Set in the British Isles during the Bronze Age, a time when matrilineal societies predominated and female warriors were not uncommon, When Women Were Warriors tells the story of Tamras, a young woman of the warrior class who leaves home to be fostered in Merin’s house, a fortress guarding the northern border of a rich agricultural valley. There she expects to find a mentor who will teach her the skills she will need to take her place in her community.

As often happens with heroes, Tamras’s path diverges from the path her elders intended her to take. She follows her heart, regardless of what anyone else thinks about her choices. She chooses for her friend a young woman who was once a slave, a woman without family or position, and she chooses for her mentor a woman of another tribe, whom everyone distrusts because they consider her to be not one of them — a stranger.

Because of her unconventional choices, Tamras’s life is not what it would have been had she done what was expected of her, but every human life is unique, and the hero’s journey is the story of a person finding her own path through life. The hero doesn’t blindly follow where others lead. She doesn’t accept without question the opinions and the values of others. The true hero follows her heart and seeks her own truth. By doing so, she encourages us all to live our own unique lives as fully as we can.

But just like the rest of us, Tamras pays a price for going her own way, and one of the things that make her a hero is her ability and her willingness to pay that price.