Harry Sidebottom : The Last Hour (2018) Review

Harry Sidebottom's picture

Harry Sidebottom is Lecturer in Ancient History at Merton College, Oxford, and part-time lecturer in Classics and Ancient History at the University of Warwick. He has written for and contributed to many publications, including Classical Review, Journal of Roman Studies, and War and Society in the Roman World.

The Last Hour (2018)
(The seventh book in the Warrior of Rome series)

book cover of The Last Hour

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A lone figure stands silhouetted atop the Mausoleum of Hadrian. Behind him, the sun is setting over the centre of the known world. Far below, the river is in full flood. The City of Rome lies spread out before him on the far bank. Footsteps pound up the stairs. He’s been set up. An enemy is closing in; he is cornered. He jumps.

Bruised and battered, he crawls out of the raging river. He is alone and unarmed, without money or friends, trapped in a deadly conspiracy at the heart of the Empire. The City Watch has orders to take him alive; other, more sinister, forces want him dead. As the day dies, he realises he has only 24 hours to expose the conspirators, and save the leader of the world. If the Emperor dies, chaos and violence will ensue. If the Emperor dies, every single person he loves will die.

He must run, bluff, hide and fight his way across the Seven Hills.
He must reach the Colosseum, and the Emperor.
He must make it to The Last Hour.

Review:

Harry Sidebottom continues the saga of Ballista a romanised barbarian, a man of two worlds, forced to live as a Roman hostage and accept that his life is that of a Warrior of Rome (see what i did there). Ballista has formed the core character that launched Harry as a major Historical Fiction writer, a writer with an uncompromising accuracy of the Roman world (well he does teach at Oxford).

Book 7 The Last Hour is however something new, not just for Harry, but in general for the Historical Fiction genre. The Last Hour is a Historical Fiction / Action Thriller cross over, a new section in the book shop: Historical Action Thriller. Its Ballista in Rome in a 24 Jack Bauer style, a novel that pits Ballista against the Praetorian Guard, the City watch and the dreaded Frumentarii in a chase at break neck speed around the Roman Capital, unraveling a political consspiracy, a chase encapsulating some of the greatest iconic buildings of the time brought to glorious life by Harry’s blisteringly fast paced writing.

Who will survive, who can help Ballista, can he succeed in making it to the emperor or at least getting a message to him, and thus save his life.

Harry Sidebottom manages to keep you the reader perched on the very edge of the page throughout the book, with regular chapter ending cliffhangers that make  a book that you cannot put down and will lose sleep over (i did… well i have insomnia and it made a good companion at 3am, but i couldn’t have slept if i tried).

I very Highly recommend this book, hands down the best in the series so far.

(Parm)

Series
Warrior of Rome
1. Fire in the East (2008)
2. King of Kings (2009)
3. Lion of the Sun (2010)
4. The Caspian Gates (2011)
5. The Wolves of the North (2012)
6. The Amber Road (2013)
7. The Last Hour (2018)
Warrior of Rome Series 6 Books Collection (omnibus)(2017)
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Throne of the Caesars
1. Iron & Rust (2014)
2. Blood & Steel (2015)
3. Fire & Sword (2016)
Silence & Lies (2015)
Shadow & Dust (2016)
Smoke & Mirrors (2017)
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Filed under Harry Sidebottom, Historical Fiction, Thrillers

Pierce Brown: Iron Gold (Review)

Pierce Brown's picture

 Pierce Brown USA flag 
Pierce Brown spent his childhood building forts and setting traps for his cousins in the woods of six states and the deserts of two. Graduating college in 2010, he fancied the idea of continuing his studies at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have a magical bone in his body. So while trying to make it as a writer, he worked as a manager of social media at a startup tech company, toiled as a peon on the Disney lot at ABC Studios, did his time as an NBC page, and gave sleep deprivation a new meaning during his stint as an aide on a U.S. Senate Campaign.
Now he lives in Los Angeles, where he scribbles tales of spaceships, wizards, ghouls, and most things old or bizarre.

Buy signed copy (UK)

Iron Gold (2018): Jan 16th 2018
(The first book in the Iron Gold series)

book cover of Iron Gold

Honor and betrayal fuel a caste-shattering revolution in the action-packed new novel from the number one New York Times best-selling author of the Red Rising Trilogy.

Ten years after the events of Morning Star, Darrow and the Rising are battling the remaining Gold loyalist forces and are closer than ever to abolishing the color-coded caste system of Society for good. But new foes will emerge from the shadows to threaten the imperfect victory Darrow and his friends have earned. Pierce Brown expands the size and scope of his impressive Red Rising universe with new characters, enemies, and conflicts among the stars.

Review

Iron Gold was a much anticipated read, i have been an unashamed advocate for this new series and its excellent predecessor. Pierce Brown has always made life hard for himself, Red Rising was such an extreme and powerful debut that creating a better second book was such a hard ask, yet he smashed it with Golden Son, and once again with Morning Star.

How on earth do you top such a stella series? well apparently you take a leaf right out of the J K Rowling playbook, Harry Potter as a series grew with its audience, it matured, the language grew, the plot became more complex and mature and the subtext became deeper. That’s where Iron Gold takes the story of Darrow, this time with a multi POV expose on what happens when you shatter an empire…. the fall out and the impacts across many walks of life.

Featuring all the surviving key characters from the first series, but 10 years on, 10 years of bloody conflict for the Utopian republic that Darrow dreamed of,  reality is a long way from the hopes and dreams of the young idealist. Has Darrow become all he despised? is the new republic rotten at its core? What machinations abound across the galaxy, There are many golds left alive many grouping around the Ash Lord, can the Golds once more retake power, can the golds within the new empire work with the other colours? and where are the big players, the enemies of Darrow’s past? Golds that powerful may need to run and hide but they are too big to fade from history.

Once again Pierce Brown manages to surpass all my expectations, i thought this would be another all action novel, a full on action packed thrill ride (no bad thing), but whilst there are strong sections of this still and the pace is at times electric, the growth and depth of plot is a huge lift, we see and learn so much more of the empire and its complexity and history. I still hold with my view that i don’t like Sci-Fi, yet this series screams from the gorydamn void to be read, no matter your genre preference.

So Buy the book, Out Jan 16th

(Parm)

Red Rising
1. Red Rising (2012)
2. Golden Son (2015)
3. Morning Star (2016)
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Iron Gold
1. Iron Gold (2018)
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Filed under Dystopian, Pierce Brown

Simon Scarrow: The Day of the Caesars (review)

Simon Scarrow

Simon Scarrow is a Sunday Times No. 1 bestselling author. After a childhood spent travelling the world, he pursued his great love of history as a teacher, before becoming a full-time writer. His Roman soldier heroes Cato and Macro made their debut in 2000 in UNDER THE EAGLE, and have subsequently appeared in many bestsellers in the Eagles of the Empire series, including CENTURION, THE GLADIATOR and most recently INVICTUS.

Simon is also the author of the novels YOUNG BLOODS, THE GENERALS, FIRE AND SWORD and THE FIELDS OF DEATH, chronicling the lives of the Duke of Wellington and Napoleon Bonaparte, and of SWORD & SCIMITAR, the epic tale of the 1565 Siege of Malta, and HEARTS OF STONE, set in Greece during the Second World War.

Simon has also co-written two bestselling novel with T.J. Andrews, ARENA and INVADER.

He lives in the historic city of Norwich.

Author Web Site

AD 54. Claudius is dead. Rome is in turmoil. And two brave heroes of the Roman army face the challenge of their lives.

Simon Scarrow’s DAY OF THE CAESARS is not to be missed by readers of Conn Iggulden and Bernard Cornwell. ‘A new book in Simon Scarrow’s series about the Roman army is always a joy’ The Times

The Emperor Claudius is dead. Nero rules. His half-brother Britannicus has also laid claim to the throne. A bloody power struggle is underway.

All Prefect Cato and Centurion Macro want is a simple army life, fighting with their brave and loyal men. But Cato has caught the eye of rival factions determined to get him on their side. To survive, Cato must play a cunning game, and enlist the help of the one man in the Empire he can trust: Macro.

As the rebel force grows, legionaries and Praetorian Guards are moved like chess pieces by powerful and shadowy figures. A political game has created the ultimate military challenge. Can civil war be averted? The future of the empire is in Cato’s hands…

Review

Macro and Cato return again, 16 books in and the boys have grown, matured and changed. The new relationship with Cato as superior is well embedded and Macro is starting to take on the mantle of the soldier coming to end of his career, jaded (well as much as Macro ever could be), and sick of the politics and BS that defines how his life may end. Cato with his rank is more mired in the the politics, yet as a man from the ranks likes it no more than his rough and ready colleague.

In this book Simon Scarrow weaves a tale that’s more intrigue and thriller than the action and battles that have come to define this series, that’s not to say that macro and Cato don’t get the stabby parts of their blades wet and gory, because they most certainly do.  But this book is more subtle, its the interplay of republicans and a dynastic squabble over the next emperor, and how despite everything our duo try to avoid it, yet they still get sucked into the storm of change.

Old enemies reappear, new enemies are made, this is another major turning point in the life of Macro and Cato, its a book not to be missed in this epic series that has helped shape the Historical Fiction genre.

Highly Recommended

(Parm)

Series
Eagles of the Empire
1. Under the Eagle (2000)
2. The Eagle’s Conquest (2001)
3. When the Eagle Hunts (2002)
4. The Eagle and the Wolves (2003)
5. The Eagle’s Prey (2004)
6. The Eagle’s Prophecy (2005)
7. The Eagle in the Sand (2006)
aka The Zealot
8. Centurion (2007)
9. The Gladiator (2009)
10. The Legion (2010)
11. Praetorian (2011)
12. The Blood Crows (2013)
13. Brothers in Blood (2014)
14. Britannia (2015)
15. Invictus (2016)
16. Day of the Caesars (2017)
Eagles of the Empire Series Book 1-5 (omnibus) (2017)
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Wellington and Napoleon
1. Young Bloods (2006)
2. The Generals (2007)
3. Fire and Sword (2009)
4. The Fields of Death (2010)
The Wellington and Napoleon Quartet (omnibus) (2015)
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Gladiator 
1. Fight for Freedom (2011)
2. Street Fighter (2012)
3. Son of Spartacus (2013)
4. Vengeance (2014)
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Roman Arena (with T J Andrews)
1. Barbarian (2012)
2. Challenger (2012)
3. First Sword (2013)
4. Revenge (2013)
5. Champion (2013)
Arena (omnibus) (2013)
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Invader (with T J Andrews)
1. Death Beach (2014)
2. Blood Enemy (2014)
3. Dark Blade (2014)
4. Imperial Agent (2015)
5. Sacrifice (2015)
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Novels
The Sword and the Scimitar (2012)
Hearts of Stone (2015)
Invader (2016) (with T J Andrews)
Playing With Death (2017) (with Lee Francis)
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Novellas
Red Christmas (2014)
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Filed under Historical Fiction, Simon Scarrow

Christian Cameron: The Green Count (Review)

Christian Cameron

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USA flag (1962 – )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 The Green Count

After the bloody trials of Alexandria, Sir William Gold is readying for a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. He hopes, too, that the Holy City might allow his relationship with Emile, cousin of the Green Count of Savoy, to develop.

But the Roman Emperor of Constantinople has been taken hostage by an unknown enemy, and the Green Count is vital to the rescue effort. It is up to Sir William to secure his support, but he soon finds that his past, and his relationship with Emile, might have repercussions he had not foreseen….

Suddenly thrust onto the stage of international politics, Sir William finds himself tangled in a web of plots, intrigue and murder.

Review

I’d saved this book, i knew i would enjoy it, it was more about how much?

This isn’t a small book and yet i found myself having to slow my reading so i could really enjoy and savor every line of writing. The tale starts with William Gold settling down to recount his past, which as a plot device i think is excellent, it puts the reader immediately into the warm space of being told a story and that for me feels even more real and realistic, the recounting of a history by someone who was there, it brings the whole panorama of the adventure to life.

As with all of Christian Cameron’s books there is much going on, many surprises around the corner and so many political machinations that can turn the story, much like life at the time. His characters are very alive and real, imbued with a depth of personality rarely seen in any series. That mix of real personalities fleshed out from the pages of history with a complex personality blended with those imagined and brought to life from the authors deep and intimate knowledge of the time and the culture. While i always love the ain characters like William Gold and Fiore, my favorite in this book has to be John the Turk aka John the Kipchak, a character free from much of the church morailty that mires the rest of the band, he has a simple view of the world that contrasts wonderfully….Ok, there being a Captain Parmenio is also pretty awesome and always a humbling thing, i wonder if there is a record for how many series a character has appeared in? (Captain Parmenio has been in Miles Cameron’s red Traitor Son Cycle, Simon Turney’s Ottoman Cycle, Christian Cameron’s Chivalry series and Tom Swan….honestly, wonderful moments), i’ve come to love that old rogue.

I personally don’t find the Byzantine area/period the most exciting, that could just be the books I’ve read (there are odd exceptions), and to be honest in this one Christian Cameron only touches on that world briefly, but still he brings it to life in a powerful and exciting way. The massively convoluted politics of the region, the deep schism’s that surround the seat of power in Constantinople and the constant striving for that seat of ultimate power. It is a twisted web this writer weaves, but as with all the best tales, no more twisted than the truth.

As always with Christian’s stories, every blade, every piece of armour, every rivet is exactingly real, every pain in wearing the armour, every fighting move , every twisted ankle and turn of the wrist has been experienced in some way on the field by the man himself (well ok he hasn’t actually stabbed someone… but everything non bloody). Beyond the battle, to the gloves, the clothes, the shoes, the horses, the logistics, every detail is based on experience from his world of living history/ re-enactment. This experience is priceless because of the life and reality it gives the story, these tales are more than blood and battle, they are life in another time, and Chivalry as a series is a love story as much as a tale of honour. I think my favourite description is the gravel underfoot, and how uncomfortable it was, and how much pain it led to, not because of the pain (obviously im not mean) , but because i can imagine at some time the author has experienced it, it was just too personal to have been conjured from nothing, and this is what i mean by the entire book having a startling reality that others do not. Many authors describe what they think something might be like, where Christian Cameron describes what it does feel like.

A couple of years ago it seemed unlikely that we would ever see the Green Count, but now we have a stunningly real book, one of the best Historical fiction titles you will read this year, but as even better news; Chivalry will continue next year with Sword of Justice, William Gold and friends will ride again.

I cannot recommend this book and series highly enough its a must read for Fantasy (if you lived The Traitor Son Cycle you will love this) or Historical fiction readers.

(Parm)

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 (2007)
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)
5. 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)
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Omnibus
Songs of Blood and Gold (2017) (with Ruth Downie, Stephanie Dray, Libbie Hawker, Ben Kane, E Knight, Sophie Perinot, Kate Quinn, Vicky Alvear Shecter, Stephanie Thornton, S J A Turney and Russell Whitfield)
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Series
Traitor Son Cycle
1. The Red Knight (2012)
2. The Fell Sword (2014)
3. The Dread Wyrm (2014)
4. A Plague of Swords (2016)
5. The Fall of Dragons (2017)
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Masters & Mages
1. The Master (2018)

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Filed under Christian Cameron, Historical Fiction, Miles Cameron

Fall of Dragons Publication Day

With Pen and Sword

The Fall of Dragons Cover

It’s launch day, at least in the UK.

I started writing these novels in 2012.  I think there’s at least 2400 pages of material, and I could write more.  It’s odd to say goodbye.

However, I want to take this space to discuss origins and books I loved, not endings.  Who knows, maybe Gollanz will eventually want more.  I certainly hope so… a great deal of effort went into world development, both thirty years ago and right up until a few days ago… but that’s another story.

Today’s story is the origins story, with a few tiny spoilers. Really, it’s a social history, or an historiography, with lots of thanks.

Alba started as an RPG.  There were between nine and twenty players, and we always had a heavy element of war gaming involved, so there was an RPG level, a political level, and a military level, and the three were…

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James Rollins : Demon Crown (Review)

Image result for james rollins demon

Author Web site

James Rollins is a #1 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.

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, James Rollins decided he wanted to be a writer. He honed his storytelling skills early, spinning elaborate tales that were often at the heart of pranks played on his brothers and sisters.

Before he would set heroes and villains on harrowing adventures, Rollins embarked on a career in veterinary medicine, graduating from the University of Missouri and establishing a successful veterinary practice. He continues to volunteer his time and veterinary skills in support of the local SPCA. His hands-on knowledge of medicine and science helps shape the research and scientific speculation that set James Rollins books apart.

 

The Demon Crown (2017)
(Book 13 in the Sigma Force series)

book cover of The Demon Crown

THE DEMON CROWN

Off the coast of Brazil, a team of scientists discovers a horror like no other, an island where all life has been eradicated, consumed and possessed by a species beyond imagination. Before they can report their discovery, a mysterious agency attacks the group, killing them all, save one, an entomologist, an expert on venomous creatures, Professor Ken Matsui from Cornell University.

Strangest of all, this inexplicable threat traces back to a terrifying secret buried a century ago beneath the National Mall: a cache of bones preserved in amber. The artifact was hidden away by a cabal of scientists – led by Alexander Graham Bell – to protect humankind. But they dared not destroy it, for the object also holds an astonishing promise for the future: the very secret of life after death.

Yet, nothing stays buried forever. An ancient horror – dormant in the marrow of those preserved bones – is free once more, nursed and developed into a weapon of incalculable strength and malignancy, ready to wreak havoc on an unsuspecting world.

To stop its spread, Commander Grayson Pierce of Sigma Force must survive a direct attack on the island of Maui. To be there first has always been the core mission of Sigma Force, a covert team forged to be America’s front line against emerging threats. But this time, even Sigma may not be able to decipher this deadly mystery, one that traces back to the founding of the Smithsonian Institution.

With each new discovery, the menace they hunt is changing, growing, spreading – adapting and surviving every attempt to stop it from reconquering a world it once ruled. And each transformation makes it stronger . . . and smarter.

Running out of time and options, Commander Grayson Pierce will be forced to make an impossible choice. To eradicate this extinction-level threat and expose those involved, he will have to join forces with Sigma’s greatest enemy–the newly resurrected Guild – even it if means sacrificing one of his own.

Review

Thirteen books into the Sigma series and as a reader i always worry how a writer will keep a series fresh, new and exciting and with this type of book where cutting edge is key can they keep it in the realm of believable.

James Rollins always amazes me with his ability to write a tight, interesting, action packed story, but most of all his ability to keep coming up with world ending scenarios that are totally realistic. Each and everyone a trial for the Sigma team, to both solve the world ending conundrum and also survive those who are trying to cause the apocalypse.

With a Rollins book its not just the roller coaster ride of the thriller that wins me over, its the absolute attention to detail, the huge depth of subject research, both biological and historical, but also arms and armour. These are not cheaply thrown together beach pulp fiction titles, these are the cream of the Action Adventure, thriller world, and year after year book after book he manages to knock it out of the park.

Demon Crown is quite possibly one of the best to come out of the Sigma Force stable. Infusing history across multiple time periods for both the cataclysmic event, but also the conspiracy that surrounds the Guild, the latest potential technology for DARPA and similar agencies, a new and ancient, deadly, potentially global event, so simple and yet so complex in its devising that it kept me guessing all the way through the book, set in locations so well described you want to pack your bags and visit. As always the whole thing pulled together by characters who while on the heroic side, they also live  , breathe and bleed on every page, making the whole book believable.

A full five stars again for this splendid book, just what i hoped for and always more than i expected.

(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 (2011)
7.5. Tracker (2012)
8. Bloodline (2012)
9. The Eye of God (2013)
10. The Sixth Extinction (2014)
10.5. The Midnight Watch (2015)
11. The Bone Labyrinth (2015)
12. The Seventh Plague (2016)
13. The Demon Crown (2017)
The Doomsday Key / The Last Oracle (omnibus) (2013)
Sigma Force Novels 1 (omnibus) (2014)
Crash and Burn (2016)
Ghost Ship (2017)
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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)
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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 (2014)
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Tucker Wayne (with Grant Blackwood)
1. The Kill Switch (2014)
2. War Hawk (2015)
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Novels
Subterranean (1999)
Excavation (2000)
Deep Fathom (2001)
Amazonia (2002)
Ice Hunt (2003)
Altar of Eden (2009)
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Novellas
The Devil’s Bones (2014) (with Steve Berry)
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Series contributed to
Indiana Jones (Films)
4. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull(2008)
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Filed under Action/ Adventure Thrillers, James Rollins, Thrillers

Steven A McKay: The Abbey of Death (Review)

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Steven A. McKay was born in Scotland in 1977. His first novel, Wolf’s Head, was published in 2013 and went on to be an Amazon UK top-twenty bestseller. The Abbey of Death is the final story in the Forest Lord series. Steven is currently researching and writing a brand-new tale set in post-Roman Britain. He plays lead guitar and sings in a heavy-metal band when they can find the time to meet.

The Abbey of Death (Kindle Single) by [McKay, Steven A.]

He wanted to find peace in prayer, but some men serve God best with a sword in their hand.

Will Scaflock wants only to live in peace. He had more than his share of adventure when he went by the name Will Scarlet and fought corrupt authority alongside Robin Hood. Now widowed and alone, and estranged from his adult daughter, he has taken holy orders and sought refuge in a remote Benedictine abbey.

But even there, trouble and violence follow him. The abbot, John de Wystow, is a good man but a weak leader, and easily undermined by a faction of dissident monks. When the rebels, led by Brother Robert de Flexburgh, run riot in the local community—stealing, drinking, fornicating—Scaflock’s old instincts return. Reluctantly taking charge of the abbey’s moral defence, he finds himself embroiled in a series of fierce clashes with de Flexburgh’s rowdy gang.

As the abbey’s tranquillity is shattered, its cloisters stained with blood, Scaflock is forced to reconsider the direction of his life. Has he really left Will Scarlet behind him—or has he simply been running from reality?

Review

With each and every book in the forest lord series i have watched Steven A Mckay grow as a writer, both in style and confidence, until he has reached his latest point with The Abbey of Death. This tales shows a much more rounded tale steeped in confident writing and plot twists and misdirection. His characters continue to grow and coalesce into full realized and realistic personas making the book come alive. Will Scaflock being probably my favourite in the series , because he isn’t nice, he is rough and real and he has suffered. This book truly shows just how much he has suffered and how real he can be…. much to the horror of his attackers….

So with Abbey of Death, McKay brings down the curtain on the Forest Lord series, with his best work to date.

if that isnt worth £1.98…. well, im not sure what is.

(Parm)

 

 

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Filed under Historical Fiction, Steven A McKay