South of Burnt Rocks West of the Moon

G.J. Berger
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Genre: Writer's Choice. Format: Multiple. Views: This Week 0, Total 1055.
Chosen as Best Published Historical fiction of 2012 by San Diego Book Awards

After three great wars, Rome has crushed Carthage. Now the undefended riches of Iberia beckongold, tin, olives, wine, and healthy young bodies to enslave. Burnt Rocks tells the story of Lavena, last child of the strongest remaining Iberian tribal leader at a time when Rome plunders and loots her land. At times helped only by her father's favorite dog, a special horse, or guided by spirits of the earth and sky, she strives to unite her people and oust the Roman menace. Based on real characters, places, and events, Burnt Rocks recreates that shadowy historyand eternal human nature rubbed raw.

From Kirkus Review....
"A young Iberian-Celtic she-warrior makes a stand against the invading Roman army. In Hispania, 184 B.C., 11-year-old Lavena, daughter of the village leader, witnesses the brutal murder of an old farmer by a Roman soldier. The villagers' worst fears are confirmed: Hungry for gold, mighty Rome has broken the peace treaty and is preparing to invade and conquer. A proud, determined people, Lavena's clan decides to train and fight against the overwhelming invaders. Lavena, now 15, has learned the ways of the she-warriorwomen who use their strength and intelligence to outwit and kill their male counterparts.

"When the village is consumed by the crushing army, Lavena's father urges her to take the family gold and escape; his dying wish is for her to warn surrounding villages and unify the people to take a stand against Rome. Smartly written, the novel moves quickly, building prose with quiet strength unen***bered by the heavy style. Its bare-bones flow seems to fit the time period.

"The simple yet powerful narrative relies on a commanding cast of characters, many of whom are indeed women, celebrated for their resiliency and constitution. These women are the leaders of the resistance and they rely on no man for guidance. Berger beautifully crafts them as more than one-dimensional warriors bent on revenge. They're strong yet vulnerable, desperate to protect their land and people."
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