Monthly Archives: March 2013

Twelve Children of Paris by Tim Willocks

About Tim Willocks

Tim Willocks

Writer Tim Willocks is a successful novelist and screenwriter. A qualified doctor and psychiatrist, he published his first novel, Bad City Blues, in 1991, followed by Green River Rising in 1994 and Bloodstained Kings in 1995. He co-wrote Sweet Angel Mine, adapted Bad City Blues for the screen in 1999, wrote the Steven Spielberg documentary The Unfinished Journey, and currently has a script in production called Sin.

The Twelve Children of Paris (2013)
(The second book in the Tannhauser Trilogy series)

Product details
Hardcover: 768 pages
Publisher: Jonathan Cape (23 May 2013)
ISBN-10: 0224097458
ISBN-13: 978-0224097451

12 children

Paris, August 23rd, 1572.

What do you do when your wife disappears.

In the middle of the bloodiest massacre in European history.

And you know she is about to give birth to your only child?

Three wars of religion have turned Paris into a foetid cauldron of hatred, intrigue and corruption. The Royal Wedding, intended to heal the wounds, has served only to further poison the fanatics of either creed. But Carla could not have known that when she accepted an invitation to the ceremony.

When Mattias Tannhauser rides into town, on Saint Bartholomew’s Eve, his only intention is to find her and take her home. But as the massacre of tens of thousands of Huguenots begins, and the city plunges into anarchy, Carla is abducted by Grymonde, the grotesque gang leader of the Yards, and Tannhauser finds himself imprisoned in the Louvre, at the centre of a vicious conspiracy.

Wanted by the law, the assassins’ guild, and a militant army who call themselves the Pilgrims of Saint-Jacques, Tannhauser must rise to pitiless extremes even he has never known before. With no one to help him but a stable boy, he wades a river of blood without knowing what lies on the other side.

As he harrows Hell in search of his beloved

His destiny is changed forever by

The Twelve Children Of Paris.


When I first heard about this book, the first thing I did was email and ask for a review copy, by ask I mean beg. Apparently after taking pity on me for my pitiful email or just to stop me emailing any-more Tim’s publicist sent me a copy.
There are two reasons I wanted to read this book so badly.
1) This book while in my favourite genre, takes me well outside my comfort zone. It is so much more visually detailed that my usual read.
2) Tim Willocks last book Religion was so good and so long ago (7 years)

To say that reading this book gives the reader the sights sounds smells and feel of the time period would be far to demeaning, it really is so much more, Its a time machine back to 1572. To the real Paris, full of opulence and coated in shit.
What is so unexpected is the lead man of the book (I say lead, not Hero, there is no real Hero in this book). The story follows the exploits of one Mattias Tannhauser, a Saxon-born ex-Janissary who travels to Paris to find his wife. A long journey that should have ended with a happy reunion in the palaces of Paris, is disrupted by a violent plot to wipe out The Huguenots (members of the Protestant Reformed Church of France)…and something more personal!
The story has more than the single POV, while Mattias Tannhauser’s journey through Paris is one of the bloodiest swathes I have ever read, Carla Tannhauser’s is at first similar, but as the victim, and then turns more towards the emotive and spiritual. The spiritual exploring everything from Catholic thinking through to Tarot and Gia the earth mother, the sisterhood of women.


The above is the promo cover, and for me its a big buy in. I love something as blunt as that.

What I would disagree with is the headcount, Mattias kills ….so many more people that the cover suggests and in probably more varied ways than suggested. Its not that he is a psycho killer. Its that he is a lion among sheep, he has been trained in war, he has survived the biggest battle of his age (the siege of Malta, a bloody turning point in the fabric of Europe that halted the march of Islam), in fighting terms he is a man among children. There are a few points when it seems a bit beyond the pale, but when you compare his skills to the political and Militia appointed soldiers of Paris, you can clearly see this man achieving everything he set out to, bathing in blood and gore from one side of Paris to the other (and back again)
But this journey of Mattias is not just a bloody trip through 1572 Paris, its also a journey to further self enlightenment, and to finding and building a new family. Carla his wife is not just in danger, she is Pregnant and both she and Mattias will journey through hell and wade through rivers of blood to ensure the child’s safety.
Along the way 11 other children touch their lives, and save their souls. But even with all of this neither of them are my favourite character, that was Grymonde “The Infant”, a hugely simple yet complex character. A man warped by life, by Paris and by disease. Willing to commit all and win or lose all on the single throw of a dice. His cry “No tomorrow” sums up his view that the poor of Paris cannot plan a life, because they don’t know where their next meal will come from, they have no clean water, the streets are filled with shit and the price of life is less than a loaf of bread. Grymonde is death on legs, with no conscience, until he meets Carla. The author could so easily have taken the easy way out and set Grymonde and Mattias against each other, but he plays them so much better than that, or rather Carla does.

Twelve Children of Paris is a power House of thrilling historical fiction. Jam packed with the most realistic fighting this side of a Christian Cameron book. I’m not sure I can recommend this book highly enough, go buy it…now!

and before you ask…no you don’t have to have read Religion, but what ever order you read them in read both amazing tomes.



Filed under Historical Fiction

Updated List of Books I want to read

As many of you who stop by know, i like to know what books are due and when.
So to save you all the hours it can take looking, check out the list of books that all look amazing. Add them to your book buying list, and i will review them as i get them and read them….. Lots of fun and work ahead

Mr American (Flashman Papers) George MacDonald Fraser Harper 01/09/2008
The Mayan Conspiracy Graham Brown Ebury Press 23/06/2011
Secrets of the Dead Tom Harper Arrow 15/09/2011
The Hawks of London: The Decipherer’s Chronicles Vol. 2 (Deciphers Chronicles 2) Grant Sutherland Pan 16/02/2012
Cromwell’s Blessing (Tom Neave Trilogy 2) Peter Ransley Harper Press 29/03/2012
Secondworld Jeremy Robinson Thomas Dunne 22/05/2012
Doomsday Graham Brown Ebury Press 24/05/2012
The Nowhere Legion Francis Hagan Francis Hagan 15/07/2012
The Labyrinth of Osiris Paul Sussman Transworld 19/07/2012
Red Alert Colin Dunne Endevour Press 28/08/2012
Redemption (Ryan Drake 1) Will Jordan Arrow 13/09/2012
The Place of Dead Kings Geoffrey Wilson Hodder 11/10/2012
Night Blind Michael W Sherer Thomas and Mercer 23/10/2012
Bronze Summer (Northland) Stephen Baxter ROC 06/11/2012
Death or Glory III: Highroad to Hell Michael Asher Penguin 08/11/2012
Malice: The Faithful and the Fallen: Book One (Faithful & the Fallen 1)
John Gwynne Tor 06/12/2012
Newton’s Fire Will Adams Harper 06/12/2012
The Skybound Sea Sam Sykes Gollancz 27/12/2012
The Eagle Has Fallen Brian Young First Film 29/12/2012
Lost City of the Templars Paul Christopher Signet 31/12/2012
The Rook (The Checquy Files) Daniel O’Malley Head of Zeus 01/01/2013
The Iron King (The Accursed Kings, Book 1) Maurice Druon Harper Voyager 03/01/2013
Semper Fidelis: A Novel of the Roman Empire (Novels of the Roman Empire) Ruth Dowie Bloomsbury 08/01/2013
Capital Punishment (Charles Boxer) Robert Wilson Orion 17/01/2013
Gladiator: Son of Spartacus Simon Scarrow Puffin 07/02/2013
TimeRiders: The Pirate Kings (Book 7) Alex Scarrow Puffin 07/02/2013
The Daylight War (The Demon Cycle, Book 3) (Demon Cycle 3) Peter V Brett Harper Voyager 11/02/2013
Tyrant: Destroyer of Cities ) Christian Cameron Orion 14/02/2013
The Haunted Martyr Kenneth Cameron Orion 21/02/2013
Jimmy and the Crawler Raymond Feist Harper Voyager 28/02/2013
Scramasax: The Viking Sagas Kevin Crossley-Holland Quercus 28/02/2013
The Queen’s Man Rory Clements John Murray 28/02/2013
The Grim Company Luke Scull Head of Zeus 01/03/2013
The Romanov Cross Robert Masello Bantam 05/03/2013
The Striker Clive Cussler Putnam 05/03/2013
After Rome Morgan Llwelyn Forge (MacMillan) 13/03/2013
Shakespeare’s Rebel C C Humphreys Orion 14/03/2013
Arena: First Sword (Part Three of the Roman Arena Series) Simon Scarrow Headline 21/03/2013
The High Kingdom Pierre Pevel Gollancz 21/03/2013
Gateway of the Saviours (Chronicles of/Cosmic Warlord 2) A J Dalton Gollancz 21/03/2013
Rome: The Art of War (Rome 4) M C Scott Bantam 28/03/2013
The Curse of Babylon Richard Blake Hodder 01/04/2013
Juggernaut Adam Baker Thomas Dunne 02/04/2013
Prophet of Bones Ted Kosmatka Henry Holt and Co 02/04/2013
Necessary Evil: The Milkweed Triptych: Book Three Ian tregillis Hachette 04/04/2013
Dodger James Benmore Heron Books 11/04/2013
The Blood Gospel James Rollins & Rebecca Cantrell Orion 11/04/2013
The Last Conquest Berwick Coates Simon & Schuster 11/04/2013
The Tower (Sancti Trilogy 3) Simon Toyne William Morrow & Co 11/04/2013
Gladiator: Mark of Spartacus Simon Scarrow Headline 23/04/2013
The Lion Rampant (The Kingdom Series) Robert Low Harper Collins 25/04/2013
Arena: Revenge (Part Four of the Roman Arena Series) Simon Scarrow Headline 25/04/2013
The City Stella Gemmell Bantam 25/04/2013
Keane’s Company (Keane 1) Iain Gale Heron Books 25/04/2013
Anno Dracula – Johnny Alucard Kim Newman Titan 26/04/2013
Fire Across the Veldt (Simon Fonthill Series) John Wilcox Allison & Busby 29/04/2013
Traitor’s Field Robert Wilton Atlantic books / Corvus 01/05/2013
The Barbed Crown: An Ethan Gage Adventure William Dietrich Harper 07/05/2013
The Scarlet Thief Paul Fraser Collard Headline 09/05/2013
The Serpent’s Tooth (Empire of the Moghul) Alex Rutherford Headline 09/05/2013
The Armada Legacy (Ben Hope 8) Scott Mariani Avon 09/05/2013
Magician’s End: Book Three of the Chaoswar Saga Raymond Feist Harper Voyager 14/05/2013
Elves: Beyond the Mists of Katura James Barclay Gollancz 16/05/2013
Take, Burn or Destroy S Thomas Russell Putnam/ Penguin 16/05/2013
A Chain of Thunder: A Novel of the Siege of Vicksburg Jeff Shaara Ballantine 21/05/2013
The Twelve Children of Paris Tim Willocks Jonathan Cape 23/05/2013
Brothers’ Fury Giles Kristian Bantam 23/05/2013
Anarchy Stewart Binns Penguin 23/05/2013
The Orpheus Descent Tom Harper Hodder 23/05/2013
Holy War (Saladin Trilogy) Jack Hight John Murray (Hodder) 23/05/2013
Pharaoh (Jack Howard 7) David Gibbins Headline 23/05/2013
Sacred Games Gary Corby Soho Press 23/05/2013
The Ill-Made Knight Christian Cameron Orion 23/05/2013
The Tainted Throne: Empires of the Moghul: Book IV (Empire of the Moghul) Alex Rutherford Thomas Dunne 28/05/2013
Zero Hour (NUMA Files) Graham Brown Putnam 28/05/2013
The Falconer Elizabeth May Gollancz 30/05/2013
The King’s Deception (Cotton Malone) Steve Berry Hodder 06/06/2013
The Blooding (Matthew Hawkwood 5) James McGee Harper Collins 06/06/2013
Hannibal: Fields of Blood Ben Kane Preface 06/06/2013
Sons of Zeus Noble Smith Thomas Dunne 11/06/2013
Arena: Champion (Part Five of the Roman Arena Series) Simon Scarrow Headline 20/06/2013
Broken Homes Ben Aaronivitch Gollancz 20/06/2013
The Sword and the Throne Henry Venmore-Rowland Bantam 20/06/2013
Terminus Adam Baker Hodder 20/06/2013
The Long War Terry Pratchett , Stephen Baxter Doubleday 20/06/2013
Prince of Legend (Crusades) Jack Ludlow Allison & Busby 24/06/2013
The Eye of God: A SIGMA Force Novel James Rollins William Morrow & Co 25/06/2013
The Bull Slayer (Roman Games) Bruce Macbain Head of Zeus 01/07/2013
The Blood of Gods: A Novel of Rome (Emperor) Conn Iggulden Harper 02/07/2013
Assassin’s Reign (Civil War Chronicles) Michael Arnold John Murray (Hodder) 04/07/2013
The Spoils of Conquest Seth Hunter Headline 04/07/2013
Hereward: End of Days James Wilde Bantam 04/07/2013
The Lion and the Lamb John Henry Clay Hodder 04/07/2013
Isle of the Dead Alex Connor Quercus 04/07/2013
The Three Prince War Pierre Pevel Gollancz 11/07/2013
The Siege Arturo Perez-Reverte W&N 11/07/2013
The Republic of Thieves Scott Lynch Gollancz 13/07/2013
Charm Sarah Pinborough Gollancz 18/07/2013
Cross of Fire: A Pirate Devlin Novel Mark Keating Hodder 18/07/2013
Agent of Rome: The Far Shore Nick Brown Hodder 18/07/2013
The Devil’s Pact (Jack Tanner 5) ) James Holland Bantam 18/07/2013
The Persona Protocol Andy McDermott Headline 18/07/2013
Untitled Lachlan 1 of 3 M D Lachlan Gollancz 18/07/2013
The Devil’s Pact (Jack Tanner 5) James Holland Bantam 18/07/2013
Emperor of Thorns (Broken Empire) Mark Lawrence Harper Voyager 01/08/2013
Blessed Rain Andrew Swanston Bantam 01/08/2013
Grail Knight (Outlaw Chronicles) Angus Donald Sphere (little brown, ) 01/08/2013
Master of War David Gilman Head of Zeus 01/08/2013
Saxon: The Emperor’s Elephant Tim Severin Macmillan, 01/08/2013
Swords of Good Men (The Valhalla Saga) Snorri Kristjansson Jo Fletcher Books/ Quercus 01/08/2013
The End of Sparta: A Novel Victor Davis Hanson Bloomsbury 01/08/2013
The King’s Spy Andrew Swanston Corgi 01/08/2013
Knights of the Hawk James Aitcheson Preface 02/08/2013
Robert the Bruce Jack Whyte Forge 06/08/2013
All in Scarlet Uniform Adrian Goldsworthy W&N 08/08/2013
Blood of Tyrants Naomi Novik Del Ray 13/08/2013
Arena Simon Scarrow Headline 15/08/2013
Sword of Rome Douglas Jackson Bantam 15/08/2013
The Dragon Queen Stephen Deas Gollancz 15/08/2013
The Dragon Queen Stephen Deas Gollancz 15/08/2013
Warrior of Rome: The Amber Road Harry Sidebottom Michael Joseph 15/08/2013
The Eagle’s Vengeance: Empire VI Anthony Riches Hodder 29/08/2013
The Excaliber Codex James Douglas Corgi 29/08/2013
The Traitor Son Cycle Book 2 Miles Cameron Gollancz 19/09/2013
The Pagan Lord Bernard Cornwell Harper Collins 10/10/2013
Caribbee Julian Stockwin Hodder 24/10/2013
Dust: (Wool Trilogy 3) Hugh Howey Century 24/10/2013
Total War Rome: Destroy Carthage David Gibbins Macmillan, , 24/10/2013
The Great King Christian Cameron Orion 21/11/2013
Imperial Fire Robert Lyndon Sphere (little brown) 02/01/2014
You Will Never Find Me Robert Wilson Orion 02/01/2014
The Emperor’s Curse Andy McDermott Headline 16/01/2014
The Blooding (Matthew Hawkwood 5) Jame McGee Harper 16/01/2014
The Backward Boy Kenneth Cameron Orion 01/03/2014
The Oxford Fellow Kenneth Cameron Orion 01/03/2014
The Past Master Kenneth Cameron Orion 01/03/2014
Tyrant: Force of Kings Christian Cameron Orion 06/03/2014
Lost City of the Templars Paul Christopher Penguin 27/03/2014
Fitz Fool 1 Robin Hobb Harper Collins 10/04/2014
The Beating of his Wings Paul Hoffman Michael Joseph 24/04/2014
The Long Sword Christian Cameron Orion 01/05/2014
Hastings Justin Hill Little Brown 02/05/2014


Filed under Uncategorized

James Benmore: Dodger (Review)

James Benmore


James Benmore was born in Kent and currently lives in South-East London. He studied literature at the Open University and has since completed an Mst in Creative Writing from Oxford University.

A prolific short story writer, his short fiction has been published in various anthologies, including All These Little Worlds published by The Fiction Desk and The Failed Novelist’s Anthology 2011. These have received positive reviews from magazines such as Cherwell’s.

Dodger is his first novel.


Book description

London, 1850s.

After five years in an Australian penal colony, the Artful Dodger returns to London in search of a hidden fortune. Unaware of the fate that befell Twist, Fagin and Sikes, Dodger revisits the criminal underworld of Dickensian London to seek out his old comrades, any of whom might possess the key to the treasure.

He finds the city a changed place from his youth: with law and order upheld by a new police force, Fagin gone to the gallows, his old gang scattered and danger around every corner.


This is one of those books that should not need too much advertising or blurb, at least it should not for anyone who loves reading. We are after all talking about a sequel to one of the all time great stories “Oliver Twist”, a story from the great Charles Dickens.

A debut writer taking on something like this might be considered, arrogant, audacious, possibly even career suicide. But the fact that Heron are publishing it, means that there is something there.

So first impressions; The cover art, personally I think its fantastic, it’s what drew me to the book immediately (well that and im a sucker for a debut novel) Then the concept, the return of the artful dodger, the return of a boy transported to the colonies (australia) for stealing. (maybe we need a new place to transport the thugs and thief’s of today?), how has he returned? is he reformed?

The Dodger is back and he has an agenda. Given a pardon by a disreputable peer of the realm and a mission to fulfil with his ever-present watcher the aboriginal Warrigal. We get to find out the fate of many of the characters in Oliver twist and also meet up with the members of Fagin’s gang who are still living the life of the thief, while our rascal The Dodger looks for the Jakkapoor Stone, a Jewel of value, and ominous history.

Like in life sometimes its best not to go back, not all reunions are sweet, and some are dangerous. Old friendships are reforged, some are forver consigned to history and in the case of Ruby some friendships turn to love for our young Dodger.

So can Benmore write? I’m happy to say yes he can, but if you are looking for the deep dark dank of Victorian London then you wont find it here, because even though Benmore doesn’t hide the filth and poverty of London, its seen through the eyes of the Artful Dodger, and ole artful loves his London, so even filth has a pink rosy tint to it.

After reading the book the first thought that struck me was that this would make an excellent saturday evening TV series. Something to replace a show like Merlin or Dr Who. A great fun wholesome family TV show. I’m not sure if that is the intent of the author, but hidden in amongst the tale of an almost irredeemable thief are morals, and friendships and honour. There is plenty of depth and emotion, something for everyone. I don’t think there is even an age or gender group for this book, from Young Adult to grandparent, there is something in this story for all to love.

I really recommend this book to you all. and I look forward to what ever James Benmore writes next.



Filed under Crime, Historical Fiction

Giles Kristian: Brothers’ Fury

Author: Giles Kristian


Giles has led a varied life to say the least. During the 90s he was lead singer of pop group Upside Down, achieving four top twenty hit records, performing twice on Top of the Pops, and singing at such venues as the Royal Albert Hall, N.E.C. and Wembley Arena.

giles 2

As a singer songwriter he lived and toured for two years in Europe and has made music videos all over the world, from Prague, Miami, Mexico, and the Swiss Alps, to Bognor Regis! To fund his writing habit he has worked as a model, appearing in TV commercials and ads for the likes of Walls Ice Cream (he was the Magnum Man) Canon cameras and two brands of lager! He has been an advertising copywriter and lived for two and a half years in New York where he wrote copy for movie marketing company Empire Design but mainly worked on his first novel.

Family history and his storytelling hero, Bernard Cornwell, inspired GILES KRISTIAN to begin writing his action-packed Viking series. The first book, Raven: Blood Eye, was published to great acclaim and two further highly praised novels, Sons of Thunder and Odin’s Wolves, complete the bestselling trilogy.

Giles’ fascination with the English Civil War began at school, where he appreciated the cold efficiency of Cromwell’s New Model Army but also revelled in the flamboyance of the Cavaliers and the romance of the doomed Royalist cause. It is this complex and brutal conflict that provides the backcloth to his new historical series, The Bleeding Land.

He lives in Leicestershire.

Author Web Site:

Author Raven Video:

Bleeding Land Video:

Book Description


Following in the footsteps of Bernard Cornwell, Giles Kristian continues his thrilling and acclaimed story of the Rivers family, whose lives are turned upside down by that most brutal and tragic of wars — the English Civil War.
Rebel: Cast out from his home, rejected by his family, Tom Rivers returns to his regiment. But his former commander believes the young hothead”s recklessness and contempt for authority has no place in his troop. And yet to a spymaster like Captain Crafte, Tom”s dark and fearless nature is in itself a weapon to be turned upon the hated Cavaliers. For who else would dare to infiltrate Oxford, now the Royalist capital, to destroy the King”s printing press and strike a blow at the very heart of the enemy?

Renegade: Raw with grief at the death of his father, Edmund Rivers rejects the peace talks between Parliament and the King. Instead, he leads a ragged but hardened band of marauders across the moors, appearing out of the frozen world to fall on unsuspecting rebel columns like wolves. But Prince Rupert, who recognises in Mun a fellow child of war, has other uses for him, from stealing an enormous gun, to burrowing through mud beneath the walls of Lichfield. The only peace the enemy will get from Mun Rivers is that of the grave.

Huntress: Her heart broken from the loss of her beloved Emmanuel and her father, Bess Rivers must make the hardest decision of her life. Leaving her new-born son behind she rides from Sheer House seeking Lady Mary”s estranged father, for she hopes he will help her re-unite what is left of her broken family. Risking her own life on the road, Bess will do whatever it takes to find her brother Tom and secure his Royal pardon — can she douse the flames of her brother’s’ fury and see them reconciled?


Before I start on the book a small note about the author: Giles is one of the truly nicest most genuine people I have met, not just in the world of writers but just in life.

I feel that this genuine real personality is something that influences his writing. Don’t get me wrong his books are not nice guy books, they are not judgemental, they don’t push an agenda. You get a story (or in the case of the Raven, a saga). The characters are real people, real people set in the past, living a real existence that is accurate to the period.

In book one; The Bleeding Land, we met the Rivers family and experienced the pain and suffering, the love and the adventures that all members of the family endured.

Brothers Fury (bk 2) picks up not long after the end of book 1. We see and experience how the brothers Mun and Tom have changed, how the war has changed them both, how the spectre of death has shaped them

What a cruel thing is war: to separate and destroy families and friends, and mar
the purest joys and happiness God has granted us in this world; to fill our
hearts with hatred instead of love for our neighbors, and to devastate the fair
face of this beautiful world. ~Robert E. Lee

The English Civil war has torn a country, families, neighbours communities asunder.  The Rivers family are all changed by this war. Both Mun and Tom are now killers, not born but made by the hell of civil war.

While clinging to the sanity of family and trying to pull her beloved brothers back from the brink of chaos is Bess Rivers. She is scouring the country with her protectors looking for Tom, certain that finding him and talking to him will be enough to put out the fires of his fury and the pain of his loss.

Giles characters are so real it can be quite scary at times. I can relate to Mun in particular, his desire to do the right thing, to live and if need be die for his honour and his family, whilst controlling the killer he has within. While the brothers are on opposite sides of the war they share the same traits of fearless fighters, but where Mun is a controlled killer of men, Tom is almost swamped by his rage in battle a baresark warrior,, a man who gives himself over to the rage and black fog of war.

It’s this realistic characterisation that makes this such a special book. Giles is exceptional at his historical research down to the geek level of the right uniform, weapons, even the buttons and material. But the people are so real so life-like you can relate to every emotion. The setting of a portion of the book in Oxford, my birthplace and a wonderful historic place to grow up was just the icing on the cake. Roll all of that into a story told in such a flowing compelling style and Brother Fury will be one of the finest books you read this year, and is a tale you can re-read many times as years go by. It has all the quality of a timeless classic of the genre.

My Highest recommendation


Other Books by Giles:

Blood Eye
Sons of Thunder
Odin's Wolves


Filed under Historical Fiction

M C Scott : Rome the Art of War



M C Scott A pseudonym used by Manda Scott

MC Scott…. qualified as a veterinary surgeon from Glasgow University and spent fifteen years in Newmarket and Cambridge specialising in anaesthesia and intensive care, before turning to writing as an alternative, less sleep-deprived, profession.M.C.

Of the novels so far published, the first four were contemporary crime thrillers. The first, ‘Hen’s Teeth’ was short listed for the Orange prize in 1997; the third, ‘Stronger than Death’ was awarded an Arts Council of England prize for Literature and the fourth, ‘No Good Deed’, was nominated in the ‘Best Crime Novel’ category of the prestigious US Edgar Awards in 2003.

Scott runs shamanic dreaming workshops which teach the basis of the dreaming described in the Boudica series.

art of war

Product Description

Rome: AD69, The Year of the Four Emperors.Three Emperors have ruled in Rome this year and a fourth, Vespasian, has been named in the East.

As the legions march toward civil war, Sebastos Pantera, the spy whose name means leopard, returns to Rome intent on bribery, blackmail and persuasion: whatever it takes to bring the commanders and their men to Vespasian’s side.

But in Rome, as he uses every skill he has ever learned of subterfuge, codes and camouflage, it becomes clear that one of those closest to him is a traitor, who will let Rome fall to destroy him.

Together the two spies spin a web of deceit with Rome as the prize and death the only escape.


After Eagle of the Twelfth i thought Manda had hit the peak of her writing, the story was one of the finest books of 2012

That book had it all, every facet of a great story existed, a truly action packed emotional ride from start to finish.

Rome Art of War manages to go one better, combining all the aspect of the last book but wrapping it with a level of skill and intrigue that is just dazzling. The key protagonist Pantera is amazingly viewed from all the other key perspectives in the book, giving a highly interesting and engaging view of the over all story. When that is coupled with Manda’s impeccable historical research, knowledge and (not widely known) background in crime thriller fiction a whole new edge is opened to your Historical Fiction reading. I don’t read many complex crime/ spy fiction books set in the past, if they were all written this well it’s all I would read.

I’m going to stop saying “this is the best book this year” because there are now officially too many fantastic books out already this year. What I will say is that you MUST buy this book. If you love crime, historical fiction, books full of action and intrigue and if you want to learn how to write a book that is the pinnacle in multi faceted writing style, then this is the book you must have.

My Highest recommendation


Other Books

1. The Emperor’s Spy (2009)
aka The Fire of Rome
2. The Coming of the King (2011)
3. The Eagle Of The Twelfth (2012)
4. The Art of War (2013)

The Emperor's SpyThe Coming of the KingThe Eagle Of The TwelfthThe Art of War

Grave Gold / Dream Walker / Pantera II (2011)
Grave Gold / Dream Walker / Pantera II
The Last Roman in Britan (2011)
Raven Feeder (2011)
The Last Roman in BritanRaven Feeder
Kellen Stewart Series
1. Hen’s Teeth (1997)
2. Night Mares (1998)
3. Stronger Than Death (1999)
Hen's TeethNight MaresStronger Than Death
1. Dreaming the Eagle (2003)
2. Dreaming the Bull (2004)
3. Dreaming the Hound (2005)
4. Dreaming the Serpent Spear (2006)
Dreaming the EagleDreaming the BullDreaming the HoundDreaming the Serpent Spear

No Good Deed (2001)

Absolution (2005)

The Crystal Skull (2008)      aka 2012: The Crystal Skull

No Good DeedThe Crystal Skull

1 Comment

Filed under Historical Fiction

Raymond E Feist: Jimmy and the Crawler (The fourth book in the Riftwar : Legacy series)

The Author: Raymond E Feist


Raymond Feist was born and raised in Southern California. He was educated at the University of California, San Diego, where he graduated with honours in Communication Arts. He is the author of numerous worldwide fantasy bestsellers including the groundbreaking classic ‘Riftwar Saga’ and has continued his phenomenal success with his new Riftwar series including bestsellers ‘Krondor:The Betrayal’ and ‘Krondor:The Assassins’.

Jimmy and the Crawler (2013)
(The fourth book in the Riftwar : Legacy series)


A fantastic new novella from the master of magic and adventure. Best selling author Raymond E. Feist returns to the city of Krondor and one of his most loved characters, Jimmy the Hand.

The Crawler: a name whispered in fear…

In the crime-ridden back alleys of Krondor a rival gang has sprung up to threaten the Upright Man’s Mockers. Does the Crawler control the rival gang? Where does his power come from? And does it threaten the peace of the Kingdom?

James, personal squire to Prince Arutha of Krondor, but in the underworld known as the thief and trickster Jimmy the Hand, must travel to Kesh in disguise. There, working with William, lieutenant of the prince’s household guard and son of the magician Pug, and Jazhara, niece to the Keshian lord Hazara-Khan, he must attempt to unmask the mysterious Crawler and rid Krondor of his influence.


This series is and has always been the weakest of the Krondor based books.


I loved it; There is and has always been something about Jimmy the Hand that worked for me. He is the one of those great characters in fantasy fiction. Yes he is too damn good, too fast, too lucky, too heroic etc. But he is fun. He is the type of escapism character we all want to be, and takes you so far away from the hum drum real world.

The book slots in between many of the other tales, and i found myself wracking my memory for which not to which person or place fitted in which book. This annoys some but makes me want to read the other books again. (i probably will after the release of Magicians end is published.

The finest Feist series is still the Empire series:

Riftwar : The World On the Other Side
1. Daughter of the Empire (1987) (with Janny Wurts)
2. Servant of the Empire (1989) (with Janny Wurts)
3. Mistress of the Empire (1989) (with Janny Wurts)
The Empire Series 3-book Bundle (omnibus) (2013)

Daughter of the EmpireServant of the EmpireMistress of the EmpireThe Empire Series 3-book Bundle

but the most fun is:

1. Magician: Apprentice (1982)
2. Magician: Master (1982)
3. Silverthorn (1985)
4. A Darkness at Sethanon (1985)
5. Prince of the Blood (1989)
6. The King’s Buccaneer (1989)

Magician: ApprenticeMagician: MasterSilverthornA Darkness at SethanonPrince of the BloodThe King's Buccaneer

Riftwar : Serpentwar

1. Shadow of a Dark Queen (1994)
2. Rise of a Merchant Prince (1995)
3. Rage of a Demon King (1995)
4. Shards of a Broken Crown (1998)

Shadow of a Dark QueenRise of a Merchant PrinceRage of a Demon KingShards of a Broken Crown

10 books of such sweeping action, imagination and escapism that it ranks up there as one of my all time fav fantasy series.

The 2 series that Jimmy the crawler belongs too started life as script for computer games, and while the weakest of all his books, can often be some of the fun ones, a closer look at amusing character like Jimmy

Riftwar : Legacy
The Betrayal: KrondorThe Assassins: KrondorTear of the gods: KrondorJimmy and the Crawler
 Legends of the Riftwar
Honoured EnemyMurder in LamutJimmy the Hand
So if you are a fan of Feist you don’t need me to tell you to buy this book, but if you have never read his work, it’s a fantastic little novella that shows how well the man writes, and gives you a flash of fun and adventure from one of his finest characters.
For the amazon reviewer detractors: £9 for a book that takes several hours to read, and leaves you thinking about for longer, that makes to re-live the great books of the series and maybe even re-read the whole series end to end. Compare that to £8 for a 90 min film at the cinema and the fact you will probably leave and forget the plot within 20 mins because the avergae film from hollywood is some mindless pointless comedy. Yet people go back and back for them without complaint, but think that the effort and time and imagination that went into a book, even a novella like this “isnt worth £9”. tell me what else you can do for £9 that lasts on its own for hours and can inspire and entertain in the same way?
Oh and the book its self, beautiful cover, a really fine satin finish to the art work.

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Michael Ennis: The Malice of Fortune



Michael Ennis is the New York Times best selling author of the historical thriller The Malice of Fortune, published in the United States by Doubleday in September 2012, and internationally in twelve countries to date. His previous international best-selling historical novels are Byzantium and Duchess of Milan. He earned his degree in history from the University of California, Berkeley, and is a former John D. Rockefeller III Foundation Fellow. His non-fiction writing, on subjects ranging from military preparedness and national politics to art and architecture, has won several national awards, been included in the curriculum of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and has been published in a number of books and anthologies as well as magazines ranging from Esquire and Texas Monthly to I.D., ARTnews, and Architectural Digest.

Product Description


Against a teeming canvas of Borgia politics, Niccolò Machiavelli and Leonardo da Vinci come together to unmask an enigmatic serial killer, as we learn the secret history behind one of the most controversial works in the western canon, The Prince…
When Pope Alexander dispatches a Vatican courtesan, Damiata, to the remote fortress city of Imola to learn the truth behind the murder of Juan, his most beloved illegitimate son, she cannot fail, for the scheming Borgia pope holds her own young son hostage. Once there, Damiata becomes a pawn in the political intrigues of the pope’s surviving son, the charismatic Duke Valentino, whose own life is threatened by the condottieri, a powerful cabal of mercenary warlords. Damiata suspects that the killer she seeks is one of the brutal condottierri, and as the murders multiply, her quest grows more urgent. She enlists the help of an obscure Florentine diplomat, Niccolò Machiavelli, and Valentino’s eccentric military engineer, Leonardo da Vinci, who together must struggle to decipher the killer’s taunting riddles: Leonardo with his groundbreaking “science of observation” and Machiavelli with his new “science of men.” Travelling across an Italy torn apart by war, they will enter a labyrinth of ancient superstition and erotic obsession to discover at its center a new face of evil – and a truth that will shake the foundations of western civilisation.


There is a Tag line on the front of this book that goes “A Simmering stew, thick with chicanery, Bloodshed, code breaking and Puzzle solving.”

This is about as accurate a review as you will probably find.

For me the book was not my normal fare, there was not a lot to love about any of the characters, even though we saw the story through the eyes of first Damiata and then Niccolo. Whilst the story was at times tragic, at others horrific and bloody with the murders committed by the killer. There seemed very little that was personal for me in the tale.

The scene setting and history is wonderful, and very atmospheric, you can feel the cold of the sea and of the winter nights. But while i could feel the time period , the weather, the violence and i could feel the momentous history and occasion. I could not feel the desire, the passion and the fear of the main characters.

I will take that failing as my own not the author, i think this is a book well worth reading, despite it not hitting every chord with me.

This is not a blood and thunder action book, it is not action adventure, it is a romantic tragedy set in the back drop of history, with character names that just leap off the page. Borgia, Machiavelli and Da Vinci to name a few. This alone makes it worth a look. I hope the romantic tragedy angle works for you, i wish it had for me, because if it had this would have been right up there in great reads this year.



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Filed under Crime, Historical Fiction