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The Curse of Clansmen and Kings

Linnea Tanner
Linnea Tanner Author Interview

Two Faces of Janus follows a brash aristocrat as he navigates the perilous politics found in 2 B.C. Rome. What inspired you to write a story about Lucius Antonius?

I’ve always found the legacy of Marcus Antonius (Mark Antony) to be one of the most compelling accounts about political corruption, betrayal, and family tragedy. Iullus Antonius was the only son of Mark Antony who Caesar Augustus spared and raised almost like a son in the imperial court. When it came to light in 2 BC that Augustus’s daughter, Julia, was having several affairs and that Iullus was her primary lover, the emperor demanded he commit suicide.

Very little is known about Lucius Antonius except that he had to conceal that he was exiled in Massilia (modern-day Marseille) for his father’s crime as a traitor. I often wondered how Lucius reacted to his father’s disgrace and how it impacted his life. Answering this question inspired me to write the historical fantasy series, The Curse of Clansmen and Kings, and Two Faces of Janus. Lucius is cast as a villain in the series, but his back-story propels what he does and hopefully makes him more relatable.

Why did you feel a short story format worked better for this story rather than a full length novel?

The short story allowed me the opportunity to explore the immediate impact that the death of Iullus Antonius had on his son, Lucius, and for rest of the immediate family. The revelation of how Lucius was devastatingly impacted will be unveiled in the fourth book (Skull’s Vengeance) of my historical fantasy series. Further, I’m also considering a standalone historical fiction novel about the earlier life of Lucius Antonius.

What surprised you the most about Lucius Antonius real life story?

Though Lucius had to conceal he was exiled in disgrace for his father’s crime, the senate decreed that all honor be paid to him at this death. His ashes were laid in the family sepulchre of the Octavvi. This suggests that he was able to restore his standing in Rome. There is conjecture that Lucius’s son/grandson was Marcus Antonius Primus, a general who secured Rome for Vespasian to be emperor after Nero’s downfall.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I am completing Book 4 (Skull’s Vengeance) in the Curse of Clansmen and Kings series which should be released later in 2022.

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A young nobleman confronts a specter from the past that could threaten his family’s legacy.

A brash young aristocrat, Lucius Antonius anticipates Emperor Augustus Caesar will support his lofty ambitions to serve as a praetor in the Roman justice system in 2 BC Rome. As the son of the distinguished politician and poet, Iullus Antonius, Lucius prays to Janus, the two-faced god of beginnings, to open the door for him to rise politically. But he is unaware of the political firestorm ready to erupt in the imperial family.

Augustus must confront evidence that his daughter, Julia, has behaved scandalously in public and that Iullus is her lover. The prospect that Julia might want to marry Iullus—the only surviving son of Marcus Antonius—threatens to redirect the glory from Augustus to his most hated rival beyond the grave. Caught in the political crossfire, Lucius must demonstrate his loyalty to Augustus by meeting all of his demands or face the destruction of his family’s legacy and possibly his own life. Will Lucius ultimately choose to betray and abandon his disgraced father?

Two Faces of Janus

Two Faces of Janus: A Short Story of Ancient Rome by [Linnea Tanner]

Two Faces of Janus by Linnea Tanner is a short story set in 2 B.C. Rome. The story follows the life events of Lucius and is told from the perspective of Lucius Antonius, the grandson of Marcus Antonius. The book is aptly named Two Faces of Janus, as the story revolves around how Janus, the two-faced God of beginnings, seemingly opens one door for him to rise politically, but then Lucius is faced with the storm that breaks his family apart.

Author Linnea Tanner is able to expertly introduce an entirely new period, create a vivid backdrop to the story, setup intriguing character dynamics and introduce and conclude a dramatic plot all within six chapters without compromising the quality storytelling. This speaks to the authors fantastic writing ability and I walked away impressed with the story and the author.

The author’s note towards the end of the book that goes further into the details of the historical facts associated with the story under the regime of Augustus Caeser helps the reader further understand and appreciate the storyline. I appreciated this as, not only did it give me more information, it also showed me the amount of research that went into this short story.

Although initially, the book feels like it will be hard to understand because there are a lot of references to the Roman time period, and for a complete beginner like me, it can be quite intimidating. However, the author does a brilliant job of conveying ideas in an easy to understand manner, ensuring readers will be quickly swept up in the riveting story.

Two Faces of Janus is a spellbinding historical fiction novel with deep character development and a gripping plot that is made all the more impressive by the stories short length. I would recommend this book to readers looking for a short but exciting read that stands up to the intensity of a full length historical drama. This tiny six-chapter story packs itself with everything from love, betrayal to scandal and ends with a slight hint of optimism, which is enough to leave room for a sequel. It’s hard to not finish the entire story once you pick the book up.

Pages: 39 | ASIN: B098BH11V3

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Dagger’s Destiny – Book Trailer

A Celtic warrior princess accused of treason for aiding her enemy lover must win back her father’s love and trust

In the rich and vibrant tale, Author Linnea Tanner continues the story of Catrin and Marcellus that began with the awarding-winning novel APOLLO’S RAVEN in the Curse of Clansmen and Kings Series. Book 2: DAGGER’S DESTINY sweeps you into an epic tale of forbidden love, mythological adventure, and political intrigue in Ancient Rome and Britannia.

War looms over 24 AD Britannia where rival tribal rulers fight each other for power and the Romans threaten to invade to settle their political differences. King Amren accuses his daughter, Catrin, of treason for aiding the Roman enemy and her lover, Marcellus. The ultimate punishment is death unless she can redeem herself. She must prove loyalty to her father by forsaking Marcellus and defending their kingdom—even to the death. Forged into a warrior, she must overcome tribulations and make the right decisions on her quest to break the curse that foretells her banished half-brother and the Roman Empire will destroy their kingdom.

Yet, when Catrin again reunites with Marcellus, she is torn between her love for him and duty to King Amren. She must ultimately face her greatest challenger who could destroy her life, freedom, and humanity.

Will Catrin finally break the ancient prophecy that looms over her kingdom? Will she abandon her forbidden love for Marcellus to win back her father’s trust and love? Can King Amren balance his brutality to maintain power with the love he feels for Catrin?

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Epic Historical Fantasy

Linnea Tanner
Linnea Tanner Author Interview

I loved the narration in this audiobook. What was the collaboration like with narrator Kristen James to bring your book to life?

I’ve always had a great collaboration with Kristen James, the narrator of all of my audiobooks in the Curse of Clansmen and Kings series. Whenever we’re ready to do an audiobook, I send her a list of the most important characters along with their traits and background. For the new characters introduced in Amulet’s Rapture, Kristen provided me an audio example of the voice she would use for each of them. For the most part, her voice inflections of characters are spot on and I give her free rein on the dramatic interpretation of the book. She enjoys narrating some of the villainous or quirky characters such as Decimus (Catrin’s Roman master), Myrddin (Merlin-like Druid), Rhan (Sorceress), and Marrock (Catrin’s half-brother).  

Were there any challenges or unique opportunities that were presented when creating your audiobook?

There are devoted fans of audiobooks that I might not reach with an e-book or printed book. It is always a thrill to hear Kristen’s narrative interpretation of my books. She brings the characters to life on the page. One of the biggest challenges of  producing an audiobook for an epic historical fantasy is finding a narrator with a wide range of voices for the myriad of characters from different regions in the ancient world. Kristen has done a fantastic job for creating distinctive voices, both male and female. For characters from Britannia who only speak Celtic, Kristen narrates their dialogue with a Gaelic accent. The Roman characters have various British accents while the other Celtic characters who can speak Latin have a US accent. One of the new characters in Amulet’s Rapture is Negasi, an Ethiopian gladiator who befriends Catrin, speaks with an African accent.  

What is one scene from the audiobook that stands out to you as different from the way it’s presented in the book?

This is a hard question to answer. There were several scenes that Kristen brings to life with her narration. One of the scenes that gives hints on how the series will unfold is provided in Chapter 8 entitled, “Rhan’s Baby.”  This is a surrealistic scene in which Rhan—a sorceress who cast a curse that Catrin’s father would be be slain and overthrown by his son, Marrock— levitates between life and death after giving birth to her daughter. Rhan envisions her curse, which has been etched on a dagger blade, melting and transforming into another curse, foretelling Marrock will meet the safe fate as his father at the hands of Catrin.  Kristen captures the dreamlike scene as though it is actually happening to Rhan. There are other similar scenes in which fantasy and reality weave together to drive the story.

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Amulet's Rapture: Curse of Clansmen and Kings, Book 3

Blood stains her Celtic home and kingdom.

The warrior Druid princess will do anything to retake her kingdom.

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.

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Amulet’s Rapture

Amulet's Rapture: Curse of Clansmen and Kings, Book 3

Catrin is living a nightmare. She has become a slave, is used and abused as a woman disguised as a soldier, and the love of her life doesn’t remember the passion that once existed between them. Catrin is as feared as much as she is taken for granted. Considered to have powers that far outshine the abilities and skills of any soldier, she is allowed to live and protected even though she isn’t respected. Marcellus, her love, now under the spell of another, can’t quite shake the feeling that something is not right–something he can’t explain but leaves him feeling empty and broken. Catrin knows, but will she be able to tell him in time?

Amulet’s Rapture, by Linnea Turner, continues the journey of young Catrin. Her life, very different from that of previous installments, is a daily struggle for survival. She is only allowed to live because she is deemed valuable and believed to have the ability to speak directly with the sun god. Catrin is put through ghastly tasks and treated with little respect even though she is offered the opportunity to train as a warrior priestess. Playing along with the idea that she is all-powerful is the only thing that seems to keep her from being killed.

Catrin’s visions are an important part of the plot–the thread woven discreetly throughout the story that ties all of the elements neatly together. The images she conjures are vivid and touching. The author uses them expertly to pull in elements from previous installments. These little trips into Catrin’s past are especially helpful if listening to this as a stand alone.

The audio version of Amulet’s Rapture is a fascinating listen. The narrator absolutely nails tone, character changes, and emphasis. In addition, the particularly intense scenes in which Catrin is being threatened are completely captivating when read by the narrator, Kristen James. What would be moving moments if read in paperback or Kindle become quite terrifying and extremely uncomfortable when listening to the narrator’s interpretation of the text–the story is truly brought to life.

I believe this installment is completely readable as a stand alone text. The author provides quite a bit of background, and Catrin’s visions give readers a nice glance back at previous plots. One cannot read Tanner’s work without calling it romance. Though it is primarily a fantasy, readers who seek a strong romantic feel to their fantasies will appreciate Tanner’s writing. She peppers her plot with just enough of these steamy scenes to keep romance fans invested.

Audio Length: 11 hours and 11 minutes | ASIN: B0887Y9WLY

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With a Celtic Twist

Linnea Tanner Author Interview

Linnea Tanner Author Interview

Amulet’s Rapture finds Catrin, a princess of Britannia, a warrior, and a druidess ending up a slave to a Roman. How did the initial idea for this novel develop and change as you were writing?

The overall story idea is based on the legacy of Mark Antony and Cleopatra but with a Celtic twist. The inspiration for the primary character, Catrin, is Boudicca, a warrior queen who united the British tribal kingdoms in a rebellion against Rome in 61 AD and almost succeeded in kicking them out. Originally, Amulet’s Rapture was intended to be the first book in the Curse of Clansmen and Kings series. However, after receiving feedback from critique groups, editors, and agents, I decided to start the story earlier in ancient Britannia so readers could better understand what Catrin lost when she is enslaved. Fantastical elements were also added to give the story a flavor of the Celtic and Roman cultures through their mythology and legends.

I always enjoy your character development in your books. What were some obstacles you felt were important to Catrin’s development in this story?

The key as to what obstacles Catrin must overcome in the story is highlighted in Chapter 4: Roman Training. In a scene, Catrin has a vision of her dead father who tells her what she must do to become a warrior queen to take back her kingdom from her treacherous half-brother, Marrock. She must summon stamina from nature (her own inner essence) to endure hardships of slavery and rigors of training with Roman soldiers. She must learn how to deal with both enemies and friends. She reluctantly embraces her corrupt and cruel Roman master like a stern father from whom she learns how to maneuver through changing political winds, transforming her weakness into strength. Most of all, she must understand how her utmost trust in those she loves is a double-edged sword that can be used against her. Though she deeply loves Marcellus, her Roman husband and ally, she must ultimately face and overcome obstacles by herself. She can only rise above unfortunate circumstances by understanding herself and by harnessing her inner darker forces to survive and to seek vengeance on those who have maltreated her.

In Amulet’s Rapture, Catrin transforms from a naïve fifteen-year-old girl into a worldly young woman who must forge her own destiny. This book sets the stage for the next book when she must ally with former enemies and friends to confront Marrock.

What were some goals you set for yourself as a writer when starting this book?

My goal was to write a quality book within a year of the last released book, Dagger’s Destiny. I strove to write the best story I could by having the manuscript thoroughly critiqued and professionally edited and formatted. The story must have a unique theme and character development that resonates with readers. I was open to revising the original plot whenever it was inconsistent with the characters or was headed in the wrong direction. For example, I changed the last chapter in Amulet’s Rapture because the original ending was not in keeping with Catrin’s transformation. The revised ending threw a wrench in the plot of my next book, Skull’s Vengeance, but I consider this a challenge to add new twists in the overall tale.

Author Links: GoodReadsTwitterFacebookWebsite

Amulet's Rapture (Curse of Clansmen and Kings Book 3) by [Tanner, Linnea]

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.

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Amulet’s Rapture

Amulet's Rapture (Curse of Clansmen and Kings Book 3) by [Tanner, Linnea]

Amulet’s Rapture turned out to be one of the top 3 books I have read in the last six months! And I read, a lot !

The author Linea Tanner, begins the story of a pre–Dark age Roman period, at the time when Roman power was the paramount power in the known Western world. We find our main character Catrin, a princess of Britannia, a fierce warrior and a druidess ending up being a slave to a Roman. She had never imagined her state even in her dreams but after her father, King Amren lost to Romans and her step-brother Marrock became the client king of the Cantiaci kingdom, this was her harsh reality. She was taken a slave by the Roman tribune Decimus and named her Vibius a boy, ensuring that everyone would believe her to be a boy. We also come to know that his step-brother murdered both her mother and father, meaning that her identity as a princess was wiped out, forgotten by all except for a few.

We see her at first as a damsel, waiting upon her prince, her beloved Apollo, to come to her rescue and take her away from all her troubles. We see then her metamorphosis into a warrior, as layer after layer of her sorrow and sadness transformed her into a warrior. We see that her master, Decimus has an ulterior purpose, and though he shamed her, was disdainful and treated her with utter contempt, he kept her safe.

We also get to know of Marcellus, and are stunned to know that he is the husband of Catrina, the background story and the situation they find themselves in. Will they be united or won’t is the question.

What was most striking was the incredible layers the author has crafted in the story that it gels smoothly. So many times, I have seen good beginnings spoiled because the author let the story stagnate or introduce plots that have no meaning or place in the story, which really irritates me. I am thankful that the author has kept a tight ship. Secondly, I like the brutality and the savagery which actually existed in Roman times and their conflicts with tribes of Britannia, Gaul and other places were gory and ugly. That the author manages to weave them seamlessly without sacrificing the main plot elements which makes this a well rounded story. A very enjoyable read and I will look forward to more.

Pages: 359 | ASIN: B07Y8SS2B2

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No Easy Resolutions

Linnea Tanner Author Interview

Linnea Tanner Author Interview

Dagger’s Destiny follows princess Catrin who is torn between duty to her kingdom and her forbidden love. What were some things you felt you had to bring over from Apollo’s Raven and what were some new themes you wanted to explore?

One of the themes I carry over from Apollo’s Raven is Catrin is torn between her duty to her kingdom and her forbidden love for the Roman enemy, Marcellus. However, in Dagger’s Destiny, Catrin must face the consequences of her forbidden love when her father, King Amren, accuses her of treason due to her liaison with Marcellus. Duty is of greatest importance to the characters because it exemplifies the honor central to being in a position of power. Duty to the state and the family’s legacy is explored as well as duty to loved ones and to one’s self. The characterizations of Catrin, Marcellus, and their fathers are more fully explored as each person must grapple with balancing their duty to the state vs. their love to those they cherish. There are no easy resolutions as the fathers have resorted to brutality and corruption to maintain their powers.

Another theme that is explored in Dagger’s Destiny is fate vs. free will. Catrin must dive into the Depth of Possibilities of what choices she can make to stop the curse that foretells her half-brother will kill their father. However, whenever Catrin changes the future, the curse an alter in unexpected ways.

Dagger’s Destiny is a genre-crossing novel with elements of a romance, fantasy and history as well. Did you start writing with this in mind, or did this happen organically as you were writing?

When I first start writing the series, the story was intended to be a historical fiction based on the legacy of Mark Antony and Cleopatra, but with a Celtic twist. However, as I explored Celtic and Roman mythology, I began weaving in some of the fantastical elements to help explain what the Celts believed. I was particularly fascinated to learn that the Celts has a similar belief in the immortality of the soul as the Greek philosopher, Pythagoras. They believed the soul could transmigrate between different animal species and could occupy another body after death. As a result, the series evolved into a more mythical tale as I weaved in other fantastical worlds and druidic powers into the historical backdrop.

The supporting characters in this novel, I felt, were intriguing and well developed. Who was your favorite character to write for?

A secondary character that I enjoyed developing was Ferrex—a loyal, duty-bound Celtic warrior who deeply loves Catrin and risks his reputation to support her. Down-to-earth and blunt, Ferrex is a sharp contrast to Marcellus, a suave and impetuous Roman nobleman who has had a reckless affair with an older married woman. Ferrex will continue to play an important role in the series.

This is book 2 in your Curse of Clansmen and Kings series. Where will book 3 take readers and when will it be available?

Book 3: Amulet’s Rapture will take the star-crossed lovers, Catrin and Marcellus, to Gaul (modern-day France) and Rome. Even thought they believe they are destined to be with each other, they encounter resistance to their love at every turn. They will sacrifice almost everything to be together, but can Catrin must balance her fate to retake her kingdom as a warrior queen with her role as the lover of a man who considers her subservient?

Amulet’s Rapture is drafted and undergoing revisions based on feedback from critique partners and an editor.  It is my goal that it will be published in approximately one year.

Author Links: GoodReadsTwitterFacebook | Website

Dagger's Destiny (Curse of Clansmen and Kings Book 2) by [Tanner, Linnea]

A Celtic warrior princess accused of treason for aiding her enemy lover must win back her father’s love and trust

In the rich and vibrant tale, Author Linnea Tanner continues the story of Catrin and Marcellus that began with the awarding-winning novel APOLLO’S RAVEN in the Curse of Clansmen and Kings Series. Book 2: DAGGER’S DESTINY sweeps you into an epic tale of forbidden love, mythological adventure, and political intrigue in Ancient Rome and Britannia.

War looms over 24 AD Britannia where rival tribal rulers fight each other for power and the Romans threaten to invade to settle their political differences. King Amren accuses his daughter, Catrin, of treason for aiding the Roman enemy and her lover, Marcellus. The ultimate punishment is death unless she can redeem herself. She must prove loyalty to her father by forsaking Marcellus and defending their kingdom—even to the death. Forged into a warrior, she must overcome tribulations and make the right decisions on her quest to break the curse that foretells her banished half-brother and the Roman Empire will destroy their kingdom.

Yet, when Catrin again reunites with Marcellus, she is torn between her love for him and duty to King Amren. She must ultimately face her greatest challenger who could destroy her life, freedom, and humanity.

Will Catrin finally break the ancient prophecy that looms over her kingdom? Will she abandon her forbidden love for Marcellus to win back her father’s trust and love? Can King Amren balance his brutality to maintain power with the love he feels for Catrin?

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