I've had a gratifyingly successful weekend and hope you have, too.
After Whorl: Bran Reborn launches in only 14 days so it's definitely time to let you get an idea of what's in store for you.
If you've read the first novel in the series you'll recognise the name Brennus in the excerpt below. There was a Garrigill Brigante warrior named Brennus in the first book of the series- The Beltane Choice. Brennus was mourned as one of the Garrigill warriors slain at the Battle of Whorl where many Brigantes died under a Roman gladius or pilum.
Brennus was such a lovely man who fulfilled his duties and obligations, even under very trying circumstances. He couldn't just be lost...could he?
No. We find that Brennus didn't die... though he's not the same man anymore.
The following excerpt is taken from Chapter Four.
(The story so far: Brennus has been dragged seriously injured from the battlefield and has been restored to some semblance of health by an old Brigante woman, Meaghan. Sadly, Meaghan has used up all her strength and powers to tend Brennus and has recently died. Ineda, granddaughter to Meaghan, has arrived too late. Unfortunately, as Brennus learns who she is, a squad of Roman soldiers burst in to the roundhouse...)
A soft footfall sounded nearby, followed by a rush of heavier ones.
“Romans!” she shouted.
Brennus lurched from the fireside to pluck the one and only poorly tipped spear from the weapon holder near the doorway, but before his fumbling digits gripped the shaft jabbing metal nipped at his chest, forcing him back towards the centre of the room. The first spear was followed by another, and yet another, as Roman auxiliaries flooded the small roundhouse, encircling him.
She rushed to the doorway but was easily overpowered by one of the soldiers his gladius drawn and ready, menace flaring in his angry dark eyes. The small knife she wrenched from her waist pouch only served to stimulate the auxiliaries even further. They circled her, some cackling at her fearsome glower.
“Get behind me, Ineda!” For a time he forgot his infirmities, thinking himself the warrior he had once been. Searingly sharp spear tips prodded him.
The raucous laughter ringing out and the gestures at his wounded face and dragging leg reminded him too well. Bitter embarrassment swamped him, but he was gratified to find the now taunting Romans allowed the girl to scurry in at his back. The jeering and laughing of two of the younger ones was curtailed when an older auxiliary entered the roundhouse and pushed them aside, spouting harsh words at them in some incomprehensible language.
It was far too late to wish he had paid more heed to his brother, Lorcan, who had warned him that learning a little of the Latin tongue of the Romans might be useful some day in the future – though the man’s berating did not sound like the few Latin words he had heard Lorcan utter.
Before Whorl, he had been too full of his importance as tribal champion, too avid about showing off his physical prowess to the younger warriors of Garrigill to pay Lorcan any heed. His neglect meant the only thing he could understand was that the younger ones wanted to assuage their lust on Ineda, and the older one in charge thought differently.
A particularly nasty, raucous order was emitted the result of which was that the four younger men turned about, grumbling their exit from the roundhouse.
He felt Ineda’s slight form press against him as she whispered up to his ear. “They usually maraud in groups of eight, sometimes more. There will be more of them outside.”
He found no need to give answer since the auxiliary who appeared to be in charge replied.
“The girl speaks true. She has taken note of our movements.”
Though coarsely spoken, Brennus understood the man’s words since they were similar to his own Brigante Celtic.
The Roman continued, “As we have of her. You will leave now. This settlement was abandoned and will remain abandoned.”