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Imperial Governor!
#61
Ave Nathan,

Thank you for a frank and honest critique of "Imperial Governor". With the exception of Volker Bach, you are the only member who has entered into the spirit of this topic.

In the main, I've had to search elsewhere for reviews of "Imperial Governor", I do hope that now you've both "shown the way", others will follow your example.

I've awarded you both a laudes point as a mark of my appreciation.

Might I ask if you bought, read and reviewed "Imperial Governor" as a result of this article? Might I also ask if you would critique my presentation of this topic?

I find myself in agreement with all of your observations without exception.

My only wish is that more members would participate in this topic.

Vale

M. Spedius Corbulo
[Image: spedius-mcmxliii.gif]
~~~~~~Jim Poulton~~~~~~
North London Wargames Group
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#62
Ave!

Here is today's episode of Miccus Asto's story in which the destruction of Verulamium (St Albans) is mentioned. I live there now!!

"posted by Miccus Asto March AD61

The Roman town of Verulamium stood in our path and all within it were killed or ran. New fighters are joining us all the time, which is a welcome relief, as I’m starting to get tired. And I’m not the only one. Some of us have been on the move, fighting, camping, facing every day the threat of death, since early March. Thank the gods that my family has not joined me on the march to the north-west. When they arrived I couldn’t believe it was them, it has been so long away from them. And I suppose I must have changed. They certainly say I'm a different man and they didn't even recognise me when I ran up to them.

The battle to end all battles is coming. We all smell of the smoke from a thousand fires, hundreds of burning farms. Sometimes, at night I wonder if we will pay for the violence. But what's done is done. There is no going back and we always knew we were fighting for our lives.
"

Please keep coming back, Part VII will be here tomorrow.

Vale

M. Spedius Corbulo
[Image: spedius-mcmxliii.gif]
~~~~~~Jim Poulton~~~~~~
North London Wargames Group
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#63
Hi Jim - thanks for the plaudits. I actually found 'Imperial Governor' in the library a few months back - it was one of those books I'd always meant to read but never got round to, and I was glad I took the time to read it.

Good work on your own story, by the way - I hadn't realised you were writing it yourself! As for your presentation of the topic, as you put it, it's certainly very thorough - Mr Shipway could not, I'm sure, have asked for a more diligent promoter! If this leads you more people reading his book then so much the better.

I don't actually contribute to any other on-line forums, so I'm not sure how things are done elsewhere, but it's seemed to me in the past that topics are raised on RAT on a fairly casual basis, most being suggestions for debate or requests for information rather than (in)formal symposia. I would not worry unduly, therefore, if the responses are slow or deviate from the original post in their focus - such is the nature of these things. Some threads smoulder on for months, others are taken up a long time later and burst back into life. Sometimes the strangest topics generate the most heated exchanges - although in general, throwing out contentious theories about lorica segmentata fastenings or the colour of the Roman subarmalis will inspire the most vigourous response :wink:

One of the oddest topics I recall came up a couple of years ago - somebody posted a rather scathing review of Conn Iggulden's first 'Emperor' book, various others then chipping in to lambaste the accuracy etc of same - at which point the author himself appeared (under his own name, no less!) to claim redress! Fair play to him - a certain amount of qualifying was done by one and all, and Mr Iggulden actually proved a lively contributer to the forum for a while; a shame he didn't 'carry over' to the new board, although I've seen piles of his new books around the place, so I daresay he's been a a bit busy...

Incidentally, Shipway has often been likened to Alfred Duggan. Has anybody read Duggan's books?

- Nathan
Nathan Ross
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#64
Quote:My only wish is that more members would participate in this topic

don't worry about that Jim, your enthousiasm really jumps from the screen.
Keep on posting, because members like you make people come again to RAT!

for me, i'm in the middle of moving to another house (i just bought one) so after i have settled, i'll start reading again - to many books are still waiting :lol: )
gr,
Jeroen Pelgrom
Rules for Posting

I would rather have fire storms of atmospheres than this cruel descent from a thousand years of dreams.
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#65
Ave Nathan,

Thank you for a most welcome response. I do enjoy reading your extremely interesting, articulate and pertinent comments.

Miccus Asto's story was written by an anomymous author. I'm merely an editor correcting the odd gramatical, typing or spelling mistake. The source is mentioned earlier in this thread.

It's comforting to realise that one's efforts are appreciated although if I were to create this topic anew it would be constructed slightly differently.

For starters there would be a separate topic for Boudicca and her revolt, even though it's the central theme of "Imperial Governor". The book revolves around that event, before, during and after the revolt.

Finally to your point about likening George Shipway to Alfred Duggan, the most recent item posted on the following topic is on the latter.

http://www.romanarmy.com/rat/viewtopic.php?t=6673

Vale

M. Spedius Corbulo
[Image: spedius-mcmxliii.gif]
~~~~~~Jim Poulton~~~~~~
North London Wargames Group
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#66
Quote:
Quote:My only wish is that more members would participate in this topic
don't worry about that Jim, your enthousiasm really jumps from the screen.
Keep on posting, because members like you make people come again to RAT!
for me, i'm in the middle of moving to another house (i just bought one) so after i have settled, i'll start reading again - to many books are still waiting :lol: )

Ave Jeroen,

Thank you for your most welcome words of encouragement.

I think I may have written before, that it all becomes worthwhile if just one person says, thank you!!

I do hope that your move is painless. I've gone through it many times in the past and, now that I'm all old and grey, it's not something I wish to experience again.

Keep well.

Vale

M. Spedius Corbulo
[Image: spedius-mcmxliii.gif]
~~~~~~Jim Poulton~~~~~~
North London Wargames Group
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#67
Ave!

Here is today's installment of Miccus Asto's story.

"posted by Miccus Asto March AD61

More families have joined us and their being here has made the march feel more like a holiday as our families have tended our needs and fresh men have joined our war band.

Outriders have reported the Romans encamped around their fort at Mancetter (east of modern day Birmingham). Tomorrow we advance to the fields. Some of our people have fled home after seeing the gathered Roman legions of the XIV and XX, but we heavily outnumber them with some 100,000 swords and news has reached us that the II Legion refuses to move from its home in the south west. The Roman leader Suetonius will lead his men to slaughter.
"

Please keep coming back, Part VIII will be here tomorrow.


Vale

M. Spedius Corbulo
[Image: spedius-mcmxliii.gif]
~~~~~~Jim Poulton~~~~~~
North London Wargames Group
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#68
Ave!

Three more views of "Boadicca and her Daughters".

They were found here http://www.artandarchitecture.org.uk/im ... 8875b.html

Vale

M. Spedius Corbulo
[Image: spedius-mcmxliii.gif]
~~~~~~Jim Poulton~~~~~~
North London Wargames Group
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#69
Ave!

We have finally come to the sad, concluding chapter of Miccus Asto's story. I do hope that you've enjoyed this rather "novel" approach.

"posted by Miccus Asto April AD61

I can’t believe it’s all over, that our long march, our victories, our slaughter have come to this.

This morning Boudicca whipped us into a frenzy from her chariot with impassioned and powerful words. She reminded us that we were fighting as free men, for lives free from Roman slavery. There is nothing in between. We stepped forward into the valley with gritted teeth and bared weapons, our hearts beating hard as if we were being punched in the chests. Behind us our peoples drew up to the high ground to watch our victory.

The Romans withheld their troops until we were nearly upon them and then they unleashed their javelins. Hundreds of us fell, but under the war blindness we charged on. It was horrific. The battlefield turned into a confused nightmare. The Romans enveloped us in tight formation as they advanced on us. They were like a plough turning over the hopes of our freedom. As the wind of our fortune changed direction some began to run and were ruthlessly hunted down by their cavalry. As we pulled back towards our folk on the high ground the Romans released their reserves and began the massacre. It was only by chance I found my family in the turmoil and confusion.

Shouts have gone out that Boudicca has fallen, killed by her own hand rather than succumb to the Romans butchers. We fled to the east leaving tens of thousands dead and dying. I have no idea what we are returning to. My farm, my lands, must be lost but at least we have our lives. I did think about killing myself. as Boudicca did. She is – she was - our leader and she set us an example even in dying. But I can’t leave my family alone in this wretched country. I see no other option than to discard my weapons and helmet in a river and assume the posture of the broken slave, me and my family. If we are going to survive then it will have to be as slaves. But where will we live? What will we do? Who will take us in and how can we live under someone's complete control when we have been free men of the Iceni?

We have lost everything. But Rome’s province of Britain remains.
"

Ave

M. Spedius Corbulo
[Image: spedius-mcmxliii.gif]
~~~~~~Jim Poulton~~~~~~
North London Wargames Group
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#70
Ave!

This is another review found at Amazon.com

"Thorough and fascinating, June 29, 2005
Reviewer: eric (arlington, va United States)

I will agree with a previous review (except for the number of stars, 5 instead of 2): This book covers a fascinating period in British history. "Unfortunately, the prose is dry as toast and the characters -- arguably the most important figures in British history -- remain ciphers."

Now this is what makes this book interesting. Mr Shipway's attention to detail and historical backround accuracy are second-to-none. Simply excellent historical fiction.

It basically describes the difficulty of managing a province during the Roman Empire, and the usual dilemas for the manager (collecting data, assessing options, taking decisions, planning, assigning tasks, etc) are well described. The book could have been a bit more developed (the spying operations are mentioned repeatedly but without details)

If you are looking for romance, story-telling and well developed characters you can empathize with, do not bother. But if you an intelligent reading that shows you how the Roman bureaucracy worked, then this is a good book. (Do not get me wrong, sometimes I like to empathize with characters).

One weakness though regarding navy operations and battle description: No way 5,000 Legionaries can charge 50,000+ Britons and rout them without being encircled. In the real battle, the Legion first withstood the onslaught and then steadily ran down their less armored and less disciplined opponent.

One final word: the main character is human and not a hero, he makes mistakes, learns from them (not always), fights back, wins sometimes (not always). This is like real life, not fantasy.

I will investigate other books by this author.
"

Vale

M. Spedius Corbulo
[Image: spedius-mcmxliii.gif]
~~~~~~Jim Poulton~~~~~~
North London Wargames Group
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#71
Ave!

Here is yet another review, possibly one of the best, so far.

"Book Review: Imperial Governor by George Shipway
Published by Mark Whittington Dec 8, 2005

Back in the late 1960s and early 1970s, British author George Shipway wrote a series of excellent historical novels, as well as a novel of dark political satire called The Yellow Room. The best of these novels, Imperial Governor, was recently re-issued and the occasion is one of great rejoicing for fans of historical fiction.

Imperial Governor tells the story of Seutonius Paulinus, the Roman governor of the province of Britannia during the revolt of Boudicca. Paulinus is depicted in the story as part harried bureaucrat, part professional soldier. He is assigned to take control of the province and to make it a profitable part of the Roman Empire. In carrying out his task, Paulinus not only has to contend with the restive Celtic tribes of Britannia, but with corrupt public officials in Nero’s Rome.

The wonderful aspect of the book is that the characters within it are not modern people in togas or Celtic woad. They are people of their times, with values and attitudes that might seem strange and, at times, even repellant to the modern reader.

Paulinus is not adverse to committing mass murder or torture in order to advance Roman Imperial goals. But, at least until the aftermath of the Boudicca revolt, he doesn’t commit atrocities out of needless cruelty or spite. He is just doing what is necessary, by his own lights, to enforce the Roman Peace.

Nor are the Celts the cute, cuddly, new age people of modern myth. They follow religious practices, including horrific human sacrifice, that are barbaric beyond belief. When Boudicca’s host takes a Roman town, they slaughter the inhabitants, man, woman, and child. While Boudicca is considered a national heroine in Great Britain, she is depicted in the novel as little better than a blood crazed terrorist.

The novel is rich with detail, especially of Roman military operations. The movements of each legion, each cohort, each auxiliary cavalry detachment, are described in loving detail. Even better, we actually hear the groans of men locked in combat, smell their fear, and even feel the impact of edged weapons on human flesh.

Attempts at comparisons with modern events is, perhaps, inevitable, but greatly misplaced. Paulinus would be astonished at what he would have considered a coddling policy in Iraq. He would not have been interested in producing a democracy in the Middle East or in winning hearts and minds. His solution to a problem like road side bombs would be the nail people on crosses on the site of each and every one that exploded until they stopped exploding. The subtleties of counter insurgency warfare in the media age would have been beyond him.

Of course there is something to be said about the Celtic Druids being the equivalent of Al Qaeda mullahs. Like mullahs in our time instilling in worshipers the zeal to become suicide bombers, the druids of Paulinus’ time incited thousands of Celtic warriors to put on woad and to charge lines of Roman legionaries. The result, in a stand up battle, was tens of thousands of Celts dead, and only a hand full of Romans touched at all.

The Roman legion of Paulinus’ time was a many legged, many armed machine that had only one purpose, which was to kill anything in its way. For all the personal valor and zeal of the Celts, they were as nothing compared to the professional killers that marched beneath the eagles. The technological and training advantage of modern armies over modern terrorists is similar. The difference is that in ancient Rome there was no controversy about paying the price in blood and treasure to bring what Rome called the barbarians to heel.

After Boudicca fell, there were no more serious threats to Roman rule in Britain for three and a half centuries. What followed what a kind of melding of two cultures, Roman and Celtic, that became richer than the sum of its parts. That was a rare and splendid accomplishment, which helped made the Great Britain and, indirectly, the America we know today.
"

There could be more tomorrow, please keep checking back.

Vale

M. Spedius Corbulo
[Image: spedius-mcmxliii.gif]
~~~~~~Jim Poulton~~~~~~
North London Wargames Group
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#72
Ave!

No thread in praise of any particular book would be complete without a word from the publisher.

This next piece can be found in the re-issued edition of 2002.

"Imperial Governor: The Great Novel of Boudicca's Revolt
FROM THE PUBLISHER
Here is something to please those Gladiator fans! Filled with vivid battle sequences and excellent historical detail, this novel from an army officer turned writer presents the "memoirs" of the Roman General Suetonius Paulinus. Sent to Wales to capture the gold mines, Paulinus faces the fury of Queen Boudicca's tribes, all united against Nero's corrupt officials. It's a tale packed with fascinating detail of life in Roman Britain and in the Legions in particular.
"

I believe you can work out for yourselves, the reasons why Imperial Governor" was re-issued and when.

Attached is the front cover of the 2002 edition.

Vale

M. Spedius Corbulo
[Image: spedius-mcmxliii.gif]
~~~~~~Jim Poulton~~~~~~
North London Wargames Group
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#73
Ave!

Here is another review from Amazon.com.

"Excellent Novel, September 24, 2005
Reviewer: George M. "Eperitos" (NYC, USA)

Set in Roman Britain in the time of Boudicca's revolt, Imperial Governor is a fantastic historical novel that will be gobbled up by any with an interest in Ancient Rome.

The novel follows Suetonius Paulinus in a first person narrative, throughout his governorship of the British province. The first person perspective here really works for the story as Shipway does an excellent job of keeping the story moving while not sacrificing historical accuracy.

Shipway's characterization of Suetonius is excellent and is what I most enjoyed about the novel. He is neither infallible nor completely unlikable. More importantly Shipway's Suetonius rings true to the time period. What I hate about many historical novels, especially those set in the pre-Christian ancient world (O.K. this novel is set A.D., but just), is that they often attach modern sensibilities and morality to their characters. You will not find that here. This is no apologia for Suetonius. He is ruthlessly pragmatic. He neither shies away from torturing nor killing by the thousands. Still, Shipway does not portray Suetonius as needlessly cruel or evil, and he does manage to give the reader reasons to sympathize, and even like him. A hefty accomplishment if you ask me.

The back of the book compares this novel to I, Claudius, a fairly just comparison. While the book is not quite on par with Robert Graves' masterpiece, it is just a step below. A great read. Highly recommended.
"

Vale

M. Spedius Corbulo
[Image: spedius-mcmxliii.gif]
~~~~~~Jim Poulton~~~~~~
North London Wargames Group
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