by Angela Hoppe Kingston
Apecs Press 2002
hb 0 9537267 8 9
is a Celtic princess whose father has been captured by the Romans.
She decides to try to rescue him with the help of her friend Brychan,
a clever pony called Llwyd and a magic mirror. She is able to
draw on her own affinity with the Celtic goddess Rhiannon, one
of whose tales from the Mabinogion is featured in the book.
has been written about the Romans and the way in which they conquered
and 'civilised' a large part of the modern world. When asked to
write a story about the Romans in Caerleon, author, Margaret Isaac
decided to tackle the story from the point of view of the Celtic
people who were being invaded. These people who had lived in their
country for thousands of years were faced with a hostile and disciplined
force, determined to conquer and assimilate them into an alien
(Roman) way of life.
of all, she asked herself what it must have been like to be a
Celt confronting the power and strength of a Roman Legion and
wondered how successful the Romans really were in defeating the
Celtic people living in Wales at that time? In seeking the answers
to these questions, the history of the Celts in Wales in the first
century A.D. was researched and some surprising discoveries made.
was an extensive network of hill forts covering Wales. It seemed
that here were the homes of an invisible people who had been forgotten
by time. They were an interesting people, inventive and self-sufficient,
lovers of music, art and poetry. They were a spiritual people
with a strong sense of law and order, amazingly clever horsemen
and women, ferocious and brave in battle and people with a strong
sense of family. Above all, they were men and women who were passionate
and proud of their Celtic identity.
so the story was written from the point of view of the families
who would have lived in the hill fort located in the south of
the Great Gwent Wood above Caerwent, called in the story, Pengelli.
The author has breathed life into the people she created and conveyed
some of the characteristics of the Silurian Celts who fought long
and hard to preserve their way of life. They were eventually conquered
by the Roman might. Or were they? The Romans left Wales in A.D.
410 leaving behind a people who had absorbed their cruelty and
barbarism and adopted some of their ways. They continued to enjoy
the Roman road systems and Roman central heating. But she believes
that their innate spiritualism and Celtic identity remained untarnished.