Angus Macallan: Gates of Stone (Review)

Angus Macallan's picture
Angus Macallan is a pseudonym for Angus Donald, a British fiction writer and former journalist who is now based just outside London. He was born in China and lived, worked, and studied in Asia for much of his early adult life. He was awarded a masters degree with honors in social anthropology by the University of Edinburgh, partly based on his fieldwork in Indonesia, which led to a dissertation: “Magic, Sorcery and Society.” He also worked as a journalist in Hong Kong, India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.

book cover of Gates of Stone

 

In a world of blood and magic, a powerful epic fantasy begins…

AN EMPEROR’S DAUGHTER WHO WILL NOT BE DENIED
Just before her sixteenth birthday, Princess Katerina is refused her rightful place as heir to the Empire of the Ice-Bear – solely because of her sex. Determined to regain her inheritance, she murders the foreign lord she’s been ordered to marry and embarks on a perilous voyage to the lush, tropical islands of the Laut Besar in search of the vast wealth and power she needs to claim the Empire for herself.

A PRINCE FORCED TO TAKE A STAND
On a small island kingdom, Prince Arjun’s idyllic life is shattered when a malignant sorcerer invades, slaughters his people and steals the sacred sword of Jun’s ancestors. With his royal father dead and his palace in ruins, Jun reluctantly tracks the sorcerer and the magical blade far across the pirate-infested waters of the Laut Besar.

A SORCERER SEEKING TO DESTROY THE WORLD
Long ago the powerful relics known as the Seven Keys were used to safely lock away the terrifying evils of the Seven Hells. With Jun’s ancient sword in his grasp, the sorcerer Mangku has claimed the first Key, and begun his mission to unleash catastrophe upon the land.

As the destinies of these three entwine in the lawless islands of the Laut Besar, the fate of humanity hangs in the balance. For if the sorcerer cannot be stopped, the world itself will be unmade…

Review

I’m a fan of Angus Donalds historical fiction books and have been since i got my hands on Outlaw (blimey 10 years ago),  i used to worry when writers jumped genres, but these days there are many authors who are making that Jump from historical Fiction into Fantasy, and it makes sense because for years i have thought that the two genres are very closely linked. History is so much guess work when it comes to motives, intent and fine detail, yes there are huge amounts of research in there, but as soon as you remove from the historical text, well its basically fantasy. Life isn’t any easier for the fantasy writer, much of what they do is still based on weapons facts and tactics etc… and then add in they have to invent, not research, invent magic systems, landscape, culture, people names, language and so much more…. i’m  not sure which is the harder discipline… anyway i digress.

Gates of Stone, epic in scale and epic in scope and utterly original. Angus has written a story that eases us away from the usual western world based style of fantasy, taking us east to a very Asian inspired set of societies. Gates of stone as a book one doesn’t suffer from book one world building speed/ info dumps, because the author eases us into the world, and spends his time on the characters, the landscape and the politics is woven into the individual characters from the multi POV writing. All meaning that we get a story that engages from the start and hooks you into the clearly defined good and bad for the ultimate story arc, within that the good and bad guys are more transitory, its politics and is there ever really a good guy/gal? or just ambition and blood.

I was totally entranced by the world and people created in this book, i slowed my reading to savour every chapter, to really engage with the characters, and it left me wanting to really recommend this book, both to all Fantasy fans, but also Historical fiction, because the roots of that writing is still evident in the book. I’m hugely impressed by this foray into fantasy and cannot wait for book 2.

Highly Recomended

(Parm)

Series
Outlaw Chronicles
0.5. The Rise of Robin Hood (2013)
1. Outlaw (2009)
2. Holy Warrior (2010)
2.5. The Betrayal of Father Tuck (2013)
3. King’s Man (2011)
3.5. The Hostility of Hanno (2013)
4. Warlord (2012)
5. Grail Knight (2013)
6. The Iron Castle (2014)
7. The King’s Assassin (2015)
8. The Death of Robin Hood (2016)
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Holcroft Blood
1. Blood’s Game (2017)
2. Blood’s Revolution (2018)
3. Blood’s Campaign (2019)
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Filed under Angus Macallan, Fantasy

John Gwynne: A time of Blood (Review)

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John Gwynne was born in Singapore while his dad was stationed there in the RAF. Up until he retired that meant a lot of traveling around, generally a move every three years or so.
He lives with his wife and four wonderful (and demanding) children in East Sussex. Also three dogs, two of which will chew anything that stands still. He has had many strange and wonderful jobs, including packing soap in a soap factory, waitering in a french restaurant in Canada, playing double bass in a rock n roll band, and lecturing at Brighton University
“I stepped out of university work due to my daughter’s disability, so now I split my time caring for her and working from home – I work with my wife rejuvenating vintage furniture, which means fixing, lifting, carrying, painting and generally doing what my wife tells me to do…

And somehow during this time I started writing. I’ve always told my children stories at bed-time, and they pestered long and hard for me to write some of it down. At the same time I felt that my brain was switching off a little – vintage furniture is my wife’s passion, whereas my passions are geekier!”

book cover of A Time of Blood

Defy the darkness. Defend the light.

Drem and his friends flee the battle at Starstone Lake to warn the Order of the Bright Star. They’ve witnessed horrors they’ll never forget, such as magic warping men into beasts. But worst of all, they’ve seen a demon rise from the dead – making it even more powerful. Now Fritha, the demons’ high priestess, is hunting Drem’s party.

Concealed in Forn Forest, Riv struggles to understand her half-breed heritage. She represents the warrior angels’ biggest secret, one which could break their society. And when she’s found by the Ben-Elim’s high captain, he swoops in for the kill.

As demonic forces multiply, they send a mighty war-host to overthrow the angel’s stronghold. This could decimate the fractured Ben-Elim. And their allies in the Order may be too overwhelmed to send aid – with Fritha and her monstrous beasts closing in. Like heroes of old, Drem and the Bright Star’s warriors must battle to save their land. But can the light triumph when the dark is rising?

A Time of Blood is the spectacular follow-up to John Gwynne’s A Time of Dread.

Review

A Time of Dread was an extraordinary read, something that was a step up even from the amazing and original Faithful and Fallen series, so i had high expectations for A time of Blood, also as many of you lovely people who read this know i had taken a sabbatical from reading and was struggling with books full stop, it needed special books to reignite my passion for reading, i can happily state that this is indeed a very special book.

There are many stories within the book, many key characters, but for me i’m hooked by the trials and troubles of Riv and Drem, Drem more than any other. I find i can really identify with the character, not just on a personal level but also because he reminds me so much of various David Gemmell characters, even the over all cadence of the books have a very Gemmell quality and tone to them.

I find that John deals with adversity and loss in such a humane and sensitive fashion in his writing, which although i have not met him face to face, seems to very much match the man i have come to know online (seriously one of the kindest and toughest (mentally) people i have had the pleasure of speaking with)… that personality comes across so much and so well in his books and his cast.

As ever im not going to try and rehash elements of the story, the synopsis lays out whats going to happen… well teases it lol. But to summarize,  This book will make you say WTF!, OMG, it will keep you on the edge of the page and turning that page long after you should have gone to sleep. It will have you in tears and it will fill you with hope and joy, such is the skill of the story and the writer, the book will end way way way before you want it to and leave you begging for the next… and there is no greater achievement or compliment than that…. serious contender for book of the year… do NOT miss this

(Parm)

Series
Faithful and the Fallen
1. Malice (2012)
2. Valour (2014)
3. Ruin (2015)
4. Wrath (2016)
Faithful and the Fallen Collection 4 Books Set (omnibus)(2017)
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Tales of the Apt (with Frances Hardinge, Joff Leader, Tom Lloyd, Juliet E McKenna, Keris McDonald, Peter Newman, Justina Robson, David Tallerman and Adrian Tchaikovsky)
The Scent of Tears (2018)
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Blood & Bone
1. A Time of Dread (2018)
2. A Time of Blood (2019)
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Mark Lawrence: Holy Sister (Review)

Image result for mark lawrence Holy sister

Mark Lawrence was born in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, to British parents but moved to the UK at the age of one. He went back to the US after taking a PhD in mathematics at Imperial College to work on a variety of research projects including the ‘Star Wars’ missile defence programme. Returning to the UK, he has worked mainly on image processing and decision/reasoning theory.
Mark Lawrence lives in Bristol and is married with four children, one of whom is severely disabled. His day job is as a research scientist focused on various rather intractable problems in the field of artificial intelligence. He has held secret level clearance with both US and UK governments. At one point he was qualified to say ‘this isn’t rocket science … oh wait, it actually is’.
Between work and caring for his disabled child, Mark spends his time writing, playing computer games, tending an allotment, brewing beer, and avoiding DIY.

 

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Nona Grey’s story reaches its shattering conclusion in the third instalment of Book of the Ancestor.

They came against her as a child. Now they face the woman.

The ice is advancing, the Corridor narrowing, and the empire is under siege from the Scithrowl in the east and the Durns in the west. Everywhere, the emperor’s armies are in retreat.

Nona faces the final challenges that must be overcome if she is to become a full sister in the order of her choice. But it seems unlikely that Nona and her friends will have time to earn a nun’s habit before war is on their doorstep.

Even a warrior like Nona cannot hope to turn the tide of war. The shiphearts offer strength that she might use to protect those she loves, but it’s a power that corrupts. A final battle is coming in which she will be torn between friends, unable to save them all. A battle in which her own demons will try to unmake her. A battle in which hearts will be broken, lovers lost, thrones burned.

Holy Sister completes the Book of the Ancestor trilogy that began with Red Sister and Grey Sister. A ground-breaking series, it has established Mark Lawrence as one of the most exciting new voices in modern speculative fiction.

 

Review

What can i say about this series and this book? whilst not my favorite of his characters, It’s the best series he has written and ballsy as hell for a guy to write a female protagonist, and one that takes no crap what so ever. The last book of a series is always bitter sweet, the conclusion of the time you have invested in the world and the character, yet the culmination of an excellent story, and you hope not the life of the main character.

Holy Sister was always going to be bloody, the empire is under siege from the Scithrowl in the east and the Durns in the west after all, assassins abound, the emperors sister is a cold hearted bitch set on betrayal, the Scithrowl are as many as the Nadir Hordes in Legend and led by one of the most powerful people alive and none of that even touches on the Durn.

This book is told from 2 different times lines, from the end of the last book and also now 3 years ahead, it takes us on both journeys to see how we get to the end, to see what was learned, when and how, to see the pain and suffering each of the novices/ nuns have to endure. we learn painful lessons on the ice and finally get more of an insight into the magic of the ancestors.

The culmination of the book as you would expect is the big finale, the battle, who will win? the rampaging hordes or the beleaguered forces of the Empire, TBH morally you only really root for the empire because of Nona and her compatriots, lets face it most of the Snr people in the empire are self serving back stabbing political climbers and rich nobility, with almost no redeeming qualities.  So who should win the fight for the dwindling resources of the world?

What engages is as always the sacrifices of the nuns, the friendships, the loyalties, the ties of youth enduring despite past conflict. Mark Lawrence has woven his threads so well we are all bound to the characters and their fate.

I can’t add much about what happens because id kill someone if they spoiled it for me, suffice to say no matter who you are, keep a tissue handy for the end of this book, it will pull the heart strings of even the most hard-hearted. This is a book full of drama, excitement, heroic deeds and nasty back stabbing. It will make you gasp at the twists and turns and it will make you cry at the inevitable losses. what more can you ask for.

Brilliant ending….. although… do i sense that we may see more one day ??

(Parm)

Series
Broken Empire
1. Prince of Thorns (2011)
2. King of Thorns (2012)
3. Emperor of Thorns (2013)
Mark Lawrence 2-Book Bundle (omnibus) (2013)
The Complete Broken Empire Trilogy (omnibus) (2014)
The Secret (2015)
The Broken Empire (omnibus) (2016)
Road Brothers (2017)
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Red Queen’s War
1. Prince of Fools (2014)
2. The Liar’s Key (2015)
3. The Wheel of Osheim (2016)
Red Queen’s War collection 3 books Box set (omnibus)(2018)
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Book of the Ancestor
1. Red Sister (2017)
2. Grey Sister (2018)
2.5. Bound – A Book of the Ancestor Short Story: Short Story (2018)
3. Holy Sister (2019)
Book of Ancestor Books 1-2 (2018)
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Impossible Times
1. One Word Kill (2019)
2. Limited Wish (2019)
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Girl and the Stars
1. The Girl and the Stars (2020)

 

 

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Filed under Fantasy, Mark Lawrence

Mark Lawrence: One Word Kill (Review)

Mark Lawrence

Image result for mark lawrence one word

Mark Lawrence was born in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, to British parents but moved to the UK at the age of one. He went back to the US after taking a PhD in mathematics at Imperial College to work on a variety of research projects including the ‘Star Wars’ missile defence programme. Returning to the UK, he has worked mainly on image processing and decision/reasoning theory.
Mark Lawrence lives in Bristol and is married with four children, one of whom is severely disabled. His day job is as a research scientist focused on various rather intractable problems in the field of artificial intelligence. He has held secret level clearance with both US and UK governments. At one point he was qualified to say ‘this isn’t rocket science … oh wait, it actually is’.
Between work and caring for his disabled child, Mark spends his time writing, playing computer games, tending an allotment, brewing beer, and avoiding DIY.

Image result for mark lawrence one word

In January 1986, fifteen-year-old boy-genius Nick Hayes discovers he’s dying. And it isn’t even the strangest thing to happen to him that week.

Nick and his Dungeons & Dragons-playing friends are used to living in their imaginations. But when a new girl, Mia, joins the group and reality becomes weirder than the fantasy world they visit in their weekly games, none of them are prepared for what comes next. A strange yet curiously familiar – man is following Nick, with abilities that just shouldn’t exist. And this man bears a cryptic message: Mia’s in grave danger, though she doesn’t know it yet. She needs Nick’s help – now.

He finds himself in a race against time to unravel an impossible mystery and save the girl. And all that stands in his way is a probably terminal disease, a knife-wielding maniac and the laws of physics.

Challenge accepted.

Review

I had no idea what to expect from this book, but its Mark Lawrence, i’m sure he can make his shopping list funny and engaging to read.

What i do know is that it would need to be good, as i’m sure many of you know i had taken a sabbatical from books and reviewing for personal reasons, but i’m back, and the first book back had been Dark Forge by Miles Cameron (see the blog for review), its astoundingly good. So i sat down with the expectation of a Mark Lawrence read ahead, but also that worry that it might get the book hangover from Miles Camerons Dark Forge.

I’m happy to say not, this book stood out all on its own, it takes you in right from page one, draws you into the den of the geek, the world where introverts rule, and yet in their own space there are a multitude of personalities and needs, these guys are no different from anyone else, just maybe shy and at the same time smarter than average, they live on their imagination, and the world of D&D gives scope to that intelligence and imagination.

One word kill blends that imagination into a mind bending reality of time and space and paradox, and at the same time is wrapped around a heart rending tale of childhood mortality with the main character suffering from cancer. This part really hit home with me given that about a week before i got the book i myself was diagnosed with a form (treatable) of cancer, but the emotions were something i could relate to despite the age difference between the character and myself, especially as the book is set around the time i left school, making the character about my age.

Even with the fantastic reality bending idea of the book, its highly relate-able , the characters are almost people i knew back then and now (if they had known back then that geek will inherit the earth they may have been more outgoing lol….) but maybe not themselves. Given i had read so little and was easing back into it, this book was devoured in very short order. I couldn’t put it down, and as i was opening my own business at the time i needed to sleep, but it had an insistence that i keep turning the page that i read the next bit. I have to say i was hugely impressed, while a totally different read to Miles Cameron it was up there in quality of writing and story, and so in my top books for 2019 so far.

If i had to make a comparison, while the stories have no similarity, this reminds me of when David Gemmell wrote White Knight Black Swan, a total break away style, and yet one of his most engaging reads.

I highly recommend this

(Parm)

Series
Broken Empire
1. Prince of Thorns (2011)
2. King of Thorns (2012)
3. Emperor of Thorns (2013)
Mark Lawrence 2-Book Bundle (omnibus) (2013)
The Complete Broken Empire Trilogy (omnibus) (2014)
The Secret (2015)
The Broken Empire (omnibus) (2016)
Road Brothers (2017)
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Red Queen’s War
1. Prince of Fools (2014)
2. The Liar’s Key (2015)
3. The Wheel of Osheim (2016)
Red Queen’s War collection 3 books Box set (omnibus)(2018)
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Book of the Ancestor
1. Red Sister (2017)
2. Grey Sister (2018)
2.5. Bound – A Book of the Ancestor Short Story: Short Story (2018)
3. Holy Sister (2019)
Book of Ancestor Books 1-2 (2018)
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Impossible Times
1. One Word Kill (2019)
2. Limited Wish (2019)
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Girl and the Stars
1. The Girl and the Stars (2020)

 

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Filed under Fantasy, Mark Lawrence

Miles / Christian Cameron : Dark Forge (Review) Blog Tour

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Miles/ 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, Canada with his wife Sarah and their daughter Beatrice.

 

DARK FORGE

Some are warriors, some captains; others tend to the fallen or feed the living.

But on the magic-drenched battlefield, information is the lifeblood of victory, and Aranthur is about to discover that carrying messages, scouting the enemy, keeping his nerve, and passing on orders is more dangerous, and more essential, then an inexperienced soldier could imagine . . . especially when everything starts to go wrong.

Battle has been joined – on the field, in the magical sphere, and in the ever-shifting political arena

book cover of Dark Forge

Review:

Miles Cameron burst onto the fantasy scene in 2012 and quickly established himself as one of the best writers in the genre, not a huge surprise given that he is also Christian Cameron arguably the best writer in Historical Fiction genre. In both genres he takes all his knowledge as a soldier, intelligencer, historian and re-enactor and couples that with a writing ability that is the envy of many established writers.

The big worry for any reader and writer in a new genre is that when a series is as good as The Traitor Son cycle, then what comes next is it possible to reach that same heady heights as series one? and TSC is one of the best epic fantasy series you can find so that’s a tough ask.

But Miles/ Christian gave us Master and Mages: Cold Iron, somehow he managed to create yet another world, yet another world structure, magic ethos and more and made it new and original and even better than TSC.

Dark Forge progresses that high skill level of writing and that extraordinary world building. But more than the world building you have layers and layers of politics, magic, friendship, honour and all written through the eyes of such real and honest characters. people you can read and love and shed blood with.  Thats the true power of his writing, the characters that while they live in another time and a place of magic, you feel totally connected to them, and so feel pulled ever deeper into the plots and the intrigues.

Be prepared for all out action and intrigue in Dark Forge, this book follows the further growth of Aranthur, The battles get bigger and more desperate, the magic deeper and more complex and the intentions of the dark forces more obscure…. can Aranthur unravel the mad schemes of the pure? can you the reader keep up with all the spy craft? the layers of mystery and misdirection? the huge scale battles and city sieges? Can you keep up with the one on one swashbuckling sword scenes? and the utter scale of adventure that’s both hugely complex and yet so simply and elegantly written.

I loved this book, it was my first read for a few months, having taken time out… and what a way to return. Easily a contender for book of the year.

Parm.

 

Traitor Son Cycle
1. The Red Knight (2012)
2. The Fell Sword (2012)
3. The Dread Wyrm (2012)
4. A Plague of Swords (2016)
5. The Fall of Dragons (2017)
Traitor son cycle series: Books 1-4 (omnibus) (2018)
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Masters & Mages
1. Cold Iron (2018)
2. Dark Forge (2019)
3. Light Bringer (2019)
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Series
Alan Craik (as by Gordon Kent)
1. Night Trap (1998)
aka Rules of Engagement
2. Peace Maker (2000)
3. Top Hook (2002)
4. Hostile Contact (2003)
5. Force Protection (2004)
6. Damage Control (2005)
7. The Spoils of War (2006)
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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)
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Long War
1. Killer of Men (2010)
2. Marathon (2011)
3. Poseidon’s Spear (2012)
4. The Great King (2014)
5. Salamis (2015)
6. Rage of Ares (2016)
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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)
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Chivalry
1. The Ill-Made Knight (2013)
2. The Long Sword (2014)
3. The Green Count (2017)
4. Sword of Justice (2018)
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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)
4. Tom Swan and the Siege of Belgrade: Part Four (2015)
5. Tom Swan and the Siege of Belgrade: Part Five (2015)
6. Tom Swan and the Siege of Belgrade: Part Six (2015)
7. Tom Swan and the Siege of Belgrade: Part Seven (2015)
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Tom Swan and the Last Spartans
1. Tom Swan and the Last Spartans: Part One (2016)
2. Tom Swan and the Last Spartans: Part Two (2016)
3. Tom Swan and the Last Spartans: Part Three (2017)
4. Tom Swan and the Last Spartans: Part Four (2017)
5. Tom Swan and the Last Spartans: Part Five (2017)
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Commander
1. The New Achilles (2019)
2. The Last Greek (2020)
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Novels
Cauldron of Violence (2000) (as by Gordon Kent)
Washington and Caesar (2001)
The Falconer’s Tale (2007) (as by Gordon Kent)
God of War (2012)
A Song of War (2016) (with Libbie Hawker, Kate Quinn, Vicky Alvear Shecter, Stephanie Thornton, S J A Turneyand Russell Whitfield)
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Miles Cameron: Cold Iron (Review)

Christian Cameron 
aka Miles Cameron, Gordon Kent

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, Canada with his wife Sarah and their daughter Beatrice.

 

book cover of Cold Iron

A young mage-in-training is unwittingly pulled into a violent political upheaval, in the first book of this new epic fantasy trilogy by Miles Cameron, author of the Traitor Son Cycle.

Aranthur is a promising young mage. His talents compel him to attend University to develop his abilities further. But the world is not safe for a mage, and after a confrontation leaves him no choice but to display his skill with a blade, Aranthur is instructed to train under a renowned Master of Swords.

During his intensive training he begins to question the bloody life he’s chosen. And while studying under the Master, Aranthur is conscripted to the City Militia. Soon after, he finds himself thrown into the middle of a political revolt that will impact everyone he’s come to know.

To protect his friends, Arnathur will be forced to decide if he can truly follow the Master of Swords into a life of violence and cold-hearted commitment to the blade.

Review

Miles Cameron is undoubtedly a hugely talented writer, his work as Christian Cameron is at the forefront of writing in Historical Fiction, and his debut fantasy series (Traitor Son Cycle) has been a huge hit.

For me there was little question about the expected quality of this next series, just what direction would it take, and could it be as original as the Traitor Son series?

My first surprise was that this book starts the series off at a very measured pace, no big battles. What it delivers instead is world building on a hugely imaginative scale, in-depth characterization and characters you can connect with instantly on a personal level. A magic system that’s new and fresh and complex, that cannot be used for simple plot escapes, and a political system as complex and dizzying as anything in the real world. In fact as always i think we find many modern world issues explored and exposed in this book, racism, right wing attitudes, an ISIS equivalent ideology, and yet also compassion, and understanding, religious ideals and many other thoughts and ideas are explored and incorporated.

The depth and breadth of this book is breath taking, the skill with which its delivered is sure to make this book and this series a huge hit.

Very very highly recommended.

(Parm)

 

Traitor Son Cycle
1. The Red Knight (2012)
2. The Fell Sword (2012)
3. The Dread Wyrm (2012)
4. A Plague of Swords (2016)
5. The Fall of Dragons (2017)
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Series
Alan Craik (as by Gordon Kent)
1. Night Trap (1998)
aka Rules of Engagement
2. Peace Maker (2000)
3. Top Hook (2002)
4. Hostile Contact (2003)
5. Force Protection (2004)
6. Damage Control (2005)
7. The Spoils of War (2006)
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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)
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Long War
1. Killer of Men (2010)
2. Marathon (2011)
3. Poseidon’s Spear (2012)
4. The Great King (2014)
5. Salamis (2015)
6. Rage of Ares (2016)
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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)
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Chivalry
1. The Ill-Made Knight (2013)
2. The Long Sword (2014)
3. The Green Count (2017)
4. Sword of Justice (2018)
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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)
4. Tom Swan and the Siege of Belgrade: Part Four (2015)
5. Tom Swan and the Siege of Belgrade: Part Five (2015)
6. Tom Swan and the Siege of Belgrade: Part Six (2015)
7. Tom Swan and the Siege of Belgrade: Part Seven (2015)
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Tom Swan and the Last Spartans
1. Tom Swan and the Last Spartans: Part One (2016)
2. Tom Swan and the Last Spartans: Part Two (2016)
3. Tom Swan and the Last Spartans: Part Three (2017)
4. Tom Swan and the Last Spartans: Part Four (2017)
5. Tom Swan and the Last Spartans: Part Five (2017)
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Novels
Cauldron of Violence (2000) (as by Gordon Kent)
Washington and Caesar (2001)
The Falconer’s Tale (2007) (as by Gordon Kent)
God of War (2012)
A Song of War (2016) (with Libbie Hawker, Kate Quinn, Vicky Alvear Shecter, Stephanie Thornton, S J A Turneyand Russell Whitfield)
The New Achilles (2019)
The Last Greek (2020)
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Filed under Fantasy, Miles Cameron, Uncategorized

David Gilman: Scourge of Wolves (Guest Blog)

David Gilman

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David Gilman has had an impressive variety of jobs – from firefighter to professional photographer, from soldier in the Parachute Regiment’s Reconnaissance Platoon to a Marketing Manager for an international publisher. He has countless radio, television and film credits before turning to novels. From 2000 until 2009 he was a principal writer on A Touch Of Frost.         David currently lives in Devon with his wife.

book cover of Scourge of Wolves

Winter, 1361: Edward III has finally agreed a treaty with the captive French King, John II. In return for his freedom, John has ceded vast tracts of territory to the English. But the mercenary bands and belligerent lords will not give up their hard-won spoils to honour a defeated king’s promises.

As he battles to enforce Edward’s claim, Thomas Blackstone, once again, will face the might of the French army on the field. But this time there will be no English army at his back.

Parmenion:

Guest Blog:

David Gilman – Scourge of Wolves.

The enmity between the French house of Valois and Thomas Blackstone is as fierce as always and if the French cannot corner him then they will turn his actions against him and persuade the English King that Thomas Blackstone is a murderer and a rapist. Any treaty between the English and the French is ignored when it comes to destroying Blackstone.

War and superstition were often travelling companions for the men who fought in medieval times. Portents of death were taken seriously, and no soldier wanted to die unshriven, without his sins being forgiven by a priest. In the winter of 1361 and then into 1362 France was still plagued with thousands of vicious armed men, ex-soldiers no longer held by their fealty to a lord or arrayed by their respective king, be they French, English, Gascons, Navarrese or German. Like the pestilence, they inflicted fear and devastation on the population. King Edward 111 had seemingly won his war against the French but now came the reckoning. Edward needs to claim what was no rightfully his and the French King, John 11, had to try and salvage what he could of his eviscerated country. The great set piece battles were no more there were many hard-fought contests between forces vying for power and influence.

 

Not only did routiers, mercenary bands, scour the land there was a civil war raging between Breton lords – a proxy war between the French and English. King John 11 backed one side, the English King the other, and amid this turmoil were those trying to claim the ceded territory due to the victorious English. Sir John Chandos the renowned knight, a man of great skill and political acumen was tasked with bringing those territories under English control and in Scourge of Wolves, it falls to Thomas Blackstone to defeat those who still opposed the will of the Crown. King Edward 111 played loose and fast with the treaty. He ordered any English mercenaries holding towns and land to return them to the French but in truth, he was slow to enforce this because it suited him to have the French tormented and to force them to concentrate their armies against the mercenaries.  It served to keep these disaffected men fighting in France rather than to return to England and create havoc at home.

 

Here then was a complex and brutal time politically and militarily where the future of two nations rested on a satisfactory outcome of a fragile peace treaty. Ceded territories were contested and routiers seemed to be aiding Edward who had not rescinded his claim to the French crown. In this broad sweep of historical mayhem Scourge of Wolves is told mostly through the eyes of the common soldier and the man who leads them, Sir Thomas Blackstone. In every conflict, those who engage in the fighting see only the immediate danger and to write about this time of great upheaval I needed to simplify events, imagine interlocking incidents that occurred behind the scenes and create dramatic intrigue to drive forward the story. Real events, real people, others invented. And above all else to take my readers on a journey where the portent of death hovers remorselessly over my characters.

Many thanks for this insight David.

Series
Danger Zone 
1. The Devil’s Breath (2007)
2. Ice Claw (2008)
3. Blood Sun (2009)
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Master of War
1. Master of War (2013)
2. Defiant Unto Death (2015)
3. Gate of the Dead (2015)
4. Viper’s Blood (2016)
5. Scourge of Wolves (2017)
Master of War Boxset: Books 1-3 (omnibus) (2017)
David gilman collection master of war series Books 1-4(omnibus) (2018)
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Novels
Monkey and Me (2014)
The Last Horseman (2016)
Night Flight to Paris (2018)
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Filed under David Gilman, Historical Fiction, Uncategorized