Hag of the Hills
The Bronze Sword Cycles Book 1
by J.T.T. Ryder
Genre: Historical Fantasy
“Nothing is unconquerable; even our gods can die.”
Brennus is destined from birth to become a warrior, despite his farmer’s life. But when the Hillmen kill his family and annihilate his clan, he now has the opportunity to avenge those who he loved.
Brennus must survive endless hordes of invading Hillmen and magic-wielding sidhe, aided by only a band of shifty mercenaries, and an ancient bronze sword.
Failure means his family and clan go unavenged. Victory will bring glory to Brennus and his ancestors.
Hag of the Hills is a heroic fantasy novel set in 200 B.C. on the Isle of Skye, steeped in Celtic mythology and culture.
Let the god of wordsmithing drape me with his cloak and light our night with his inspiration. I will tell you, my dearest Luceo, the tale of how I came to sit next to you at this fire, far from our homeland, after the so-called queen Slighan and her Hillmen tore it asunder. May you always recount my words at anyone’s beckoning. You are a budding bard, and your skill will wilt if your attention wanes.
A bronze sword strapped to my side, my feet caked in wet sand, the cold air on my warm face. I rode the world that day, down the strand against the Hillmen, and many crumpled before me. Even if you were to betray me, dearest Luceo, and wrought a lie from this tale, none could deny I struck true with my sword and spear that day.
In the span between Lughnasa and Samhain I had been a different man. In the grey tomb, I buried my soiled clothes, and the darkness of the tomb birthed a new man on a young day, out of the clothes and bronze and glory of my long dead ancestor.
My name is Vidav, but it had not always been so. Let it be known to all that one must rip himself from himself to form anew. Even still, as the new man walks, parts of the old one shadows him. Past features of him remain in me, just like the features of my father live on in my face, even if he is dead.
I bear bronze, a new soul, and both a gift and a curse. The latter is the ability to see the sidhe – the beings from Otherworld that often lurk in ours. This has brought both misery and glory upon me, ever since the hag had lured me into the hills.
Now I shall tell you how I first scaled the Slighan Hill, and why I would ever agree to the conditions the hag had offered me. I do not regret my choice. It has brought me men, a sword to kill my enemies, and honour back to my name. To attain that honour, I waded through briars of torment, deceit, and anguish. I saw what no mortal man should ever see, and all the gods above and below, and the sidhe that inhabit every glade, glen and grove, and every malign sidhe that inhabits every wind, snow and bog, could not 2 have inflicted worse upon me. Yet I trudge on, through this thorny path, and I will free Skye from this foreign tyranny.
Now I shall start from the beginning, my dear Luceo, before I had killed myself. 3
The Lion of Skye
The Bronze Sword Cycles Book 2
There can only be one lion of Skye.
Vidav thought he was finally living a life of glory—the warrior’s path he dreamed of as a farmer. However, when his brother, Fennigus, reveals himself as the enemy queen’s champion, it becomes anything but.
Vidav must defeat his brother in order to fulfil his oath to kill the Queen of the Hillmen.
If he does not fulfil his oath, his clan will be unavenged, and the Isle of Skye will remain under enemy rule.
If he does fulfil his oath, his brother may die.
In the end, which will win—honour or family?
Even worse, a dragon has been flying over Skye…
The Lion of Skye is the epic conclusion to the Bronze Sword Cycles duology, a historical fantasy adventure set in 200 B.C. on the Isle of Skye, steeped in Celtic mythology and culture.
Tomb of the Blue Demons
The Bronze Sword Cycles Prequel
The Druid Ambicatos embarks on a journey of intrigue that quickly turns into war, when he arrives in war-torn Italia, under siege by the Carthaginians.
While the war rages, Ambicatos falls for a mystery woman some call the Sorceress, who claims she has discovered the sight, the power of the Underworld.
Ambicatos must fight friend and foe alike in this epic novella, a prequel to Hag of the Hills, the Bronze Sword Cycles duology.
This novella is part of Celtic historical fantasy series The Bronze Sword Cycles, set in 200 BC.
Joseph Thomas Thor Ryder is an archaeologist and author of the heroic fantasy novel HAG OF THE HILLS, book 1 of THE BRONZE SWORD CYCLES duology. He is a published author of Viking archaeology, and a doctoral candidate specializing in the Viking Age and Celtic Iron Age. He resides in Norway where he conducts archaeological research and writes heroic fantasy set in historical periods.