The Northern Throne by Steven A. McKay (Warrior Druid of Britain Chronicles, #3)
English | 2020| Mystery/Thriller| ePUB | 2.9 MB
I was born in Scotland in 1977 and always enjoyed studying history – well, the interesting bits, not so much what they taught us in school. I decided to write my Forest Lord series after seeing a house called “Sherwood” when I was out at work one day. I’d been thinking about maybe writing a novel but couldn’t come up with a subject or a hero so, to see that house, well…It felt like a message from the gods and my rebooted Robin Hood was born.
Northern Britain, AD431, Spring.
Bellicus the Druid and his friend Duro, a former Roman centurion, have already suffered a great deal in recent years but, for them, things are about to get even worse.
Britain is changing. The Romans have gone and warriors from many different places seek to fill the void the legions left behind. In the south, the Saxons’ expansion seems unstoppable despite the efforts of the warlord Arthur, while north of Hadrian’s Wall various kings and chieftains are always looking to extend their borders.
In Dun Breatann, Bellicus believes the disparate northern tribes must put aside their differences, become allies, and face the Saxon threat together, under one High King. Or High Queen…
Small-minded men don’t always look at the bigger picture though, and, when Bellicus and Duro seek to form a pact with an old enemy, events take a shocking and terrible turn that will leave the companions changed forever.
This third volume in the Warrior Druid of Britain Chronicles is packed with adventure, battles, triumph, and tears, and at the end of it a new course will be set for Bellicus.
But at what cost?
The druid knew this area well enough – the great earthen wall built by the Roman Emperor Antoninus still stood, although the forts and assorted support structures that once stood so proudly were now mostly gone or falling to ruin. Bellicus decided the best place to ambush Cunedda’s warband was here, at Medio Nemeton.
Once, this had been a thriving fort, with granaries, barracks, a commanding officer’s house in the centre, and even a bath house, all enclosed within earth and timber ramparts. Now, it was little more than mounds of grass that had grown over the demolished and burnt buildings in the past two hundred and seventy years but, crucially, it was set on a hill so afforded a view of the road along which the Votadini were sure to march. This made it ideal for Bellicus’s purposes, so he’d brought the Damnonii army here and then waited for Cunedda’s warband to arrive.
It was a risky strategy, for there was always a chance the Picts would turn up at Dun Breatann while the defenders were away hunting the Votadini, but Cunedda’s men had walked right into the ambush Bellicus had laid for them.
The numbers on each side were similar, but the Damnonii had taken up positions that allowed them to surround the Votadini on three sides, with the ruined fort on the fourth which some of Bellicus’s slingers had taken positions upon. If there was a fight, Cunedda’s men would be annihilated in short order and the Votadini king knew it. When the druid had asked to discuss terms of his surrender Cunedda had little choice but to accept.
So here they were, and Bellicus wanted to get things over with as soon as possible. He stood up, causing a ripple of anxiety amongst Cunedda’s half-dozen guards, for the young druid was nearly seven feet tall. Taking no notice of the consternation he’d caused, he took out a wax tablet and placed it on the table in front of the Votadini king.
“Look. You know what this is, I assume, my lord?”
Cunedda, eyed the image drawn on the wax and frowned uncertainly. “Britannia,” he answered.
“Exactly. This small section here – that’s your lands. This, larger part, is Drest’s. And here, and here,” he stabbed a finger at the north-western side of the image, “are Alt Clota and Dalriada.”
“You didn’t come all this way with an army just to give me a lesson on how the land lies, did you?” Cunedda demanded, brows furrowed irritably. “Why didn’t you just attack us anyway? That’s what I’d have done, had our roles been reversed. And will you sit down, druid? You’re making me nervous, hovering around like a giant hawk.”
Bellicus grinned and even Duro smiled at Cunedda’s candid remark – it wasn’t often a king would admit to anxiety over another warrior’s mere physical presence.