Guest Author - Asha Sahni
The book The Warrior Trainer, a historical romance by Gerri Russell, was passed on to me by a friend. The book was winner of the American Title Contest.
The Warrior Trainer tells the story of Scotia, a young Scottish woman whose role is to protect the Stone of Destiny. Scotia is a highly skilled warrior who trains those who come to her for instruction. She also has to contend with those who come to her to fight and challenge her authority, believing that, as a woman, she is not strong enough to beat them. Scotia comes from a long line of women who have learned and handed down - mother to daughter - the arts of fighting and war. Part of Scotia’s destiny is to ensure she continues this unbroken line through her own daughter. Yet whilst comfortable in her own skin as a warrior Scotia is less comfortable with the idea of motherhood. One of her students, Ian MacKinnon, starts to steal her heart in turbulent times when neither the hero or heroine know they will survive.
The book is based on the theory, still widely supported, that the Scottish people provided the English invader Edward I with a fake Stone of Destiny in 1296 and secretly kept the true Stone for themselves. Scotia and her people face the ongoing threat from The Four Horsemen (reminiscent of the Four Horsemen of the Apocolypse) who ravage the countryside, villages and people of Scotland in their attempts to find the Stone.
I found the book difficult to get in to. I would have liked more geographical and historical context earlier in the story to help me place the action. I also found myself distracted by language which inconsistently aimed at Scots dialogue. Americanisms gave me the occasional jolt, for instance a crucial scene where a child says “Mom”. However, once I accepted it as fiction without worrying too much about historical/linguistic accuracy I enjoyed the story.
The author says in her Afterword that the story mixes fact and fiction, explaining that she made the Stone in the story much smaller than it is in real life so it could be moved by one person. If you do read the book you may want to learn about the true historical story of the Stone of Destiny (also known as the Stone of Scone). The Stone has played a huge part in Scotland’s history.
If you are interested in purchasing a copy, you can find the book at amazon.com or amazon.co.uk - links below.