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When Women Were Warriors Book I : The…

When Women Were Warriors Book I : The Warrior's Path

by Catherine M. Wilson

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I enjoyed this; the characters are nicely defined, the settings evocative and consistent, and the story keeps moving. I enjoyed it so much I bought the two sequels. Catherine M. Wilson is an assured writer who should be picked up by mainstream publishers. Well done. ( )
  deckla | Jul 4, 2018 |
When I started this book I did not think I would like it, the first few pages seemed somehow out of sorts, however I persisted and was glad I did. The author has a wonderful way with words that completely dispels cliche. It reminded me of Clan of the Cave Bear but with more of an intimate relationship between the story and the reader. You can truly disappear into this book and I am looking forward to reading the rest in the series. ( )
  KatiaMDavis | Dec 19, 2017 |
This is a beautifully written book and, whilst I enjoyed reading it, I do not think I am really qualified to judge it. It is a book totally about women, about their lives, their loves, their friendship and their loyalties. I will read the other books in the trilogy at some point because I admire Catherine Wilson's skill as a storyteller. ( )
  johnwbeha | Sep 28, 2017 |
Really loved this series. Complex, thoughtful, sweet, adventurous, lyrical; full of emotion and history, love and spirit. I immediately bought the sequel.

When Women Were Warriors is a trilogy, but it reads as one book split into three volumes, (down to the chapters, which start at 1 in book one and continue sequentially through book three.) Yes, there are plot arcs in each volume, but the story of Tamras and Maara continues over the course of the entire series.

There was little chance that I would not love this series. Here are some of the things it had that I love to read about:
* Neolithic/pre-Celtic historical setting (with, granted, some fantastical/mythological elements included)
* A location that feels like the ancient British Isles, although it might be somewhere else - or even a fantasy world
* Strong female characters, and lots of them
* Intense relationships between women, both romantic and otherwise
* Matrilineal culture/society, with women in positions of power and leadership
* Seasonal cultural cycles and holidays
* Wise women, shamanic journeying, sacred groves, goddesses
* Storytelling, and epic tales
* Travel and living off the land

Given that I love to read about exactly the kind of setting the author created, it's no surprise I liked the series. But I also got enjoyed the story and found it to be well-written. It is a coming-of-age novel depicting young Tamras growing into her own, learning what she loves and values and standing by it with a fierce loyalty.

One thing that really stood out to me about these volumes was the the thoughtfulness of Tamras and other characters who were reflective after moments of conflict or learning that helped them take the next step. This isn't often modeled in our modern society, but it resonates with my personal style, so I loved seeing it.


At the opening of the volumes, Tamras is a young woman heading out to be fostered and trained as a warrior at the house of the Lady who is the leader of her people. Tamras is assigned to be an assistant to Maara, a warrior who comes from outside their lands, who isn't too keen on the the idea of having an assistant. Tamras has to navigate a new world, friendship and strangers, and unexpected political and alliance pressures, all while she learns and gains skills and comes into her own.

The Warrior's Path, the first volume in the trilogy, focuses on the challenges and rewards that arise as Tamras begins her journey to become a warrior. ( )
  chavala | Dec 28, 2016 |
I actually really enjoyed this. Sadly, I picked it up because it was a free Kindle book, and the sequel was like $10, so I haven't read it.
  meghanas | Mar 21, 2015 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0981563619, Paperback)

Winner, 2010 EPIC Ebook Award for fiction in the Mainstream category.

"Breathtakingly gorgeous writing … a multi-layered tale of such depth, breadth and insight that it was very nearly a spiritual experience…"
--from a review by T. T. Thomas on Amazon.com

"…reminds me of Le Guin, of Cecelia Holland, and something of Rosemary Sutcliff… It made me feel as I did when I was a child reading authors like those… Once again I was in a magical place…"
--from a review by Charles Ferguson on Amazon.com

"…there’s no ring of power or glowing sword of specialness; the magic, like the tone of the book, is quiet. It feels real."
--from a blog review on livejournal

When she was a child, the author of When Women Were Warriors happily identified with all the male heroes she read about in stories that began, "Once upon a time, a young man went out to seek his fortune." But she would have been delighted to discover even one story like that with a female protagonist. Since she never did find the story she was looking for all those years ago, she decided to write it.

In Book I of the trilogy, Tamras arrives in Merin’s house to begin her apprenticeship as a warrior, but her small stature causes many, including Tamras herself, to doubt that she will ever become a competent swordswoman. To make matters worse, the Lady Merin assigns her the position of companion, little more than a personal servant, to a woman who came to Merin’s house, seemingly out of nowhere, the previous winter, and this stranger wants nothing to do with Tamras.

"…Both men and women of all persuasions seem to love these books... Very rare. Bravo, Bravo, Bravo!"
--from a review by T. T. Thomas on Amazon.com

"Think Beowulf--only comprehensible and with girls."
--from a review on the blog, The Rainbow Reader, by Baxter Clare Trautman, author of The River Within

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:02 -0400)

"All the women of my family had gone to war... Now my turn had come... So, it is the custom that a free woman leave her mother's house to bind herself and those of her blood to a neighboring clan, either by the sword or by the cradle." So begins the story of young Tamras, as she embarks on her journey to become a warrior's apprentice. This epic story is not about battles and armor, but rather about relationships, coming of age and wisdom, and deep insights into the human experience.… (more)

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