One of the great things about receiving free audiobooks for review is that I get to sample genres out of my comfort zone. Although I am a fan of historical fiction, I have never read anything set in Roman times.
Apollo's Raven is fascinating, not just from the point of view of the belief systems of those times - curses, wolf spirits and sorceresses, but also for its insight into the way negotiations took place - with a hostage left in the enemy camp to ensure a serious attempt at peace.
Amren, King of Britannia, needs to broker peace with the invading Roman legions. While he is off negotiating with their ambassadors, Marcellus, son of one of their number, stays behind as 'guest' to the Celts, while one of Amren's daughters effectively becomes hostage to the Romans at their camp 100 miles away.
Unfortunately, there is an instant spark between Catrin, Amren's youngest daughter, and Marcellus. This is fueled by her father's instructions to act as host to him, all the while extracting valuable information about the enemy. It is a relationship with no hope of a future, as both parties are pawns in their parent's power struggle and an alliance forged by marriage is too good a bargaining tool. As negotiations break down and the danger level rises, so too, does the attraction between Catrin and Marcellus.
The book was well narrated by Kristin James, although I found it a bit too breathless in the exciting parts. There were also phrases in italics at the beginning of each chapter, which I wasn't even aware of until I saw them mentioned in another review. Apart from that she was clear and easy to understand.
Although I learnt a fair bit from this novel and it was obviously well researched, I didn't find it calling to me and although I see many other reviewers gave it 5 stars, I felt 3 stars was more representative for me.
For readers of Fantasy and lovers of Romans in history, this would be an excellent read, the first in a series in which Catrin and Marcellus may (or may not) manage to make a future together. It would also appeal to those who like strong female characters.