1 June 2020

Guest Post by Linnea Tanner, Author of Apollo’s Raven (Curse of Clansmen and Kings Book 1)


Available at Amazon US and Amazon UK

Apollo’s Raven is the first book in the Historical Fantasy series, Curse of Clansmen and Kings, that weaves Celtic mythology into the historical backdrop of 24 AD Britannia and Rome. The epic tale begins when British tribal kings hand-picked by Rome 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.


Universal Theme of Love vs. Duty

Apollo’s Raven is inspired by the legacy of Mark Antony and Cleopatra, except with a Celtic twist. The choice of love versus duty is a universal theme that I explore in Apollo’s Raven and throughout the series. In the first book, the protagonist, Catrin, is a strong-minded adolescent Celtic princess fraught with conflicting emotions about her mystical powers that she can’t seem to control. 

She struggles to do her duty despite her overwhelming blind love for a Roman hostage, Marcellus, put under her charge. Marcellus, the great-grandson of Mark Antony, struggles to rise above his ancestor’s legacy of betraying Rome for the love of an Egyptian queen. In the eyes of their people, Marcellus and Catrin are considered fools for their forbidden love affair. Their struggle to balance love and duty will be explored throughout the Curse of Clansmen and Kings series spanning from 24 AD through 40 AD, just prior to the Roman invasion and occupation by Emperor Claudius in 43 AD.

Research to Support Writing

I extensively researched Roman and Celtic history and visited archaeological sites in the United Kingdom and France so I could more accurately depict the landscape and ancient cultures in the Curse of Clansmen and Kings series. The research on the Celts was the most challenging as they left limited written records. Their history was told through the eyes of their enemies: Julius Caesar and Greek and Roman historians. Monks in medieval monasteries wrote down stories from oral Celtic traditions in Wales and Ireland, but the stories often reflected their Christian values.

Archaeological evidence puts a different spin on the Roman conquest of Britannia in 43 AD. Romans heavily influenced the politics of British kings after the military excursions of Julius Caesar in 55 and 54 BC. His invasion was not a momentary diversion from his conquest of Gaul. Instead, it was his effort to establish the dynasties of the most powerful tribes of southeast Britain who would swear their loyalty to Rome.

Caesar demanded tribute and hostages to be raised in Roman households. The acculturation of the British rulers’ children heavily influenced their adoption of Roman beliefs when they returned as adult to their homeland. Archaeological findings suggest that there was a Roman military presence in Britannia to protect the empire’s interests prior to Claudius’ invasion. 

Hence, the political situation for tribal rulers in Britannia was similar to Queen Cleopatra in Egypt. They were client rulers who enjoyed relationships with Rome that were essentially harmonious but unequal. In the Curse of Clansmen and Kings series, the struggle of Marcellus and Catrin to balance their forbidden love and duty will drive the political intrigue leading up to Roman Emperor Caligula’s ambition to conquer Britannia.

One of the most fascinating aspects of the Druids that I learned in my research is their belief that the soul is immortal and can transmigrate between different animal species. Julius Caesar wrote that Celtic warriors did not fear death because they believed in reincarnation and that their souls can occupy another body after death. I expanded the concept of the soul to explain Catrin’s mystical abilities to shapeshift, to enter a raven’s mind, and to summon forces of nature from the Otherworld—the world of the dead.

Future Books in Series

Dagger’s Destiny (Book 2) and Amulet’s Rapture (Book 3) in the Curse of Clansmen and Kings series have also been released. Skull’s Vengeance (Book 4) is anticipated to be released in 2021, followed by the final book, Raven’s Sacrifice.

Linnea Tanner 
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About the Author

Award-winning Author Linnea Tanner weaves Celtic tales of love, magic, adventure, betrayal, and intrigue into historical fiction set in Ancient Rome and Britannia. Since childhood, she has passionately read about ancient civilizations and mythology which held women in higher esteem. Of particular interest are the enigmatic Celts who were reputed as fierce warriors and mystical Druids. As the author of the Curse of Clansmen and Kings series, she has extensively researched and traveled to sites in the United Kingdom and France which are described within each book. To learn more about the author and her books, you can visit her website at https://www.linneatanner.com/ and find her on Twitter @linneatanner

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