Boudica : Dreaming the Hound

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9780553816365: Boudica : Dreaming the Hound

In a spellbinding novel of gods and men, myth and brutality, acclaimed author Manda Scott returns to her heralded saga of a world under siege. For here is the epic tale of Boudica, the legendary Celtic queen, and her embattled Eceni tribe—a bold new work of imaginative fiction that takes us on a thrilling journey into a clash between magic and mankind.

To the Eceni tribe of Britannia, nature is the ultimate god, and warriors are joined in battle by the voices and spirits of their ancestors. But the proud Eceni are running out of time. Nero’s army, long since out of patience with Britannia’s wild tribes, is becoming increasingly oppressive. And Boudica’s family is at the center of a gathering storm: Cunomar, Boudica’s son, who longs for the mettle to kill as fiercely as his mother... Graine, her young daughter, gifted with the power of dreamers, scarred forever by the horrors of war...and Boudica’s brother, born Bán of the Eceni, turned the traitor Valerius—a man caught between worlds: warrior and dreamer, Roman and Eceni.

As conflict erupts between the tribes and their brutal invaders, Boudica is forced to make a bold sacrifice. Cloaking her identity, she will travel directly into the stronghold of an enemy who longs for her crucifixion. What happens next—in a brutal drama of betrayal, heroism, and sacrifice—will leave Boudica with no options but one: to raise and arm every warrior, every dreamer, every tribe...and push the invader and its legions back into the sea.

From the thundering hooves of the Eceni’s great horses to mystical spirit quests of young warriors, from the politics of an empire to the passions of lovers, Dreaming the Hound takes us on a breathtaking journey of the imagination—at once brutal, fantastical, and utterly unforgettable.


MAGNIFICENT PRAISE FOR MANDA SCOTT’S BOUDICA SAGA

Dreaming the Hound

“Extraordinary.” —Independent, UK

“Brilliantly imaginative.”—Colchester Evening Gazette, UK

“Dramatic...Vivid...Lyrical.”—Yorkshire Evening Post, UK

“One of Britain’s most famous legends...is retold here with extraordinary immediacy.”—Our Time, UK

“Irresistible...an excellent read.”—Diva, UK

Dreaming the Bull

“Enthralling...Mesmerising...Creates a living past of battle feats, betrayals, heart-breaking loyalties and cruelties.”—Publishing News, UK

“Thrilling...Readers will be swept away.” —Booklist, starred review

Dreaming the Eagle

“A powerful novel about one of the most intriguing and mysterious women in history...Alive with the love, deceit, wisdom and heroics of humanity. Read it and enjoy!”—Jean M. Auel

“The new Mary Renault...Intensely exciting, a tale of passion, courage and heroism against huge odds.”—Publishing News, UK
From the Hardcover edition.

"Sinopsis" puede pertenecer a otra edición de este libro.

About the Author:

Manda Scott is a veterinary surgeon, writer, and climber, not necessarily in that order. Born and educated in Scotland, she now lives in Suffolk with two lurchers and too many cats. Known originally as a crime writer, her first novel, Hen’s Teeth, was shortlisted for the Orange Prize. Her subsequent crime novels are Night Mares, Stronger than Death, and No Good Deed, which was nominated for an Edgar Award for Best Novel. Her two previous novels in the Boudica quartet, Dreaming the Eagle and Dreaming the Bull, are available in paperback from Dell, and she is currently at work on the fourth and final novel in the Boudica saga.
From the Hardcover edition.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Chapter One

The water was cold, and made brown by peat and recent rain.

Breaca of Mona, known to all but her family and closest friends as the Boudica, leader of armies and bringer of victory, knelt alone at the side of a mountain stream and washed her face, hands, and the bleeding wound on her upper arm in the torrent. The water ran briefly pink where she had been. She cupped clean water in both palms, rinsed her mouth and spat out the iron aftertaste of blood.

A blue roan mare dozed in the shelter of a nearby beech thicket, the end result of a lifetime's breeding and better than anything Rome could offer. She was haltered but not tethered and came to call, her feet bound in soft leather to dampen the sound of her progress. Mounted, Breaca travelled north and a little east, moving up into the mountains, keeping to rocky trails where Coritani trackers, paid by Rome, would be least likely to find signs of her passing.

If she had scaled the peaks, she could have looked west past further mountains and across the straits to Mona, but she did not. The standard-bearer's warning echoed, disturbingly, with the muted footfalls of her mare and would not be made silent. You will never win, fighting as one against many. Vindex was not the first to have warned her of the dangers and futility of fighting alone, or even the second, but he was the enemy and she did not have to trust his opinion.

It was harder to ignore the warnings of those who cared for her; the elders and dreamers of Mona, who watched over her children through her long winter absences, and could not tell them where their mother was or if she had died yet, at the hand of a standard-bearer who was not quite as drunk as he might have looked.

Luain mac Calma, the Elder of Mona, had been first, quietly, to say that the Boudica's life was worth more, and vengeance for one man's life worth less, and he had been followed by a succession of others who claimed to love her and hold her best interests at heart. Only Airmid, dreamer and soul-friend, had always understood why Breaca needed to hunt alone as she did and had never spoken out, openly or in private, against the black feather braided into the Boudica's hair and the winter killings that it foreshadowed.

Airmid was on Mona and Mona was another world and Breaca chose not to look at it and thereby not to think about it, or its people.

She passed upwards, and the track became rockier. Grey stone lined either side of the tracks, marbled by swirling lichens. She dismounted after a while and unbound the mare's feet, that they might grip better on the wet stones. The rain became less; it had belonged to the night. Clouds on the eastern horizon parted to show the first knife lines of light. Lacking any binding, the wound in her arm slowly ceased to bleed and ached only a little. The officer whose spear had caught her had kept his weapons scrupulously clean, for which she was grateful.

Half a day's ride to the south, at the overnight campsite where a standard-bearer, an armourer and two junior officers of the XXth legion had died, a wisp of greased smoke rose at an angle to the sky. Crows roused and called and began to drift towards the scent of burning men.
The thick-set, grey-haired man stooped over the neck of his horse with his attention fixed on the trail did not appear to notice either of the two slingstones that cracked on the rocks near his head. His horse, noticing both, shied a little, throwing him off balance, and he clutched ineffectually at the saddle. The care of his gods kept his head from cracking on the stones of the path as he fell and a cushion of heather gave him safe landing but he did not rise afterwards, even as Breaca knelt at his side.

"Where are you hurt?"

He flicked dry, cracked lips. "I have the flux. You shouldn't touch me; you'll be tainted."

"Maybe, but the harm is done now." Breaca pushed her good arm under his shoulders and levered him to his feet. She would have given him water but carried none. In its absence, she used the sick man's horse for support, wedging his shoulder against the saddle. He swayed and made himself stand.

His accent, his horse and the weave on his tunic were all of the northern Eceni. A mark worked in ink in the skin below his collarbone showed the falcon and running horse linked. Breaca ran her forefinger along from horse to falcon and felt the small nodule of amber buried under the skin beyond the falcon's wingtip that verified the mark's authenticity.

"Are you from Efn’s?" she asked, and when he nodded, "Why were you following me?"

"I wasn't. The mountains are alive with Romans and I would deliver my message from a living mouth to living ears if the flux does not kill me first. I was trying to reach the forests near the coast to take shelter there before crossing to Mona."

Breaca shook her head. "You won't reach them in time. The men of the fifth cohort are stationed near the coast. The third cohort lost four men last night: the signal fires have been lit since dawn, waking every other legionary into action; they will have ringed the forests long since. I know of somewhere closer that may be safe if we are permitted to enter. Can you ride another two dozen spear throws?"

"If there's shelter at the end of it, yes."
The cave mouth was a vertical crease in the cliff face set by the gods at such an angle that it was invisible unless approached exactly from the south-east. The hound-sized rock placed by the ancestors to guard the entrance was patched with damp moss and hidden by the grasses that had grown up around it. In years past, it would have been scoured clean when the ancestors were honoured at each old moon and the carved marks swirling on its surface would have been made bold again with red ochre and white lime and ash. In the bleak new world of Roman occupation, those who should have done so were either dead or had taken refuge on Mona and the rock and the cave mouth behind it were blurred with neglect.

Breaca had only passed the cave once, and that the previous winter, but had seen then what others might not, committing its location to memory without any real intention to use it. She probably would not have attempted it now, had not her need driven her to it; the risks of entering such a place without a dreamer were far greater than the risks of death or capture by Rome.

Standing alone before the hound stone, Breaca said, "I offer greetings to the oldest and greatest of the ancestor-dreamers. I will clear your dwelling place as I leave, I swear it. For now, the weeds are my protection as they have been yours. Will you permit me to enter and to bring one other with me?"

A voice beyond the range of hearing said, Who asks?

"I ask, Breaca nic Graine mac Eburovic, once of the Eceni, once Warrior of Mona, hunting now under the black feather of no-tribe. My mark is the serpent-spear which was yours before me and will be yours again when I have gone."

The ancestor-dreamer said, So. I endure and you may not. It is good you remember that. Have you come to ask my aid in your vengeance, as you did before?

"No."

She was the Boudica, who led thousands into battle, and her palms were sweating. She wiped them on her tunic. It was far easier to face the legions in the rain and the dark armed with nothing more than a knife and a pouch of river pebbles than to speak to an empty cave mouth in daylight. She remembered Airmid, and the fear in her voice when she had last faced the ancestor-dreamer: Airmid, who feared nothing and no one.

Breaca looked back down the path to where the dying messenger waited out of earshot. He had dismounted when she did and stood leaning against his horse. As she watched, he slid slowly to his knees, and then toppled sideways to lie curled like a child, breathing harshly.

If she had been alone, she would have taken her chances dodging the legions and stayed out in the open. If she waited, she would be alone before too long, but the dying man was Eceni and from Efn’s and he had given his life to bring a message to Mona. She could not with any honour leave him to die on a mountain path within reach of the legions when there was shelter at hand.

Touching the hound stone as much for courage as for luck, Breaca said, "We are two, one wounded, one assailed by flux. We ask only to enter into your protection, bringing our horses, nothing more. The Romans who seek our lives are close behind; I saw them enter the valley as we climbed the mountain. It is my belief that their trackers will have no knowledge of your dwelling place, and that if they did, the legionaries would not dare to cross the threshold. Even they recognize the sacred when they meet it."

Or if not the sacred, then the simply dangerous. The ancestor's laughter was the slide of a snake over winter leaves, a sound to erase all peace and the hope of peace. They know I will pierce their dreams, waking and sleeping, and they will die as did their governor, slowly and in madness. They may not fear you enough to abandon the land, Breaca once-Eceni, but they fear me enough to make offerings in secret to quell my wrath.

Breaca had seen the twists of corn and broken wine flasks and, once, the rotting head of a doe as she led the horses up the trail. She had not known them as offerings to the serpent-dreamer and even now could not confirm it. She said nothing. A lifebeat of waiting passed. Then, Yes, you may enter. I, who may yet destroy you, give you leave.
The cave was not as fully dark as Breaca had expected. The horses walked willingly into the entrance and were made safe in a chamber open to the sky, three spear lengths inside. Here, bird lime streaked the walls in layers of white and caked the floor, cushioning the sound of hooves. Hollows in the rock held water and the recent rain had made them clean.

Fu...

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ISBN 10: 0553816365 ISBN 13: 9780553816365
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Descripción Transworld Publishers Ltd, United Kingdom, 2006. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. AD 57: much of Britannia has been under Roman occupation for over ten years, with key areas in the south and east administered as vassal states, where the tribes pay costly tithes to the Emperor in return for the right to continue living on their own lands. On the sacred isle of Mona, the Boudica or Bringer of Victory as Breaca has long been hailed, now knows for certain that her lover, Caradoc - betrayed, captured and kept hostage in Rome - will never return to her. She decides to leave Mona where she and her warriors have been waging a guerilla war, and to take the fight to the Eceni heartland where it is needed most. With her are her children, Cunomar and Grainne, and her best friend from childhood, ex-lover and dreamer, Airmid. But the once proud Eceni are a downtrodden and defeated people who are forbidden on pain of death to worship their old gods, and now scrape a living from the once fertile land. Across the sea in Hibernia, Breaca s half-brother Ban, is struggling to make peace with his fractured past. Soon, provoked by Roman aggression, he will sail to Britain to protect Mona, and from there he will go to Camulodinum, and, united with his sister, he and Breaca will face down the might of Rome in the bloodiest revolt the western world has ever known. Nº de ref. de la librería AAZ9780553816365

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M. C. Scott, Manda Scott
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Descripción Transworld Publishers Ltd, United Kingdom, 2006. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. AD 57: much of Britannia has been under Roman occupation for over ten years, with key areas in the south and east administered as vassal states, where the tribes pay costly tithes to the Emperor in return for the right to continue living on their own lands. On the sacred isle of Mona, the Boudica or Bringer of Victory as Breaca has long been hailed, now knows for certain that her lover, Caradoc - betrayed, captured and kept hostage in Rome - will never return to her. She decides to leave Mona where she and her warriors have been waging a guerilla war, and to take the fight to the Eceni heartland where it is needed most. With her are her children, Cunomar and Grainne, and her best friend from childhood, ex-lover and dreamer, Airmid. But the once proud Eceni are a downtrodden and defeated people who are forbidden on pain of death to worship their old gods, and now scrape a living from the once fertile land. Across the sea in Hibernia, Breaca s half-brother Ban, is struggling to make peace with his fractured past.Soon, provoked by Roman aggression, he will sail to Britain to protect Mona, and from there he will go to Camulodinum, and, united with his sister, he and Breaca will face down the might of Rome in the bloodiest revolt the western world has ever known. Nº de ref. de la librería AAZ9780553816365

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