Unfortunately not much is really known about the exact history of Islay during that time period. Most histories start with Somerled, the semi-legendary founder of the MacDonald clan and who was himself half Celtic and half Norse. The name Somerled is a corruption of the Old Norse for Summer Warrior. Islay under Viking rule was most likely controlled by the Viking ruler of the Isle of Manx. We do know at this time, that ruler was Ketil who is mentioned in the Laxdaela saga. His overlord was Harald Finehair, the first king of Norway.
The heroine is Eilidith, a lady of the cennell Fergusa on Islay. Cennell is the early Gaellic term for clan. At this point, mac simply meant son of, rather than the more formal naming of a clan. When Liddy was young, her home was invaded by Vikings. Her father, the chieftain or king of the cennell paid tribute to the Viking warlord and was able to keep his lands as long as he continues to provide tribute. Liddy married a Gaelic king, Brandon of the cennell Connall, one of the lone holdouts against the Vikings. Islay was not completely controlled by the Vikings, the Celts did manage to cling on and thrive in places.
However, the marriage was not a success. He only wanted to marry her for her dowry and he had a narcissistic personality disorder. He made Liddy feel insignificant and ugly. Their twins were lost in a tragic boating accident which Liddy took the blame for. Brandon was trying to force her into a convent when he drowned.
When she was little, her grandmother used to say the butterfly mark below her lip marked her out as someone who do great things for the family. When her father and brother are being at the Viking stronghold, Liddy decides to take her father’s ring, the one given to him by the Viking warlord to free them.
|My inspiration for Sigurd|