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Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Skull's Vengeance: Curse of Clansmen and Kings Series - Book Four by Linnea Tanner - Book Tour - Book Sale - Guest Post - Giveaway - Enter Daily!

Hello, lovelies!!  It gives me great pleasure today to host Linnea Tanner and her new book, “Skull’s Vengeance,” here on FAB!!  For other stops on her Goddess Fish Promotions Book Tour, please click on the banner above or any of the images in this post.

Be sure to make it to the end of this post to enter to win a $50 Amazon OR Barnes and Noble Gift Card!!!  Also, come back daily to interact with Linnea and to increase your chances of winning!!

This eBook is on SALE for ONLY $0.99 during the book tour!!!  See below for more details.

Thanks for stopping by!!  Wishing you all lots of good luck in this fabulous giveaway!!

Skull's Vengeance

Curse of Clansmen and Kings Series

Book Four

by Linnea Tanner


GENRE:   Historical Fantasy



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.

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?




White Cliffs in Southeast Britannia,

Eve of Samhain, 31 October, 26 AD

Three human skulls hung over King Marrock’s stallion, dangling from a rope like ornaments. Feeling as invincible as a god, he rode to the precipice of the sheer cliffs and listened to the roar of the waves crashing below. Yet, the raven soaring overhead chilled him to the bone—an omen he was but mortal and could plunge to his death.

He embraced the warmth of Boudicca, his younger half sister, who sat astride his horse in front of him. A toddler full of mirth, she was a healer who could connect to the souls of the dead.

Whereas their mother accused him, also known as Blood Wolf, of being a soulless murderer.

On this eve of Samhain, Marrock knew the souls of the dead freely roamed among the living. He spotted his deadliest assassin, Gawain, searching for the wraith on the emerald hilltop. Gawain had a blue, triangular tattoo of a dagger’s blade on his forehead and deadly weapons underneath his black cloak—the royal insignia of the red dragon stitched to the front panel.

For Marrock, the Otherworldly dragon, with its leathery wings and fiery breath, symbolized perpetual power. It was said that where dragons trod, mystic energy flowed. The untamed beast guarded the portal into the Otherworld.

He yearned for the dragon’s mystic power—the power to summon forces from the earth’s molten underbelly to immolate his rivals.

Gawain pointed to a pile of rocks. “The sheepherder saw the wraith over there,” he said in his deep, gravelly voice.

Marrock handed Boudicca to him and then dismounted, pulling the rope of skulls off his horse and draping it over his shoulders. His family’s skulls served as a warning to anyone who threatened his sovereignty.

Until now, he had only been able to summon the deadly powers from the skulls of his stepmother and bastard sister; their souls were encased in the bone crowns. The soul of his father, King Amren, still eluded Marrock, even after he had sliced off his father’s head. If his father’s soul was indeed wandering the hilltop, he would imprison it in the largest empty skull he had.

Then, he would be able to unleash the collective forces from all three souls.

Glancing all around, he could not see his father’s ghostly figure in the thickening fog. Boudicca’s gleeful giggle roused his attention. He watched her waddle toward a mound of stones and place her tiny hands on the stacked rocks.

“Pa. Pa. Am,” she squealed with delight.

Marrock cast a glance at Gawain. “Did the sheepherder see the wraith disappear into those rocks?”

Gawain nodded. “Indeed, I believe so.”

Marrock transferred the roped skulls from his shoulders to the grassy ground and looked at Gawain. “Help me remove the rocks so I can see what is underneath.”

Gawain joined Marrock in the task of removing the white stones one by one. They inspected each rock for any defect before setting it aside.

Boudicca, mimicking the men, picked up flint pebbles and dropped them on the chalky ground.

After a while, they uncovered the gemstone handle of a dagger; its blade was embedded in a coil-shaped serpent stone. Marrock recognized the jewel-studded dagger as once belonging to his father. Intrigued, he gripped the handle with both hands and strained to pull it out, his muscles aching and his face dripping with sweat from the effort.

Suddenly, to his shock, the hilt turned sizzling hot. He jerked his hands away and inspected the blisters that had formed on his reddened palms. Hearing Boudicca’s gleeful babble, he looked down just as she gripped the dagger’s handle.

“Pa. Pa. Am,” she trilled.

To Marrock’s surprise, Boudicca’s hands did not burn.

A prickling sensation noosed around his neck as he recalled the original curse cast by his mother just before his father had executed her.

The gods demand that 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 will overtake your kingdom and execute my curse.

King Amren had etched the words of the curse on the dagger’s blade using the Roman alphabet with the belief he could thwart the dark prophecy.

Marrock shuddered.

Does my father’s soul live in the dagger? Has he come back to exact vengeance on me?



Research Behind Skull’s Vengeance

The fourth book in the Curse of Clansmen and Kings series, Skull’s Vengeance is a historical fantasy based on a blend of history and mythology of southeast Celtic tribes in Britain before the invasion of the Roman Emperor Claudius in 43 AD. The biggest challenge in researching this project is the Celts left almost no written records. Historical events had to be supplanted by Greek and Roman historians and medieval writers who spun Celtic mythology into their Christian beliefs. Archaeological findings from this time period also help fill in some of the gaps.

The political backdrop to Skull’s Vengeance is based on what is known of the Celtic tribal kingdoms in southeast Britain (referred as Britannia by the Romans). The southeast British kingdoms evolved differently than those in Wales, Scotland, and Ireland. After Julius Caesar’s military expeditions to this area in 55–54 BC, Rome maintained strong influence over the politics and trade in southeast Britain. Rome demanded hostages to ensure that treaty agreements were met. Hostages were frequently young males, although taking females was not unheard of, and they came from royal families. They were allowed to move freely in public places with minimal security measures to prevent their escape. The Roman patrician watching over them could serve as patron, father, and teacher. Many of the first century southeast British rulers were educated in Rome and adopted Roman taste for luxury goods. To support their extravagant lifestyles, pro-Roman kings warred with rival kingdoms to expand their territory and to supply the Roman Empire. The rulers minted coins with their names mainly written in Latin.

Although there is no written account of any Roman expeditionary forces sent to Britain before Claudius’s invasion in 43 A.D., there are recorded incidents of pro-Roman rulers pleading for Rome’s help to intervene on their behalf. Client kings, paying tribute to Rome, could rule their kingdoms independently, similar to Cleopatra’s reign in Egypt.

Although the Celtic society was becoming more paternalistic, women were still held in high regard and could rule. There is historical evidence that Celtic women fought in battles and took on military leadership. The Roman historian, Ammianus Marcellinus, described Celtic women in Gaul (modern day France) as “…usually strong and with blue eyes; especially when, swelling her neck, gnashing her teeth, and brandishing her sallow arms of enormous size, she begins to strike blows mingled with kicks, as if they were so many missiles sent from the string of the catapult.”

The Roman historian, Tacticus, writes the British were accustomed to women commanders in war. Boudicca was a warrior queen who united the Celtic tribes in Britain and almost expelled their Roman conquerors in 61 AD. She was also known as a powerful druidess who Romans claimed sacrificed some of her victims to the war goddess Andaste.

Archaeological evidence supports that Claudius’s invasion was nothing more than a peace-keeping mission to halt the expansion of the anti-Roman factions led by Cunobelin’s sons, Caratacus and Togodumnus. There may have already been a Roman military presence that protected the areas of Britain vital to trading with the empire. The tribal names used in the novel are based on Ptolemy’s map of Celtic kingdoms generated in 150 AD.

Most of the Celtic characters in this novel are fictional except for Cunobelin, King of the Catuvellauni (referred to as the King of Britannia by the Romans), and his sons, Adminius and Caratacus. Based on coin distribution, Adminius ruled over the Cantiaci but was deposed in 39 or 40 AD. His fall may have been the result of a revolt of the Cantiaci people against the Catuvellauni rule. He fled to continental Europe and surrendered to Emperor Caligula, who falsely heralded this as a great victory over Britannia. Epaticcus, the brother of Cunobelin and the ruler of the Atrebates Tribe at Calleva (modern-day Silchester), is another historical figure introduced in this book.

The characterization of Catrin is based on historical figures such as Boudicca and on the complex archetypes of ancient Celtic goddesses whose functions embrace the entire religious spectrum from healing to warfare, from creation to destruction, and from birth to death. In Irish mythology, war goddesses were associated with fertility and sovereignty. Many of the Irish goddesses were destructive and promiscuous, and personified warlike strength to defend their land so it could flourish.

Though some of the Roman characters in Skull’s Vengeance are fictional, some are some based on historical figures during the tumultuous rein of Emperor Tiberius Caesar Augustus. Tiberius was the second emperor of Rome. Though he’d been an able general and diplomat, the final years in his reign were tyrannical. Rumors abound of his sexual perversity and child molestation. According to the Roman historian Tacitus, Tiberius loathed his mother and sent Caligula to deliver her funeral oration in 29 A.D. while he remained isolated on Capri.

During this period, the infamous Praetorian Prefect, Lucius Aelius Sejanus, over-reached to gain power from Tiberius through murder, conspiracy, and betrayal. At the pinnacle of Sejanus’s power as consul in 31 A.D., Tiberius unexpectedly had him arrested and mercilessly executed. Antonia Minor, the daughter of Mark Antony and Octavia (sister-in-law of Tiberius), may have had a role in the downfall of Sejanus due to fears that her grandson, Caligula, could meet the tragic fate of his older brothers whom Sejanus arrested and imprisoned.

Lucius Antonius was the son of Iullus Antonius and the grandson of Mark Antony. Little is known about Lucius Antonius except that he lived in Gaul after his father, Iullus Antonius, was accused of treason and forced to fall on his sword.



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.

You can follow her on her website: https://www.linneatanner.com.







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