I’m delighted to have the opportunity to grill Linnea Tanner about her new book, Skull’s Vengeance.
Thank you, MJ, for hosting my blog tour of Skull’s Vengeance (Curse of Clansmen and Kings, Book 4) and for giving me the opportunity to discuss some of the resources I used to research the history and mythology of Celts in Roman Britain.
- Is there a book that first inspired your passion for the era of Roman Britain?
Although the setting of the book is toward the end of the era of Roman Britain, I was first inspired about the time period with Marion Zimmer Bradley’s novel, The Mists of Avalon. The novel explored pagan beliefs and rituals of the Celts which were being replaced by the Christian religion. This novel introduced me to the concept of a “sovereignty goddess” who confers sovereignty on a mortal king in a ritual union. The key element of their sacred marriage—his kingship—is the consummation between the king and the Goddess of the territory he is to rule over. There is a scene in The Mists of Avalon in which Arthur sleeps with his sister, Morgaine—a priestess of the Goddess—as part of the ritual to confer his kingship.
- Do you have non-fiction book recommendations for people who might just be discovering this period in time?
Several books about ancient Celts have been written by Professor Barry Cunliffe that describe the rise and fall of the Celtic civilization spanning from Ireland, across northern Europe, and as far as Turkey. Two of his books that I keep on my bookshelf are: The Ancient Celts and Britain Begins.
- Is there a resource that you wouldn’t be without when you’re writing your books?
I often refer to Joseph Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces for elements of the hero’s journey. Also, I keep reference books such as a thesaurus and dictionary handy. Other resources include The Chicago Guide to Grammar, Usage, and Punctuation and The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr. and E.B. White.
- How did you go about researching the more fantastical elements of your stories?
I use a variety of resources including Greek, Roman, and medieval historical accounts; various books about Celtic mythology; and archaeological books. Some of my favourite books include: The Celtic Heroic Age edited by John T. Koch in collaboration with John Carey; The History of the Kings of Britain by Geoffrey of Monmouth; The Religion of the Ancient Celts by J. A. MacCulloch; and The Druids by Peter Berresford Ellis.
- Who are your favourite authors who write similar stories?
My favourite authors are Marion Zimmer Bradley and Diana L. Paxon for the Roman Britain time period. However, I’ve recently enjoyed reading novels set in the Saxon/Viking Middle Ages. One author I follow is Eric Schumacher and his character-driven, action-packed Viking series: Olaf’s Saga and Hakon’s Saga.
- Do you have a favourite place to visit in Britain?
Oh…this is like trying to choose your favourite child. I’ve had the opportunity to explore London, Hadrian’s Wall, Bath, Stonehenge, Salisbury, Canterbury, and Wales. However, I keep returning to Dover and exploring the grounds around the historical castle in which there is a well-preserved Roman lighthouse.
One of my biggest thrills was to hike eleven miles from Deal to Dover in 2012. Right before our hike, a large wall of the Dover Cliffs collapsed into the sea of which I took a photo.
Five years after that, my husband and I brought our granddaughter with us to hike the trails around Dover. Some of the scenes in Skull’s Vengeance take place on the hilltop overlooking the city.
Thank you so much for sharing such great answers. Marion Zimmer Bradley was definitely an influence for me as well, as was Patricia Kenneally Morrison:)
Here’s the blurb:
A Celtic warrior queen must do the impossible—defeat her sorcerer half-brother and claim the throne. But to do so, she must learn how to strike vengeance from her father’s skull.
AS FORETOLD BY HER FATHER in a vision, Catrin has become a battle-hardened warrior after her trials in the Roman legion and gladiatorial games. She must return to Britannia and pull the cursed dagger out of the serpent’s stone to fulfill her destiny. Only then can she unleash the vengeance from the ancient druids to destroy her evil half-brother, the powerful sorcerer, King Marrock. Always two steps ahead and seemingly unstoppable, Marrock can summon destructive natural forces to crush any rival trying to stop him and has charged his deadliest assassin to bring back Catrin’s head.
To have the slightest chance of beating Marrock, Catrin must forge alliances with former enemies, but she needs someone she can trust. Her only option is to seek military aid from Marcellus—her secret Roman husband. They rekindle their burning passion, but he is playing a deadly game in the political firestorm of the Julio-Claudian dynasty to support Catrin’s cause.
Ultimately, in order to defeat Marrock, Catrin must align herself with a dark druidess and learn how to summon forces from skulls to exact vengeance. But can she and Marcellus outmaneuver political enemies from Rome and Britannia in their quest to vanquish Marrock?
Sex, Slave trafficking and abuse, Violence, Childbirth
Acclaim for other books in the Curse of Clansmen and Kings series:
“[An] epic tale of love, betrayal and political intrigue.” —InD’tale Magazine
“The requisite fantasy elements of magic and mystery abound…Tanner also does an admirable job weaving in the politics and mythology of a bygone people.” —Kirkus
“Part fantasy, part historical fiction, Linnea Tanner has woven together a wonderful tale of romance, intrigue, mystery, and legend to create an entertaining and complex story.” —The International Review of Books
“[A] captivating tale of triangles; love, lust and espionage; friend, foe, and spies; barbarians, civilized Rome and spiritual-supernatural beings.” —2019 Pencraft Book of the Year Award
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Books from Curse of Clansmen and Kings series:
Meet the Author
Award-winning author, Linnea Tanner, weaves Celtic tales of love, magical adventure, and political intrigue in Ancient Rome and Britannia. Since childhood, she has passionately read about ancient civilizations and mythology. Of particular interest are the enigmatic Celts, who were reputed as fierce warriors and mystical druids.
Linnea has extensively researched ancient and medieval history, mythology, and archaeology and has traveled to sites described within each of her books in the Curse of Clansmen and Kings series. Books released in her series includeApollo’s Raven (Book 1), Dagger’s Destiny (Book 2), Amulet’s Rapture (Book 3), and Skull’s Vengeance (Book 4).
A Colorado native, Linnea attended the University of Colorado and earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in chemistry. She lives in Fort Collins with her husband and has two children and six grandchildren.
Connect with Linnea
Website: Twitter: Facebook: LinkedIn: Instagram:
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Thank you so much for hosting today’s tour stop for Skull’s Vengeance.
All the best,
The Coffee Pot Book Club
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