Skip to main content

Centurion's Daughter by Justin Swanton

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
348 Pages, August 1st 2011, Arx Publishing 

Her Frankish mother dead, 17-year-old Aemilia arrives at Soissons in Roman Gaul in search of her Roman father whom she has never met. She knows only that his name is Tarunculus and that he is a former centurion. 
She finds an old man fixed on the past, attempting in vain to kindle a spark of patriotism in his dispirited countrymen. Soon, Aemilia is caught up in her father's schemes to save the Empire and the intrigues of the Roman nobility in Soissons. 

In the war between Franks and Romans to decide the fate of the last imperial province, Providence will lead her down a path she could never have imagined. Written and illustrated by master storyteller Justin Swanton, Centurion's Daughter is a thoughtful and compelling journey to a little-known period of history when an empire fell and the foundations of Christendom were laid.


Interesting book covering the fall of the Western Roman Empire in the fifth century, or more specifically, the fall of Roman France (what was left of it) to the Franks, the people who gave their name to the country that was to be established in place of the ancient Roman province that have been called Gaul.
The story is told from the perspective of a girl who is caught between both worlds, the daughter of a Roman Centurion, and raised in the villa of a Roman Aristocrat, Æmilia is however, half Frankish, and her knowledge of the Frankish language makes her useful as a translator- but also causes her to be subject to suspicion and discontent.

In one sense, it is the story of a young Lady struggling to survive in a society that clings to the old ways that seem doomed to die out, but to nonetheless hold onto and protect all she holds dear; her father, her faith, her love of books and learning.
Yet she could only fight for so long, and eventually must learn to accept the new order. One part coming of age story, perhaps in another sense, but also a sold work of historical fiction in its own right, with plenty of realistic details, and is obviously well researched.

Had I not heard in a documentary recently that the Romans built apartment blocks, I might have thought the references to these an anachronism- but it is not so. There’s even a element of Romance, and the characters face realistic challenges and moral dilemmas. Is it better for Æmilia to protect and defend the culture she knows and lives, at all costs, or be prepared to embrace the rule of the Franks? Is it better to remain loyal to her potentially treacherous employer, and risk the consequences, or reveal all, which could also prove detrimental? How can she please a father determined to do all he can to fight in what may ultimately be a hopeless cause, and whose loyalty to Rome verges on fanaticism?

My only real historical complaints were some terms and phrases which seemed rather modern. Also, the prayers to Mary may be an issue to non-Catholic readers- though I tend to accept these as a reflection of the time, and some rather odd manifestations of her faith every now and again. However, for those seeking a solid historical novel, which is not the usual Romance and perhaps requires a little more attention, it may be a good choice. I would certainly read more by this author, who is working on another book. A King Arthur story might be good.....

I was given a copy of this book by the author for review. All opinions expressed are my own.


Popular posts from this blog

Blog Tour and Giveaway: The Perfect Bride by Debbie Lynne Costello

Was C.S Lewis racist?- Exploring 'The Horse and His Boy'

In recent years some people seem to have made much of certain content in some of the books of C.S Lewis 'Chronicles of Narnia' series. Specifically 'the Horse and His Boy' which was the 3rd book chronologically, and 'The Last Battle' which was the 7th and final book.
Both these novels feature characters who hail from the land of Calormen (see map below right) a hot and arid country to the South of Narnia, known as the Calormene. These people are dark-skinned, and many wear turbans or headdresses and carry scimitars, in contrast to the generally fair-skinned Narnians.

These Calormenes have been the cause of much controversy as people have concluded that they are obviously based upon Arabs or other Middle Eastern people, and their religion seems to resemble Islam in some ways.
C.S Lewis, best known today as the author of the 'Chronicles of Narnia' has been subjected posthumously to much criticism for his inclusion of dark-skinned Asian like people in the Na…

Blog Tour and Giveaway: A Song Unheard by Roseanna M. White

Shadows Over England #2 January 2nd 2018, Bethany House, 418 Pages Print, ebook, and audio 

Willa Forsythe is both a violin prodigy and top-notch thief, which makes her the perfect choice for a crucial task at the outset of World War I—to steal a cypher from a famous violinist currently in Wales.

Lukas De Wilde has enjoyed the life of fame he’s won—until now, when being recognized nearly gets him killed. Everyone wants the key to his father’s work as a cryptologist. And Lukas fears that his mother and sister, who have vanished in the wake of the German invasion of Belgium, will pay the price. The only light he finds is meeting the intriguing Willa Forsythe.

But danger presses in from every side, and Willa knows what Lukas doesn’t—that she must betray him and find that cypher, or her own family will pay the price as surely as his has. 
Click here to purchase your copy!

My Review 
I think I enjoyed this book more than that last one. The plot was strong, suspenseful and full of intrigue in…