Mastodon The Writing Desk: Blog Tour Guest Post ~ The Oath: The Druid Chronicles, Book One, by A.M. Linden

24 May 2022

Blog Tour Guest Post ~ The Oath: The Druid Chronicles, Book One, by A.M. Linden

Available from Amazon UK and Amazon US

When the last of members of a secretive Druid cult are forced to abandon their hidden sanctu-ary, 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.

The start of the story that turned first into The Oath and went on from there to become The Druid Chronicles was an image that came to me when I was toying with the idea of writing a medieval murder mystery. I did not have a particular plot or an exact time in mind, but pictured two youngish people—a tall, dark-haired man wearing a hooded cloak and a small woman in a nun’s habit—having a conversation by candlelight in a cramped, dirt-walled chamber. 

While I didn’t yet have any idea why they were there or what they were talking about, I was somehow certain that the man was a Druid priest; the woman was a Saxon nun, and the chamber was underneath a Christian shrine. Those “facts” set the narrative’s timeframe, fixing it between the completion of the Saxon conversion to Christianity in the late 600’s and the Viking invasions a century later.

Having fixed the time period for my saga in the early medieval period, I began my research by reading relevant historical texts with a focus on the conversion first of the native Britons and later of the Saxon kingdoms to Christianity. 

In order to fill out my vision of a secretive cult living in a hidden valley and continuing to practice a pre-Christian, polytheistic religion, I extended my investigation back to the European Iron Age, a period during which our understanding of people’s lives relies on archaeology—following that by reading accounts of Druids written by Greek and Roman commentators.

With this as a background, I went on to immerse myself in accounts of life in monasteries and villages, medieval farming and folktale, cooking over firepits and treating medical problems with herbs and incantations. It was during this phase of my research that I traveled to the United Kingdom with my husband and the Ordnance Survey map of ancient monuments in Great Britain, Scotland, and Wales. We started each of three trips at the British Museum. 

Then we rented a car, unfolded our map, and set out across country, taking in several of the well-maintained and highly informative heritage sites—including the awe-inspiring Stonehenge—but also following back roads, stopping at local museums in small towns with amazing displays of finds from nearby excavations, and taking advantage of the UK’s system of public access walkways to visit the vestiges of iron age hill forts or secluded standing stones in the company of modern-day sheep.

As I was then still working full time, this research and travel was spread out over a number of years, and I didn’t return to the draft of my manuscript until I retired. Since then I have substantially re-written it, incorporating my better understanding of its historical context. 

A number of books foundational to this series can be found on the Celtic History and Anglo-Saxon History shelves of my Goodreads book pages. Given the time lapse since the start of my research, I continue to follow new discoveries in the field via online resources including Early Medieval Archaeology.

A.M. Linden

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About the Author

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 undergradu-ate 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 pro-gram 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. Find out more at Ann's website and find her on Goodreads

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for hosting the blog tour for The Oath.
    All the best,
    Mary Anne
    The Coffee Pot Book Club


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