Hello, Sarah. Thank you so much for opening your blog to me today. The official ebook launch of After Whorl: Donning Double Cloaks, Book3 of my Celtic Fervour Series of Historical Romantic Adventures, was yesterday!
Highs and Lows: Happy Endings Not Always Guaranteed
As with any party, there’s always a little bit of tidying up to do and it’s much the same with my Facebook Launch Party of yesterday. I might have some messages to catch up with that I missed and a nice little general sweep up to make sure that winners from yesterday’s launch day are contacted. Naturally, the promotion work isn’t nearly finished so let’s find out a bit about my series which is marketed as Historical Romantic Adventures. This classification is no accident since HEA endings to each book are not guaranteed, and therefore can not be termed historical romances. What there is in every book are sound historical details which plunge the reader into the era; romantic attachments to different heat levels; and a lot of bloody battle action and military tactics. This is different from a regular historical romance? Absolutely, but the reviews are all very favourable which delight me very much.
I’ve set my stories in the Celtic/ Roman Britain era of AD 71 -84. That sounds so precise when talking about so long ago but, in fact, those years were documented by a few Roman historians so there’s a little out there (though only a very little!) for the researcher to use in fiction. Rome was politically unstable, though the Emperor Vespasian kept reasonably tight control. However, out in the vast Roman Empire the sap was rising in places and especially so in Britannia. Not all of the subdued Celtic tribes were inclined to just sit back and take what Rome doled out.
Book 1 of my series-The Beltane Choice– is heavily centred on the romance between a male Brigante and a female of the Selgovae tribe (southern Scotland), a marriage bargain contracted to ensure their tribes come together in unity to fight the might of Rome. Lorcan of Garrigill, Garrigill being the hillfort of his upbringing, is the first warrior to have his story told, the period being AD 71.
In Book 2 –After Whorl: Bran Reborn – (AD 71-74) it’s the turn of Lorcan’s brother Brennus. The Battle of Whorl at the end of Book 1 hasn’t been kind to Brennus, and he needs to reinvent himself after his recovery. In Book 2, he is no longer his tribe’s champion at single combat- instead he turns to spying on the Romans and monitors the gradual infiltration of Roman presence in northern Britain, under the guise of Bran of Witton. He is aided within the spy ring by a young Brigante woman named Ineda of Marske. Their relationship is not a simple one and it’s a huge shock to Brennus when they are set upon by a Roman patrol and Ineda disappears and can’t be found. At that point, Brennus has only begun to acknowledge that his feelings for Ineda are not brotherly.
After Whorl: Donning Double Cloaks – Book 3- (AD 74-84) continues the separate stories of Brennus and Ineda as they get on with life apart from each other. Ineda has been forced to become a personal slave to Tribune Gaius Livanus Valerius of the XX Legion. Without giving any spoilers, after years under heavy guard, Ineda eventually escapes the clutches of Rome. By then, AD 83, both Ineda (with Gaius) and Brennus are in territory which we now name north-east Scotland. Gnaeus Julius Agricola, the Roman Governor of Britannia from AD 78- 84 hasn’t been content to have his troops pace around in southern Britannia: he was a determined Governor and Commander of the armies who marched his troops all the way to northern Scotland.
In AD 84, it’s thought (by historians) that a huge confrontation occurred between the Celts of the far north and the Roman Empire’s troops- later named The Battle of Mons Graupius. A huge battle between amassed Caledon Celts and Romans occurs at the end of my Book 3. Is that too bloody for a romance? Perhaps, and that’s why it’s a Historical Romantic Adventure!
Will Brennus and Ineda have been reunited before the dawning of the battle?
My readers can find out in After Whorl: Donning Double Cloaks.
*Giveaway* The WINNER chooses an ecopy of whichever book they’d like to receive from Bk1, Bk2, or Bk3 of my Celtic Fervour Series. It’s very simple- all you need to do is say hi, and leave a comment about my series to enter the draw. Please leave a contact address in case you are the name who pops up.
After Whorl: Donning Double Cloaks is available for pre-order from Amazon
Nancy Jardine’s novels can be found in paperback and ebook formats from:
Nancy’s writing time is shared with regular grandchild minding duties, tending her large garden, ancestry research and leisure reading. She’s currently writing a family saga based mainly in Scotland, and Book 4 of her Celtic Fervour series. She’s delighted to be able to share that Topaz Eyes (Crooked Cat Publishing) an ancestral-based mystery, is a finalist for THE PEOPLE’S BOOK PRIZE Fiction 2014. After Whorl: Bran Reborn – Book 2 of her Celtic Fervour Series (Crooked Cat Publishing) has been accepted for THE WALTER SCOTT PRIZE FOR HISTORICAL FICTION 2014- the most prestigious prize for historical fiction in the UK.
Pursued by Rome.
AD73 Northern Britannia
After King Venutius’ defeat, Brennus of Garrigill – known as Bran – maintains a spy network monitoring Roman activity in Brigantia. Relative peace reigns till AD 78 when Roman Governor Agricola marches his legions to the far north. Brennus is always one step ahead of the Roman Army as he seeks the Caledon Celt who will lead all tribes in battle against Rome.
Ineda of Marske treks northwards with her master, Tribune Valerius, who is responsible for supplying Agricola’s northern campaigns. At Inchtuthil Roman Fort Ineda flees seeking fellow Brigantes congregating on the foothills of Beinn na Ciche.
Will the battle against the Romans bring Ineda and Brennus together again?
Water dripped from his newly wet hair as Brennus hurried into the chief’s roundhouse at Garrigill. His head dip into the metal pan of cold water outside the door would have to do till later, and filling his stomach had no priority either. Lorcan needed apprised immediately of his dire news, though it was not quite as alarming as having the Roman Empire at his very heels.
“No time to squander?” Lorcan looked to Nara to remove the children when he erupted in through the entrance tunnel.
“Who will chase me?” An excited flurry, and squeals of laughter, followed Nara as she ran outside ahead of the brood, with Lleia at the rear.
“It’s ominous, Lorcan.” Brennus did not even wait before speaking, their noise covering his words as he placed his spear and other weapons into the metal rack at the side of the doorway. He chose his words with such care, not wanting to convey them at all. His spirit ached to mouth his news as he removed his bratt and draped it over a low beam to dry off. “The death of the Roman Emperor Vespasian has definitely signalled an end to the complacent seasons we have endured.”
Lorcan tossed himself down onto a low stool, hardly bothered about any objects that might cause injury, fireside tongs lying scattered around after Nara’s hasty retreat. “I know that only too well. The signs have been there for a while, since Agricola’s arrival.”
Brennus regarded his brother settled enough to continue but held from conveying his worst news as he too settled on a stool at the fireside. “Vespasian’s death is not the only thing I have heard that has unsettled the troops of Rome. Scortin was full of a tale of a massive catastrophe that has occurred somewhere near Rome itself. The fury of their gods has descended and covered thousands with a rain of black fire from the sky. A whole Roman town has been engulfed.” To the sound of Lorcan’s hearty chuckle he warned, “Laugh, my brother. But you know how superstitious the Roman Army is. If they believe their gods have taken them in ill favour it will eventually bode ill for us. An unsettled army of Rome will be an even more dangerous foe.”
Lorcan sobered enough to answer. “How so, Brennus? Why should that affect us?”
He could tell Lorcan merely tested his reasoning. “In some way, or another, we shall bear the brunt of any panic on the part of the Roman Army. They will descend upon us as though they are that fire of black from the sky and swallow us up. If Agricola has instability within his ranks he will draw their attention elsewhere. To us!”
“Is that a prediction?” Lorcan’s expression was a combination of being quizzical and one of admiration.
“Nay! I left predictions to Meaghan, my old healer, and to Ineda. They truly did have the gift.”
Inside, a little bit of him chilled. He could never bring Ineda into a conversation without a direct stab at his gut…or maybe his heart. It was the same ache. As ever his fingers strayed to the silver ring that still lay against his chest.