|Submitted by Jeremy Gray |
(Jan 04, 2009)
A dreadful book. I really don't want to sound pompous (I know I will...), but the fact that some clearly intelligent people here are raving about such absolute rubbish stuns me; there are so many talented and brilliant fantasy/ historical fiction writers out there and I cannot believe Traci Harding's books are so popular. I can hear thousands of her fans screaming at me, "but she's DYSLEXIC, and such a beautiful person". That's great - I don't know her and I'm sure she's just lovely, and to get someone else to rewrite your stories because you have this disability is fair enough (she might want to find an editor who can actually write though - friend or not, Susan Moran has turned the original "nightmare" into a far worse reality). By the way, my brother has dylexia and he's just completed a university degree with honours all on his lonesome. Anyone who has this condition must never let it discourage them - particularly if they've read this book.
Harding's style is childish, scans really badly and is frankly embarrassing. The plot is superficial in the extreme. To hear 'the Dark Age' described as "historically accurate" is laughable - there are glaring errors in the setting, names and historical facts. This would be acceptable if Harding had obviously meant this to be the case, but she seems to be proud of her 'knowledge' of British history and was in her words inspired by a trip to many ancient monuments and sites whilst in the UK.
I know the Rollright Stones well, and am reasonably well-read and informed about British/ Celtic history. The Harding/ Moran team has misnamed the village below the King's Stone as 'Long Crompton' (it's Long Compton - but they meant to do that, right? Anyway, what's an extra 'r' among fans? Frustrating if you live there, or know the place) and what the hell is Brythanic?!! Harding surely means 'Brythonic' (the generic term for the language group that Welsh, Breton, and Cornish all belong to - a cursory bit of research on the internet will reveal this to even the laziest amateur novelist). Why couldn't Harding just call it medieval Welsh? What an insult her 'dialogue' is to the Welsh people, as if they haven't put up with the English trying to butcher their language and culture for at least the last 800 years or so! Other critics here have done a fine job of putting down her pathetic and frankly embarrassing use of dialogue though, so I'll leave it to them...
And as for describing the Saxons as a "tribe" - try describing Aboriginal Australians as a single tribe and see what reaction you get.
The whole thing stinks and made me cringe from beginning to end, and I feel that I can be fairly forgiving. It made me want to throw it against the wall on nearly every page, except that I didn't because it was on loan from a friend (also the reason I felt I had to finish it - painful).
Although I might sound like a pompous fart, I feel strongly about the fact that a popular writer is misleading people who might be genuinely interested in this part of the world and period of history, but more importantly the blatant ignorance and carelessness of this book is insulting to anyone who is descended from the Welsh/ British/ Saxons etc.