Ravens of Avalon by Diana L. Paxson

This is the sixth book in Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Avalon series that started with The Mists of Avalon. I’ve always enjoyed Bradley’s writing and picked that book up a while ago. Paxson finished up the series when Bradley died. I happened to see this book at the library when it first came out and picked it up, even though I hadn’t read all the intervening books.

Published: 2007

Genre: historical fantasy

Length: 394 pages

Setting: first century Britain

Summary: The Romans are invading Britain, which causes problems for the Druids and Priestesses. Despite all their efforts on Mona Island and the war chieftain Catarac’s work in Britain, they fail to unite all the tribes of Britain and push back the invaders. The main characters are Boudica and Lhiannon. Boudica starts out as a student on Mona, but decides not to become a priestess. Instead, she is married to Prasutagos and becomes Queen. They have a wonderful life together until Prasutagos dies. At that point, the Romans step in. To fight back, Boudica becomes a channel for Morrigan, Goddess of the Ravens and war. Lhiannon is a senior priestess who fights with Catarac and eventually Boudica to drive out the Romans. While she ultimately fails, she does survive to keep the druidic teaching alive.

Final thoughts: A good book that was very well written. I was sucked right into the lives of multiple characters. Good historical novels like this always make me wonder what I would be doing if I lived back in this time period. While it did have a sad ending, it was historically accurate. It also fit the mood of the book and the idea that the ruler had to make the ultimate sacrifice sometimes, for the good of the land.

Title comes from: the focus on war and the Morrigan, whose totem was the raven.

Reading challenges fulfilled: none since this is a review from a book I read ten years ago

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