Friday, 5 July 2013

An Accidental King

Familiarise Friday has something different today. I'm not interviewing any character/s from someone's novel but I am posting a review that I've just written for Mark Patton's novel- An Accidental King- launched today (5th July).

I will, hopefully soon, be interviewing some character from the book for Familiarise Friday - since there are plenty of great characters in the novel - but I'll have to ask for Mark Patton's permission first!

I thoroughly recommend that you rush off and buy your copy of this 5* novel if you haven't already done so.

79 AD.

As he approaches the end of his life, Tiberius Claudius Cogidubnus, the native-born but loyally pro-Roman client king of Britain, looks back on the thirty-six years of his reign.

He recalls how, as a young man, he was seduced by the grandeur of Rome and the beauty of the written word; how he was befriended by the Emperor Claudius, and by the Roman General, Vespasian, later to rule as Emperor himself.

He remembers the difficulties he encountered whilst trying to mediate between the British aristocracy and Roman officials who were often cruel and frequently corrupt.

Most significantly he reflects on the Boudiccan revolt of 60/61 AD, which he tried to prevent, and in the course of which Britain was almost lost to Rome.
Roman Britain. One man. His fate.  

My views on the novel, having literally just finished reading it.

An Accidental King  - 5 stars

An incredibly fabulous novel!

Mark Patton weaves a fantastic tale of the life of King Cogidubnus, Great King of the Britons. Details of the era, approximately AD 43 through AD 79, are excellent- vivid, evocative and often brutally frank in their descriptions of the horrendous violence of war. A pro-Roman client-king, Cogidubnus recounts his relationships with Rome and his fellow Britons, and highlights the fine line he had to take as both a priest and as a king. Essentially a peacemaker, and not a warrior, Cogidubnus recalls the stories of many other characters, interweaving their relevance to choices he made at different points in his life and how circumstances changed those characters.

Mark Patton kept me, as a reader, on my toes as he dots back and forth during the time period covered feeding important information about particular well-known people and events. The addition of poems and quotations adds anticipation to the coming events. I loved the expressions used to identify seasons in pre-Roman terms -‘Shoot-show’ when the bluebells pop up’ and the names chosen for characters. Beautiful phrasing made a lovely impact - ‘sailed across the wine-dark sea, traversing the hidden highways of the fish’. Mark Patton paints a very vibrant picture, of the pomp and ceremony of Rome; and of the good and less good Governors and important Roman personages who spent time in Britannia. He indicates the power of suggestion some conniving and dangerous Druids held over the Celtic peoples.

Having read Mark Patton’s novel, Undreamed Shores, it was very neat how he reveals a line of descent right back to Amazai, the main protagonist in that earlier novel.  If I write any more I will stray into the realms of writing ‘spoilers’ and I always try to avoid that! Only by reading An Accidental King, yourself, will you truly appreciate the wealth of historical detail that is bound up in this fantastic fictional tale of Cogidubnus.  

My very best wishes to Mark for the launch of An Accidental King. 



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