Sunday, December 4, 2016


No, Daughter of Albion is not a non-fiction biography of someone born in New York's medium-security women's prison. It is a historical novel, by first-time author Ilka Tampke, of a young woman in Great Britain, known as Albion in ancient times, and her spiritual journey to be the equivalent of a high priestess of the Druids as the island comes under attack from the Romans during the reign of Claudius. The book alternates between elements of the supernatural and the prosaic daily life of the inhabitants; while the narrative never completely catches fire, it does hold the interest, and some aspects of the British society of the time are brilliantly--and timelessly--drawn. The class division of modern Britain has extremely deep roots, as this book demonstrates, and the debate between those that were determined to resist Roman encroachment and those trying to accommodate them is both realistic and timely.
There is going to be a sequel to this book, which is going to be somewhat hard because everyone that features prominently in this book other than the heroine dies. And I have to say that while it is a worthy effort, it does not pass the test of superb historical fiction; at no point does the reader ever forget that the Romans eventually conquered what is today England and Wales. A good historical novel introduces serious doubt even regarding known outcomes.

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