade ago. It's stayed in my mind as my favorite roman historical for a long time and I was shocked that on the re-read, I only liked it MORE. Many of my old favorites from the 90s feel outdated now, but this feels fresh with feminist overtones that fit neatly with the themes of contemporary books being published this y ...more
Rachel
Apr 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'M SOBBING AND HAPPY AND EVERYTHING OH THE RUSH

Auriane. Best protagonist I've read in a while. Brave, witty, determined...did I mention brave witty and determined? This was really what won me over. She had boundless courage. You won't read a passage in this book where she freezes up in fear. When she feels she's defeated, it's only because she's fought as fearlessly as she can fight. AND THEN FRIA COMES TO HER AND GIVES HER STRENGTH. She is motivated by revenge and the way she leads makes her a
...more
Clarice
Oct 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent! This novel was a true pleasure to read - very well-written with a wonderfully twisty-turny plot. The story begins in the time of Nero and shifts seamlessly back and forth between two young people from totally different worlds - Auriane, daughter of a Chattian war leader; and Marcus Arrius Julianus, a slave boy turned Roman senator and imperial adviser. Of course, their lives eventually cross.

Fans of traditional romance may be disappointed with this one. This is NOT a romance. It is a
...more
Catherinejeanhedge
Donna Gillespie writes with such rich language that she had me tumbling into her story. I traveled along with a feisty Germanic leader captured by the Romans. She made me cold in the bleak winter and sweaty in the Roman sunshine. A great adventure well worth reading. (Read it over Winter Break!)
Bryn Hammond
Jan 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: imagined-fiction
{present from sister} -- a paperback not yet listed here. Info on the author's blog: http://peninhand.org/2014/08/31/heres... -- Where she recommends we read either the Kindled book, or the 2012 paperback she has published herself. These are rewritten from the old novel I adored.
Summer
I really wanted to like this book. It's set in a time and place I'd like to read more about. The writing is pretty good too. The problem that it is very slooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooow. And right now I have a very short attention span. So after a while I gave up. Perhaps it picks up later on but I just didn't care to get through it all.
Diana
Nov 30, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
just couldn't get into this book..didn't want to waste any more time on it
Carinne Gee
This is one that's been on my 'to-read' list for years. I love long, epic, historical fiction. In many ways, it did not disappoint. I loved the details of the culture and beliefs of the Germanic people. I also loved the details of Marcus's life and rise from slave to Senator. I love seeing a long plot develop. However, much of the plot in Rome I found tedious. I didn't enjoy the detailed arena scenes. And, frankly the Roman characters were mostly horrible. Except for Marcus and maybe a few other ...more
Laurie D'ghent
Dec 10, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A really interesting book that taught me a lot about European history and the Colosseum. The most impressive part? It kept my undivided attention for all 1011 pages and fifteen days! Moderate sex (only because of the length of the book--it's not a constant issue).
Marika Ejby
Oct 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story was great but I must admit that it was very long. I liked the description of the characters and the scenery.
Sjoe
Aug 13, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-2018
intensive read, thick book, could not read it all the time, but although I'm not partial to rome or the "barbarians" it was a good book!
just found out that there is more =)
Ray
Feb 10, 2014 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sara
oh my goddess i finally finished it!
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
okay, guys. get ready for a very journal-y, stream-of-conscious, probably-unedited, incoherent review...

so you know what's so great about this book, that brings hope and light into my life? it's the fact that i started reading this book in august or september 2014. yes, you read that right -- 2.3ish years ago!!!! and for someone who has book ADD and can read many books at once, but then gets distracted by other books, the fact that i picked
...more
Kathy Filardo
Feb 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I can't say enough about how highly I rate this book. I have re-read it at least five times, which is itself the hughest accolade for I rarely re-read a book unless I truly adore it. This is one of those books that grip you from page one and doesn't let you go until the last word. I love all the characters, the feisty warrior seeress Auriane, her beloved philosopher Senator and peacemaker Marcus Julianus, who was never a pampered aristcratic of Rome, and embodies the best of his people, Decius, ...more
Nekobai
Jun 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Set in the first century B.C., the story centers on Auriane, daughter of a teuton chieftain living in the taunus mountains. After being foretold a militant future during her birth by a priestess, Auriane grows up relatively peacefully, with occasional fights between her father and the romans. However, the prophecy soon comes true and after the murder of her father Auriane has to prove herself as warrior. Aided by the friendship with a roman slave, she learns roman war-tactics and uses them succe ...more
Emily
May 03, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed reading this book, mostly because it was so long! It was full of suspense and intrigue, and the characters were likeable. Set during a volatile time in ancient Rome, it covers many years, and many emperors.

The problem with it though, was that the two heroes were perfect. The guy, an invention of the author, and not based on any historical person, had no flaws - like none.He was an academic, good looking, funny, muscled guy who was universally loved - the people who didn't like him wer
...more
Judith
Jan 24, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: paganism
This book beautifully illustrates the mores of both Roman and Germanic society. Auriane is a girl from the Chats (one of the Germanic tribes), who can feel the gods and goddesses surround her. The rushing of the wind through the trees is the laughter of Freya, the thunder in the sky an answer of Wodan. Rituals and divination are intertwined with day-to-day life, in the continuous battle against the Roman empire. Auriane has ideas to help them, but they lead her away from the normal life and norm ...more
Alissa
Mar 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This was much better than I initially thought it was going to be (I guess that is why you shouldn't judge a book by its cover...even if it does have a Celtic warrior princess on it). Gillespie is a magnificent writer who breathes life into her realistic and often flawed characters. She fills her well researched descriptions with the sights, sounds and smells of millenia past. I was also pleasantly surprised by the philosophical nature this book had and the author even questions (through other ch ...more
Renee
Jun 26, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think I read this around age 16, and at 1000+ pages, I think it is still the longest novel I've read. That said, I really think that it flew for me. Even in my teens, this novel was engaging enough to make me forget the fact that it was twice the size of most of the other books I read (I'm not squemish when it comes to larger novels, but most authors simply don't write them). I gave this four instead of five stars, because it seems to be a one time read. I tried to go back and re-discover it a ...more
Kara
Jul 15, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very long, meaty historical fiction novel about the daughter of the chieftain of an early Germanic tribe, the Chattians, as they try to resist being conquered by the Roman Empire. Admirable amount of interesting historical detail about the times and a main character that you care about enough to stick with her for 700+ pages as her life undergoes many trials and tribulations... there is romance in this book, and you root for it, but I found it a tiny bit lacking... not enough time spent on devel ...more
Kara
Jul 15, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very long, meaty historical fiction novel about the daughter of the chieftain of an early Germanic tribe, the Chattians, as they try to resist being conquered by the Roman Empire. Admirable amount of interesting historical detail about the times and a main character that you care about enough to stick with her for 700+ pages as her life undergoes many trials and tribulations... there is romance in this book, and you root for it, but I found it a tiny bit lacking... not enough time spent on devel ...more
Laura
Mar 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Laura by: Misfit, Selene
On the day of her birth, Auriane received a mysterious amulet from a priestess-and a doubleedged prophecy of doom and glory. The daughter of a Germanic tribal chieftain, Auriane witnessed unspeakable horrors committed against her people by ruthless invaders. And when tragedy tore her family apart, she took the oath of a warrior, and vowed revenge. Tales of her brilliant swath of conquest carried as far as Rome, to the renowned statesman Marcus Julianus-who felt his destiny intertwined with Auria ...more
« previous 1 3 4 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Goodreads Librari...: Content description in wrong language 2 16 Feb 27, 2019 03:23AM  
Ancient Historica...: Donna Gillespie 3 27 May 22, 2014 09:34AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Rhinegold
  • The Eagle and the Raven
  • The White Mare (Dalriada, #1)
  • Island of Ghosts
  • The Course of Honor
  • Selene of Alexandria
  • The Incas: A Novel
  • Gladiatrix (Gladiatrix, #1)
  • Kathryn in the Court of Six Queens
  • Knight Errant (Knight Errant #1)
  • Der König der purpurnen Stadt
  • Beguiled (Devoted, #2)
  • The Horse Goddess
  • Queen of the Amazons
  • Caesar (Emperors, #3)
  • The Wolf and the Raven (Wodan's Children #1)
  • Jocasta: The Mother-Wife of Oedipus
  • The Legate's Daughter
See similar books…
75 followers
Donna Gillespie is the author of two historical novels set in first century Rome, The Light Bearer (Berkley/Putnam, 1994) and Lady of the Light (Berkley/Putnam, 2006). The Light Bearer has been translated into German, Dutch, Russian, Italian and Lithuanian. An international bestseller, it was optioned by Hallmark Entertainment for a miniseries. Her second novel, Lady of the Light, is the sequel to ...more

Other books in the series

Auriane (2 books)
  • Lady of the Light (Auriane #2)
“Better a spirit that does not quite fit in this world than one that is broken.” 3 likes
“How quick, brutal, and fragile is life. You are born, you live a few years in wild hope, then you are dragged back into the night. You might have breathed on a little longer, had you not dared think yourself a human creature instead of an engine of muscle and bone.” 2 likes
More quotes…