Sunday, January 8, 2023

Sunday Snippet: Ascent by Cathie Dunn #HistoricalFiction #SundaySnippet #TheCoffeePotBookClub @cathiedunn

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I hope you’ll enjoy our first #SundaySnippet!


House of Normandy

by Cathie Dunn

Publication Date: April 8th, 2022
Series: House of Normandy
Publisher: Ocelot Press
Pages: 293
Genre: Historical Fiction / Historical Biographical Fiction

A brutal Viking raid heralds the dawn of a new, powerful dynasty – the House of Normandy

Neustria, Kingdom of the West Franks

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Fourteen-year-old Poppa’s life changes when Northmen land near Bayeux. Count Bérengar, her father, submits to them, and she is handfasted to Hrólfr, the Northmen’s heathen leader, as part of their agreement.

To her relief, Hrólfr leaves immediately in search of further conquest, only returning to claim her years later. In the face of retaliating Franks, they flee to East Anglia, where she gives birth to their son and daughter.

When Hrólfr and Poppa return to reclaim Bayeux, his new campaign strikes at the heart of Frankish power, and King Charles of the West Franks offers him a pact he cannot refuse. In exchange for vast tracts of land in Neustria, Hrólfr must convert to Christianity and accept marriage to Gisela, the king’s illegitimate daughter.

Poppa’s world shatters. She remains in Bayeux, with her daughter, Adela. When Gisela arrives one day, demanding she hand over Adela, to be raised in Rouen, Poppa’s patience is at an end. But Gisela makes for a dangerous enemy, and only one woman will survive their confrontation high up on the cliffs.

Will Poppa live to witness the dawn of a new era?

ASCENT is the first in a new series about the early women of the House of Normandy – women whose stories have been forgotten through time.

Until now!

Readers of Viking and medieval fiction will enjoy ASCENT, a fictional account of the life of Poppa of Bayeux, handfasted wife of Rollo the Viking.

Trigger warning: Loss of a child. Some battle and fighting scenes.

From Chapter 1

The leader spoke in a language she did not understand, and the men laughed. Then they spread out swiftly, blocking the main doorway and the hidden side entrance, encircling the small crowd. Their eyes were raking over the girls and women. 

Poppa recognised the look. Several times, she’d caught Ranulf gazing at her with that sense of…what? Desire? A shiver ran down her spine.

But theirs was not a loving desire. The stares from these fighting men were stronger than longing. They would take whatever they wanted, be that gold, silver – or women.

Was her fate sealed, together with that of all the women of Bayeux? She took a deep breath when their leader’s eyes met hers. 

He raised an eyebrow and issued an order, and three of the warriors pushed their way through to the altar, towards the Holy Cross. 

“No!” Father Peter’s voice rang loud in the silence, and he scrambled after them. “This is sacrilege.” When he reached the steps, one of the warriors turned swiftly. 

Poppa lifted herself to the tips of her toes to see, but others stood in front of her, blocking her view. Then a raised blade flashed in the candlelight, and Father Peter groaned. 

Screams filled the church again; high-pitched, they echoed around the thick stone walls. A strong scent of iron permeated the air. The blood drained from Poppa’s face as anger rose within her. One of the Norse warriors grabbed the golden cross and lifted it above his head. He shouted something in his language, and the invaders laughed again.

The light of the candle illuminated the rubies and garnets that adorned the cross. 

A sense of dread settled over Poppa as she stared at them. Like flecks of blood dripping down the holy relic…

Cathie Dunn

Cathie writes historical fiction, mystery, and romance.

She loves researching for her stories, delving deep into history books and visiting castles and historic sites. Her novels have garnered praise from reviewers and readers for their authentic description of the past.

Cathie is currently working on two projects: Treachery, the story of Sprota the Breton (and sequel to Ascent), and The Alchemist’s Daughter, the second in her Affair of the Poisons series. She is also writing a spin-off novella to Ascent, featuring Ranulf and his adventures on Orkney.

Cathie lives in south-west France with her husband and two rescue pets, Charlie Cat and Ellie Dog.

Connect with Cathie:

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