Getorix books by Judith Geary

Reviews and Endorsements

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"Excellent Resource" – rating in InfoTech, the materials selection guide from the Instructional Technology Division of the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. Also in EvaluTech, from SREB, the Southern Regional Education Board's Educational Technology Cooperative.

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Reviews for Getorix: Games of the Underworld

" Games of the Underworld is a fast-paced and exciting story filled with great dialogue and lots of historical detail. Rome is brought to life as a living, breathing city; everyday life and complicated politics are woven into the story without feeling crammed in, and readers of all ages will be able to relate to the characters. ...Very enjoyable and very recommended."--Heather Domin, Historical Novel Review, Feb. 2012


"Very few authors have the skill to pull their reader into the time and place as if they are actually there, walking along the streets, experiencing sights, sounds, and smells. Judith Geary does this with much finesse, ... Her portrayal of the political turmoil in Rome at that time through characters and scenarios is fascinating and informative. The plot is fast-moving and suspenseful and readers will be reluctant to put the book aside.”  – Christy Tillery French, Midwest Book Review


"With deceptive ease, Judith Geary leads the reader through a maze of Roman politics and religious thought. ... The story is chock-full of details of Roman life during this historical period, interwoven so skillfully in the fabric of the pages the reader, caught up in the unfolding drama, is unaware of the impeccable research that went into the creation of this superbly ambitious novel. The story is peopled with characters from history as well as fictional characters sprouting from Geary’s fertile imagination. Suspense is established in the first pages, sweeping the reader along with the mounting travails of the young protagonists until the very end. There is no rest for the weary in this captivating tale of friendship, loyalty, love, political intrigue and honor." -- Danielle Bussone, All About Women


Reviews for Getorix: The Eagle and the Bull:

BookSense Recommended Read ... "The story line is good, the characters are good representations of people of the period and the varying levels of Roman society they represent. The illustrations throughout the book add greatly to a reader’s vision of what it may have been like to live in the century before Christ. We rated it four hearts." – Bob Spear, Heartland Reviews

finalist ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Awards

"The authentic setting, dialogue, and characterization beckon readers to travel to worlds of long ago. ... Getorix will be of interest to readers because many of the themes—love, friendship, honor, freedom, acceptance, cultural conflict, patience—are as applicable today as they were in the past. History teachers will appreciate the book because of its educational value."ForeWord Magazine

"Claodicos is a leader of the Celts, and he and his son Getorix are captured by the Romans after a mighty battle. They are brought to Rome, and are about to be sacrificed as part of the triumphal parade. Fourteen-year-old Getorix, who is not much of a warrior, strives hard to be seen as worthy of this sacrifice, and event that in his own culture would be dignified and honorable. However, he is stunned when it is accompanied by no ritual, and when he is saved a the last moment by the son of the victorious Roman general. However, to live as a a slave is intolerable to him, and readers come to understand the struggle he feels between remaining alive and dying honorably, as he believes his father would expect of him.

The other slaves in the household really come to life, and the detailed historical setting is enhanced by a variety of illustrations, maps and diagrams throughout the text, all carefully labeled in an index. Indeed the supplementary material is outstanding: a list of characters indicating if they were actual people; a historical note to set the stage; extensive author’s notes about research, the Celts and Romans, the calendar and more; biographies; a bibliography; and a glossary. A second book about Getorix is planned (the opening chapter is included) which is cause for celebration. This is a compelling novel, both for young adults and adults that teaches a great deal about Rome of about 100 BCE." – Trudi E. Jacobson, Historical Novel Review

"Well done – a clear presentation of the conflicting cultural philosophies while still being enjoyable, entertaining reading. Notes, biographies, bibliography and glossary are outstanding additions, making this a fine book for any classroom – English or history – as well as deepening the understanding of the recreational reader." – evaluator, Ben Franklin Awards

"Swiftly moving action story that takes place in the exciting period of Roman history that preceded the rise of Julius Caesar. ... Plausible headstrong lead character ... Suitable for young people ... Great attention to detail ... A wonderful first novel." – N.S. Gill, Guide to Ancient/Classical History,

This is a coming of age story of two boys, of Getorix, whom fate has thrown into a hostile and utterly bewildering environment – he mistakes the wax masks of the Lutatius ancestors for the heads of slain enemies – and of Lucius, the sickly, spoiled baby of the family, an involuntary loner who desperately wants to have a friend. And it's a whopping adventure tale besides. But to tell more of the plot would spoil the suspense. ...

Judith Geary has an intimate knowledge of the era of republican Rome and brings the city and its inhabitants to life. The reader learns about Roman houses and households, customs, temples, and life outside the sheltered home of Catulus. Lavish illustrations from 19th century publications as well as drawings by the contemporary artist Caroline Gerratt help the reader along.

Though intended for “anyone with an active mind who's interested in the Roman Republic and has little prior knowledge,” the main target audience are 12-15 year olds and an assumed reading level of 6.4. Ms. Geary does not insult the intelligence of the latter group: battle scenes, death and dying are openly and honestly dealt with, as are punishments of slaves, and other unpleasant or adult aspects of life. ...

This is a well-crafted first novel by an author who understands her audience. ...This reviewer ... and can highly recommend this book, as well as its ancillary educational aims. And she thoroughly enjoyed the suspenseful story, and looks forward to the sequel! -- Irene B. Hahn, Roman History, Books and More. Read the complete review at: 

Following the adventurous life of Getorix which includes the depressing defeat of his father in a battle with the Romans, Getorix: The Eagle And The Bull deftly carries readers through a Celtic family struggles and Getorix befriending a Roman soldier who has spared his life. A superbly written novel whose author has taken great pains to be as historically accurate as possible in the little details so important to background settings and plot developments, Getorix: The Eagle And The Bull is very strongly recommended as a thoroughly captivating and intimate story of a young man's struggle with identity and pride. Written for a young adult readership, Getorix: The Eagle And The Bull is the first installment of a three volume trilogy and will leave the reader looking eagerly toward the next two titles in this superbly crafted and original series." -- Midwest Book Review

"[Geary’s] knowledge of the Roman Republic in the first century bce is intimate; yet, this book, aimed at young adult readers, is a rattling good story. ... Author gossips chattily about [the historical characters] in her Notes, providing the context for understanding the historical and cultural milieu of the story. Especially, her Glossary and character Biographies, written in an occasionally downright catty tone, show her to be a devoted historical scholar and able storyteller." – schuyler kaufman, CML Magazine

"Getorix is a compelling tale of ancient Rome. The fully-realized characters make the past come alive for readers of any age."Sharyn McCrumb, best-selling author of St. Dale and the Ballad Series

"Getorix demonstrates the vivacity and spirit that enlivens everything Judith Geary does. The view of the life of Roman slaves is one rarely seen, particularly for young people. The friendship between the two boys, Celt and Roman, both misfits in their own cultures, and how they help each other to grow touches deep chords."– Ann Chamberlin, award-winning author of Gloria: The Merlin and The Saint.

"Thoroughly grounded in the world of ancient Rome, with its convoluted political intrigues, Judith Geary has written a novel that gives the reader a contemporary sense of being there as she guides her young hero, Getorix, in his quest to find his family and his place in the world. Tightly woven plot, well developed characters, and all the historical details necessary to create mental adventure film keeps the pages turning. I could not put it down until I finished." – Gloria Houston, award-winning author of Littlejim and Bright Freedom’s Song: A Story of the Underground Railroad.

"Provides the reader with an astonishingly vivid and well-realized glimpse at Rome during the first century B.C.E. – a glimpse filtered through the eyes of a young Celtic slave, whose passions and problems will resonate with teenagers today. It’s a side of ancient Rome we hear about and know existed, but seldom see: a wonderful synthesis of today’s sensibilities and the facts of yesteryear." – Tom Deitz, author of twenty novels of speculative fiction including the David Sullivan series.

"Compelling story of two boys on the verge of manhood who find themselves caught in a conflicting web of duty, honor and a most unlikely friendship. Geary gives the reader a feel for ancient Rome that rests not only on solid research but also on a story-teller's ability to bring the sights and sounds of the city to life. The story stands alone quite well but also leaves the reader eager for the next installment." – Albert A. Bell, Jr., author, Exploring the New Testament World & All Roads Lead to Murder.

"Congratulations on having written a truly fine novel ... I am thoroughly enjoying my trip back to Roman times. As a reader, I am expertly taken back to a time long gone, a part of history that I know little about, although some parts of the experience is perilously close to today and our own follies.

Place is a big part of this novel and I can actually smell the kitchen of that household and feel the closeness of that cell. It’s a good story and you’ve made it good by making the characters come alive in my head--you’ve done this, not by lengthy and what can be often tedious descriptions, but by little phrases, little bits of information that allows my mind to do the rest. You gave me background as I needed it without larding me with it all at once in the beginning.

Good writing. It is just "stompin'-down" good. My hat’s off to you. And, for the rest of the people who are a part of this fine novel, congratulations to you, too. The page design is masterful--a work of art in itself. High Country deserves a series of stars for recognizing that this was a work that deserved the "full treatment," so congratulations to whoever acquired the rights, to the editors, the proof readers, and the person responsible for bringing the coffee. Great story, and I hope it achieves the honors it deserves." – Jack Pyle, author of numerous works, including the award-winning Black Horse, White Rider

Quotes from Orson Scott Card and others appear in the Acknowledgments.