Good relationships and less pleasant ones
by Nancy Jardine
The Celtic Fervour Saga isn’t easy to pigeonhole into a fixed category because each book has different degrees of: authentic historical backdrop; romantic interaction; and military engagement. All have a large cast of characters some of whom are re-appear in later books. There are also other non-romantic relationships between main and secondary characters – some of them good and uplifting, others more cruel and darker. All of these aspects are portrayed within the backdrop of the deadly adventures that befall my Garrigill Clan members.
After Whorl: Donning Double Cloaks continues the story of Brennus of Garrigill between A.D. 73 and A.D. 84. A genuinely lovely secondary character, Brennus is dealt a raw deal in Book 1. In Book 2 After Whorl: Bran Reborn Brennus (also named Bran after the devastations he suffers at the Battle of Whorl) meets Ineda of Marske but they are denied a romantic ending when they are attacked by a Roman patrol and Ineda disappears. At this point the story in Book 2 splits into two separate threads. One thread relates to what happens to Brennus and the other introduces the Ancient Roman viewpoint of Tribune Valerius and his relationship with Ineda, who he spirited away after the attack.
When Book 3 After Whorl: Donning Double Cloaks opens, Brennus is bereft without Ineda but life moves on. Returning to his family hillfort, he finds the close-knit sibling bond is a relationship that remains strong…but it’s still a lonely existence. Resisting the Ancient Roman threat has meant many male warriors of the tribes are dead, their womenfolk surviving alone. Two lonely souls becoming hearth mates at a time when the tribe also needs new blood to survive would have been a pragmatic, if not romantic, choice. Brennus and Lleia become hearth-mates even though romantic love is absent on both sides, their mutual respect and fondness for each other sufficing.
Ineda’s story continues with her in a forced sexual relationship with Roman Tribune Valerius. As Tribune Valerius’ personal slave, she has no say about anything and has no way of escaping. This darker element has been the fate of many slaves over millennia and is, regrettably, still happening. However, an initially enforced relationship sometimes produces an altered connection over time, not ‘Stockholm syndrome’ but something else. Tribune Valerius might wield all the clout over Ineda, and indeed over his military responsibilities, but in Book 3 After Whorl: Donning Double Cloaks I wanted to convey that even Ancient Roman legionary soldiers might be complex characters when it boils down to personal relationships.
However, After Whorl: Donning Double Cloaks isn’t intended to be a historical romance. It’s mainly based around the historical backdrop of the military invasion campaigns of General Agricola as he relentlessly marches his legions northwards from present-day Yorkshire all the way to the Moray Firth in Scotland – campaigns which were spread over approximately seven years. Both couples end up on the move northwards during those years.
Brennus seeks a special Caledon leader who will rally all the Celtic tribes to battle against the Ancient Roman Legions of General Agricola. During this time, Brennus and Lleia forge strong friendships with many people during their journey north but life is harsh…and death commonplace.
Tribune Valerius, with Ineda in tow, is posted to different northern forts since he’s a key officer in Agricola’s campaigns. Along the way, some of the relationships Ineda makes with people in these forts aren’t always made with the best of intentions, since she goes back to being a spy for the Celtic allies.
Times are hugely life-threatening and fate intervenes again, the results of which mean that Ineda and Brennus eventually meet up again before the disastrous, battle at Beinn na Ciche in northern Caledonia which happens at the end of After Whorl: Donning Double Cloaks.
And what happens to them then? My lips are sealed…
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AD 73 Northern Roman Britain
Brennus of Garrigill—Bran—monitors Roman activity across Brigantia. Stability prevails till AD 78 when Agricola, Governor of Britannia, orders complete conquest of all barbarians. Brennus heads north, seeking the Caledon who will lead the northern tribes against Rome.
Ineda treks northwards with her master, Tribune Valerius – supplies officer for Agricola’s Britannia campaigns. At Pinnata Castra, she escapes and seeks fellow Brigantes congregating for battle in the north.
The Legions of the Roman Empire and the Caledon allies clash at Beinn na Ciche in AD 84, but where are Brennus and Ineda?
The adventures of the Garrigill Clan continue…
Nancy Jardine writes historical fiction; time-travel historical adventure; contemporary mystery thrillers; and romantic comedy. She lives in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, where life is never quiet or boring since she regularly child minds her young grandchildren who happen to be her next-door neighbours. Her garden is often creatively managed by them, though she does all the work! Her husband is a fantastic purveyor of coffee and tea…excellent food and wine! (Restorative, of course)
A member of the Historical Novel Society; Scottish Association of Writers; Federation of Writers Scotland; Romantic Novelists’ Association and the Independent Alliance of Authors, her work has achieved finalist status in UK competitions.
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