Monday 30 May 2022

Have a sneak-peek between the covers of Linnea Tanner's fabulous novel — Apollo’s Raven (Curse of Clansmen and Kings, Book 1) #HistoricalFantasy #HistoricalFiction #excerpt @linneatanner

Apollo’s Raven
(Curse of Clansmen and Kings, Book 1)
By Linnea Tanner

Publication Date: 20th January 2020 (3rd Edition)
Publisher: Apollo Raven Publisher, LLC
Page Length: 394 Pages
Genre: Historical Fantasy, Historical Fiction

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?

Chapter 1 Raven’s Warning
24 AD, Southeast Coast of Britannia

Catrin again hesitated. Once before, when she had melded and disconnected from her raven guide, she lost consciousness. It took a while for her head to clear after that episode. If that happened again, it could spell disaster so close to the precipice. 

She stepped away from the cliff’s edge and stared into the Raven’s eyes, which glowed like amber gems. The bird’s talons emitted a bolt of electric heat into her arm. A light flashed in her mind, and the Raven’s essence permeated her core being. She knew that she had entered the Raven’s prescient mind.

The landscape appeared blurry until she adjusted to the Raven’s eyesight. Brightly colored wildflowers dazzled her with purple hues that she was unable to detect with her human eyes. A thrill rushed through her veins as she sensed the bird’s breast muscles contracting to flap its wings. As the Raven began its thrust into flight, she felt the misty air lift its outstretched wings. 

When the Raven soared toward the channel, she could see her human form standing as motionless as a statue on the emerald hilltop clasped to the jagged precipice. The sheer chalk cliffs formed an impenetrable wall against the crashing waves. Beyond the cliffs, there was a sparsely vegetated shoreline toward which several ships were sailing and where other vessels were moored. Armored infantrymen were disembarking, wading to the shore, and marching across the beach. On higher ground, soldiers set up tents in a square encampment. One of the guards had a lion’s head covering his helmet. In his hands was a pole with a silver eagle on top. She assumed it meant powerful animal spirits were guiding them.

A palatial tent in the center of the encampment caught her eye. Its outside walls were made of twined linen sheets, violet and red, brocaded with eagles. Surrounding the central structure were crimson banners, each emblazoned with the sun god in a horse-driven chariot. At the tent’s flapped entrance were two foreign noblemen attired in purple-trim white togas. Another man, towering over the foreigners, wore a rustic toga and plaid breeches—garments that nobles from her kingdom typically dressed in. From the back, he looked familiar, his thick coppery hair draped over his shoulders like a lustrous wolf pelt. 

To confirm her suspicions that she knew this tall, brawny man, Catrin directed the Raven to circle around, so she could get a closer look. When the man’s ghostly, disfigured face came into view, her heart wrenched. She recognized her half-brother, Marrock. 

Grotesque images of ravens pecking tissue out of his face flashed in her mind. For seven years, she had believed herself safe from him, but there he was—a specter arisen from the cold ashes of her nightmares.

Why has he returned with an army?

A sense of doom crawled all over her when Marrock’s head tilted back, as though he knew her essence was flying overhead. His blue-green eyes began glowing and changed to the same amber-gem color as her raven whenever she harnessed its magical power. The Raven’s muscles suddenly paralyzed, freezing its wings. A strong force pulled her through a crevasse in the Raven’s mind and hurtled her into a tunnel of brilliant gold light. 

She plummeted, tumbling out of control, toward a black portal in the center of a rainbow-colored arch.

Apollo's Raven • Dagger's Destiny • Amulet's Rapture • Skull's Vengeance (coming soon)

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 Curse of Clansmen and Kings) is anticipated to be released in late October 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

Social Media Links:

Website • Twitter • Facebook • LinkedIn • Instagram • Pinterest • BookBub • Amazon Author Page • Goodreads


Have a sneak-peek between the covers of Lindsey S. Fera's fabulous novel - Muskets and Minuets #HistoricalFiction #BlogTour #CoffeePotBookClub @AuthorLinzFera


Muskets and Minuets 
By Lindsey S. Fera

Publication Date: 19th October 2021
Publisher: Zenith Publishing (an imprint of GenZ Publishing) 
Page Length: 486 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction 

Love. Politics. War.

Amidst mounting tensions between the British crown and the American colonists of Boston, Annalisa Howlett struggles with her identity and purpose as a woman. Rather than concern herself with proper womanly duties, like learning to dance a minuet or chasing after the eligible and charming Jack Perkins, Annalisa prefers the company of her brother, George, and her beloved musket, Bixby. She intends to join the rebellion, but as complications in her personal life intensify, and the colonies inch closer to war with England, everything Annalisa thought about her world and womanhood are transformed forever.

Join Annalisa on her journey to discover what it truly means to be a woman in the 18th century, all set against the backdrop of some of the most pivotal moments in American history.

Annalisa held Bixby to her shoulder, closed one eye, and pulled the trigger.


The maple shook, and splinters flew from the trunk. Gunpowder stung her nose as she trudged toward the tree, retrieved her musket round, and loaded the firelock again. This time, she aimed at a more distant ash. 


The ash shook, but no woody shards flew about. She rushed to the tree and saw the ball lodged into the trunk. 

“That was at least sixty yards.” 

Satisfied, Annalisa pried the round from the tree, stuck it into her linen coat pocket, and slung Bixby over her shoulder. Burrs buried into her petticoats and dress. She tried brushing them away, but far too many told of where she’d been. 

Mamma will chide me. I’ll have to start wearing William’s old breeches when I practice in the clearing. 

Annalisa walked toward the path where field met woods, and looked out over her family’s farm in the distance below. Honeysuckle perfumed the air, a distraction from the lingering traces of gunpowder. She would take the longer, less steep trail home. She slipped from George’s old coat, stuffed it into her haversack, and stepped onto the path. As she walked, chickadees sang in the trees overhead, and a gentle breeze rustled the leaves. 

“Miss Annalisa?” 

She stopped and turned. 

Jack Perkins, finely dressed in cobalt silk and with cane in hand, navigated the woods beyond the path. There was no way for her to hide the firelock and cartridge box she carried. She lowered her head and glided along the trail. 

“Miss Annalisa.” Jack stumbled over a twisted root. “Miss Annalisa, please wait. I seem to have lost my way to your house.” 

At his urgency, she hesitated and studied his attractive figure as he tumbled over a large branch. To hide her chuckle, she bit her lip. She’d almost forgotten his insulting words at Twelfth Night.

When he made it to the path, Jack gave a good-humored laugh as his fingers flew to pick the burrs on his stockings. “I’m clearly unprepared for such an adventure. This is quite the hill!” 

“I take it you’re adjusting well to life in the country, sir.” She bobbed a curtsy. 

His eyes lit up at her banter. “Quite.”

She started. When last they’d spoken, he’d lectured her. Has he forgotten the encounter? 

Though, being alone with him in the middle of the woods tickled her stomach. The ladies would be jealous if they knew. Nay, incredulous. But I won’t be so eager to forgive him like that awful Hannah French would.

“I should return. ’Tis hardly proper for me to be in your presence without a chaperone.” 

“And do the rules of Society apply to these woods?” Jack arched a brow and leaned on his cane. His gaze fell on Bixby. “Pray tell, have you plans to hunt with us, Miss Annalisa?” 

“Of course not.” Heat rose up her back. “And my uses of Bixby are of no concern of yours, sir.” She curtsied. “Good-day.” 

“Miss Annalisa, wait.” He rushed after her, his gaze apologetic beneath his beaver-felt cocked hat. “I meant no offense. Please, allow me to accompany you. I can hardly call myself a gentleman if I let you continue alone.” 

“Then you consider yourself a gentleman?”

Jack’s brows furrowed. “Miss, have I offended you in some way?” 

“‘One must learn to practice and exercise restraint, and behave with reason.’ You could not have reproached me in a worse way.” She curtsied again. “By your leave, sir.” 

Jack lunged after her. “Miss Annalisa, that was not directed toward you.” His azure stare held hers. “Please forgive me. It would be my greatest honor to accompany you home.” 

She smirked. “I know the way better than you, sir.” 

“That is true.” He cracked a smile. “Can you forgive a fool?” 

Annalisa relaxed her grin. “If you can accept friendship in a woman who shoots firelocks for sport.” 

“I daresay I can.” He offered his arm, and she took it without reservation. He smelled of amber and pipe tobacco, an amalgamation of scents she’d not yet appreciated of a man. 

They walked down the hill until the trees parted and they were greeted by the ancient oak. 

“What a sage tree,” Jack said as they passed by, and headed toward her family’s farming fields. 

“’Tis my favorite place in all the world.” 

Annalisa waved to Dane and Zeke. Their shining faces peered up from under straw hats. “I’ll be out to pick strawberries soon,” she called.

“Strawberry picking?” Jack cocked his head. 

“Yes, for Addy’s pies for the festival tonight.” 

His smile lines creased. “I look forward to trying them. I hear they’re the best in town.” 

They approached the barn and already the horses grunted in their stalls. 

Quinn must be inside.

Jack slid open the door, and they entered. To her surprise, the barn was empty. Annalisa reached up and slid Bixby onto the nails, her palm grazing the dry, splintered wood. 


The fowler fell, and she clasped her hand. A large shard of wood lodged into her left palm. 

Jack rushed to her. “I bet that’s sore. May I?” His stare shifted, the serene calm where ocean meets sky. The nearness of his warmth overwhelmed her as he reached for her hand. He pinched the splinter. “This may hurt.” 

The smoothness of his touch and intoxicating perfume were more than enough to disguise the pain. In one swift motion, he plucked the wooden shard, and blood pooled in her hand. 

“How foolish of me.”

Jack removed a small, white linen handkerchief from his waistcoat and dabbed away the droplet. “That should do.” 

“But your handkerchief—’tis ruined.”

“Nonsense.” He wrapped it around her hand. “’Tis yours now.”

With a loud creak the barn door opened, and Annalisa spun around. Jack stepped away from her and focused on plucking burrs from his coat. 

George stepped inside. “Cousin, what’s this?” He eyed the fowler. “Annie, what did you do?” 

She held out her hand. “I got a splinter. But Mr. Perkins removed it.”

George crossed the barn in four great strides. He peeked under the linen and chuckled. “I think you’ll live.” He picked up Bixby and leaned it against his hip. “The Perkins gentlemen have come to hunt this morning before the festival. Mary’s waiting to pick strawberries with you.”

Jack stopped her. “Miss Annalisa, I hear ’tis your debut tonight. Will you honor me with a dance?” 

She beamed. “I look forward to it.” Annalisa left the barn as Oliver, William, and Andrew entered. 

“A rather unlikely place for a young lady,” Oliver said.

Upon hearing his snide, Annalisa slipped around the side of the barn to listen. 

“Annie’s in the barn all the time,” William replied. “George taught her to use his firelock.”

Oliver laughed. “Cousin, you willingly taught a girl to use a firelock? This will certainly be the death of you. What sort of young lady wishes to spend her time with weaponry?” 

“Plenty of women in town are more than capable of manipulating a fowler,” George said. “Life is different in the country. You’ll do well to keep with the pace of your new town, Cousin.”

Annalisa hurried from the barn and made her way to the strawberry field, where Mary sat with a large basket amidst a row of plants. 

“Why are you smiling?” Mary plucked a ruby jewel from its emerald swing. Her delightful, hazel eyes peered up at Annalisa.

Annalisa settled beside her. “I secured a dance tonight at the festival.” 

“I knew it,” Mary squealed. “With whom?”

“Jack Perkins.” 

A born and bred New Englander, Lindsey hails from the North Shore of Boston. A member of the Topsfield Historical Society and the Historical Novel Society, she forged her love for writing with her intrigue for colonial America by writing her debut novel, Muskets and Minuets. When she's not attending historical reenactments or spouting off facts about Boston, she's nursing patients back to health in the ICU.

Connect with Lindsey: 

Friday 27 May 2022

Join The Coffee Pot Book Club in conversation with Historical Fiction author, Fiona Forsyth. There is also the chance to check out Fiona's fabulous novel - Rome's End (Lucius Sestius Mysteries Book 1) @for_fi @SharpeBooks

Rome's End
(Lucius Sestius Mysteries Book 1)
By Fiona Forsyth

Book Title: Rome’s End
Publication Date: 24th January 2022
Publisher: Sharpe Books
Page Length: 261 Pages
Genre: Historical Mystery

45 B.C.E. Rome is under a Dictator.

Caesar has won the final battle of a bloody Civil War, and Romans are ready for peace. So, when Lucius Sestius Quirinalis, an aspiring lawyer, is called into his father’s study one autumn morning, he is thinking of nothing more than the family’s latest case. 
The charge against the historian Sallust is his corrupt rule in Roman Africa. But it is his research into the twenty-year-old Catilinarian Conspiracy which is proving unsettling for some. The Sestius family are shattered when their friend Caecilius is killed in mistake for Lucius. Their involvement in the case has brought murder to their own house, and Lucius is in danger.

With the aid of Cornelius Rufus, his all-knowing informant from the Subura slums, Lucius goes into hiding: his mistake is to choose Hippo Regius where Sallust was governor, and the urge to investigate is irresistible. But Caesar’s spies have followed them and so has murder. With nowhere left to hide, Lucius risks a return to Rome and a confrontation with Caesar.

In the aftermath of the Ides of March, his questions will be answered. Caesar, it seems, was not the only one to suffer a betrayal.

Congratulations on your recently published novel, Rome's End (Lucius Sestius Mysteries Book 1). What drew you to write about the Sestius family and in particular, Lucius Sestius Quirinalis?

Thank you! I first came across Lucius when he was about twelve years old and getting ready to sob on cue during a major trial in the Roman Forum. Cicero the great politician and orator was defending Lucius’ father, Publius Sestius, and this defence speech still exists. Of course, the speech is mostly about Cicero himself, but young Lucius appears a couple of times, and I really felt for him: just when he is entering the age when being cool matters, he has to be ready to respond when the lawyer declaims: “I see the defendant’s son, with tears in his eyes…”

The Sestius family get several mentions, so I was able to reconstruct an older sister and a stepmother for Lucius, and I began to search outside of this speech. Lo and behold, I discovered that Lucius was on the side of Brutus and Cassius after the assassination of Caesar – and he even helped run a mint for Brutus, producing coins whose imagery reinforced Brutus’ message of being a Liberator rather than an assassin. I cannot describe to you the excitement when my husband actually tracked down one of those coins! It’s one of my most precious possessions, and I can still read his name SESTI running around the edge. 

This coin, belonging to the author, shows the head of the goddess Liberty on one side and the implements of sacrifice on the other.

Twenty years later, Lucius suddenly pops up in the lists of Consuls. In other words, the rebel from the forties BCE gains Rome’s top office in the twenties BCE. What brought about such a change? And so I started to write to explore that transition. 

When researching this era, did you come upon any unexpected surprises? 

I was investigating what the Romans ate and was not expecting to discover that a group of archaeologists are analysing the contents of a latrine pit in Herculaneum, a town on the bay of Naples destroyed in the eruption of Vesuvius. The research is fascinating, and it turns out that the inhabitants of a rather ordinary block in a small town ate fish, poultry, vegetables, fruit, nuts and pulses, a varied and healthy diet that modern doctors would find hard to fault. I was once more impressed by the dedication of scholars who spend their days analysing – let’s face it – poop, to add that extra bit to our knowledge of our world. Over seven hundred bags of material were collected! Interestingly, several lamps were also recovered – imagine visiting the latrine in the night, you are sleepy, you stumble, and before you know it your lamp has gone down into the depths…

Terracotta oil lamps like this were common all over the Mediterranean. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons in association with the Metropolitan Museum.

Why do you think this period in history is still really popular with readers? 

It has everything – extraordinary characters like Julius Caesar, violence, literature, war, architecture, political conflict. 

Julius Caesar bust portrait here. Caption: Julius Caesar. Unknown sculptor and photographer, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

And, crucially, a lot of the evidence survives, not just written, but physical, so we can walk around Pompeii or Ostia and imagine how people lived. This is very attractive: there are times when I can read a poem by Catullus or a letter by Cicero and feel the gap of the years between us shrinking. Then I remember that the Romans hunted animals in the arena for sport, and executed people - often in the arena too, as entertainment - using crucifixion.

This large cat was killed in the hunt, as is shown by the mark above it. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

 The reader’s desire to understand is constantly thwarted by the Romans’ acceptance of issues which we find abhorrent, but we keep reading because this is still part of the human story. It is worth repeating: if we study history, we learn about ourselves.

What do you think is the most challenging aspect of writing Historical Fiction during this era? 

How to explain material without either patronising the reader or flooding them with information! I have to be reminded – over and over again – that not everyone wants to know the minutiae of Caesar’s Civil Wars or what Cicero said in such-and-such a speech. I think people are genuinely interested in the ancient world and how it worked, the challenge is to meet that interest without a rather dry history lecture. Having said that, I do love learning from fiction myself. At University, I wrote one essay in my finals based on Robert Graves’ “I, Claudius”.  I pretended that my source was the second-century biographer Suetonius. 

Does one of the main characters hold a special place in your heart? If so, why? 

Oh, Cornelius Rufus has my heart and always will. My hero, Lucius, is a sweetie, and finishing the third book in his trilogy is breaking my heart, but he is also what my mother would call “gormless” (a great word to describe someone who hasn’t a clue). Cornelius Rufus on the other hand is sharp and knows everything going on. He is the intelligence gatherer employed by the Sestius family to collect gossip – if they need to know the dirt on a political opponent or someone they are prosecuting, they call on Cornelius Rufus. Lucius is a little snobby about him because he comes from the Subura, Rome’s high-rise, low-rent area where you don’t go after dark. But Cornelius Rufus is resourceful and genuinely fond of the Sestius family, and Lucius comes to rely on him. If I had to describe them in dating terms, Lucius would forget to turn up, but Cornelius Rufus would be on time and bring flowers. 


The crowd in the Forum falls silent as the Consul comes down the hill, towards the Speaker’s Platform. He looks at the ground as he walks, a thoughtful expression wrinkling his brow, as if he imagines posing for a statue of himself at this critical moment. The young slave, who has been posted near the Senate House steps, straightens up and shifts nearer to the platform, along with everyone else, and tiny noises of movement swell to a whisper that runs through the crowd then dies away as the Consul faces the people of Rome and opens his mouth to speak. Torches – for it is nearly dark now –hiss and spit and light individual faces which seem to spring out of the crowd, eyes narrow with concentration or wide and frightened. The Consul seems about to speak but checks himself and takes a deep breath.


The slave is now at the front of the crowd and hopes that everyone will keep calm. He wishes the Consul would get on with it, instead of dramatising the occasion still further. He watches the lines across the Consul’s brow as they deepen slightly, and waits, wondering briefly how the Great Man could possibly deliver yet another memorable speech at the end of this year of speeches. He knows what news the Consul has to deliver – everyone knows it. It is a question of how he says it, and the slave concentrates, knowing that he will have to repeat as much as he can remember when he gets home.


“Vixerunt,” says the Consul very clearly, and pauses. The crowd sigh, and then hush again, and the slave shivers. But the Consul is turning, going down the steps once more. The crowd begin to talk excitedly and the slave feels his mouth open in surprise. “They have lived!” A single word – didn’t the occasion demand more? Surely Marcus Tullius Cicero, greatest orator in Rome, could have dredged up a few florid phrases to commemorate the most important day in his career? No – so perish all enemies of Rome and not even their epitaphs are allowed to commemorate their deeds.


It takes the slave a long time to get out of the Forum, because of the numbers of people moving slowly, as if no one wants to leave. Once on the road up the Caelian Hill, however, he moves quickly and even runs along the little side street leading to the Sestius house. Young Lucius is waiting in the atrium, of course, and so, to his surprise, is the master’s new wife, Cornelia. They both run up to him – there isn’t much unnecessary ceremony in the Sestius household.


“Decius!” cries Cornelia. “Is it...?”


“Are they dead, Decius?” says Lucius, looking very serious.


“Come into the study,” says Cornelia. “There’s some water there for you.”


The woman and child lead him in and fuss around him, making sure that he is comfortable. They sit patiently while he drinks, the only sign of their eagerness the fierce way in which the five-year-old Lucius swings his legs as he sits on a couch that is too high for him.


“They’ve just been executed,” reports Decius. “Cicero has just announced it in the Forum.”


“What did he say?” demands Lucius.


“He just said, “Vixerunt,” says Decius.


“They have lived? That’s a funny thing to say when you’ve just executed someone,” says the boy scornfully.


“It’s the traditional way of announcing an execution,” says Cornelia. “It’s bad luck to mention death itself.”


“Only for Lentulus and the others,” says the boy cheerfully. “And they deserve it for plotting against us all. That’s what Father would say.”


“I’m not sure that your father would say that – not quite. And anyway, you mustn’t think about it anymore,” says Cornelia. “They were wicked men, but now they’ve gone, so we don’t have to worry.”


“But Catilina’s not gone, is he? And Father will have to fight him before he goes,” says the boy. “My tutor says there will be a big battle. Do you think there’ll be a battle, Decius?”


“Yes, I do, Master Lucius,” says Decius. “But I don’t think your father will enjoy it. It isn’t a glorious thing, Romans fighting Romans.”


“I don’t think Father would enjoy any battle,” says Lucius sadly. “He’s not really a fighting sort of person, is he?”


“Your father will do his duty, and that’s what matters,” says Cornelia. “Now you have heard the news, have something to eat – only a snack, mind – and go to bed.”


Obediently, Lucius jumps down from the couch and takes Decius’ hand.


“Have you ever seen Catilina, Decius? Is it true that he really looks monstrous?”


“He is certainly not a monster,” says Cornelia, firmly. “He’s an ordinary man, just like your father, except that Catilina wants to take over the country, which is wrong. Now go to the kitchen and tell Melissa I said you could have a snack. And I don’t want to hear that you’ve been pestering Decius with questions.”


The boy and the slave leave, and their voices and the light patter of their sandals die away as they go off to the kitchens. Cornelia puts her hand on her belly, and sighs. What a time to be having a baby! She thinks of her husband, who has spent the last three months patrolling down in Capua and returned to Rome a week ago only to set off immediately for Etruria where Catilina and his troops are mustering. She crosses to the small shrine in the corner and puts a pinch of incense into the burner, whispering a prayer that the gods will protect Publius Sestius and bring him safely home to his family.

Read for FREE with #KindleUnlimted subscrption.

From the age of six, on being introduced to the myths of Greece and Rome, Fiona Forsyth wanted to explore the differences between our world and theirs. Curiosity led her to study Classics at Oxford at a time when most people told her that Latin was not useful: she then earned a living teaching it for 25 years before a family move to the Middle East gave her the opportunity to write. 
Connect with Fiona:


Thursday 26 May 2022

Books to Read in 2022! Eternal by Lisa Scottoline #HistoricalFiction #mustread @LisaScottoline


By Lisa Scottoline

Publication Date: 20th January 2022
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
Page Length: 480 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction / Women's Fiction

What war destroys, only love can heal.

Elisabetta, Marco, and Sandro grow up as the best of friends despite their differences. Elisabetta is a feisty beauty who dreams of becoming a novelist; Marco the brash and athletic son in a family of professional cyclists; and Sandro a Jewish mathematics prodigy, kind-hearted and thoughtful, the son of a lawyer and a doctor. Their friendship blossoms to love, with both Sandro and Marco hoping to win Elisabetta’s heart. But in the autumn of 1937, all of that begins to change as Mussolini asserts his power, aligning Italy’s Fascists with Hitler’s Nazis and altering the very laws that govern Rome. In time, everything that the three hold dear–their families, their homes, and their connection to one another–is tested in ways they never could have imagined.

As anti-Semitism takes legal root and World War II erupts, the threesome realizes that Mussolini was only the beginning. The Nazis invade Rome, and with their occupation come new atrocities against the city’s Jews, culminating in a final, horrific betrayal. Against this backdrop, the intertwined fates of Elisabetta, Marco, Sandro, and their families will be decided, in a heartbreaking story of both the best and the worst that the world has to offer.

Unfolding over decades, Eternal is a tale of loyalty and loss, family and food, love and war–all set in one of the world’s most beautiful cities at its darkest moment. This moving novel will be forever etched in the hearts and minds of readers.

“An accomplished historical novel that is both steeped in period detail and full of relatable characters…. Scottoline is a master at ramping up the suspense.”
Washington Post

“In this book of her heart, Lisa Scottoline delivers what her readers expect and so much more, fast-paced intrigue, but also an authentic, tender coming of age tale of three best friends navigating the complexities of fascism, war, political and family strife and romantic competition.”
Lisa Wingate, author of Before We Were Yours and The Book Of Lost Friends

“Eternal feels so real you can almost taste the cappelletti, as you get lost in the pages on your glorious and heart-wrenching trip to Italy.”
Martha Hall Kelly, author of Lilac Girls and Sunflower Sisters

Lisa Scottoline is the New York Times–bestselling and Edgar Award–winning author of thirty-three novels. She has thirty million copies of her books in print in the United States and has been published in thirty-five countries. Scottoline also writes a weekly column with her daughter, novelist Francesca Serritella, for The Philadelphia Inquirer, which has been adapted into a series of memoirs. She lives in the Philadelphia area with an array of disobedient pets.

Connect with Lisa:

Author Photo: © Jeff Wojtaszek

Monday 23 May 2022

Have a sneak peek between the covers of A. M. Linden's fabulous novel — The Oath (The Druid Chronicles, Book One) #HistoricalFiction #Medieval #BlogTour #CoffeePotBookClub @shewritespress

The Oath
(The Druid Chronicles, Book One)
By A. M. Linden

Publication Date: 15th June 2021
Publisher: She Writes Press 
Page Length: 319 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction

When the last of members of a secretive Druid cult are forced to abandon their hidden sanctuary, they send the youngest of their remaining priests in search of Annwr, their chief priestess’s sister, who was abducted by a Saxon war band fifteen years ago. With only a rudimentary grasp of English and the ambiguous guidance of an oracle’s prophecy, Caelym manages to find Annwr living in a hut on the grounds of a Christian convent.

Annwr has spent her years of captivity caring for the timid Aleswina, an orphaned Saxon princess who was consigned to the cloistered convent by her cousin, King Gilberth, after he assumed her father’s throne. Just as Caelym and Annwr are about leave together, Aleswina learns that Gilberth, a tyrant known for his cruelty and vicious temper, means to take her out of the convent and marry her. Terrified, she flees with the two Druids—beginning a heart-pounding adventure that unfolds in ways none of them could have anticipated.

“Linden's well-researched tale eloquently brings to life a lesser-known period of transition in Britain. . . . The author has created a strong foundation for her series with well-developed characters whom readers can embrace. . . . [a] layered, gripping historical fiction.”

—Kirkus Reviews

“The story rolls along at a lively pace, rich with details of the times and a wide cast of characters. [The] plotting, shifting points of view of the three engaging protagonists, and evocative writing style make The Oath a pleasure to read. Highly recommended.”

—Historical Novel Review

“Linden uses a fairy tale-like style almost as though this story has been passed down orally over the centuries.”

—Booklist Review

From Chapter 1: The Clearing

A torch touched the dry tinder and the fire sprang to life, flaring up in a ring around the condemned man. At first the bound figure was just a silhouette against the night sky, but as the fire spread around the stake he was illuminated in its glow, his dark hair shining as golden red as the flames. Even bruised and bloodied, he was handsome, tall, lean, and fit—his features so fine and noble that it was hard to believe the crowd surrounding him was screaming for his death instead of pleading for his life.

Looking through the flames, he could see the shifting shapes of the mob, men with spears, women with cudgels, and children waving sticks. They were cursing him, calling him a sorcerer. If he could have made himself heard, he would have told them that he was not a sorcerer, he was a physician who could have given them the gift of healing, a singer whose songs could have soothed their rage, a bard who could have told them a thousand stories about splendid heroes from days when the world was fresh and new. If they would just stop shouting and listen, he would tell them that he’d been the last of the disciples to sit at the feet of the three greatest Druid masters of their time. He would tell them that by killing him before he could pass on what he had learned they were destroying an ancient heritage of wisdom that could never be recovered, condemning themselves to suffering and ignorance.

Their taunts and jeers seemed to fade away, lost in his longing for a swallow of water to sooth his parched throat, a bite of food to ease his aching hunger, and, above all, to die unbound. It was the fire that granted his last wish—burning through the leather cords so that, for a moment, he was free.

Instead of leaving the fire to be torn apart by the frenzied mob, he raised his arms up towards the moon like a child reaching up to his mother. A sudden breeze fanned the fire and the flames soared, engulfing him and forcing his attackers to fall back as his body turned to a soft, feathery ash that was gathered up and carried off by the wind, swirling up and away into the star-filled sky.

The crowd’s angry curses quieted to grumbling complaints, and those changed to the hooting of owls and the croaking of frogs as Caelym woke up to find himself whole again, lying beside a decaying, moss-covered log at the edge of a clearing.

He’d fallen asleep in a thicket of alders, worn out from his desperate race to escape a real mob of raging Saxons. Choosing death by drowning over burning at the stake, he’d dived headlong into a river that carried him out of their reach and far out of his way. It had taken most of a day to make his way back along the river’s edge to the turn in the road where he’d been discovered. From there he’d limped on, continuing the quest he’d begun the day after learning that the long-lamented Priestess Annwr, sister to their chief priestess, was alive, that Ossiam, Grand Oracle and Master of Divination had seen her in a dream . . . imprisoned in a high tower, her golden hair blowing in the wind and tears streaming down her cheeks, crying out for someone to save her . . .

Copyright 2021 A.M. Linden

Ann Margaret Linden was born in Seattle, Washington, but grew up on the east coast of the United States before returning to the Pacific Northwest as a young adult. She has undergraduate degrees in anthropology and in nursing and a master’s degree as a nurse practitioner. After working in a variety of acute care and community health settings, she took a position in a program for children with special health care needs where her responsibilities included writing clinical reports, parent educational materials, provider newsletters, grant submissions and other program related materials. The Druid Chronicles began as a somewhat whimsical decision to write something for fun and ended up becoming a lengthy journey that involved Linden taking adult education creative writing courses, researching early British history, and traveling to England, Scotland, and Wales. Retired from nursing, she lives with her husband and their cat and dog in the northwest corner of Washington State.

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