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Echolands: A Journey in Search of Boudica

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The site of Boudica's last battle was long believed be lost to time, but the threads of the story all pull towards one remarkable, forgotten little corner of the English landscape. From the Breckland of Norfolk to the back streets of Colchester, from the remotest corner of Anglesey to the depths of the London Underground, Duncan takes us back two thousand years to retell the story of Britain's bloodiest year.

Duncan Mackay | United Agents Duncan Mackay | United Agents

Colchester is particularly rich in finds related to the Boudican rebellion and Mackay makes the most of them. Imagination, as Mackay makes clear, is vital to historical understanding – this should be shouted from every ivory-towered rooftop. Within the space of a single blood-soaked year, she united the tribes to deliver blow after devastating blow to the Roman regime, culminating in a brutal, decisive battle.Anyone at all interested in the great war between Boudica’s warriors and the might of the Roman army needs to read this book. Duncan lives in Norfolk with his wife, son, soppy black Labrador and overexcited Cockapoo, indulging his passion for walking marshes and deserted beaches, and hurling himself into freezing rivers at dawn.

Echolands by Duncan Mackay | Book review | The TLS Echolands by Duncan Mackay | Book review | The TLS

Instead, what we get is authorial intervention in the form of a continuous subplot about the author’s life, family, past, likes, dislikes. The places that Mackay visits, traverses and dwells in are vividly described as a conscious attempt to revive the past as lived experience.Beginning near his home in Norfolk, in the heart of Boudica’s tribal territory, he embarks on a journey in the footsteps of Romans and Britons, exploring their villages, towns, forts and roads.

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