Eagle Designs
Linda Windsor

Linda Windsor is the author of over thirty historical and contemporary novels. Windsor graduated from Salisbury University with a degree in Early Childhood Education. She married and started her family, writing being the farthest thing from her mind until historical sagas began filling the bestseller lists and her imagination. Windsor decided to try her hand at historical romance.  Windsor's first book, HI HONEY I'M HOME, hit the CBA bestseller list and she hasn't looked back since. But it was her award-winning Irish Celtic trilogy FIRES OF GLEANNMARA that planted her firmly in the Dark Ages for God. "I know He led me to this era to equip me for one of a mother's most heartbreaking trials--my daughter abandoning her faith." Windsor is an active Red Hatter and church member, not to mention musician/singer/writer/mother and grandmother, Windsor is busy and blessed to be one of three generations sharing an 18th. century farm home restored by the author and her late husband.

Genre Happenings

The Not-So Dark Ages

The Dark Ages in the British Isles were anything but dark. Although Christianity was born in the Holy Land, history reveals that it was given sanctuary and nurtured in the British Isles, beyond the claws of its deadly enemy—the Roman eagle. After the Resurrection and the deaths of the apostles, church history goes dark. We know of some persecution, but not of the wonder of how the new faith survived until it was made the official religion of the Roman Empire by Constantine in the third century. Even then, the early church doesn’t get much attention or credit until its name is blackened by the Crusades and the Inquisition.

From then on, church history is often not a pretty sight and, sadly, Jesus is thrown out with the dirty church water by many—past and present. Yet, it is during these few early centuries that the Pentecostal fire catches on and spreads to Rome itself, despite the emperor declaring Christianity—and incidentally, Druidism—a capital offense punishable by death. Oh, and being of the line of David was also a death sentence.

So how did the early church survive and flourish beyond the persecutions? It was, and is, a brilliant and divine plan, one that became clear as history unfolded after the Resurrection. One that was defined in the Old Testament by the prophets and commissioned by Christ. The Word would travel to the ends of the earth. To the far green isles to the north and west of the Holy Land. The British Isles.

While many Christians hid and practiced their faith in secret under Rome’s thumb and were persecuted viciously, Britain became the one place where Christianity was established and practiced freely by a small group of Jewish refugees often referred to as the lost disciples—Jesus’s immediate circle of family and friends, who fled to the island where Joseph of Arimathea had a long established tin trade between Britain and Jerusalem.

But why would the British Druids ally with Jewish Christian refugees? How could this possibly work?

God, it seems, had been laying the foundation since the Flood for a place to receive and nurture the fledgling faith. The focus in my Dark Age trilogy The Brides of Alba—Healer, Thief, and Rebel―makes this old history relevant today in what is often called a New Age world.

Are the contemporary conflicts between the New Age philosophies, which embody the old age beliefs, and Christianity so different from what they were back then? Can we learn how our early church fathers and mothers witnessed and brought light into the dark ages?

In short, yes. The discovery and understanding of this history as it relates to the formation and survival of God’s church helped bring my daughter out of Wicca and back to Christ. I’ve met many people who have faced the heartbreak of seeing a loved one wooed away from their faith by history revised toward that agenda.

True, Christians have black marks on our history, but the golden examples of our early forefathers and foremothers are blotted out with them. Many Christians do not know their own faith history beyond the Resurrection, the Twelve’s deaths, the Coliseum, and the smear of mistakes made in the name of Christ. Accompanied by the Word and Holy Spirit, this knowledge can better equip us for spiritual warfare and, dear friends, we are at war in today’s dark age.

Writing in this genre is a way I can educate believers and nonbelievers on how the old age embraced the Good News and why, while entertaining the reader with adventure and romance.

To understand the history of this genre, I must define Druid. It is not to be confused with the erroneous stereotype that has evolved over the centuries of a secretive blood-sacrificing priesthood clad in black that worships Satan. Druid simply meant wise man, scholar, teacher. The Druids were the educated or professional class of ancient Celts. Magi is another term for Druid. Yes, the wise men who sought the Christ child were Druidic astrologers from the East. There were at least forty Druidic universities in Britain when the first Christians arrived around AD 48, which taught natural philosophy, astronomy, mathematics, geometry, medicine, jurisdiction, poetry, and oratory.

There is much evidence that Druidism was a distortion of its Judaic origin, including its law, customs, and language. The Druids therefore saw Christianity as an affirmation of their previous beliefs and a revelation built upon their commonalities. God is three in one! Life after death is affirmed! No more sacrifices/death required for the true Creator God, only love and loyalty. No complicated laws for life except to love God with all one’s heart and mind and to love one’s neighbor as oneself. The heavens declare the glory of God, were created by Him to guide us but not dictate our lives and futures. Science and its study glorify the Creator, revealing and drawing us closer to Him. No more priestly intercessors between a man and God. Jesus’s teaching showed common man was capable of a spiritual relationship with God, whom he could not see. Care for creation as one would a precious gift, for that is what it is, but worship the Creator, give Him the glory and thanksgiving.

All of Britain did not welcome Christianity with open arms any more than the world at large did after Constantine’s adoption of it. Just as there were corrupt Christian priests, there were corrupt Druid priests. And Islamic and Hindu priests. There are always those in power who serve themselves first and others second. For them, faith was only a tool for manipulation. (Makes me wonder if I’m speaking of the Dark Ages or today. Talk about relevant.)

In Rebel, my hero is a disillusioned young priest/scientist who questions his calling and marries a childhood friend—an unwed mother whose fiancé was killed in a border skirmish. The two set off into enemy territory on a twofold mission. First, they are to ensure the safety of the holy genealogies of the Davidic royal and Arimathean priestly bloodlines, to which all the Arthurs belong. (Check out Healer for more on this history.) Second, they hope to find her father, listed as missing from the same battle. Through the dangers and conflicts along the way, they learn what love truly is and that Christ must be the focus, not only of their relationship, but their efforts to stop the war from coming to a head between King Arthur and his nephew, the Archbishop Modred under the guise of faith.

It is a faith-wrenching story told time and again, where only God can raise beauty from the ashes. It exemplifies that Christians are not always perfect, but they are forgiven and can be used for God’s glory. When the perfection of Christ comes again to our world, what beauty we shall see!

But until that time, I pray that I and others will use the knowledge of the miraculous survival and spread of that mustard seed of faith planted by a carpenter’s son so long ago to nurture and encourage others. Our faith can,/i> survive and flourish, no matter how dark the age becomes. We have the historical witness of that early Dark Age church to prove it.