Empire’s End A Roman Story by Leila Rasheed

The Blurb

When, Camilla, a young North African girl travels with her mother and father from Leptis Magna to Rome in 207 AD, she believes that she is going to the centre of the world. But just a few months later, the little family is dispatched to the very edge of it: Britannica. Tragedy strikes and, left alone with the Empress while her father travels north, Camilla has to navigate the tricky world of of secrets and danger in this cold place she must now call home.

In this heart-stopping adventure based on real historical events, Leila Rasheed shows us a dangerous and intriguing time in Britain that’s sure to fascinate young readers.

Cover illustration by Alette Straathof

The Review

Empire’s End is a gripping tale of a wellborn African girl who finds herself at the furthest edge of the Roman Empire, far from the sun of her childhood, at the whim of her Empress. There are times she is no more free than the slaves who serve her and her family.

A Libyan Roman who uses the philosophical teaching her father allowed her to survive in a political world that can make her or break her at the whim of the Gods she worships, Camilla’s voice is by turns naive, wary, and frightened, but ultimately powerful as she tells her daughter how she came to settle in Britannica.

The Roman Empire, and it’s role in British history has fascinated me since childhood. An adventure based on historical fact, this is the history that isn’t told about the diversity of people who arrived, and stayed, in Britannica during Rome’s rule. In fact, it is set during the reign of Septimius Severus, the first black African-born Emperor of Rome.

With a diverse cast, this is not the usual Roman history we are used to, but it does tell an essential part of the history we should be teaching.

About Voices

A thrilling series showcasing some of the UK’s finest writers for young people. Voices reflects the authentic, unsung stories of our past. Each shows that, even in times of great upheaval, a myriad of people have arrived on this island and made a home for themselves – from Roman times to the present day.
The results of the CLPE Reflecting Realities Survey revealed that only 4% of children’s books published in the UK in 2018 had a BAME main character. The Voices series is intended to offer inclusive and empowering reads, underlining the importance of all children being able to see themselves in books.

Huge thanks to Harriet and Scholastic for sending me a copy for review.

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