4 out of 4 stars
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In Southeast Britannia, the Cantiaci Kingdom was ruled by King Marrock, who had slaughtered his father and his entire household to claim the throne for himself. He trapped their souls in their skulls, fortifying himself with dark magic. His father, King Amren, was cursed by Marrock's mother, Rhan, an evil druidess who foretold his doom. This curse was etched in a dagger hidden in a rock. And the only person who had the power to wield this dagger and overthrow Marrock was Catrin, his half-sister, who could access the power of the ancient druids. With the call of destiny upon her, Catrin sets out to be reunited with her Roman husband, Marcellus. A marriage that was considered an abomination in the eyes of the Romans.
On the other hand, Marcellus was torn between his love for Catrin and his loyalty to his family's legacy. Hunted by a monstrous half-brother and dangerous Romans, would Catrin succeed in fulfilling her destiny to rule as the Cantiaci queen? And would the forbidden love between her and Marcellus blossom or cause their doom?
Skull's Vengeance by Linnea Tanner is a fictional blend of recorded historical events between ancient Britannia and Rome. Although fictional, some Celtic characters in the book were nonfiction. Cunobelin and the king of Catuvellauni are good examples. This was mentioned in the concluding part of this book. The creative blend of this fictional writing and the historical records made it an epic novel. I liked this about the book. Also, despite being a fourth part of the author's previous series, Skull's Vengeance is an evocative book. Scenes from the previous series were repeated in the book to help readers understand. I fully understand the book's content even without reading the previous series.
The expressive romance between Marcellus and Catrin was the perfect thrill of this story. Their forbidden love as a Roman and Barbarian threatened to drain all their life's essence. As the hater, Marcellus's half-brother, Brutius, was a good fit for this book. The author perfectly weaved other obstacles like Marcellus's betrothal and his father's political ambitions to create an engaging plot. This did not eliminate the attacks that arose from Catrin's hideous brother. Generally, this book was thrilling all through my reading process.
Furthermore, I enjoyed the descriptive features of the Roman and Celtic political backgrounds. This novel was written relative to the rule of Emperor Tiberius Ceasar. The norm of slave trading and child molestation was a well-discussed subject in this book. Even Catrin served as a Roman slave and as a gladiator. The druids' magic in the book described the ancient Celtic traditions. I loved the complexity of the intertwined territories. The author's connectivity to these historical events is very intriguing. She also aims to write “a separate, stand-alone historical fiction novel that highlights the fall of Sejanus–a Roman official through the perspective of Marcellus."
My rating of this exceptionally well-written book is 4 out of 4 stars. Although I noticed some errors while reading, I still find the editing of this book good. I recommend this book to readers who enjoy romantic stories. But some of the discussions in this book may not be suitable for young readers. There is absolutely nothing negative I found in the book.
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