Book Title: The Missionary
Author: Rowena Kinread
Publication Date: 28th April 2021
Publisher: Pegasus Elliot Mackenzie Publishers
Page Length: 357 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
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Book Title and Author Name:
By Rowena Kinread
Patricius, a young man of Britannia, is taken from his home and family when Gaelic pirates attack his village. On his arrival in Ireland, he is sold as a slave to the cruel underking of the Dalriada tribe in the north. Six years later, Patricius manages to escape. His journey takes him through France to Ravenna in Italy. His subsequent plans to return to Britannia are side-tracked when he finds himself accompanying several monks to the island monastery on Lerinus. His devotion to his faith, honed during his captivity, grows as he studies with the monks. Haunted by visions of the Gaels begging him to return to Ireland and share the word of God with them, Patricius gains support from Rome and his friends to return to the land of his captivity. His arrival is bitterly opposed by the druids, who have held power over the Irish kings for many years, and he and his companions must combat the druids to succeed in their God-given mission.
Sex, violence, swearing
Available on #KindleUnlimited.
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Excerpt 4 from “The Missionary” by Rowena Kinread
“How much further is it?” Patricius asked. Huge black clouds of mosquitos were swarming low around his head. He swept them away with his arm, but they were persistent, and returned immediately, trying to suck his blood. His companions were irritable, squabbling over meaningless things. Angelo walked on ahead, clapping his hands continually in front of his face to disperse the mosquitos. A fallen tree lay next to the road.
“I cannot go one step further,” Patricius declared, plumping down on the stem.
“Me neither.” Fabio collapsed next to him.
“Me neither.” Salvatore flopped down. The stem cracked and Salvatore fell backwards into a dark pond of murky water surrounded by reeds. Patricius, startled by the cracking noise, screamed. Fabio, startled by Patricius’ scream, screamed also. Aldo, seeing Salvatore floundering with his arms and feet, put his hands on his thighs and doubled up laughing. Angelo alone stayed calm. He grabbed a fallen branch and pushed it towards Salvatore to help him out. Salvatore snatched the branch and emerged from the pond with effort.
“That wasn’t funny.” He went straight to Aldo, fists raised.
“Whoa, slow down!” The companions, engrossed in the interlude had failed to notice a farmer, on a horse- drawn cart, approaching. The horse’s hooves clattered to a stop.
“Hello there, are you all right? You look soaking. No surprise in this weather. Where are you going?”
“Ravenna, that’s nearly a hundred miles away! My farm is just two miles down the road. If you like I can give you a lift there, and you can rest in my barn overnight. It’s not a palace, but it’s dry.”
“That’s very kind of you. We could do with a rest, and to get dry.”
“Not at all, it’s Christmas soon; time to spread some goodwill.”
The companions clambered onto the farmer’s cart and the hounds ran alongside. They soon arrived at the farm and were shown into the barn.
“I don’t suppose you have anything to eat or drink for us?” Salvatore asked.
The farmer eyed them up shrewdly and said, “Well, if you have a few coppers, I might be able to persuade my Missus to rustle something up for you.”
“Of course.” Salvatore withdrew his money pouch from his tunic and gave the farmer some coppers. His hands were so cold that some silver coins clattered to the stone floor. He picked them up quickly and put them back into his pouch. The farmer turned the coppers over in his hand and left, saying he’d be back shortly.
Patricius made himself comfortable in the straw and took his shoes off to rub his feet. His companions also sat down, and the dogs lay down and licked their paws. Half an hour later the farmer returned with bread, ham and a flask of wine. The men ate and all but Patricius drank the wine.
“Don’t you want any?”
“No thanks, I’ll stick to water. I’ve got a headache.”
“Well, you’re not missing anything. It tastes like vinegar.”
Soon they all fell into a deep slumber. One of the hounds rested its snout on Patricius’ thigh. He awoke to it giving a deep, rumbling growl. Immediately on alert, Patricius opened his eyes, but it was dark and hard to recognise anything. He whispered “hush” to the dog and held its snout closed whilst he tried to determine shapes. There! Someone was searching their belongings. Patricius let the dog go and ordered “Wolf!” The dog, normally good-natured but trained to attack wolves, leapt onto the person, barking. It grabbed the person’s lower arm in its snout and dug its fangs deep into the skin.
“Aargh, let go!” The man hit the dog with his free hand and tried to kick it. The dog let the bloody arm go and bit into the man’s leg. “Aargh, get this crazy beast off me!”
Patricius recognised the farmer’s voice. “Let go of everything in your hands first!”
The farmer dropped a bag to the floor and coins rattled out.
“That’s your Christmas goodwill, is it? Get out of here!”
The farmer raised his arm, dripping with blood and looked at the vicious bite in his leg. “You’ll regret this!” he threatened, limping hurriedly from the barn. Patricius ran over to his companions, still sleeping soundly. He shook them.
“Quick, get up! We must go as soon as possible before the farmer returns with more people.”
“What? What are you talking about?”
“Oh, never mind, I’ll explain later, just do as I tell you. Hurry up!”
Head over heels they all ran outside, out of the farmyard and onto the road. There was thick fog everywhere, swallowing them up in obscurity. They hurried along the road as Patricius explained to them what had happened.
“That scoundrel,” Salvatore swore, withdrawing his sword. “Just let him come, I’ll show him what I think of him!”
“No, no violence please! If he comes, he won’t be alone. But look! Our Lord has sent us fog. If we hear them coming, we just need to depart from the road. We’ll be invisible in this.” Patricius tried to calm Salvatore.
“Humph.” Salvatore returned his sword to its sheath and held his head in both hands. “My head is turning like a cartwheel; I thought that wine tasted strange.”
They plodded on in silence. After a while Aldo said, “Wait a minute.” He went to one side and vomited. “That’s better now.” Soon Angelo too had to throw up. Salvatore and Fabio were groaning.
“Let us walk away from the road and rest a little.”
They sat down behind some bushes and drank some water. They were completely engulfed in fog. A few minutes later Angelo put his finger to his lips. They leant forward and strained to listen. In the distance the muffled sounds of horses’ hooves on the road reached them. Patricius trembled and held onto a dog. The others all held the dogs’ snouts closed. They held their breath as the sound of hooves came nearer and then passed them and continued down the road.
Rowena Kinread grew up in Ripon, Yorkshire. After leaving school she started working for Lufthansa in Stuttgart. There she met her future husband whom she married in Ripon. After raising 3 children, she began working as a secretary in a private physiotherapy practice. At the same time, she started writing non-fiction books and magazine articles. Retirement finally brought the financial security to start writing full length fiction. A keen interest in history and her own family ancestry inspired her debut novel “The Missionary”, the dramatic story about the life of St. Patrick. A second book “The Scots of Dalriada” will be published this year. Ms. Kinread says that she welcomed retirement and all its wonderful opportunities to launch a third career.
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Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com.au/Rowena-Kinread/e/B09JXTK626