Set in a time and era in which very little reliable written records or archeological remains have survived, Mark Noce bases his novel on primary sources such as St. Gildas (a Welsh cleric of the era), mythology from the Welsh Mabinogion, and Arthurian literature from Malory to T.H. White. Although the characters and some of the place names are fictional, the physical environment, the historical details, and the saga of the Welsh people is real. Queen Branwen finds her world once again turned upside down as Pictish raiders harry the shores of her kingdom. Rallying her people once more, she must face her most dangerous foe yet, the Queen of the Piets. Ruthless and cunning, the Pictish Queen turns the Welsh against each other in a bloody civil war, and Branwen must attempt to stop her before her country threatens to tear itself apart. All the while Branwen is heavy with child, and finds her young son's footsteps dogged by a mysterious assassin. Branwen must somehow defeat the Piets and save her people before the Pictish Queen and a mysterious assassin threaten to destroy their lives from the inside out. Reminiscent of classics like The Mists of Avalon and A Game of Thrones, and newer popular titles like Hild, this continuation of Branwen's story combines elements of mystery and romance with Noce's gift for storytelling.
MARK NOCE writes historical fiction with a passion, including the Queen Branwen series (Between Two Fires, Dark Winds Rising). Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, he has been an avid traveler and backpacker. He earned his BA and MA from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, where he also met his beautiful wife. By day, he works as a Technical Writer, having spent much of his career at places like Google and Facebook. He also writes short fiction online. When not reading or writing, he's probably listening to U2, sailing his dad's boat, or gardening with his family.