Monthly Archives: July 2013

Ben Aaronovitch: Broken Homes (Review)

About the Author

Bens-dust-cover-0201-300x387

Ben Aaronovitch was born in 1964. He had parents, some brothers, some sisters and a dog named after a Russian cosmonaut. He also had the kind of dull childhood that drives a person to drink, radical politics or science fiction.

Discovering in his early twenties that he had precisely one talent, he took up screenwriting at which he was an overnight success. He wrote for Doctor Who, Casualty and the world’s cheapest ever SF soap opera Jupiter Moon. He then wrote for Virgin’s New Adventures until they pulped all his books.

Then Ben entered a dark time illuminated only by an episode of Dark Knight, a book for Big Finish and the highly acclaimed but not-very-well-paying Blake’s 7 Audio dramas. Trapped in a cycle of disappointment and despair Ben was eventually forced to support his expensive book habit by working for Waterstones as a bookseller.

Ironically it was while shelving the works of others that Ben finally saw the light. He would write his own books, he would let prose into his heart and rejoice in the word. Henceforth, subsisting on nothing more than instant coffee and Japanese takeaway, Ben embarked on the epic personal journey that was to lead to Rivers of London (or Midnight Riot as it is known in the Americas).

At some point during the above, the most important thing in his life happened and he became a father to a son, Karifa, whom he affectionately refers to as ‘The Evil Monster Boy’. The Evil Monster Boy will be reaching university age soon, so all donations will be gratefully received.

Ben Aaronovitch currently resides in London and says that he will leave when they pry his city from his cold dead fingers.

Authors Web Site

Buy a signed Copy of Broken Homes

Buy a copy from Amazon

Product Description

Broken Homes

Ben Aaronovitch has stormed the bestseller list with his superb London crime series. A unique blend of police procedural, loving detail about the greatest character of all, London, and a dash of the supernatural.

In the new novel DC Peter Grant must head south of the river to the alien environs of Elephant and Castle. There’s a murderer abroad and, as always when Grant’s department are reluctantly called in by CID there is more than a whiff of the supernatural in the darkness.

Full of warmth, sly humour and a rich cornucopia of things you never knew about London, Aaronovitch’s series has swiftly added Grant’s magical London to Rebus’ Edinburgh and Morse’s Oxford as a destination of choice for those who love their crime with something a little extra.

Review

When Rivers of London came out in 2011 it was in my opinion ground breaking, each book in the series has built upon the last in a unique, witty and captivating style (Broken Homes, takes it to a new height). Peter Grant the main protagonist could be a guy you went to school with, well if you forget the fact that he can do magic, and is often as confused about it as you or I. Nightingale (his boss) is the mentor, some would say the Dumbledore, I would say the Doctor Who, the man with the past he doesn’t share, the knowledge he drip feeds, and the personality of the irritable professor.

What I love about the series is the total unpredictable nature of the story/ Series, the topsy turvy contrary nature of the River spirits/ Gods and other magical beings. The twists and turns and machinations of the faceless man leave you guessing constantly as to where things will go next, what risks Peter will take next and powers he will try and use. Broken Homes introduces a new form of magic and takes us further into the political/ magical landscape of London and the Rivers. It throws up some serious surprises for the established characters, and delves deeper into the past, with more hints at the geo-political/ Magical landscape of Europe during WW2 and before.

In this series there are always some fantastic side plots, the boy meets girl plot lines, the boy runs from crazy girl, or  girl from boy who does magic. Always the story arc and the small incidentals will leave you smiling or laughing out loud.

This truly is the most interesting, uniquely funny series being written. Its a must read, no matter what genre you like.

Highly Recommended

(Parm)

Peter Grant

1. Rivers of London (2011)
aka Midnight Riot
2. Moon Over Soho (2011)
3. Whispers Under Ground (2012)
4. Broken Homes (2013)
Rivers of LondonMoon Over SohoWhispers Under GroundBroken Homes
Doctor Who 
Short Trips: Repercussions (2013)
Short Trips: Repercussions
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Mark Lawrence: Emperor of Thorns (Review)

Author

lawrence

Mark Lawrence is married with four children, one of whom is severely disabled.His day job is as a research scientist focused on various rather intractable problems in the field of artificial intelligence. He has held secret level clearance with both US and UK governments.

Product Description

emperor

Lawrence brings his highly acclaimed epic fantasy series – The Broken Empire – to its devastating conclusion.

The path to the throne is broken – only the broken can walk it

The world is cracked and time has run through, leaving us clutching at the end days. These are the days that have waited for us all our lives. These are my days. I will stand before the Hundred and they will listen. I will take the throne no matter who stands against me, living or dead, and if I must be the last emperor then I will make of it such an ending.

This is where the wise man turns away. This is where the holy kneel and call on God. These are the last miles, my brothers. Don’t look to me to save you. Run if you have the wit. Pray if you have the soul. Stand your ground if courage is yours. But don’t follow me.

Follow me, and I will break your heart.

Review

“There are very few fantasy writers out there who can produce something this rounded, so complete, so powerful and action packed”

2013 is the year of fantastic books, i set myself the challenge of reading 100 books, thinking that i would have to cast around for some fillers titles to be able to read that many. How wrong i was, i think i have found over 250 books i want to read this year, which means i have had to be selective about who gets my time.

I have been a big fan of both Mark Lawrence the writer and Mark Lawrence the man, a person who gives so much in his writing and also as a charitable person. He has inspired me to do more and look for more ways to help others. (thank you Mark).

So this is the end: and that fact made me think of the Doors

This is the end 
Beautiful friend 
This is the end 
My only friend, the end

Of our elaborate plans, the end 
Of everything that stands, the end 
No safety or surprise, the end 
I’ll never look into your eyes…again

Can you picture what will be 
So limitless and free 
Desperately in need…of some…stranger’s hand 
In a…desperate land

Lost in a Roman…wilderness of pain 
And all the children are insane 
All the children are insane 
Waiting for the summer rain, yeah

There’s danger on the edge of town 
Ride the King’s highway, baby 
Weird scenes inside the gold mine 
Ride the highway west, baby

Ride the snake, ride the snake 
To the lake, the ancient lake, baby 
The snake is long, seven miles 
Ride the snake…he’s old, and his skin is cold

The west is the best 
The west is the best 
Get here, and we’ll do the rest

The blue bus is callin’ us 
The blue bus is callin’ us 
Driver, where you taken’ us

The killer awoke before dawn, he put his boots on 
He took a face from the ancient gallery 
And he walked on down the hall 
He went into the room where his sister lived, and…then he 
Paid a visit to his brother, and then he 
He walked on down the hall, and 
And he came to a door…and he looked inside 
Father, yes son, I want to kill you 
Mother…I want to…fuck you

C’mon baby, take a chance with us 
C’mon baby, take a chance with us 
C’mon baby, take a chance with us 
And meet me at the back of the blue bus 
Doin’ a blue rock 
On a blue bus 
Doin’ a blue rock 
C’mon, yeah

Kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill

This is the end 
Beautiful friend 
This is the end 
My only friend, the end

It hurts to set you free 
But you’ll never follow me 
The end of laughter and soft lies 
The end of nights we tried to die

This is the end

 In so many ways this made me think of Jorg and this final book. (and it was surreal that it kept coming on when I had the iPod on random song search)

The bitter-sweet conclusion that leads to no more.

And what and end, a series that has had a set path and an author brave enough to end a successful series and do it on a high. (Yes Mr Robert Jordan i am think of you as the total opposite). This series will take its place in amongst the all time greats of fantasy series.

Mark Lawrence has created a lead character that has had a meteoric growth across the series, but a series that was designed around that growth. A man who is … well a bloody nasty git, rather than a good guy or anti hero, just a total SOB. But he is not just that he is so much more on top, you need to read to see how inspired the writing is, how real it makes Jorg. When you mix it the breakneck speed of the story and the over all plot, all the side characters and a world so real you can see hear smell and touch it… well it makes for a true example of fantasy writing.

As should be expected each book has improved on the last, an author who doesn’t learn from the last book is stagnating (well i think so). The big boys of the genre need to watch their backs, because if Mark Lawrence has more ideas up his sleeve this good then he will not only become a man to be reckoned with, he will becomes the man to emulate. For any new writers in the genre you should be looking to emulate this guy, he is damn good. He writes the story without fear of audience, editor, market or competition, he just writes pure quality fantasy.

What ever comes next sign me up now as a reviewer, test reader, buyer, what ever. I just know i will be buying a signed hardback to go with every book in this series.

thank you Mark for a wonderful 3 years of Jorg.

Very Highly Recommended

(Parm)

Broken Empire

Prince of ThornsKing of ThornsEmperor of Thorns

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Christian Cameron: The Ill Made Knight (Review)

Christian Cameron

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Christian Cameron was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1962. He grew up in Rockport, Massachusetts, Iowa City, Iowa, and Rochester, New York, where he attended McQuaid Jesuit High School and later graduated from the University of Rochester with a degree in history.

After the longest undergraduate degree on record (1980-87), he joined the United States Navy, where he served as an intelligence officer and as a backseater in S-3 Vikings in the First Gulf War, in Somalia, and elsewhere. After a dozen years of service, he became a full time writer in 2000. He lives in Toronto (that’s Ontario, in Canada) with his wife Sarah and their daughter Beatrice, currently age seven. He attends the University of Toronto when the gods move him and may eventually have a Masters in Classics, but right now he’s a full time historical novelist, and it is the best job in the world.

Christian is a dedicated reenactor and you can follow some of his recreated projects on the Agora. He’s always recruiting, so if you’d like to try the ancient world, the medieval world, or the late 18th century, follow the link to contact us.

Author Web site

Author Forum

Product Description

Ill made Knight

William Gold comes into the world as his family slides down the social ladder. His head filled with tales of chivalry, instead he is branded a thief, and must make do with being squire to his childhood friend Sir Robert, a knight determined to make a name for himself as a man at arms in France. While William himself slowly acquires the skills of knightly combat, he remains an outsider – until the Battle of Poitiers when Sir Robert is cut down by the greatest knight of the age, Sir Geoffry de Charny, and William, his lowly squire, revenges him. But with his own knight dead, no honour acrrues to William for this feat of arms, and he is forced to become a mercenary. Scavenging a mis-matched set of armour from the knightly corpses, he joins one of the mercenary companies now set to pillage a defenceless France, and so begins a bloody career that sees William joining forces with the infamous Sir John Hawkwood and immersing himself in a treacherous clandestine war among the Italian city states. But paradoxically it is there, among the spies, assassins and hired killers serving their ruthless masters, that William finally discovers the true meaning of chivalry – and his destiny as a knight.

Review:

In this book, this oh so wonderful book, Christian Cameron proves yet again no matter what era he writes in, he does it with style, skill and panache. For me he is the finest writer of historical fiction currently writing. As a writer he ticks every box, deep research, deep personal knowledge from his re-enactment, a deep abiding passion for the subject matter and for the world of writing, and a natural skill of the storyteller, a skald, a minstrel a chronicler a man who can lift his audience to another time and place, transporting them to sit at the shoulder of his characters through pain, happiness , passion, victory and defeat. Every single book gets better and is a bigger triumph than the last, and that astounds me, because every book just takes my breath away in its scope and skill.

Ill Made Knight is a whole new world for me, I know nothing about this period, 1356 England and France is a blank slate, and yet in every page I felt at home with William Gold, I felt every one of his losses and every one of his victories, his betrayals hurt me as much as William, his losses cut me to the core, his loves reminded me of the highs a person can reach just being in the presence of that special person in your life and his anger at the Bourc burned as hotly for me as it did for him. The book arouses all those passions in the reader and more.

As much as I was entertained, I feel I was also educated, knowing that the author, has invested so much time, patience, blood sweat and energy into understanding the period, the arms and armour, the clothing, the fighting (he took part in a tournament recently in full armour). All of this brings the story to life, it brings a reality a realism, add to that the authors military background and understanding of soldiers and war and you really do get a sense that you are experiencing a true accounting rather than fiction.

This will absolutely be one of the best books you read this year.

(Parm)

Other books by this author

Series
Tyrant
1. Tyrant (2008)
2. Storm of Arrows (2009)
3. Funeral Games (2010)
4. King of the Bosporus (2011)
5. Destroyer of Cities (2013)
6. Force of Kings (2014)
TyrantStorm of ArrowsFuneral GamesKing of the BosporusDestroyer of Cities
Long War
1. Killer of Men (2010)
2. Marathon: Freedom or Death (2011)
3. Poseidon’s Spear (2012)
4. The Great King (2013)
Killer of MenMarathon: Freedom or DeathPoseidon's SpearThe Great King
Tom Swan and the Head of St George
1. Castillon (2012)
2. Venice (2012)
3. Constantinople (2012)
4. Rome (2013)
5. Rhodes (2013)
6. Chios (2013)
CastillonVeniceConstantinopleRomeRhodesChios
Novels
Washington and Caesar (2001)
God of War (2012)
Alexander: God of War (2013)
The Ill-Made Knight (2013)
The Long Sword (2014)
Washington and CaesarGod of WarAlexander: God of WarThe Ill-Made Knight

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Nick Brown: The Far Shore (review)

Author

Nick Brown

Nick Brown grew up in Norfolk and has taught English and history in both the UK and abroad. He was inspired to try his hand at historical fiction after reading C.J. Sansom’s Dissolution.

Book Description

Buy from Amazon

Buy Signed Copy

far shore

When the deputy commander of Rome’s Imperial Security Service is assassinated on the island of Rhodes, Cassius Corbulo swiftly finds himself embroiled in the investigation. Assisted once more by ex-gladiator bodyguard Indavara and servant Simo, his search for the truth is complicated by the involvement of the dead man’s headstrong daughter, Annia. Braving hostile seas, Cassius and his allies follow the assassin’s trail south aboard a ship captained by a roguish Carthaginian smuggler and manned by his disparate, dangerous crew. Their journey leads them to the farthest reaches of the empire; to a ruined city where the rules of Roman civilization have long been abandoned, and a deadly battle of wits with a brutal, relentless foe.

Review:

It becomes, after a while very easy to say a book is the best yet, his finest work etc. to be honest I think that this should be the case, a person should grow in their job, should strive for improvement, if they don’t do that they stagnate and come to see it as a wage not thing to be enjoyed and improved.
There are some fine authors who have fallen into this downward spiral (not always a neglect, sometimes just life getting in the way). The good news is that Nick is at the start of what is a very steep upward curve. Every book leaps and bounds above the last with improvements in style, prose, characterisation and intricacy to the plot.

When book one The Siege (Agent of Rome)came out I grabbed it because I love Roman Historical Fiction, it was during that first read that I had a momentary worry, I’m not normally a fan of Historical Crime fiction. (No idea why, I like crime thrillers , I love Hist Fic, should be a marriage made in heaven) It’s my failing, I suppose I’m looking for the CSI type resolution rather than the cerebral Holmes type resolution? I have tried some of the really great writers of this genre and been left feeling …Meh!
But not so with Nick Brown, Corbulo is not the average detective type, especially in this book, there is a total humanity to him, a depth that so many writers fail to get to. He is on the page warts and all, his innate snobbery, something he clearly doesn’t see because that’s the way he was raised. His view of women, and their status in the order of the roman world and his utter surprise when a strong woman gets peeved at him for being a chauvinist prig. His casual demeaning of Indavara (who is my favourite character in the book, not just your average thug, a man of depth and complexity, but also who provides great humour in the book, one of my fav sidekicks at the moment across many series.) these traits are all part of the make-up of a very complex man, driven, and brave, afraid of not doing his duty, striving to be better, but also built from the sum of his experiences, and as he is still a young man he has many more experiences and lessons to learn.
The other thing that keeps bringing me back to Nick Browns books is his USP (unique selling point), the fact that his character is set in his own career, he is and isn’t a soldier, he is a Grain Man , a spy, a fixer, a detective he is what ever the Roman secret service (the Frumentarii) require of him. This sets the whole series apart. And I think its this that gives the added extra for me personally and lifts it beyond a Hist Fic Crime novel. Its part crime, part detective, part spy, part hist fic. It basically is an absorbing tale set against the back drop of one of the greatest empires in the world, but exposed to its core of corruption.

The Plot… well read the book description,
“When the deputy commander of Rome’s Imperial Security Service is assassinated on the island of Rhodes, Cassius Corbulo swiftly finds himself embroiled in the investigation. Assisted once more by ex-gladiator bodyguard Indavara and servant Simo, his search for the truth is complicated by the involvement of the dead man’s headstrong daughter, Annia.

Braving hostile seas, Cassius and his allies follow the assassin’s trail south aboard a ship captained by a roguish Carthaginian smuggler and manned by his disparate, dangerous crew. Their journey leads them to the farthest reaches of the empire; to a ruined city where the rules of Roman civilization have long been abandoned, and a deadly battle of wits with a brutal, relentless foe.”

That was written by an expert, you don’t need me to add to that… and I miss spoilers by avoiding it…. I will say Corbulo has my sympathy on the sea voyage, I felt green just reading about it.

Reading geek points also to anyone who spots the Star Wars reference in the book (I’m not spoiling it…. Sorry, meant I didn’t see it because I’m not a geek…honest)

Highly Recommended
(Parm)

Series
Agent of Rome
1. The Siege (2011)
2. The Imperial Banner (2012)
3. The Far Shore (2013)
The SiegeThe Imperial BannerThe Far Shore
Novellas
Death This Day (2012)
The Eleventh Hour (2013)
Death This DayThe Eleventh Hour

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James Rollins: Eye of God (Review)

Author

rollins

James Rollins was born in Chicago, Illinois, is 1961. With his three brothers and three sisters, he was raised in the Midwest and rural Canada. He graduated with a doctorate in veterinary medicine from the University of Missouri and went on to establish his own veterinary practice in Sacramento, California. An amateur spelunker and a PADI-certified scuba enthusiast, he’ll often be found either underground or underwater.

Product details

EOG

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Orion (18 July 2013)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 1409113906
  • ISBN-13: 978-1409113904
  • Product Dimensions: 23.9 x 15.9 x 3.8 cm

Buy the book from Amazon

In The Eye of God, a Sigma Force novel, New York Times best-selling author James Rollins delivers an apocalyptic vision of a future predicted by the distant past.

In the wilds of Mongolia, a research satellite has crashed, triggering an explosive search for its valuable cargo: a code-black physics project connected to the study of dark energy – and a shocking image of the eastern seaboard of the United States in utter ruin.

At the Vatican, a package arrives containing two strange artefacts: a skull scrawled with ancient Aramaic and a tome bound in human skin. DNA evidence reveals that both came from the same body: the long dead Mongol king Genghis Khan.

Commander Gray Pierce and Sigma Force set out to discover a truth tied to the fall of the Roman Empire, to a mystery going back to the birth of Christianity, and to a weapon hidden for centuries that holds the fate of humanity.

Review:

James Rollins is the Thriller writer all thriller fans should read IMHO, all the hype that exists around Dan Brown seems even more unwarranted when you read the quality of story plot, pace, action and adventure that he publishes year in year out. Some of the earlier novels (listed below under Novels) can to some go to the extreme of credulity, but they are still so well written and so much fun they are addictive.

The Sigma series are that well written, but instead of stretching credulity they inspire, they give a view of technology to aspire to. So many people look at books like this and think “far fetched” when an author pushes the boundaries of technology and fiction it needs to be done right and Rollins always does this with style, look at early star trek, some of the idea (like personal communicators)  came to pass (Mobile phones). Look at advances in Rollins books like Monks prosthetic hand, and do an on-line search of the next gen prosthetics, Monks hand has been around for a few years now, the idea behind it so deep so detailed, and this is just one of the ideas brought forth by Rollins wonderful imagination, this imagination is so real so detailed, from the overall plot down to the nitty gritty fine details.

In this latest book Rollins takes us on a journey through history and through the future of Space, time and dark matter. The concepts and the research for this book must have absorbed him for months. The introduction of some of the Greatest/ darkest men in History was wonderful, Genghis and Attila combined with St Thomas. How does an imagination come up with a plot like that astounds me. Add in the fine detail of families, loves won, loves lost and some very brave writing by the author. This is probably the richest and most elaborate, and at the same time down to earth and emotive of all the sigma books.

Very Highly recommended

(Parm)

Other books by this author

Series
Sigma Force
1. Sandstorm (2004)
2. Map of Bones (2005)
3. Black Order (2006)
4. The Judas Strain (2007)
5. The Last Oracle (2008)
6. The Doomsday Key (2009)
7. The Devil Colony (2011)
8. Bloodline (2012)
9. The Eye of God (2013)
The Skeleton Key (2011)
The Doomsday Key / The Last Oracle (omnibus) (2011)
SandstormMap of BonesBlack OrderThe Judas Strain
The Last OracleThe Doomsday KeyThe Devil ColonyBloodline
The Eye of GodThe Skeleton KeyThe Doomsday Key / The Last Oracle
Jake Ransom
1. Jake Ransom and the Skull King’s Shadow (2009)
2. Jake Ransom and the Howling Sphinx (2011)
Jake Ransom and the Skull King's ShadowJake Ransom and the Howling Sphinx
Order of the Sanguines (with Rebecca Cantrell)
1. The Blood Gospel
2. City of Screams
3. Innocent Blood
The Blood GospelCity of Screams
Tucker Wayne (with Grant Blackwood)
1. The Kill Switch (2014)
Novels
Subterranean (1999)
Excavation (2000)
Deep Fathom (2001)
Amazonia (2002)
Ice Hunt (2003)
Altar of Eden (2009)
SubterraneanExcavationDeep FathomAmazonia
Ice HuntAltar of Eden
Novellas
Tracker (2012)
Tracker
Series contributed to
Indiana Jones (Films)
4. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

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Matt Rees: A name in Blood (Review)

The Author

M Rees

Matt Rees, (also known as Matt Beynon Rees, born in Newport, Wales) is a Welsh novelist and former journalist. He is the author of the Omar Yussef (character) series of mystery novels about a Palestinian sleuth and of historical crime novels. He is the winner of a Crime Writers Association Dagger for his crime fiction. He lives in Jerusalem.

Product Description

Buy the paperback

blood
Italy, 1605: For the ruling Borgia family, Rome is a place of grand palazzos and frescoed cathedrals. For the lowly artist Caravaggio, it is a place of rough bars, knife fights, and grubby whores. Until he is commissioned to paint the Pope… Soon, Caravaggio has gained entry into the Borgia family’s inner circle, and becomes the most celebrated artist in Rome. But when he falls for Lena, a low-born fruit-seller, and paints her into his Madonna series as a simple peasant woman, Italian society is outraged. Discredited as an artist, but unwilling to retract his vision of the woman he loves, Caravaggio is forced into a duel – and murders a nobleman. Even his powerful patrons cannot protect him from a death sentence. So Caravaggio flees to Malta, where, before he can be pardoned, he must undergo the rigorous training of the Knights of Malta. His paintings continue to speak of his love for Lena. But before he can return to her, as a Knight and a noble, Caravaggio, the most famous artist in Italy – simply disappears…

Review

I’m a voracious reader of historical fiction, but not much historical crime fiction, I steer away from crime drama’s where possible. But this one intrigued me, and im glad it did. The author appears to have a passion for the period and Caravaggio. The Borgia’s are topical right now with the TV series and its nice too read contrasting characters and settings.
The true victory of this book is the passion of the author, while the story is well told and tragic, its the writing that transports you to the 1600’s to experience the sights, sounds, smells and emotions of the people and time.
For those who might think this would be a plodding period piece, its not, its atmospheric, action packed and full of dramatic twists and turns. I soon forgot this was a crime drama, it became a deeply involved story that just transported me to a more artistic era of time, and a more dangerous time, when life was lived to the full.
Highly Recommended
(Parm)

Other Work

Series
Omar Yussef
1. The Bethlehem Murders (2007)
aka The Collaborator of Bethlehem
2. The Saladin Murders (2008)
aka A Grave in Gaza
3. The Samaritan’s Secret (2009)
4. The Fourth Assassin (2010)
The Bethlehem MurdersThe Saladin MurdersThe Samaritan's SecretThe Fourth Assassin
Novels
Mozart’s Last Aria (2011)
A Name in Blood (2012)
Mozart's Last AriaA Name in Blood
Novellas
Damascus Trance (2011)
The Sweetest Things (2012)
Lazarus’s Brush: a short story of Caravaggio in Sicily (2012)
The Man Who Went Out at Night (2012)
Damascus TranceThe Sweetest ThingsLazarus's Brush: a short story of Caravaggio in SicilyThe Man Who Went Out at Night
Non fiction series
Untold Mideast
The Dark Refuge: Israel’s Scandalous Neglect of its Mentally Ill Holocaust Survivors (2012)
Heroic Scum: How the PLO’s Old Campaigners Were Betrayed by Peace (2012)
Kissing the Dead: The Revenge of a Betrayed Hamas Leader(2012)
The Painter and the Prophet: Two Men Who Paid a Price for Loving the Land (2012)
The Dark Refuge: Israel's Scandalous Neglect of its Mentally Ill Holocaust SurvivorsHeroic Scum: How the PLO's Old Campaigners Were Betrayed by PeaceKissing the Dead: The Revenge of a Betrayed Hamas LeaderThe Painter and the Prophet: Two Men Who Paid a Price for Loving the Land
Non fiction
Cain’s Field: Faith, Fratricide, and Fear in the Middle East (2008)
Matatya’s Cafe: The Israeli Musicians Who Brought East and West Together (2012)
Cain's Field: Faith, Fratricide, and Fear in the Middle EastMatatya's Cafe: The Israeli Musicians Who Brought East and West Together

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Filed under Crime, Historical Fiction

Robert Fabbri: The Racing Factions

Author

fabbri

Robert Fabbri read Drama and Theatre at London University and has worked in film and TV for 25 years. He is an assistant director and has worked on productions such as Hornblower, Hellraiser, Patriot Games and Billy Elliot. His life-long passion for ancient history, especially for that of the Roman Empire, has drawn him to write his first novel. He lives in London and Berlin.

Product Description

Buy the eBook

racing factions

Marcus Salvius Magnus is a fanatical supporter of the Green Racing Faction and expects a wager to be honoured. Although he does not presume honesty from anyone, he does believe that a bookmaker at the Circus Maximus should record each bet scrupulously and pay the full amount due. But Ignatius, the bookmaker, is foolish enough to attempt to cheat Magnus out of his winnings, incurring not only his wrath but that also of the South Quirinal Crossroads Brotherhood of which Magnus is the leader. In the shady realm of Rome’s underworld Magnus will use the full resources of his criminal fraternity to exact appropriate vengeance.

But Magnus also has a problem: his patron, Gaius Vespasius Pollo, is attempting to get his nephew, Sabinus, elected as a quaestor. To do this he feels that the support of the senior consul, Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus, would be more than useful. He asks Magnus to ease the consul – a man known for his extreme violence – in the right direction.

Ahenobarbus has a passion: the Red Faction at the circus. Could it be that Magnus might wash two tunics in the same tub, bringing Ignatius down and securing Ahenobarbus’ support by attempting to fix a chariot race in a manner that has never been done before?

Review

Short stories have become the latest thing for writers, a way to advertise their wares, a way to showcase their talent, a way to write about side characters whom the fans love and a way to write and publish those tales that they don’t have time to write a full novel about. There is no defined pattern and no right way, although advertising comes lowest on the quality level IMHO.
Thankfully Robert Fabbri doesn’t appear to be doing that, a taster but mainly a side character loved by fans and the author seem to be the driver.
Racing Factions is a fantastic tale following Magnus and the crossroads brotherhood. Someone makes the very big mistake of crossing Magnus and what unfolds is a very elaborate sting / plan of revenge. The plot is brilliantly formulated into a winding plot with surprises, action, intrigue and revenge. Robert Fabbri gets better and better, making a side character feel like he deserves a full novel if not a full series.
One thought struck me while reading about the racing factions of Rome, they were the original hooligans, long before football people fought over their support of a team, not based on any allegiance except a sports team. Its interesting to see it portrayed and also to see that society has developed in some ways and not in so many others.

Highly recommend this tale and all of Fabbri’s books
(Parm)

Other books

Vespasian
1. Tribune of Rome (2011)
2. Rome’s Executioner (2012)
3. False God of Rome (2013)
4. Rome’s Fallen Eagle (2013)
The Crossroads Brotherhood (2011)
Tribune of RomeRome's ExecutionerFalse God of RomeRome's Fallen EagleThe Crossroads Brotherhood

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Filed under Historical Fiction