25 February 2022

Book review: The Bridge of Sand, by by John James

New from Amazon UK and Amazon US

Britain, 80AD: The Island stands as one of the farthest outposts of the Roman Empire – a misty, mysterious land of wild weather 
and sudden death.

On one level this is a classic tale of the Roman invasion of Britain. Juvenal, a regimental commander, and our first-person narrator, leads his small army of men though a hostile landscape to find the legendary ‘bridge of sand’ that is said to lead to Ireland, the island of plenty.

This book soon becomes a thought-provoking study of how our religious beliefs and superstitions shape our expectations and view of the world. Commander Juneval is also a poet. We see the strangeness of his enemies through his eyes, and the uncharted land he travels through becomes the mystical playground of his many Gods.

The woods become mysterious ‘jungles’, Druids are magicians, conjuring deadly mists, and the most feared adversaries are the vengeful British women, who bang on their pots and pans in a grim warning. In any other book such things would be amusing, or even ridiculous, yet the author lends them a sinister quality.

I liked the lyrical prose, and the fascinating details of the life of a Roman soldier on a long march. The supporting cast are convincing and well-rounded, and although the ending was predictable, this is a fresh and innovative approach to telling the story of the Romans conquest of Britain.

Tony Riches

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About the Author

Dr. John James is an Australian architect, builder, farmer, transpersonal therapist and medieval historian with a passion for discovery. For 30 years he has been searching to understand the workings of the human psyche, and for the origins of the Gothic style. In the latter pursuit he became a world authority on Chartres cathedral, and is currently producing a nine-volume thesaurus on early gothic in France. He has received many awards for this. In therapy he founded the Crucible Centre in the mountains west of Sydney described in his book "The Great Field."  Find out more at John's website http://www.johnjames.com.au/ 

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