‘Taken’ meets Dark Age Britain in this action packed start to the Warrior Druid of Britain series.
Author – Steven A. McKay
Thankyou to Steven for this ebook copy in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Pages – 289
In the mists of modern day Scotland, Saxon warriors steal a princess – believed to be intended for a sacrificial ceremony or something equally heinous. It is up to our main character, the huge warrior druid Bellicus, to get her back. He sets out alone, with his two trusty hounds at his side and the story follows his travels tracking this Saxon warband.
The author does excellently in setting the scene and capturing how Britain would have looked in the time period; interspersed settlements, where news travels slowly and people are suspicious of outsiders, and power is fractured and regionalised. This is against the backdrop of a growing Saxon presence and the spread of Christianity from the South. Both are a threat to the traditions of the isle, its people clinging onto a culture and home ripe for conquest in a newly post-Roman landscape.
Bellicus has the right amount of morality and brutality to be believable in a dog-eat-dog environment in which the sword is sometimes the only message to be understood by. Although the Saxons are the primary antagonists of the story and live by the same rule of the sword, we get Saxon chapters to show that they are human, just like the Britons on the other side; some good, some bad – all trying to survive and carve their place within the world. We get an insight into their own culture, the suspicions and fear of the native druids’ power despite a belief in Woden and the old Germanic mythologies.
McKay has a talent for keeping the action going whilst also building a wider picture so that you want to read more from the series and become invested in the story. What drives it is Bellicus’s determination and it helps that sharing the page with him is an enjoyable experience; a character you can really get behind and will to defeat these Saxon invaders.
It’s not the most in-depth, sprawling tale with intricate converging plotlines and several POV characters but its strength is its pacing and the amount of action; it doesn’t mess around with trying to tell a 300 page story in 600 pages. Despite this, it isn’t overly linear and straightforward – there are some great characters and the foundations set for the series to continue going places after this book.
We have a nice take on Arthur and Merlin (or the Merlin as he’s described here – part of the Druid’s order and together a resistance against the growing Saxon occupation) and an ally in the form of the retired Roman Centurion Duro, who
has had stayed behind in Britain to live a quiet life as a baker.
You could read this as a one-off story as it does have a satisfying conclusion but I would recommend reading on with book two, Song of the Centurion, which I’m going to be doing as there is a lot of set up for further exciting events to come.
I hope you enjoyed the review and perhaps found a book that suits your tastes, thanks for reading!
Northern Britain, AD430
A land in turmoil. A village ablaze. A king’s daughter abducted.
In the aftermath of a surprise attack Dun Buic lies in smoking ruins and many innocent villagers are dead. As the survivors try to make sense of the night’s events the giant warrior-druid, Bellicus, is tasked with hunting down the raiders and thwarting their dark purpose.
With years of training in the old ways, two war-dogs at his side, and unsurpassed skill with a longsword, Bellicus’s quest will take him on a perilous journey through lands still struggling to cope with the departure of the Roman legions.
Meanwhile, amongst her brutal captors the little princess Catia finds an unlikely ally, but even he may not be able to avert the terrible fate King Hengist has in store for her.
This, the first volume in a stunning new series from the bestselling author of Wolf’s Head, explores the rich folklore and culture of post-Roman Britain, where blood-sacrifice, superstition and warfare were as much a part of everyday life as love, laughter and song.
As Saxon invaders and the new Christian religion seek to mould the country for their own ends one man will change the course of Britain’s history forever. . .
. . . THE DRUID.