Release Day Celebration: author Nancy Jardine

Today, I'm delighted to welcome back Nancy Jardine, fabulous author friend and creator of the Celtic Fervour historical adventure series on her latest release day. The second part of the series, After Whorl: Bran Reborn is out today in ebook and paperback formats from Crooked Cat Publishing.

But first, Nancy is delving into her historical research box. Some fascinating insights are revealed! Over to Nancy...

Forgive me - I’m going to get a little ‘Petty’ today. 

Please don’t disappear! Bear with me and I’ll explain. A few names are mentioned in my Celtic Fervour series of novels that in an odd way drive some of the action and yet they either do not appear as characters at all, or have a seriously limited role. ‘Petty’ is one of those names. Are you confused already? Perhaps asking yourself why someone ‘outside of the story’ should have any bearing on the action? 

In the first two novels of my Celtic Fervour series - The Beltane Choice and After Whorl: Bran Reborn - the Roman governor of Britannia plays a ‘behind the scenes’ role. If it were not for the policies of Quintus Petilius Cerialis Caesius Rufus (you can see why I’ve nicknamed him ‘Petty’) my Brigantes, and the other tribes of the north, would be peaceably farming their lands and indulging in little petty warfare with their neighbours. Instead, Governor Cerialis (the name he’s usually referred by) is carrying out orders from the Roman Emperor Vespasian and is orchestrating a campaign of terror in parts of southern and mid- Brigantia. It’s because of the creeping foot of Rome that my characters eventually go to battle at Whorl in The Beltane Choice. The troops of ‘Petty’ triumph at Whorl, though the personal fortunes of the Governor were not always so rosy. His career had many ups and downs, like another notable name – Gnaeus Julius Agricola - who also is named in my novels. (Look out for another blog post on Agricola during this launch tour.  He’s a man I find was a very interesting character!)

Image (c) Wikimedia
Antonio Tempesta (possibly after Otto van Veen). Cerialis grants mercy to soldiers that went over to the enemy, 69-70 [from the Revolt of the Batavi series]. 1612. Etching. 165 × 210 mm. Amsterdam,Rijksmuseum Amsterdam

 Since the second book of my series begins with the battle at Whorl then ‘Petty’ is also driving the plot for a little while in the earliest chapters of After Whorl: Bran Reborn. ‘Petty’ was the Governor of Britannia from approximately A.D.70 to A.D.73/74: the activities of the first two books of the series being during this time. ‘Petty’ was then probably around the age of 40, this approximation based on the fact that a Roman had to have served in a number of roles before earning such a high status job as Governor of a province. So what got a man such a prestigious job back in AD70?

Many men who reached the level of Governor had served as commander of a legion - as a legate - first. And working backwards… to become a legate it was generally necessary to have served first as a praetor. A praetor was sometimes someone who had practical experience as a ‘commander in the field’, during times of heavy campaigns. Or, a praetor may have been elevated to the role of a public administrator over a large province, though the number of these operating across the Roman Empire varied according to who was emperor. To achieve the position of praetor there was a minimum age of thirty. In the absence of actual documented dating, for the life of someone like ‘Petty’ the position a man achieved in serving the Roman Empire stands as a good indicator of his minimum age. 

Before becoming the Governor of Britannia, who causes the Celts in my novels untold grief, ‘Petty’ had been legate of the Legio IX Hispania, stationed in southern Britain, in AD 60. He therefore had a lot of knowledge of the machinations of the tribes of Britannia. The retreat, and subsequent humiliation, his forces had to make during the uprisings of Queen Boudicca of the Iceni got him no public honour, and he departed for the European mainland when his term of office was over.  However, it seems that he conducted himself well enough in AD 69, with the Legio XIV Roman troops in Germany, sufficient to have the Emperor Vespasian confer the role of Governor of Britannia on him in AD 70.

‘Petty’returned to Britannia to suppress the insurgence of Venutius, the former husband of Queen Cartimandua, a Queen of the Brigantes federation of tribes. This part of history has become the particular focus of The Beltane Choice and of After Whorl: Bran Reborn. 

‘Petty’ is documented as …“having at once struck terror into their hearts by invading the commonwealth of the Brigantes, which is said to be the most numerous tribe of the whole province: many battles were fought, sometimes bloody battles, and by permanent conquest or by forays he annexed a large portion of the Brigantes.” (Tacitus

Image (c) Wikimedia
‘Petty’ mainly settled during AD 70 -74 at the garrison at Eboracum (York), which it is thought he constructed, or that he made improvements to an earlier Roman fort on the site. This settlement subsequently became a very fine city, and a great legacy to the people of Britain. York, to this day, has many fine Roman visitor sites which excite the imagination, and is a fabulous city to visit. Yet, ‘Petty’ also constructed other encampments in the north of England which evolved into forts that, in some way, have survived to the present day and they are definitely worth a visit. 

The plot for After Whorl: Bran Reborn includes the building of some of these Roman forts, Eboracum gaining a brief mention. 

~Thank you for inviting me today, Cathie! It’s a pleasure to come back.

Research from:
Tacitus: The Agricola (chapter VIII, verse ii and chapter XVII, verses i-ii), The Annals (book XIV, chapter xxxii) and The Histories (book III, chapter lix and book IV, chapter lxxix).

The works of Dio Cassius


Ravaged by war

…AD 71. After the battle at Whorl, Brennus of Garrigill is irrevocably changed. 

Returning to Marske, Ineda finds her grandmother dead, though Brennus is not. Snared by a Roman patrol, they are marched to Witton where he is forced to labour for the Roman IX Legion. 

Embracing his new identity as Bran, Brennus vows to avert Roman occupation of northernmost Brigantia. Ineda becomes his doughty spying accomplice, though sometimes she’s too impetuous. Trading with the Romans lends excellent opportunities for information gathering. Over time, Bran’s feelings for Ineda mar with his loyalty to Ineda’s father. 

When she disappears, and cannot be found, Bran enters direct service with Venutius, King of the Brigantes. 


After Whorl: Bran Reborn is available in ebook and paperback from Amazon UK
and Amazon US

Facebook Launch Party **Giveaways**
For a chance to enter the draw for a ‘triquetra’ necklace and other prizes join Nancy’s Facebook Launch party  and look for details of how to win the prizes on offer. 

Blog launch Tour **Special Prize**
A special Blog Tour ‘friend’ will WIN a mystery gift for the most commented visits to blogs during the launch tour for After Whorl: Bran Reborn. (i.e. most comments between 9th Dec and 18th Dec wins the prize). To be sure you don’t miss any blog posts check Nancy’s Blog regularly between the 9th Dec and the 17th Dec:


Nancy Jardine lives in the fantastic ‘castle country’ of Aberdeenshire, Scotland, with her husband. She spends her week making creative excuses for her neglected large garden; doesn’t manage as much writing as she always plans to do since she’s on Facebook too often, but she does have a thoroughly great time playing with her toddler granddaughter when she’s just supposed to be ‘just’ childminding her twice a week. 

A lover of all things historical it sneaks into most of her writing along with many of the fantastic world locations she has been fortunate to visit. Her published work to date has been two non fiction history related projects; two contemporary ancestral mysteries; one light-hearted contemporary romance mystery and a historical novel. She has been published by The Wild Rose Press and Crooked Cat Publishing.

You’ll find Nancy at the following places: Amazon UK author page    Amazon US author page   Blog    Website   Facebook  Goodreads   About Me   LinkedIn   Twitter @nansjar  Google+  


  1. Thank you for allowing me to share my launch tour on yoru blog today, Cathie. It's always a pleasure to visit and especially lovely today since it's such an exciting day for me- the launch fo Book 2 of my Celtic Fervour series. :-)

    1. You're always welcome here. I'm very happy to help spread the word. :-)

  2. I hope you are getting Airmiles points for all this flying around blogs you're doing Nancy! :) How do you manage to do such interesting and different posts for all the blogs? It is testament to your skill as an author and your dedication to researching your subject era that your posts are so interesting! Thank you again and thank you to Cathie for sharing this with us all

    1. Thank you for stopping by, Diane. I'm with you – Nancy's dedication is inspiring.


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