Jane Johnson: Court of Lions (Extract + Review)

AUTHOR

Jane Johnson is from Cornwall and has worked in the book industry for over 20 years, as a bookseller, publisher and writer. She is responsible for the publishing of many major authors, including George RR Martin.

In 2005 she was in Morocco researching the story of a distant family member who was abducted from a Cornish church in 1625 by Barbary pirates and sold into slavery in North Africa, when a near-fatal climbing incident caused her to rethink her future. She returned home, gave up her office job in London, and moved to Morocco. She married her own ‘Berber pirate’ and now they split their time between Cornwall and a village in the Anti-Atlas Mountains. She still works, remotely, as Fiction Publishing Director for HarperCollins.

book cover of Court of Lions

COURT OF LIONS

JANE JOHNSON 

Publication Date: 6th July 2017    Price £18.99

An epic saga of romance and redemption. Court of Lions brings one of the great turning points in history to life, through the stories of a modern woman and the last Moorish sultan of Granada.

 Kate Fordham, escaping terrible trauma, has fled to the beautiful sunlit city of Granada, the ancient capital of the Moors in Spain, where she is scraping by with an unfulfilling job in a busy bar. One day in the glorious gardens of the Alhambra, once home to Sultan Abu Abdullah Mohammed, also known as Boabdil, Kate finds a scrap of paper hidden in one of the ancient walls. Upon it, in strange symbols, has been inscribed a message from another age. It has lain undiscovered since before the Fall of Granada in 1492, when the city was surrendered to Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand. Born of love, in a time of danger and desperation, the fragment will be the catalyst that changes Kate’s life forever.

Court of Lions brings one of the great turning-points in history to life, telling the stories of a modern woman and the last Moorish sultan of Granada, as they both move towards their cataclysmic destinies.

Extract:

It was approaching eleven by the time she’d walked up to the Calle Charca to drop her laundry off with Rosita, a cheerful, tubby Spanish woman whose husband made the deliveries to the bodega and who washed three times a week for those with no machines, like Kate. Picking up fresh laundry a day later was one of Kate’s pleasures. Nothing smelled as nice as sheets that had been dried in the Albayzín sun: it seemed to imbue them with a whiff of the incense of ages past, with bitter oranges and spiced brandy. Then it was on to the little supermarket on the Calle Panaderos and the market in the square for beautifully organic fruit and veg. And still Jess hadn’t rung!

As Kate was making her way back home with her groceries, she thought she heard the muezzin at the mosque, the Mezquita Mayor, just a few streets away, starting to call the Muslim faithful to prayer. She strained her ears toward the fragile sound, but a truck came rattling along the narrow street, making her flatten herself against the rough wall, and by the time its roar had passed, the muezzin had fallen silent. The mosque had been constructed less than twenty years ago, the city finally bowing to the pressure to provide its significant North African population with somewhere to worship other than out of sight in garages and private houses. Catholic Spain might have expelled its Moors at the end of the fifteenth century, but it seemed they had been allowed to return more than half a millennium later, and be woven back into the rich warp and weft of the country they had done so much to civilize. Even if they hadn’t been permitted to give the muezzin a loudspeaker.

She dropped into the Internet café to send Jess an email. Hicham, not Saïd, was on duty, and he did not meet her eyes when she greeted him, or hold his hand out for the money, but instead waited for her to put the coins down on the counter, as if her touch might contaminate him. The place was usually stuffed with young men, but when Saïd was here, she never felt uncomfortable coming in on her own. The way Hicham treated her, though, made her clumsy. Trying to fiddle her change back into her bag, she dislodged a slip of paper, which spun across the melamine countertop toward him. Hicham stopped its progress with a stab of his finger.

“Sorry,” she said automatically. Then added, “Perdón.” She reached out to take it back, but he put his hand flat over it. His black eyes challenged her.

“Why you have this?”

“What?”

He repeated the question. Flummoxed, she shrugged. “Sorry, it’s just a bit of rubbish. I should have put it in a bin. But there’s never one around when you need one, is there?” She laughed awkwardly. Had she unleashed some sort of obscure insult: dropping a bit of waste paper in front of a Muslim man? She had no idea.

“If it just rubbish, why you want it back?”

There was no answer to this. She watched Hicham pick up the paper to scrutinize it. Then she realized what it was. The scrap of paper that she’d winkled out of the wall in the palace gardens yesterday. “Oh. Please, I do want that back.”

Hicham’s lip curled. “I don’t think so. It not yours.”

For a brief, embarrassing moment Kate thought she might burst into tears. What on earth was the matter with her? When had she become so pathetic? He was only a local café worker playing a game with her. A rather nasty, dour little game, exercising a bit of power over a woman: she should recognize that sort of thing by now. And really, did it matter so much? All this fuss over a scrap of rubbish. She rallied herself. “Keep it, then.”

For a moment he looked confused. Then he shoved the paper back across the counter at her. “You don’t trick me like that.” He turned and made for the back room, his mobile phone already to his ear.

She slid the scrap back into her bag. Hicham had truly rattled her; how dare he be so rude? Saïd was always so nice, so easy to talk to, even a bit flirty. He had a Spanish girlfriend, though, a handsome woman called Pilar, who worked at a museum. At least, she thought Pilar was his girlfriend. Did men from his culture even have girlfriends, or were they expected to marry to have a relationship? Really, what she knew about Muslim men—indeed, any sort of men—she could fit on the back of that sweet wrapper, or whatever it was.

She found an unoccupied monitor along the back wall between a group of giggling teenagers and a quiet young man who swiftly angled his body to shield the screen of his monitor from her. As if she cared that he was looking at pornography at midday on a Friday. Except … it seemed she did care. Unwelcome images swam up from the depths of her memory, cutting through dark wate

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Review

I have been wanting to review a book for Jane Johnson for quite a long time, i make no secret of the fact that she is just the most helpful, kind and talented person i have met in the world of books, and has always helped out this woeful reviewer. But all that said i would do an injustice if i didn’t give the book a fully fair review at the same time (and i think she would tell me off)….. so phew… its brilliant. I’m not normally one for the mushy books…. and to be honest this isn’t. While its a romantic book, essentially a love letter to the city of Granada, it is also and more importantly a deeply insightful well researched passionate piece about the the Granada War of the 1400’s , its culture and the people who existed there.

The author expands the story further using multiple perspectives, differing opinions and understanding. The main perspective being a young woman (Kate) a lady who finds herself immersed in a mystery that allows her to escape her own life and her counter part, Blessings who loves the young Sultan.

Jane Johnson weaves her tale with exceptional skill and such a delicate touch, providing some exceedingly real and complex characters. The author uses a real talent for knowing people to push the plot back and forth between past and present taking the reader through a roller coaster of emotions.

As i suspected and hoped Jane Johnson has written something wonderful, handling a delicate cultural plot-line, doing so with such passion for all areas of the book and its people.

Very Highly Recommended

(Parm)

Series
Eidolon Chronicles
1. The Secret Country (2005)
2. The Shadow World (2006)
3. Dragon’s Fire (2007)
Legends of the Shadow World (omnibus) (2010)
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Moroccan
1. Crossed Bones (2008)
aka The Tenth Gift
2. The Salt Road (2010)
3. The Sultan’s Wife (2012)
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Novels
Maskmaker (2010)
Goldseekers (2011)
Pillars of Light (2016)
Court of Lions (2017)
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Simon Scarrow: Playing with Death (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.

For the most up to date info and news on Simon, visit his Facebook page

Author web site

Lee Francis worked for several years in the world of film, TV and advertising as a script reader and assistant director. PLAYING WITH DEATH, written with his former lecturer Simon Scarrow, is his first novel.

Buy a Signed Limited Collector’s Edition

Playing With Death

PLAYING WITH DEATH is a gripping, edge-of-your seat contemporary thriller that marks a new direction for legendary historical novelist Simon Scarrow, writing with exciting new talent Lee Francis. Not to be missed by readers of David Baldacci and Michael Crichton.

FBI Special Agent Rose Blake has faced evil and survived.

Haunted by a failed undercover mission, Rose is finding it hard to shake the memories of her close encounter with a ruthless serial killer – one who is still free, and could strike again without warning.

The call to investigate a suspected arson attack that’s left a man dead is a welcome distraction. It’s not the kind of case usually assigned to the FBI, but nothing about this crime is usual. As Rose digs deeper, she finds herself confronting the sort of imagination her son might see in the fantasy worlds of his video games.

But when your opponent is a killer, nothing feels like a game. . .

Review

I approach every Scarrow book with caution, Not because of the quality but because I’ve been fortunate enough to know both brothers for quite a few years and have really enjoyed their books. Simon’s books were among my introductory books into Historical Fiction and as such they have to have a special place in my reading and has helped define the reader i am now. So every new book has the potential as a voracious reader of the genre to find a fault, to pick holes and its never something i feel totally comfortable with. Fortunately Simon rarely offers me the opportunity.

So when something new comes along, Simon Scarrow doing Crime Fiction, i have to think, Hmmmm? ok! lets give it a go. Also a collaboration, and something adapted from a TV series idea…. this could have car crash all over it, and how do i review that?

Starting the book i have to say i was concerned, the writing didn’t have the feel of Simon’s usual work, the writing felt a little clunky and simplistic. But i think as much as anything that was the building of the concept, how to explain it to the reader, and so it came over as talking to the reader, and me projecting my concern onto the concept a little, also reading in bite sized morsels where this book needs to be read in large chunks to really absorb the concept.

In Playing with Death,  Simon and Lee tackle some really interesting concepts around modern society, social media and gaming.  Simon surprises and uses a female as his central figure (not something you would expect from the writer of Macro and Cato, but integral to this plot) and it works very well, if a little male in thinking occasionally, which can fit with the male orientated profession. But the concept of the books criminal and the “Skin” soon takes flight in the book, mixed with the backdrop of the chase for a deadly serial killer with a personal dislike for the lead FBI agent Rose Blake and the misdirection for the crimes happening. The chase gets more and more twisted, the concept of the tech and mix of social media more and more real and uncomfortable building to a thrilling conclusion. Wrapped around this is the family life of Agent Rose Blake, a family that gets drawn into the mix as inextricably as we all do to the world of the internet, caught up in the social media world and all its pit falls.

Simon and Lee shine an uncomfortable family light on our personal dependence on Social media and gadgets, that urge, desire to pull out your smart phone to check facebook, to check your email. The drug that is the internet has changed the world and we need to remember to turn it off, to disconnect and be part of a more realistic world, because the fake news, fake world and impossible world of photo shopped celebs and everything of its ilk on the internet all impact and shape our children and ourselves. Its that message that makes this book stand out, makes it a book that i really recommend and helps make this a very good crime thriller.

(Parm)

Other work from Simon Scarrow

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 (2007)
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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HWA Endeavour Ink Gold Crown 2017 Longlist

Several Months ago i was shocked to be asked to be involved in the HWA Endeavour Ink Gold Crown 2017 as a Judge, it was without doubt an honor and i instantly started to suffer imposter syndrome….

The fellow judges are all …. well look at the list: Antonia Senior, Imogen Robertson, Amy Durant, Nick Rennison, Kate Atherton and Richard Foreman, all of these people are either industry professionals, writers or top reviewers for print publications… now you see while i felt like the token odd  bod in the room. Yet they all made me feel a big part of the day, my opinion mattered and well it was a fantastic day spent discussing our fav books after so long spent reading a veritable mountain of entries.

The result of the day is our longlist of 12…. I do hope you will read all of them, they all have earned the right to sit here.

Here in alphabetical order is the longlist. Congratulations to all twelve authors!

From the below we have also produced a fine short list that will be out in a couple of weeks…… how on earth we get a winner…..thats a hill yet to climb.

thank you to all my fellow Judges for making me feel so much a part of this.

You can find all 3 Lnog Lists here: You can see all three of the longlists here on the HWA website.

 

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James Wilde: Pendragon (Reviews)

James Wilde

James Wilde is a Man of Mercia. Raised in a world of books, James studied economic history at university before travelling the world in search of adventure. He was unable to forget a childhood encounter in the pages of a comic with the great English warrior, Hereward. Wilde returned to the haunted fenlands of Eastern England, Hereward’s ancestral home, where he became convinced that this legendary hero should be the subject of his first novel. Wilde now indulges his love of history and the high life in the home his family have owned for several generations, in the heart of a Mercian forest.

Author Website

book cover of Pendragon

Pendragon (2017)
(The first book in the Dark Age series)

Here is the beginning of a legend. Long before Camelot rose, a hundred years before the myth of King Arthur was half-formed, at the start of the Red Century, the world was slipping into a Dark Age…

It is AD 367. In a frozen forest beyond Hadrian’s Wall, six scouts of the Roman army are found murdered. For Lucanus, known as the Wolf and leader of elite unit called the Arcani, this chilling ritual killing is a sign of a greater threat.
But to the Wolf the far north is a foreign land, a place where daemons and witches and the old gods live on. Only when the child of a friend is snatched will he venture alone into this treacherous world – a territory ruled over by a barbarian horde – in order to bring the boy back home. What he finds there beyond the wall will echo down the years.
A secret game with hidden factions is unfolding in the shadows: cabals from the edge of Empire to the eternal city of Rome itself, from the great pagan monument of Stonehenge to the warrior kingdoms of Gaul will go to any length to find and possess what is believed to be a source of great power, signified by the mark of the Dragon.
A soldier and a thief, a cut-throat, courtesan and a druid, even the Emperor Valentinian himself – each of these has a part to play in the beginnings of this legend… the rise of the House of Pendragon.

Review

Pendragon…. the name just screams Arthur, Genevieve, Lancelot and all that goes with it. Well take that preconception and throw it out the window. Not since Bernard Cornwall took on the Arthur myth has any writer provided such a new and innovative view of the Arthurian story.

James Wilde takes us back to before Arthur, to a time when Rome still clings to power in Britain, but only by its finger nails. The barbarians that have been held back so long by the great wall of Hadrian  are probing, looking, change is in the wind, because they can sense a weakness in Rome, a chance to retake the land a chance that has not been there in all the year of Roman occupation.

In a book filled with the history of both Britain and Rome, James Wilde pulls on the tale of Mithras and also the burgeoning power and rise of the Christ religion to provide a back drop of conspiracy and intrigue wrapped around the ever present guidance of the Druids and Myrddin. How can the rise of Arthur be assured, who would be the ones to protect him, who will be his parents/ grandparents. So many questions and ideas are opened up by this story, so many surprises and all delivered with a fast paced action packed book brimming with wonderful characters. If you were making a tv series it has action, fights, love interest, bad guys a plenty, tortured heroes… sometimes mentally often physically, highs, lows, misdirection and utter surprises… so much packed into a book 1.

I love the Arthur myth but always approach a new book with low expectations because there are so very many bad books, this i’m glad to say is not one, its a wonderful tale and i honestly cannot wait for the next one.

Highly recommend this read.

(Parm)

 

Series
Hereward
1. Hereward (2011)
aka The Time of the Wolf
2. The Devil’s Army (2012)
aka The Winter Warrior
3. End of Days (2013)
4. Wolves of New Rome (2014)
5. The Immortals (2015)
6. The Bloody Crown (2016)
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Dark Age
1. Pendragon (2017)
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Sherrilyn Kenyon: Dead Men Walking (Blog Tour)

Sherrilyn Kenyon

Author Bio

About the author:

Writing as Sherrilyn Kenyon and Kinley MacGregor, she is the New York Times bestselling and award-winning author of several series: the Dark-Hunters; the Lords of Avalon; and the League. She lives with her husband and three sons in Nashville, Tennessee.

www.sherrilynkenyon.com

www.twitter.com/kenyonsherrilyn

www.facebook.com/AuthorSherrilynKenyon

Deadmen tell their tales . . .

To catch evil, it takes evil. Enter Devyl Bane – an ancient dark warlord returned to the human realm as one of the most notorious pirates in the New World. A man of many secrets, Bane makes a pact with Thorn – an immortal charged with securing the worst creations the ancient gods ever released into our world. Those powers have been imprisoned for eons behind enchanted gates . . . gates that are beginning to buckle. At Thorn’s behest, Bane takes command of a crew of Deadmen: humanity’s last hope to restore the gates.

But things are never so simple. And one of Bane’s biggest problems is the ship they sail upon. For the Sea Witch isn’t just a vessel, she’s also a woman born of an ancient people he wronged – a woman who is also sister to their primary target. Now Marcelina, the Sea Witch, must choose. Either she remains loyal to her evil sister and watches humanity fall, or she puts her faith in an enemy who has already betrayed her. Her people over the totality of humanity? Let’s hope Bane can sway her favour. . .

Other titles by Sherrilyn Kenyon out in 2017

Dragonmark

Paperback | £8.99 | 2nd February 2017 | Dark-Hunter series

 

Centuries ago, Illarion was betrayed – a dragon made human against his will, then forced to serve humanity as a dragonmount in their army, and to fight for them in barbaric wars, even while he hated everything about them. Enslaved and separated from everyone he knew and from his own dragon brothers, he was forced into exile in a fey realm where he lost the only thing he ever really loved.

Now he has a chance to regain what’s been lost – to have the one thing he covets most. But only if he gives up his brothers and forsakes the oaths he holds most dear. Yet what terrifies him most isn’t the cost his happiness might incur, it’s the fact that there is just enough human in his dragon’s heart that he might actually be willing to pay it and betray everything and everyone – to see the entire  world burn . . .

Born of Vengeance

Hardback | £20 | 7th February 2017 | League series

 

Bastien Cabarro survived the brutal slaughter of his entire family only to have his wife pin their murders on him. Made Ravin by The League, he is now a target for their assassins-in-training to hunt and kill. The average life expectancy for such beings is six weeks. But defying the odds is what this Gyron Force officer does best, and Bastien won’t rest until he lays his betrayers in their graves.

Ten years later, he has one chance to balance the scales of justice, provided he relies on his former wingman – the very sister of the woman who testified against him.

** Born of Legend (paperback edition) will be published on the 6th April**

Intensity

Trade Paperback Original | £12.99 | 24th April 2017 | Chronicles of Nick series

 

It’s a demon-eat-demon world for Nick Gautier. Just when he thinks he’s finally gotten a handle on how not to take over the world and destroy it, Death returns with an all-star cast that is determined to end the Malachai reign and lineage forever. Worse? Death and War have found the one, true enemy Nick can’t find, and even if he did, it’s one he could never bring himself to banish or kill.

Now framed for murders he hasn’t committed, and surrounded by new friends who might be turncoats, Nick is learning fast how his father went down in flames.

The heat in New Orleans is rising fast, and Nick’s threat-level has gone into a whole new level of intensity. He’s learning fast that when War and Death decide to battle, they don’t take prisoners. They don’t negotiate. And they’re both immune to his biting sarcasm and Cajun charm. To win this, he will have to embrace a new set of powers, but one wrong step, and he will belong to the side of Darkness, forever

Series
League
1. Born of the Night (1996)
2. Born of Fire (2009)
3. Born of Ice (1994)
aka Paradise City
4. Fire and Ice (2001)
5. Born of Shadows (2011)
6. Born of Silence (2012)
7. Cloak & Silence (2013)
8. Born of Fury (2013)
9. Born of Defiance (2015)
10. Born of Betrayal (2015)
11. Born of Legend (2016)
12. Born of Vengeance (2017)
13. Born of Trouble (2018)
14. Born of Darkness (2018)
The League: Nemesis Rising (omnibus) (2016)
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Dark-Hunter
Fantasy Lover (2002)
House of the Rising Son (2016)
0.5. Phantom Lover (2003)
1. Night Pleasures (2002)
2. The Beginning (2002) (in Sins of the Night)
2. Dragonswan (2002)
3. Night Embrace (2003)
5. Dance with the Devil (2003)
6. Kiss of the Night (2004)
6.75. Fear the Darkness (2007)
7. A Dark-Hunter Christmas (2003) (in Dance with the Devil)
7. Night Play (2004)
8. Seize the Night (2004)
9. Sins of the Night (2005)
10. Winter Born (2004)
10. Unleash the Night (2005)
11. The Dark Side of the Moon (2006)
12. The Dream Hunter (2007)
13. Second Chances (2005)
13. Devil May Cry (2007)
14. Upon the Midnight Clear (2007)
15. Dream Chaser (2008)
16. A Hard Day’s Night-Searcher (2006)
16. Acheron (2008)
17. Until Death We Do Part (2006)
17. One Silent Night (2008)
18. Dream Warrior (2009)
19. Bad Moon Rising (2009)
20. No Mercy (2010)
21. Retribution (2011)
22. The Guardian (2011)
23. Time Untime (2012)
24. Styxx (2013)
25. Son of No One (2014)
26. Dragonbane (2015)
27. Dragonmark (2016)
28. Dragonsworn (2017)
Night Pleasures / Night Embrace (omnibus) (2005)
Shadow of the Moon (2008) (in Dead After Dark)
Dark-Hunter Boxed Set (omnibus) (2010)
Dark Bites (2014)
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B.A.D. (Bureau of American Defense)
1. Bad Attitude (2005)
2. Phantom in the Night (2008)
3. Whispered Lies (2009) (with Dianna Love)
4. Silent Truth (2010) (with Dianna Love)
Born to Be B.A.D. (2005)
A B.A.D. Collection (omnibus) (2011) (with Dianna Love)
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Dark-Hunter Manga
1. The Dark-hunters Vol. 1 (2009)
2. The Dark-Hunters Vol. 2 (2010)
3. The Dark-Hunters Vol. 3 (2010)
4. The Dark-Hunters Vol. 4 (2011)
Lords Of Avalon: Knight Of Darkness (2009)
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Chronicles of Nick
1. Infinity (2010)
2. Invincible (2011)
3. Infamous (2012)
4. Inferno (2013)
5. Illusion (2014)
6. Instinct (2015)
7. Invision (2016)
8. Intensity (2017)
Chronicles of Nick, (omnibus) (2016)
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Belador (with Dianna Love)
1. Blood Trinity (2010)
2. Alterant (2011)
3. The Curse (2012)
4. The Rise of the Gryphon (2013)
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Chronicles of Nick: Graphic Novel
The Dark-Hunters: Infinity, Vol. 1 (2013)
The Dark-Hunters: Infinity, Vol. 2 (2013)
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Dark-Hunters Omnibus
The Collection Thus Far (2013)
The Dark-Hunters, Books 1-3 (2013)
The Dark-Hunters, Books 10-12 (2013)
The Dark-Hunters, Books 13-15 (2013)
The Dark-Hunters, Books 7-9 (2013)
The Dark-Hunters, Books 4-6 (2013)
The Dark-Hunters, Books 19-21 (2013)
The Dark-Hunters, Books 16-18 (2013)
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Dark-Hunter: Deadman’s Cross Trilogy
1. Deadmen Walking (2017)
2. Death Doesn’t Bargain (2017)
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Omnibus
Naughty or Nice? (2001) (with Carly Phillips, Patricia Ryan and Kathryn Smith)
Tapestry (2002) (with Madeline Hunter, Lynn Kurland and Karen Marie Moning)
Big Guns Out of Uniform (2003) (with Nicole Camden and Liz Carlyle)
Stroke of Midnight (2004) (with Amanda Ashley, L A Banks and Lori Handeland)
Love at First Bite (2006) (with L A Banks, Susan Squires and Ronda Thompson)
Dead After Dark (2008) (with Dianna Love, Susan Squires and J R Ward)
In Other Worlds (2010)
Winter’s Night (2015)
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Collections
Midnight Pleasures (2003) (with Amanda Ashley, Maggie Shayne and Ronda Thompson)
Man of My Dreams (2004) (with Suzanne Forster, Virginia Kantra and Maggie Shayne)
Tie Me Up, Tie Me Down (2005) (with Jaid Black and Melanie George)
What Dreams May Come (2005) (with Robin D Owens and Rebecca York)
Playing Easy to Get (2006) (with Jaid Black and Kresley Cole)
Blood Lite (2008) (with Kelley Armstrong, Jim Butcher and Charlaine Harris)
Deadly Promises (2010) (with Cindy Gerard, Laura Griffin and Dianna Love)
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Series contributed to
Angel’s Touch
Daemon’s Angel (1995)
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Non fiction
The Character Naming Sourcebook (1994)
The Writer’s Guide to Everyday Life in the Middle Ages(1995)
The Dark-Hunter Companion (2007) (with Alethea Kontis)
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Anthologies containing stories by Sherrilyn Kenyon
My Big Fat Supernatural Wedding (2006)
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Matthew Harffy: Killer of Kings (review)

Matthew Harffy

Matthew Harffy lived in Northumberland as a child and the area had a great impact on him. The rugged terrain, ruined castles and rocky coastline made it easy to imagine the past. Decades later, a documentary about Northumbria’s Golden Age sowed the kernel of an idea for a series of historical fiction novels that became THE BERNICIA CHRONICLES.

Matthew has worked in the IT industry, where he spent all day writing and editing, just not the words that most interested him. Prior to that he worked in Spain as an English teacher and translator. He has co-authored seven published academic articles, ranging in topic from the ecological impact of mining to the construction of a marble pipe organ.

Matthew lives in Wiltshire, England, with his wife and their two daughters.

Matthew was the singer in Rock Dog.

Buy links

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2nNItf2

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2nNEyPz

iBooks: http://apple.co/2ocWWEi

Google Play: http://bit.ly/2ocS2Y7

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Website: www.matthewharffy.com

Twitter: @MatthewHarffy

Facebook: MatthewHarffyAuthor

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Ad 636. Anglo-Saxon Britain. A gripping, action-packed historical thriller and the fourth instalment in The Bernicia Chronicles. Perfect for fans of Bernard Cornwell. Beobrand has land, men and riches. He should be content. And yet he cannot find peace until his enemies are food for the ravens. But before Beobrand can embark on his bloodfeud, King Oswald orders him southward, to escort holy men bearing sacred relics. When Penda of Mercia marches a warhost into the southern kingdoms, Beobrand and his men are thrown into the midst of the conflict. Beobrand soon finds himself fighting for his life and his honour. In the chaos that grips the south, dark secrets are exposed, bringing into question much that Beobrand had believed true. Can he unearth the answers and exact the vengeance he craves? Or will the blood-price prove too high, even for a warrior of his battle-fame and skill?

Extract

Beobrand smelt the smoke before he heard the screams.

The scent of burning wood was not uncommon. They had passed many small steadings as they travelled south. Each hut or hall had its own hearth. Sometimes, the aroma of baking bread or roasting meat would waft on the wind from some unseen farmer’s hovel, or from a shepherd’s camp nestled in the shelter of a valley. At such times, it always surprised him how far smells could travel.

Sounds of anguish, shouts of terror and shrieks of pain, could not be heard from so far away. And were less common.

There was a light breeze blowing into their faces and at the first scent of smoke Beobrand had wondered whether there was a hall nearby. They had been travelling for days and had not slept with a roof above them in all that time. The days were warm, but the nights were yet chill. A place by a fire and some warm food would be welcome. Perhaps even some ale or mead.

Then he had seen the broad smudge of grey, like a blurred heron’s feather, hanging in the flax-flower blue sky and he had known they would not be sleeping in a hall that night. Judging from the amount of smoke, something big was burning.

A piercing scream came to them on the wind. No, there would be no rest any time soon. Someone was in agony just the other side of the next rise. Beobrand’s black stallion, Sceadugenga, lowered its ears and snorted.

Beobrand pulled the beast’s head back with a tug of the reins. He could feel the great muscles bunching beneath him, ready to gallop forward; towards the screams. Towards danger. Sceadugenga was a true warrior’s steed.

“Are we yet in Mercia, Attor?” he asked, twisting in the saddle to turn to the slim rider beside him.

“I cannot say for certain, lord. We are in the land of the Gyrwas, I believe, but we may already be in the territory of the Herstingas. It is all fen and forest in this part of Albion.” He shrugged. “I cannot be sure.” Another scream drifted to them. Attor’s mount tossed its mane and rolled its eyes.

Beobrand had hoped to make this journey without incident, but the island of Albion was seldom safe. He rode at the head of a small band of mounted warriors. Not large enough to be called a warband, but hopefully enough of a show of force to avoid most confrontations. They numbered thirteen men in all. Beside Beobrand rode Wynhelm, fellow thegn of Bernicia. He was several years Beobrand’s senior. Black-haired, with a close-cropped beard, he was aloof and sometimes haughty, but had fought bravely at Hefenfelth and Din Eidyn, and King Oswald trusted him. Wynhelm brought four warriors from his retinue, all battle-hard, grim-faced men. Killers, if Beobrand was any judge.

In the centre of the group rode the monks, Gothfraidh and Coenred, whom they were charged with protecting. Gothfraidh was an elderly man, his grey hair thinning. Kindly, and uncomplaining, he was always quick to offer his help when they were setting up camp. Coenred was much younger, barely a man, though Beobrand knew that despite his youthful aspect, he was brave and had proven himself to be a true friend.

Beobrand quickly cast his gaze on those of his own retinue, his gesithas, who accompanied him. Dour Dreogan was closest to Attor, the black lines of his soot-scarred cheeks making his face savage. Behind him followed Gram, tall and powerful. He was a mighty warrior, who never seemed to show fear or excitement; a steadfast shield-brother whom they would be glad to have at their shoulder, if it came to a fight.

Broad-shouldered Elmer rode towards the rear of the group. He was brave and bold, and despite the horrific sounds of pain that came to them on the breeze, he had a wide grin on his face. He was still so pleased to have been asked to ride with his lord. He felt that in the past he had too often been left behind with the women, children and old men, and no matter the number of times Beobrand had told him this was due to the trust he had in the muscular warrior, Elmer had taken it as a slight. The last two riders were the inseparable Ceawlin and Aethelwulf. They were woven from the same cloth, each taciturn and stocky, savage in combat but quick to jest and laugh when the mead flowed.

They were all good men. Strong warriors. Loyal gesithas. Beobrand was proud that they called him lord. And yet he wished Acennan was with them. He missed his friend. He had not seen him since before Solmonath, the month of rain and mud. Summer had long since begun to warm the land and Beobrand had expected Acennan’s return weeks before.

Another scream.

Acennan would have to wait.

The trail rose up a shallow bluff. To the west huddled a stand of alder.

“Whether Mercia or no,” said Beobrand, reaching his damaged left hand down to touch the hilt of his sword, Hrunting, “I will not ride by while someone faces torment. Come, let us see what is burning.”

 

Review:

What can i say that i have not already said about this series? probably not a lot, Matthew has continued to push and grow both his characters and his writing style book after book. Any of the wrinkles that a debut writers suffers and clunks and slips have long since vanished and his smooth writing and earthy characters shine through, his plot always have a twist and a turn that is unexpected and death lurks around any page for any character, giving the book an immediacy of the time where live is cheap and precious at the same time.

Bring on book 5 Matthew, this series just gets better with age

(Parm)

 

 

 

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Victoria Aveyard: Kings Cage (review)

Victoria Aveyard

Victoria Aveyard's picture

Victoria Aveyard  is a screenwriter/YA author who likes books and lists.

book cover of King's Cage

In this breathless third installment of Victoria Aveyard’s best-selling Red Queen series, allegiances are tested on every side. And when the Lightning Girl’s spark is gone, who will light the way for the rebellion?

Mare Barrow is a prisoner, powerless without her lightning, tormented by her lethal mistakes. She lives at the mercy of a boy she once loved, a boy made of lies and betrayal. Now a king, Maven Calore continues weaving his dead mother’s web in an attempt to maintain control over his country – and his prisoner.

As Mare bears the weight of Silent Stone in the palace, her once-ragtag band of newbloods and Reds continue organizing, training, and expanding. They prepare for war, no longer able to linger in the shadows. And Cal, the exiled prince with his own claim on Mare’s heart, will stop at nothing to bring her back.

When blood turns on blood and ability on ability, there may be no one left to put out the fire – leaving Norta as Mare knows it to burn all the way down.

Review:

This series has surprised me since book one Red Queen, This is a dystopian style world, where society is 2 tiered and the elites are not the nicest people…. only even the elites have tiers within tiers, being a red is to be down trodden, but is being a silver better? Silvers have powers, but now so do some of the Reds and these are powers that require work  and te Red population of down trodden people are much more used to that than Silvers. All of this is a cauldron boiling toward ruin and has been all series long.

Kings Cage brings much of the animosity to its head, schisms appear sight through the silver community, civil war looms. This series and this book is forever full of surprises, action, miss direction, real depth of sub plot and characters that will dominate the book and your thoughts while reading it. Most of all as a granddad of a very strong willed young lady i love the strong female characters in this book, i love the way they drive the book and the plot and have real key pivotal roles in the book, not relegated to gender stereotypes. I will be happy to let her get her hands on this at some point.

This series blows away most of the YA dystopian series i have read in recent years, and i highly recommend it.

(Parm)

 

 

Series
Red Queen
0.1. Queen Song (2015)
0.2. Steel Scars (2016)
0.5. Cruel Crown (2016)
1. Red Queen (2014)
2. Glass Sword (2016)
3. King’s Cage (2017)
Red Queen 2-Book Collection (omnibus) (2016)
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