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The Macsen’s Treasure Series
Into the Path of Gods
In the war-torn fifth century, after the end of Roman rule and before King Arthur’s rise to power, blunt-talking spy and master of disguise Marcus ap Iorwerth works for a clandestine alliance of British nobles set to depose the inept and hated high king. His efforts lead him to Claerwen, an ethereal woman with “fire in the head”–the gift of visions–and to whom he is inescapably drawn.
He quickly realizes she has unwittingly become ensnared in a lethal conspiracy involving a broken marriage contract, a buildup of foreign mercenaries, and a brutal warrior called the Iron Hawk who leaves atrocities and scorched earth in his wake. All appear connected to a hunt for an unnamed treasure supposedly in Claerwen’s possession. She knows nothing of this treasure and though Marcus struggles to protect her, he is betrayed and disappears. Alone and homeless, Claerwen must decide whether to believe what everyone tells her, that Marcus is dead and she should go into hiding. But when a vision shows her the dreaded Iron Hawk in pursuit of Marcus, she is also challenged to journey into the path of gods: to trust the destiny laid out before her. Defying all common sense, she embarks alone on a daunting quest to find Marcus before the warrior does. Has she truly understood the vision’s message?
In the Shadow of Dragons
It is said that long before the Dark Age king of the Britons called Arthur was ever heard of, his golden reign was prophesied, and after decades of invasion and civil violence had wracked post-Roman Britain, his presaged leadership offered a rare promise of future peace. Events leading to that time–some of them full of hope, more often full of sacrifice–inevitably began to fall into place…
When the mysterious druid Myrddin Emrys–known in legend as Merlin the Enchanter–is certain the high king is in imminent danger of yet another assassination attempt, he summons iron-willed spy and master of disguise Marcus ap Iorwerth to unearth the conspirators and destroy their plots. Marcus reluctantly agrees to help after his wife Claerwen, driven by her otherworldly gift of visions, insists that she must accompany him on the quest.
Is is soon discovered that Pascentius, the youngest son of an earlier and well-hated king, is allied with dreaded Saxon mercenaries and readily poised to reclaim his father’s throne. But before Marcus and Claerwen can spoil his plans, a second conspiracy of personal revenge closes in on them. Falsely declared fugitives by the very ones they had sought to help, they become trapped in a labyrinthine intrigue between their accusers and the traitors. In a desperate race against time, they must endure hardship and profound personal loss, while pushing Britain towards freedom, peace, the future called Arthur.
The Anvil Stone
“Freedom is all that matters.” So says spy and master of disguise Marcus ap Iorwerth of his greatest dream. For years he has courageously struggled to unite Britain’s feuding internal factions and derail the ever-encroaching Saxon threat that has made his homeland a deadly place.
So when a mysterious stranger delivers a gruesome, bloodstained effigy fashioned to look like him, Marcus immediately knows it’s both a warning and a challenge. He and his wife Claerwen–whose gift of second sight makes her a target as well–run headlong into the daunting fray. Rival factions are instigating war both among themselves and with the Saxons, and while Marcus sets out to quash their treachery, Claerwen discovers another crisis. Those same factions have mounted a desperate search for one of Britain’s most cherished symbols–a magnificent sword of the ancient high kings that has been lost for decades. She knows the sword must be found; it is part of Britain’s future and will pass to a great king called Arthur who has been prophesied to come. With battle about to erupt all around, Marcus learns the stranger, an assassin bent on killing him, may be one of the last sources that could lead him and Claerwen to the sacred sword.
A Land Beyond Ravens
No one in fifth century Britain knows more secrets than master spy Marcus ap Iorwerth, and that makes him a dangerous man. It also makes him a hunted one. For nearly three decades he has manipulated stubborn, irascible kings and warlords in a quest to not only unite them against foreign invasion but to stop them from destroying each other as well. And along with his beloved wife Claerwen, he has followed a greater, even more perilous pursuit–to forge a clear path for the fulfillment of Merlin the Enchanter’s famed prophecy that one day a great king will take command, the king known as Arthur of the Britons.
Now, with Arthur at last on the brink of adulthood and already showing great promise as a leader, Marcus discovers that the emerging Christian church is gaining enough power to dangerously shift control of Britain. At the same time, Claerwen, gifted with second sight, is plagued with strange dreams that connect inexplicable doom to both Arthur and a long lost grail sacred to Britain’s high kings. As foreboding mounts, Marcus struggles to prevent the church from crushing Arthur’s chances of becoming an effective king. But how he goes about it sets up the very doom that Claerwen sees. Will she be able to stop him? Or will her visions send Marcus to his own doom as well?
A Land Beyond Ravens is the winner of the 2010 Colorado Book Award and the 2010 Indie Excellence Award, both in the historical fiction category.