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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
The Druid King -- a historical novel about Vercingetorix, the last and greatest leader of the Gauls, and his epic battles against Julius Caesar -- is a dramatic departure for Norman Spinrad, renowned author of controversial science fiction works like Bug Jack Barron and The Iron Dream. As a young boy, Vercingetorix watched his father valiantly try to unite the tribes of Gaul against Caesar and the ever-expanding Roman Empire -- only to be burned alive by treacherous clan leaders. After spending many years in seclusion being trained in the ways of the Druids, Vercingetorix -- galvanized by a hallucinogenic mushroominduced vision -- returns to the fray to finish what his father could not do: unite the warriors of Gaul and lead them against the might of the Roman Empire. Thus begins the grand chess match between two completely different yet almost equally skilled master strategists. The culmination of battles leads to an endgame that is as bloody as it is genius.
The much-storied life and fated death of the almost mythical figure of Vercingetorix is arguably as compelling as any Arthurian tale. Spinrad's The Druid King is essentially a doomed love story about a young man who cherishes his honor as much as his heritage, and who, after witnessing the impending destruction of the druidic Gaul culture underneath the boot heels of the Roman Empire, sacrifices everything he has to save it. Fans of historical fiction -- as well as those who enjoy military strategy -- will undoubtedly relish this powerful and enthralling portrait of a truly heroic figure who remains a French national icon to this day. Paul Goat Allen