Set in Iron-Age Wales during the turmoil of Roman invasion, Songwoman explores one woman’s quest to defend her culture.
AD 47. Rome has colonised southeast Britain. Tortured by her part in the Roman attack that destroyed her township, Ailia has been living alone in a remote Welsh forest. She returns to a world that has been turned upside down. The tribespeople cling to what little land remains to them and invest their hope in the charismatic war-king, Caradog, who has been leading a guerrilla campaign against the encroaching army.
As the fighting escalates, Ailia proves herself an indispensable advisor to the war-king. But she must overcome a fellow tribesman who has resolved to sabotage her, and subdue her passionate attraction to Caradog. The soul of her country will only survive if Ailia succeeds in becoming a Songwoman.
Ilka Tampke lives in Woodend, Australia. Songwoman can be read as a stand-alone, or as the sequel to Ilka’s first novel, Skin. International rights to Skin have been sold in Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, the US, the UK and Vietnam. Skin was shortlisted for the Aurealis Award for Best Fantasy Novel in 2015 and longlisted for the Voss Literary Prize in 2016.
‘Songwoman is a sparkling piece of writing, shot through with complex moral struggles and questions about what it means to belong to a place. Ilka Tampke transported me into the mind of Ailia, into her intense relationship with war king Caradog and her even more intense relationship with the land. Fine-tuned historical research blends seamlessly into this gripping story of a young woman fighting to stop the destruction of her home.’ Jane Rawson, author of FROM THE WRECK
‘Fantasy lovers will enjoy the mysticism and world building, and historical fiction readers will appreciate the Roman invasion story line.’ Booklist on Skin
‘Tampke has created a visceral tale of ritual, magic and violence.’ SUNDAY TIMES on SKIN
‘Those who root for Game of Thrones’ Daenerys Targaryen will find much to love in Ailia’s personal quest, with Tampke more successfully navigating the realms of almost fantasy than Ishiguro, marking her out as an exciting talent to watch.’ NEW DAILY ON SKIN
‘[Tampke’s] vision is clear and brought to life vividly through the strength of her singular heroine. We have no heard the last from this resonant new Australian voice.’ Readings on SKIN