Book Title: Apollo’s Raven
Series: (Curse of Clansmen and Kings, Book 1)
Author: Linnea Tanner
Publication Date: 20th January 2020 (3rd Edition)
Publisher: Apollo Raven Publisher, LLC
Page Length: 394 Pages
Genre: Historical Fantasy, Historical Fiction
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(Curse of Clansmen and Kings, Book 1)
By Linnea Tanner
Narrated by Kristin James
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 for-bidden love, mythological adventure, and political intrigue in Ancient Rome and Britan-nia. 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?
Sex, Violence, Sacrificial Rituals
APOLLO’S RAVEN EXCERPT
Excerpt 3: Chapter 7 Roman Hostage
24 AD, Southeast Britannia
Marcellus braced himself for terse negotiations as he followed his father into an open chamber at the right of the elevated thrones. Inside the room was a pentagram-engraved table that had been set with a flagon of wine, goblets, and plates piled high with cheese, bread, and dried meats. The windowless chamber had no circulation and smelled musty from moss growing in the cracks of the gray wall.
Now appearing calmer, King Amren sat his bulk down first in a massive chair nearest the opening. Marcellus had been told that Amren was an ignorant savage, but the king spoke Latin as eloquently as any Roman.
Marcellus seated himself on one side of his father, Lucius, while Decimus was on the other. Unlike the calm demeanor of the king, his father’s jaw clenched with obvious irritation. He could never read Decimus, who wore a permanent grimace on his fissured face.
Queen Rhiannon and her eldest daughter sat on each side of the king. Undoubtedly, these tall women were the equals to their male counterparts. The queen was intriguing, contrary, in Marcellus’s mind, to Lucius’s apparent disdain for her. She exuded confidence by the way she held her head high. Though she had remained quiet during the tense discourse, the king frequently looked to her as though seeking direction.
Catrin was last to enter the chamber. Marcellus was intrigued by how divergent her features were compared to her oldest sister. Vala was uglier than a Molossian guard dog with her square chin and pronounced overbite. She kept her mouth shut like a muzzled hound.
Though Catrin’s face was finely chiseled, she was precocious, risking her father’s wrath by blurting out the words that saved his life.
Marcellus noted the commander, Trystan, and the wolf sorceress taking their places be-hind the king’s ornate chair. She acted strangely, sniﬃng the air like a dog on a hunt. Depending on the wavering torch flame, the color of her eyes changed from brown-speckled green to shiny amber. Catching a waft of foul odor from the direction of the sorceress, Marcellus scrunched his nose. Brownish tissue still clung to her dress, proba-bly as a result of disemboweling the ram.
Trystan worried Marcellus the most. The snarl on this warrior’s face left no doubt he wanted to spill Roman blood; his hand looked too busy on the dagger’s thumb rise.
The meeting chamber darkened when Catrin drew a curtain, partitioning oﬀ the room from the receiving chamber. Adjusting his eyes to the dimmer light, Marcellus could see Catrin gazing at him. Her turquoise eyes shone like beacons as though beckoning him to explore her mysterious shores. Though everyone else in the room had pincer scowls, she gave him a demur smile. His heart quickened.
Sweet Venus above, she is beautiful!
Marcellus smiled at Catrin, but becoming aware of the king’s glare on him, he swiveled his eyes to his father crunching on an apple. He grimaced in disgust as his father spat out what looked like a half-eaten worm. Marcellus rubbed his lips with a couple of his fingers to hide his amused smirk. His father wiped his mouth and leveled his dark eyes at the king.
“Why is your youngest daughter here?” asked Lucius.
The king’s face hardened. “Apollo delivered his message through her. Do you want to risk your god’s wrath by not having her stay?”
Marcellus could tell by the disdain on his father’s face that he wanted to throw Catrin out. Decimus wisely shook his head, warning him not to confront the king.
“So be it,” Lucius grunted. He pushed the flagon across the table toward the queen, as if she were a lowly servant. “Pour me some wine.”
“Pour your own,” the queen barked.
An abrupt move behind the king’s chair caught Marcellus’s eye. He flinched when he saw Trystan draw his dagger. Staring at the queen, the warrior’s face flushed as red as a flame. She blazed back, shaking her head.
Alarmed by the sudden show of hostility, Marcellus gripped the table and prepared himself to lunge at the warrior if he made any untoward move.
Decimus also seemed to wake up to the danger; he placed a hand on his gladius.
King Amren regarded Decimus, then turned to Trystan and barked some Celtic orders. The wolf sorceress gripped Trystan by the arm and swatted the curtain back for the two of them to leave.
Marcellus leaned back in his chair to mark the king’s next actions. Amren picked up the flagon and smiled at his wife. “Let me do the honors.” He filled the goblets, handed one to each person, and oﬀered a toast: “To Apollo.”
After the toast, everyone around the table seemed to relax. The king initiated the conver-sation by amiably asking Lucius, “How was your journey?”
Lucius stared at his goblet of wine for a moment and said brusquely, “The brackish air on the sea voyage made my stomach roil. I had to ruminate on spoiled meat before swallowing it down again.”
Amren’s stare froze on the senator as he took a bite of cheese.
After a couple of sips, Lucius set his goblet down with a bang. “Enough of the pleasantries! Let me get to the point. I do not want to belabor the terms for arranging a private meeting between you and Cunobelin. Know this! I will not accept the condition that my son stays as hostage to assure your safety during the talks,” he said, leaning back into his chair and staring at Amren, “unless you also oﬀer someone of equal value for me to hold as hostage.”
“Whom do you propose?” asked Amren with a grated voice.
Lucius took another sip of wine and smiled. “I want your youngest daughter.”
The king gulped the wine in his mouth and slammed his goblet on the table. “No … never.”
As Marcellus regarded Catrin, the air seemed to suck out of the room and the chamber darkened. He could see fear in her big beautiful eyes. Though he should not care about what happened to her, he could not bear the thought of sex-hungry soldiers harming her at the camp. The chamber fell into a deadly silence.
Vala then slowly scuﬀed her chair back, stood, and pointed to herself. Though she spoke with a strong accent, her message was clear. “As firstborn daughter and king’s champion, I will do it.”
Challenged to do likewise, Marcellus impulsively stood up and blurted, “I also agree to stay here as a hostage. And let that be an end to this bickering.” He puﬀed out his chest with pride until he turned to his father, who was ready to pounce on him as he mouthed: You imbecile!
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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), Dag-ger’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.
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Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Linnea-Tanner/e/B01N6YEM04