Review: Dreaming the Serpent Spear, by Manda Scott

Dreaming the Serpent Spear (Boudica, #4)Dreaming the Serpent Spear by Manda Scott
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

In this the final novel in Manda Scott’s Boudica series, the entire historical credibility of the novels falls apart for this reader. Scott seemingly abandons research in favour of complete immersion into lucid-dreaming and its alleged effects upon the physical world.

Her portrayal of pre-pubescent Grainne, who was raped by half a century of Roman troops, goes beyond any hope of credibility. If the child lived after such brutality, it is highly likely she would have been so traumatized both physically and emotionally as to be incapable of functioning, yet Scott has Grainne discussing military tactics and strategy with her elders, a discussion a healthy, functioning child would be hard-pressed to conduct, let alone one as brutalized as Grainne.

Scott further weaves the not very subtle threads for a possible Arthurian link here, which she admits in her author’s epilogue, a literary device perfectly acceptable if one were writing fantasy, but certainly not for any kind of credible historical fiction.

Character point of view looses any coherence in the final novel, so that within any chapter the reader might first be presented with Grainne’s point of view, then switch to Breaca’s, or Valerius’, or any number of others. Where the editor was leaves me wondering.

There is a substantial scene Scott has woven into the denouement which seems of little relevance to the story arc other than the author’s own fascination with the Iron Age peat bog find of the Lindow Man. This scene completely arrests the tension and action, and again one has to wonder about the editor assigned to this novel.

For me, a disappointing end to a middling series.

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