Book Tour & Author Guest Post: Hag of the Hills by J.T.T. Ryder

Welcome to my stop for the book tour of Hag of the Hills by J.T.T. Ryder ⚒ Today’s your last chance to get the ebook for free, so if you’d like to treat yourself to a new historical fantasy read, look no further! 😉

“Nothing is unconquerable; even our gods can die.”

All his life, Brennus has been destined for warriorhood. However, a farmer’s life doesn’t provide many opportunities for swordplay and glory, despite the Goddess of Winter’s gift of the Sight—the ability to see the sidhe of the Otherworld. But when the Hillmen kill his family and annihilate his clan, he knows the truth—no one can avenge his homeland but himself.

As he prepares to set out against the Hillmen and their Queen, the clan’s chief druid entrusts his daughter, Myrnna, to his protection, to which Brennus swears a solemn oath. As they fight toward the sanctuary of Dun Torrin, he must survive the endless hordes of Hillman and the monstrous sidhe while shielding Myrnna from harm, aided only by the Sight, a band of shifty mercenaries, and an ancient bronze sword.

As Brennus struggles through this new world of blood and magic, the tension between protecting Myrnna and avenging his homeland threatens to tear him apart. Failure means the curse of dishonour. Victory would bring glory to himself and his ancestors. But what if keeping both of his promises proves impossible?

In the words of his father…

“Nothing is unconquerable; even our gods can die.”

Hag of the Hills is the first book in The Bronze Sword Cycles duology, a heroic fantasy set in 200 B.C. on the Isle of Skye, steeped in Celtic mythology and culture.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The story takes place in 200 BC, as a result, attitudes toward various aspects of life may be drastically different than ours.
GENRE: Adult Historical Fantasy

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Black Dragon Books (UK)

From the Pen of J.T.T. Ryder

Guys, we have a legit archaeologist writing a book! My archaeology/history/folklore loving heart has been doing jumping jacks since I got the chance to chat with our guest 😍 and he’s got a lot to share with us, so I’m giving the floor to him to tell you all about it ❤️

Hag of the Hills takes place in the real world, that is, on the island of Skye in Scotland. The story is heavily based on archaeological, historical, and folkloric sources.

The idea of the story first came to me after my time in grad school in the UK, where I just completed my master of archaeology in the Celtic Iron Age of Britain. I travelled to Skye, because I had heard both the archaeology and landscape were fascinating.

On my first night of arrival, I found myself at a youth hostel in Broadford (literally from Old Norse: broad fjord, if you are into Vikings – the island was colonized by Vikings). At sunset, I sat outside the hostel with some pen and paper and found myself enthralled by the nearby mountain (called a hill in local colloquial). The reddish, barren hill both intimidated and awed me. I stared at it for quite some time, went back inside the hostel to retrieve a notebook, and penned a little poem that would ultimately become a brief description of the mountain from the prologue of the book.

While writing, I spotted the cairn (a heap of stones made by humans, usually for burials) that caps the mountain. I would later learn that the cairn has not been explored archaeologically, but it is likely Bronze Age. From where I sat, the cairn looked awfully like a woman throwing her hands up into the air. I thought to myself “hag of the hills”, because I knew that hags often lurked in the mountains in Scottish folk belief. Little did I realize that “Beinn Na Callieach” means “the hill of the Callieach”. The Callieach is not only the arch-hag, but the  Scottish goddess of winter! Local folklore credits the Callieach with creating Skye itself – defeated by Cuchulainn, she falls apart, and her body turns into natural features. Her spine, the mountains, for example.

Armed with this poetic prologue, I ventured back to some sword & sorcery stories I had written about a wandering hero some years back, and decided to infuse it with this new dynamic.

When figuring out the story and the direction I wanted to go as a writer, I asked “who am I?”, and realized that one of my strengths was my archaeological knowledge, and another was my love for myths and folklore. I decided to craft a story that not only drew heavily from archaeological, historical, folkloric, and mythological sources pertaining to the Celtic Iron Age, but also had these aspects guide the story. The plot, the characterizations, the themes – are all driven by these sources. I attempted to get into the mind of a 2nd century B.C Celtic warrior, and set the story in the landscape that fascinated me and demanded such a story.

About the Author

J.T.T 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.

Tour Schedule

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Published by Marie Sinadjan

Marie Sinadjan is an author, singer-songwriter and musical theatre actress from Cebu, Philippines. She’s always loved theatre and music, as well as trading stories, worldbuilding, and collaborative writing. She has co-written a novel, an urban fantasy based on Norse mythology, and even composed original songs for the series, and her short stories have been published in literary journals, magazines and anthologies. She mainly writes fantasy of the mythology, fairytales and folklore variety, serving them up in a wide range of flavors - like her favorite drink, coffee. She currently lives in the United Kingdom with her husband, where she’s starting to be active in the local theatre and music scene. She’s also working on a dystopian Ibong Adarna retelling as a nod to her roots, and a young adult fantasy inspired by bees.

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