“I am a dreamer of visions. A shaman. A singer of songs, a weaver of words, a spinner of sights and sounds. Of stories.”
-Tanya Landman, Beyond the Wall
Hey guys! A little while ago I was sent a copy of Beyond the Wall from the lovely people at Walkers books and I really enjoyed reading it.
Written by Tanya Landman, Beyond the Wall tells the story of Cassia, a slave of the Roman Empire in conquered Britannia. And Marcus-a son of Rome. When Cassia’s master decides he wants to take advantage of her, she fights against him, maiming him in the process, and giving herself no other choice but to run away. If she runs far enough north, she can cross Hadrian’s Wall-where the Empire ends. And beyond that she might get a chance to be finally free. But first she has to evade the dogs on her trail. And figure out whether Marcus-her only hope to reach the wall-can actually be trusted…
Beyond the Wall sets the scene of Roman Britain very well. I can’t remember the last book I’ve read that was also set there, but Landman’s writing was brilliant at conjuring both the business of Londinium, and the ancient countryside, complete with roaming bears and wolves.
It was interesting to get both Cassia and Marcus’ point of views, and the addition of the unnamed, omniscient narrator that admits he or she is telling the story was cleverly done. It fitted nicely with the historic setting and you could imagine yourself listening to the story in the oral tradition, around a campfire.
The majority of the story is seen through Cassia’s perspective, showing the readers an insight into her life and the lengths she will go to to achieve freedom. Although I didn’t find Cassia the most likeable character, she is definitely one brave and unique heroine that will stick with you. The characters of Cassia and Marcus play off each other nicely and I really enjoyed reading their interactions. The plot of the book was fast paced and progressed well, sucking me in quite quickly and surprising me with a few unpredictable twists of events. The journey that Cassia and Marcus set out on, stuffed with dangers, forms the background to a great epic and an enjoyable and interesting read.
Tanya Landman is a great writer and Beyond the Wall is expertly crafted, giving you a great story as well as dealing with greater themes of slavery, prejudice and the role of women. I’m giving this one 4/5 stars and I definitely recommend it for fans of historical fiction! Although this is technically YA, it is quite mature in places and any fan of hist-fic, whether teen or adult, would enjoy reading this one.
Thank you all for reading my review! Has anyone else read this one? Or any other historical fiction set in Roman Britain?
(TW for assault, blood and violence, slavery and death.)