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Imperial Governor

Narrated by: Jeremey Arthur
Length: 15 hrs and 48 mins
4 out of 5 stars (9 ratings)

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Summary

Londinium is burning. 

Gaius Suetonius Paulinus, newly appointed governor of Roman Britain, is charged by an increasingly unstable Emperor Nero with a difficult task - the untamed island on the fringes of the empire must earn a profit. To do so, Suetonius pursues the last of the Druids into Wales and, along the way, subdues the fractious Celtic chieftains who sit atop a fortune in gold and rare metals. 

Meanwhile, in the provincial capital of Londinium, war is brewing. As Nero's corrupt tax officials strip the British tribes of their wealth and dignity, an unlikely leader arises - Queen Boudicca, chieftain of the Iceni, who unites the tribes of Britain and leads them on a furious and bloody quest for vengeance and liberty. 

A novel told in the form of a memoir, Imperial Governor is a compelling and impeccably researched portrait of Gaius Suetonius Paulinus, Roman general and first-century governor of Britannia, who unexpectedly found himself facing one of the bloodiest rebellions against Roman rule. Shipway's masterful military adventure has long been considered one of the most accomplished works of historical fiction set in the Roman Era, providing fascinating detail of life in Roman Britain and within the Roman Legions - and a riveting saga of uprisings, war, and conquest in the ancient world.

©2018 George Shipway (P)2018 ListenUp Audiobooks

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Decent but very dated

The narrator has some very odd ideas as to how some words might be pronounced. 'Optiones' being especially grating.

The story is decent and if you can overlook the very dated ideas about how the Roman army might have fought and can cope with modern place names being used for British and Roman settlements then it'd probably be worth a solid three stars.

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Iceni rebellion, no mercy.

I read and loved George Shipway's historical novels decades ago, [his Norman ones in particular.] He is a great historical writer with a feel for the military. After a summer of reading about prehistory I saw this was out and decided to listen to it while working.

Good move.

Although it shed little light on the late Iron Age there is an authenticity to this 'memoir' that is hugely impressive. The Roman political background, the push into North Wales, the strategy, intent, and mistakes, and the workings of the Roman army are all really impressively described while the disaster of the personal story is told brilliantly, all from a purely Roman perspective of course. And, seen as the enemy, and therefore necessarily distant, , the tribes of Iron age Britain also feel wholly authentic. Highly recommended.

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Great story ruined by terrible reading

George Shipway’s Imperial Governor remains one of the finest Roman novels ever written and one of the few books I have re-read several times. Having not read it for around 10 years and faced with a series of long car journeys on my own I decided to download the audiobook... and greatly regretted it.

I normally enjoy audiobooks and tolerate flaws in the telling without rancour, but this one drove me mad. I don’t know anything about Jeremy Arthur but I am sure he got his voice coaching from the Dick van Dyke School of British Diction.

His pronunciation of works like palm and calm (pro. parm & carm) come out as porm and corm. Passage becomes parsage and many more errors beside, but it’s the place names that get the worst of his emasculations. The river Thames becomes the Tims, Norwich becomes NorWITCH, and Anglesey becomes Englesey.

His ignorance of Roman and military terms is also equally awful. Option (the rank below Centurion) is properly pronounced OP-TEE-ON, while piquets is pronounced PICKETS, not peekays. You might think I’m nitpicking but a longish section about piquets becomes excruciating.

Great story worth 5 stars, but the reading is the worst I have heard on an audiobook, and that includes James Franco’s dire rendition of Slaughterhouse Five.

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  • Gail N.
  • 22-09-19

Interesting historical novel of Roman Britain

This is an very good study of the mind of a Roman general at the height of Rome's power, as it ranged across Western Europe and the Mediterranean bringing various human groups into its empire. These men carried out the tactics perfected under Julius Caesar. They were rapacious and destructive. My sympathies were definitely with the native Britons.