Journeys: the Archers of Saint Sebastian


Journeys: the Archers of Saint Sebastian

by Jeanne Roland

GENRE: Young adult crossover historical romance and adventure

A barracks full of beautiful boys. A girl in disguise, living among them.

It’s the 14th century, and the longbow is king. But in the northern European principality of Ardennes, archery isn’t just the nation’s defense. It’s the national obsession.


12 young Journeyman archers, the best in the country

2 years of public competitions, in which looks count almost as much as ability

6 will win a coveted membership in the Archers’ Guild of St. Sebastian

1 will become the prince’s new Guardsman


15-year-old Marieke is as obsessed with St. Sebastian’s as everyone else in Ardennes. Only it’s the middle ages, and girls just don’t become elite archers. Except Marieke's prospects as a girl aren't promising either, after a well-timed kick from a mule has left her with a face that’s badly scarred and ruined for marriage. But when circumstances force her to leave her old life behind and flee to the guild for refuge, there are only two things Marieke really knows about the place. One is that a mysterious accident ended her own father’s time as a Journey. The other?

There are no women allowed inside St. Sebastian’s.

Marieke knows disguising herself as a boy and infiltrating the guild means embarking on a dangerous deception. But it may be her only chance to find out the truth about her father’s past and to stop a murderous plot from coming to fruition. When the dashing young Journeyman Tristan takes her under his wing as his squire, she’s got to stay – at least long enough to help him beat out his brutal arch-rival to win the competitions.

Keeping her identity a secret will be hard. Living in close quarters with a pack of gorgeous boys? That will be harder still. But the hardest thing of all will be keeping the vow she makes for herself: to see Tristan become the next Guardsman, without ever letting him find out she’s a girl - a girl, who loves him.

Part Robin Hood and part Princess Bride, with a pinch of Mulan and a dash of Cyrano de Bergerac in the mix, The Archers of St. Sebastian I: Journeys is a humorous action and adventure saga inspired by late medieval/early Renaissance Belgium and packed with romance, wit, and longbow archery. Perfect for young adults looking for an immersive read and for adults who love young adult themes, Journeys is an escape into the past that reads more like romantic historical fantasy than pure historical fiction.

Unrequited love? Ugly heroines who stay ugly? Friendship, coming of age, romance, adventure, and plenty of archery competitions? A unique setting inspired by the glorious city of Bruges, with a richly imagined world set within the walls of a male-only archers' guild? Journeys: The Archers of Saint Sebastian has it all, so if you're looking for a great escape, don your disguise and join Marieke as she enters the forbidden world of Saint Sebastian's, and prepare to fall in love with the Journeys - that is, the twelve best and most beautiful archers in all of Ardennes, the Journeyman archers of St. Sebastian's.


(Context: 15-year-old Marieke is disguised as Marek, and she’s serving as a squire to the Journeyman archer Tristan at the archers’ guild of Saint Sebastian. She’s in love with him, but she’s sworn an oath never to let him find out she’s a girl. In this scene, after Tristan and Marieke find an abandoned windmill, and spend an idyllic afternoon daydreaming in its shadow).

“Do you know what I love about you, Marek?” he says. At the word ‘love,’ the band around my chest constricts painfully, though he’s used it lightly enough. “You’re completely without pretense!”

If he only knew. I blush, not only at the compliment, but out of shame, too. But Tristan doesn’t notice. He rolls back onto his back.

“Admit it. Much as we may love dear old St. Seb’s, it’s good to be away. It’s good to be able to let your guard down.”

“And, to stop acting?” I venture boldly.

“Oh, I’d never do that. Not entirely!” he laughs.

“Tristan,” I ask, “Just between us. Who are you, really?”

“I firmly believe, Marek, a man has two choices,” he replies, crossing his arms behind his head and looking up at the sky. “He can stage his life as a comedy, or as a tragedy. Personally, I prefer comedy.”

“Very clever. But that’s not an answer. Besides, not even you can really laugh at everything.”

“No. But I can try.”

“Come on, Tristan,” I say, refusing to let him brush me off this time. “Give me a real answer.”

“A real answer? Ok, Marek, my friend,” he says. “The real answer is, I wish I knew.”

On impulse, I say, “Well, I know exactly who you are, Tristan.”

“Oh really? Who’s that?”

“You’re the next member of the Black Guards, if I have anything to say about it.” And I mean it. I resolve right then and there that I’m going to find a way to make it happen.

About the Author:

Roland hails from Davis, California, where she spent most of her youth lounging at the pool, soaking up the sun, and daydreaming. She had a key ring that read 'I’m running away to join the circus,' and her favorite moment of the day was when the local movie theater went dark, and the slogan 'escape to the movies' appeared on the screen. As an adult, her passions include all things melodramatic and beautiful — everything from classic movies, British romantic poetry, ancient tragedy and epic, to Italian opera. She is now a professor of Classics in a small midwestern town, where she lives with her Greek husband, her fraternal twins, and a Bernese mountain dog named Franco Corelli.

Amazon purchase link:

Author website:

Other websites:

I blog as the Allegorical Traveler about Greek mythology at





Jeanne Roland will be awarding a $40 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.



a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Good morning, and thank you for hosting! I'll be checking in periodically during the day to reply to comments or questions, so if anyone has anything they'd like to know about the book or about me as an author, I'm happy to answer!

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks, Nicole! It's something different, anyway!

  3. Good morning, and thank you so much for hosting!

  4. Thanks for another great excerpt! This sounds like a great book!

    1. Thanks, Glenda! I hope you'll check it out on Amazon, and give it a try!

  5. Lovely book, best wishes to your tour!!

  6. I enjoyed the excerpt, Jeanne and Journeys sounds like a great adventure for me and I like the cover! Thanks for sharing it with me and have a fantastic day!

  7. The book details sound interesting. I love the cover.

    1. I'm a huge fan of the central painting by Xavier - I knew I had to have it on the cover.

  8. An excellent synopsis and excerpt, this sounds like a story that my teen-aged grandchildren and I will enjoy reading. Thank you for posting about this book

    1. Hi Bea, the book is for older teens - 15ish and up - and adults who love coming of age stories and who are young at heart! Who knows, you might like it yourself! Thank you for your kind words, and I hope you'll check it out on Amazon!

  9. I love paintings on covers. The 14th Century was a harsh time, especially for a girl.

    1. And things just keep getting tougher for my heroine, Marieke! There's a painting in the story, too, but no spoilers!

  10. Thank you all for commenting, and thank you again for hosting! I'll check back in now and then over the next few days, if the post remains up, but for now, good night everyone

  11. Aside from being an interesting story, this might be a good way to introduce YA to some of the ways young people (especially girls) were treated in medieval times.

  12. Yes, I agree. I think that there is much in the book, too, that relates to the modern world, however. The protagonist is NOT attractive, nor can she do everything she wants, because of physical limitations. She gains respect and admiration, even, for qualities like loyalty, perseverance, skill, and bravery. I think she is a much more relatable and inspiring heroine than the plethora of "kick-ass" chosen ones, "thinks she's not pretty but actually everyone else thinks she's gorgeous" female protagonists out there.


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