The Mistletoe and Sword: A Story of Roman Britain

Overview

Anya Seton, author of the bestselling Katherine and The Winthrop Woman, was at her peak when she penned those two novels in the mid-1950s. But during that same period, she also wrote a little-known shorter novel entitled The Mistletoe and Sword. Here she turned her peerless talents as a storyteller and researcher to the adventure and romance of Roman Britain circa A.D. 60.

            Quintus Tullius, the young standard bearer with the Ninth Roman Legion, has...

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Overview

Anya Seton, author of the bestselling Katherine and The Winthrop Woman, was at her peak when she penned those two novels in the mid-1950s. But during that same period, she also wrote a little-known shorter novel entitled The Mistletoe and Sword. Here she turned her peerless talents as a storyteller and researcher to the adventure and romance of Roman Britain circa A.D. 60.

            Quintus Tullius, the young standard bearer with the Ninth Roman Legion, has come to Britain as part of the empire’s efforts to pacify the rebellious tribes there. But he is haunted by his quest for the bones of his grandfather, who died seventeen years before in “the place of the golden tree and the stony circle.”

            As the druids who haunt Stonehenge lead him through the mythic land, he falls in love with the beautiful and mysterious Regan. But this girl is the foster daughter of Boadicea, the warrior queen of the Icenians and instigator of the historic, bloody rebellion of the British tribes against Rome.

            With its suspenseful battle scenes and its mysticism and romance, The Mistletoe and Sword is an absorbing tale that makes this obscure era of history excitingly contemporary.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Janis Flint-Ferguson
This is a new edition of the Seton's historical fiction set during the Roman occupation of Britain. The young protagonist, Quintus Tullius, is a nineteen-year-old Roman soldier who wanted very much to have this assignment. His great-grandfather had died in Britain and Quintus wants to find the burial site and give his grandfather a Roman burial. But England is a wild, exotic landscape compared to the Italian peninsula. Queen Boadicea is rallying the various tribes to fight the Romans and expel them. As Quintus journeys to meet his general, he witnesses the distrust and misunderstanding that is at the heart of the conflict. He also has the opportunity to save Regan, a sixteen-year-old Celt, whose presence has raised in him a tenderness he doesn't know what to do with. Quintus leaves her with a potter and shares with his general the ugliness he witnessed between the Roman governor and Boadicea's Icenian tribe. His role becomes one of messenger and as the Briton tribes organize, Quintus is sent to inform the Roman outposts. He encounters various tribes, those engaged in the rebellion and those loyal to Rome. Quintus also meets Regan again and helps her to reunite with her grandfather, the high priest of the Druids. This is a fascinating story that builds toward a significant battle between Britain's rebels and the Roman guard. The author's note lays out what is known of the conflict and introduces her own interpretation of some of the details that history cannot explain. Young adult readers who like historical fiction will enjoy the story of young Quintus and Celtic Regan, teens caught in the midst of a changing culture. So little is studied about this historical period in American schools that all readers should appreciate Seton's perspective and the wealth of details she provides. Reviewer: Janis Flint-Ferguson
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781569763407
  • Publisher: Chicago Review Press, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/27/2010
  • Series: Rediscovered Classics Series
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 384,782
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.25 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Anya Seton was the author of 10 bestselling historical novels, including Avalon, Devil Water, Dragonwyck, Foxfire, Green Darkness, The Hearth and Eagle, Katherine, My Theodosia, The Turquoise, and The Winthrop Woman, and the young adult novel Smouldering Fires.

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