Review for Awesome Indies by Elizabeth Jasper
South of Burnt Rocks – West of the Moon by G J Berger
As the Roman army trundles across Iberia in search of slaves and gold, the Celtic population is forced to either stand and fight the invaders, or flee to new lands. Against this background, eleven-year-old Lavena prepares to become a feared female warrior, dedicated to protecting her people against the invading Romans.
The daughter of tribe leader Sinorix, Lavena is expected to learn how to work the land, to develop strength and fortitude and, as a ferocious female warrior, to lead her people into battle against the Romans should it becomes necessary. When governor Piso is recalled to Rome and a new governor takes his place, the precarious peace between the Romans and Celts is broken and the Celts are forced to defend their village, to no avail. Lavena escapes and seeks help from nearby villages, where she discovers the Roman army is once again on the move.
Written with an engrossing breadth of detail about the Celts and the Romans, with a sympathetic slant towards the people on both sides of the conflict, and with a depth of knowledge that he imparts effortlessly to the reader, G J Berger has written a compelling story of adventure, fortitude, revenge and love. The main characters stand out against a supporting cast of well-drawn minor characters. Pacing is superb, driving the reader onwards. G J Berger’s writing style is direct and pared down, as befits a book of this nature. Descriptive passages are moving and show very well how the landscape is used in Lavena’s fight against the invaders, and the animals – -horses and dogs, add an extra dimension to the story.
For any reader who loves to sink into the distant past, this is a story that will not disappoint.