by Barry Yelton
Jack Dixon has done an impressive job of writing an historical fiction piece that is highly readable, action filled, and evocative. The book was particularly meaningful for me, because of my Scottish heritage. The book begins with the background story of the Picts, a mysterious people who lived in what is today Scotland. From the distant mists of the past they come fleeing the barbaric hordes from Eastern Europe, which invade ancient Scythia, on the European continent, homeland of the Picts. They make their way across the North Sea, to the British Isles, are befriended by the Scoti of Ireland and settle in the highlands in the north of Brittania.
The book’s hero, Calach, leads his people in a heroic David versus Goliath campaign against the invading Romans, with the love of his life, Fiona, at his side. The battle scenes are powerfully drawn (definitely not for the squeamish). Mr. Dixon creates plenty of righteous outrage at the depredations of the Romans against defenseless Pict villagers, which impels his hero to wage merciless war against the invaders.
There is romance, though it is secondary to the primary action, the life and death struggle against the mighty Roman Empire. The writing in the book gets better as it goes along. The last half of the book truly is a page turner, with enough surprises along the way to keep the book from being totally formulaic. Anyone who enjoys ancient history should find this an interesting, informative and entertaining work. Congratulations to Mr. Dixon on a fine first novel.
The book is available at Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, iUniverse.com, and at bookstores everywhere by special order.