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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

After Rome: A Novel of Celtic Britain by Morgan Llywelyn

After Rome: A Novel of Celtic Britain
Anarchy rules in Britannia as the Roman Empire collapses,
and two men fight to build stable lives among the chaos

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.

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.
Summary & Cover taken from
Length: 336 pages (Hardcover)
Available Formats: Print/E-book
Publication Date: February 19th 2013 by Forge Books      
Finally, after years of meaning to try Morgan Llywelyn's writing and luckily for me she published After Rome in February and I figured it would be a great place to start with and it was.
While the book turned out to be different from what I thought it would be I still enjoyed it for what it was. Books set in Britain during the tumultuous time when the Romans vacated the island aren't all that plentiful so I'm glad to have found this one.
The novel follows two cousins over a period of five years when the Romans abandoned their outposts in Britania and is told in alternating points of view. One cousin Cadogan is the thoughtful, quiet and responsible one burdened with to many responsibilities but he thrives on that in a way. The other cousin Dinas, is rather close minded, rash, impulsive and very self absorbed. The cousins are as different as different can be and they aren't close so their stories intersect only twice during the telling of After Rome and on very different terms.
While the book was a slower read and didn't have that sense of action, adventure and drama that I had been hoping for I thought it was a unique read because I was able to see two very different ways of life in Celtic Britain being laid out before me in the pages of After Rome and I learned quite a bit about Rome, Britain, the Celts the politics of the time and how ordinary men and women lived during the time of such great political upheaval.
The fact that I was drawn into the story as though the book was playing out in film before my eyes is probably the best thing about the book. I felt like I had been transported to the time and place the novel took place in and it was as though I could see the city of Viroconium being pillaged and the horror on the citizens faces when they realized that their homes were gone and they had to look to a reluctant Cadogan. It was nice to see a book written about ordinary citizens who had to deal with the hands they were dealt and parts of it especially the story of Dinas towards the end of the book.
There were some things that I didn't like about the book such as how unexciting it was and the arrogance of several of the characters like Dinas for example drove me crazy but at least the majority of the book seemed to be told through Cadogan's eyes. I also would of liked to have seen more written about the Celts in the book.
Other than that I thought the book was enjoyable if you want a slower historical fiction read and I've found that the switch up from a fast paced historical fiction novel was nice and I thought this was a nice introduction to Llywelyn's writing style and I look forward to reading more of her books soon.
I would recommend this to people who like slower paced historical fiction where they can learn more about the background behind the story because Llywelyn presented the novel in a way that she teaches the read a lot about the life and times of the people who once lived in Britain.
Liked it!
To visit Morgan Llywelyn Website CLICK HERE
To purchase the book via Chapters Indigo CLICK HERE
To purchase the book via Amazon CLICK HERE
To purchase the book via Kobo CLICK HERE
To purchase the book via The Book Depository CLICK HERE
To purchase the book via Barnes & Noble CLICK HERE



  1. This era is relatively new to me. I just read snippets of it in one of Susanna Kearsley's novels but I think I'd like to learn more. This one is for me.

    1. I hope you enjoy it when you get a chance to read it Mystica! Thanks for dropping by.

  2. Fantastic review. Its great you got to learn so much about that time period and enjoyed the book at the sametime :)

  3. I read a few of her books a few years ago and enjoyed them so yes why not :D But then those books were old so maybe the style has changed

    1. I still have to give her old books a try but I'm really looking forward to them now.

  4. This sounds like an interesting book. It's certainly a time in history that isn't written about very often.

    1. It's a shame isn't it? I hope more writers choose to write about that time period. I think there's a lot of readers out there that would love to see it happen.

  5. I haven't read an awful lot about this time period, this one sounds interesting and I am glad you liked it.

    1. It was interesting, I thought it was really cool to get a glimpse of the past.


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