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I am a child of the Goddess Morrigan...
I was born in the land of Eire...
And my heart blazes with its fury...
I have lived through the ages...
I seek to right those who have wronged...
I am the Maintainer of the Balance...
The Balance must be maintained
Evil reigns throughout much of the western world in the mid sixth century. Following the collapse of the Roman Empire, a group of blood-drinkers called the Lamia begin the search for a long, lost relic that will restore power to the Roman Empire. After traveling much of the known world, the Lamia discover the relic’s location: Ireland. The Lamia invasion forces win a foothold on the Island of Eire, and hasten their search for this most important relic.
Standing in their way is an outcast Roman general from many ages before, a Briton who would rather tell bawdy jokes than fight, and a young woman who has found her newly acquired lands under siege by a manipulative Lamia seeking vengeance against his oldest foe.
They are not alone.
The Lamia are not the only blood-drinking line on earth. A race called the Deargh Du, who draw their lineage from the Goddess Morrigan, will rise up and face the challenges of those who would tip the balance.
Join the Journey…the first in a series of stories revolving around the Deargh Du through the ages.
From Chapter 5 of Morrigan's Brood, Pages 104 through 106
Cries of agony drew his attention to where Galletarius and the rest of his men fought, only to discover that the elder druid held the soldier immobile and was biting his neck. The other soldiers seemed to be doing well against the rest of the druids, but this elder seemed to be stronger than his comrades.
A lightning flash over Marcus’ left shoulder drew his attention. A tree burst into flames following the lightning strike. More lightning strikes began to hit surrounding trees. The thunder that resulted was almost unbearable. Despite the ringing in his ears, Marcus could still hear someone call his rank.
Marcus looked over to where one of his soldiers stood. The soldier waved for Marcus to look further to the east where he caught a glimpse of the ancient druid and a few others fleeing from the grove. Before he was out of sight, the elder druid turned around and cried in Latin, “Raven feeder, feast on the blood of our enemies!”
Marcus started to run after the escaping druids, but he stopped when he heard screams and crashing trees around him. He looked about and saw some of his men hit by lighting. A dark cone pulled the others into the sky. Marcus blinked, unsure of the visions.
All of a sudden, the lightning and the wind ceased. All grew quiet. Marcus looked around at the grove and noticed that everyone, the druids and his men, were gone. He was alone. With a little trepidation, he surveyed the grove, trying to find any hint of the living. He dared not walk along the tree line in case an ambush waited, so he looked with his eyes. He could see dead druids and some of his slain men, but he saw no one living.
Then he finally heard them.
Thousands of cawing ravens swarmed into the grove, shattering the silence with their cries. They blocked the moon for a moment as they all gathered in front of Marcus. He watched, awestruck, as their bodies began melding to form a solid, black shape.
Marcus backed away from the amorphous form that coalesced from the unkindness of ravens. Brilliant light erupted from the center of the black form, forcing Marcus to cover his face with his arm. As the light dimmed, he could see a silhouette of a woman standing in front of him. The blinding light of the moon washed out her features, but he could see her pale skin shimmer with the luminosity of pearls.
The woman began to step outside of the glare, and Marcus was able to see her true appearance. Her lovely features made his heart waver for a moment. She stood as tall as he did. Except for a red cape that cascaded behind her from her shoulders, she wore no clothing. She wielded a tall, ornate metal shield, a long spear, and a short sword that hung in a scabbard at her waist. Marcus found himself lost in the intricate swirling tattoos covering the warrior woman’s body. Her long, blood red hair seemed to float, defying the pull of the earth.
The warrior woman walked closer to where Marcus stood. Marcus tightened his grip on his shield and sword and prepared to do battle with this woman. He paused for a moment as he stared into the depths of her black eyes. Distracted, he did not notice her heft her spear. The missile shot through the air over his shoulder. Marcus turned to follow the flight of the spear only to catch a glimpse of it plunging through the chest of one of his men who had found his way back to the grove.
Marcus snarled as he turned his attention back to the warrior woman. She merely stood without drawing her sword. The Praetor wasted no time. He stepped into her and slammed his shield against hers, knocking her defense aside. Marcus followed up with a quick thrust of his short sword into her ribcage. The blade sunk to the hilt within her flesh.
The Praetor looked into the woman’s eyes, expecting to see the life running out of them. Instead, those black pools of oblivion stared back at him. Fear rose within as he witnessed a small smile slide over her face.
Marcus tried to step back while pulling out his sword. Before he could dislodge the weapon, the woman pushed out with her shield in a seamless movement that propelled him with tremendous force backwards into a tree. His body bounced against the tree and fell to the ground. His weapons landed on either side of him. Pain shot through his body as he tried to breathe. Marcus realized through wheezing pain that she had knocked the wind out of him and broken a few of his ribs.
The warrior woman stepped closer to Marcus’ prone form. When she was within a pace of the Praetor, she drew her sword from her scabbard. Beautifully etched patterns and symbols reflected brilliantly in the moonlight as the warrior woman pointed her sword at Marcus.
In a beautiful, singsong voice, the woman asked, “Are you responsible for the desecration of this grove and the land?” The grove echoed her words in a sharp whisper.
Marcus, Roman Praetor in Gaul and General for Caesar. Mandubratius, Briton, son of a chieftain who joins with Caesar in an effort to regain the leadership he’s lost. Marcus and Mandubratius hate each other with a passion. When Marcus accompanies Mandubratius on a recon mission to Briton they’re blown off course and mistakenly land in Eire. After a vicious betrayal Marcus, in his rage, destroys a Hibernian village, killing everyone. His actions lead to a fate he never dreamed of and, eventually, a mission to save an entire race.
Morrigan’s Brood is mesmeric. I’m enamored with history and mythology. Impeccable research, skillful blending of Celtic mythology with vampire lore and a clever story make for a deeply engrossing world, a bit of heaven for those of us who revel in this genre. Marcus and Mandubratius are mortal enemies. Their mutual hatred began before that fateful day on the beach. Both are on the trail of an artifact sacred to the Lamia which they believe will give them dominion over all the blood drinker races. One seeks it for greed and personal glory, the other wants to keep the Lamias’ domination plans from fruition. The authors include a map and excellent cheat sheets at the beginning. The Tuatha de Danann (Celtic Pantheon), the different types of vampire and a handy pronunciation guide are all there for our edification. I used them often. I’m truly looking forward to the next book in the series.
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Aug 11, 2010 by Cornelia
Great review. I've read tis book and love it. I highly reccomend it as well and find this review very helpful.