#GuestPost ~ Christina Courtenay #author of Promises of the Runes #BlogTour #HistoricalFiction @PiaCCourtenay @rararesources

It’s my pleasure to share a guest post from Christina Courtenay, author of Promises of the Runes, for the blog tour organised by Rachel’s Random Resources.

Promises of the Runes

PROMISES OF THE RUNES is the fifth book in my Viking Runes series, and follows the story of Ivar Thoresson, a 21st century archaeologist who travels back in time to 9th century Norway.

Content For Between the Lines - ShipHe is unlucky enough to be there at a very crucial time in history, when the many small kingdoms were about to be unified into the country it would later become. Back then, there were many kings or jarls (chieftains), sometimes allied to each other, sometimes at odds. One particular king rose to prominence during this era – we now call him Harald Fairhair, but his real name was Haraldr Hálfdanarsson. There is actually no real evidence for his nickname and it is possible that later generations got him confused with another Harald – Harald Hardraada (real name Haraldr Sigurðarsson). The stories about the first Harald were not written down until several centuries after his death, while Harald Hardraada is actually referred to as ‘Fairhair’ in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. He was apparently blond and handsome, so perhaps it fit him better? We’ll probably never know.

Either way, the King Harald who was active at the time of my story, was hellbent on taking over all the petty kingdoms and uniting them into one. He was quite ruthless and a formidable warrior, so he started to make a name for himself. Eventually, he had most of the western jarls on his side and under his control, while the south-eastern ones were opposed to him. This could only end in one way – a mighty battle. In this case, it took place at sea (which was quite unusual in Viking times), and it’s a real historical event called the Battle of Hafrsfjordr.

Content For Between the Lines - Sverd fjellNo one knows exactly in which year it was fought. In the town of Stavanger in Norway there is a monument called SVERD I FJELL, a sculpture featuring three enormous Viking swords made of bronze and stuck into a rocky outcropping by the sea shore. I went to see it when I visited the country a couple of years ago and it was awe-inspiring. The three swords are 10 meters tall so I felt very small standing next to them. Officially, they celebrate this historic battle (Hafrsfjord is situated close to Stavanger) and the unification of Norway. For me personally, it symbolised everything the Vikings achieved, and their courage and fearlessness in going out to get what they wanted.

Most historians have dated the battle to 872 AD (although it could have been any time from 868 AD onwards), but I used a little bit of artistic licence and had it take place in 876 AD so that it would fit with my story. I wanted my hero Ivar to have to take part as it was such an epic event. And as a 21st century man, he would have very conflicted feelings about having to fight. Imagine travelling back in time, thinking you would just visit for a while and observe everything without really getting involved. That is Ivar’s intention at first, but of course he gets sucked into the lives of the people he meets, he forms friendships and finds a love interest, and eventually he realises that he can’t merely be a bystander. He has to take sides and fight for what his friends believe is right, the way he would have done if there was a war in our century. Loyalty and love test his resolve and he has to make some difficult choices.

As authors, we like to put our characters through the wringer – both physically and emotionally – so I enjoyed writing about Ivar and his journey back in time. He learns a lot about himself, as well as about Vikings in general, and I hope my readers will enjoy following his adventures as much I did!

Thanks so much for this, Christina


He travelled through time to capture her heart.

Promises of the Runes LARGE originalThe amulet was still in the palm of his hand. Was it some sort of conduit to the past? The image of the anguished woman in his vision was seared into his mind. Perhaps it could help him find her?

Ivar Thoresson is desperate for adventure. As an archaeologist specialising in Viking times, he wants nothing more than to travel back to the ninth century as his loved ones have done, to learn everything he can about the era which fascinates him. And whilst his adopted family have always made him feel loved, the chance to meet a true ancestor, the warrior Thorald, is a temptation he cannot resist.

But while Ivar is preparing to go, he uncovers an amulet which shows him a vision of an arresting woman with red-gold hair. Clearly in distress, she is pleading for help. Convinced of the power of the charm and its message, Ivar’s journey takes on a new purpose. He steps back in time determined to follow his destiny – and find the woman who has called to his heart.

Purchase Links ~ Amazon UK / Amazon US


Promises Christina CourtenayChristina Courtenay writes historical romance, time slip and time travel stories, and lives in Herefordshire (near the Welsh border) in the UK. Although born in England, she has a Swedish mother and was brought up in Sweden – hence her abiding interest in the Vikings. Christina is a former chairman of the UK’s Romantic Novelists’ Association and has won several awards, including the RoNA for Best Historical Romantic Novel twice with Highland Storms (2012) and The Gilded Fan (2014) and the RNA Fantasy Romantic Novel of the year 2021 with Echoes of the Runes.  Promises of the Runes (time travel romance published by Headline Review 13th April 2023) is her latest novel. Christina is a keen amateur genealogist and loves history and archaeology (the armchair variety).

Social Media Links ~ Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

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