Monthly Archives: October 2012

Saladin Ahmed: Throne of the Crescent Moon

The Author: Saladin Ahmed

Biography

Saladin Ahmed was born in Detroit and raised in a working-class, Arab American enclave in Dearborn, MI.

He holds a BA in American Culture from the University of Michigan, an MFA in Creative Writing from Brooklyn College, and an MA in English from Rutgers. His poetry has received several fellowships, and he has taught writing at universities and colleges for over ten years.

His short stories have been nominated for the Nebula and Campbell awards, and have appeared in Year’s Best Fantasy and numerous other magazines, anthologies, and podcasts, as well as being translated into five foreign languages. He is represented by Jennifer Jackson of the Donald Maass Literary Agency. THRONE OF THE CRESCENT MOON is his first novel.

Saladin lives near Detroit with his wife and twin children.

Book Description
The Crescent Moon Kingdoms, land of djenn and ghuls, holy warriors and heretics, Khalifs and killers, is at boiling point. A power struggle between the iron-fisted Khalif and the mysterious master thief known as the Falcon Prince is reaching its climax. In the midst of this brewing rebellion, a series of brutal supernatural murders strikes at the heart of the Kingdoms. Only a handful of reluctant heroes can learn the truth, and stop the killing.
Doctor Adoulla Makhslood just wants a quiet cup of tea. Three score and more years old, he has grown weary of hunting monsters and saving lives, and is more than ready to retire from his dangerous and demanding vocation. But when an old flame’s family is murdered, Adoulla is drawn back to the hunter’s path. Raseed bas Raseed, Adoulla’s young assistant, a hidebound holy warrior whose prowess is matched only by his piety, is eager to deliver God’s justice. Zamia Badawi has been gifted with the near-mythical power of the Lion-Shape, but shunned by her people for daring to take up a man’s title. She lives only to avenge her father’s death. Until she learns that Adoulla and his allies also hunt her father’s killer. Until she meets Raseed.
Review
When i first saw this book i was sceptical, its a new author and that often means it takes something exceptional to draw me in. The cover is nice, and the plot was very intriguing. But it took a recommendation from someone i trust to make me pick it up and read it.
So i hope those of you who trust my reviews will also now go and pick the book up.
Saladin Ahmed has written the 1002nd Arabian Nights story, a story full of characters that slowly grow from page one until they become as real as Aladdin or Sinbad.
The kingdom of Dhamsawaat so reminiscent of the films of my youth with magic, great Khalifs and evil as old as time the book just becomes totally immersive. You can feel the heat and the sand, hear the sounds of the street sellers and the stench of the Ghuls.
Saladin’s tale is beautifully woven together with great flowing prose, the words taking on a magic of their own. All with their own hint of the east, laced with all the moral tales of the Arabian Nights, ones that are as apt now as when they were written. Such a great original book.
I loved this book and look forward to the next
(Parm)

Leave a comment

Filed under Fantasy, Supernatural

Anthony Riches: Wolf’s Gold Review

Anthony Riches's picture

Anthony Riches

Anthony Riches began his lifelong interest in war and soldiers when he first heard his father’s stories about World War II. This led to a degree in Military Studies at Manchester University. He began writing the story that would become Wounds of Honour after a visit to Housesteads in 1996. He lives in Hertfordshire with his wife and three children.

Books by Anthony Riches

Empire
1. Wounds of Honour (2009)
2. Arrows of Fury (2010)
3. Fortress of Spears (2011)
4. The Leopard Sword (2012)
5. The Wolf’s Gold (2012)
Wounds of HonourArrows of FuryFortress of SpearsThe Leopard Sword The Wolf's Gold
Latest Book: Wolf’s Gold
The Tungrian auxiliary cohorts march east to the land beyond the Danube to guard a frontier which turns out to be as dangerous and lawless as northern Britannia in Anthony Riches’ suspenseful new Empire novel. Fresh from their victory in Germania, Marcus Aquila and the Tungrians have been sent to Dacia, on the north-eastern edge of the Roman Empire, with the mission to safeguard a major source of imperial power. The mines of Alburnus Major contain enough gold to pave the road to Rome. They would make a mighty prize for the marauding Sarmatae tribesmen who threaten the province, and the outnumbered auxiliaries are entrusted with their safety in the face of a barbarian invasion. Beset by both the Sarmatian horde and more subtle threats offered by men who should be their comrades, the Tungrians must also come to terms with the danger posed by a new and unexpected enemy. They will have to fight to the death to save the honour of the empire – and their own skins.

Review:

When I read Leopard Sword 6 months ago I was shocked at how much further Anthony Riches story telling depth had increased, his books have always been my favourite in terms of pace and sheer fun, but Leopard Sword took it further with twists and turns that had never been there before. Wolf’s Gold keeps that improvement going and if possible squeaks past it in terms of great story telling.

I have to admit to several laugh out loud moments reading this book (and I would love to add one of the lines, but I don’t want to spoil the fun for you all) my favourite concerns a beard and tickling (I laughed, and choked on my drink). It’s this sheer fun and enjoyment that Tony brings to his readers as well as well thought out, well researched plot lines. Once again he is merciless with his characters, no one is safe, I was stunned by the casual death of someone who was a well established character, and how soon he was less than a memory. A chilling but honest way to portray how warriors must have been back then, how they must have been, to be able to cope with all the death around them. It’s this kind of subtlety and attention to detail that puts Tony at the forefront of Historical Fiction writing , whilst still retaining his trademark writing ability that drags the reader along at breakneck spread from first page to last.

The back story of Marcus is added to in Wolf’s Gold ti a greater degree than many of the other books in the series and in a very tantalising fashion, with hints of what happened, to who and by whom. Leaving many more questions, Will he go to Rome? if he does how can he retain his current position? Who will remain alive long enough to help him? (he is a dangerous man to be friends with). The scope of expansion for this series is mind bogglingly huge.

Another reason to buy this book and all of the series, is the way as each book is written Tony brings a more human element to more and more of the characters, to how we see more of each man, not just the fighter and his friends but how they’ve all grown from book to book, and how they have grown as a group.

I just hope that Tony can keep up the pace of writing and give me the next book in 6 months… I’m not sure I can wait much longer than that.

One of my favourite reads this year and Very Highly recommended (as is the whole series)

(Parm)

2 Comments

Filed under Historical Fiction

Hidden Radio

So normally all my reviews are in someway book related, so it takes something very special to make we write a blog: this is such a fantastic bit of kit i have to share.

This Speaker is small, light, powerful crystal clear sound and unique on the market, i love mine and am buying another one. The bluetooth link holds firm no matter where i am in the house with my phone in relation to the speaker and linking vie bluetooth took seconds.

Where can i buy one?

http://www.hiddenradiodesign.com/

So what does it do?

The HiddenRadio & Bluetooth Speaker is the simplest and most intuitive product ever.

ELEGANT INCONSPICUOUS DESIGN, SUPERIOR SOUND

The HiddenRadio & Bluetooth Speaker is based off minimal, timeless design and user intuition. When asleep it hides all its functions, being silent and unanimated. To turn it on you simply twist and lift the cap; the further you lift the cap the more internal volume is created and will amplify to over 80dB of crystal clear sound. This unique design connects and captivates the user through its intuitive functionality.

THE FREEDOM OF BLUETOOTH

The speaker wirelessly supports iPhone, iPad or any other smartphone, tablet or computer via Bluetooth technology. If you have multiple speakers throughout your home, you can enjoy radiant sound, while seamlessly switching between them. Don’t have a Bluetooth device? It’s not s a problem: the HiddenRadio has a 3.5mm audio input plug that allows you to plug-in any device without Bluetooth functionality. We’ve also added a great built in AM/FM radio.

ENDLESS SOUND QUALITY

The rechargeable batteries support a whopping 30+ hours of streaming music: easily enough for a weekend away or to get you through the busy workweek. We’ve tested it along side the leading products on the market and The HiddenRadio has excelled in both sound quality and volume power

Size and Weight

 Length: 3.4” (87mm)

Width: 3.4” (87mm)

Height: 3.8” (97mm)

Weight: 0.95 pound (430g)

Design

Metallic Silver

Graphite Black

Pure White Edition

Connections

Bluetooth 2.1

3.5mm Audio Input

Micro-USB (charging only)

Power and Battery

15 hours of continuous play

Built-in rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery

Audio

Proprietary 360° sound diffuser

Bluetooth

Bluetooth 2.1

Range 33 feet (10m)

Supports Enhanced Data Rate (EDR)

In the Box

HiddenRadio

47” (1.2m) USB to micro USB cable (charging only)

20” (0.5m) 35mm Line In cable

Microfiber carrying pouch

External FM antenna

User guide

PRODUCT FEATURES

Design

The HiddenRadio’s minimalist yet poetic design makes it an instant classic. Quoted by many as a timeless design icon, it captivates the user through the intuitive functionality of the interactive cap, creating a unique semantic connection.

Simple, Intuitive, Loud

The world’s simplest and most intuitive wireless speaker and FM radio ever. Simply lift the cap to turn it on, the further you lift the cap the louder it gets. For its compact size, this product offers one of the best performing speakers available to date; its sound will easily fill the space of the largest apartment.

Truly Portable

Its compact size lets you easily carry it around in any bag or backpack. Less than a pound yet 15hrs of solid sound means you can take it anywhere you want a party. Easily charge it again via micro USB from your computer or USB charger.

Wireless

Never be trapped by wires again with top class wireless Bluetooth; just leave your phone in your pocket while listening to your favorite song.

360° Sound

With the unique speakers drivers and cone design, the sound will spread evenly throughout the room, and you will hear the same great sound no matter where you are.

Enhanced Experience

Whether watching a movie or gaming you can now get a full audio experience by pumping the sound to over 90dB; that’s easily enough to annoy the neighbors!

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The Red Knight (Review) : Miles Cameron

Who is Miles Cameron?

That’s a question yet to be answered, do we have a new writer on the block? or an old one flexing his literary muscles ion a new genre?

Only time will tell.

Book Description

This is a world dominated by The Wild.

Man lives in pockets of civilisation claimed from The Wild. Within men’s walls life is civilised, the peace punctuated by tournaments, politicking, courtly love and canny business. Beyond those walls men are prey – vulnerable to the exceptionally powerful and dangerous creatures which populate the land, and even more vulnerable to those creatures schemes.

So when one of those creatures breaks out of The Wild and begins preying on people in their homes, it takes a specialist to hunt it down or drive it out … and even then, it’s a long, difficult and extremely dangerous job.

The Black Captain and his men are one such group of specialists.

Review:

The Red Knight is the book i personally have been waiting for, for at least five years, and have been discussing with others for over 20 years. It is a true blending of Historical Fiction and Fantasy Fiction, not many authors have been able to manage it over the years.

That’s not to say that Fantasy authors cant write a damn good fight scene when they want, they can make it action packed and bloody, Good fantasy like good Historical Fiction can be fun, action packed drama filled and full of gore. Great Fantasy and Historical fiction needs more depth and knowledge, there is so much from history sprinkled among fantasy: EG: The Nadir Horde from the Drenai and Ulric this is Genghis and the Mongol Horde, Paul Hoffmans Left hand of God is liberally sprinkled with Historical References and there are so many more to mention.

Miles Cameron brings to Fantasy years of fighting knowledge and experience with many weapons, a depth of historical knowledge that just makes me feel inadequate and blends it all with a fantasy environment, giving free reign to the scope and size of the enemy and the tools / Magic that both sides can use for fighting.

The last author I read who could bring this all together this well was David Gemmell, first with lion of Macedon, and then later with the more mature Troy trilogy. Add to this the flawed hero main character who is very gemmellesque, and i was hooked, The Red Knight  is one of those books that comes along so rarely, one that captures you, and creates a world so real and believable that you go there and live there as soon as you open the pages, the fights so visceral that emotions run hot, cold, angry violent, melancholy and anguished and leave the reader exhausted from the storm of action and emotion. Mile Cameron has come along at a time when for me Fantasy is going through a resurgence of great writing, Mark Lawrence, Stephen Deas and many others.

This is the start of a series that could easily rival the very greats of the genre, I’m hooked.

Highly recommended

(Parm)

6 Comments

Filed under Fantasy, Historical Fiction