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on 16 October 2011
When Women Were Warriors. Book 1. The Warriors Path by Catherine M Wilson

Book one of this wonderful trilogy begins the story of a would be warrior, sixteen year old Tamras, as she leaves behind her childhood and her mother Tamnet's house, to enter the house of her mother's best friend, the Lady Merin.

On her arrival, Tamras is disappointed to find that she has been assigned to be the companion of an outsider, Maara. Not to learn to be a warrior right away as she had thought. When Maara is seriously injured, Tamras nurses her back to health again when others had given her up for dead. A bond between them begins to form.

When the time comes for Tamras to become an apprentice warrior, she chooses to remain with Maara, even though the lead warrior, Vintel had specifically asked for Tamras as her apprentice. This does not please Vintel.

The other women of the house are wary of Maara and don't trust her. The Lady Merin herself has her doubts as to Maara's loyalty and asks for Tamras to spy on her.

Will Maara prove trustworthy? Will Tamras agree to spy for Lady Merin?

This book was a total surprise to me. I had the book for a long while before I read it. Then only at the recommendation of a friend. I'm only sorry it took me so long to get around to reading it. The story is written in such a way, that I'd finished it before I realized it was coming to an end and immediately wanted to read more.

The story is told entirely from Tamras's point of view. I loved her way of telling tales from the old days, beginning with, `In ancient days when only women were warriors......' This made parts of the book read like a lovely fairy story. Really delightful. A story not entirely of bloodshed and battles as I had expected. But of a young girl becoming a woman in ancient times. All the trials and tribulations of growing up and experiencing physical love for the first time.

An extremely well written excellent beginning to the trilogy. I love the characters and the way they interact with one another. The scenic settings make it easy to lose ones self in and to imagine being a part of the story as only a talented writer can do.

When Women Were Warriors Book 11 A Journey Of The Heart

This second book in the trilogy follows Tamras as she begins another part of her journey into adulthood. Tamras is apprenticed to Maara and learning to be a warrior. Her best friend Sparrow is now apprenticed to Vintel.

Tamras and Sparrow are lovers, but Tamras has reservations and is wary, as Vintel is hers and Maara's enemy.

When Tamnet, Tamras's mother comes to visit her, Tamras learns that Lady Merin intends to adopt her and make Tamras her heir. When Vintel finds out about this, both Tamras's and Maara's lives are in mortal danger.

When Lady Merin falls ill and Tamras nurses her back to health, Vintel made sure vile rumours were spread around regarding Lady Merin's alleged relationship with Tamras.

Vintel lures Maara's away from the house and then imprisons Tamras. But Tamras has friends and they help her to escape. Tamras catches up with Maara and together they manage to over power the warriors keeping Maara captive and they go on the run.

Maara and Tamras travel far from Lady Merin's house and hide in a forest. They received help from the people of the forest and lived amongst them while deciding what they should do next and when to do it.

As time passed, Tamras realized she had fallen in love with Maara. But did Maara feel the same? Will Tamras and Maara be found by Vintel? Will they survive?

This second book followed right on from where the first one left off. It is a continuation as to be expected in the journey Tamras's life is taking into adulthood. The story is every bit as captivating and intriguing as the first in the series. It left me full of excitement and anticipation for the next instalment.

When Women Were Warriors Book 111 A Hero's Tale

The last book in the trilogy begins where the second book left off with Tamras and Maara still in exile from Lady Merin's house.

At the end of the winter, Tamras and Maara decide to begin the journey back to Lady Merin's house. They know that they must return to put right all the wrongs that Vintel has caused.
Unfortunately on their journey, Tamras and Maara are taken prisoner by people from the north. Maara manages to negotiate for Tamras to be released, therefore putting her own life in the hands of an old enemy, Elen.

Tamras decides to follow Maara's trail which leads towards Elen's house, where she is certain Maara is going to be returned to.

This decision is the turning point for everyone. The house of Lady Merin, The Northerners, The house of Elen and all people along the way. This decision leads to Tamras proving her worth as a leader. But how does Tamras find Maara? Will their love survive? Battles are fought and won, but who is the victor? Will Tamras ever return to take up her rightful place as the adopted daughter of Lady Merin?

This is an enchanting, captivating, excellently written trilogy of books that I simply could not put down until I'd finished them all. I tried to read them slowly to savor them, but alas, my Kindle got red hot from turning the pages so quickly. But I am going to read them again, slowly this time.

The whole trilogy is told from Tamras's point of view and is based on her life and her family, friends and enemies and her adventures along the way. We see her grow from an uncertain sixteen year old companion to the outsider Maara, to her apprenticeship with Maara and her eventual leadership status.

These books are a true delight to read. Page after page was feverishly turned in my quest to take the journey through life with Tamras.

There is something for everyone in these books. Excitement, adventure, love, betrayal, battles, survival, compassion just to name but some of the things you will find along the way.
This trilogy would be brilliant made into a film or TV series. The story and scenery would be a delight on screen.

If you are looking for something to really get your teeth into for the winter, look no further. I wholeheartedly and unreservedly recommend this series.
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on 17 February 2012
I have been putting off writing this review because I wanted to do the novel justice by wording this just right. However,after finishing the entire trilogy in less than two weeks just under a month ago I am still so sad at having finished it and there are certain parts of the book which I seem to recall whilst going about my daily business. It is obviously, for me, an inspiring piece of work, so I decided to stop hesitating and just write what I thought about it.

This entire trilogy was breathtaking.

The characters are exquisitely well written, I especially loved how Sparrow was written. The pace is just right (although there are times where the main character slips into story-telling in order to get a across a point or a moral which I could have done without at certain points) and the entire trilogy was very thought provoking for me. There are quite a few twists which I honestly did not see coming so you are kept on your toes throughout.
I really enjoyed the idea of a world where women were once warriors and the historical accuracy Wilson seems to provide is brilliant, the story is, in a way, very convincing.

I honestly can't praise this trilogy enough. I especially enjoyed the final book and was truly sad to have to leave the characters and the world they live in. I really do think it would be perfect for a film or tv series.

If you want a story of courage, passion, love, sex, betrayal and honesty which has certain historical/fantastical ties to it give this a go. I can guarantee you won't be disappointed!

I only wish there were similar works like this out there!!
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on 1 January 2012
The final book in the trilogy is every bit as strong as the first two. This is most definitely not the kind of trilogy where the whole story gradually fizzles out towards the end! It did however have a very slightly different tone and feeling to the other two books, mostly because this time Tamras was not in the safety of Merin's house. There is much more action in this final book as it builds to a climax with an emotionally charged battle scene. Emotions which were felt strongly in the first two books are only heightened in this final book where good periods of time are spent with Tamras alone and we wait with suspense to see if she will be reunited with Maara.

The final battle scenes were very cleverly put together and made you really think. I'm not normally one for fight scenes whether they be in books or movies, but this was written intelligently with real heart which drew me in anyway. So much so that I ended up missing all the New Year celebrations in favour of spending a good 4 or 5 hours curled up in bed until 3am to get to the end - i just couldn't put this book down!

Now i'm a little lost if i have to be honest, as I already miss jumping into Tamras' world and following her adventures, it's a bit like waking up from the most amazing dream. It's not very often that a book can have such an impact on me. I strongly recommend anyone to read this!
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What Catherine M. Wilson describes in "When Women Were Warriors" is a society that may or may not have existed. A matriarchal society is a society where women rule and inheritance goes through women. "A Hero's Tale" is supposed to be set in Great Britain ca. 1000 BCE (late Bronze Age). In fact a bronze knife holds a pivotal role in "A Hero's Tale".

For the average person (as we see with the forest people) tools and weapons would have been largely made of stone/flint (such as arrow heads and spear heads). Warriors would have invested in bronze swords and bronze arrow/spear heads although most would probably not have been as fancy as this sword. More nerdy stuff below.

Ms. Wilson keeps on stringing words together in a manner that creates music in my head.

I have had three teachers in my life that have taught in the manner Maara seems to teach Tamras. Two were in school and one has been in my personal life. The relationship of teacher/student - master/apprentice is a tricky one. An apprentice wants to become as proficient as the master and excellent masters want their students to learn as much as it is possible for the masters to teach. Maara has an ability to impart her knowledge without holding anything back yet pacing her delivery to fit Tamras learning speed. I guess you could say Tamras is the ideal student. She wants to understand and acquire whatever skills Maara sees fit to share. To do that Tamras needs to learn to think for herself. Perhaps that is the most important lesson Maara shares with Tamras.

Tamras' ability to see past the surface of people and things is not a talent she got from Maara, rather it was one Maara helped Tamras unfold. Seeing beneath the surface of herself was more difficult and at one point in "A Hero's Tale" Tamras' lost herself to appearances. Losing ourselves to the Abyss is a point a great many of us end up at one or more times in our lives. Finding our way out can seem beyond our abilities. Tamras did not even know if she wanted to find her way out. Some people end up letting the Abyss take them. Tamras did not. Her coming back was a choice that was aided by others. Many times in our lives that is the way it is for us. We need others to guide us back from the edge or the canyon and on to safe ground again.

Tamras learns a great deal about Virtel and her past and this opens up for an understanding of Virtel's actions. The baggage we bring with us from our childhood is incredibly difficult to set down and rearrange. At least it has been for me. All through my life I have had to take that backpack off my back and rearrange its contents to make it more comfortable. I keep on adding to it and removing contents. Virtel has not yet reached that point in her life. Perhaps the meeting between her and Tamras at the pass will turn out to be one of Virtel's learning moments. I hope so.

Elen's canyon kingdom reminded me of some of Norway's inaccessible places. This setting has to be somewhere in Scotland. Not knowing the British Isles all that well, I do not know where you would find such a difficult to access valley. With only a thin footpath from the hills into the valley and a dangerous water-way out it would seem to be a defensible place. If only it had been wide enough to have farms to keep the community alive during a siege things might have turned out differently for Tamras and Maara.

Elen is an interesting character. She seems to be stunningly beautiful. Enough so that men and women are distracted from their own goals. In addition, Elen seems to have some kind of ability to hypnotize or influence people's thoughts so that her goals become theirs. A trance-like state seems to be what all who oppose her end up in. I imagine that would be a handy tool.

As with Elen's ability other paranormal/supernatural abilities in people are present in "When Women Were Warriors". These talents are for the most part just an increase in various talents that people generally have. Tamras' ability to understand others seems to be one such boosted talent. She has always had it. During the story Tamras seems to become more aware of having it, but it does not seem as if the talent is anything she has much control over. I cannot tell if Elen's ability is something Elen controls or if it is just a talent that she uses because it happens to be part of her.

Tamras manner of dealing with Elen is interesting. Alas, I cannot share it here. But it is fascinating to watch all the same.

Ms. Wilson brought her characters and areas alive for me. I do not see strings of words in pictures in my head but as sound. Why that is, I do not know nor do I care. But I care very much about having experienced the music of "When Women Were Warriors". "The Warrior's Path" is on permanent free offer.

[...]
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on 15 July 2013
These three books are wonderful. Beautifully written and full of life's truths. I thought I'd read everything worth reading but this trio of books has proved me wrong. All women will gain insight from these books - insight into their relationships with their mothers, sisters, friends and lovers and how all of these relationships interact. But on a more superficial level, they are simply a great read! All three are page turners that will keep you reading well into the night! I'm almost at the end of book III and don't want to finish! I will bereft without them!
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on 15 April 2015
Oh what a read ! Such incredible writing. The whole trilogy somehow captures you in the times of the story. I couldn't put the book/s down and this one - the third and of course the ending, is literally superb. The story of this young girl has laughter, tension, sadness, excitement, gentleness, and total absorption. I felt as if I was really there. I could hear the sounds of campfire chatter, I could see the countryside, I could feel the emotion, and I could sense the excitement. I found parts of it very thought provoking. Would I re-read it all ? YES I would at some other time.
This is a trilogy like no other. It is set at the time of hill forts, it is set in a time when tribes were scattered all over Britain. BUT it carries you along. You simply cannot let go until the final end. HIGHLY recommended.
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on 25 February 2015
I do not have the literary skills to do justice to how this trilogy has made me think and feel. I am just so very glad that it was written and that I read it. My only wish would be that I found it earlier in my life. A truly wondrous journey. Thank you
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on 31 January 2013
From the first book I was completely hooked. Brilliantly written characters who you want to run along the page with. You wish you knew them and were a part of their world. I'm not normally a fantasy fan but I absolutely loved all three of these books.
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on 11 November 2014
If you are looking for a real hearty story, then this trilogy is a must. Everything about this story and the journey the reader is taken on is very well thought about and written. I love nothing more than to be taken away to another place when I read and I assure you that the author will take you on a journey that you will not forget. The characters are individually strong - especially Mara. The scenes are descriptive and beautiful and whatever the writer felt when she realised this story, I assure you will feel it too.
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on 28 December 2015
I downloaded the first of the three books, I admit, just because it was free. I am so glad I did. What a beautifully written trilogy. I was hooked from beginning to end. I loved the way that women's relationships with each other, in every dimension, were so richly described. I've long been a fan of scifi/fantasy type fiction and it was refreshing to read a book with some strong female heroes. I'm not going to write any more because I want to head off and start reading them all again. Enjoy.
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