is Arthur's man. His duty is his life.
She fears and mistrusts him.
The only way they will
survive is to work together.
Diana by the
Historical Romance. Paperback.
Now available at Hard Shell Word Factory
(Click on cover image to buy the book)
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Finalist in the Emma Darcy Award
Romantic Times Top Pick
Reviews. Outline. Excerpt.
Interesting related links &
"The Crystal Cave meets
Gone with The Wind" ... Casting the
Diana by the Moon is a fast-paced emotional story that will warm your
heart and fire your blood. Gripping characters and descriptive writing makes
this a book that you will want to read all over again. Diana is a strong, yet
emotionally scarred woman who is so unwavering in her hatred for Celts that she
fails to see the damage such feelings can cause. Alaric has an equally damaging
abhorrence for Romans that he must learn to control. Together they find the
healing and love needed to bring their people and themselves peace. This
reviewer had trouble putting this book down and found myself with tears in my
eyes. A wonderfully gifted writer, Ms. Cooper-Posey has found a new fan
in this reviewer. This is a highly recommended read!
Kathi, for Fallen
Diana By the Moon is a riveting, incredibly
gripping and spell binding novel of suspense, drama and romance. It is a well
written story with characters the reader cannot help but adore. The emotion that
flows from the characters enters the readerís heart.
The book is carefully researched and contains an amazing amount
of detail to the time period. The author has penned a delightful tale that is
never boring and flows smoothly. Diana By the Moon is one book
this reviewer will never get rid of. Very
highly recommended and definitely a must read for historical romance lovers. Ms
Cooper-Posey truly deserves this 5 rose rating in this not-to-be-missed romance.
This reviewer looks forward to reading more from this author.
Penny, for Love
Tracy Cooper-Posey has put a bit of a different twist to the Arthurian
legend. This tale takes place before the Knights of the Round Table existed and
tells of how Arthur began to control the Kingdom of Britain by battling the
Saxons. Even though Arthur is not present in this story until the very end of
it, he is very much felt by Verusí and Alaricís loyalty to him. This is
rather a story of Diana and Alaric, a Roman and a Celt and how they came to see
each other as a man and woman. DIANA BY THE MOON gives us a look into the
society of the times, with Celts and Romans despising each other. If you have an
interest in Arthurian lore, DIANA BY THE MOON is a must.
Cooper-Posey captures not only romance of the times but the romance between the
hero and heroine in a compelling and wonderful drama. What makes this book a
good read is that the author has breathed such life into her characters. Unlike
most classic romances, the protagonists are not portrayed in 'ideal' terms. What
comes across most strongly is the internal beauty and integrity of the
characters. Nor are they struck by lightning attraction when they meet. The
romance blossoms slowly and naturally, in a most believable way. As an
historian, I can attest that the historical background and ongoing story is
quite plausible and well constructed. The reader gets a tangible feel for the
kinds of issues and hardships facing the people of the time, without it
overshadowing the main drama or the romance."
5 Stars! ~ Jenny Brassel for Sharpwriter.com
Alaricís deep sense of honor and goodness that makes this sensitive tale so
DIANA BY THE MOON is an Arthurian story with a twist; readers wonít meet
Arthur until close to the end. His presence is felt, most particularly by
Alaricís dedication to what Arthur stands for, and Alaricís wish to convey
his leaderís goodness to Diana. While there are several important secondary
characters, this is Diana and Alaricís story. Itís a beautifully written
novel with a distinctly different plot than most Arthurian books. Although
itís more an adventure than a romance, DIANA BY THE MOON contains one of the
most sensitively written, sensuous love scenes Iíve read in a long while.
I highly recommend DIANA BY THE MOON. Itís well researched with two very
strong and appealing lead characters.
Jani Brooks for
Diana by the Moon is more a historical romance than a fantasy. Britain's mixed cultural heritage, and the inevitable conflict,
add color to this tale of fear and passion. Diana and Alaric are both haunted by memories of violent loss. Somehow, they must
overcome their antagonism and work together for Arthur's ideal: a united, well-defended Britain. This book presents a modern tale
of passion against a historical backdrop of battle, honor, and chivalry. Ms. Cooper-Posey has a deft touch.
Jeanette Cottrell for eBook Reviews Weekly
I adored it. It was truly an excellent book. I loved this story. The
characters are all convincing, the setting is real, and the conflict between
cultures is sharp and unrelenting. The love story between Alaric, captain of
Arthurís new army, and Diana proud Roman, is well done and compelling. The
story is believable, the ending satisfactory, and I would recommend it to
Jenny, for LouiseBrown.net
This is a well-written story set in an untraditional time..this is a very good
read. -- 4 stars. Reviewed by Sam for Timeless
"Read in one sitting with no inclination to take a break from it."
-- Emma Darcy, author of over 80 romances.
Diana by the Moon easily ranks as one of the best historical romances I have
read this year. Tracy Cooper-Posey deftly blends historical detail with
heart-touching romance, a beautifully rendered plot and compelling characters
that will haunt you for days after you read the last page. Highly recommended
for lovers of historical romance." --
Lee Padgett, for The BookNook and Compuserve Romance Reviews
Very highly recommended! "Fans of Tracy Cooper-Posey's diverse
and unique work will be delighted to read her newest release, Diana by the Moon.
With the consummate skill readers have come to expect, Cooper-Posey presents a
memorable tale of a woman's evolution.
Tracy Cooper-Posey has a remarkable narrative voice that lends itself
perfectly to whatever genre she chooses. In her romantic tale Eyes of a
Stranger, her voice was smooth, silky with an underlying sensuality that
bordered on decadence. Her Sherlock Holmes tale is almost appropriately British
in tone; that is, very proper, logically articulate, and methodical.
With this marvelous tale she perfectly captures the strength of her
incredible heroine in prose which is distinctive, sharp, crisp and yet
powerfully feminine. This reviewer can hardly wait to see what genre this
talented author tackles next; indeed, it seems nothing is beyond her pen's
capacity." -- Cindy Penn for Wordweaving
Back to Top
Diana -- a fiery kitten of a Roman woman, who hides a terrible
past, and struggles to lead her people on a desparate quest for survival against
famine and Saxon raids, unable to trust anyone.
Alaric -- proud Celtic warrior and trusted lieutenant to the upstart British
leader, Arthur, who must overcome his hatred of Romans if he is to fulfill
Arthur's ambitions in the north.
A haunting tale of two lives touched by the coming of King Arthur, and two
hearts & souls struggling to come together against odds as great as those
against Britain itself.
Only together will they survive, or else be sundered...forever.
Back to Top
Britain, early winter 469
"NO SON of mine fights with that Celtic bastard who dares
to call himself Pendragon!"
Diana hunched in her dark corner of the dining room,
pulled her legs up on the divan, and tucked her tunic hem beneath them. She made
herself small and unnoticeable.
Verus, her brother, stood squarely in front of his
father, and shook his head. "Youíre not listening to me!"
Diana had heard this cry from her brother before, but
never had it been moróe true than now. Their father had taken one look at
Verusí square shield and long sword, and his warriorís clothingóutterly
devoid of anything Romanóand Marcellus Aurelius had decided in that instant
that Verus was wrong, and this Arthur that he spoke of so highly was a heathen
Verus should save his breath.
Because the argument would end as it always did, with
her father refusing to listen and Verus stomping off to cool his temper at the
spring, Diana took the opportunity to let her eyes feast on Verus before he
stalked from the room. She wanted to confirm that he was really here, alive,
óoh! So different!
This was not the boy who had played with her, taught
her to read, and shared everything with her. This was a man who had seen things
she had not. His strange clothes and weapons, even the way he spoke, hinted at
exotic worlds and ways that made Diana feel abandoned. She envied him his
freedom. She would gladly pay the price he was paying to share it, but that
would never be.
Verus shook his dark head, and Diana watched,
fascinated, as he visibly hauled in his anger. War had changed him, tempered his
spirit. He wouldnítíve been able to do that last winter.
"Father, if you could only speak to the man, and
learn of his plans for Britainó"
"By what authority does he claim ascendancy over
Rome?" her father roared back.
"By the fact that the last Legion left Britain
over fifty years ago. Gods aboveó"
The oath caused Dianaís mother, Ursula, still sitting
at the dinner table, to gasp. Her kohl-emphasized eyes widened. Diana, too, was
startled. Had Verus turned away from Christianity, as well? Mother would forgive
him of all but that sin.
But Verus seemed unaware of his motherís distress.
His gaze remained upon his father. It was as if Verus were trying to persuade
Marcellus with the power of his gaze. Verus spoke quietly, but the intensity of
his tone worked as effectively as a shout.
"We are on our own here! They arenít coming
back. When will you accept that?"
Diana flinched back ever further. Her fatherís face
was as red as turned leaves, and two white lines ran from each corner of his
mouth up past his nose. She could see a pulse beating at the corner of his
throat, where the skin had begun to loosen and wrinkle.
Possibly alerted by some small noise Diana made, her
mother swiveled and reached across the corner of the table to pinch Dianaís
arm. The little sting made Diana jump.
"You! Go and get some wine! Make yourself useful
at the very least, girl."
Diana stood quickly, straightening the folds of her
tunic, and sidled past Ursula. If she didnít obey at once, a slap would
quickly follow the pinch.
Once out of range of her motherís quick hands, Diana
moved slowly towards the door, delaying her exit for as long as possible. She
did not want to miss anything.
Her father recovered from his indignation, and drew in
a long breath as she passed behind him. Diana tried to catch Verusí eye,
intending to give him an encouraging smile, but Verus was concentrating on her
Disappointed, Diana slipped out of the room. Behind
her, her father began: "You are saying I should accept that a man with
questionable parentage knows more about ruling Britain than Rome, who has
administered Britain for generationsó"
Diana regretfully shut the door, turning her fatherís
words to an indecipherable mumble behind the heavy oak. She wanted to hear more
about Arthur, but if she left the door open, the cold air wafting into the
heated room would betray her eavesdropping, and her mother would not settle for
a simple slap for such a transgression.
Shivering, Diana hurried down the covered verandah past
the open doorway of the kitchen to the larder next door. She glanced out past
the row of elegant columns edging the colonnade towards the gates of the villa.
It had grown fully dark since the evening meal had begun. From the stillness of
the villa, Diana judged that after escaping the dining room when her father had
first lost his temper, the household had prudently decided to retire for the
It meant that she would have to climb to the upper
shelves to get the wine herself. It was a dangerous stretch for someone her
The larder, like the dining room and her parentís
bedchamber, had a proper door on it. She slid the copper bolt aside and slipped
inside the room, then paused while her eyes became accustomed to the dark.
Moving by feel alone, she stepped onto the bottom shelf, pulled herself up by
gripping the third shelf, and groped along the top until her fingers found a
Wary of the passing time, she hurried back to the
dining room with the wine, and pushed the door open just enough to step inside,
holding her breath.
Verus was gone, and her father stood with one hand
pressed against the wall, his head down and eyes closed. Her mother was sitting
very still, her eyes on her husband. Wariness showed in her eyes, and a
tiredness that not even her finely applied kohl and ochre could hide. All her
faded beauty had fled.
Diana felt her heart pick up speed, feeding on the air
in the room. She moved to the table, silent except for the whispering slide of
her tunic hem across the mosaics, and handed her mother the wine.
"Pour it," her mother commanded, barely
moving her lips.
Her heart sank a little. Her plan to escape from the
room quickly died. She fumbled at the wax around the stopper, then paused to
pull out her knife and cut it away. The uneven blade, worn into odd curves from
too many sharpenings, slipped and cut her other hand. Diana muffled her cry of
pain, and bit down on the wound to stop it bleeding.
"Heavenly father...will you hurry?" her
mother said in an undertone, shooting a fearful glance at Marcellus.
Her motherís whispered words stirred her father.
Diana sensed him walk over to his couch and sit down heavily. He pushed his
goblet toward her, the metal scraping impatiently on the stone table top.
Finally the wax fell from the stopper. Diana worked it
out of the neck using her left hand for she did not dare let her blood spill on
the table. The flask was heavy for one hand. As she poured, wine spilled over
the rim of the goblet and spread across the table, jewel red in the light of the
oil lamp. Her father leapt to his feet.
"Idiot!" he roared. His arm swung.
Diana threw herself backwards but was too late. Her
fatherís big hand caught the corner of her jaw and sent her sprawling across
the mosaics, her hip and elbow taking the brunt of the impact.
"If you were any less useless, girl, I would have
sold you as a slave years ago. Get out of my sight!"
Diana blinked her eyes, trying to clear her head, then
rolled quickly onto her back before her stillness could be interpreted as
Her mother was finishing the pouring, but she looked up
to sharply motion her head towards the door. "Go!" it meant. Diana
rose to her feet and hurried out of the room, careful not to let the door slam.
MINNA WAS sitting up waiting for her. Diana saw the pale disc of
her little sisterís face hovering above the high bed in the far corner of the
room. From the closer bed came quiet steady breathing. Her younger brothers,
Marcus and Titus, were asleep. They were too young to let the tensions of the
night bar their slumber. Diana envied them that.
"I had to put them to bed," Minna whispered.
There was little kindness in her tone, for this was one of Dianaís tasks.
"Thank you," Diana murmured. When she spoke
her jaw ached, but her hip and right arm were throbbing sharply, blanketing the
ache. She could feel a minor stinging on the palms of her hands, too. She must
have scraped them when she fell.
Her acknowledgment had disconcerted Minna, for she was
silent. She crossed the room to her chest, opened it, and fingered the few
garments in there.
"Is Father letting Verus return to that
army?" Minnaís voice was a little louder.
"I donít know." Diana felt warm thick wool,
grasped the fabric, and pulled out her cloak.
"I wager he doesnít. Did you see how angry he
was?" Minnaís voice rose with her excitement.
Dianaís hip protested hotly as she twisted to grasp
the other side of her cloak and draw it around her. "I noticed."
"Youíre going out again?" Minna bounced up.
"Yes." Diana tried to think of something to
ease the abruptness of her reply, but couldnít. She needed to talk to Verus,
and that was all her tired mind could concentrate on.
"Where? Can I come too?"
"No, Iím going to find Verus."
"Heíll be at the spring as always. Let me come!
Please? I want to find out what Father was shouting at him."
"Itís dark out. Time for young ladies to be in
"Iím ten years old! Iím not afraid of the
"Well, you should be."
"Itís winter. Saxons canít cross the sea in
winter, they get seasick. Everyone knows that." Minna was derisive. "Please
let me come with you."
"God above, no! Itís not just Saxons." She
didnít explain her sharpness, but her mind skipped ahead. On Michaelmas, two
months ago, a woman from a neighboring estate had set out for Eboracum in the
morning. Her body had been found five days later in the Arbus. Although no one
would tell Diana the full story, she suspected from the way women shook their
heads and crossed themselves that the murdered woman had been interfered with,
in the way men took women.
Diana had only to imagine Minna being caught by some
desperate outlaw, his hands pawing her body while terror shadowed her perfectly
formed face, to know that she could not risk Minna being outside the walls of
the villa at night.
"Iím sorry." Diana said, softening her
tone. Her eyes were adjusted to the dark, now. The full moon blazing through the
uncovered doorway revealed the disappointment on Minnaís angelic face. The bow
of her mouth dropped down, and her enormous eyes seemed on the verge of tears.
Even her skin had lost its glow. It was this sorrowful expression of hers that
made Diana feel like the most hateful person on earth. Used in counterpoint to a
rapturous smile made a personís breath catch, Minna could generally change the
mind of the most determined adult, including their father.
Remember this, Diana tightened her resolve.
"Itís too dangerous." She kissed Minnaís forehead. "Iíll
tell you everything tomorrow. Including what father told Verus."
"If itís so dangerous, why are you going?"
"Verus needs me." Diana tucked Minna back
under the blanket and patted her cheek, marveling as always at the softness of
the skin. "Goodnight."
"Goodnight." Minnaís eyes were already
When she left, Diana pulled the curtain over the
doorway to keep in the warmth.
VERUS WAS so still that even in the moonlight he was merely a
dark stone monolith hunched next to the spring. Diana felt a tinge of relief
when she spotted him, for it was indeed chancy to be outside protective walls at
She climbed the slope with the hem of her tunic over
one arm, for the grass was dew-soaked. When she reached the spring Verus visibly
relaxed. Above the trickle of water falling over the flat rock she heard his
sword slide back into its scabbard.
"You shouldnít be out here." He was gruff.
"Neither should you." She sat next to him,
and hugged him, her arm not quite reaching around his shoulders. The silence was
comfortable. From the trees that started further down the hill an owl hooted.
Verus sighed deeply. "Iím going back,
"No! You canít!" The protest was out before
she could censor it. She straightened and turned to look at him. "I canít
believe Father gave his blessing!"
"And youíre going anyway?"
He hung his head.
"But what about us? Your family?" Diana
"Who is this man Arthur, that can command greater
loyalty than your own family?"
"Itís not like tható"
"Heís a Celt, a bastard, a pagan who...
"Heís a great man, Diana. His plans for
"Heís an upstart!"
"Youíre not listening to me!" Verus cried.
Dianaís protests scattered. He was right. "All I
know is that heís taking you away from me."
"Donít say that! I can stand Motherís tears
and Fatherís censure. I can withstand everyoneís disapproval bar
Diana couldnít speak around the constriction in her
throatóit was too painful to even swallow. Her vision blurred as tears formed
and she let them fall.
"Ahó" His tone was dismayed. He pulled her
roughly against him.
Diana winced as her arm twinged.
"What is it?" Verus loosened his hold.
"Your arm?" He pulled her cloak aside. "Did Father hit you
"I fell getting the wine down tonight," Diana
lied. When Verusí fingers continued to probe her arm she added: "Truly,
it is nothing. A bruise." She wiped her tears away to see if Verus believed
His face was studiously blank but anger grew there.
"And Mother said nothing?"
"She didnít see me fall."
"Fall? Stars above! Nothing has changed,
has it? I suppose Lucilla still ignores you, too?"
Diana defended her older sister. "You know sheís
busy with her own children."
"I know that sheís the oldest daughter and every
other daughter is considered a waste, but Minna is Fatherís favoriteóno,
everyoneís favoriteóand you get ignored. Iím going to speak to
"No!" Diana grasped his arm. "Please
"Itís high time something was done. They
should have found a husband for you seven years ago. Youíre
"Twenty-one." Diana was unwilling to have
unnecessary years added to her already advanced age.
"Twenty-one. How long are you willing to creep
around the estate, hoping no one notices you?"
"What else is there for me?" Diana asked
reasonably. "Father has his one daughter. Iím extra, a waste. They
canít marry me off without a dowry, not at my age. Minnaís lucky. With her
looks there will be men aplenty willing to marry her when sheís of age. The
only alternative for me is the convent north of Eboracum...and I would suffocate
there." She smiled to remove the challenge from her words. "What else
Verus sat for a long time, frowning. At last he said
slowly: "There must be something." His frown deepened. "I
have learned something from Arthurís army, Diana. If Britain is to survive, we
must examine the old ways of doing things with new eyes. That is what you must
do, too. You need to find your place in the world."
"This is my place."
"Do you believe that? In hereó?" and he
touched the center of her chest.
She frowned. In her mind a mist shifted, revealing hazy
shapes. It was exciting, a hint of an unsuspected future. It was terrifying,
too. She struggled to see the whole shape of the idea as it slipped away. Then
it was gone.
"There is nothing else for me. I am content with
my place." But even as she spoke, she questioned the opinion. The very act
of questioning established customs scared herólike an act of rebellion.
"Tell me about Arthur," she said quickly.
Verus smiled as if he recognized that she was
shepherding his attention away from her. "What do you want to know?"
"I want to know why you must defy your father,
leave your family, and risk traveling in winter to join him."
"Traveling isnít that risky, yet. Winter is late
this year. But I need to go back very soon. Before winter does arrive."
"Before Christmas?" Diana asked, appalled.
"Sooner. Perhaps even tomorrow."
"But you just got here three days ago!"
"I know already that Father will never accept my
plans. Besides, Arthur needs every man he can get."
"Explain it to me!" Diana cried, feeling
fresh tears building. "I want to know why. Why you?"
"Itís not just me, itís many men. Hundreds of
men have learned about Arthurís plans and agree with them. Even here, on the
estate, the men Iíve spoken to have been curious, interested..."
"Arthur gives men hope in the future. Itís as if
he knows, somehow, what is coming. As if he can see further ahead than any man,
and he is determined to make what he sees happen."
Verus stood up, as if his enthusiasm couldnít be
contained while he was sitting. He faced Diana, with one foot on the lip of the
spring, and spread his hands for emphasis as he spoke.
"Do you remember, years ago, when the farmers
wanted their tithes lessened? Remember they marched to the villa and Father
stood in front of them?"
"I remember." She had been frightened and had
hidden behind the oak tree to watch, unable to run away completely.
"Father stared the leader down. He just looked at
him, and the man gave up. Do you remember?"
"Arthur is like that, only ... ten times stronger.
When you look at him, you can feel your soul being drawn to him."
"He sounds evil."
"Heís good, Diana. You would know that
just by looking at him. Heís good and kind, but he will not rest until he has
achieved all that he can see in Britainís future." Verusí face was
alight with passion. When had he grown so tall? He was eye to eye with her
father, and his shoulders had filled out ... he was truly a man. No, he was a warrioróDiana
could even see a faded scar on his arm. It peeked beneath the folded-back edge
of the thick cloak he had tossed back over his shoulder. He was leaner, too, as
if he had spent a lot of time working hard and growing stronger.
Verus had run away last summeróMay it was, for they
had been completing the second plowing of the fallow fields. He had simply been
her big brother then, confused and frustrated. He had come back a different
person, alight from within, powered by an obsession with a man and a vague
She shook her head. "I donít understand,"
she confessed. "And I donít like it. It sounds foolish, Verus. An
ordinary man chases a vision and you follow blindly. He has offered you nothing
in return, no proof...how can you believe him?"
"There was no choice involved. I listened, and I
believed him. I wish you could do the same."
"I wish I could, too," Diana admitted.
"I wish I could run away with you."
Verus rested his hand on her shoulder in sympathy. He
reached under his cloak and withdrew something, which he held out to her.
It was his knife with the bronze and jeweled hilt.
Eboracus, the Bishop of Eboracum, had given him the knife upon his christening.
Diana had seen it in his hand at every meal she had ever shared with him.
"I want you to keep it, Diana. That little thing
of yours has long passed the time when it should have been replaced. This knife
has a good blade, and it is long enough to reach any vital organs."
Diana had reached out to take the knife, but recoiled
at his words, shocked.
Verus laughed. He picked up her hand and placed the
knife in it. "Keep it as a reminder of me, if you prefer, my gentle Diana.
And when you think of me, remember that I made you a promise." He
straightened up and put his hand on his chest, over his heart. "If you need
me, send word. I will come."
Diana weighed the knife in her hand. "Where you
are going, you will need every blade you have."
"The jeweled hilt gets in the way, and holding it
throughout a whole day of fighting..." He reached for his belt again, and
withdrew a long, heavy knife with a plain hilt. "This is a much better tool
for my needs."
Diana stared at it. "Where did you get it?"
"Spoils of war," Verus said off-handedly. His
casualness told her how much Verus had truly changed. He meant he had killed the
previous owner of the knife in combat. She swallowed.
Verus held out his hand. "Come, Iíll walk you
back to the villa."
"Where are you going?" She accepted his hand,
"Iím meeting some of the men tonight, to tell
them tales of my glorious life in Arthurís army. Bedivere the Great!" He
laughed, and started down the hill with her.
"Bedivere?" It was the Celtic rendering of
Verus. "You call yourself Bedivere, too?"
"It goes easier on most menís tongues," he
said with a shrug. "There are no benefits in being from a Roman family
there. Every man is equal."
"Equal?" Diana gave a startled snort of
laughter. It was another revolutionary idea, one that kept her occupied all the
way back to the villa.
THE SCREAMING woke her.
Diana lay blinking away sleep, listening, puzzled, when
the door curtain was thrown aside.
"Diana!" It was Lucillaís voice. Diana sat
"What is it?" she asked her sisterís
"Wake the children and bring them to the
Diana automatically reached for her cloak and girdle,
while her mind dealt with a thousand questions. The screaming was coming from
outside, and beneath the shrieks was a low heavy booming that filled her with
foreboding, even though she did not recognize it. She shook Minna.
"What is happening? Why are the women
screaming?" Diana asked Lucilla.
"Saxons!" Lucilla hissed, then spun away and
Coppery fear flooded Diana. Saxons! Here! She shook
Minna harder, her own body trembling violently. She knew, now, what the booming
The Saxons were ramming the gates to the villa.
As soon as Minna roused, Diana pulled her out of bed,
threw her cloak around her shoulders, scooped up Titan, the smallest, and pushed
him into Minnaís arms. Diana picked up Marcus, who snuggled sleepily on her
hip, then pushed Minna out of the room ahead of her.
Pre-dawn light filled the sky. By the stout villa
gates, short Roman sword in hand, Ambrosius stood with Lucilla. As Diana and
Minna hurried along the verandah to the dining room, Lucilla turned and ran for
the wing where she and Ambrosius and their boys lived.
Diana pushed open the heavy door and they moved inside.
Her father was standing at the main table, his arms up
in the air, while her mother buckled the fastenings of his grandfatherís old
legionnaire armor. At the sight of the polished chest plate, Diana felt dizzy.
Her father was too old to be fighting! Yet he had to fight.
Diana put Marcus on his feet and pushed him towards the
divan, where Minna curled up with Titan, and Lucillaís three boys. The little
boy ran over and climbed up with his siblings and nephews and sat watching, his
Ursula stepped back from her husband and picked up the
short sword from the table. Her eyes met Dianaís and Diana saw tears
glistening there. Ursula turned back to strap the sword around Marcellusí
"Hurry, woman!" her father hissed, his voice
Lucilla ran into the room, weeping.
Marcellusí jaw clenched. "No tears, daughter. We
are Romans. Have Verus and the others gone to defend the gate?"
"Oh, Father! Heís not here! Verus has gone and
so have nearly all the menóslaves, freedmen, even the farmers! Gone!"
"Sosia told meóthey left last night, theyíre
going to join the Pendragon. Ambrosius is out there alone. Father, weíre
Marcellusí face grew gray and mottled. "Gone?
Left us? All of them?" he whispered.
"Mama!" Minna wailed, reaching for Ursula,
who pulled her daughter into her arms. "Hush, child." Ursula looked to
her husband expectantly.
Alarmed Diana stepped closer. "Father?" she
whispered. She saw his lips working but no sound emerged.
Outside, the heavy pounding on the outer gates was
punctuated by sharp cracking and a strange tearing sound. Triumphant cries
"The gates have been breached," Lucilla
"Mother of God save us!" Ursula invoked.
Lucilla whirled and slammed the door shut. She pushed
the bolts home, weeping again.
Diana caught her fatherís hand. "Father?"
His hand suddenly clenched hers, mashing her fingers
together, and a rictus of pain contorted his face. His right hand grabbed at the
metal over his breast.
"Mother!" Diana cried out in warning as her
father began to fall.
Ursula pushed Minna aside and leapt to help Diana lower
Marcellus to the floor. His whole body was contorting with pain.
"The armor! Get it off!" Ursula ordered, and
Diana worked frantically on the old leather buckles, her fingers trembling and
Shockingly, the door to the dining room shuddered under
an almighty blow.
Ursula looked up, her eyes wide with fear.
"Lucilla!" Minna screamed.
Diana whirled around to Lucilla. Her sister had
Marcellusí sword and as Diana turned, Lucilla pushed the sword deep into her
body, and sagged to the floor. "I go to join Ambrosius," Lucilla
whispered weakly. "They will not reach me there."
Minna screamed again, a wordless cry of protest.
Another blow on the door dislodged the bolt, and the
door quivered aside. Diana leapt to her feet, and backed away from the doorway,
and away from the warriors with horned helmets that stood on the other side,
their bloody battle axes glinting in the rays of the rising sun.
They boiled into the room, dozens of them, and the
smell of hot blood came with them. The women and children, all that were alive
in the room, shrieked and fell back.
From between their ranks stepped the tallest of them
all, a huge man with a horned helmet and a dirty beard which curled over his
thick belt. He looked around, sizing the room up.
Diana looked to her mother, for it was Ursulaís place
to stand before their attackers, but her mother lay across her husbandís body,
her eyes glazed and empty. From beneath her glinted the handle of her
Diana held back her cry of dismay and horror. They had
deserted her and the younger onesóall of them had escaped and left her alone
to face her fate.
She glanced at Minna, who held Druscillaís two boys
and Titus and Marcus. They were shivering, watching her.
If Diana had ever doubted how insignificant her place
was in the familyóher place, and the place of those trusting children she
looked at nowóthen she doubted it no longer.
She barely hesitated. With a cry that sounded like an
animal in pain, a cry she would never have thought herself capable of sounding,
she spun and rushed at the Saxons. She had no idea what she intended.
The leader dealt with her with an ease that astonished
her. She was flung across the room to smash against the wall with a solidness
that stopped her breath, and made her groan. Knowing there was no other choice,
she turned and rushed back at him again.
He grabbed her arm, and she grew suddenly still as his
knife pushed against her throat. He laughed, showing foul teeth amidst the hairy
He spoke a badly accented Latin. "Peace, woman. I
donít want you dead yet. Thereís fun to be had first." And again he
roared with laughter, his men laughing with him. As he laughed, his glance took
in Minna and the boys, and his laugh grew louder.
Fear grabbed Dianaís throat, and clenched her
stomach. But cold reason whispered to her.
I am alive. Iím alive, and while I breathe still I
will do whatever I must to keep us all alive. I, Diana, swear this by
And from the corner of her eye she saw the old wall
fresco of the moon goddess, Diana, smiling upon her.
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I love this book. I love all my books, but Diana by the Moon sits up near
the top of the list. I can't explain why it has such a pull for me. It was the
first book where I managed to exactly capture the mood and emotion that I
wanted. All the elements worked together -- setting, character, plot -- it just
jelled, without fighting back. Diana and Alaric came alive...it was a joy to
This was the first book I wrote in my new country, Canada, and I wrote it
hunched over an old 486 PC on a tiny desk in a corner of the shoe-box sized
lounge with kids fighting behind me. We were dirt poor, on one income, and going
through the high-stress immigration process, but while I was writing the book,
all that disappeared.
And who said writers have a tough life?
I often get asked who I would cast in the movie of my book, if
it should ever come to pass, so just for fun:
Movie producer's pitch:
The Crystal Cave meets
Gone with The Wind
Where a conquered people come together to struggle for survival and find hope..
Holly Hunter (who is the perfect stature for Diana, too!)
David Wenham ("Faramir" from Lord of the Rings, The Return of
Don't agree with my picks? Can think of someone who's
Let me know! I'll add
your choices to this page, too!
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Love medieval & dark age romances? Then you'll love the costumes,
too. Check out Maid
Marian's for some great fantasy and medieval outfits!
Your one-stop for ebooks!
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