4 out of 4 stars
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Apollo’s Raven is a historical fiction novel written by Linnea Tanner. The first book in the Apollo’s Raven series, this novel is packed with fantasy, intrigue, magic, betrayal, and suspense, from the first page to the very last. The story is of love and betrayal between the Ancient Roman Empire and First Century Britannia.
Catrin is a Celtic princess of the Cantiaci Kingdom. She is just beginning to discover the mystical powers she shares with her Raven. Gifted with the power of foresight and being able to enter the mind of other living beings, Catrin discovers a fleet of Roman warships off of the coast of her kingdom. By the time she hurries to tell her father, King Amren, it is too late, as her father is already in a meeting with a Roman senator, Lucius Antonius. The Senator’s plans for Britannia are not all what they are made out to be and, during the meeting, things become heated when Lucius claims that Amren’s oldest son is the rightful heir to his throne, even though he had been banished years before for beheading two innocent children.
Accompanying Lucius on his trip is Marcellus, his son. Both King Amren and Senator Lucius agree to keep a hostage until they can come to agreeable terms both for the Celts and the Romans. Marcellus is to stay in his castle under Catrin’s guard and Amren’s oldest daughter, Vala, is to go with the Roman’s. It is not long before Catrin, so unused to feeling attracted to men, begins to develop feelings for the young and handsome Roman. These feelings are met by the love he also feels toward her, although mistrust and betrayal are always on both of their minds. How can they love each other, if they are enemies?
The story-line of this novel was wonderful. I felt trapped within it from the very beginning and could not put the book down. The settings are extremely well described and it is obvious that the author went to great depths to study both lore and history to make this book accurate. Even the politics with the Roman’s seems highly studied and thought through. The details are wonderful and I did not feel like there was anything missing from this story at all. It was so well described that I could feel myself being transported back to First Century Britannia.
Another thing I loved about this book was the complexity of the characters. Each had their own lives and different inner battles and, even though these are not described in too much detail, there is just enough to give these characters a very real feel. Even the secondary characters felt real, and not as if they were just there as fillers. I also like the way in which the author described the different cultures and their own beliefs and lore. The mixture of Roman and Celtic Mythology was perfect in my opinion.
I can honestly say, without any doubt, that this was one of the best books I have read in the past year. There is nothing negative that I can say about this story as it was so well written. Even though the book does end on a cliff-hanger, I can’t wait to read the next one in the series. All I can say is that Linnea Tanner has set very high standards as to what to expect in the second book and I hope that it is as good as this one was.
Overall, I rate this book with 4 out of 4 stars. I must warn that there are some violent scenes in the book and, even though they are not too detailed, there are several hints that may not be to the taste of everybody. There were also a few scenes of a sexual nature and some harsher insinuations of rape, although this is never described in detail. Therefore, I would not recommend this book to anybody who shies away from scenes of this kind. If you don’t mind a bit of violence, however, then I would recommend this book to anybody who enjoys a great read full of fantasy and history.
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