After Rome: A Novel of Celtic Britain by Morgan Llywelyn
After more than four hundred years of Roman rule, the island its conquerors called Britannia was abandoned-left to its own devices as the Roman empire contracted in a futile effort to defend itself from the barbarian hordes encroaching upon its heart. As Britannia falls into anarchy and the city of Viroconium is left undefended, two cousins who remained behind when the imperial forces withdrew pursue very different courses in the ensuing struggle to unite the disparate tribes and factions throughout the land.
In Morgan Llywelyn's stunning medieval novel After Rome, passionate, adventurous Dinas recruits followers and dreams of kingship. Thoughtful Cadogan saves a group of citizens when Saxons invade and burn Viroconium, then becomes the reluctant founder and leader of a new community that rises in the wilderness. The two cousins could not be more different, but their parallel stories encapsulate the era of a new civilization struggling to be born in the Middle Ages.
Not a fantasy, but a real depiction of life in Dark Age Britain
Morgan Llywelyn is one of my favorite authors. That being said, this wasn't my favorite book of hers, but I still enjoyed it. I like how she handles the beginning of the Dark Ages in Britain after the Roman legions leave. There is nothing to tell us what really happened, and her story, how she shows what the people must have endured, is believable enough. Dinas is a flawed main character and that's okay. People aren't perfect. I liked Cadogan better, but he wasn't perfect either. That's probably what I like about Ms. Llywelyn: she keeps it real. What I had a problem with was the comma errors, lots of them. I still recommend this book for historical fantasy readers, especially those interested in Dark Age Britain.
Kelley Heckart, Historical fantasy romance author