Wednesday, 22 January 2020

Agricola’s Bane by Nancy Jardine + #Giveaway

Agricola's Bane (Celtic Fervour series #4) by Nancy Jardine
First published by Ocelot Press in November 2018.

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A.D. 84 Northern Roman Britain 
Nith of Tarras helps Enya of Garrigill in the search for her kin, missing after the disastrous battle at Beinn na Ciche fought between the Caledonian warriors and the mighty Ancient Roman legions. 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 probably been enslaved by the Romans? 
The Commander of the Britannic Legions and Governor of Britannia – General Gnaeus Iulius Agricola – 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...

In Book 4, the tales of the Garrigill Clan come to readers of the series via members of their second generation of Brigantes – their fight against the oppressive forces of the Ancient Roman Legions and their General Agricola a continuing and unending struggle. 

Set not long after After Whorl: Donning Double Cloaks, Nancy Jardine's Celtic Fervour series continues in this fourth installment, Agricola's Bane. The Roman army encroaches ever northwards forcing our Celtic tribes to either submit to Roman rules and taxes, or to flee leaving behind their derelict villages and fragmented communities. Jardine again switches focus to give new characters the lead roles. In this story we have hints of a romantic triangle, but I actually felt that the romance aspects were overly underplayed. I know it's unusual for me to want more romance in a novel!

I liked how the prose is sprinkled with Latin names and phrases to give a sense of the language at the time. Mistaken homophone uses are unfortunate, but overall I felt that Jardine portrays both the conquered and the still rebelling peoples well. It does make such a change to be reading historical fiction where the British are the oppressed people, rather than the oppressors! Like Donning Double Cloaks, this is also a journey story and there are a lot of minor characters and similar tribes to keep track of. I found this difficult so am sure I missed out on some of the important political shenanigans. Agricola wasn't the great demon character I had expected either so that was an interesting portrait.

I had got the impression that Agricola's Bane was the last of a four book series so expected a strong conclusion, however the Celtic Fervour series continues on into at least a fifth book. Jardine is not yet done with the adventures of the Garrigill clan.

Meet the author
Nancy Jardine writes historical fiction; time-travel historical adventure; contemporary mystery thrillers; and romantic comedy. She lives in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, where life is never quiet or boring since she regularly child minds her young grandchildren who happen to be her next-door neighbours. Her garden is often creatively managed by them, though she does all the work! Her husband is a fantastic purveyor of coffee and tea…excellent food and wine! (Restorative, of course)

A member of the Historical Novel Society; Scottish Association of Writers; Federation of Writers Scotland; Romantic Novelists’ Association and the Independent Alliance of Authors, her work has achieved finalist status in UK competitions.

Author links: 
Website ~ Blog ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Goodreads ~ Amazon

And now it's time for the Giveaway!

Win x1 signed paperback of Agricola's Bane to one UK winner and x1 kindle copy worldwide
Open internationally until the 30th January 2020.

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*Terms and Conditions – Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box above. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will be passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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  1. Thank you for reading and reviewing, Stephanie Jane. It is definitely a situation where the indigenous Britons were the oppressed ones, though history isn't always full of successes either when it came to the Romans and the Caledonians.

    1. I think I remember from school history that the Romans never did manage to subdue the Caledonians!

  2. Thanks for the great review of this book. I hadn't heard of this one before.

  3. Replies
    1. I studied the Roman era for my Classical Civilisations GCSE, but it mostly focused on their religion, architecture and politics within Rome itself so I have a knowledge gap when it comes to Roman Britannia

  4. I just want to say that I'm beside myself with jealously because I want to live in Scotland.

    1. Me too! I sporadically drop hints to OH (who is half Scottish anyway) but he thinks it would be 'too cold'!