A Celtic warrior queen must do the impossible—defeat her sorcerer half-brother and claim the throne. But to do so, she must learn how to strike vengeance from her father’s skull.
Welcome to the January 18th stop on the blog tour for Skull’s Vengeance by Linnea Tanner with Goddess Fish Promotions. Be sure to follow the rest of the tour for spotlights, reviews, author guest posts, and a giveaway! More on that at the end of this post.
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Author Guest Post
Six Fun Facts about Linnea Tanner
Quest: Amphitheater of the Three Gauls
My daughter and I travelled to France, known as Gaul in Ancient Rome, to discover the historical sites where Catrin, Celtic warrior princess, journeys in the Curse of Clansmen and Kings series. My daughter was surprised to learn I was doing research for my novel—not a vacation. At a hotel in Lyon, I asked the French concierge, overemphasizing my words, “Where’s the amph…fitheater?”
The concierge gave me a puzzled expression. Exasperated, my daughter asked, “What are you trying to say?”
“The amphitheater where the gladiators fought … an arena,” I clarified.
“You mean coliseum?” my daughter confirmed.
The concierge’s face lit up. “Amphithéâtre des Trois Gaules,” he said, then whipped out a map, marked the route, and circled the spot. Luck smiled on me. Sonja was a skilled map reader and we visited the site.
Quest: Stirling Castle
My husband and I visited Scotland in 2010 on a quest to visit Sterling Castle. At the train station, I thought I heard someone say Sterling Castle is in Dunblane Scotland. Interesting. Why would it not be in Sterling? Though my husband questioned me about the destination, I insisted the castle was in Dunblane and bought train tickets to go there. When we deboarded the train and walked into the small town, I excitedly asked a townsman, “Where is Stirling Castle?”
He gave a wry smile. “It’s in Stirling.”
Duh! We decided to make the best of our journey and visited Dunblane Cathedral before returning to Sterling to visit the castle and the National Wallace Memorial.
My biggest delight is tending my flower garden of more than fifty roses—must to the chagrin of my husband who has to get on his knees to install a drip system for each plant. I remember the names of my roses but often mix up the names of my husband and children. I moved last summer and grieved not having my roses at my new house. This spring, I am on a quest to plant another rose garden.
Quest: Granddaughter in Paris
In 2017, we took our seventeen-year-old granddaughter on a quest to Paris where we visited the Louvre Museum and the Notre Dame Cathedral before it burned down in 2019. It was a memorable trip as my husband washed his passport in the washing machine, and he had to go to the US Embassy to get another. The following is a photo of my granddaughter who appears to be touching the glass pyramid at the Louvre Museum with her fingertips.
Haunting at Morey Mansion
During business trips to Redlands, CA in the mid-1990’s, I used to stay overnight at a bed and breakfast known as the Morey Mansion, a Victorian house built in 1890. During one of my stays, the housekeeper told me that some patrons had reported unusual activity in the guest bedroom known as the blue room. Out of curiosity, I stayed in the blue room on my last visit there. That night, the sky lit up with flashes of lightning. When I suddenly awoke, I saw a small boy looking at me. I closed my eyes and opened them again to find nothing. It could have been my vivid imagination, but I was so unnerved by the experience that I never stayed there again. Later, I learned that a 2009 episode of The Othersiders visited Morey Mansion and reported it as haunted.
Performed as Flamenco Dancer
After watching the movie, The Mask of Zorro, in 1998, I was intrigued with the music and the rhythmic taping of flamenco dancers in the background. When I told a colleague that I would like to take flamenco dancing, he suggested taking lessons from an instructor in Boulder, Colorado. Having never taken dancing lessons before, I ventured into the class, ready with a pair of flamenco shoes. I performed with the group at the University of Colorado theater, though it was hard to see me in the back as the star performers were highlighted in the front.
About the Book
Curse of Clansmen and Kings Book Four
by Linnea Tanner
Published 18 October 2022
Apollo Raven Publisher, LLC
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Page Count: 402
Add it to your Goodreads TBR!
AS FORETOLD BY HER FATHER in a vision, Catrin has become a battle-hardened warrior after her trials in the Roman legion and gladiatorial games. She must return to Britannia and pull the cursed dagger out of the serpent’s stone to fulfill her destiny. Only then can she unleash the vengeance from the ancient druids to destroy her evil half-brother, the powerful sorcerer, King Marrock. Always two steps ahead and seemingly unstoppable, Marrock can summon destructive natural forces to crush any rival trying to stop him and has charged his deadliest assassin to bring back Catrin’s head.
To have the slightest chance of beating Marrock, Catrin must forge alliances with former enemies, but she needs someone she can trust. Her only option is to seek military aid from Marcellus—her secret Roman husband. They rekindle their burning passion, but he is playing a deadly game in the political firestorm of the Julio-Claudian dynasty to support Catrin’s cause.
Ultimately, in order to defeat Marrock, Catrin must align herself with a dark druidess and learn how to summon forces from skulls to exact vengeance. But can she and Marcellus outmaneuver political enemies from Rome and Britannia in their quest to vanquish Marrock?
Chapter 1 Portals to the Otherworld
Antonii Villa in Gaul, Eve of Samhain, 31 October, 27 AD
Exasperated, Catrin drew in a sharp breath. Then, she considered Trystan’s impassioned plea to meet with two of her most hated enemies. Recalling how her father had respected his second-in-command’s advice, she reluctantly conceded and squeezed her legs against her horse’s flanks to move toward the campfire’s glow.
The night’s chill mysteriously transformed into an embracing warmth as they neared a roaring fire with a black cauldron hanging over it. Sitting behind the crimson flames were two obscured figures.
“Welcome, Apollo’s Raven,” a woman’s deep voice intoned. “Come to our fire. Join us in the dance of souls.”
Though Catrin hesitated to join them, the fire’s radiance mesmerized her, luring her closer to the orange flames. She dismounted and handed the reins to Trystan, who quietly remained with the horses as she sat down on a fallen log near the roaring campfire.
“Drink the magic from the cauldron,” the woman offered. “It empowers all who partake with the knowledge of mystical mysteries from the ancient druids.”
“I already have that power,” Catrin proclaimed, trepidatious that perhaps Rhan had dropped hallucinogenic ingredients into the bubbling mixture. Thick steam flowed over the cauldron’s edge and down its metal surface in a thick, greenish fog.
“We know, my love, but you have only had a taste,” Rhan replied in a hypnotic voice. “You do not know how to control this dark magic. But we do.”
Suddenly light-headed from the smoky fumes emanating from the cauldron, Catrin struggled to maintain her wits. “Once before you said this, when you tried to trick me into revealing how I can travel to the Otherworld.”
“Believe me, this is no trick,” Rhan said soothingly. “I’ve seen your father’s spirit wander the top of cliffs, near a dagger embedded in a serpent stone. It is the blade on which my curse was etched.”
“I sense the curse has altered again, but I can’t see how the etched wording has changed on the blade,” Myrddin interjected. “You must help us solve the riddle of how the dagger got there.”
Catrin inhaled sharply, realizing Myrddin and Rhan had discovered the location of the dagger she had thrust into the stone. The image of her running away from the Romans played in her mind, and her thoughts transformed into words.
“After the final battle, I tried to escape the Romans, but…but there was nowhere to go, except jump off the white cliffs. At that moment, I chose to die rather than be captured.”
Rhan rose to her feet, walked around the fire, and sat next to Catrin. “But you didn’t die, did you?” she said, touching Catrin’s arm.
“No. A riderless horse galloped to me, stopping in front of me. My father suddenly appeared and told me not to jump,” Catrin disclosed, reliving the supernatural moment in her mind. “I couldn’t believe my eyes that Father was there. I knew Marrock had beheaded him. Yet, I felt his essence and his love radiate into me.”
Tears swelled in Catrin’s eyes as remorse that she had been unable to save her family from Marrock’s brutality overwhelmed her. She swallowed down a sob before continuing her story.
“Father told me to lift the cursed dagger toward the sky. To my amazement, sunlight flashed through the dark clouds, almost blinding me. He then ordered, ‘Thrust the dagger into the serpent stone that I create.’ What I saw next was not a vision. It was real.”
Catrin grimaced as she recalled the burning pain she’d felt as she’d held the hilt of the dagger.
“The blade turned orange, as if it had been taken out of a furnace. Father’s spirit burst apart into gold dust and melted into the blade’s etching. Serpents massed together on the ground. The venom dripping from their fangs hardened into stone. Somehow, I was able to push the dagger into the hard rock, like it was butter. And, and…”
“And what, my dear?” Rhan pressed.
Catrin’s voice cracked. “I was collared by the Romans and put on a warship.”
About the Author
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), “Amulet’s Rapture” (Book 3), and “Skull’s Vengeance” (Book 4). She has also released the historical fiction short story, “Two Faces of Janus.”
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.
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