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Conquered, The
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By Mitchison, Naomi. With an introduction by Isobel Murray.
ISBN 1849210322
SERIES The Naomi Mitchison Library
Paperback  338 pages
 
Published 21 August 2009
UK Price £14.95   Order from amazon.co.uk
US Price $22.50   Order from amazon.com

The Conquered was young Naomi Mitchison's first novel, published in 1923, just five years after the end of the First World War, in 1918. Mitchison chose to write about wars, but about historic ones, Julius Caesar's bloody and gradual conquest of Gaul. Instead of Caesar's serene lists of victories and setbacks, we have the impact of these wars on her Gallic hero Meromic. Profound and traumatic. From being heir to a proud tribe, the Veneti, he becomes by turns a slave, a revenge killer, a wanted man - and a slave again, with a severed right hand, a man looking to end it all. But his life was remediably complicated by his loyalty to and affection for Titus Barrus, the Roman who bought him, and treated him as man, not brute. His conflicts of loyalties are powerfully central. Mitchison was conscious that after the Great War there was still fighting in Ireland. Just as her natural and immediate sympathies were for the Gauls under Vercingetorix fighting the Roman giant, we are shown her own comtemporary sympathies were with the Irish against the might of the British Empire.

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