It’s my great pleasure today to welcome Nancy Jardine to my blog to discuss the themes of her new book. This is great timing as it coincides with her latest paperback launch, but I’ll leave Nancy to tell you all about it…
Hello Jo, thank you for the invitation to visit your blog. I love getting out and about, especially when I can share information about my latest novel that’s still in its launch phase. The eBook of Agricola’s Bane was published on the 15th Nov., but my ‘physical’ paperback launch is actually today, the 22nd Nov., at a local Aberdeenshire Heritage Centre.
Agricola’s Bane is Book 4 of my historical fiction Celtic Fervour Series where my Brigante clan members from the Celtic Hillfort of Garrigill find ways to evade the domination of the legions of Ancient Rome, yet thwart them at the same time! In a way the series is like a family saga. One book of the series may feature particular clan members as the main characters, but in other books those characters will be in the background in secondary roles, with new members in the spotlight.
The exploits of my Garrigill Celts happen during the turmoil of late first century A.D. when the Ancient Roman legions invaded what is now Northern England and Scotland. Book 1 of the series begins in A.D. 71, but time moves forward to A.D. 84 for Book 4 Agricola’s Bane. The second generation of the family are now young warriors and Enya, 14 summers old, is already a fully-trained warrior-woman. Her brother (Ruoridh) and cousin (Beathan) haven’t been seen since they were on the battlefield at Beinn na Ciche some ten days before the story opens. (That battle is at the end of Book 3)
Agricola’s Bane comes to the reader via the POVs of 5 characters: Enya; Nith; Agricola; Ruoridh and Beathan.
Regarding themes in the book? There are quite a few!
One main theme in Agricola’s Bane revolves around Enya having to choose between pursuing a trail northwards which will hopefully lead to her older brother, or a less likely to succeed trail southwards to find her younger cousin – since they are believed to be still alive. Both trails are in dangerous territory where huge numbers of Roman soldiers patrol and death under a Roman gladius is a high possibility. Loyalty to her brother or to her well-loved cousin is an unenviable choice to make.
A romantic theme also runs through the novel. Enya is physically ready for marriage and the begetting of new blood for the clan, but is at first still emotionally immature and is confused by her developing sexual feelings. For many months before the battle, Nith of Tarras has been like a surrogate brother to her. Feargus of Monymusk is a new friend and has most likely been made an orphan since his kin don’t seem to have survived the battle at Beinn na Ciche. By the end of the tale, Enya has to decide who she has a deep friendship for, and which man has gained her mature love. Nith battles with themes of trust, loyalty and duty to Enya’s family…and with a deep jealousy of Enya’s visible regard for Feargus.
Throughout the novel the theme of trust permeates since my characters are living at a time when all strangers are suspect until it’s proven they are not spying for the enemy – this particularly applies to Ruoridh and Beathan who must also learn to trust their own strength of character since they end up in some very trying circumstances!
In addition to my Garrigill clan members, General Agricola becomes a main character in Book 4. As Commander of the Roman Britannic Legions, and Governor of Britannia ‑ loyalty and duty are paramount but Agricola also battles with unfulfilled ruthless ambition.
Both Celts and Romans in Book 4 share a profound, daily observance to their gods and goddesses, something which seems to have influenced all decision making for these ancient peoples. Faith is therefore a strong theme throughout Book 4 and across the series in general.
I’m eager to find out what readers will think of what I believe is a highly readable historical novel, but one that was tricky for me to write.
AD 84 Northern Roman Britain
Nith of Tarras aids Enya of Garrigill in the search for her kin, missing after the disastrous battle at Beinn na Ciche fought between the Caledon warriors and the mighty Legions of Rome. Enya soon has a heartrending choice to make – should she tread Vacomagi territory that’s swarming with Roman auxiliaries to find her brother? Or, should she head south in search of her cousin who has most likely been taken captive by the soldiers of Agricola?
General Gnaeus Iulius Agricola – Commander of the Britannic Legions and Governor of Britannia – is determined to claim more barbarian territory for the Roman Empire, indeed plans to invade the whole island, but finds not all decisions are his to make. It increasingly seems that the goddess, Fortuna, does not favour him.
The adventures of the Garrigill clan continue…
To Buy: http://mybook.to/ABsherenow
Nancy Jardine writes contemporary mysteries; historical fiction and time-travel historical adventure. A member of the Romantic Novelists Association, the Scottish Association of Writers, the Federation of Writers Scotland and the Historical Novel Society, her work has achieved finalist status in UK competitions.
She lives in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, with her husband, but life is never quiet or boring since her young grandchildren are her next-door neighbours. She regularly child minds them, those days being cherished and laughter filled.
You can find her at these places:
Amazon Author page http://viewauthor.at/mybooksandnewspagehere