Read Maire Online

Authors: Linda Windsor

Maire

PRAISE FOR LINDA WINDSOR’S
HISTORICAL NOVELS
The Fires of Gleannmara #1:
Maire

“Maire
is a breakout book sure to find its way to many a bestseller and reader’s keeper lists, creating a whole new sub-genre where a Windsor book is going to be the classic standard to achieve.”

—R
OMANCING THE
C
ELTIC SOUL

“Windsor’s talent for creating a faraway land and time is flawless.”


R
OMANTIC
T
IMES
M
AGAZINE

“A captivating fictional chronicle of Christianity’s dawn in Ireland. Remarkable for its appeal as both a historical saga and inspirational novel
Maire
achieves success that few other books can boast.”

—Suite101.com

“This enthralling tale reveals Gods miraculous power at work and how His love conquers all. The thrilling finale will bring chills—as well as the assurance of God’s incredible omnipresence. A definite page-turner.”

—I
NSPIRATIONAL
R
OMANCE
R
EVIEWS

“Maire
is an exciting work of historical fiction that brings to life the Celtic heritage mindful of the great Beowulf. The current story line is exciting and fast-paced, while centering on the conflict between Christianity and Druidism. The lead couple is a charming duo and the support cast fills the Dark Ages with light.”

—M
IDWEST
R
EVIEWER’S
C
HOICE

The Fires of Gleannmara #2:
Riona

“Linda Windsor deftly weaves a tapestry of Irish myth and legend with the glory of knowing Christ, creating a masterpiece of medieval fiction.
Riona
is more than a novel, it’s an experience—a journey to a faraway time and place where honor and faith are lived out amid the clamor of swords. A glorious read!”

—L
IZ
C
URTIS
H
IGGS
, bestselling author of
Bad Girls of the Bible
and
Bookends

“With a lyrical voice worthy of the Isle of Erin, Linda Windsor’s
Riona
is a wonderful novel, peopled with memorable characters who will lay claim to your heart. I believe I could see the green hills and feel the kiss of mist upon my cheeks with every page I read.”

—R
OBIN
L
EE
H
ATCHER
, Christy Award-winning author of
Ribbon of Years

The Fires of Gleannmara #3:
Deirdre

“Deirdre
is an exciting early medieval inspirational romance that readers will enjoy. The story line is loaded with action and the religious message augments the tale not batters the reader. Linda Windsor continues to furbish entertaining historical tales that readers will want to obtain the previous books in this insightful series.”

—B
OOK
B
ROWSER

“Windsor provides a rollicking historical adventure fraught with intrigue and romance in a worthy addition to the series and to all collections.”


L
IBRARY
J
OURNAL

“This is a beautiful and exciting story of how wonderfully the Lord uses the imperfect to bring about his perfect and everlasting love.”

—R
EADER-TO
-R
EADER
R
EVIEWS

NOVELS BY LINDA WINDSOR
The Fires of Gleannmara Series
Maire
Riona
Deirdre

Along Came Jones

It Had to Be You

Not Exactly Eden

Hi Honey, I’m Home

To Jim, Jeff, Kelly, and Mom—
my wonderful family and one of God’s greatest blessings.

I couldn’t have done this without your support—
cooking, cleaning, laundry, encouragement, and love.

A foreword,
as ‘twere, from Erin’s heart…

G
leannmara. Ah, the sound of it warms me to me earthy core. ’Tis one of me favorite spots, nestled as it is between me mist-shrouded Wicklows and the Irish Sea. The Romans, you see, once dubbed me island
Scotia
and me people the
Scots,
which is why some of me children took that name to Scotland later on… but I digress.

I am the Emerald Isle of Ireland—Erin, for short.

Since creation, I’ve had all kinds of names—Hibernia bein’ the first on record—and sure, I’ve seen all manner of mankind come and go. Before the Great Flood were some Greeks, and after? Well the list is considerable. Descendants of Noah’s sons—Japheth and Shem were the first, the former a settling group and latter a troublesome lot of pirates. Then came the Greeks, Parthelan at Tallaght—the graves are there to this day—and Nemedh, whose people fled the pirates from the North, for Greece and to Britain, which is named for one of the leaders, Briotan Maol.

But the love of my God-graced green mountains and plains was never forgotten, and my children came back, like hungry babes to a mother’s breast. The Firbolgs returned first from Greece, then later the Tuatha de Dananns from the North. After a terrible clash, the latter emerged triumphant, what with their superior powers.

Now there’s them that believed this group to have the powers of magic. I meself think the Tuatha de Dananns were not magicians, but the forefathers of today’s scientists. They were gifted with an intimate knowledge of God’s earth and its workin’s. A more primitive people could have easily mistaken
such advanced learnin’ for magic power as opposed to God-given knowledge.

No matter how much they knew, tho’, the Dananns were no match for the coming of the sons of Milidh, and me last colonization at about thirty-five hundred years before Christ. These Milesians come by sea from what’s now Spain, no small feat for that time. Here, as in the days of my creation, I saw the work of the Almighty’s hand, for the Milesians’ ancestors were none other than Phoenicians, a sea-lovin’ race blessed by the Almighty for a deed of their Scythian forefathers back in the time of Moses.

Josephus wrote of how these Phoenicians were from a Red Sea settlement called Chiroth and how they gave aid and supplies to the Hebrew children fleeing Egypt with Moses, thereby invitin’ the pharaoh’s wrath. ’Twas no escape but by the sea, so the good Lord blessed their ships. He sent an east wind to carry them to the Iberian Peninsula where they later became the greatest navigators of the ancient world—the Phoenicians.

’Twas no wonder that their descendants, the Milesians, were able to sail to my shore and defeat the Dananns in battle, despite a tempest that some say the Dananns conjured with their mysterious powers. How could even those as learned as the Dananns know these were a seafaring people blessed by the hand of the Creator centuries before? To this day, some folk think the conquered Dananns shape-shifted into spirits and now live in the Other World as faeries and such. I was even called
Erienn
after one of their queens.

Me own account, howsomeever, is that the Dananns what got away hid themselves in the hills, where they lived as hermits and continued their studies of the earth and stars. For all that, they remained as much in darkness as their victors, still worshipin’ the creations instead of the Creator…that is, until the comin’ of the Gospel Light.

It’s thought the apostle Paul referred to me in his letters as “the green island to the north” lightin’ the first spark, which
gradually was fanned into a Pentecostal fire by the teachers of the truth who followed. This is further verified by the pagan druid history of the Star of Bethlehem and of the darkness on the day of Christ’s crucifixion. Some think the Magi themselves might have been druid astrologers and kings who knew by the signs that something was amiss.

The way me children embraced that Gospel Light made me proud enough to bust. Druids and kings who sought truth and light gave up their wealth and prestige to become servants of the one God. No other country in the history of the world produced more missionaries than me own fair land. And if I might say so, ’tis meself whom man credits today for saving civilization when the rest of the earth sank into the dark age of the barbarians.

Now the tale I’m fixin’ to tell is about the comin’ of God’s Word to the hills and vales of
tuatha
Gleannmara. The spark of the gospel kindled there burns this very day in the hearts of its children, despite the tribulations of corruption and invasion spawned by the prince of darkness his own self.

Make yourself comfortable and read the story of Rowan, whose heart is as noble as it is brave, and of Maire (that’s MOY-ruh), the pagan warrior queen who found love in his arms.

NOTE: Now for them what has neither the eye nor the tongue of a Gael, take a gander at the glossary in the back for more on a few o’ the names, places, customs, and legends referred to in me story. Here’s hopin’ ye take a likin’ to it all.

ONE

G
rowling with battle fury, Rowan of Emrys wrenched his sword from the rib cage of the tattooed barbarian. There was no time to study his vanquished foe’s sightless, staring eyes or dwell upon the carnage their brief encounter wrought upon his body. The heathens swarmed like angry hornets over the walls of the frontier guard post, stinging with primitive yet deadly weapons wielded with a skill that Rowan had to admire.

Beyond the pile of bodies that evidenced Rowan’s own training, one of his comrades now struggled, outnumbered two to one. As Rowan started to his aid, a hideous, otherworldly scream clawed through the air, plucking with icy fingers at the hair on his arms and raking up his spine. A spear of fire plunged into his back, spreading to sear the muscle of his well-developed torso, jerking him into an arch over it.

Blind with pain, he pulled himself together with sheer instinct and brought his blade around full circle, swinging at the source. It was then that he saw the shrieking banshee. Her hair was a wild tangle of lime; her painted face as grotesque and fierce as that of any man the mercenary had ever met on the field. No doubt the blood staining Rowan’s sword belonged to her mate. Yet it was not her wildness or her fierceness that made Rowan flinch. It was the sight of his sharp blade slicing into her middle—a middle swollen with child.

With wide eyes black as sin, she dropped her weapon and grabbed at her belly in disbelief. Bile rose to the back of Rowan’s throat at what had transpired before his very eyes, at
what he could no more stop than the battle raging around him. He—the most decorated and youngest captain of the border guard—was going to be sick. Sick at what he’d done, sick at the pain viciously gnawing its way through him.…

Rowan ap Emrys tossed on his bed, scattering the fine linens, but the bloody vision of battle and that of the last victim he’d struck down wouldn’t leave. Not yet. Nor would the pain that burned into the scar on his back.

The dream was so real. His stomach lurched to no avail, except to add to agony.

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