David Boyle’s Roman Briton is the finale to the series of novellas about the famous British chieftain, Caractacus. Following the bloody defeat of his army, the novel sees him taken away from his homeland as a prisoner. His life and those of his people lie in grave danger. It will take all of his intelligence, strength and elocution to navigate the tricky politics of Rome.
Roman Briton brings to life thoughtful philosophers, menacing statesman and hardened warriors. A strong historical core runs throughout with real figures and real speeches blended into the narrative. Rome in her apogee provides a melting pot of characters who bring their varied worldviews to bear on the protagonist. Yet this perceived highpoint of the Roman empire will itself be questioned as the outsider Caratacus delves into the meaning and discourse of civilisation.
This concluding instalment draws a more reflective note as the tale of Caractacus comes to a close, but not without a last adventure far from home. Moving beyond the wars and conflicts of his younger days, mysterious forces seem conspire against him. Our now more dignified protagonist must look beyond the sword for solutions. While intrigue drives the story, the book is keen to remind us of the central importance of family, faith and justice. Caratacus is learning until the end and the book is a fitting end to an engaging series.