What is The Brethren?
The Brethren is a Young Adult fantasy series, which is based in a fantasy world, not too unlike our own medieval period, and follows a group of people called The Brethren. The Brethren are men and women who have been blessed by the Gods and are able to manipulate the fabric of the world in which they live. Generally used for good, this power can sometimes be abused and the series follows the build up of a threat that could destroy everything.
This story is very close to my heart, having come to my mind over a decade ago and changed dramatically as I have experienced more of the inequalities in life. I am currently writing the first draft of the first book, working around my various health issues which slow down the process a lot. But I cannot wait for the story to be ready to share with others. Until then you can read Chapter One here to get a bit of a taste for the story and its protagonist as she begins her new life with The Brethren. Please note that this is a first draft and completely unedited, so it is very much in a raw form and is just to give you a brief glimpse of what is to come.
A few facts about The Brethren
Recently I shared some facts about my WIP (work in progress) over on Twitter, and I thought it would be fun to include them here too.
1. It’s set in a medieval fantasy land and follows Bethia as she begins her training to become a Healer with The Brethren. She comes from a small, rural community and is suddenly thrust into life in the bustling capital city – it’s a huge change for her.
2. Each Entrant (student) is matched with a Guardian for one-to-one training outside of lessons. Bethia’s Guardian is Carew. He comes from a very wealthy family, and Bethia thinks he dislikes her due to her background. But it turns out he is just really uncomfortable socially.
3. Bethia makes several good friends: Geneve, who has a chronic illness that impacts her studies; Osgar, who went against his family’s tradition and refused to join The King’s Guard; and Beren, who has transferred from training with the Guard. Osgar & Beren clash a fair bit!
4. She also makes a couple of enemies in Orla and Bryana, two girls from “fading families” (those who were once in favour with royalty but are not so highly thought of any more). They tease her and make her life miserable, and Carew struggles with how to help her deal with it.
5. Bethia also has a friend called Logan who grew up in the same village as she did. He is training at a different Abbey. They communicate via letter in the 1st book, but we meet him in the 2nd. He is bisexual and falls for Osgar. Bethia didn’t know this about him until then.
6. Without giving too much away, there is a character that Bethia gets pretty close to who goes on to become a major threat. Her relationship with him really messes her up emotionally, but she cannot forget about him as The Brethren want to use her connection to him to catch him.
7. The Brethren work alongside The King’s Guard a lot, and one of the things they need to be able to do is ride a horse. Bethia has never ridden a horse before, so Carew gets two ostlers he knows to teach her. They are called Oats and Wendel, and I love them so much.
8. Osgar is probably my favourite character, he is such a joker. He has wild, curly hair and a face covered in freckles. I named him before my pregnancy and didn’t realise how close it was to Oscar (my son’s name) until years later – so, no, I didn’t name him after my son!
9. Bethia’s mum died when she was young, and it was seeing The Brethren care for her when ill that made her want to become a healer herself. She never even considered another life, even though it meant leaving her home (which is 3 days’ ride from the capital city).
10. Bethia can be very impatient, and often gets overwhelmed and anxious when trying something new. She finds it very difficult to admit when she is struggling, and is mortified when a couple of events make her cry in front of Carew within the space of a few days.
11. Carew is an absolute sweetheart, however, despite first appearances. He takes his role as Bethia’s Guardian very seriously and cares a lot about her. Over time they come to know and trust each other, but that trust is strained right when Bethia needs it the most
12. Logan is a great artist and is always sketching something. But he hates writing, and takes forever to reply to Bethia’s letters. He makes up for it by sending her several sketches with each letter, and the walls of her room are covered with them.
Since sharing those snippets on Twitter, I have also come to realise the following:
13. Carew is aroace and Bethia is ace. This brings a wonderful dynamic to their relationship as Carew helps Bethia to understand what it means for her.
14. The Brethren way of life actually provides more freedom for members to fully express their gender and sexuality in ways they might not be able to in general society. This is so different to our own world where religion often tries to control people’s relationships.