In AD 61 Roman governor Suetonius Paullinus led a crushing defeat by the 14th and 20th legions of Boudicca's revolt. The defeat of Boudicca in effect made the Roman occupation of Britain possible - a victory would at the very least delayed it and possibly altered the whole course of the country's history. Among the British, women could inherit land, rule whole areas, lead whole armies. Boudicca did all three. And what made her revolt in AD 61 so terrifying was that she united other tribes under her and all but destroyed Rome's power base in the country. Boudicca herself left a twofold legacy. Surviving Paullinus' crushing defeat of her troops, she is alleged to have taken poison, along with her daughters. She had taken on the greatest power of the ancient world and nearly driven it out of part of its empire. Speeches attributed to her by the Romans on the eve of battle illustrate that they went in awe of her. Not for nothing does her bronze effigy, sculpted by Thomas Thorneycroft, stare out from its pedastal on Westminster Bridge, her back to the city she once burned to the ground. M.J. Trow's biography gets to grips with this mythical figure of heroic struggle and tragic death.