The Oath (The Druid Chronicles, Book One: The Coffee Pot Book Club Blog tour.
When the last of members of a secretive Druid cult are forced to abandon their hidden sanctuary, they send the youngest of their remaining priests in search of Annwr, their chief priestess’s sister, who was abducted by a Saxon war band fifteen years ago. With only a rudimentary grasp of English and the ambiguous guidance of an oracle’s prophecy, Caelym manages to find Annwr living in a hut on the grounds of a Christian convent.
Annwr has spent her years of captivity caring for the timid Aleswina, an orphaned Saxon princess who was consigned to the cloistered convent by her cousin, King Gilberth, after he assumed her father’s throne. Just as Caelym and Annwr are about leave together, Aleswina learns that Gilberth, a tyrant known for his cruelty and vicious temper, means to take her out of the convent and marry her. Terrified, she flees with the two Druids—beginning a heart-pounding adventure that unfolds in ways none of them could have anticipated.
Sexual assault, child abuse
Sexual assault, child abuse
Aleswina led the way back down the path to the convent with Caelym keeping up as best he could. Reaching the alder grove at the end of the path, she whispered, “Follow me!” and darted across the clearing.
Bitterly regretting his oath to obey an enemy who was almost certainly taking him into a trap, Caelym left the safety of the trees to stagger across the open ground and flatten himself against the wall.
He stood there, watching warily, as she opened a tiny doorway and crawled through it. Drawing in a deep breath, he silently invoked the seven sacred names of the Mother Goddess and followed after her. He came out on the other side of the wall to find himself behind a small building in a garden that was so much like the one he’d just left he half expected Annwr to step out of the bushes and ask him why it had taken him so long to get there.
The girl stooped down and made a quick gesture with her right hand, touching the tips of her fingers first to her forehead, then to her midriff, then to her right shoulder, then her left. Then she lifted up a broad board from the base of the building’s back wall that turned out to be another hidden door.
“It is the Shrine of Wilfhilda, Blessed Saint of Herbs and Vegetables,” she whispered, as though this was an explanation for what she had just done or what Caelym was supposed to do next. A sudden clanging of bells broke out from the tower overhead. Startled like a deer at the sound of a hunting horn, the girl thrust Annwr’s basket into the chamber.
“Get in!” Almost raising her voice, she pointed a trembling finger at the hole in the wall. He obeyed, reluctantly, squeezing through the opening and into a small, sunken chamber. There was just enough time to look around and see that its dirt walls were braced with rough posts and cross pieces and that a shelf, cut into the back wall, held an orderly assortment of cups, plates, and utensils before she closed the door, shutting out the light.
Keeping his knife drawn, he listened at the doorway, until fever and fatigue won out over suspicion and fear. Then he wrestled out of his cloak, tunic, and shirt—hitting his head on the ceiling and his elbows against the walls. After stuffing the tunic and shirt into his leather bag for a pillow, he felt around in the dark for his dagger and tucked it under his bag. Finally, pulling his cloak around him for a blanket, he lay on his side, his knees drawn up almost to his chest, and drifted off into fevered dreams.
From Part II: The Shrine of Saint Wilfhilda
Copyright 2021 A.M. Linden
Amazon CA: https://www.amazon.ca/Oath-Druid-Chronicles-Book-One-ebook/dp/B08F2JGG56
Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-oath-am-linden/1137420415
Apple Books: https://books.apple.com/us/book/the-oath/id1525843259
“Linden’s well-researched tale eloquently brings to life a lesser-known period of transition in Britain. . . . The author has created a strong foundation for her series with well-developed characters whom readers can embrace. . . . [a] layered, gripping historical fiction.”
“The story rolls along at a lively pace, rich with details of the times and a wide cast of characters. [The] plotting, shifting points of view of the three engaging protagonists, and evocative writing style make The Oath a pleasure to read. Highly recommended.”
—Historical Novel Review
“Linden uses a fairy tale-like style almost as though this story has been passed down orally over the centuries.”
Ann Margaret Linden was born in Seattle, Washington, but grew up on the east coast of the United States before returning to the Pacific Northwest as a young adult. She has undergraduate degrees in anthropology and in nursing and a master’s degree as a nurse practitioner. After working in a variety of acute care and community health settings, she took a position in a program for children with special health care needs where her responsibilities included writing clinical reports, parent educational materials, provider newsletters, grant submissions and other program related materials. The Druid Chronicles began as a somewhat whimsical decision to write something for fun and ended up becoming a lengthy journey that involved Linden taking adult education creative writing courses, researching early British history, and traveling to England, Scotland, and Wales. Retired from nursing, she lives with her husband and their cat and dog in the northwest corner of Washington State.
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Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/kindle-dbs/entity/author/B08YTL5XT5