At 09:20 AM 4/12/2002 , Alexei wrote:
>Of course, I gather that her world isn't really ancient
>Britain but some alternative-world version of it,
Yes. I read the first book, and got the distinct impression that Walton
made her setting an alternate world [I know that's an ungrammatical term,
but it is the proper term in the sf/fantasy field] for the specific purpose
of being able to make any changes she wanted without being called on them.
Which is OK, I guess, and it's up to each reader to decide if her changes,
such as pushing the Woman Warriors, make your teeth grate.
I wasn't bothered by that, but it did seem to me that Walton was relying on
the reader to supply some of the cultural background to the peoples who
were obviously Romans, Celts, Germanics, etc., though she never called them
that. I found it easiest to read the book by mentally deleting the names
she actually used and substituting "Romans", "Celts", etc.
In other words, this book was a real Roman a clef.
>I was also not terribly thrilled by yet another
>military fantasy centred on a female soldier,
Is that a cliche by now? If so, I wish someone would tell the authors, who
seem to think it's still daring and original.
>and I've gotten bored with
>Arthurian or pseudo-Arthurian fantasies that try (unsuccessfully) for an
>"authentic" Dark-Ages feel (that sort of thing was done well once by Rosemary
>Sutcliff in _Sword at Sunset_, and nothing since has measured up to that).
Walton is not trying for a Dark Ages feel, but a Roman Empire outskirts
feel. Most of the "what was Arthur really like" books I've seen have
assumed he was a Romanized Celt trying to keep the traditions of the Empire
going. (I suppose they're heavily influenced by Geoffrey Ashe and his
Riothamus theory.) For my tastes, that was interesting once, back in 1969
or so, but now I miss the kind of high-medieval Arthur you get in T.H.
White. So, I'd rather re-read T.H. White.