Blog Tour for "Apollo's Raven"
A Celtic Tale of Forbidden Love
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 forbidden love, mythological adventure, and political intrigue in Ancient Rome and Britannia. 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
Excerpt 6: Chapter 45 Perilous Escape
24 AD, Southeast Britannia
Gasping, snorting, Marcellus thought he was drowning in a tumultuous sea when he awoke. With water all over his face, he was bewildered to find himself lying on his back and gazing at a domed roof. His skull felt as if a spear had been pierced through it. Groggy, he wondered if he had been cursed to the bowels of the Underworld. If so, who paid his passage across the River Styx?
To his consternation, the chained shackles around his ankles restrained his movement as he sat up. Looking around, he wondered why he had been moved to what looked like one of the thatched-roof round houses. It was barren of furniture and the central hearth was dead with cold ashes. His heart shuddered. This could be the final spot for his execution. Without some kind of tool to snap the chains from his shackles, it would be impossible to escape.
If I am to die, he resolved, I will go down fighting.
The sudden movement of a shadow overhead startled him. He blinked several times as the winged figure swooped over him and landed near the central hearth. Shocked to see the Raven, he cursed, “Gods in Hades! Not that thing!”
Anticipating the Raven might peck at him, he flinched when it hopped over. To his pleasant surprise, the Raven cocked its head and gurgled softly. When he noticed that the Raven’s eyes were the same blue-green color as Catrin’s, he wondered if he was hallucinating. He recalled the tribune saying, when they first landed at Britannia, that the Druids could shapeshift into animals.
Is it possible that Catrin also has this power?
He extended his hand in a welcoming gesture to the Raven. It waddled next to him and nuzzled against his side. Relaxing, he allowed the Raven to perch on his crossed legs. As he stroked its iridescent plumage, soothing warmth radiated into his fingertips.
“Is that you, Catrin?” he asked. “Where have you kept yourself these past weeks?”
The Raven bobbed its head and cawed.
Marcellus chuckled. “How stupid of me to think I could actually talk to a bird.”
The Raven pressed a claw against his belly. Looking down, he noticed a tiny scroll adhered to the bird’s leg with a metal band. He pulled the message out.
It read: “Be ready.”
Be ready for what?
His heart rattled as questions rumbled in his head. Did Catrin write the message? If so, is she working with the Romans? What if she did not write it? Am I being set up for a trap? What in Hades am I up against?
The Raven suddenly plopped against him and stiﬀened. Alarmed, he examined the bird’s eyes, which now appeared as black beads. He pulled on a wing, but it remained limp. He fixed his gaze on the entry door and readied himself—for what, he wasn’t sure.
The entry door clicked open.
The listless raven suddenly sprang to life and darted to a ceiling beam.
Senses heightened, Marcellus crouched and focused intently on the door. He squinted, but couldn’t make out the shadowy figure coming through the entryway—friend or enemy?
He only had a brief moment to imagine how relieved he would be to see Catrin when Belinus strode through the entryway with a plate of food. The Raven dove at Belinus with outstretched talons, its shrieks slamming oﬀ the walls.
Belinus flung the platter, scattering food all over. The Raven’s talons viciously jabbed at him as its black wings flapped around his face. He threw a punch at the Raven, but it averted the blow and swooshed through the doorway. Screaming indiscernible words, Belinus also dashed through the entryway and disappeared into the darkness.
Marcellus, panicking, yanked hard on his chains to pull them out of the wooden post.
When he heard shuﬄing feet and clanging noises outside, he again stared at the entrance.
Drums beating in the background mixed with what sounded like a scuﬄe. He assumed the crazy savages were in a mock fight as part of the celebration.
He heard a loud thud.
Catrin suddenly appeared in the entryway armed with a shield strapped to her shoulder. In her hand was a helical key. Seeing her made Marcellus’s heart race with excitement. He embraced her. She pulled away. “I need to get you out of here!”
“Good idea,” he said, smiling.
With a steady hand, Catrin inserted the key into the manacle, twisted it, and unlocked the spring mechanism. Marcellus helped her unwind the cuﬀs from his wrists. Legs cramping, he staggered to his feet as she steadied him.
“Can you run?” she asked.
She motioned for him to follow her.
Outside, near the doorway, Marcellus noticed Belinus lying motionless on the ground. Looking around, he thought it odd there were no other guards. He glanced at Catrin in bewilderment, and she pointed toward the town’s center. Between the thatched structures were people dancing around a raging fire. A woman, whose head was covered with a wolf pelt, was interweaving between the revelers.
Marcellus assumed it was Agrona inciting the natives. Unfamiliar with the village’s setup, he looked to Catrin for her lead. He trailed her, both scurrying from one structure to the next. His senses on alert, he darted his eyes all around for any unexpected motion before bounding to the next structure. After passing several dome-roofed houses, they at last reached the outer spiked wall where some wooden planks had fallen, leaving a narrow opening.
Catrin shoved her shield through the gap, then squeezed herself through the opening. Marcellus did the same, forcing himself between the splintered wooden planks that ripped his trousers and scratched his legs.
On the other side of the walled fortress, he saw the silvery moon escape the cover of clouds and illuminate a raven swooping down an escarpment.
Catrin tapped him on the shoulder. “We need to follow that raven.”
“You go first,” he said, his voice rasped from rapid breaths.
He watched Catrin sprint down the hillside and leap over a rock as gracefully as a deer. He quickly surveyed the shadowy hillside, wondering how he could ever navigate the unfamiliar landscape at night.
Am I crazy?
No time to ponder.
He chased after Catrin and clumsily maneuvered the first concentric ditch surrounding the hill fort. He reassured himself. Only two ditches to go!
His stamina weakening, he urged his metal-heavy legs forward to keep up with the light-footed princess. With the drums and wails quieting from the village, his gasps ground in his throat as he climbed over the second trench.
Just one to go!
His lungs burned as if they were on fire when he dashed to the final ditch. When he reached the embankment, his legs gave out and he flung himself over the top, rolling down several feet before his head slammed against a boulder. Momentarily stunned, he gazed at the stars streaking around the full moon.
He felt Catrin’s arms wrap around him. “Move!” she ordered. “My people will soon know you have escaped.”
More book buy links:
Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/apollos-raven-linnea-d-tanner/1125792731?ean=2940161846049
Apollo’s Raven (Book 1): https://books2read.com/u/mVRR0J
Dagger’s Destiny (Book 2): https://books2read.com/u/bxQQro
Amulet’s Rapture (Book 3): https://books2read.com/u/mdddX5
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), Dagger’s Destiny (Book 2), and Amulet’s Rapture (Book 3). Skull’s Vengeance (Book 4) is anticipated to be released in late 2021 or early 2021.
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.