South of The Burnt Rocks West of the Moon by G.J. Berger
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. A B.R.A.G. MEDALLION HONOREE
South of the Burnt Rocks West of the Moon is a story of historical fiction set during the Roman era in Iberia and vividly portrays the Roman’s vile and hostile methods of conquering and ruling. While some authors choose to portray the Roman’s in a romantic manner, G.J. Berger does not.
A young and innocent 11 year-old Lavena, daughter of the village leader, witnesses the horrific death of an elderly farmer by the brutal hands of a Roman soldier. This was just the beginning of Roman brutality in Iberia and for Lavena.
A few years later, the Roman army is seeking out gold, slaves and women for their use and monetary gain destroying and killing. Forced to flee her home by attacking Romans, Lavena becomes the Iberian-Celtic she-warrior that legends are made. Lavena becomes a one woman army making a stand against the cruel and mighty Romans that killed her family and friends and destroyed her home.
“Gracchus looked at the armed men standing at the tent flap. They seemed to nod gently. They too had been spooked by unseen ghosts cutting down soldiers …”
Like locusts, the Roman army is a plague on all villages. Seeking help, Lavena fines one village that knows of her father. Hoping to band together, Lavena remains. During the night the village is attacked by a small contingency of Roman soldiers leaving all village adult males dead and their women vulnerable. Lavena steps into leadership role easily and becomes the she-warrior that Romans come to fear in the months ahead.
“Never has our land had such a warrior.”
Leading a small army of 5, Lavena begins her crusade of picking the Roman army off – one soldier at a time. Cunning and wit allows Lavena and her small band of warriors to make the Romans take notice and build a strong ally among the Iberian villages for the final battle.
Berger builds on lust, greed and desires of an empire that is infamous thus creating a strong story line. Berger has impeccable character development connecting the reader to all characters both main and minor. I found Lavena to be fascinating and very personable. Even with Marcus, a roman soldier, I connected to his pain of having his faith and belief ripped away and his need to find something or someone to believe in.
This book will have you looking at women differently, seeing their strength and resiliency. The writing style is fresh and direct but not overwhelming. This author and book is a B.R.A.G. Medallion honoree.
WordsAPlenty gives this book a 5 star review.