Traveling to St. Petersburg

SPAndrea here, The new year is bringing—huff, puff—not one but TWO new books from me! I’m excited to announce that A Swirl of Shadows, the latest Lady Arianna adventure is finally finished and will release on March 22! (You can pre-order here.) The story was particularly fun for me to write as a good deal of the action takes place in St. Petersburg, Russia.

A Swirl of Shadows-315I took a number of Russian history courses in college and have always found the country and its history fascinating. And I was lucky enough to visit during grad school and spend some time in St Petersburg—in the dead of winter, I might add, which seemed only fitting, as snow and cold weather seem a part of the Russian soul!

That Russian history intertwines so closely with Britain during the Regency era gave me the perfect opportunity to weave a plotline that would take Lady Arianna and Saybrook to the Imperial Court of Alexander I, which was a hotbed of international intrigue and scheming right after Napoleon’s exile as the rulers of Europe jockeyed for power and influence.

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The Burning Stone

Christina here. Amber necklaceThe hero of my latest book The Runes of Destiny is a Viking merchant who trades in all kinds of goods – whatever will make him the most profit. However, when I researched the type of things he would be likely to bring on a trip to Miklagarðr (Byzantium), I became fascinated by one in particular – amber. The more I read about it, the more I came to appreciate it, and I could well imagine how pleased a Viking woman would have been to receive such a gift – who wouldn’t be? It also seemed like the ideal trade goods – it was easy to transport, didn’t take up much space, and was highly sought after everywhere, plus in some places you could actually pick it up for free! (If you knew where to look).

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A Baltic Cruise, Part 2

IMG_4639By Mary Jo

Part 1 of our Baltic cruise covered Stockholm, Finland, and Estonia.  The cruise is called Viking Homelands, and many of the places we visited were founded as Viking trading ports. Now some highlights of the rest of our journey.


St. Petersburg, Russia was the easternmost stop of our voyage, and it's a city with more than its share of glamour and drama.  It was founded in 1703 by Czar Peter the Great as his "window on the west." At the time, the country was largely landlocked (Archangel, the only other port in European Russia, is far north on the White Sea and frozen for a good part of the year.)

Peter wanted to make his country 2017_Viking_Homelands Mapmodern and European, so he toured the great capitals of Europe for inspiration.  Built at the mouth of the Neva River, the marshiness of the area led to numerous canals as well as grand boulevards, elegant palaces, and splendid churches with characteristic Russian onion domes.


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