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#HistFicThursdays - Clement: The Templar's Treasure - Craig R. Hipkins - Guest Post

It's #HistFicThursdays again, and this week I'm thrilled to be sharing a guest post from Craig R. Hipkins ,   as part of his  Coffee Pot Book Club  tour. Find out what research drew him into the world of Clement and Dagena, Viking exploration, and linguistic adventures... Blurb Clement & Dagena return for another action packed adventure. From the cold and dreary shores of Greenland to the fabled land of Vinland. The legendary treasure of the Knights Templar awaits. Clement: The Templar's Treasure  is available via this Universal Link Guest Post Clement: The Templar’s Treasure is set in the middle of the 12th century. This was at the height of the age of chivalry when the troubadours sang their poetry and martial tournaments were the rage over all Europe. Although the first book in the Clement series concentrated on historical elements related to the continent, the second and third installments took Clement far away from the kingdoms of Europe. However, chivalry, a commo

#HistFicThursdays - Apollo’s Raven (Curse of Clansmen and Kings, Bk 1) - Linnea Tanner - Guest Post

 For this week's #HistFicThursdays blog, I am thrilled to be welcoming Linnea Tanner, with the first book in her Curse of Clansmen and Kings series! Apollo's Raven is enjoying its book tour with Coffee Pot Book Club and I am so excited to be able to share this fascinating Guest Post from Linnea about the Highlights and Challenges in Researching Historical Backdrop of Apollo’s Raven. But first, let's meet the book...


A Celtic warrior princess is torn between her forbidden love for the enemy and duty to her people.
AWARD-WINNING APOLLO’S RAVEN sweeps you into an epic Celtic tale of forbidden love, mythological adventure, and political intrigue in Ancient Rome and Britannia. In 24 AD British kings hand-picked by Rome to rule are fighting each other for power. King Amren’s former queen, a powerful Druid, has cast a curse that Blood Wolf and the Raven will rise and destroy him. The king’s daughter, Catrin, learns to her dismay that she is the Raven and her banished half-brother is Blood Wolf. Trained as a warrior, Catrin must find a way to break the curse, but she is torn between her forbidden love for her father’s enemy, Marcellus, and loyalty to her people. She must summon the magic of the Ancient Druids to alter the dark prophecy that threatens the fates of everyone in her kingdom.
Will Catrin overcome and eradicate the ancient curse. Will she be able to embrace her forbidden love for Marcellus? Will she cease the war between Blood Wolf and King Amren and save her kingdom?

Guest Post - Highlights and Challenges in Researching Historical Backdrop of Apollo’s Raven

Thank you for hosting me and my novel, Apollo’s Raven (Book 1 Curse of Clansmen and Kings) on the Coffee Pot Book Club blog tour. I did extensive research on the history, mythology, and archaeological findings of ancient Rome and Britannia (Britan) before the Roman invasion in AD 43 by Claudius. The political background used in this series is based on research of southeast Celtic tribes in Britannia that evolved differently than those in Wales, Scotland, and Ireland. 

One of the major challenges for researching the Celts is that they passed down their history and mythology through oral traditions. Most of my research had to be gleaned from the biased accounts of Greek and Roman historians, medieval writers who spun Celtic mythology into their Christian beliefs, and archaeological interpretations. Interestingly, Julius Caesar wrote most of the detailed accounts of Celts in Britannia and Gaul as propaganda to support his military campaigns in the Senate. 

Statue of Julius Caesar

Southeast Britannia (Britain) evolved differently than Wales, Scotland, and Ireland. After Julius Caesar’s military expeditions to the region in 55 – 54 BC, he demanded tribute and hostages in treaties. Thereafter, many of the British rulers’ children were raised and educated in Rome as hostages, adopting the empire’s taste for luxuries. As a result, the internal politics and trading in southeast Britannia were strongly influenced by the Romans.

During this period, several powerful Celtic kings expanded their territories by conquering other tribes as evidenced by their minted coins. To support their extravagant lifestyles, pro-Roman kings warred with other tribal territories to supply the Roman Empire with slaves. 

Although there is no written account of any Roman expeditionary forces sent to Britain before Claudius’s invasion in AD 43, there are recorded incidents of pro-Roman rulers pleading for Rome’s help to intervene on their behalf. Recent archaeological findings support that Rome had a military presence that protected areas of Britannia vital to trading before Claudius’ invasion in AD 43. 

Archaeological evidence strongly suggest that Claudius’s invasion was nothing more than a peace-keeping mission to halt the expansion of the anti-Roman factions led by Cunobelin’s sons, Caratacus and Togodumnus. Most likely, there was already a Roman military presence protecting areas of Britannia vital for trading with the empire. 

Of note, Shakespeare’s play, Cymbeline, is based on the Celtic King Cunobelin to whom the Romans referred as the King of Britannia. One of the plot points in the play is that Roman forces invade to restore tribute that Britannia ceased to pay. The play was likely based on oral traditions or medieval accounts in which there may be some historical accuracy.

I also visited many areas in the United Kingdom and France that are described in my series. I hiked over twelve miles over the white cliffs of Dover in 2012 so I could experience first-hand what my female protagonist, Catrin, experiences in the first chapter of Apollo’s Raven. As she stands near the precipice of the sheer white cliffs, she observes oar-driven warships suddenly appearing out of the haze on the British channel, alarming her of danger. Below is a photograph I took of the Dover Cliffs when a large chunk of the white cliffs collapsed into the sea in 2012.

Collapsed Wall Dover Cliffs

A pivotal point for creating the epic tale is when I visited London and was intrigued by the statue of a warrior queen in a chariot with her two daughters set beside the Thames River. I learn she was the famous warrior queen Boudicca who united the tribes in AD 61 and almost expelled the Romans from Britannia. Roman historians described her as a powerful druidess who sacrificed some of her victims to the war goddess Andaste. She inspired my primary character, Catrin who is both a warrior and druidess in the series.

Boudicca in Chariot

The Celtic characters are fictional in Apollo’s Raven except for Cunobelin and his sons, Adminius and Caratacus. Several of the Celtic characters in the novel speak Latin, either through formal training in Rome and Britain or with interactions with Roman merchants. Although the Celtic society was becoming more paternalistic, women were still held in high regard and could rule. 

For my series, it was important to capture the essence of the Celtic noble warrior society. The Greek historian Poseidonius writes, “The Celts engage in single combat at dinner. Assembling in arms, they engage in mock battle drill and mutual thrust and parry, sometimes inflicting wounds.” 

Celtic Battersea Shield

The Roman characters are fictional except for Lucius Antonius, the son of Iullus Antonius and grandson of Marcus Antonius (Mark Antony). Very little is known about Lucius Antonius except that he was exiled in 2 BC to Gaul after his father was accused of treason and forced to fall on his sword. It is unclear whether Lucius had any children, but it is coincidental that another famous Roman general, Marcus Antonius Primus, was born in Gaul around AD 30. The tragic legacy of the family inspired my primary character, Marcellus Antonius—the great grandson of Mark Antony.  

Now, let's meet the author:

Award-winning author, Linnea Tanner, weaves Celtic tales of love, magical adventure, and political
intrigue in Ancient Rome and Britannia. Since childhood, she has passionately read about ancient civilizations and mythology. Of particular interest are the enigmatic Celts, who were reputed as fierce warriors and mystical Druids.

Linnea has extensively researched ancient and medieval history, mythology, and archaeology and has traveled to sites described within each of her books in the Curse of Clansmen and Kings series. Books released in her series include Apollo’s Raven (Book 1), Dagger’s Destiny (Book 2), and Amulet’s Rapture (Book 3). Skull’s Vengeance (Book 4) is anticipated to be released in late 2021 or early 2021. 

A Colorado native, Linnea attended the University of Colorado and earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in chemistry. She lives in Fort Collins with her husband and has two children and six grandchildren.

You can keep up with Linnea on these links:

Keep up with the rest of Apollo's Raven tour stops by clicking on the banner below:


  1. Thank you so much for hosting the blog tour for Apollo’s Raven.
    All the best,
    Mary Anne
    The Coffee Pot Book Club

  2. Thank you for hosting and sharing my post about the challenges in doing research as part of the Apollo's Raven blog tour.

  3. My absolute pleasure! Thank you for the fabulous blog post - I found it really interesting and full of new (to me, at least!) facts.


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