Winner of the Jean Boujassy Award from the French Société des Gens de Lettres in 1981
Her name was Boudicca. Beautiful, high-born, fascinating to the Romans with her flaming red hair and gravelly voice and fiery spirit, held in check only by the caution of her royal husband as the legions of Imperial Rome under Claudius Caesar marched over Albion. Yet as the English rebel chiefs fell one by one, only Boudicca was left to lead a desperate people in history’s proudest and most passionate fight for freedom. But this is so much more than just the story of that great lady. A fiercely proud, mystic people, the Celts fought for three generations to hold off the Roman conquest in a bloody struggle to maintain their way of life.
This vast panoramic novel flows from tribe to tribe, from mountain chieftain to warrior queen, from the mists and dripping oak forests of Albion – as Britain then called itself – to the Roman court of Claudius.
“[Pauline Gedge’s] uncommonly splendid gift for storytelling is again supreme… She gives us the daily life and landscapes of Celtic Britain with an almost psychic immediacy.” – Toronto Star
“It is history… it is life… there is simply no laying it aside until the end.” – South Bend Tribune
“…a glorious journey through a time and a place shrouded in the mists of history…” – Wichita Falls Times
“…a novel of majestic sweep, splendid assurance and controlled imaginative power…” – Publishers Weekly
“A tremendously moving portrait of a people who have long since disappeared – entertaining, knowledgeable… Gedge is a writer who can weave a spell with words.” – The Montreal Gazette
“A well-researched and fascinating saga.” – Ottawa Journal
“A grand saga of love, deceit, loyalty, betrayal, honour and defeat woven together in an engrossing and haunting portrait of the death of a wild, rich and ancient way of tribal life.” – Quill & Quire
“The author has brought to life a vivid company of Celts and Romans who stride through her novel as large as life.” – Savannah News
“Through the artistry of her creative imagination [Pauline Gedge] has once again brought the history of an ancient culture brilliantly to life in a vast panoramic novel about Celts in first-century Britain.” – The Horn Book, Boston
“Time is rolled back 2000 years in this fascinating tale as a little-known period is brought to life.” – Nashville Tennesseean
Pauline’s notes on Eagle
Having basked in the phenomenal success of my first published novel, watching its acceptance in one country after another, I realized suddenly one day that I HAD TO DO IT ALL OVER AGAIN. Horrors! Another book had to be written, but about what? Something you know, according to older and wiser writers than I.
But did my subject have to be based on the aggregate of my own experiences, or could it include characters I knew through interest and study as with Hatshepsut in Child of the Morning? Of course it could.
I made a deliberate choice in Boudicca, the doomed leader of the last serious revolt against the Roman occupation of Britain in the first century AD. I had always loved the famous statue of her and her daughters and her chariot in London. Rumour had it that the sculptor who created it hanged himself when he realized that he had forgotten to give the horses reins.
Anyway, I began some serious research. Before long I became equally fascinated by the Celts in Britain who had begun the fight against Roman encroachment many years before Boudicca attempted to end it.
Novels had been written about this particular period of history, but almost exclusively the story had been told from the Roman point of view. I put myself into the minds of the Celts instead, and got to work. The resulting novel has become a favourite for many of my readers, and it’s a labour of which I’m very proud.
The Eagle and the Raven has been translated into French, German, Dutch, Spanish, and Czech.