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Apollo's Raven Paperback – April 10, 2017
2017 New Apple Summer E-Book Award: Historical Fiction - Official Selection
24 AD Britannia is in turmoil. Celtic 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 foretells Blood Wolf and the Raven will rise and destroy him. King Amren reveals to his daughter, Princess Catrin, the grim prophecy that his former queen pronounced at her execution for treason to him:
The gods demand the scales be balanced for the life you take. If you deny my soul's journey to the Otherworld by beheading me, I curse you to the same fate as mine. I prophesy your future queen will beget a daughter who will rise as a Raven and join your son, Blood Wolf, and a mighty empire to overtake your kingdom and to execute my curse.
Catrin is trained as a warrior and discovers she is the Raven and must find a way to block the curse of the evil former queen. Torn between her forbidden love for her father's enemy Marcellus, and her loyalty to her people, she must summon the magic of the Ancient Druids to alter the dark prophecy that awaits her.
Will Catrin overcome and eradicate the ancient curse? Will she be able to embrace her forbidden love with Marcellus? Will she cease the war between Blood Wolf and King Amren? Will she save Ancient Britannia?
Apollo's Raven sweeps you into an epic Celtic tale of love, magic, adventure, intrigue, and betrayal in Ancient Rome and Pre-Arthurian Britannia.
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"The requisite fantasy elements of magic and mystery abound. Tanner also does an admirable job weaving in the politics and mythology of a bygone people. A complex and promising start to a new fantasy series." --Kirkus Reviews
"APOLLO'S RAVEN is a soaring epic that carries its audience on an adventure full of ancient magic, passionate romance, and political intrigue." --IndieReader (IR Approved)
"Apollo's Raven is a historical fantasy with strong elements of romance, political intrigue, and magic. Many surprising twists enrich the historically-drawn plot. Points of view shift between different characters effectively, heightening the tension from one moment to the next. I love the scenes contrasting the cultures of Celtic Britannia and Rome, during which Tanner's research really shines." --Historical Novel Society
"If you're looking for something entertaining with a fast, action-paced rhythm, Apollo's Raven by Linnea Tanner is a definite must. For a woman who is trying to figure out where she belongs in her world, this tale is relatable to other young women in our timeline who are also trying to figure out where they belong." --Literary Titan (Gold Book Award)
"Apollo's Raven is a rapturous read that mixes Celtic mythology into a good historical romance."--Forward Review
"Fans of romantic historical fiction will appreciate the author's obvious love of ancient history and attention to period detail in this promising start to a new series." --BlueInk Review
From the Author
In preparation for writing Apollo's Raven, I extensively researched and traveled to sites in the United Kingdom which are described in my book.
Book 1: Apollo's Raven is an epic Celtic tale of love, magic, adventure, intrigue and betrayal in the backdrop of Ancient Rome and Britannia. The story follows two star-crossed lovers from vastly different cultures: Catrin, a Celtic warrior princess, and Marcellus, the great-grandson of Mark Antony.
The heroine, Catrin, is inspired by historical and legendary accounts of Celtic warrior queens in Britannia where women were held in higher esteem and could serve as warriors and rulers. The Celtic noble warrior society was heavily influenced by Druids and rival rulers fought each other for power.
- Publisher : Apollo Raven Publisher, LLC; 1st Edition (April 10, 2017)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 400 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0998230006
- ISBN-13 : 978-0998230009
- Item Weight : 1.26 pounds
- Dimensions : 5.98 x 0.87 x 9.02 inches
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Reviewed in the United States on July 20, 2021
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When the Romans landed on the shores of Britannia in 24 A.D., their plan was to garner the support of certain Village Kings in order to conquer them all in the near future. The king's daughter, Catrin, discovers that she has certain 'witching' powers and uses them in hopes of breaking the prophecy set upon her village and people - a curse cast by the king's former wife as he chopped off her head. Did she really die?
The curse involves her son, a shapeshifter whom the king banished years before, and the Romans who are destined to plunder and kill everyone in the kingdom. There's a lot going on in the story with many twists and curves along the way.
Catrin and Marcellus, a Roman nobleman and grandson of Marc Anthony, who is not much older than her 16 years, fall in love while each is charged by their father to seduce the other in order to gain inside information. So is this true love or are they using each other?
I was in awe of the world the author created. Her prose and dialog also made it appear as if this story was actually written during that era. Although this is the first book of a series, it can be read as a stand-alone without a cliffhanger at the end. I thoroughly enjoyed the story and will be continuing the series to see what becomes of Catrin and Marcellus.
Catrin, a Celtic teenager and also a princess, has magical powers. Guided by a raven spirit guide, she learns to use these powers on her mission to kill her father, King Amren, by her mother, the Queen. On her reluctant journey, she meets Marcellus, whose father, Senator Lucius Antonius, sent him to spy for Rome. Catrin and Marcellus are kindred spirits thrown into a battle they don't want to fight. As their passions kindle, they must decide whether to trust each other. Tensions rise as Catrin's mystical power reveals Marcellus' death. As others join the battle for control of Britain, Catrin is forced to fight as she is trained as a warrior princess. Historical fiction and fantasy come together nicely as the many factions fight for control.
Top reviews from other countries
I bought this book because the premise sounded interesting and because I am drawn to historical fiction and fantasy, and especially novels involving ancient Britons and Celts. As an author of fantasy novels myself, I also like to help and support other authors when I can.
I will try to make this review as constructive as possible, but I have to admit from the outset to being rather disappointed in the structure and execution of the story, the depth and development of the characters, and also certain aspects of the writing. On the positive side, the author clearly knows her history regarding the Celts and Romans in a time of upheaval and danger, and the world within which she places her characters comes across well. However, for me, she did not keep control of the various plot layers, resulting in a story structure that felt disjointed, at times rushed, and often bogged down in non-essential scenes. I found the early pace of the novel to be too slow, and only towards the end did it pick up to anything like a good pace.
I also found the various characters to be one-dimensional in that their natures lacked nuance. I have no issue with multiple points of view and each POV character change was well defined. However, some of the changes felt contrived rather than necessary, and I thought the novel would have been stronger for restricting the narrative’s viewpoint. The novel’s “magical” aspect could also have been better handled, with clearer explanations. This is one area where the author could have inserted some much-needed extra tension.
As a freelance editor, I also have to say this novel would have benefitted from a good proof read. The sentence structure, phrasing and syntax were often awkward and stilted, leading me to wonder whether English was actually the author’s mother tongue. There were also some poor word and grammar choices, and I found the majority of the dialogue to be repetitive, wooden, awkward and uninspiring. One word choice that I found irritating was the use of the word “cathos”. It appears several times and I made some effort to find out its meaning – trying both Merriam-Webster and the OED, and also other internet sites. All to no avail, and I was forced to conclude that it was a typo. When I finished the novel, however, I found that the author had included an explanation of this right word at the end of the Author’s Note – right at the end of the book! It ought to have been explained at the front.
I do not enjoy writing such negative reviews, but I have at least tried to be honest. I gave the book a rating of 3 stars because it certainly contains potential and there’s nothing lacking in the author’s imagination. The need for a knowledgeable and sympathetic editor, however, meant I could not give it more than 3 stars. I shall not be reading the sequel to this novel.
Apollo’s Ravens] by Linnea Tanner is set back in the times when Romans contested the Anglo Saxons and Celts for Britain. We quickly learn that the heroine, a young Anglo princess named Catrin has two sisters and a brother, as well as the King (Amren) and the Queen as her parents. As the tale unfolds, each of these characters is embellished with secret pasts and ambitions. Even Catrin herself is unusual as we are informed she is something of a trainee mystic with an affinity for ravens.
Early on we also encounter the Romans, Marcellus and his scheming father Senator Lucius Antonius, who is poised to alter the balance of power in Britannia. However, things don’t go to plan. Unpredictable, inexperienced Marcellus places himself in harm’s way to avoid a fatal confrontation during hostile negotiations.
Catrin and Marcellus are thrown together and a deep relationship develops, although neither is sure whether the other is really a spy, trying to gain an advantage for their family and country.
Along with Amren and Lucius, there is a third, secret wicked party that also features, attempting to manipulate everyone involved, hoping to gain ultimate glory. The deceptive individuals concerned also have mystical powers that are likely to prove more decisive than any band of Celtic warriors or Roman legion.
Hostages are exchanged between the Anglo Saxons and Romans to ensure temporary security until peaceful negotiations can be undertaken. The safety of the hostages, one of whom is Marcellus, is jeopardized as both sides scheme and plan to double-cross each other.
As the story continues, Catrin with her mystic abilities has visions that can be interpreted as dire for the outcome of Marcellus and herself, but perhaps she can no longer trust these visions as the evil mystic is also at work. An arrow of death is predicted to kill young Marcellus unless the future can be changed. The outcome is uncertain and we are kept in suspense until the final pages.
I enjoyed reading this work and have awarded five stars, the top rating, as I can see no serious flaws nor detect a reason to do otherwise. It remains to list the aspects of the book which impressed me the most.
At the top of the list must be the historical detail making the story seem very realistic. The research behind this work to achieve this effect subtly surfaces in many aspects. Light touches referring to the squalid dirt and grime, the smells, the physical appearance and much more, are sufficient to paint a vivid picture without hindering the pace of the tale.
The intertwining of Celtic and Roman mythologies into the storyline is also deftly handled so that the reader begins to appreciate how and why some of the characters are aligned. In those dark ages, the trust in the ancient Gods, reincarnation and symbolism would be paramount. These themes are firmly communicated in the book.
The mystical attributes of young Catrin are introduced in chapter one and continue to emerge and grow throughout the book. I found the author’s handling of this topic very believable and of course, crucial to the storyline.
Apart from Catrin and Marcellus, there are many other characters to be discovered. Each individual is sufficiently portrayed to allow the tension and web of intrigue to develop as hostages are taken and the climax arrives. There is love, infidelity, treachery, loyalty, jealousy, defiance, arrogance and more, interwoven within the characters.
Finally, it must also be said that this is the beginning of a love story. The emotions of Catrin and Marcellus along with their spiritual needs, the love scenes, their doubts and fears, are all well handled by the author. The outcome of their encounters is uncertain until the last pages. So even the more romantic amongst us are hooked until the end.
Perhaps I would point to one small flaw that I found as an annoyance, but by no means detracting from the five-star rating. I purchased the kindle version and checked the following observation on both the kindle and the cloud kindle app ( read.amazon.co.uk ). There is no table of contents or list of chapters! Other books do have this! The front cover looks great on the PC, but the lack of an index or table of contents makes it difficult for the reader to drop back to a previous chapter if they want to refer to something. This is only a format issue but in my view worth mentioning. Otherwise, a great book and I am looking forward to reading the next in the series.
Apollo’s Raven is a complex story, told from multiple points of view. Was that a good choice? I have my doubts. The storyline becomes ungainly and loses tension, which is a pity. The characters show various believable traits. Still, some of them are inflated with egomania to a degree that makes them appear less than real. There were some beautiful descriptions of the landscape — Ms Tanner has a deft hand in world-building.
Overall, a unique narrative with a lot of potential for a series.