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Julius Caesar – The Ultimate Spinmeister?
For Immediate Release
(Calgary, Canada) One can hardly watch the TV news without having someone "interpret" events. Spin doctors, specialists whose careful shaping of words influences how history is both perceived and remembered, are common components on today's political front.
Yet who would have thought that one of the oldest and most accomplished spinmeisters of all time was the Roman Emperor, Julius Caesar?
Novelists Barbara Galler-Smith and Josh Langston found that to be the case when they dug into the history of first century BC Gaul for their new book, DRUIDS. The release from Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing is the first of a series which focuses on the pre-Christian world of the Celts. Much of what we know about the Celts is taken directly from Caesar's writings, especially his multi-volume commentary on the war he waged against them in Gaul (present-day France).
Just how much spin did Caesar apply? That's unknown, but the tactic of demonizing an enemy to justify a campaign against them is a stratagem as old as warfare itself. No one would willingly make war on friendly folk merely passing by, but according to Caesar, the migrating Celtic tribes who triggered his campaign against Gaul were barbarian invaders and not merely people searching for a homeland of their own--something the tribes of ancient Europe had been doing for millennia.
Langston and Galler-Smith, though separated by most of the North American continent--he lives near Atlanta, Georgia; she lives in Edmonton, Canada--spent over ten years working on their first three books.
"We're both dedicated to getting the history right," says Langston, a retired computer programmer for Delta Air Lines. "The problem of spin became obvious very early. In reading Caesar's Commentaries, his estimates of the size of the Celtic tribes caught my eye. The huge numbers just didn't jibe with what we know from archeological evidence. I don't profess to be an expert on Caesar's writings, but it seemed obvious to me that his supposedly even-handed history was heavily slanted against the Celts."
"That's one of the reasons we chose to tell our story from a Celtic point of view," adds Galler-Smith, a science teacher and editor. "Most references to the ancient Celts you see today take the Roman and Greek views on them as historical fact rather than culturally influenced opinion."
Langston continues, "Since the Celts preferred oral histories and traditions to the written word, there's virtually nothing recorded which tells their side of the story."
"Which is why," chimes in Galler-Smith, "we developed a storyline based on the idea that a Celt may have attempted to document everything--admittedly a huge job, but possible considering the resources available back then."
"Our novel, DRUIDS," says Langston, "attempts to entertain and enlighten. The period is one about which most people aren't terribly familiar, and that actually helps to make it a dramatic read. Sticking to the facts made it a tricky story to tell."
About the Book
DRUIDS chronicles the tale of two young druids, a healer and a seer, set in a first century BC world torn apart by Roman occupation. With the story built around actual historical figures and events, the book is highly detailed, with vivid characters woven into the mix that readers rapidly love, or love to despise. "Bitten by Books" says that DRUIDS has "a compelling and emotional storyline and some fantastically headstrong characters that drive the book to an unforeseen climax".
DRUIDS has been nominated for the Aurora Award/Prix Aurora for Canada’s Best SF/Fantasy Novel of the year.
To read the first chapter of the novel, please visit us at:
DRUIDS by Barbara Galler-Smith and Josh Langston
5.5' x 8.5'
For more information, or to book an interview with Barb Galler-Smith or Josh Langston, please contact:
EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing