Sara Pacher's epic novel about the gladiator, Isarna brings us into the Celtic world during its occupation by Roman militia during the first century AD. As the daughter of Iceni nobility, Isarna is dedicated to the preservation of the integrity of herself and her people while growing up in the hidden backwoods of rural Briton. Things spiral out of control when she and her brother, Cian are captured on a sunny spring afternooon by Roman soldiers.
The love story...between the Roman Prefect, Valerius, and a teenage girl, whose very name Isarna means "strong metal" illuminates human passions in an atmosphere of desire and hostility that transcends politics as it embraces the limitations of time and place. Isarna escapes from Valerius only to be returned to him in Rome as a woman, as his slave and his lover. Sara Pacher's deep understanding of life and love come alive in her creation of the characters which complete this tale of unbelieveable human strength in the face of danger and captivity. Valerius, now the Urban Prefect of Rome, does all he can to protect and comfort the woman he loves, but when Isarna is thwarted by God and nature in her attempt to assasssinate his father, he can no longer contain his anger and feelings of betrayal.
Isarna's life is spared only to be trained as a gladiator, where her survival becomes as legendary, as was her father's fame before her. Although, "Where I go, death follows" is engraved on her weapons, Isarna's spirit will live forever.
Misunderstandings and duplicity lace the lives of Isarna and her lover Valerius. The intrigues of the Roman court in AD 78 undermine the course of events and love during the reign of Titus and on into the reign of Domitian in AD 79. Celtic myth, magic and culture persist through the centuries.
The book excites and informs the reader as only the artisitic weaving of a great writer can do. Kudos to Sara Pacher!