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Queen of Darkness

Book Synopsis

The gripping story of Boudica and her battle against the Roman empire, told through the eyes of a young girl. Perfect for fans of historical adventure.

Young Rhianna is relieved when Queen Boudica takes in her and her sister when their parents die. But there’s a darkness in Boudica that’s waiting to be unleashed and the Romans will suffer for their crimes against her. Soon, Rhianna witnesses much more than the kindness that Boudica has shown her and her sister. There’s a battle coming… and a terrible aftermath.

This exciting and engaging take on a powerful woman from history from the master historical storyteller, Tony Bradman, is a great way to cover Boudica who is covered on the Key Stage 2 (KS2) curriculum in England.

Flashbacks offer dramatic stories set in key moments in history, perfect for introducing children to historical topics.

Our Review Panel says...

As the saying goes, history is written by the victors, and with the Celtic tribes of Ancient Britain leaving no records, we only have the Roman accounts of what happened during Boudicca’s revolt. Tony Bradman has taken details from Tacitus’ description of the Iceni queen and the battles she led to creating a vivid and gripping story told by Rhianna, who witnesses the events of a turbulent time in British history.

With both parents dead, Rhianna and her younger sister Eleri are taken in by Boudicca, to live in the Queen’s House. There, Rhianna becomes friendly with Garwen, one of Boudicca’s body servants and a skilled fighter, whilst Eleri is taken under the wing of Maeve, the younger of the queen’s daughters. Keen to learn from Garwen, Rhianna finds that obedience to the queen is expected as the price for her initial kindness.

After the king, Prasutagus, is poisoned, Boudicca defies the Roman rulers, with an awful punishment inflicted on her and her daughters. This resolves into an overriding need for vengeance as Boudicca plots her uprising to shake off the yoke of Rome, drawing the support of other tribes. Despite her love for Boudicca, Rhianna is only too aware of the darkness she reveals, with terrible revenge wreaked upon the inhabitants of Camulodunum, Londinium and Verulamium, as the cities are burned to the ground. At the final great battle, where the tribes’ defeat seems certain, an act of mercy gives Rhianna and Eleri a means of escape and hope for the future.

The story of Boudicca’s revolt has resonated down the centuries and whilst undoubtedly courageous, if foolhardy, to take on the might of the Roman army, Tony Bradman has also felt that there was something dark about the rebellion. His story aims to give young readers an understanding of the motivations that led to the uprising. As an East Anglian born and bred, with a deep interest in Roman history, sparked by visits to Colchester Castle [built on the site of a Roman temple], Boudicca has long been one of my heroines. This version, showing a darker side, perhaps dispels some of the more romantic notions about her, but allows opening up discussion on a range of ideas.

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Queen of Darkness Teaching Notes

Chapter-by-chapter discussion questions and curriculum teaching notes provided by the publisher.

Queen of Darkness

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