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Songwoman (A Daughter of Albion Novel)…
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Songwoman (A Daughter of Albion Novel) (vuoden 2020 painos)

Tekijä: Ilka Tampke (Tekijä)

Sarjat: Skin (2)

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
1631,300,656 (3.9)1
One woman's quest to defend her culture. Haunted by the Roman attack that destroyed her home, Ailia flees to the remote Welsh mountains in search of the charismatic war king, Caradog, who is leading a guerrilla campaign against the encroaching army. Ailia proves herself an indispensable advisor to the war king, but as the bond between them deepens, she realises the terrible role she must play to save the soul of her country. Set in Iron-Age Britain, Songwoman is a powerful exploration of the ties between people and their land and what happens when they are broken.… (lisätietoja)
Jäsen:karlis_library
Teoksen nimi:Songwoman (A Daughter of Albion Novel)
Kirjailijat:Ilka Tampke (Tekijä)
Info:Text Publishing Company (2020), 384 pages
Kokoelmat:Oma kirjasto, Parhaillaan lukemassa
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Songwoman (tekijä: Ilka Tampke)

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näyttää 3/3
One of the joys and frustrations of the history of Britain before the Roman invasion is that we know so little about the tribes, beliefs, social customs and cultural landscape. Often this has provided authors with a virtual blank canvas on which to paint a society of their imagination untethered by the constraints of history. This book is different, it has been properly researched and the author has worked within the few facts we do have, combined it with some clever extrapolation from poems probably originating prior to invasion but recorded much later, and inspiration from the landscape of western Britain. The result is an immersive and very enjoyable read.

The story is set against the war between Rome and a British War Lord called Caradog and the fight for the sovereignty of the land. In this story the druids are referred to as the journey-people, being the entering into trance states to obtain knowledge and visions of the future. The narrator of the story is The Kendra, a journey woman who holds the knowledge of the Mothers (main Goddesses of the land), who is returning from a self imposed exile to support the war effort. Part of her journey involves learning to become a Songwoman, the keeper and creator of the poetry and songs which record the history and soul of the tribe.

Unfortunately, it being history, we do know how the story ends with the defeat of the tribes. Ilka has crafted such a clever story that carries you along through every triumph and set back, willing Caradog to be successful, which makes the ending all the more poignant. I hadn't read the first book in this series, not that this detracts in anyway because this story stands up on its own merits. I will however be going back to read book 1.

I received a free ARC in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  Cotswoldreader | Jul 19, 2023 |
Songwoman by Ilka Tampke is set during the time of the Roman invasion of Britain, around the 40s AD. It is technically a sequel to Skin, but actually both books stand alone fairly well. They follow the same protagonist, but the two stories are separate, if sequential. I read Skin during a blog hiatus, so there is only a mini review of it, alas.

I started reading Songwoman after a day trip to northern Wales, during which a friend and I visited a few castles (built more than a millennium after this book was set), and drove through Snowdonia with some breathtaking views, even in winter. So I was excited to start reading a book set in roughly the same area. The setting of Songwoman did not disappoint. The plot, however, was a little slow.

The bulk of the story involves Ailia being part of the inner circle of Caradog's resistance army. Her personal journey is split between learning the mystical arts, her relationship with Caradog, conflict with some of Caradog's other advisors, and the actual war. The war is mostly a series of small skirmishes and recruitment negotiations, and hence felt like it moved slowly, but in a realistic way. I actually found the relationship with Caradog the most drawn out. I don't want to spoil too much, but I will say that it was interesting that he was portrayed in a way that could be read as bipolar, but that was the most interesting thing about him. I did not quite understand Ailia's emotional attachment to him, especially since I spent a chunk of the start of the book hoping a key character from Skin would make an appearance (he did not).

So on the one hand, Songwoman was a little slow — though not unpleasant to read, aside from a few brief atrocities — but on the other hand, I was actually surprised at how little time was covered in the book. Near the end, there's a scene in which Ailia returns somewhere and notes that it's been a year since she was last there, at the start of the book. I was honestly shocked that only a year was supposed to have passed. This is maybe because, as the author mentions in the afterword, a few years of historical events were compressed into one year for expediency. However, given my other reaction, I'm wondering whether that was the best choice. That said, I actually liked certain events around the ending a lot. (Being vague to avoid spoilers.) It added an extra dimension to the story, confusing timing aside.

Anyway, I mostly enjoyed Songwoman, even though it took me a while to get through. I recommend it to fans of historical fantasy and, particularly, Welsh settings. While it makes sense to read after Skin, it's not entirely necessary. While I don't expect a sequel, I am broadly interested in the author's future works.

4 / 5 stars

You can read more of my reviews on my blog. ( )
  Tsana | Mar 14, 2020 |
Songwoman, Ilka Tampke’s second novel, is the sequel to her remarkably successful novel Skin which has had international rights sold in Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, the US, UK and Vietnam. A blend of historical fiction and fantasy, Skin was shortlisted for the 2015 Aurealis Award for Best Fantasy Novel, and longlisted for the 2016 Voss. You can see my review here).

It isn’t necessary, however, to have read the first in the series. Songwoman is an assured novel, again a blend of historical fiction and fantasy, comfortably straddling both the genre and the Literary Fiction shelves. It is solidly grounded in the mud and dirt and ruthlessness of Albion (i.e. Britain) in 47AD when the Romans were consolidating their rule and stamping out the last vestiges of resistance in Wales. Tampke’s sources for the historical framework are the Roman historians I read at university: Tacitus and Cassius Deo, and her characters the Welsh war-king Caradog (Caratacus); his sister, the treacherous tribequeen Cartimandua; and the Roman general Scapula were all real-life people. So is the Emperor Claudius who makes an appearance at the end of the novel. But Roman Britain was only an afterthought in the coursework for Greek and Roman History, and I don’t remember studying anything about the conquest there. So the real-life historical events of this novel were new to me, except of course that I knew that #SpoilerAlert the Romans triumphed in the end.

Do young people still learn any British history or has it all been jettisoned? I loved learning about Roman Britain in both history and Latin classes, and I’ve enjoyed seeing traces of their presence all over Britain. But what I learned at school was of course all part of the imperial narrative, that is, that Roman imperialism brought peace, stability, and order; improvements in health (water supply) and transport (roads); technological advancement and impressive architecture; plus their number system and the written word. And of course we then went on to learn uncritically that British imperialism brought analogous benefits to the places they subsequently colonised. But we didn’t learn anything about what the Romans displaced, and we didn’t learn about the atrocities they committed in victory.

Tampke’s battle for Albion represents the conflict between modernity and tradition. Southeast Britain has been colonised and its leaders have sworn fealty to Rome. There is peace and order and the Romans go about doing what they did best, building things. But Ailia, the flawed heroine of the novel, has a spiritual connection to the land in the way that Indigenous Australians do.

To read the rest of my review please visit https://anzlitlovers.com/2018/10/01/songwoman-by-ilka-tampke-bookreview/ ( )
  anzlitlovers | Sep 30, 2018 |
näyttää 3/3
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One woman's quest to defend her culture. Haunted by the Roman attack that destroyed her home, Ailia flees to the remote Welsh mountains in search of the charismatic war king, Caradog, who is leading a guerrilla campaign against the encroaching army. Ailia proves herself an indispensable advisor to the war king, but as the bond between them deepens, she realises the terrible role she must play to save the soul of her country. Set in Iron-Age Britain, Songwoman is a powerful exploration of the ties between people and their land and what happens when they are broken.

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