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Authors: Linda Windsor

Deirdre

P
RAISE FOR
L
INDA
W
INDSOR’S
H
ISTORICAL
N
OVELS

D
EIRDRE

“Linda Windsor is one of the finest inspirational historical novelists out there today.
Deirdre
shines on all levels: story, writing, historicity, and message.”

L
ISA
E. S
AMSON
, B
ESTSELLING AUTHOR OF
T
HE
C
HURCH
L
ADIES

“Linda Windsor takes her Irish saga series to a whole new level in
Deirdre.
I stayed up half the night with this exciting tale of love and adventure that explores the true love between God and man as well. Not since
Redeeming Love
has such a tale come along!”

C
OLLEEN
C
OBLE
,
AUTHOR OF
W
HERE THE
H
EART
L
EADS

R
IONA

“Linda Windsor deftly weaves a tapestry of Irish myth and legend with the glory of knowing Christ, creating a masterpiece of medieval fiction.
Riona
is more than a novel, it’s an experience—a journey to a faraway time and place where honor and faith are lived out amid the clamor of swords. a glorious read!”

L
IZ
C
URTIS
H
IGGS
,
BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF
B
AD
G
IRLS OF THE
B
IBLE

“With a lyrical voice worthy of the Isle of Erin, Linda Windsor’s
Riona
is a wonderful novel, peopled with memorable characters who will lay claim to your heart. I believe I could see the green hills and feel the kiss of mist upon my cheeks with every page I read.”

R
OBIN
L
EE
H
ATCHER
, C
HRISTY
A
WARD
-
WINNING AUTHOR OF
R
IBBON OF
Y
EARS

M
AIRE

Linda Windsor provides readers with a lush Celtic saga sure to touch their spiritual soul with a promise of love both secular and religious.
Maire
is a breakout book sure to find its way to many a bestseller and reader’s keeper lists, creating a whole new sub-genre where a Windsor book is going to be the classic standard to achieve.”

R
OMANCING THE
C
ELTIC
S
OUL

“Linda Windsor’s talent for creating a faraway land and time is flawless.”

R
OMANTIC
T
IMES
MAGAZINE

“A captivating fictional chronicle of Christianity’s dawn in Ireland. Remarkable for its appeal as both a historical saga and inspirational novel
Maire
achieves success that few other books can boast.”

S
UITE
101.com

“This enthralling tale reveals God’s miraculous power at work and how His love conquers all. The thrilling finale will bring chills—as well as the assurance of God’s incredible omnipresence. A definite page-turner.”

I
NSPIRATIONAL
R
OMANCE
R
EVIEWS

“Maire
is an exciting work of historical fiction that brings to life the Celtic heritage mindful of the great Beowulf. The current story line is exciting and fast-paced, while centering on the conflict between Christianity and Druidism. Readers will want to read this tale even as they impatiently await the sixth-century (
Riona
) and seventh-century (
Deirdre
) novels.”

M
IDWEST
R
EVIEWER’S
C
HOICE

“Ms. Windsor’s writing is creative and informative to say the least. She captures the reader with her characters’ wit and charm, keeping them enthralled until the very last word.”

R
OMANCE
R
EVIEWS
T
ODAY

“An exciting fictional tale of love, faith, and war … The plot is smooth from start to finish and holds the reader enraptured, unable to put the book down.”

B
OOK
B
ROWSER

N
OVELS BY
L
INDA
W
INDSOR

Along Came Jones
(Spring 2003)
It Had to Be You
Not Exactly Eden
Hi Honey, I’m Home
T
HE
F
IRES OF
G
LEANNMARA
S
ERIES
Maire
Riona
Deirdre

Dedication

To my friends and
anmcharas:
Connie Rinehart, my stalwart critic who would accept nothing but my best writing, no matter how much I complained; Sue Coleburn, my champion and a true queen of hearts; my editors Karen Ball and Julee Schwarzburg, as well as the entire Multnomah staff, all who worked as a team to make
Deirdre
shine on the shelves for God’s glory. May He keep you ever in the palm of His hand as I keep you in my heart.

Dear readers,
In an effort to maintain historical accuracy, I’ve used several terms or mentioned historical figures that may be unfamiliar to you. You will find these explained in the glossary at the end of the story.

Speaking of the glossary, the earthy speech with which I have Erin present the foreword, the glossary, and the bibliography is not reflective of the educated Irish, either by past standards or those of today. It is intended to effect the earthy speech of an old storyteller, or
seanchus
, and is reminiscent of that which filtered down through my grandmother from her grandmother, an uneducated mother of eleven. This lady supported her children as a laundress, surviving three husbands. I am proud to claim her as an ancestor. Like those who fled to Ireland in the dark ages of Western Europe, she was a brave, devout, and honest soul who came to America with a dream: building a better life for her children.

Linda Windsor

A FOREWORD FROM ME HEART TO YOURS …

D
ear
anmcharas
, ’tis a sheer delight to chew the proverbial fat with ye again as I look back at yet another time dear to me heart in the annals o’ my children: the seventh century o’ me Golden Age. Ah, what days those were. Me saints looked eastward, where their British kin held fast to the cross against the flood tide o’ Anglo-Saxon heathens. Driven into the hills o’ north and west Albion (the Scotland and Wales o’ today’s Great Britain), the Christian Romano-Britons bitterly struggled to muster and reclaim their lost land for Christ by the sword …

But no sword, no matter how worthy its cause, could unify them like the Word o’ God.

And so it is in this tale that, armed with this holy sword, Gleannmara’s Irish and Scottish Dalraidi cousins sally forth to Albion to clear the way for the salvation of Albion’s barbarian conquerers. They take with them a message that, instead o’ takin’ the edge off their weapons, softens the hearts behind them until there is no desire for the use o’ steel or spillin’ o’ blood. Faith, the likes o’ magic and miracle bring back stirrin’ memories o’ me own fifth century, when Christ first entered the hearts o’ me dear offspring. In a wink o’ the good Lord’s eye, the Britons—most of whom were educated upon Erin or Scotia Minor’s (Scotland’s) shores—are caught up in the fight for souls.

The biggest threat, dear hearts, came from within. Me Celtic children, separated a century and a half from Rome and the church growin’ elsewhere in the world, enjoyed a spontaneous faith unencumbered by ritual and organization. ’Twas inevitable that the Celtic church and the Roman one would clash. Mind ye, I’m not takin’ a stand for one or the other, for both have withstood the test o’ time. Sure, one man’s meal is but a morsel to another. But Rome, ascribing to their interpretation of Peter and Paul’s vision, had built cathedrals and set into place rituals and decorum appropriate to the royal promise of
Christ’s heritage, while me children lived in earthly example o’ the Savior Himself and Saint John.

Fittingly enough, the clash was settled in a prayerful and peaceful debate among these saints in the Synod of Whitby. Oddly enough, ’twas decided by a Northumbrian king, who, at least in the service of his tongue, was a Christian. Let’s just say, Oswald didn’t want to offend God, just in case He was more powerful than the pagan gods Oswald hadn’t quite dismissed. Besides, he was gettin’ on in years and startin’ to fret about what lay beyond death.

Oswald ruled for the Roman Church after hearing one of Jesus’ metaphors—the one where Christ intimates that Peter, upon whom the church of Rome was founded, had the keys to heaven. Now, friends, this was a time when images or metaphors carried more weight in winning pagan souls than talk o’ the Spirit. Even Christ Himself used stories to reach the common multitudes. And so Oswald decided if he wanted into heaven after his death, this Peter was the man at heaven’s gate with the keys, not Saint John.

Thus began a controversy that centuries later divided the Christian church—the conclusion o’ which I leave to the good Lord to lay upon yer hearts, for men far more faithful and learned than meself have never satisfied all, much to the sufferin’ o’ many innocent souls.

But I say all this to paint a picture o’ the world at the time o’ me story, and of the Irish Celtic and Roman saints who united despite their differences to save Albion’s lost souls and abolish the sellin’ of captives into slavery. This is the century o’ me darlin’ Deirdre, the strong-willed yet faithful princess of Gleannmara, and her captor, Alric, a pagan pirate prince who knows she’s the key to an earthly kingdom denied him by his illegitimate birth. But what he knows not is she is the means to an eternal kingdom as well. And the key, dear hearts? Why, ’tis love.

May it bless ye, each and every one.

(
Oh, and don’t be forgettin’ the glossary/reference in the back for help with names and terms strange to yer tongue, as well as tidbits of interest to them with a Celtic heart.)

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