(Curse of Clansmen and Kings #3)
By Linnea Tanner
Blood stains her Celtic home and kingdom. The warrior Druid princess will do anything to retake her throne. Although Catrin is the rightful heir to the Celtic throne in Britannia, she is lucky to be alive. After witnessing the slaughter of her family at the hands of her half-brother, who was aided by the Romans, she is enslaved by a Roman commander. He disguises her as a boy in the Roman Legion with the belief that she is an oracle of Apollo and can foretell his future. The sole bright spot in her miserable new life is her forbidden lover Marcellus, the great-grandson of the famed Roman general Mark Antony. But Marcellus has been wounded and his memories of Catrin and their secret marriage were erased by a dark Druidess. Though Marcellus reunites with Catrin in Gaul and becomes her ally as she struggles to survive the brutality of her Roman master, he questions the legitimacy of their marriage and hesitates to help her escape and retake her kingdom. If their forbidden love and alliance are discovered, her dreams of returning to her Celtic home with Marcellus will be shattered.
“Did Apollo send that raven to curse me? Did a Roman priest train you to be a warrior priestess?”
If that was what Tribune Decimus Flavius, Catrin’s Roman master, believed, then who was she to contradict him? And if it kept her alive, then that can only be a good thing, although sometimes it did not feel like that for her family had been slaughtered, and her Roman husband has no memory of her.
Marcellus, the great-grandson of the famed Roman general Mark Antony, left Britannia with no memory of his time there and a stomach wound that continued to fester. He seeks comfort in the arms of a former lover, looking for something familiar, something he can hold on to. But even Eliana’s touch does not settle his troubled mind. Unfortunately, it makes his situation far more precarious, for Eliana is married to another man.
Disguised as a boy and forced to train with the men, Catrin must hide who she is from everyone, but especially from Decimus. For if he knew what she could really do, the consequences do not bear thinking about.
From the soft autumn days of Northern Gaul to a Gladiator arena, Amulet’s Rapture (Curse of Clansmen and Kings #3) by Linnea Tanner is a majestic work of scholarship.
Tanner has carefully woven history with fantasy to create a beautifully told tale that is populated with characters that are worth caring about and are deserving of your time. Filled to bursting with romance, magic, love, hate, betrayal and adventure, Amulet’s Rapture is a story that is next to impossible to put down. I read it in one sitting — there was no way I could tear myself away from these characters and this novel.
The heroine of this story is young Catrin. Catrin was a royal princess and heir to the throne of Brittania, but now she finds herself a slave to Tribune Decimus Flavius. Disguised as a boy to keep her safe, Catrin faces one ordeal after another. Yet her strength of character and her unbreakable Celtic spirit sees her through some very dark days indeed. Her ability to love is tempered only by the realisation that she has been abandoned and must face a bleak future where the only escape would be death. I absolutely adored Catrin. Her portrayal was magnificent. She is a very strong young woman, who has seen unimaginable horrors, and yet her heart is full to bursting with love for Marcellus. Her passion for him burns as brightly as she does. But there is another side to Catrin, she is not just an enslaved princess she is also a raven spirit, and she can manipulate the Wall of Lives —a transitional barrier between the mortal world and the Otherworld. Decimus believes her to be an oracle of Apollo, which she isn’t, but she is indeed quite magical and can shapeshift into a beloved raven. I enjoyed reading about Catrin very much, there was a realism to her characterisation that was tangible.
Oh, Marcellus, where do I begin? Marcellus is, as is expected of a male protagonist in a romantic setting, everything he should be. He is driven to distraction by his love for Catrin, and even though he has no memory of her, his soul is incapable of forgetting — how romantic is that? And because of this, he cannot stay away from her. The consequences of his actions not only for himself but also for Catrin, are catastrophic. However, Marcellus is young and passionate, and so full of gentle grace that it is impossible not to like him. He does put Catrin into danger, but not with intention. He isn’t a bad man, and he does try to atone, but his world and Catrin’s don’t belong together, which is heartbreakingly evident throughout this story. Having not read the other books in this series, I can only surmise that their relationship in Britannia was as passionately consuming as it is in Gaul. Marcellus is a character that I cannot wait to read more about.
There are as several antagonists in this story. The first antagonist is Tribune Decimus Flavius. He may well have saved Catrin's life in Britannia, but his treatment of her is diabolical. He uses her for his own means, and when she has ceased to be useful, he means to destroy her. He is an incredibly manipulative and cold man who I did not take to at all. By the end of the book, I despised him. The other antagonist is Marrock, who is utterly deplorable and incredibly dangerous. His greed for power has seemingly no end — the only one who has any chance of stopping him is Catrin, but because of her situation, there is nothing she can do.
Tanner pens a compelling narrative, and she writes with imagination and a great deal of energy. This is a book that is triumphant in all ways. If you are looking for your next great historical fantasy series set within a realistic Roman backdrop, then look no further than Amulet’s Rapture (Curse of Clansmen and Kings #3) by Linnea Tanner. Fans of Jez Butterworth's Britannia will fall in love with this book.
I Highly Recommend.
Review by Mary Anne Yarde.
The Coffee Pot Book Club.
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Linnea Tanner weaves Celtic tales of love, magic, adventure, betrayal and intrigue into historical fiction set in Ancient Rome and Britannia. Since childhood, she has passionately read about ancient civilizations and mythology which held women in higher esteem. Of particular interest are the enigmatic Celts who were reputed as fierce warriors and mystical Druids.
Depending on the time of day and season of the year, you will find her exploring and researching ancient and medieval history, mythology and archaeology to support her writing. As the author of the Apollo’s Raven series, she has extensively researched and traveled to sites described within each book.
A native of Colorado, Linnea attended the University of Colorado and earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in chemistry. She lives in Windsor with her husband and has two children and six grandchildren.