I love ren fair and seeing it through the eyes of a newbie was fun. ~Dogsmom
...felt like I was in the story! ~K.S. Rodriguez
It was a book that stuck around in my head for the rest of the day... ~Megan Ledbetter
I liked the action, the fights, and the hunt, and also the love. ~Zeinab
...about clans, feuds, warfare... ~Melissa
I especially like the technique of blending both new and very old technologies... ~Bill MacLeod
From the Author
My university studies were in literature rather than history, so I started my research into the history of Clan MacGregor from 1540 to 1560 with the online version of the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. It is the official Who's Who of every person who influenced the history of the United Kingdom. I heartily recommend giving it a search whenever you want to know the official record of a historical figure from that region.
Some truths many will find surprising about 16th Century Scottish Highlanders:
Cattle, not sheep, were their main livestock.
Intermarriage with Vikings in centuries past was what made their blood hotter than that of their cousins in Ireland and lowland Scotland.
Gaelic was still their main language.
Clan MacGregor descends from Viking Lord Donnchadh Beag's son Griogair (year 1330).
My portrayals of the following characters were fact-checked against their official biographies:
Allistair MacGregor, Clan Chief at Glen Strae
Cailean Liath (Colin) Campbell, the one who made the MacGregor name a death sentence
Not much is known officially about the 1560s history of Shane O'Neill, the outlaw Irish clan chief who was the rightful heir to the Irish throne in Tyrone. However, all my sources agree he employed Highlanders as bodyguards called gallowglasses, so I ran with that.
The rest of the people in this book are fictional, but the details of the clothes they wore and the day-to-day experiences of their lives in 1540 to 1563 are based on my six years (1987 - 1993) with the theatrical company that put on the Renaissance Pleasure Faire at Paramount Ranch in Agoura, California. Founders Ron and Phyllis Patterson started the very idea of renaissance faires, in 1963.
Of course, my characters travel quite a bit in the story, through the Highlands and into Ireland and the New World. Google Earth made it possible for me to virtually travel with them. It was fun! Distances and topography are thus relatively accurate.