Sebastien De Castell : Knight’s Shadow (Review)

Sebastien De Castell's picture

Sebastien De Castell

Sebastien de Castell had just finished a degree in Archaeology when he started work on his first dig. Four hours later he realized how much he actually hated archaeology and left to pursue a very focused career as a musician, ombudsman, interaction designer, fight choreographer, teacher, project manager, actor, and product strategist. His only defence against the charge of unbridled dilettantism is that he genuinely likes doing these things and that, in one way or another, each of these fields plays a role in his writing. He sternly resists the accusation of being a Renaissance Man in the hopes that more people will label him that way.

Sebastien lives in Vancouver, Canada with his lovely wife and two belligerent cats.

Knight’s Shadow (2015)

(The second book in the Greatcoats series)
A novel by Sebastien De Castell

KS

 

Buy the book from Goldsboro Books (signed Limited)

Falcio val Mond is the first Cantor of the Greatcoats. Trained in the fighting arts and the laws of Tristia, the Greatcoats are travelling Magisters upholding King’s Law. They are heroes. Or at least they were, until they stood aside while the Dukes took the kingdom and then began fighting among themselves.
The horrifying murder of a duke and his family sends Falcio in a deadly pursuit to capture the killer. But Falcio soon discovers his own life is in mortal danger from a poison administered as a final act of revenge by one of his deadliest enemies. As chaos and civil war begin to overtake the country, Falcio has precious little time left to stop those determined to destroy his homeland.

Greatcoat’s Lament is a dark swashbuckling tale of idealism and betrayal in a country crushed under the weight of its rulers’ corruption. It is the second book in the Greatcoat’s series that began with Traitor’s Blade.

Review

In 1844 Alexandre Dumas wrote the Three Musketeers, in 2014 / 2015 Sebastien de Castell wrote Traitors Blade and Knights Shadow. Never have I wanted to compare any book to The Three Musketeers, one of the stories I attribute to my love of history and my love of heroic fiction too, where I gained that love of seeing flawed heroes win over extreme odds.  I’m not sure even after all these years of reviewing I can adequately express how much I enjoy this series new series. But I will Start with something at the end of the book, the author acknowledges the boost provided to him from his publisher at a time when book two was holding all the terror a second book does, but I personally think also coupled with the success of book one, it must have been a daunting prospect.

I’m a firm believer in talent coming through no matter what it is your skill/ Talent is. In the case of Knights Shadow it comes through in spades, extra spades in the case of this second book, Traitors Blade (in my best of 2014 Blog) was a comfortable and splendid 384 pages, a tidy book for a debut, but book two Knights Shadow is an epic 624 pages, and it needs each and every one, by the end you are exhausted but still wanting more, and whatever Jo Fletcher said, well it worked a treat.

Our group of intrepid, very real and down to earth Greatcoats are once again in it up to their necks, book two continues directly from book one, the relentless pace is still there, but what comes to the fore in book two is the more of the soul of the great coats and what the Kings plan might have been. We have learned so much about Falcio, Kest and Brasti and we will learn more about the depths and drivers of the new arrivals but most of all we get to feel why our key characters are who they are.

Most especially Falcio, his journey in this book is chronicled covering every possible emotion. The author really puts this character to the test, yet as a reviewer who just hates spoilers I cannot give any insight except to say that coupled with the writers talent for writing dialogue, his situational and emotional awareness means that when reading this book you are right there experiencing all the pain , emotion and exhaustion that Falcio does. I was a wreck at the end of this book, and not just because I could not put the book down until the early hours. Sebastien De Castell manages to wring every heart wrenching moment and ounce of anticipation from every scene, his fight scenes contain dark humour, explosive action and a great awareness of the art of sword fighting, all of which has you hanging on the edge of every page. (there are also some truly laugh out loud moments in this book).

This really is an exceptional book and series, and I apologise for any additional pressure added to the author for book three and the very high expectation I have. This is going to be a very very hard book to topple from my number one spot for this year, whatever comes out this year this book is clearly going to be a stand out title.

 Buy the book, buy the series… you will not regret it.

 (Parm)

Series

 

Greatcoats
1. Traitor’s Blade (2014)
2. Knight’s Shadow (2015)
Traitor's BladeKnight's Shadow

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Robert Fabbri : Rome’s Lost Son (Review)

Author

About Robert Fabbri

Robert Fabbri was born in Geneva in 1961. He was educated at Christ’s Hospital School, Horsham and London University. He worked for twenty-five years as an assistant director in the film and television industries.

Having had his fair share of long, cold nights standing in the rain in muddy fields and unbearably hot days in deserts or stuffy sound stages he decided to start writing.

Being a life-long ancient war-gamer with a collection of over 3,500 hand-painted 25mm lead soldiers and a lover of Roman Historical Fiction the subject matter was obvious.

More Info: Author web site

ROME’S LOST SON

VESPASIAN VI

romes lost son

Rome, AD 51: Vespasian brings Rome’s greatest enemy before the Emperor. After eight years of resistance, the British warrior Caratacus has been caught. But even Vespasian’s victory cannot remove the newly-made consul from Roman politics: Agrippina, Emperor Claudius’s wife, pardons Caratacus.

Claudius is a drunken fool and Narcissus and Pallas, his freedmen, are battling for control of his throne. Separately, they decide to send Vespasian East to Armenia to defend Rome’s interests. But there is more at stake than protecting a client kingdom. Rumours abound that Agrippina is involved in a plot to destabilise the East. Vespasian must find a way to serve two masters – Narcissus is determined to ruin Agrippina, Pallas to save her.

Meanwhile, the East is in turmoil. A new Jewish cult is flourishing and its adherents refuse to swear loyalty to the Emperor. In Armenia, Vespasian is captured. Immured in the oldest city on earth, how can he escape? And is a Rome ruled by a woman who despises Vespasian any safer than a prison cell?

Review

Somehow i missed reviewing and reading Vespasian 5 Masters of Rome, so when Rome’s Lost Son arrived i made the decision to re-read the entire series. I’m so glad i did, not only did it allow me to totally immerse myself in Robert Fabbri’s version of Vespasian s Rome, it also allowed me to watch the masterful and methodical way that Robert Fabbri grows his characters, melding the facts we have with the fiction that could have been. Giving a potential insight into the mid of the future emperor.

Master of Rome sees a huge leap in Vespasian’s thinking, where he learns to put his morality to one side in favour of finding preferment for his family, to put them in a safer position, to enrich them. He basically reaches the point of if you cant beat them join them… then plan to beat them. Each book bring the history of those that have gone before, the things that have been learned, in the same way a person would become the collective sum of their parts. Masters dispelled any thoughts Vespasian might have had about gods not impinging on his world and life. Making him take notice of the story of his auspicious birth. it brought Caratacus to Rome, someone i feel who will be important in book VII.

Rome’s Lost Son sees a change in power, political machinations on a massive scale, a new emperor and Vespasian taken to hell and back, The stage is laid further for the year of the four emperors, there is a lot of ground still to cover, and surviving Nero will be no mean feat, but this series has some splendid tales ahead..  I think both books V & VI are stunning stand out Historical and Political Thrillers, made more so by reading the series back to back.

Highly recommend reading both Masters of Rome and Rome’s Lost Son..and if you have not read the series, the books are listed below… read them, you will love them

(Parm)

Series

 

Vespasian
1. Tribune of Rome (2011)
2. Rome’s Executioner (2012)
3. False God of Rome (2013)
4. Rome’s Fallen Eagle (2013)
5. Masters of Rome (2014)
6. Rome’s Lost Son (2015)
Vespasian Vol 1-3 (omnibus) (2014)
Tribune of RomeRome's ExecutionerFalse God of RomeRome's Fallen Eagle
Masters of RomeRome's Lost SonVespasian Vol 1-3

 

Crossroads Brotherhood Trilogy
1.5. The Crossroads Brotherhood (2011)
2.5. The Racing Factions (2013)
3.5. The Dreams of Morpheus (2014)
The Crossroads Brotherhood Trilogy (omnibus) (2015)
The Crossroads BrotherhoodThe Racing FactionsThe Dreams of MorpheusThe Crossroads Brotherhood Trilogy

 

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J D Robb Obsession in Death (Blog Tour Review)

Romance novelist Nora Roberts

J D Robb

A pseudonym used by Nora Roberts

With a phenomenal career full of bestsellers, Nora Roberts was ready for a new writing challenge. As her agent put it, like Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, and caffeine-free Pepsi, a pseudonym offered her the opportunity to reach a new and different group of readers. The first futuristic suspense J. D. Robb book, Naked in Death, was published in paperback in 1995, and readers were immediately drawn to Eve Dallas, a tough cop with a dark past, and her even more mysterious love interest, Roarke.

WEEK 1 BLOG TOUR POSTER (1 of 2)WEEK 2 BLOG TOUR POSTER (2 of 2)

Obsession in Death

(2015)
(Book 40 in the In Death series)
A novel by J D Robb

9780349403632

Lieutenant Eve Dallas walks the thin line between love and hate in this fabulous 40th thriller from #1 New York Times – bestseller J. D. Robb…

Eve Dallas has solved a lot of high-profile murders for the NYPSD and gotten a lot of media. She – and her billionaire husband – are getting accustomed to being objects of attention, of gossip, of speculation.

But now Eve has become the object of one person’s obsession. Someone who finds her extraordinary, and thinks about her every hour of every day. Who believes the two of them have a special relationship. Who would kill for her – again and again…

With a murderer reading meanings into her every move, handling this case will be a delicate – and dangerous – psychological dance. And Eve knows that underneath the worship and admiration, a terrible threat lies in wait. Because the beautiful lieutenant is not at all grateful for these bloody offerings from her “true and loyal friend.” And in time, idols always fall..

Review

I have never read this author before, so i have to say i was astounded that this is book 40 in the series, and not the authors only series.

That fast alone meant that i was fairly sure the book would be credible, no one gets away with 40 books of average or below. So my first concern, how on earth does a newbie step into a series so late on? Not a moment of concern, not a beat missed, there is nothing in the story that made me stop and think i was missing out, not seeing a hidden reference or joke, the author has very cleverly woven the plot to keep fans happy and suck in new fans.

Her characterization is complex, strong and clever, and woven so carefully into a future setting that i was sucked straight into the authors  world. Add in some great twists turns and plot devices and any reader can see why the Name J D Robb is a regular feature in book shop crime sections.

I recommend these… well worth a read.

(Parm)

Series
In Death
1. Naked in Death (1995)
2. Glory in Death (1995)
3. Immortal in Death (1996)
4. Rapture in Death (1996)
5. Ceremony In Death (1997)
6. Vengeance in Death (1997)
7. Holiday in Death (1998)
8. Conspiracy in Death (1999)
9. Loyalty in Death (1999)
10. Witness in Death (2000)
11. Judgment in Death (2000)
12. Betrayal in Death (2001)
13. Seduction in Death (2001)
14. Reunion In Death (2002)
15. Purity in Death (2002)
16. Portrait in Death (2003)
17. Imitation in Death (2003)
18. Divided in Death (2004)
19. Visions in Death (2004)
20. Survivor in Death (2005)
21. Origin in Death (2005)
22. Memory in Death (2006)
23. Born in Death (2006)
24. Innocent in Death (2007)
25. Creation in Death (2007)
26. Strangers in Death (2008)
27. Salvation In Death (2008)
28. Promises in Death (2009)
29. Kindred in Death (2009)
30. Fantasy in Death (2009)
31. Indulgence in Death (2010)
32. Treachery in Death (2011)
33. New York to Dallas (2011)
34. Celebrity in Death (2012)
35. Delusion in Death (2012)
36. Calculated in Death (2013)
37. Thankless in Death (2013)
38. Concealed in Death (2014)
39. Festive in Death (2014)
40. Obsession in Death (2015)
41. Devotion in Death (2015)
Naked in DeathGlory in DeathImmortal in DeathRapture in Death
Ceremony In DeathVengeance in DeathHoliday in DeathConspiracy in Death
Loyalty in DeathWitness in DeathJudgment in DeathBetrayal in Death
Seduction in DeathReunion In DeathPurity in DeathPortrait in Death
Imitation in DeathDivided in DeathVisions in DeathSurvivor in Death
Origin in DeathMemory in DeathBorn in DeathInnocent in Death
Creation in DeathStrangers in DeathSalvation In DeathPromises in Death
Kindred in DeathFantasy in DeathIndulgence in DeathTreachery in Death
New York to DallasCelebrity in DeathDelusion in DeathCalculated in Death
Thankless in DeathConcealed in DeathFestive in DeathObsession in Death
In Death (Novellas)
Midnight in Death [short story] (1998) (in Silent Night)
Midnight in Death (1998)
Interlude in Death [short story] (2001)
Remember When (2003) (with Nora Roberts)
Haunted in Death [short story] (2006) (in Bump in the Night)
Haunted in Death (2006)
Interlude in Death (2006)
Eternity in Death [short story] (2007) (in Dead of Night)
Eternity in Death (2007)
Ritual in Death [short story] (2008) (in Suite 606)
Ritual in Death (2008)
Missing in Death [short story] (2009) (in The Lost)
Missing In Death (2009)
Big Jack (2010)
Chaos in Death [short story] (2011) (in The Unquiet)
Possession in Death (2012)
Chaos in Death (2013)
Ritual in Death / Missing in Death (2013)
Taken in Death (2013)
Midnight in DeathRemember WhenHaunted in DeathInterlude in Death
Eternity in DeathRitual in DeathMissing In DeathBig Jack
Possession in DeathChaos in DeathRitual in Death / Missing in DeathTaken in Death
In Death Omnibus
In Death Three-Book Set (2003)
Three in Death (2008)
In Death: The First Cases (2009)
Rapture in Death / Ceremony in Death (2010)
Creation in Death / Strangers in Death (2011)
In Death Books 1-5 (2011)
Time of Death (2011)
In Death Books 6-10 (2011)
In Death Books 11-15 (2011)
In Death Books 16-20 (2011)
In Death Books 21-25 (2011)
In Death Books 26-29 (2011)
In Death Books 30-32 (2011)
Midnight in Death / Interlude in Death (2013)
Chaos in Death / Possession in Death (2013)
Haunted in Death / Eternity in Death (2013)
In Death Three-Book SetThree in DeathIn Death: The First CasesRapture in Death / Ceremony in Death
Creation in Death / Strangers in DeathIn Death Books 1-5Time of DeathIn Death Books 6-10
In Death Books 11-15In Death Books 16-20In Death Books 21-25In Death Books 26-29
In Death Books 30-32Midnight in Death / Interlude in DeathChaos in Death / Possession in DeathHaunted in Death / Eternity in Death
Novels
Naked Came the Phoenix (2001) (with Nevada Barr, Mary Jane Clark, Diana Gabaldon, J A Jance, Faye Kellerman,Laurie R King, Val McDermid, Pam and Mary O’Shaughnessy, Anne Perry, Nancy Pickard, Lisa Scottoline and Marcia Talley)
Naked Came the Phoenix
Omnibus
Silent Night (1998) (with Claire Cross, Dee Holmes andSusan Plunkett)
Bump in the Night (2006) (with Mary Blayney, Ruth Langanand Mary Kay McComas)
Dead of Night (2007) (with Mary Blayney, Ruth Langan andMary Kay McComas)
Suite 606 (2008) (with Mary Blayney, Ruth Langan andMary Kay McComas)
The Lost (2009) (with Mary Blayney, Patricia Gaffney andRuth Langan)
The Unquiet (2011) (with Mary Blayney, Patricia Gaffney,Ruth Ryan Langan and Mary Kay McComas)
Mirror, Mirror (2013) (with Mary Blayney, Elaine Fox, Mary Kay McComas and R C Ryan)
Silent NightBump in the NightDead of NightSuite 606
The LostThe UnquietMirror, Mirror
Collections
Out of This World (2001) (with Laurell K Hamilton, Susan Krinard and Maggie Shayne)
The Other Side (2010) (with Mary Blayney, Patricia Gaffney, Ruth Ryan Langan and Mary Kay McComas)
Down the Rabbit Hole (2015) (with Mary Blayney, Elaine Fox, Mary Kay McComas and R C Ryan)
Out of This WorldThe Other Side
Short stories
Midnight in Death [short story] (1998)
Interlude in Death [short story] (2001)
Haunted in Death [short story] (2006)
Eternity in Death [short story] (2007)
Ritual in Death [short story] (2008)
Missing in Death [short story] (2009)
Chaos in Death [short story] (2011)

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Rebecca Cantrell The World Beneath & The Tesla Legacy (review)

Bio

Rebecca Cantrell author photographNew York Times and USA Today bestselling author Rebecca Cantrell has published nine novels in over ten different languages. Her novels have won the ITW Thriller, the Macavity, and the Bruce Alexander awards. They have been nominated for the GoodReads Choice award, the Barry, the RT Reviewers Choice, and the APPY award. She and her husband and son live in Berlin. Find Rebecca Cantrell on Facebook, Twitter, and at www.rebeccacantrell.com.

STORY BEHIND THE STORIES…

A few years ago Rebecca Cantrell quit her job, sold her house, and moved to Hawaii to write a novel because, at seven, she decided that she would be a writer. She wrote the Hannah Vogel mystery series set in Berlin in the 1930s, including A Trace of Smoke, A Night of Long Knives, A Game of Lies, and A City of Broken Glass.

She also wrote the Order of the Sanguines trilogy with James Rollins. The trilogy includes:The Blood Gospel, Innocent Blood, and Blood Infernal.

She also writes the Joe Tesla mystery series set in Grand Central Terminal and the tunnels underneath New York City. The series includes: The World Beneath and The Tesla Legacy.

A faded pink triangle pasted on the wall of Dachau Concentration Camp and time in Berlin, Germany in the 1980s inspired the Hannah Vogel series. Fluent in German, she received her high school diploma from the John F. Kennedy Schule in Berlin and studied at the Freie Universität in Berlin and the Georg August Universität in Göttingen before graduating from Carnegie Mellon University.

When she visited Berlin in the summer of 2006, she was astounded to discover that many locations in her novel have been rebuilt and reopened in the last few years, including the gay bar El Dorado and the Mosse House publishing house.

Her short stories have appeared in the Missing and First Thrills anthologies, and are available online.

Her screenplays The Humanitarian and A Taste for Blood were finalists at Shriekfest: The Los Angeles Horror/Sci-fi Film Festival.

The World Beneath

(2013)
(The first book in the Joe Tesla series)
A novel by Rebecca Cantrell

w504412

Award-winning and New York Times bestselling author Rebecca Cantrell drops you into a vast, dark world: 100 miles of living, breathing, tunnels that is the New York City underground. This subterranean labyrinth inhales three million bustling commuters every day. And every day, it breathes them all out again… except for one.

Software millionaire Joe Tesla is set to ring the bell on Wall Street the morning his company goes public. On what should be the brightest day in his life, he is instead struck with severe agoraphobia. The sudden dread of the outside is so debilitating, he can’t leave his hotel at Grand Central Terminal, except to go underground. Bad luck for Joe, because in the tunnels lurk corpses and murderers, an underground Victorian mansion and a mysterious bricked-up 1940s presidential train car. Joe and his service dog, Edison, find themselves pursued by villains and police alike, their only salvation now is to unearth the mystery that started it all, a deadly, contagious madness on the brink of escaping The World Beneath.

The Tesla Legacy

(2015)
(The second book in the Joe Tesla series)
A novel by Rebecca Cantrell

Tesla legacy

In New York Times bestselling author Rebecca Cantrell’s sequel to the award-winning The World Beneath, software genius, Joe Tesla, confronts an equally brilliant and far more powerful foe.

Still crippled by agoraphobia and confined to the tunnels under New York City, Joe is haunted by the fact that he cannot even attend his father’s funeral. His father’s death brings threats to the safety of Joe’s underground home: guilt over the broken relationship that can never be healed, a mysterious box of papers inherited from eccentric inventor Nikola Tesla, and a ruthless enemy determined to steal those papers no matter the cost.

Mystified by why his inheritance is so valuable, Joe and his service dog, Edison, follow clues left a century ago by Joe’s famous ancestor to reveal the power of his family legacy. While Joe must rely on his considerable talents as a hacker, he must also reach out to friends.

But whom can he trust as he battles to save his beloved city from . . . The Tesla Legacy?

Review

No messing around on this one, straight into a simple question, please read these two books and someone please tell me how on earth these are being self published and are not coming out via a major publishing house?

Its not like the author hasn’t proven herself with the simply impeccable Order of the Sanguines series, she and James Rollins have created one of my favorite supernatural series of all time, each author seemingly bringing something better, deeper out of the others writing.

The Tesla series is an excellent, original and addictive series. Book 2 the Tesla Legacy shows some of the skills that i think consciously or unconsciously that she has drawn from writing with James Rollins, im going to be very intrigued to read his next stand alone, i feel he will also have picked up something.

I find that the series is very brave with its lead character, trapped as he is by his agoraphobia, any resolving of a crime or running from authorities, criminal, anyone at all is hindered, restricted to the tunnels. But those tunnels are vast, bigger than you can imagine. They go everywhere and give access to so much. Rebecca Cantrell brings those tunnels to life, makes them living arteries to the world of Joe Tesla. Unlike many authors she also knows the power of the supporting cast, who are drawn in, filled out and made fully fledged members of the plot, so you care what happens to them.

I rocketed through both of these books in a couple of days, and really want to get my hands on book three. Rebecca Cantrell is firmly ensconced as one of my go to Thriller writers now, bring on book 3

Highly recommended

(Parm)

Series

Hannah Vogel
1. A Trace of Smoke (2009)
2. A Night of Long Knives (2010)
3. A Game of Lies (2011)
4. A City of Broken Glass (2012)
A Trace of SmokeA Night of Long KnivesA Game of LiesA City of Broken Glass
Order of the Sanguines (with James Rollins)
0.5. City of Screams (2012)
1. The Blood Gospel (2013)
1.5. Blood Brothers (2013)
2. Innocent Blood (2013)
3. Blood Infernal (2015)
City of ScreamsThe Blood GospelBlood BrothersInnocent Blood
Blood Infernal
Joe Tesla
1. The World Beneath (2013)
2. The Tesla Legacy (2015)
The World BeneathThe Tesla Legacy
Omnibus
Adrenaline Rush (2014) (with Brett Battles, Sean Black,Robert Gregory Browne, Gregg Hurwitz, C J Lyons andZoë Sharp)
Adrenaline Rush
Novellas
On the Train (2013)
The Man in the Attic (2014)
On the TrainThe Man in the Attic

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Filed under Action/ Adventure Thrillers, Crime, Thrillers

James Rollins / Rebecca Cantrell Blood Infernal (Review)

The Author’s

James Rollins

rollins

JAMES ROLLINS is the New York Times bestselling author of international thrillers, translated into more than forty languages.  His Sigma series has been lauded as one of the “top crowd pleasers” (New York Times) and one of the “hottest summer reads” (People Magazine). In each novel, acclaimed for its originality, Rollins unveils unseen worlds, scientific breakthroughs, and historical secrets–and he does it all at breakneck speed and with stunning insight. James Rollins decided to become a writer as a boy immersed in the scientific adventures of Doc Savage, the wonders of Jules Verne and H.G. Wells, and pulps such as The Shadow, The Spider, and The Avenger. He honed his storytelling skills early, spinning elaborate tales that were often at the heart of pranks played on his brothers and sisters.

Although his talent emerged and grew, writing was not James’ original profession. Before he would set heroes and villains on harrowing adventures, he embarked on a career in veterinary medicine, graduating from the University of Missouri and establishing a successful veterinary. This hands-on knowledge of medicine and science helps shape the research and scientific speculation that set James Rollins books apart.

The exotic locales of James Rollins novels have emerged as a hybrid between imagination, research, and James’ extensive travels throughout the United States and Europe, as well as New Zealand, the South Pacific, China, Southeast Asia, Africa, Australia, and South America. Recent travel includes book tours and stops across the country and several European nations to meet readers and give talks, seminars, and media interviews.

In recent years, much of James’ travel has involved meeting readers in small and large groups, at writing and fan conferences, and even aboard seagoing “seminars.” James’ mentoring temperament and coaching skills have made him a sought-out writing instructor and guest speaker for workshops, symposia, conventions, and other forums throughout the country. He is among the core faculty of the annual Maui Writer’s Conference and Retreat.

James Rollins is the author of seven thrillers in the bestselling Sigma Force series (Sandstorm, Map of Bones, Black Order, The Judas Strain, The Last Oracle, The Doomsday Key, and The Devil Colony); six individual adventure thrillers; the blockbuster movie novelization, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull; and the Jake Ransom middle grade series (Jake Ransom and the Skull King’s Shadow, Jake Ransom and the Howling Sphinx, and more coming in 2013). The eighth Sigma Force adventure, Bloodline, is coming in Summer 2012.

In 2005, James joined other luminaries in the genre to create the International Thriller Writers, Inc. ITW recognizes and promotes the thriller genre, provides opportunities for mentoring, education, and collegiality among authors and industry professionals, and grants awards for excellence in thriller writing. James is currently the Co-President of ITW, serving alongside Steve Berry. (From Author’s Bio)

Rebecca Cantrell

Rebecca Cantrell

 Rebecca Cantrell’s Hannah Vogel mystery/thriller novels have won the Bruce Alexander and Macavity awards and been nominated for the Barry and RT Reviewers Choice awards; her critically-acclaimed cell phone novel, iDrakula, was nominated for the APPY award and listed on Booklist’s Top 10 Horror Fiction for Youth. She and her husband and son just left Hawaii’s sunny shores for adventures in Berlin. Find Rebecca Cantrell on Facebook, Twitter, and at Authors Website.

 

Blood Infernal

(2015)
(The third book in the Order of the Sanguines series)
A novel by Rebecca Cantrell and James Rollins

Blood infernal

As an escalating scourge of grisly murders sweeps the globe, archaeologist Erin Granger must decipher the truth behind an immortal prophecy foretold in the Blood Gospel, a tome written by Christ and lost for centuries: The shackles of Lucifer have been loosened, and his Chalice remains lost. It will take the light of all three to forge the Chalice anew and banish him again to his eternal darkness. With the Apocalypse looming, Erin must again join forces with Army Sergeant Jordan Stone and Father Rhun Korza to search for a treasure lost for millennia. But the prize has already fallen into the hands of their enemy, a demon named Legion, before whom even the walls of the Vatican will fall.

The search for the key to salvation will take Erin and the others across centuries and around the world, from the dusty shelves of the Vatican’s secret archives to lost medieval laboratories, where ancient alchemies were employed to horrific ends. All the while, they are hunted, besieged by creatures of uncanny skill and talent. As clues are dug free from ancient underground chapels and found frozen in icy mountain caverns, Erin will discover that the only hope for victory lies in an impossible act–one that will destroy not only her, but all she loves. To protect the world, Erin must walk through the very gates of Hell and face the darkest of enemies: Lucifer himself.

With The Blood Gospel, the first novel in the Order of the Sanguines series, James Rollins and Rebecca Cantrell combined science, myth, and religion to introduce a breathtaking world where miracles hold new meaning and the fight for good over evil is far more complicated than we ever dreamed. And now, in this epic conclusion to the Sanguines trilogy, Blood Infernal, they take us to the very pit of Hell itself, making us peer into the abyss and face our greatest fears, to answer the ultimate question: what price will we pay for true salvation?

Review

When i first heard about this series i worried that it was just another vampire series, that it might be a bit of true blood band wagon jumping. But books 1&2 soon put paid to that. This book 3 is a bitter sweet experience, endings are always tough with a really good series, and this is one that has been a favorite for a couple of years, ending can however be complicated, can the author (s) get it right?

Yes is the answer, James Rollins is one of my favorite thriller writers, and having read Rebecca Cantrell’s Tesla books i can see the where and why the blending of talents has worked so well. Its not that one is better than the other, its similar to when Feist and Wurts got together and wrote the empire trilogy, a set of books that took both authors beyond their normal writing. This is what i feel has happened again here.

Each and every book in this series has been an original action packed supernatural thriller and Blood Infernal is no different. But more important its a fitting and sublime end to a wonderful series. In any thriller like this there is a risk of going OTT, of taking the action beyond the mildly plausible, even with the supernatural you need to avoid that risk. Both these authors avoid doing that with style and panache, keeping the reader on the edge of their seat through-out. So many teasing tit bits from biblical myth brought forth and used in this story, so much action and so much energy and emotion. The characters will make you laugh and cry out in surprise, gasp and sob in anguish. Its going to be up there with my favorite books at the end of this year.

Very highly recommended for this book and this splendid series.

(Parm)

Series
Sigma Force
1. Sandstorm (2004)
2. Map of Bones (2005)
3. Black Order (2006)
4. The Judas Strain (2007)
5. The Last Oracle (2008)
6. The Doomsday Key (2009)
6.5. The Skeleton Key (2011)
7. The Devil Colony (2010)
7.5. Tracker (2012)
8. Bloodline (2012)
9. The Eye of God (2013)
10. The Sixth Extinction (2014)
11. The Bone Labyrinth (2015)
The Doomsday Key / The Last Oracle (omnibus) (2011)
The Sigma Force Novels (omnibus) (2013)
Sigma Force Novels 1 (omnibus) (2014)
SandstormMap of BonesBlack OrderThe Judas Strain
The Last OracleThe Doomsday KeyThe Skeleton KeyThe Devil Colony
TrackerBloodlineThe Eye of GodThe Sixth Extinction
The Doomsday Key / The Last OracleThe Sigma Force NovelsSigma Force Novels 1
Jake Ransom
1. Jake Ransom and the Skull King’s Shadow (2009)
2. Jake Ransom and the Howling Sphinx (2010)
Jake Ransom Complete Collection (omnibus) (2014)
Jake Ransom and the Skull King's ShadowJake Ransom and the Howling SphinxJake Ransom Complete Collection
Order of the Sanguines (with Rebecca Cantrell)
0.5. City of Screams (2012)
1. The Blood Gospel (2013)
1.5. Blood Brothers (2013)
2. Innocent Blood (2013)
3. Blood Infernal (2015)
City of ScreamsThe Blood GospelBlood BrothersInnocent BloodBlood Infernal
Tucker Wayne (with Grant Blackwood)
1. The Kill Switch (2014)
2. War Hawk (2015)
The Kill Switch
Novels
Subterranean (1999)
Excavation (2000)
Deep Fathom (2001)
Amazonia (2002)
Ice Hunt (2003)
Altar of Eden (2009)
SubterraneanExcavationDeep FathomAmazoniaIce HuntAltar of Eden
Novellas
The Devil’s Bones: Cotton Malone vs. Gray Pierce (2014)(with Steve Berry)
The Devil's Bones: Cotton Malone vs. Gray Pierce
Series contributed to
Indiana Jones (Films)
4. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull(2008)
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

 

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David Gibbins: Sword of Attila (Review)

David Gibbins's picture

David Gibbins

Canada (1962 – )

David Gibbins has worked in underwater archaeology all his professional life. After taking a PhD from Cambridge University he taught archaeology in Britain and abroad, and is a world authority on ancient shipwrecks and sunken cities. He has led numerous expeditions to investigate underwater sites in the Mediterranean and around the world. He currently divides his time between fieldwork, England and Canada.

The fall of Rome was just the beginning. A new empire will rise . . .

The Sword of Attila (2015)

(The second book in the Total War Rome series)
A novel by David Gibbins

Sword of Attila
AD 439: the Roman Empire is on the brink of collapse. With shocking speed a Vandal army has swept through the Roman provinces of Spain and north Africa, conquering Carthage and threatening Roman control of the Mediterranean. But a far greater threat lies to the east, a barbarian force born in the harsh steppelands of Asia, warriors of unparalleled savagery who will sweep all before them in their thirst for conquest – the army of Attila the Hun.

For a small group of Roman soldiers and a mysterious British monk, the only defence is to rise above the corruption and weakness of the Roman emperors and hark back to the glory days of the Roman army centuries before, to find strength in history. But then they devise a plan of astonishing audacity that will take them to the heart of darkness itself, to the stronghold of the most feared warrior-king the world has ever known. In the showdown to come, in the greatest battle the Romans have ever fought, victory will go to those who can hold high the most potent symbol of war ever wrought by man – the sacred sword of Attila.

Review:

Book one in this novel new series, starts with the real birth of the roman empire, the sacking of Carthage, the beginning of their real power in the Mediterranean. Book 2 The Sword of Attila focuses on the end of the empire, Rome has been sacked a hundred years previously by the goths, and are now on the verge of being kicked out of Africa by the vandals. In the east a new power is rising ruling over the Hun.

A much underwritten part of the Roman history, yet there is so much rich, action packed history to delve into. David Gibbins as usual provides immaculate research, he then couples it with highly plausible fictional action. This series is linked to a computer game, it is potentially its flaw, the book provides the reader with all the knowledge needed to play and win the game, to understand the history, and all the elements in it. The soldiers their equipment, the countries the alliances and so much more, so much in fact each book could and maybe should be a series on its own. It is this that made me struggle a little with book one, book two however had the winning extra of including a fictional but highly plausible character Arturus, a dark age figure tied to British folklore and myth. As with so much of David Gibbins amazing Jack Howard series, he gives enough fact to the fictional to show just how possible the it is for Arturus to have existed in this way, and been the basis for the myth.

Arturus, coupled with Flavius and many other very real characters really make this book, the occasionally slightly stilted plot (by this im using the comparison of the flowing plot that is the Jack Howard series) is more than made up for with scope, the characters and the copious author notes at the end, making this a very very readable, enjoyable 4/5 stars.

(Parm)

Jack Howard
1. Atlantis (2005)
2. Crusader Gold (2006)
3. The Last Gospel (2008)
aka The Lost Tomb
4. The Tiger Warrior (2009)
5. The Mask of Troy (2010)
6. The Gods of Atlantis (2011)
aka Atlantis God
7. Pharaoh (2013)

9. Pyramid (2014)

AtlantisCrusader GoldThe Last GospelThe Tiger WarriorThe Mask of TroyThe Gods of AtlantisPharaohPyramid

Total War Rome
1. Destroy Carthage (2013)
2. The Sword of Attila (2015)
Destroy CarthageThe Sword of Attila

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Christian Cameron: Long Sword (Review)

Chris 1Chris 2

*Photos courtesy of Ian LaSpina* (with much appreciation)

Christian Cameron was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1962. He grew up in Rockport, Massachusetts, Iowa City, Iowa, and Rochester, New York, where he attended McQuaid Jesuit High School and later graduated from the University of Rochester with a degree in history.

After the longest undergraduate degree on record (1980-87), he joined the United States Navy, where he served as an intelligence officer and as a backseater in S-3 Vikings in the First Gulf War, in Somalia, and elsewhere. After a dozen years of service, he became a full time writer in 2000. He lives in Toronto (that’s Ontario, in Canada) with his wife Sarah and their daughter Beatrice, currently age seven. He attends the University of Toronto when the gods move him and may eventually have a Masters in Classics, but right now he’s a full time historical novelist, and it is the best job in the world.

Christian is a dedicated reenactor and you can follow some of his recreated projects on the Agora. He’s always recruiting, so if you’d like to try the ancient world, the medieval world, or the late 18th century, follow the link to contact us.

Book Description

long sword

Pisa, May 1364. Sir William Gold – newly knighted on the battlefield outside the gates of Florence – can look forward to a lucrative career as a sword for hire in the endless warring between Italy’s wealthy city states. But when a message comes from Father Pierre de Thomas, Grand Master of the Order of St John – better known as the Hospitallers – Sir William knows he has no choice but to leave his dreams of fame and fortune behind him.

Father Pierre is gathering men across Europe for a crusade, and as a donat of the order, Sir William is pledged to serve him. But before setting out for the Holy Land, Sir William and his companions face deadly adversaries closer to home. In the labyrinthine politics of Italy, not only would some cities rather side with the Saracen than their fellow Christians, but there are powerful princes of the church whose ambitions would be better served if the crusade failed – not to mention two of Sir William’s bitterest enemies – the maniacal Bourc le Camus, now in the pay of the ruthless Cardinal Robert of Geneva, and the Count D’Herblay, husband of the woman who still holds Sir William’s heart.

With assassins and conspirators on all sides, Sir William and his band of knights must overcome overwhelming odds – but if they survive, can the crusade be anything more than a suicide mission?

Long Sword: Review

I’m sure many of my regulars are expecting my usual litany of effusive comments about the remarkable writing that Christian produces. I do feel a bit like his English fan boy some days when I write the review, but I love the writing.

That said I struggled with the start of this one, be it my state of mind coming into my 10th book in January, or back to back to back historical fiction? I don’t know, but it felt a bit mired in detail, detail that Christian releases normally so effortlessly, it seemed to come out a little like a manual… I even think that I may have had a Tom Swan hangover, Tom Swan is one of the great unsung heroes of the Historical Fiction genre, an e-Book only serial, but so brilliant I miss it every day.

But William Gold didn’t/ couldn’t let me down, and neither did Christian, almost without noticing I went from the mire to brightness and solid ground.

As ever with Christians books this isn’t a light tome, its 448 pages long, but if you are like me, it will only be a 48 -72 hour read, after my initial struggle, which TBH was really only about a chapter when I checked back, I was fully caught up, I could not put it down. Christians research is amazing, he packs in such detail, but effortlessly, you feel the weight of armour, and you feel the maneuverability, and the exhaustion of wearing it, and I know this comes from the fact that he does wear it, and he does fight in it .

chris 3

Christian was also a warrior in his own right, and an intelligencer, so he knows how battles are fought, he knows the nuances, the thought process used by commanders, subordinates etc and dare I say by those who have to go and gather the intelligence in the most dangerous of circumstances.

What isn’t written down in history book (and even things that are) he checks. If how to swing a sword doesn’t sound right he will practice, if the clothing doesn’t sound authentic he will check with someone who knows, or even try to make it. I don’t think I have ever met someone so full of and yet still desperate for knowledge, and we the reader benefit from all of this.

Long sword isn’t Christians best book, but it is still an excellent book and I desperately want the next book in the series… as I seem to for every next book in every one of his series.

I highly recommend this, this isn’t just a book about fighting and the crusades, this is a book about chivalry, about love, and abstinence and its difficulty and temptations and about the glory of true friendship and a man striving to be better than he was yesterday.

(Parm)

 

Series
Tyrant
1. Tyrant (2008)
2. Storm of Arrows (2009)
3. Funeral Games (2010)
4. King of the Bosporus (2011)
5. Destroyer of Cities (2013)
6. Force of Kings (2014)
TyrantStorm of ArrowsFuneral GamesKing of the BosporusDestroyer of CitiesForce of Kings
Long War
1. Killer of Men (2010)
2. Marathon: Freedom or Death (2011)
3. Poseidon’s Spear (2012)
4. The Great King (2014)
Killer of MenMarathon: Freedom or DeathPoseidon's SpearThe Great King
Tom Swan and the Head of St George
1. Castillon (2012)
2. Venice (2012)
3. Constantinople (2012)
4. Rome (2013)
5. Rhodes (2013)
6. Chios (2013)
CastillonVeniceConstantinopleRomeRhodesChios
Tom Swan and the Siege of Belgrade
1. Tom Swan and the Siege of Belgrade: Part One (2014)
2. Tom Swan and the Siege of Belgrade: Part Two (2014)
3. Tom Swan and the Siege of Belgrade: Part Three (2014)
Tom Swan and the Siege of Belgrade: Part OneTom Swan and the Siege of Belgrade: Part TwoTom Swan and the Siege of Belgrade: Part Three
Novels
Washington and Caesar (2001)
God of War (2012)
The Ill-Made Knight (2013)
The Long Sword (2014)
Salamis (2015)
Washington and CaesarGod of WarThe Ill-Made KnightThe Long Sword

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