The Dawn Stag, by Jules Watson

It is AD81 and Agricola the governor of Roman Britain is intent to conquer Alba, Scotland as he has captured the rest of Britain. He has been outwitted by Eremon before and does not plan on letting it happen again. Eremon, though has two new weapons: new allegiances, formed with the Kings and chiefs of the surrounding duns; and the new powerful love he shares with Rhiann. Together the pair hold the hopes of the nation.

When the armies of Alba and Rome finally meet it is in an epic battle which will decide the fate of a nation. No one who is there on that day will remain unchanged.

The Dawn Stag is the second book in the epic Dalraida Trilogy and, like the first The White Mare, is a boon for lovers of Celtic history, epic tales and historical fantasy. Author Jules Watson weaves a story which draws readers into its depths, connecting with the characters and living their highs and lows with them.

A dense volume, it is no light read, but this is its appeal – there is plenty of time to develop the characters, setting and, of course, the wrenching plot.

The Dawn Stag, by Jules Watson
Orion, 2005

The White Mare, by Jules Watson

In first century Britain, Agricola, the governor of Roman Britain, is advancing into Scotland, determined not to rest until he has claimed it for the Empire. Whilst some tribes have been conquered and others have surrendered, some are determined to withstand the threat.

Rhiann is both princess and Ban Cre (priestess) to her people. When the reigning King, her Uncle, dies, the pressure is on her to marry and produce an heir. The husband chosen for her is Eremon, an exiled Irish prince, who seeks an alliance with the Epidii for reasons of his own.

As they face the Roman enemy, the pair must also face their own troubles. Theirs is not a joyous marriage – Rhiann carries ghostly memories which prevent her from trusting any man, and Eremon needs desperately to prove himself to his men and to his new allies. Only if they work together can the pair overcome these personal woes and lead their people in resisting the Romans.

The White Mare is a stunning debut novel for Western Australian author Jules Watson. The five years spent researching and writing the novel is apparent in the attention to detail and authentic feel for the times. The White Mare is the first in a trilogy. The next installment will be eagerly awaited by those who read the first.

The White Mare, by Jules Watson
Published by Orion, distributed in Australia by Allen & Unwin