THE DARK ISLAND by Henry Treece


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An English poet has written an almost fine novel about his country and its wild tribesmen and the Romans in the middle of the first century A.D. Its story centers around Gwyndoc, his loving loyalty to Caradoc, King of the Belgae, his rivalry with the wild and treacherous brothers, Morag and Beddyr, and his love for and marriage to Ygerne. All of this is told against the historical background of the Romans, under Claudius, and their conquest of Britain, their attempts slowly to civilize the tribes. Written with a tapestry-like richness of detail, the cultured barbarism of the times is caught, and the brutal religion of the druids, the horrors of primitive battle and the complete inhumanity of the customs is forcefully felt. Treece is able and successful in catching the utterly foreign standards of morality and codes of behavior without revolting the modern reader. The fault lies in the characters which parade in costume, lacking depth and reality of existence. This is balanced by the skillful creation of an early world, the effective activity and real suspense and the graceful prose. For the audience that welcomed The Golden Warrior

Pub Date: Sept. 7th, 1953
Publisher: Random House