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Boudica: Dreaming the Eagle  By  cover art

Boudica: Dreaming the Eagle

By: Manda Scott
Narrated by: Jerome Flynn,Liza Goddard,Philip Stevens
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Publisher's Summary

Manda Scott's Boudica will tell the extraordinary, resounding story of Britain's first and greatest warrior queen, the woman who remains one of the great female icons.

In AD 60, Boudica, war leader of the Eceni, led her people in a final bloody revolt against the occupying armies of Rome. It was the culmination of nearly 20 years of resistance against an occupying force that sought to crush a vibrant, complex civilisation and replace it with the laws, taxes and slavery of the Roman Empire.

Gloriously imagined, Boudica: Dreaming the Eagle re-creates the beginnings of a story so powerful its impact has survived through the ages, recounting the coming of age of Breaca, who at 12 kills her first warrior.

This is the unforgettable world of tribal Britain in the years before the Romans came: a twilight world of Dreamers and the magic of the gods; a world where warriors fight for honour as much as victory. It is a world of passion and courage and spectacular, heart-felt heroism pitched against overwhelming odds.

©2003 Manda Scott (P)2020 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd

Critic Reviews

"Manda Scott has created a fictional universe all her own, but close enough to our reality for it both to warm and break our hearts. Breathtakingly good, it reveals the best and worst in all of us." (Val McDermid)

"Every so often, a book comes along that totally remoulds a historical figure for our own times...massively impressive." (Jane Jakeman, Scotland on Sunday)

"An extraordinary work...exciting and intriguing, taking you into a world where unbelievable danger and cruelty sit side by side with magic, spirituality and profound human relationships." (Jenni Murray)

What listeners say about Boudica: Dreaming the Eagle

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    4 out of 5 stars

A great book possibly takeing a bit ot time to get

I started this book, then left off in the first 2 chapters. I thought I didn't care for it, but after several weeks I found myself listening to it again from the start and discovered a wonderful author, a thought provoking theme and 3 great narrators. The narrators give depth to the characters and make one want to care for them. I ended up purchasing not only the 4 Audible books in this series but also the kindle version and 4 hardback books. Manda Scott has a wonderful creative mind to give us the possibilities to some true characters, plus many fictional characters one would wish to be real.

12 people found this helpful

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Someone give me a gun!

I love long stories, especially volumes that I can continue, especially if it’s a good story! And this book sounded like a perfect fit for me. And the reviews for this ‘best selling novel’ ? Off the charts. What could possible go wrong? Ug. How do I hate thee? Let me count the ways.

I am 8 hours in and at least half of them were background noise. I have started and stopped this book three times in a month each time thinking it would get better after some time away from it. It did not. I seriously cannot tell you who the characters are or what is going on because I cannot stay interested in it long enough to pay attention. And to make matters worse, I still cannot tell if it is the story, the characters, or the narrators. One thing I do know for certain is Liza Goddard is the WORST. When she talks, I zone out. They should have her narrating the insomnia books. She.is.so.slow. She ….pauses ….very……. unnaturally ….. in …every … sentence. It’s absurdly …. distracting ….. and … annoying. Plus, her voice is so soft and monotone I want to stab sharp instruments in my ears.

As for the story, there is sooo much superfluous minutia that seriously add zero to the story. It drones on and on about stuff I’d really like to tell you about but it was so boring I cannot even remember.

Maybe I do know what I don’t like about this book. Everything.

11 people found this helpful

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!!!!! An instant favorite

This book takes it’s time, and is subtle. The world and sense of morality and emotion conveyed is stunning. All the characters are complex and most of them are quite lovable.

4 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars

Unrealistic

I'm getting really tired of historical fiction writers that don't know anything about ancient history. This is basically just fantasy. To make it worse, it's boring.

3 people found this helpful

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The gold standard for historical fantasy

Dreaming the Eagle is the first of a four part saga about the Boudica (not a name, but a Celtic title meaning "bringer of victory" or "she who brings victory").

The series sets the standard for the genre.... a world and characters so perfectly imagined and fully realized, that, despite knowing how slender the historical record and archaeological evidence are for life in Celtic Britain at the time of the Roman invasion, I came away with the feeling that this must be the way it all unfolded.


Although there is no record of the Boudica's early life, or of her involvement in the defense of Britain against the Roman invasion in 43 AD, the author argues persuasively that the woman who led the revolt against the Roman occupation in 61 AD must have had an established history as a warrior and leader. So the fictional Breaca shows early prowess as a warrior, and over the course of this first book becomes the war leader of the tribes despite her wish to be a "Dreamer", or druid priestess. The parallel story is that of her brother Bàn, born to be a Dreamer, but forced through twists of fate to become a warrior who painfully betrays his own people.

We know little of the actual druid religion, despite modern revivals and interpretations. In this recreation, as in more recent shamanistic cultures, the gods are real and close, a part of everyday life. Spirituality permeates people's lives. Reality can be shaped through trance-like dream states, and the gods are appeased by a combination of strict adherence to their laws, and by sacrifice, major and minor.

This creates an element of fantasy, reminiscent of The Mists of Avalon, where happenings push the envelope of being strictly explicable as the outcomes of the characters' beliefs. In that way, Dreaming the Eagle walks the line between historical fiction and fantasy.
The history is meticulously researched and where the facts are questionable or unknown, the author has drawn reasonable inferences from the archaeological and documentary evidence that does exist. She explains some of these choices, and the evidence she used, in a detailed author's note.


This is definitely not a book for the squeamish. As a veterinarian, author Manda Scott can describe battle gore in excruciating detail. But like any good novel, it reaches for wider themes... love in all its forms, society and belonging, and what constitutes a good life. Dreaming the Eagle is much more than a rousing epic of conquest and defiance. Apart from the history, this is an incredible novel and series, a believable imagination of Celtic Britain, as the tribes fight to preserve their way of life against the Roman legions.

I rate the narration a bit lower than the novel itself -- learning to say even difficult tribal names smoothly should not be too much to ask of a professional narrator. Liza Goddard handles it by taking a deep breath before the hard words, which makes no sense because she is speaking from the point of view of people who have grown up within the language. And Philip Stevens, the main male reader, chunks up each sentence, emphasizing words in a way that sounds almost truculent. I actually prefer Josephine Bailey's interpretation in the original recording of this book, but since she doesn't read any of the subsequent books, I went ahead and bought the whole series with the multiple narrators as well. Jerome Flynn does a wonderful bard-like introduction, but we only get to hear him for the first 3 minutes of each book.







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very evocative

I do recommend this book; however I found it confusing at times, sometimes from section to section.
It is a great setting and time in history and overall enjoyable.
I am continuing with book 2, and delighted to learn is is a 4 part series.
The violence content was my reason for 4 stars in story. I would have liked it toned down.

2 people found this helpful

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Great fan fic!

Think if game of thrones was a gay slappin, historical fan fic with epic poetry and would make you sound smart, you have the essence of the story. A slow build but a great read overall and I'm looking forward to the next one.

1 person found this helpful

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A wonderful struggle

Two Narrators, names not of my own tongue and a history with which I am unfamiliar made this audiobook a struggle, at times. But, sticking with it I was able to follow enough to find the skillful weaving of a tale filled with the dilemmas of life that even we, today, face. I look forward to "struggling" through the next book.

1 person found this helpful

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Quite a journey

I barely knew anything about her but wished to know more, though it's lost to history and this is fiction. I felt like I was in the village and saw everything happening. I really enjoyed the various readers and the writing was wonderful.

1 person found this helpful

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Fantastic story and world

Loved the world and characters, amazing! Narration was somewhat overdone, but got used to it

1 person found this helpful

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  • Dane Buckley
  • 02-22-20

A lavish, humane, moving, topical, historical saga

This book is great, better than great. Manda Scott is a very skilled writer, through her writing you almost feel like you're there. Historians know very little of the Celtic tribal world and indeed of Boudica. Through archaeology and the myths of Ireland/Britain, Manda Scott pieces together a great story.

We know Boudica existed, we know she fought Rome and sacked London and we know she was never caught, all of which takes place in these books, but history can't tell us what she ate, who she loved and what the druids dreamt of, but Manda Scott makes an educated guess in line with the relevant resources at hand.

The battle scenes are amazing and jump of the page and the wars between native and Rome are thrilling and Middle Earth-like, but what really leaves a lasting impression is the incredibly moving and layered humanity of the piece and the relationships between mother and child, horse and soldier, lover and warrior and war and country. Excellent performances too. More please!

Beir Bua (have victory)

28 people found this helpful

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  • Lee W's
  • 01-04-21

Very Slow Paced

This is a single volume novel stretched across 3 volumes, probably for commercial reasons. The story is padded out with guff. Through the uninteresting detail, a good story occasionally drops out, but is soon collected again within the rituals, dreams etc. I enjoy history and I hoped to learn something in addition to a great story. This book is way off the mark. I learnt nothing and was mindlessly bored sadly.

24 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-04-20

Fantastic historical fiction that captures an indigenous spirit of Ancient Britain.

I read the Boudica books several years ago and they left a deep, lasting impression. Since then I have been hoping that they would be released as audiobooks, so that I could revisit them in a different medium. There are a number of reasons why I rate these books so highly. Firstly, of all the historical fiction of this time, no other has conveyed an indigenous spiritual tradition that felt so authentic and resonant with my own sense of ancestry and land. In this respect it is like being reminded of something half-forgotten. The tradition of dreaming is central to the stories and beautifully expressed. Secondly, the internal conflicts of allegiance, at a time when two cultures are clashing, are so raw and real, the characters begin to feel like intimate friends. The love relationships are woven beautifully into the plot, without sentimentality. These extend beyond the human realms, to include horses, hounds and the land itself. Thirdly, the conflict in cultures has much relevance to our world today. How we define ourselves. How human relationships are both limited by and able to transcend cultural boundaries. It’s all here. And, it’s a page-turner. The battle scenes are bloody and gruesome. The tensions around the fates of the characters are utterly compelling. I read all four books in the series one after the other. I was completely captivated. So, as much as I wanted to hear them as audiobooks, I was also prepared that they might be let down by the narration. They are not. The use of a male and female reader to correspond with the leading male and female characters works well. It’s been a real pleasure to renew my relationship with these books, which are so special for me, in this form. I will be listening to Boudica: Dreaming the Bull next. I only hope that all four books are finally released as audiobooks.

21 people found this helpful

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  • Rachel
  • 02-20-20

The Love of the Tribe

I really looked forward to hearing this book and it has not disappointed. A great reconstruction of what tribal life might have been like in Britain before the Romans. The details of life in an ancient British settlement are fascinating, the characters interesting and varied and I cared what happened to them. This is a society that attempts to balance the need for warriors (women as well as men - for a change) with a powerful spirituality that directs daily life and invokes the gods at every important moment. Manda Scott is an engaging writer and the readers bring out the nuances of relationships, conflicts and betrayals. Altogether a cracking good story and I'm now looking forward to the next episode.

18 people found this helpful

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  • Micheál
  • 10-23-20

author's ideal feminist badass self, gets tedious

the woman as badass warrior is everywhere these days, and this overstates it. It's Xena stuff and gets very silly. The dreamer stuff was more interesting, with hints of mythago wood. But not enough of that, don't think I'll bother with the rest of the he series. suggest morgan llewelyn (spelling?) novel 'the druids', similar subject matter and time period... romans in Gaul

10 people found this helpful

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  • Kate Southwood
  • 05-19-20

History of local hero

Very interesting and gripping story well told. Not a new subject to me but one of the best presented.

9 people found this helpful

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  • bookylady
  • 04-14-20

Hours and hours of listening pleasure.

There is only one word for this novel - fabulous. The writing, the plot, the characters, the narration, the author's afterword - all fabulous.
Pre-history brought to life in the most imaginative ways. Can't wait for book 2 to be available.

8 people found this helpful

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  • boris 345
  • 02-26-20

Thankyou

I've been watching out for this series of books since I joined Audible, I read them nearly 20 years ago and they captivated me.

The Audio lives up to my expectation I'm looking forward to the other 3 becoming available, so thanks for the treat.

7 people found this helpful

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  • George
  • 01-16-21

Silly Fantasy Drivel

Anyone looking for a story about first century Britain will be sadly disappointed , this is nothing like the times of the British . It’s a vehicle for this author to come up with a fantasy about dream singers , prepubescent female heroes who lead bands through a lot of flowery prose country side in a magical way . This is an author who obviously has a thing about horses and puppies and needs to get her feminism on to paper . Complete waste of a credit .

5 people found this helpful

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  • Anna Sinclair
  • 10-19-20

Fabulous storytelling!

Enjoyed every moment! Would recommend to anyone who enjoys historical based novels. The author really captures the time period, while the narrators breath life into the characters

5 people found this helpful

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  • helmand mandozay
  • 04-10-20

remembering a soul centric culture

It's like this: for 95% of our species' history, we lived in profound relationship with the earth. We knew the magic of relationality with other beings. Current dominant western culture has an emptiness at its core. If you know about this emptiness but do not believe it is inevitable, read these books. These books stir your ancestral / DNA memory of soul centric culture, rippling with a depth and meaning we are all crying out for without understanding this is so.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Alison
  • 07-29-22

Boudica what a great story

I have waited for years to read an interpretation of the history of Boudica. I hail from Bedford or Boudas ford. Manda brings the period to life

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-19-21

Good read

I did enjoy it. I felt however that we just spent a lot of time getting to the climax that we did. I wish we got a little more from the end.