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MJ Porter’s Official Blog 

Guest Post 

The Scots of Dalriada  by Rowena Kinread 

The Scots of Dalriada takes place in 5th century Ireland and Scotland and tells the fictional story of the legendary king Fergus Mór. Recorded Irish history begins with the introduction of Christianity and Latin literacy, beginning in the 5th century. Most of my research however, relied on sources written much later.

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Did the Gaels know about poisons? The answer is yes! The Greeks wrote about poisons as early as the 5th century BC. In Athens, in the ancient world, a drink composed of strongly poisonous hemlock was used at executions. The fruit was shelled, crushed and the powder sprinkled upon a beaker of water. The condemned drank the beaker empty, thus killing himself.

In the Scots of Dalriada, Cartan murders his brother Mongan using hemlock. He knows that Mongan is wary of him, and deceives his brother by feeding the hemlock to quail which Mongan then eats.

Review for The Scots of Dalriada from Cathie Dunn, an award-winning and Amazon-bestselling author.

The Scots of Dalriada - Rowena Kinread

Whilst I know quite a bit about medieval Scotland, my knowledge of the earlier centuries is somewhat vague. So it was with great interest that I picked up this novel, and I was not disappointed.

The Scots of Dalriada is the tale of three brothers, and of the migration of the Scoti people from Ireland to western Caledonia. So just how did the Scots arrive in Scotland?

The story begins with Erc, Fergus’ father, in Ireland. When he is married to a ’much older’ woman aged 15, for alliances, his life changes forever. His own father is ambitious, and personal contentment are not on his list of favours. 

Review by Deborah Swift, award-winning- best seller- author of historical fiction

"must read."

16727619506f741564878e493e78eb6ecf3b7bcf7e"I bought this book on #KindleUnlimited and admit I knew nothing about early Scottish or Irish history, so this was really interesting. It is not for the faint-hearted as early on in the book it contains the sort of sex and violence you might expect from warring tribes of this era. Hand to hand fighting with sword and fists is a very different battlefield to that of today. Don’t let this put you off though, as it is extremely well-researched with episodes covering a vast swathe of history. The sort of hand to mouth existence is well-described, the flat-bottomed boats, the reliance on horses, the language of Brittonic, the burns and brochs, the rocks and seashore. I loved the travel between Scotland and Ireland, and the description of life in the Irish fort at Tara, Meath.

I enjoyed Fergus’ character as he grows and develops. The characters are rough men, used to fighting, manipulating, wielding threats and death to those that cross them. Erc was a great character – he dispenses the wisdom born of age, and came across as hard-headed but realistic. ‘If you receive favours instead of being a leader by merit, then your men will not trust you wholly, nor follow you blindly’.

There is a lot in this novel and you have to keep your wits about you as a reader as it zips from place to place. Rowena Kinread’s love of the history of these people shines through and for anyone interested in their Scottish or Irish origins, or early Christian and Druid history, it is a must read."

The Scots of Dalriada by Rowena Kinread

Guest Post - - February 27th 2023

Romance is a juicy page turner in any book. Whether a pure romance book or sub-plots in historical-, crime-, or thriller- novels, without a little romance, something crucial is missing, like milk in my coffee for example!

In The Scots of Dalriada, Fergus the MC, meets Rhianna as a fourteen-year-old youngster. He doesn’t know at first, who she is. In fact, he believes her to be a boy! At the time he is hiding from his evil half-brother, disguised as a stable boy, in a horse stud at Brodick castle, on the island of Aran. So nobody knows who he is either, in reality Prince of the Dalriada.
Rhianna has her own problems, she is Laird Douglas’s daughter, a Scottish princess and has been promised in marriage to Ceredig, king of Strathclyde. He is an obnoxious individual, over sixty-years-old, with the stature of an overgrown toad standing upright.

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