Jaffareadstoo is thrilled to be part of Nici's Christmas Tale Blog Tour
|The Thirteenth Sign|
My thanks to the author and Random Things tours for my copy of this book and the invitation to the blog tour
A stand-alone short story in the multi-award-winning Troubadours Quartet series 1157: Aquitaine. The wolves are coming! At midnight on Christmas Eve, while the blizzard blasts snow through every crack in the castle walls, Nici the Shepherd's Dog stands guard in the sheepfold. Beside him as usual are his pack and the flock they protect but this night is not usual at all. A small boy braves the snowy night, seeking the protection of his great friend while he is banned from his parents' quarters in the castle. Nici recalls other times and other dangers, his trials and failures, the reasons why he ran away with a young girl, now the little boy's mother. He would still give his life in a heartbeat for Lady Estela. And yet, on this snowy night, he cannot help her. So, while he waits and comforts Estela's son, he tells his own puppies the story of a dog's life.
My thoughts about it..
Nici's Christmas Tale takes us back to Aquitaine in 1157 and huddled with his sheep is Nici, a large Pyranean shepherd dog, who guards his flock, and his pack of dogs, from wolves, but on this snowy Christmas Eve, Nici has someone else to watch over, as whilst his patron, Lady Estela is otherwise occupied, her son seeks warmth and comfort. This is a lovely gentle story which looks at the world through Nici's eyes, and as he recounts the stories of his eventful life to his offspring, so he protects Lady Estela's son from harm.
Beautifully reminiscent of the age old tradition of gathering on cold night to tell stories, time and place sit comfortably within the time frame. There's a real sense of history and I found that I could well imagine the cold and dark and the pleasure of being held together in a safe place. Filled with adventure, danger, love and friendship, Nici's life, which hasn't always been easy, is explored in fine detail.
Whilst this is book five of the Troubadour Quartet series of books by this author, it is perfectly possible to read as a standalone and coming in at just under 60 pages, it's a lovely story to read on a wintry afternoon over a cup of hot chocolate.
Jean Gill is a Welsh writer and photographer living in the south of France with two scruffy dogs, a beehive named 'Endeavour', a Nikon D750 and a man. For many years, she taught English and was the first woman to be a secondary headteacher in Wales. She is mother or stepmother to five children so life was hectic. Publications are varied, including prize-winning poetry and novels, military history, translated books on dog training, and a cookery book on goat cheese. With Scottish parents, an English birthplace and French residence, she can usually support the winning team on most sporting occasions. Sign up to Jean special readers' group at http://www.jeangill.com/ for exclusive news, offers and a free book.
Twitter @writerjeangill #NicisChristmasTale #Troubadors