…”Vengeance comes not slowly either upon you or any other wicked man,
but steals silently and imperceptibly, placing its foot squarely on the neck of the bad…” Euripides
The story of Britain’s first Celtic Queen is the stuff of legend.
That Boudica was also a wife and mother has been overshadowed by her prowess as a Warrior. Chronicling the events of her rise and fall from grace in 60 CE, Roman biographer Dio Cassius said of her….”She was large of frame, terrifying of aspect with a great mass of red hair that fell to her knees. She wore a great twisted golden necklace and a tunic of many colours, over which was a thick mantle, fastened by a brooch. Now she grasped a spear, to strike fear into all who watched her.”
That this Queen, wife of Prasutagus, King of the Iceni – a Celtic tribe who existed in the southern part of Britain known as East Anglia – rose to the ranks of power and prestige was notable on its face. That it confounded and angered the Roman Empire’s newest Emperor, Nero, was something that would not go unnoticed…or unpunished.
After the death of Prasutagus all bets were off. Leaving his empire to his two daughters to rule after his demise, as was the culture of the Iceni, Nero was enraged. Women were not fit to rule over anything other than a household and his itch to do away with these Iceni women had to be scratched once and for all.
With the continual gang-rape and flogging of Boudica and her daughters Heanua and her youngest Lannosea, Nero was of the opinion his message had been understood. He allowed the release of the trio only to be confronted once more in short order. The Iceni people still revered Boudica and considered her their Queen and as such she and her girls took up arms, in brutal fashion, against the dictatorial rule of Rome.
While fighting valiantly the Queen and her eldest, Heanua were captured. Lannosea eluded capture but was close enough to witness the savagery the Roman’s perpetrated on her mother and sister before slitting their throats. At that point an anger arose in her that would carry her through the grisly battlefields of East Anglia and beyond, combine forces with the fighting Druid clan and into the very bosom of Roman power.
During the first siege she meets Andrus of the Druids, a fiery colonel and a love affair for all time ensues. When he is captured by the Roman’s and taken to the seat of power in the region, Camulodunum, Lannosea has the opening she has been looking for in that she will find entrée and purpose in freeing Andrus and exacting revenge for the deaths of her mother and sister.
Lannosea’s ultimate protector comes in the visage of Iceni god Gallorem. She has awakened him from his centuries long slumber with her tears and strengthened him with her rage. His own power knows no earthly bounds.
Posing as a slave girl Dominica, she caught the eye of the sitting Governor of the region of Camulodunum, Suetonius Agricola, great-grandson of the revered and feared Gnaeus Julius Agricola who held the title before him. Suetonius was reportedly even more brutal than his ancestor; his reputation that of a depraved beast; an image that was quickly fomented in a series of brutal public executions. The one thing that beguiled him the most, however, was the slave girl Dominica. He was totally obsessed with her and would hear no reason coming from his beloved mother or trusted advisor, both of whom were suspect of the new concubine.
The story weaves its way, like a thread through the finest silk, defining and revealing the intricacies of love, betrayal, torture, passion and ultimately vengeance in a time in history when there were no rules.
The rural landscape and topography of this time in early Britain is rife with illness, intrigue, deceit and betrayal.
The cast of characters are rich and deeply drawn eliciting hatred of some and pity for others. Through it all Lannosea, in the end, gets exactly what she came for…and more.
The ending will not disappoint.