Friday, July 10, 2020

Check It Out: The Portolan

The Portolan by  Lauren Hall Ruddell
(Redoubtable #1)
Historical Fantasy

In the mid-1500s, the ‘witch craze’ was beginning to sweep across Europe. Hundreds of trials had already been conducted and hundreds of people executed for witchcraft in Germany, England, and Scotland by the year that the story begins, 1546 AD. Many thousands of more victims were to come in the following decades. Would Ireland soon succumb?

In The Portolan, the heroine, Gale Butler, begins her life journey as the pampered and well-educated daughter of a prosperous Galway merchant. She is a budding cartographer and sea-farer, joined in her early sailing adventures by her best friend and future pirate queen Granuaile (Grace/Grainne) O’Malley, of County Mayo.

Gale, aged 18, embarks on a series of journeys, only some of which are voluntary. She finds help and hindrance in unexpected ways and places. A druidic arts trained mentor, a mystical horse, and a troubled but skilled, honest, and handsome man at arms employed by the O’Flaherty clan assist her, while a seemingly impossible task is laid upon her by a fairy woman. Enemies abound and unseen evil begins to dog her heels, yet despite the plots and perils at hand, a romance begins to build and life-long friendships with some of the premier intellects and inventors of the age are forged.

Set in Western Ireland, the tale is a mix of historical fact, plausible fiction, and just a touch of mysticism. Ann Chambers meets Diana Gabaldon in this story of women who push against society's boundaries of religion, politics, and gender.

5 out of 5 fairies

The Portolan is an absolutely brilliant story that keeps you captivated from the start. I couldn't put it down. Full of magic and thrills, you'll find yourself transported back to the 1500s. If you love Outlander you'll want to grab this book for yourself.

Where to buy: Amazon

Add to your TBR list: Goodreads

About the Author: Lauren Hall Ruddell became interested in animals of all kinds as a child at the San Diego Zoo. Many family members were longtime zoo employees and so it was natural for her to be at the zoo before, during, and after zoo hours most summer days. As a teen she became very involved in horses and hiking. She was able to combine these two passions with a B.A. in Parks and Recreation Management and a minor in zoology. While studying for this degree she worked in the children’s zoo section of the San Diego Zoo as a keeper and educator. After several years as an endangered species biologist and environmental planner in California, she relocated to the Colorado Rockies.

Now, many years later after receiving a Ph.D. degree in Parks, Recreation and Tourism with a specialty in wildlife management, conservation is still a driving passion, along with international travel.

Every year or two, she goes to Ireland to work with the Old Irish Goat Society and to hone her writing skills in the solitude of a wild Atlantic way retreat. She just finished her debut historical fiction novel that takes place in that same area.

She personally answers all fan mail sent to
The Portolan
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A Small Matter of Ethics (Book One of the Peony Creek Murder Mysteries) on Amazon

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