Author:  Jan Surasky

Publisher: Sandalwood Press

ISBN:  978-0-576-00367-2


Rage Against the Dying Light is a novel based on the legendary historic character Boudicca, the Celtic queen who fought the Romans. The author did enough historical research to discover that in fact very little was actually known about this character and in a forward she lets the reader know this.

As I began this book and collected histories on Celtic life, I found that many of them disagreed with each other. Although most held the same photographs of Celtic artifacts, found in archeological digs on the British Isles, interpretations differed.” (from the foreward)

And of course throughout all of  history, all around the world, interpretations differ depending on the perspective (and perhaps the motivation) of the various chroniclers of events. The best historical fiction is not, nor should it be intended as, a rote lesson in superficial, chronological facts of our past, but a probe into the psychological undercurrents that drove events. It is said that people who do not study history are doomed to repeat it, and the best study of history should probably include a fair amount of speculative fiction inspired by actual history in order to expand our understandings of why human beings do the things they do.  It is also said that history is written by the victors.

The Celts left us no written word.  We have an eye witness account of British Celtic customs written by Ceasar during his failed attempt to occupy their island about fifty years before Boudicca’s birth. We have the annals of Tacitus written about fifty years  after Boudicca’s death, and a history of Rome written by Cassius Dio one years later. Both contain descriptions of Boudicca and her rebellion.  These three are written from the point of view of the Roman conqueror.  I could only imagine how Boudicca might have lived. The facts of battle, not only Boudicca’s struggle to rid her beloved isle of the conquering Romans, but the battles of her contemporaries, Caractacus, Venutius and Cartimandua are faithful to the Roman accounts cited above. Following is her story.” (from the foreward)

The story that follows starts with Boudicca as a loving and cheerful teenage girl and walks the reader through her life and  the lives of her contemporaries in details that would have been inspired by visual arts, and familiarity with the landscape and the culture (including songs) as well as the reading of historical tracts. The amount of work that went into the research and writing of this speculative historical fiction is a tribute that honors  the culture of the Celts as well as  the character of their queen.

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