Daughters of Fire by Barbara Erskine
Two thousand years ago, as the Romans invade Britannia, the princess who will become the powerful queen of the great tribe of the Brigantes, watches the enemies of her people come ever closer. Cartimandua's world is, from the start, a maelstrom of love and conflict; revenge and retribution.
In the present day, Edinburgh-based historian, Viv Lloyd Rees, has immersed herself in the legends surrounding the Celtic queen. She has written a book and is working on a dramatisation of the young queen's life with the help of actress, Pat Hebden.
Cartimandua's life takes one unexpected turn after another as tragedy changes the course of her future. But the young queen has formidable enemies – among them Venutios, her childhood sparring partner, and Medb, a woman whose jealousy threatens not only her happiness but her life.
Viv's Head of Department, Hugh Graham, hounds her as she struggles to hide her visions of Cartimandua and her conviction that they are real. Her obsession grows ever more persistent and threatening as she takes possession of an ancient brooch that carries a curse. Both Pat and Hugh are drawn into this dual existence of bitter rivalry and overwhelming love as past envelopes present and the trio find themselves facing the greatest danger of their lives.
‘Riveting timeslip novel.’ Fanny Blake, Woman and Home
‘A fascinating spotlight on a dark age.’ Bella
About the Author
Barbara Erskine was our Guest Editor in July 2012 - click here - to see the books that inspired her writing.
Barbara Erskine is the author of the internationally bestselling novel Lady of Hay, which was translated into a dozen languages and has sold over a million copies world wide. This was followed by another bestseller, Kingdom of Shadows and by a collection of short stories, Encounter, which has met with wide popular acclaim.
Child of the Phoenix is based on the story of one of Barbara Erskine ‘s own ancestors, and provides a link between some of the characters from Lady of Hay and Kingdom of Shadows, again encapsulating the authors dual themes of the supernatural and of history.
In the absorbing world of the historical novel, readers of Barbara Erskine are held in thrall. Child of the Phoenix is set in the turbulent 13th century and tells of Eleyne, a Welsh princess whose life becomes inextricably linked with the destinies of the English, Welsh and Scottish crowns. The story is partly based on lore passed down through the author’s family – for Eleyne is one of her distant ancestors. But as Barbara Erskine points out: ‘Eleyne is a composite, based on family legend of the type which converts dingy oil paintings into Rembrandts and Victorian paste beads into aquamarines’.
A history graduate, and with one of her two earlier bestsellers set in much the same period, Barbara Erskine is well versed in the brutality of the Middle Ages. It was a time when noblewomen underwent arranged marriages, were traded both for their dowries and to cement the precarious political alliances of their male relatives. Despite their precarious social standing, women did hold power with their husbands away in Parliament or at war. More sinister was the manipulation of those who became involved in illicit romances – the dangerous truth would be concealed until it could be used to advantage.
Author photo © Karolina Webb
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