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Bronze Sword, The

Author(s): Treece, Henry Pages: 95
Publisher: Hamilton Date of Publication: 1966
Reading Level: YA Genre:
Setting: Brit Period: ca. 62 AD (Code: 7b5)
Rome Setting: n Christian/Jewish/Pagan: p
Mystery: n First Person:
Detective/Narrator:
Subject: Òcenters on the revolt of Boudicca and its effect on a typical hard-bitten Roman centurion, just retired from the legions and starting his own farm.Ó (Ridington) ÒA retired Roman centurion finds his quiet farm life interrupted and his sympathies torn by British tribal uprisings.Ó (LoC) Òafter long service for the Ninth Legion as a centurion, Drucus Pollio retires. He claims a plot of land and immediately encounters a tribal chieftain preparing to execute his servants on the spot. Drucus purchases the men by paying the chief one belt buckle so they can help him build his farm. Soon Queen BoudiccaÕs tribes begin to rampage the area. Drucus escapes murder by showing courage and honesty before Boudicca. When she sends her nephew Lydd to free him, Lydd offers Drucus a sword for protection, but he refuses. Later Dio, DrucusÕs servant, finds Lydd dead, killed by a fleeing Roman. Drucus wishes to have had a son like Lydd, but news that Boudicca has killed his dear friends Calgacus and Vitalis ends his mourning. Drucus goes to Lindum to rejoin the Ninth, but new gatekeepers suspect him of spying and shoot him in the ankle instead of welcoming him. He returns to the farm, bringing another Ninth reject also wounded by the guards, Falco, a man who detests the British so much that he even rejects DrucusÕs servants. The Brigantes nurse FalcoÕs wound until the Iceni threaten to kill them for helping a Roman. LyddÕs brother, Mabon, appears, starved and wounded, refusing to accept food from anyone but the master of the house. When Drucus hears that BoudiccaÔs merciless killing has alienated Mabon, Drucus feeds and heals him, understanding that Mabon will fulfill his need for a son. A Roman officer searching for prisoners arrives, and Falco almost reveals MabonÕs presence, but Drucus sticks a knife in the officerÕs back. Falco then realizes that Drucus will kill him if Falco betrays DrucusÕs true friends, regardless of their heritage.Ó (Adamson, pp. 313Ð314)
Unique Qualities: "Part 2 first published in 1965 under title: The bronze sword." (LoC)
Rating: Òa thoughtful study of the conflict of Roman and CeltÓ (Ridington) ÒIn this novel, the protagonist reverses the Telemachus story by searching for a son, and the only son he can accept is one who refuses to harm other people.Ó (Adamson)

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