The Oath by A.M. Linden
Publication Date: June 15, 2021
She Writes Press
Paperback & eBook; 336 pages
Series: The Druid Chronicles, #1
When the last of members of a secretive Druid cult are forced to abandon their hidden sanctuary, they send the youngest of their remaining priests in search of Annwr, their chief priestess’s sister, who was abducted by a Saxon war band fifteen years ago. With only a rudimentary grasp of English and the ambiguous guidance of an oracle’s prophecy, Caelym manages to find Annwr living in a hut on the grounds of a Christian convent.
Annwr has spent her years of captivity caring for the timid Aleswina, an orphaned Saxon princess who was consigned to the cloistered convent by her cousin, King Gilberth, after he assumed her father’s throne. Just as Caelym and Annwr are about leave together, Aleswina learns that Gilberth, a tyrant known for his cruelty and vicious temper, means to take her out of the convent and marry her. Terrified, she flees with the two Druids–beginning a heart-pounding adventure that unfolds in ways none of them could have anticipated.
“Linden’s well-researched tale eloquently brings to life a lesser-known period of transition in Britain…The author has created a strong foundation for her series with well-developed characters whom readers can embrace…[a] layered, gripping historical fiction…”
“Linden uses a fairy tale-like style almost as though this story has been passed down orally over the centuries. Though the kingdoms are fictional, Linden’s tale draws on meticulous historical research, especially in her dramatization of the Christian persecution of the druids.”
“The story rolls along at a lively pace, rich with details of the times and a wide cast of characters….Those interested in goddess-worshipping religions will be drawn to the novel. Any reader curious about 8th-century Britain will enjoy Linden’s innovative focus on the little-known Druids as well as early medieval Christians. Her plotting, shifting points of view of the three engaging protagonists, and evocative writing style make The Oath a pleasure to read. Highly recommended!”
–Historical Novels Review
“The Oath urges readers along on a richly textured quest among the Saxons and Celts of 8th-century Britain. Young and rather humorously naïve Druid priest-healer Caelym swears to ‘rescue’ a damsel in distress who turns out to be neither a young damsel nor in distress. With a feminist slant, this engaging tale brings the conflict between Druids and early Christians to vivid life through sympathetic and well-rounded characters. I particularly enjoyed the ironic voice of the aging midwife Annwr. Brava!”
–Sara Stamey, author of The Ariadne Connection
“Thrilling historical fiction with heart and soul.”
–Tim Pears, author of The West Country trilogy
“The Oath will appeal to a wide-ranging readership, reflecting Linden’s rich imagination and gift for weaving tales within tales evoking the romance of medieval Britain. Vibrant, determined, and relatable characters with disparate ethnic and religious identities discover their own strengths, and each other’s, as the intricate and engaging plot unfolds.”
–Anne Marie Tietjen, PhD, clinical psychologist and instructor at Western Washington University
“Linden’s knowledge and passion for history is soaked into every word of The Oath, combined with an obvious skill at storytelling. Linden succeeds at every level, but the world building is truly spectacular. Historical fantasy is hard to do well, but Linden makes it look easy. What could be dry details are presented so effectively that the world is elevated to almost being a character of its own. And in a cast of characters as well drawn as these, that’s saying something. I can’t wait to see what else this skilled author comes up with!”
–Bishop O’Connell, author of the American Faerie Tale series
Many years ago, I was in a difficult season of life. On a particularly rough day, I decided to stop by the little library in the center of downtown. I didn’t even know what I was looking for; only that I needed a story that I could sink into for a little while. What I found were rows of books by an author that I had never heard of before: Terry Brooks. Does the term “Shannara” ring any bells? I binge-read every single book that I could find in my tiny library, and to this day have been looking for a fantasy author that can rival Mr. Brooks’ skill in weaving a story. Which I have been completely unsuccessful in finding! Until I got my hands on The Oath by A.M. Linden.
If you are familiar with the writing of Terry Brooks, you will know exactly what I mean when I say that his books do not move quickly. There is a ton of depth and detail written into his stories, and I found this to be true with The Oath. The author took her time in setting the scene, introducing the characters, showing the reader around and prepping the storyline. I adored this aspect of the book. Instead of being thrown into high-action with characters that I barely understood, the author let me enjoy sitting behind-the-scenes for awhile to acquaint myself with the surroundings and our three characters.
The characters themselves were multi-faceted, very skillfully fleshed out and each had their own quirks and personalities. Caelym, Annwr and Aleswina grew with the story, discovering their grit as they came up against hardships, and interacted with each other and their surroundings. I loved each of their personalities, and loved walking with them through this story. This book was a beautiful journey, but also had me on the edge of my seat at times, trying to unravel some of the mysteries, as well as worrying about the welfare of each character. It was just so good!
Bottom Line: The Oath is a yummy, cozy, intriguing, magical story that will leave you happily at home with the Druids.
About the Author
Ann Margaret Linden was born in Seattle, Washington, but grew up on the East Coast before returning to the Pacific Northwest as a young adult. She has undergraduate degrees in anthropology and in nursing and a master’s degree as a nurse practitioner. After working in a variety of acute care and community health settings, she took a position in a program for children with special health care needs where her responsibilities included writing clinical reports, parent educational materials, provider newsletters, grant submissions and other program related materials. The Oath is the first installment of The Druid Chronicles, a five-volume series that began as a somewhat whimsical decision to write something for fun and ended up becoming a lengthy journey that involved Linden taking adult education creative writing courses, researching early British history, and traveling to England, Scotland, and Wales. Retired from nursing, she lives with her husband, dogs, and cat.
Blog Tour Schedule
Thursday, June 17
Review at Jessica Belmont
Friday, June 18
Excerpt at What Is That Book About
Monday, June 21
Interview at Jathan & Heather
Friday, June 25
Interview at Passages to the Past
Monday, June 28
Review at Michelle the PA Loves to Read
Thursday, July 1
Excerpt at Hoover Book Reviews
Monday, July 5
Review at Bookworlder
Thursday, July 8
Feature at Reading is My Remedy
Monday, July 12
Interview at Reader_ceygo
Wednesday, July 14
Excerpt at The Cozy Book Blog
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