Against overwhelming odds, can she save her legacy?
Gwenna’s life is about to change. Her father is dead and the family business on the brink of collapse. Thwarted by society, the plucky sweet maker refuses to accept defeat.
Amid the bustling vibrancy of Auckland’s Karangahape Road, she promised her father she would fulfil his dreams and save her legacy. But thanks to her overbearing stepbrother that legacy is at risk. Gwenna must find hidden strengths and fight for her rights if she is to keep her promise.
She falls in love with the cheeky and charming Johnno, but just when things are beginning to look up, disaster strikes. Throughout the twists and turns of love and tragedy, Gwenna is irrepressible. She refuses to relinquish her goal and lets nothing and no one stand in her way. Blind to anything that could distract her, Gwenna overlooks the most important person in her life, putting her dreams, her family, and her chance at happiness in jeopardy.
Vicky Adin is a family historian in love with the past. Like the characters in her stories, she too, is an immigrant to New Zealand, arriving a century after her first protagonists and ready to start a new life.
Born in Wales, she grew up in Cornwall until aged 12. Her family emigrated to New Zealand, a country she would call home. Vicky draws on her affinity for these places in her writing. Fast forward a few years, and she marries a fourth-generation Kiwi bloke with Irish, Scottish and English ancestors and her passion for genealogy flourishes.
The further she dug into the past the more she wanted to record the lives of the people who were the foundations of her new country. Not just her ancestors but all those who braved the oceans and became pioneers in a raw new land. Her research into life as it was for those immigrants in the mid-late 1800s and early 1900s gave her enough material to write about the land left behind and the birth of a new nation for many years.
Vicky holds a MA(Hons) in English, is a lover of art, antiques, gardens, good food and red wine. She and her husband travel throughout New Zealand in their caravan and travel the world when they can. She hopes that younger generations also enjoy learning about the past through her stories as much as she had in writing them.
Granny Hunith, was an elderly woman. Edith had been her last child and she was well past her sixtieth year, though no one seemed to remember when she was born, and if she knew herself, she was not telling. Hunith and Kendra had disputed for several years over which of them was the elder, for it was some distinction to be the oldest woman in the village. Kendra’s impending death would secure Hunith her supremacy, an event she looked on with a mixture of triumph and regret.
She was sitting on a bench outside her hut, a spindle busy in her hands while she watched several small children—offspring of Elswyth’s Welisc cousins—playing in the dirt at her feet. She was dressed in rough-spun brown like a slave, though underneath she wore fine-spun linen, so as not to itch from the wool. She had the face of an aging well-tanned cherub, framed with long grey hair that her various daughters and granddaughters, noble and slave alike, kept immaculately combed for her.
The children leapt up and ran to attach themselves to Elswyth’s skirts when they saw her coming, begging for the nuts or apples that Elswyth usually had with her when she came to visit Granny. But today she had forgotten to bring anything, so she kissed each of them on the cheek and sent them away.
“Hello, Granny,” she said as they approached. She and Leif were hand in hand, though neither had consciously offered a hand to the other.
“So you’ve brought your swain to see me at last, Elsy,” Hunith said.
“No, Granny, this is Leif.”
“Help me up, young man,” Hunith said.
Leif offered her his hand and she pulled herself to her feet. She did not let go of his hand, however, but held him with one hand while she inspected him with the other, testing the muscle in his arm and forcing open his mouth so she could inspect his teeth. She lifted the corner of his bandage and made him bend over so that she could smell the wound.
“It’s fresh, Granny,” Elswyth said. “It wouldn’t smell yet. I bound it with honey so it would not fester.”
Hunith nodded. “Well, he’s fit,” she said, when she had completed her inspection. “Very tall. Tall men are good in battle, but it can be hard work birthing their babies. Big babies could get stuck inside a wee thing like you.”
“I’m not having his babies, Granny.”
“Waiting till the wedding, then? You are taking her on faith, young man? Don’t worry, we’re a fertile lot, and we birth easy.”
“I’m not marrying him, Granny. I’m marrying Drefan. Don’t you remember? This is Leif, the captain of the Norsk ship on the beach.”
“Norsk? You still remember the old gods, young man?”
“We honor Odin, Thor, and Ran.”
“And what of the Christ, then?”
“I will give no offence to your Christ, in his own country.”
“Good lad. Will you be taking Elsy back to Norway, when you marry?”
“I am not marrying your granddaughter, Lady.”
“Lady? You’re not in the hall now, young man. I’m not an Anglish lady, and I won’t hear it said. You heed me?”
“You should call me Granny, since you are marrying Elsy.”
“He’s not marrying me, Granny. I’m marrying Drefan. You would have met him several times already, if only you would come to the hall when he visits.”
“I’ll not go to the hall, and Drefan of Bamburgh will not come down to the slave huts to visit me. But this young jarl of yours, he comes to see me when you ask him to. He regards the whole of you, not the half. He will make you a good husband.”
“But I’m not marrying him, Granny. Stop being dense. I know you’re not really.”
“She has a temper, this one,” Hunith said, still holding on to Leif’s hand. “But she has a good heart. Do not beat her. She will disobey you sometimes, but she will be sorry for it. She has a good heart, and beating would only turn her sour.”
“I would never beat her,” Leif said.
“You will be a good husband. She will be a good wife. She can’t sew, but she will entertain your guests and take good care of your children.”
“You may tell your mother I approve the match,” Hunith said, dropping Leif’s hand and taking both of Elswyth’s hands in her own. Then she pulled Elswyth close and whispered. “Come to me before your wedding night. I have a salve that will make things easy for you, and herbs to put in his food, and a charm for under the pillow.”
“I’m sorry, Leif,” Elswyth said. “Sometimes she’s lucid as a bishop and sometimes she’s just dotty. This must be a dotty day. Let’s go and see if the monk has finished his prayers.
Elswyth kissed her grandmother goodbye. Leif bowed to her and thanked her for receiving him. They turned and walked back toward the hall, her hand falling into his again, without either of them noticing.
Hunith sat back on her bench, picked up her spindle, and watched them go, a contented smile on her face. She could always tell when the weather was changing, long before other people noticed the sun come out or the clouds roll in.
Here’s the blurb:
The mighty are undone by pride, the bold by folly, and the good by wistfulness.
Elswyth’s mother was a slave, but her father is a thegn, and Drefan, the man she is to marry, is an ealdorman’s son. But though Elswyth is content with the match, and waits only for Drefan to notice that she has come to womanhood, still she finds herself gazing seaward, full of wistful longing.
From the sea come Norse traders, bringing wealth, friendship, and tales of distant lands. But in this year of grace 793 the sea has brought a great Viking raid that has devastated the rich monastery of Lindisfarne. Norse are suddenly not welcome in Northumbria, and when Elswyth spots a Norse ship approaching the beach in her village of Twyford, her father fears a Viking raid.
But the ship brings trouble of a different kind. Leif has visited Twyford many times as a boy, accompanying his father on his voyages. But now he returns in command of his father’s ship and desperate to raise his father’s ransom by selling a cargo of Christian holy books. Elswyth is fascinated by the books and the pictures they contain of warm and distant lands.
But when Drefan arrives, investigating reports of the sighting of a Norse ship, Elswyth must try to keep the peace between Drefan and Leif, and tame the wistfulness of her restless heart.
G. M. Baker has been a newspaper reporter, managing editor, freelance writer, magazine contributor, PhD candidate, seminarian, teacher, desktop publisher, programmer, technical writer, department manager, communications director, non-fiction author, speaker, consultant, and grandfather. He has published stories in The Atlantic Advocate, Fantasy Book, New England’s Coastal Journal, Our Family, Storyteller, Solander, and Dappled Things. There was nothing much left to do but become a novelist.
I’m really pleased to be able to share that Pagan Warrior, book 1 in the Gods and Kings Trilogy, is now available in audio.
If you’ve listened to The Custard Corpses, then yes, it’s the same narrator, Matt Coles, but wow, have I tested him with this one. I am genuinely amazed by the skill in which he’s brought the motley collection of warring kings to life from seventh century Britain. And, even if you’re read the book, I would recommend listening to the story as well. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed listening to the narration.
Today I’m really happy to have Wolf of Mercia by M.J Porter on my blog, on behalf of Rachel’s Random Resources. Thanks to Rachel, Boldwood Books and NetGalley for my copy of the book. As a lone wolf inside a Wessex stronghold, Icel must ensure his own and Mercia’s triumph. Icel is becoming a warrior […]
Tudor adventurer, courtier, explorer and poet, Sir Walter Raleigh has beencalled the last true Elizabethan.
This journey began when I was researching for an historical novel about Henry Tudor, who like me was born in the town of Pembroke, Wales. I eventually uncovered enough original material to write three books, with Henry being born in the first, coming of age in the second and becoming King of England in the third.
The result was my best-selling Tudor Trilogy, and I decided to continue the stories of the Tudors in a continuous line. I also made a conscious decision to tell the stories through those surrounding King Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth I, so we see different facets of these complex rulers through the eyes of others.
For my Elizabethan series I chose three very different favourites of the queen, who each saw different sides of her personality. Sir Francis Drake showered her with gold and jewels, stolen from the Spanish, in return for the status he longed for. The Earl of Essex was like the errant son she never had, but Raleigh became her protector, Captain of the Guard, and lived to see the last days of the Tudor dynasty.
Many of the things I thought I knew about Walter Raleigh proved to be wrong. Raleigh is credited with introducing the potato and tobacco to Britain, but I’ve seen no evidence for either, or for the popular tale of a servant throwing water over him when he mistook the smoke from Raleigh’s pipe for a fire!
I followed Raleigh across the Irish Sea to the sleepy harbour at Youghal, where he had a house and became Mayor, as well as to the bustling city of Cork, where he served in the English Army of occupation. I also visited Raleigh’s house at Sherborne in Dorset, which still has many original features.
My research uncovered a comprehensive collection of original letters and poetry written by Raleigh. As well as helping me understand his motivation, and the timeline of complex events, they also gave me a sense of his ‘voice’, and how he spoke to the queen and others of her court.
I relied on the comprehensive records of the Elizabethan Court, which set out events in fascinating detail. I was also lucky to read ‘A Woman of Noble Wit’, a new novel by Rosemary Griggs, about Raleigh’s mother. This led me to explore Walter Raleigh’s relationship with his father, as well as his mother, an aspect of him largely ignored by historical biographers.
My hope is that Raleigh – Tudor Adventurer will help readers see beyond the myths and half-truths, and have a better understanding of the man who has been called the last true Elizabethan.
Thank you so much for sharing. Your research sounds fabulous, and I too am reading A Woman of Noble Wit. Good luck with the new release.
Here’s the blurb:
Tudor adventurer, courtier, explorer and poet, Sir Walter Raleigh has been called the last true Elizabethan.
He didn’t dance or joust, didn’t come from a noble family, or marry into one. So how did an impoverished law student become a favourite of the queen, and Captain of the Guard?
The story which began with the best-selling Tudor trilogy follows Walter Raleigh from his first days at the Elizabethan Court to the end of the Tudor dynasty.
Tony Riches is a full-time UK author of best-selling historical fiction. He lives in Pembrokeshire, West Wales and is a specialist in the lives of the Tudors. He also runs the popular ‘Stories of the Tudors’ podcast, and posts book reviews, author interviews and guest posts at his blog, The Writing Desk. For more information about Tony’s books please visit his website tonyriches.com and find him on Facebook and Twitter @tonyriches
As a lone wolf inside a Wessex stronghold, Icel must ensure his own and Mercia’s triumph.Icel is becoming a warrior of Mercia, but King Ecgberht of Wessex still holds the Mercian settlement of Londonia and its valuable mint.King Wiglaf of Mercia is determined that the last bulwark be reclaimed from his sworn enemy to complete his rehabilitation as Mercia’s rightful ruler.In the heart of the shield wall, Icel suddenly finds himself on the wrong side of the battle and thrust into the retreating enemy stronghold where he must take on the pretence of a Wessex warrior to survive and exact a cunning plan to bring down the Wessex force cowering behind the ancient walls.His allegiances are tested and the temptation to make new allies is overwhelming but Icel must succeed if he’s ever to see Tamworth again and bring about King Wiglaf’s victory, or will he be forced…
The Hostage of Rome is the third book in The Histories of Sphax, but it is the first book in the series that I’ve read. While I’m sure that I’ve missed out by jumping straight into book 3, I didn’t find starting the book difficult – not at all. Sphax is an easy and engaging character to meet, as are those who surround him. And, now I have books 1 and 2 to enjoy as well. I have no problem reading any series out of order:)
From the very first word, the action is pretty much non-stop, and the writing style is engaging and easy going.
I’m not often a visitor to BC era Rome – many of the Roman novels I’ve read have been set during the early centuries of the AD era – but I’m so glad I made the jump back in time.
The Hostage of Rome is an enjoyable and entertaining read, and I’m so pleased I decided to read it.
Here’s the blurb:
217 BC. Rome has been savaged, beaten and is in retreat. Yet, in that winter of winters, her garrisons cling on behind the walls of Placentia and Cremona, thanks to her sea-born supplies. If he could be freed, a hostage of Rome may yet hold the key to launching a fleet of pirates that could sweep Rome from the seas. For that hostage is none other than Corinna’s son Cleon, rival heir to the throne of Illyria, held in Brundisium, four hundred miles south of the Rubicon.
But Hannibal is set on a greater prize! Macedon is the great power in Greece, feared even by Rome. Its young king, Philip, is being compared with his illustrious ancestor, Alexander the Great. An alliance with Macedon would surely sound the death knell for Rome.
Given Hannibal’s blessing, Sphax, Idwal and Corinna face an epic journey against impossible odds. Navigating the length of the Padus, past legionary garrisons and hostile Gauls, they must then risk the perils of the storm-torn Adria in the depths of the winter. If the gods favour them and they reach the lands of the pirate queen, only then will their real trials begin.
When Cato the Censor demanded that ‘Carthage must be destroyed,’ Rome did just that. In 146 BC, after a three year siege, Carthage was raised to the ground, its surviving citizens sold into slavery and the fields where this once magnificent city had stood, ploughed by oxen. Carthage was erased from history.
That’s why I’m a novelist on a mission! I want to set the historical record straight. Our entire history of Hannibal’s wars with Rome is nothing short of propaganda, written by Greeks and Romans for their Roman clients. It intrigues me that Hannibal took two Greek scholars and historians with him on campaign, yet their histories of Rome’s deadliest war have never seen the light of day.
My hero, Sphax the Numidian, tells a different story!
When I’m not waging war with my pen, I like to indulge my passion for travel and hill walking, and like my hero, I too love horses. I live in Pembrokeshire, West Wales.
Giveaway to Win Book 6 in The Histories of Sphax series to be dedicated to the winner, & a signed dedicated copy too (Open INT)
*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.
As a lone wolf inside a Wessex stronghold, Icel must ensure his own and Mercia’s triumph.
Icel is becoming a warrior of Mercia, but King Ecgberht of Wessex still holds the Mercian settlement of Londonia and its valuable mint.
King Wiglaf of Mercia is determined that the last bulwark be reclaimed from his sworn enemy to complete his rehabilitation as Mercia’s rightful ruler.
In the heart of the shield wall, Icel suddenly finds himself on the wrong side of the battle and thrust into the retreating enemy stronghold where he must take on the pretence of a Wessex warrior to survive and exact a cunning plan to bring down the Wessex force cowering behind the ancient walls.
His allegiances are tested and the temptation to make new allies is overwhelming but Icel must succeed if he’s ever to see Tamworth again and bring about King Wiglaf’s victory, or will he…
Your book, Apollo’s Raven, sounds fascinating. Can you share with me what the first idea was that made you decide to write this story? It might be very different from how the story ended up being, but I am curious, if you don’t mind sharing. And, if the story is very different, would you mind sharing the process by which you ended up with your current novel?
Thank you for featuring me as an author of Apollo’s Raven (Book 1 Curse of Clansmen and Kings) in the blog tour. You pose an interesting question, because the evolution of the characters and storyline has been a lifelong journey. Since childhood, the characters of a female warrior and her Roman lover have lived in my head, in part, as a way for me to deal with challenges in my own life. Both characters are bigger than life, but I never had a cohesive tale until I discovered historical figures who inspired me to develop the overall arc of the storyline.
A pivotal point for creating the story was during one of my business travels to the United Kingdom. I was intrigued by the statue of a warrior queen and her daughters in a chariot, alongside the Thames River in London. After I did more research, I learned that she was Boudicca—an Iceni warrior queen who united the Britons in a rebellion against the Romans in AD 61 to expel them from Britannia. Roman historians describe her as a powerful druidess who sacrificed some of her victims to the war goddess, Andraste. Although the Celtic society was becoming more paternalistic, women were still held in high regard and could rule. The legacy of warrior queens in ancient Britannia and in Irish mythology inspired the primary protagonist, Catrin, in the series.
The legacy of Marcus Antonius (Mark Antony) and his tragic downfall with Cleopatra inspired the creation of Catrin’s Roman lover, Marcellus. Mark Antony’s son (Iullus Antonius) from a previous marriage also suffered a similar tragic fate— he was forced to commit suicide for his scandalous affair with Augustus Caesar’s only daughter, Julia. Little is known about Iullus’s son, Lucius Antonius, except that he was exiled to Gaul as a young man, most likely as a condition to escape his father’s fate. During the period in my series, the Antonius family legacy is cursed by the act of damnatio memoriae (condemnation of memory) for Marcus and Iullus Antonius, who both died in disgrace as a consequence of their liaisons with women. One of the burning questions I had is how would the tragic Antonius legacy impact Lucius Antonius? How would he react if his own son went down the same fateful path as his ancestors?
And thus, Marcellus, the son of Lucius Antonius, was created and cursed to meet the tragic fate as his ancestors. Catrin also lives under the curse cast against her father, King Amren, that foretells she and her half-brother will overthrow their father and rule the Cantiaci Kingdom in southeast Britannia.
I drafted a three-page summary in 2010 for initially three books in the Curse of Clansmen and Kings series, which is now envisioned to be at least five books, a sequel, and other books associated with the characters. The series spans the time period between AD 24 through AD 40 in the backdrop of ancient Britannia, Gaul, and Rome. Prior to the Roman conquest of Britannia, tribal kings fought each other for power and sought interference from Rome to settle political differences. The series is an epic tale with universal themes of love versus duty, political corruption, otherworldly forces, loyalty, vengeance, and redemption.
When I look back at my original summary, the storyline has changed substantially. Apollo’s Raven starts earlier in southeast Britannia to give a taste of the Celtic culture and beliefs to contrast with the Romans. Since the Celts left few written records, most of the backdrop for Celtic society is based on Greek and Roman accounts and archaeological findings. Interestingly, Julius Caesar left some of the most detailed accounts about the Celtic society in Gaul and Britannia.
Fantastical elements were added to reflect the culture and religious beliefs of Britons to contract with the paternalistic Romans. The magical elements are based on Welsh and Irish mythology and legends, similar to Arthurian legends. The story was changed so that Catrin can connect with ravens, which is seen as a bad omen. As she is struggling to understand this unnatural connection, she is romantically drawn to the captivating Roman hostage, Marcellus—her family’s enemy.
Likewise, Marcellus is confounded by Catrin’s mystical ability to travel to other worlds through her spirit guide, the Raven. She co-exists in the realm of mankind and in the Otherworld of the gods and the dead which empower with the ability to see through the eyes of a raven, foretell the future, and hear his thoughts. His intimate relationship with Catrin could unravel the volatile politics between Rome and Britannia.
One of the most fascinating concepts of Celtic religion that I incorporated into the series is the Celtic belief in the reincarnation of the soul. Their belief is consistent with the Greek philosopher Pythagoras, who believed in metempsychosis, or the “transmigration of souls.” Every soul is immortal and, upon death, enters into a new body. I freely use this concept to explain shapeshifting and other magical powers, which was not originally included in the series.
In essence, seeds for the characters and storyline germinated over time in my mind, but then evolved to include fantastical elements after I developed the original summary of the plotline. After that, characters directed how their stories should be told in my head, and I was further inspired from further research and travels.
Thank you so much for sharing with on the blog. I wish you huge success with the series.
Here’s the blurb:
A Celtic warrior princess is torn between her forbidden love for the enemy and duty to her people.
AWARD-WINNING APOLLO’S RAVEN sweeps you into an epic Celtic tale of forbidden love, mythological adventure, and political intrigue in Ancient Rome and Britannia. In 24 AD British kings hand-picked by Rome to rule are fighting each other for power. King Amren’s former queen, a powerful Druid, has cast a curse that Blood Wolf and the Raven will rise and destroy him. The king’s daughter, Catrin, learns to her dismay that she is the Raven and her banished half-brother is Blood Wolf. Trained as a warrior, Catrin must find a way to break the curse, but she is torn between her forbidden love for her father’s enemy, Marcellus, and loyalty to her people. She must summon the magic of the Ancient Druids to alter the dark prophecy that threatens the fates of everyone in her kingdom.
Will Catrin overcome and eradicate the ancient curse. Will she be able to embrace her forbidden love for Marcellus? Will she cease the war between Blood Wolf and King Amren and save her kingdom?
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 include Apollo’s Raven (Book 1), Dagger’s Destiny (Book 2), and Amulet’s Rapture (Book 3). Skull’s Vengeance (Book 4) is anticipated to be released in late 2021 or early 2022.
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.