|Cover art of Nemu by Ruth Bochte
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5 Angels! Kelley Heckart embraces romance,
battles, and fairies in Of Water and Dragons
that make this delightful story a precious
treasure to read. She instills a great plot,
intriguing dialogue and a well-rounded cast of
secondary characters that keep the story
flowing creatively and gives good meaning to
absence makes the heart grow fonder.
Reviewed by: Linda L. at Fallen Angel Reviews
Back cover text from Of Water and Dragons (Celtic Fantasy Romance)
They were destined to meet, but were they destined to be together?
“Of Water and Dragons” takes place on the mystical island of Britannia from the dark
enchanted lochs of Scotland to the grand bathhouses of Roman Britain.
The battle of Mons Graupius in AD 84 is one of the most profound battles in history
when the Romans, though greatly outnumbered, defeat the Celtic tribes of ancient
Scotland and furthered the expansion of the Roman Empire.
Here, in this untamed land the Romans call Caledonia, lives Nemu (Nay-Moo), a half-
human, half-water faery woman. Soon after the battle ends, she finds a wounded
Roman soldier named Ambiorix. Despite her distrust of humans, she takes him in and
heals his wounds. Though they are from different worlds, they are mysteriously drawn
to each other, but unforeseen forces keep them apart until their worlds collide in a
fury of fire, blood and darkness.
“Of Water and Dragons” weaves together the Roman history and Celtic lore of ancient
Britain to create an unforgettable story of love and sacrifice.
"The characters and the story have heavy Arthurian
overtones, but the plot does not play out like the
legends, or even the Badon Hill version of historical
Arthur. This does make for a surprising ending,
which is good, and lays the groundwork for future
novels following on from this one."
Reviewed by PaganNews.com
"The riveting novel is authentically set in ancient
Scotland and Britain. Conflict and cultural
differences affects their relationship adding
suspense, surprise, mythic, and historical fantasy to
a spellbinding plot...Real Celtic lore and Roman
history combined adds synergy to the exciting,
soul-stirring story about separation, conflict, love
Recommended and reviewed in The Mindquest
Review, by Lightword Publishing
THE FOLLOWING IS AN EXCERPT FROM OF WATER AND DRAGONS:
Ignoring the cold wet air that slapped painfully at his face, he urged the horse to go
faster through patches of woodland and over green pastures. The familiar clearing
came into view and with it the sickening sight of his house smoldering, gutted and
destroyed. His first thought was to call out for his wife, but the soldier in him bade him
to be silent in case renegade Celtic tribes were responsible for the destruction and
they were still nearby.
Movement behind the smoldering house caught his eye and he halted his horse,
motioning for Conare to do the same. The boy was unarmed and Ambiorix didn’t wish
to put him in danger.
“Stay here,” he instructed the boy. Pulling his sword from the sheath at his side, he
guided the horse through the trees, into the clearing and into the unknown.
It was much too quiet. Even the birds were silent. The pounding inside his head
roared along with the rapid beating of his heart. The remains of his ruined house still
smoldered from the ravaging fire. A light rain began to fall and the still hot embers
emitted a resounding hiss.
Ambiorix cautiously dismounted, scanning the area for any sign of people. He wanted
to call out for his wife, but hesitated, still not sure what had caused the fire. It was
possible the bathhouse caught on fire, as they were notorious for starting fires, but
something didn’t feel right to him. He prayed to the gods that Valeria made it out of
the house before it burned.
Near the burnt out ruins, he found the bodies of two Roman soldiers; their headless
bodies coated with white ash like the first dusting of winter snowfall. The evidence
confirmed his fears of an attack and an icy hand gripped his heart, squeezing the air
out of his lungs.
‘Where was Valeria?’ The thought echoed wildly inside his head.
He whirled around at the sudden sound of a snapping twig. His sword narrowly missed
taking off Fiona’s head. She didn’t seem to notice that she almost lost her head, her
eyes were wide with shock and she stumbled about as if drunk on spirits.
“Fiona, what happened?” He held on to her arm to keep her from falling down.
She shook her head, her long wet braid swinging from shoulder to shoulder, spraying
droplets of water. “Ah…Ah…they blended into the forest like f-faery f-folk.”
He took her by the shoulders, shaking her. “Where is Valeria?”
“Valeria?” Her eyes were wide, vacant.
“Where is my wife?” He tried to keep the anger out of his voice, but couldn’t help it.
“Ambiorix!” Taran appeared from around what was left of the house.
“How could this happen, Taran? Where are all the soldiers?”
“It happened just before dawn. I was in the stables. Most of the soldiers were called
away to a neighboring villa.” He paused, catching his breath. “I heard screams
coming from the house and then… flames. There was nothing I could do.”
Ambiorix felt his heart rise inside his chest, choking him. “Valeria?”
“I…I’m sorry. She didn’t make it out of the house.” Taran shifted his gaze, looking
down at the ground.
The world seemed to spin and the vision of the burnt, blackened house loomed before
him like a wide black maw. Behind him, Fiona started screaming.
“The poor babe! The poor babe all burned up, too!”
He lost all control. “Speak to me, woman! What babe? What are you talking about?”
He shook her hard and slapped her cheek, the loud crack piercing the thick mist and
Her eyes cleared and she looked up at him. “Why, your babe, sir. Valeria, she was
He turned away, his legs buckling beneath him, and was violently ill. Shaking, he
turned his face upward, letting the rain cleanse his invisible wounds. They had killed
his wife and unborn child, but it was the unborn child that reached out to him from the
smoldering ashes. He imagined the tiny fingers grasping onto his large, callused
hand. Cursing, he pounded the earth with his fist, the vision fading into a black abyss;
and with it any hope of peace.
copyright 2005 by Kelley Heckart
and preserved history. Although not meant to be
historically correct, it relies on the suspicions and
myths alive at the time. The mystic dragon and the
Druid abilities make this an interesting setting. The
characters are very well drawn, with some out of the
ordinary people mixed in. A colourful but harsh life
for most, although freedom wasn’t something most
people had. Slavery was rife and shown as
demeaning and something most fought to avoid. The
ceremonies and battle scenes are vividly brought to
life on the pages.
The author has tied the story in with well-known and
still not understood happenings in history. This tale
is filled with well-written prose, some great dialogue
and descriptions. The characters are well drawn and
true to the time frame. It also brought the land and
the tribal outlook to life in a new way as the historical
background rolled forward.
If you like unusual fantasy and can suspend belief for
a while, you will enjoy this trip back in time.
Reviewed by Pam
© Love Romances, 2001-2005. All Rights Reserved
4 Cups! This tales speaks of another time. A time
of faeries, soldiers, druids, and magic. Ms. Heckart
draws the reader into the pages and enchants
them with her words, making them believe for just a
little while that they too can call on dragons or
control armies. For the time it takes to read this
book, we just might have the power to control the
universe. Of Water and Dragons is a romance to
make you believe again.
Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance
Reviewer for Karen Find Out About New Books
"OF WATER AND DRAGONS is an inviting story.
Readers will like Nemu and Ambriorix. Themes of
destiny and fate are threaded throughout the book,
and the secondary characters add to these themes,
helping to neatly tie up the story. Yet for all the
coincidences that Ms. Heckart offers readers, there
are a few surprises...OF WATER AND DRAGONS is
a solid read; if you are interested in a story filled with
information about Celtic religion and Roman
history,...OF WATER AND DRAGONS is for you."
Reviewed by Nickole Yarbrough of Romance Reviews
Both Nemu and Ambiorix are well drawn out and I
cared a lot what happened to them, so much so I
had trouble putting this book down.
The ancient world they lived in is vivid and very
realistic. Their love story is a fascinating mix of
Roman history, Celtic lore, fantasy elements and a
strong desire for one another.
Reviewed by Romance Junkies Reviewer Michelle
The author spins a fine tale...The characters are
three-dimensional and easily captured my interest.
The plot weaves seamlessly through a complicated
time in history, taking advantage of ambiguities to
insert an otherworldly mystique. I truly enjoyed this
story and look forward to reading more from this
Reviewed by Debra Rodensky for Historical Novels Online
This story is rich in Celtic Lore. The author is a
master storyteller that weaves and binds you in her
spell of enchantment as you become engrossed in
this tale of love and sacrifice.
Reviewed by Qetesh at TCM Reviews
The story was good, the plot moved along fairly
quickly and was unique in both plot and delivery.
Reviewed by Astraea at Enchanted Ramblings
This is an incredibly well written book with a good
plot that moves along fast enough so you find
yourself having to keep reading.
Reviewed by Morgaine at The Pagan Review
Long before I was writing books, I played
bass guitar and wrote songs in an all female
hard rock band called Driven Steel. My roots
in writing started with this band. Metal
Maidens revisits the past with an interview
with Driven Steel. Click on the link below to
read this interview and to see pictures of
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