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Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Goodreads Giveaway - Nightfall till Daybreak

Enter to win one of three paperback copies of Nightfall till Daybreak in this Goodreads Giveaway!

A slave, a soldier and a king at war with his conscience...

Nightfall till Daybreak is a tale of duty, love and courage in Anglo-Saxon England.

It is the spring of 629 A.D. and the Kingdom of the East Angles is in turmoil. Ricberht the Usurper has killed the king and taken the throne - an act that will change the lives of three individuals forever.

The slave: Freya, red-haired and wild, meets an arrogant young man on the East Anglian shore. Days later, she finds herself torn from her old life and turned into a king's slave.

The soldier: Aidan of Connacht leads an army across the water to take the throne for his lord. It is a journey that will test more than his courage.

The king: Sigeberht, the exiled stepson of King Raedwald of the East Angles returns to Britannia for vengeance - but discovers that reckoning comes at a price.

In a world dominated by bloodshed and war, will any of them find peace?

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Nightfall till Daybreak by Jayne Castel

Nightfall till Daybreak

by Jayne Castel

Giveaway ends July 05, 2013.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

Thursday, 6 June 2013

BOOK LAUNCH: 'Nightfall till Daybreak' now available on Amazon Kindle

Wes hāl! Greetings! (in Old English).

My latest historical romance, Nightfall till Daybreak, is now available on Amazon Kindle - and the paperback will be also be available in a couple of days on Amazon!

This love-story is set in 629 A.D. in Anglo-Saxon England, and is Book #2 of the Kingdom of the East Angles series. These three books are set around the lives of actual East Anglian Kings: Raedwald, Sigeberht and Annan, and spans eight years, from 624-631 A.D. - at a time when the East Anglian kingdom's power was beginning to wane under the threat of Mercia.

Nightfall till Daybreak (which can be read as a standalone novel) takes place five years after the first story, Dark Under the Cover of Night. This story is centered around King Raedwald's stepson, Sigeberht, who returns to Britannia from exile in Gaul to take back the East Anglia throne for the Wuffinga family. This is the tale of Freya and Aidan, a slave and a warrior, and of the king who rules their fates.

Although the lovers: Freya and Aidan are purely figments of my imagination (even if I'd like to think they really did exist), many characters within this novel are based on real historical figures. All of the following 'real people' play an important role in the novel: King Sigeberht; his co-ruler, Ecgric; the monks, Felix of Burgundy and Botulf of Iken; Sigeberht's step-cousin Annan; and the bloodthirsty Mercian King, Penda.

Of course, in the name of telling a good story I have stretched a few facts, embellished events and shortened timelines. Botulf set up his monastery at Iken a few decades later than in this story and Sigeberht actually ruled from 629-634 A.D; but for the purposes of my tale I pack his six-year reign into one eventful year.  

Nightfall till Daybreak is based around Sigeberht's actual life; in fact it was his story that gave me my first inspiration for this novel. The lovers came later - it was Sigeberht who initially caught my attention.

Sigeberht gets a mention in Dark Under the Cover of Night, the first novel in my Kingdom of the East Angles series. He was King Raedwald's stepson, who the king had exiled to Gaul when Sigeberht was still a youth, fearing that the young man might try to claim the throne over one of Raedwald's own sons. Sigeberht lived in Gaul for many years. Nightfall till Daybreak begins after the murder of Sigeberht's step-brother, Eorpwald, the current King of the East Angles. The 'usurper', Ricberht, had taken the throne and Sigeberht sailed across the water to Britannia, to take it back for his family.

Sigeberht killed Ricberht, took back Rendlaesham and was crowned. However, Sigeberht's new life did not sit well with him. In Gaul, he had dedicated himself to religious studies and he eventually left Rendlaesham to set up a monastery and Beodricesworth (now Bury St. Edmunds). He left a relatively unknown individual - Ecgric - to rule in his stead. Sigeberht eventually abdicated, took his vows and dedicated himself to teaching young boys how to read and write Latin - but, unfortunately, he could not throw aside his responsibilities so easily. When the Mercians, led by King Penda, attacked East Anglia, Sigeberht was dragged from his monastery and onto the battlefield. He refused to bear arms and went into battle carrying only a staff. The rest, as they say, is history...

Many years later, Sigeberht was sainted. His feast day is on 29 October.

In all my novels set in the Anglo-Saxon period, I enjoy using actual historical events and figures to drive the story forward. Although these are romances, with the love story as the enduring theme, there is something exciting about reliving (or rewriting) history. This period of British history is shadowy and not particularly well documented. The main source for this period came from Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English People, which was not completed until the 730s, and was written from a religious perspective - however I found this lack of detail freeing rather than constricting. The fate of the lovers, Freya and Aidan, is intertwined with Sigeberht's. Freya is his slave and Aidan is one of his most trusted retainers. Sigeberht's choices directly affect them; either driving Freya and Aidan apart or bringing them together.

Find out more about this story by clicking on the cover image below, or visit my website:

Book #2 Kingdom of the East Angles

Book #1 - Kingdom of the East Angles

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Coming soon! Book launch in 4 days...

The next book in the Kingdom of the East Angles series, Nightfall till Daybreak, will be available on Amazon Kindle on 7 June 2013. This novel takes place four years after Dark Under the Cover of Night (Book #1), but can be read as a standalone.

 During the research of this novel, I discovered the following fascinating facts about Anglo-Saxon England.

Did you know that...

  • in Anglo-Saxon England, the main meal of the day was usually at midday. Most meals consisted of pottage - an unappetizing vegetable stew that was most likely cooked for hours in a pot over the fire pit.
  • only noblemen could afford swords, and only freemen were allowed to carry a spear
  • the shield wall was a purely Anglo-Saxon method of warfare, and not used in continental Europe
  • Winterfylleth - Winter Full Moon - was the Anglo-Saxon equivalent of Halloween. Folk would burn great bonfires and leave their doorways open to allow the dead to enter. Torches would be placed in doorways, guiding in the good spirits and deterring the evil ones. They would leave jugs of milk, mead or wine, and a offerings of food, on their hearths. Winterfylleth signaled the beginning of Blotmonath, Blood month. The day after the first winter full moon, folk would perform rites to Hela, the Underworld Goddess who raised the dead - and the day after that Woden - the father of the gods - would ride his eight-legged horse through the mortal world
  • Winterfylleth heralded the coming of winter but Beltaine celebrated the spring. Beltaine was a yearly fertility festival dedicated to Bel - god of light, fire and the sun. Folk would sing and dance around the Beltaine bonfire, and would burn the Wicker Man, a giant effigy made from wicker and straw, upon it. Beltaine was the eve of life, fertility and joining, and as such, many couples would go 'green gowning' - running off into the woods to make love.
Nightfall till Daybreak is a tale of duty, love and courage in a world dominated by war.

Find out more on about the story here.