On Hist Fic Revisited
Let's go back to ... AD79
Book #1 The Dalriada Trilogy
Spanning three centuries, the series recreates Celtic Britain at the time of the Roman invasion: a land of visions and dreams, bloodshed and brutal death.
It is AD 79 and Agricola, the ruthless governor of Roman Britain, is turning his attentions to the last unconquered territory in Britain - Alba, Scotland. Rhiann is a courageous and beautiful Scottish princess and priestess scarred by her violent past. Of noble blood, she faces what for her is the ultimate sacrifice - a forced marriage - to protect the freedom of her people.
Eremon is an enigmatic Irish prince in exile, who must seek an alliance elsewhere to regain his throne. Will he prove himself to be the man who can unite the squabbling Celtic tribes against the more ominous threat of Rome?
With war and chaos looming for her people, Rhiann finds herself drawn into an unexpected journey of the spirit and heart, which will reveal the true purpose of her life.
This story was recommended to me many years ago by a good friend who insisted that Eremon would give Jamie Fraser from the Outlander series a good run in the macho male stakes, well, I always doubted that bit, but I have to admit that Eremon does have a certain male arrogance that is rather appealing. Sadly, the friend who recommended this lovely story is no longer with us but whenever I see my copy of The White Mare on my book shelf I am reminded of the lively chats we once had about historical fiction.
The White Mare is set in the distant past, when the Roman invasion of Britain is well under way. Agricola, the ruthless Roman governor, is intent on conquering the last unconquered territory, namely that of Alba, Scotland. Rhiann is the beautiful but remote Scottish priestess, who is the last remaining hope of the female blood line on which her royal heritage is based, and Eremon is a fugitive Irish prince who in order to gain strength by association, is persuaded to take the inscrutable lady Rhiann as his wife. However, whilst Rhiann and Eremon’s enforced marriage offers some protection to the Epidii people of the White Mare, there are others who seek to destroy this alliance. Whilst the echoes of primeval mysteries surround this ancient game of thrones, the storm clouds gather and as the distant warlords hear the rumble of the mighty Roman army, the observance of time honoured rituals offer no protection against impending danger.
The White Mare is the start of this trilogy of novels which hover in the twilight world of myth and legend. The second book, The Dawn Stag, continues the story of Rhiann and Eremon, whilst the third book The Boar Stone concludes the story some three hundred years later. The White Mare is well worth a read if you like historical romance, mystery and ancient history combined with a rollicking good adventure.
It's been ten years since I read this and the story is still as strong as ever, the author creates a really believable ancient world, so much so you can feel the danger and learn to cherish each moment of peaceful activity, although to be fair there's not much peace and tranquility in this lively adventure. It's a perfect read for a dark winter's night, curled up by a warming fire to chase away the chill that permeates throughout the story.
I have to say though that this series is pretty hard to find in paper copy in the UK, which is why my paperback copies are precious, but, you never know, some antiquarian book sellers may have dusty copies lurking on a dark shelf somewhere. Thankfully, however, the whole series is now available on Kindle.
Jules Watson was born in Australia to English parents. She came to fiction via archaeology and public relations, working most recently as a freelance writer in England. She and her Scottish husband divide their time between the United Kingdom and Australia. ( Source: Goodreads)