My Five Favorite Folktales and Legends of Brittany from Robin LaFevers

Guest Post: My Five Favorite Folktales and Legends of Brittany

When I was casting about, looking for the perfect setting for the HIs Fair Assassin books, I stumbled across this land called Brittany. The more I read of its turbulent history, the more I became convinced it was the perfect setting for my books. Then, when I learned of some of the country’s legends and folktales, I knew I’d absolutely found the place where I would tell my story. Here are five of my favorites. Some of you will no doubt recognize bits and pieces of these legends that I’ve played with a bit and then incorporated them into mythology of His Fair Assassin!

The Passage l’Enfer

This legend tells of fishermen who received a knock on their door at midnight and were required row the souls of the dead across the ocean at night. When they stepped into their boats, their hulls rode low in the water, as if filled with some heavy invisible cargo. On the return trip, the boats were light and buoyant again, as if they had disgorged their loads.

The Nine Druidess Priestesses

Ancient sources refer to an island which housed the last of the nine druid priestesses who were said to have supernatural powers, such as seeing into the future or calling down the weather. The island on which they were said to live is the very island I placed the convent of Saint Mortain. Careful readers will note that the convent had nine nuns who instructed the novitiates.

Conomor the Cursed

Conomor was an early ruler in Brittany, known for his dark, violent reputation. He takes a young wife, who resists but is ultimately swayed by threats to her family. Under his roof, she stumbles upon the room where he keeps his previous dead wives. With the help of the wives’ ghosts, she learns of his murderous intent and manages to escape.

Churchly Prescience

There is another legend that says that on a certain saint’s feast day, if you stand in the back of the church at just the right moment, you can look out among the congregation and see a faint ghostly light glowing around all those who will die in the coming year.

The Ankou

In Brittany, the Ankou is a figure of personified death. He is known to pull the bone cart down the rutted roads at night. Those snuggled warm in their cottages can hear the rattle of the wheels and know that death is coming. Some sources believe him to be a Celtic version of the god of death, while others claim he is a remnant of an earlier death goddess. Some say it isn’t a he at all, but a she.

My Five Favorite Folktales and Legends of Brittany from Robin LaFevers

Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers

Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on November 4, 2014
Genres: Fantasy & Magic, Young Adult
Pages: 464
Also by this author: Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin, #1)

In the powerful conclusion to Robin LaFever's New York Times bestselling His Fair Assassins trilogy, Annith has watched her gifted sisters at the convent come and go, carrying out their dark dealings in the name of St. Mortain, patiently awaiting her own turn to serve Death. But her worst fears are realized when she discovers she is being groomed by the abbess as a Seeress, to be forever sequestered in the rock and stone womb of the convent. Feeling sorely betrayed, Annith decides to strike out on her own.   She has spent her whole life training to be an assassin. Just because the convent has changed its mind, doesn’t mean she has.




Annith has watched her gifted sisters at the convent come and go, carrying out their dark dealings in the name of St. Mortain, patiently awaiting her own turn to serve Death. But her worst fears are realized when she discovers she is being groomed by the abbess as a Seeress, to be forever sequestered in the rock and stone womb of the convent. Feeling sorely betrayed, Annith decides to strike out on her own. [br]

She has spent her whole life training to be an assassin. Just because the convent has changed its mind doesn’t mean she has…

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About Robin LaFevers

Robin LaFevers was raised on a steady diet of fairy tales, Bulfinch’s mythology, and 19th century poetry. It is not surprising she grew up to be a hopeless romantic.

Though she has never trained as an assassin or joined a convent, she did attend Catholic school for three years, which instilled in her a deep fascination with sacred rituals and the concept of the Divine. She has been on a search for answers to life’s mysteries ever since.

While many of those answers still elude her, she was lucky enough to find her one true love, and is living happily ever after with him in the foothills of southern California.

In addition to writing about teen assassin nuns in medieval Brittany, she writes books for middle grade readers, including the Theodosia books and the Nathaniel Fludd, Beastologist series. You can learn more about those books at www.rllafevers.com.

Where you can find Robin:

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Giveaway Details:

(1) One winner will receive a rustic arrow necklace, a leather bound notebook and a hardcover of MORTAL HEART! US Only.

 

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