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Saturday, September 19, 2009

Warrior's Princess by Barbara Erskine

Category: Historical & Contemporary Paranormal (Dual time lines)

Pages: 560

Copyright: 2008


Rating 4 Crowns

Book Blurb

Jess, a teacher in London, is attacked by someone she fears knows her well. Fleeing to her sister's house in the Welsh borders to recuperate, she is disturbed by the cries of a mysterious child.

Two thousand years before, the valley below the house is the scene of a great battle between King Caractacus, leader of the British tribes, and the invading Romans. The proud warrior is captured and taken as a prisoner to Rome with his wife and daughter, the princess Eigon.

Jess is inexorably drawn to investigate Eigon's story, and as the Welsh house ceases to be a peaceful sanctuary she decides to visit Rome herself. There lie the clues that will unravel the mystery of Eigon's astonishing life - but which threaten to draw in ever more closely Jess' own tormentor. Compelled to follow Eigon's journey as she grows from disoriented girl into a striking woman with the powerful gift of healing, Jess, like her heroine and nemesis, takes

risks which put her and all who love her in terrible danger.


When anyone ever asks me that difficult 'who's your favourite author' question, I always answer Barbara Erskine. She's the writer I credit with giving me a love/obsession with the history of the United Kingdom and the time-slip novel. She's a master story teller who always writes about women who are on a turbulent inner-journey. The historical characters who populate her novels are people whose emotions are so powerful and experiences are so traumatic they reach forward from the past and infiltrate the life of the heroine in the present. It's magic!

Needless to say, I approached writing my first Barbara Erskine review with caution because there had been so many Amazon reviews that compared this novel to the author's first and most popular novel, Lady of Hay. The fact is, it isn't Lady of Hay but it is one amazing novel in its own right and because of that, does not deserve the comparison. This book is gutsy, edgy, historical, contemporary and paranormal - an author who successfully achieves this deserves the accolade!

If you're ready to try something just a little bit different with your ancient historicals then sink your teeth into Rome during the time of the Emporer Nero. This was an incredible time in history when Christians were murdered for their controversial belief in just one God. Climb down into the pit with the terrified and defenseless and experience the horror of the Gladiator arena, discover the Emporer's motivation for his grissly 'Roman Candles' and the persecution of St Peter. But most of all, take the opportunity to see the world through the eyes of Eigon, a captive Celtic Princess and Erskine's historical central character. She is flawed and damaged but within an inspiring inner-strength.

She is a perfect match for the modern-day central character, Jess. Actually, Jess is the reason I believe so many reviewers have compared this book to Lady of Hay. Erskine did a fantastic job of writing a modern-day storyline that was as interesting as her historical one. She pulled off a perfect marriage of plot-lines. If she was writing in the present she'd end on a cliff-hanger and flip to the past and vice versa. Very clever, very effective and very Erskine.

The ghost story element in this novel is strong (this seems to be the author's adopted style since House of Echoes) however I didn't find it too suspenseful. It kept me turning pages but wasn't an intimidating read that gave me nightmares and left me traumatised....I couldn't read it if it was! If you are concerned or uncomfortable with the ideas of spirits, reincarnation, psychics etc then take that into consideration before reading this novel. If you're like me and are a little fascinated by these topics, then pick up this book!

If you haven't started reading Barbara Erskine before, I recommend reading Kingdom of Shadows or Lady of Hay. Her books are stand alone titles mostly if you'd prefer to find so
find something that appeals. Barabara Erskine doesn't just write about people, she writes about the invisible threads that connect us all and I do love to wrap myself in her tangled web.

Visit Barbara Erskine @ her website or follow her on Twitter!

Princess of the Past

Visit Annie @ her blog Reading, Writing & Ranting


lilly said...

You know, I had not heard of this author before you mentioned it. And I start to think what a shame it is. I will really have to check her out.

K said...

Lovely Review. I haven't heard of this author before. The book sounds really interesting..will add to my list.
Thanks Annie

The Book Resort said...

What an incredible review, Annie. I really felt the emotions you endured both reading & writing this review.

I will make sure to add this to my book order.

Thanks, Annie!

The Book Resort said...

Thank you, Annie, for the fun week. I learned a lot & have new books to add to my shelves.