I've not done a little Sneaky Peeking Sunday lately, so today I'm sharing a bit from my soon to be published After Whorl: Donning Double Cloaks - Book 3 of my Celtic Fervour Series - coming in only 23 days!
Why is it a similar title to Book 2 of my Celtic Fervour series which is After Whorl: Bran Reborn?
It's similar because Book 2 is the story of Brennus of Garrigill who assumes a new identity after the Battle of Whorl which occcurs at the end of Book 1 in AD 71. The actual battle is only barely mentioned at the end of Book 1- The Beltane Choice - but its aftermath has many ramifications for Brennus of Garrigill who is not dead as is presumed when the battle is over.
Restored to health Brennus assumes the new name of Bran, believing he can't ever return to his former home at the hillfort of Garrigill. He becomes Bran of Witton, Witton being the Celtic roundhouse settlement that the Romans force him to live at.
Operating as Bran, Brennus becomes a member of a spy chain which feeds information to King Venutius of the Brigantes, details about Roman expansion in Brigantia, northern Britannia.
Ineda of Marske, the granddaughter of Meaghan the old healer who nurses Brennus back to health, also becomes part of the spy chain, only knowing him as Bran. Towards the end of Book 2 Ineda and Bran are set upon by a Roman patrol. Brennus/ Bran is again left for dead but Ineda can not be found. Since Brennus is unable to locate the young woman he has come to love as a woman rather than as a foster-sister, he vows to continue his life in the service of his king. Ineda is not dead but is forced to slave for a Roman tribune- Gaius Livanus Valerius. This action covers the years of approximately AD 71- AD 73.
Book 3 After Whorl: Donning Double Cloaks continues the tales of both Bran and Ineda as the Roman empire make their imprint on the northern areas of Britannia.
This extract is from the very beginning of Book 3. I hope you enjoy Bran deciding the time really has come to pay a home visit.
After Whorl: Donning Double Cloaks
AD 74 Beltane – Garrigill, Brigantes Territory
“Who are you?” The warrior’s eyes lit up in shock, even a little fear, as he took in the sight of the man who approached the tall wooden gates of the hillfort at Garrigill.
“The man you think I am, and yet not that same man. Though I am not a dead warrior either.” Brennus could not have wished for a better guard to be at the entrance to his old home.
“We thought you gone from us after the battles at Whorl. Grond was sure you must be dead.”
“I know you all must think that, but I lived in spite of my injuries.”
Relief spread when his old friend began to smile, acceptance creeping across his familiar features. He grinned at the hearty laugh which bellowed into his ear, Dairmid’s clasp across the shoulders the warmest greeting he had had for many a day.
“The face may be different, but the voice is unchanged!” Dairmid’s inspection was acute as he continued to slap his palms lightly at Brennus’ upper arms in cheery fashion, still amazed by his arrival.
“Brennus I am, but not quite the same person you used to call friend. I am also now named Bran of Witton.”
“Welcome then, Brennus or Bran. There is surely a story to hear about that. We have long missed your drawn out tales ringing out around our hearthsides!”
Dairmid stood back and took stock of him. His old friend’s keen gaze at his ravaged face no longer bothered him. He appreciated Dairmid’s next words as much as the genuine welcome in the man’s grin.
“What’s a scar or two to a Celtic warrior? We all have them somewhere. But come and tell your brother, the chief of Garrigill, where you have been. Your arrival will be such a surprise to Lorcan.”
He was certain it would be an immense shock, though he hoped a pleasant one. A long time had passed since he had seen his brother wend his way to the Brigante Tribes dealings with Cerialis, the Roman Governor of Britannia.
“Garrigill is quiet, Dairmid.” He deliberately kept any censure from his tone but from what he had seen on the approach to the huge hillfort of Garrigill there was a poor guard force at its gates.
“Quiet?” His old friend paused before he latched on to the meaning. “We have a large area to patrol and few able warriors to do it.”
Having come up through the series of defence ditches that surrounded the settlement, Brennus assessed in his usual fashion, his gaze a swift move to both right and left. People ambled around, but not in the numbers he would have seen before he left for the battle at Whorl.
“We have even fewer able warriors now, Bre…Bran. Whoever you wish to be named! The defeat at Stanwick left us with many dead, male and female.”
“My brothers, Locan and Gabrond?”
“Both still live. Gabrond fretted as any warrior would but he never recovered enough after Whorl to go to battle with King Venutius. He remained in charge here at Garrigill, though Lorcan will tell you all. You have much to catch up on.”
They reached what had been his father Tully’s roundhouse but was now the hearth of his brother.
Dairmid’s call brought a small child running out through the entryway of the roundhouse: a little boy who stopped short at Brennus’ feet and then tumbled over in a heap alongside.
“Slowly, little one. Learn to walk properly before you run.” He picked the child up in his arms, certain he knew who the child belonged to. The eyes and facial features were exactly like his brother Lorcan, the hair a slightly lighter bronze than what he remembered of Nara. The little one had to be his nephew........
If you haven't yet seen the book trailer video yet, here it is:
Book 1 - THE BELTANE CHOICE is available in print and ebook formats from
Book 2 - AFTER WHORL: BRAN REBORN is available in print and ebook formats from
Amazon, B&N, Smashwords, W.H. Smith, Waterstones, and other retailers.
ps. Today on the Amazon.com genre chart: kindle >historical>Celtic Britain>fiction
#1 is The Beltane Choice and #11 is After Whorl: Bran Reborn.
Look out for more, in the coming days, about my forthcoming release...