Sunday, February 13, 2011

A review of Black Widow

I just got a lovely review of Black Widow from P.L. Crompton, author of the Last Druid. I still can't get over the fact that we were both writing about the same period in history--the end of Rome in Britain--at the same time. The Last Druid is a beautiful imagining of people, culture and life at the end of Roman rule, and the author's research just makes it all the more real. (Click on the link for my review on Gather.) There's a strong female character, real danger and prejudice and empowerment, Druids who simultaneously intrigue, enthrall and frighten, and a world that comes to vivid life. I really enjoyed it.

Meanwhile, there's Black Widow--a short novella set in similar days. P.L. Crompton says of Black Widow

In historical novels, attention to detail is important. When the author adds myth—a form of history unproven—reading pleasure increases tenfold. Black Widow meets all expectations. Excellent writing combined with first-class research made reading a joy. The images of daily life are vivid, and glimpses of a past known only from myths are strong.

Although Roman and Greek historians wrote extensively about Boudicca, Sheila Deeth takes us behind the scenes. Through Nimuẽ, the warrior queen's sister, a sorceress, we see the devastation the conquering Roman army wrought—not just to the Celtic way of life but to their beliefs and to their gods.

That is the background, but this is Nimuẽ's story. Ignored by most historians and overshadowed by her illustrious sister, she comes alive.

Nimuẽ has a lover with greater powers than her own, and she begins to look upon him as a god. But gods betray. When he pays attention to new crucified god, the betrayal rankles and it places distance between them. He changes, but so does she as she explores darker abilities that change gentle Nimuẽ into a woman feared.

Does the betrayal cause the change or is it the destruction of gods no longer revered? With many twists and turns, and names we recognize, Ms. Deeth takes us on a intriguing 500-year journey to find the truth and Nimuẽ's redemption.

I'm overwhelmed and delighted. To be praised by someone who knows the period so well and writes about it so wonderfully! Thank you so much!

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