Apollo's Raven

Narrated by: Kristin James
Series: Curse of Clansmen and Kings, Book 1
Length: 11 hrs and 56 mins
4.2 out of 5 stars (36 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Can a curse control ancient Britannia?

The world is in turmoil. Celtic kings hand-picked by Rome to rule are fighting each other for power. King Amren's former queen, a powerful druid, has cast a curse that foretells Blood Wolf and the Raven will rise and destroy him. When Roman envoys unexpectedly arrive with a cohort of legionaries and demand King Amren's fealty, his rule begins to implode.

King Amren reveals to Princess Catrin, the grim prophecy that his former queen pronounced at her execution for treason to him:

The gods demand the scales be balanced for the life you take. If you deny my soul's journey to the Otherworld by beheading me, I curse you to the same fate as mine. I prophesize your future queen will beget a daughter who will rise as a Raven and join your son, Blood Wolf, and a mighty empire to overtake your kingdom and to execute my curse.

As his daughter, Catrin is trained as a warrior and discovers she is the Raven and must find a way to block the curse of the evil former queen. Torn between her forbidden love for her father's enemy Marcellus, the great-grandson of Mark Antony, and her loyalty to her people, she must summon the magic of the ancient druids to alter the dark prophecy that awaits her.

Will Catrin overcome and eradicate the ancient curse? Will she be able to embrace her forbidden love with Marcellus? Will she cease the war between Blood Wolf and King Amren? Will she save ancient Britannia?

Apollo's Raven sweeps you into an epic Celtic tale of love, magic, adventure, intrigue, and betrayal in ancient Rome and Britannia.

©2017 Linnea Tanner (P)2017 Linnea Tanner

Critic Reviews

“'Apollo’s Raven' is a good balance of adventure, magic, and romance. Every side character has a unique voice and personality, and each has a backstory that is intriguing to the point of the listener wanting more. What makes this book especially fun is the spin on ancient history as it blends real events and people with the realm of the magical. Marcellus and Catrin have undeniable chemistry. Their journey is one full of turmoil, betrayal, and lust." (InD’Tale Magazine)

What listeners say about Apollo's Raven

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

a story that is solid and action packed

A vicious and vengeful power struggle ensues between the Celtic Kings with Rome waiting in the background for the results.  Catrin, a young warrior princess who have powers from her Raven must not fulfill the horrifying prophecy and ancient curse.  Catrin pits her strength and unworldly powers of the Raven against her banished half-brother, Merrick to save her kingdom, her family, and her true love, Marcellus.  Is her power strong enough to defeat ancient druids and alter the ancient curse?  Will the god Apollo save her or will she be left alone to suffer?

Linnea Tanner creates a world of dark magic, true love and delicate threads of each life Catrin encounters. Combined with myth and legend, the world of Tanner’s ancient Britannia is fascinating and exciting.  Shape shifters and witches, druids and gods – all in one story told with clarity and passion.  An epic tale of ancient lore, gods, and magic mixed with love and action.

Well told, Tanner engages her listeners with a story that is solid and action packed.  Mystery and intrigue with each word, Tanner is a master wordsmith.  Her vivid imagery and imagination are captured in her story and character development.  She doesn’t just say you won’t like Merrick, she makes you hate him with her well-chosen plot and vivid imagery.

The narrator, Kristin James performs the book well.  Her performance is captivating; smooth and passionate.  With her voices, she draws the listener in until they are carefully snagged within the web of the book and her talented reading.  Both Tanner and James make a great pair.

I cannot wait for book two!

There were no issues with the audio production or quality of this book.

Audiobook was provided for review by the author.

Please find this complete review and many others at my review blog

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4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Magic and visions.

A great beginning for a series. I can't wait for more of this series, I want to say more about this story but I absolutely hate spoilers, so I won't do it to you by going into details. I wish we could give half stars I'd have given this a 4 1/2 stars. The narrator brings the story to life. Reasons I enjoyed this audio book: Witty, Romantic, Wonderful characters, Page-turner, Great world building, Unpredictable, Original, Easy-to-read/listen, Entertaining, Action-packed. This Audio book was given to me at my request from the publisher, author or narrator and I provided this unbiased voluntary review.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Totally absorbing, I was spellbound!

I got so lost in this book that I didn't realize how much time was passing, I only noticed the time when the book ended... 2am... oops!

So it probably now goes without saying, but I loved this book and I'm definitely getting the next book int he series to find out what's going to happen next.

The story is beautifully crafted, it took me on a journey along with Catrin (the main character) who is coming into her Druidic powers and discovering that she is the subject of a prophesy and what that means for her and her people. Her growing relationship with Marcellus a roman and therefore and enemy of her people allows for many twists and turns. I don't want to give anything away, so I'll just say, if you like this type of book, you'll love this one.

The narration was excellent, Kristin did a fantastic job with the character voices and the overall flow and pace of the narration. The only thing that I noticed is it sounds like some on Marcellus' parts were re-recorded, there's a slight change in the sound for some of his thoughts, but it's only a minor shift.

This book was supplied free by the author/narrator/publisher and I voluntarily wrote this honest review.

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2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great Historical Fiction

This is a fairly new genre for me. I don't read many historical fiction books but I thought I would give this one a shot. I'm really glad I did. The story is well written and I was sucked into it from the beginning.

Narration was excellent and brought the story to life.

The story gripped my attention and kept me on the edge of my seat. I was really taken by the twists and turns and some parts were very frustrating to see all the doubt and confusion between Catrin and Marcellus.

The characters were well developed and I loved some and hated some. It is a great story with many ups and downs. I'm looking forward to the next book to see what will happen to Catrin & Marcellus. The book ends in a bit of a cliffhanger but I'm ok with how everything wrapped up. This is a great series and I can hardly wait to see what will happen next.

The story is told in multiple points of view so you really get a good glimpse at everything that is going on.

"I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review."

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Great Setting and Characters - Stilted Dialogue

I love the setting and culture of this book with tribal Britania and the Roman empire. The story set up is good and interesting, and the plot is action packed with lots of twists and turns.

My one problem with this story was that character dialogue seemed stilted and the two main characters kept erratically changing how they felt about things and one another (for instance, one moment they would pledge themselves to one another, and the next one completely mistrusted the other - over and over again). Perhaps a contributing factor to this was that the narrator, despite the good voice changes, was very stilted in her reading, which caused my mind to wander periodically.

One other quick note - romance scenes were a little awkward with terms used, and many descriptions were a bit "on the nose."

Great concept and fun story. I hope the next installment has better character dialogue and is more consistent with character behaviors and emotions. The first one definitely made me want to pick up the next installment though, especially with that ending.

"This book was given to me for free at my request and I provided this voluntary review."

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A Celtic Tale of Love, Magic, and Betrayal.

I received a free copy of this audiobook for an honest review in return. I enjoyed the history, the characters, and the non-stop adventure. Early first century, after Julius Caesar and before the onslaught, Catrin Celtic princess is learning of the prophesy and her talents. Falling in love with the son of the invading enemy can never be fulfilled. The book ends how it must, but I’m glad to hear there is a book two in the series. The narration was good but the story was epic.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Good story

Good story full of magic and twists. The main character is strong and does let anyone push her around and the interactions between the characters are well done.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

A good story but fraught with problems.

Here we have an enchanting historical fantasy romance set in Britannia during Roman times. I honestly wanted to love this book. It isn't often that I find Celtic-inspired fantasy. Kristin James gives us a wonderful audio experience. Her voices are varied, distinct, and well crafted (even the male voices). Her control of vocal inflections and tempo shifts throughout are nothing short of incredible. She's second to none. The first thing that struck me about this book is the lushness of the descriptions of the physical locations. I have no doubt whatsoever that the author has either extensively researched the locales or visited them personally. At first, I actually liked both of the main characters quite a bit. Initially, Catrin comes off as very mature, confident if a little headstrong, and well rounded. Similarly, Marcellus is a strong-willed young man with a cool head for politics and is less immoral than I would expect of the son of a Roman senator. Unfortunately, both of these characters quickly become very wishy-washy on all of the qualities that appealed to me. Catrin's headstrong nature becomes childish and petulant and Marcellus becomes the sex-driven ass that most of his kind are known for. Of secondary concern is the "romance" between them. I'll be honest, at the end of the book I still don't believe they're in love. I've seen nothing to suggest they are. It feels more like an obsessive school-age infatuation. Neither knew the first thing about the other when it began, and rather than having any basis in emotion or personality, it is purely physically driven, even at the end of the book. Now, outside of the "romance" there is an interesting plot, though it takes a long time to get to it. And unfortunately it seems to come out of the blue since the author focuses almost solely on the romance and Catrin's budding magical abilities. Although there are a couple aspects of it that I find a bit ridiculous, I enjoyed the magic system. I think it was well thought out and there are many points of connection with the powers historically attributed to the druid priests and sorcerers. I particularly enjoyed the raven and wolf particulars, especially as those two animals are historically associated with those of the warrior caste. Similarly, huge chunks of the world building are brilliantly assembled and conveyed. It's almost effortless the way the author presents most of the world building. The truth is that if this was a secondary world fantasy I would have nothing negative to say here. However, this is a historical fantasy based on the Celtic world and I find myself wishing the author had done her research a little more thoroughly. The single biggest, most glaring problem that irritates me to no end is the druids WERE NOT priests. Nor were they sorcerers, as this book purports. The druids were a caste. They were the intellectuals. The educators, the historians, the judges, the poets, the philosophers, the shamans... and yes, the priests and sorcerers as well. But while a druid COULD be a priest or sorcerer, not all of them were. The term "druid powers" would have been met with confused expressions. The second major issue also ties in with the druids. This being that THE BRITTON CELTS DIDN'T HAVE A WRITTEN LANGUAGE YET! (this being set in the year 24 CE) Sorry, I didn't mean to yell. It had to be done. In Brittany the Celts didn't develop written language until around the 4th century CE. And finally, the Caste System. While the Celtic caste system was not nearly as rigid as, say, the Japanese or even the Romans themselves, they still had an established caste system that was difficult to break out of and there is not the slightest hint of that caste system in this book. Apart from the historical inaccuracies, there are a few other problems. First, good chunks of the prose are just clumsy to read. The natural consequence to this is much of the dialogue feels stilted and gets repetitive. There is also a lot of word usage that just feels wrong for the period. Now, I'm not one of those purists who thinks the language needs to be 100% accurate to the period. But it should hold to a slightly more old fashioned feel. Unfortunately, we end up seeing a lot of modern turns of phrase that throw me out of the story quite regularly. There were several points where words seem to have been transposed (eg: "in her eye's mind"). There are a lot more of these sorts of occurrences than I would normally expect from a professionally edited novel. I'm also struggling with the language barrier. We're somehow expected to believe that after spending every day together for over a month, still Marcellus never learned any of the Celtic tongue. Despite his statements earlier in the novel that he really wanted to learn to communicate with his captors. Let's talk about consistency for a minute. There isn't any. The star crossed lovers change their minds about one another so frequently it makes my head spin. On the one hand, it lends credence to my opinion that they are merely infatuated. However, if we are meant to believe it is "true love" as Catrin insists, then why are they forgetting about that and betraying/accusing the other of betrayal so often? To say nothing of the fact that we're expected to swallow the basically "insta-love" we see with them. While there is a half-assed attempt at explaining it away as their souls being already familiar with one another, it's left as basically conjecture and feels like a really thin explanation. And finally, the ending. Again, some of this seems to come out of the blue. Although the groundwork was there earlier, because of the focus of the novel very little of it is seen until things are brought to the fore. That said, though, when we finally get to it the ending actually comes together pretty well and ties several (though not all) of our disparate plot threads together into a cohesive close that is at least moderately satisfying.

1 person found this helpful

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Loved it

Really engrossing, I got totally lost in this book. Finished it way too fast. Lots of action this one kept me hooked till the very end. Can’t say I’m a fan of the cliffhanger ending. Can’t wait to read more from this series. Loved the narrator. Great performance. Really brought the story to life. -I received a free review copy of this book and am voluntarily leaving a review.-

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Action Packed

The story line was good, but a little slow in places. The narrator did a good job.

I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher.

1 person found this helpful

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Profile Image for Jacqueline Kirk
  • Jacqueline Kirk
  • 10-08-17

The original game of thrones in ancient Britannia

There is a great deal of wonderful ancient intruigue in this book. There are detailed touches that make it feel authentic- many of them are bloodthirsty as this time was reputed to be and so are in context. The is a beautifully written struggle for power. It is an exciting story and the paranormal twist of a dark prophecy adds an extra dimension to a classic tale that has been replayed in history in every era. The paranormal abilities of the young protagonist are forbidden or at least severely fround upon. Within an atmosphere of political plotting and manoeuvring you will find this is also the touching story of a young girl, Princess Catrin, who is trying to come to terms with her magical abilities, the aforesaid prophecy which directly involves her, whilst addressing her obligations as a valuable bartered bride burgeoning womanhood and dealing with a mother who is infuriatingly unsympathetic and creates some unnecessary problems for Catrin. Her fatalistic father - King Amren is no help and you feel her frustration at her lack of control over her own destiny. Enter the handsome Roman and sort of prisoner, Marcellus who catches Catrin's eye, and whom despite being the enemy seems to be the most heroic and courageous of them all. We all want Catrin and Marcellus to get together but you will enjoy the obstacles that get in their way as well as the details of their beliefs back in the time of the Celtic tribes, druids and Romans. This cleverly written epic tale needs your full attention. There is a lot background information that is relevant to the plot. Definitely worth reading. Narrator Kristin James does a good job voicing the accents - regional English accents are a challenge for any actor.

1 person found this helpful

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  • MCR.
  • 06-21-17

Review.

This is such a riveting story and so excellently read it made the story come to life. There was so much going on, so many plots and counter plots that I had to concentrate really hard to keep up with what was going on. Those were terrible Times and people were so brutal. The parts with the sacrifices are hard to get through but I know are integral to the story. Ignorance and fear caused a lot of mistakes and so did anger. As a fly on the wall observer I found it fascinating, and the authors expertise made it possible for me to do that. She is an amazing historical writer with expert knowledge and imagination. Hats off to her! I really want to listen to the next audio book to find out what happens next.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amy
  • 06-17-17

.One For The Ages

Intrigue ,status seeking,betrayal ,mystical magic are rife in this Masterfully written tale.The intrigue,campaigns and the politics drive the story.I thought the way the Clans interacted with the Romans was superbly written.How to trust anyone when you don't fully trust your allies.The story, the characters, the pace -- everything is perfect a. There are so many other things left unsaid, only a fraction of the story told in this installment, in spite of its overall complexity. Apollo's Raven has the potential to become a worldwide phenomenon and the series has the potential to become a representative of a unique and daring wave of literature. This being said, the sequel cannot come fast enough! The narration is near-perfect for that style and the combination of author and narrator produces some powerful moments.I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher.I received this title for free in exchange for an unbiased review.As always this is my honest opinion .

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 01-29-18

Very disappointing

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

No - This is only the second book I have been unable to finish. I got it because I liked another work, the narrator had done and because the time period is one that I have done a lot of research in.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

I appreciate that this is fiction not fact but a number of things stood out as not right. Unfortunately for me it was too distracting and made the story too unbelievable.

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

I felt the narrator was wrong for this story. An american accent did nothing to help the inaccuracies the author had written into the story. I have enjoyed other narration by Kristin James but it did not work in this case.

Could you see Apollo's Raven being made into a movie or a TV series? Who would the stars be?

No.

Any additional comments?

If the author had not tried to base this story in a given time period in British history but instead invented her own world then the story might have fared better. I have read other reviews that say the story gets much better further in - I might give it another go later. I admire what the writer was trying to do, maybe reading, rather than listening will be better?

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • DubaiReader
  • 06-21-17

Romance, intrigue and sorcery.

One of the great things about receiving free audiobooks for review is that I get to sample genres out of my comfort zone. Although I am a fan of historical fiction, I have never read anything set in Roman times.
Apollo's Raven is fascinating, not just from the point of view of the belief systems of those times - curses, wolf spirits and sorceresses, but also for its insight into the way negotiations took place - with a hostage left in the enemy camp to ensure a serious attempt at peace.

Amren, King of Britannia, needs to broker peace with the invading Roman legions. While he is off negotiating with their ambassadors, Marcellus, son of one of their number, stays behind as 'guest' to the Celts, while one of Amren's daughters effectively becomes hostage to the Romans at their camp 100 miles away.
Unfortunately, there is an instant spark between Catrin, Amren's youngest daughter, and Marcellus. This is fueled by her father's instructions to act as host to him, all the while extracting valuable information about the enemy. It is a relationship with no hope of a future, as both parties are pawns in their parent's power struggle and an alliance forged by marriage is too good a bargaining tool. As negotiations break down and the danger level rises, so too, does the attraction between Catrin and Marcellus.

The book was well narrated by Kristin James, although I found it a bit too breathless in the exciting parts. There were also phrases in italics at the beginning of each chapter, which I wasn't even aware of until I saw them mentioned in another review. Apart from that she was clear and easy to understand.
Although I learnt a fair bit from this novel and it was obviously well researched, I didn't find it calling to me and although I see many other reviewers gave it 5 stars, I felt 3 stars was more representative for me.
For readers of Fantasy and lovers of Romans in history, this would be an excellent read, the first in a series in which Catrin and Marcellus may (or may not) manage to make a future together. It would also appeal to those who like strong female characters.