Farewell Britannia: A Family Saga of Roman Britain
Simon Young

Farewell Britannia: A Family Saga of Roman Britain

Farewell Britannia is a vivid, gripping account of life in Roman Britain by 33-year-old Roman and Dark Age historian Simon Young. A work of ‘fictionalised history’ it offers a series of well-crafted and entertaining stories based on archaeological and historical proofs: all carefully sourced at the book’s end.

A family history, Farewell Britannia is written from the perspective of a fifth-century Romano-Briton, following on from the apocalyptic finale of Roman rule in the island. And, in the wrecked remains of his villa, this narrator recounts the experiences of 15 of his most interesting but not always his most respectable ancestors to give colour to the rapidly receding Roman past.

The well-known events of Roman Britain are all here, of course: scouting for Caesar's expedition in 55 BC; the Roman invasion in 43 AD; Boudicca's revolt and the massacre of 70,000 Romans; the Pictish attacks on Hadrian's Wall; the infamous Barbarian Conspiracy of 367; and the departure of the legions in 410.

But we also learn about some episodes not usually included by historians in their studies: druidic sacrifices in East Anglia; elephants in Essex; a desperate housewife cooking flamingo in Northumberland; headhunting in the Pennines; a bad poet in Londinium; suicide in Bath; infanticide in an English country garden at dusk; and martyrdom in an amphitheatre near Reading.

Book Details:

  • Author: Simon Young
  • Published Year: 2007
  • Rights Sold
    • UK: Orion

Simon Young

Simon Young graduated from Clare College with a starred first in 1995 winning the Chadwick Prize for Celtic Studies and the Green Prize ‘for learning’. Over the next seven years he worked and lived in several European countries including France, Ireland and Spain. Articles, book reviews and columns by him, for the most part dealing with the Dark Ages, have appeared in publications ranging from History Today to Fortean Times and from the Spectator to the Guardian; he has also had work included in several academic journals such as Cambridge Medieval Celtic Studies and the Irish pe...
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Book Reviews

  • "...this is no dry factual history disguised as a yarn. Young reveals each generation through a series of vignettes rich with insight...What makes this such a satisfying read is the real flavour it gives of everyday life...the greatest achievement of this magnificent work is its success in breathing life into real people."
    Herald
  • "This is a marvellous book, which beautifully captures the slowly-changing texture of Roman Britain, and brings us glimpses of what life was like. It is also, for those who know what came afterwards, unbearably poignant. Thoroughly recommended."
    Yorkshire Evening Press
  • "well written… of interest to fans of Roman and Ancient British History"
    Good Book Guide
  • "Those who believe history is so, so dull might pick up Simon Young's new offering and have their view changed."
    East Anglia Daily Times
  • "a hybrid, a combination of lively fiction and popular history… as educational as it is readable."
    Historical Novels Review
  • "An ingenious way of creating a flowing history, supported with plenty of notes and explanations."
    Publishing News
  • "Enthusiasts of Roman Britain will admire the virtuosity with which Young conjures new life into old bones. Other readers will simply enjoy the infancy of the island race, presented with such verve and immediacy. The past is another country, but it’s one whose realities Young reinvents with a rare combination of scholarship and imagination."
    Literary Review
  • "For imaginative and thrilling engagement with the history of those often shadowy and chaotic times, Farwell Britannia will be very hard to beat."
    Sunday Telegraph
  • "…fiction as written by a careful and formidably knowledgeable scholar, one who is concerned to ground all that he writes in scrupously documented fact…a book that, garlanded as it is, with a whle array of learned yet hugely entertaining notes, serves as a work of much more than simply fiction."
    Spectator