Monthly Archives: March 2016

Official Colouring Book by Acclaimed Discworld Artist

Gollancz Signs Up Official Colouring Book by Acclaimed Discworld Artist

Gollancz is delighted to announce the acquisition of World Rights to publish a colouring book of line drawings by Paul Kidby, Sir Terry Pratchett’s artist of choice.

Gollancz Digital Publisher, Darren Nash, brought the rights to Terry Pratchett’s Discworld Colouring Book from Rob Wilkins at Narrativia, who own and control the exclusive multimedia and merchandising rights to all of Sir Terry’s works, including his Discworld characters and creations.

Gollancz published the Discworld novels in hardback from Equal Rites (1987) to Jingo (1997) – and recently republished the first twenty-one Discworld novels as cloth-bound hardbacks in its Discworld Collectors Library – and continues to publish a series of bestselling Discworld diaries and calendars.

Darren Nash said ‘This is the perfect mix of fad and phenomenon: adult colouring books and the UK’s bestselling Fantasy series. And the fact that it’s come from Paul and Rob is a guarantee that Sir Terry’s creations will be treated with the respect they deserve.’

Rob Wilkins said: ‘Paul Kidby is Terry Pratchett’s artist of choice. Paul – in a seemingly effortless and certainly modest way – breathed life into Terry’s characters for more than two decades.  Terry often commenting that Paul must have the ability to step right into Discworld, because the accuracy with which he depicts his creations often surpassed his own imagination.’

Paul Kidby said: ‘It’s been a great pleasure to select some of my favourite artworks and recreate them as line drawings here ready for colouring. Now it’s over to you to embark upon the Discworld colouring-in extravaganza. The future is bright; it’s not orange, it’s Octarine!’

If Terry Pratchett’s pen gave his characters life, Paul Kidby’s brush allowed them to live it.  He provided the illustrations for The Last Hero, which sold over 300,000 copies, and has designed the covers for the Discworld novels since 2002. He is also the author of the definitive portfolio volume The Art Of Discworld.

Containing black-and-white line drawings based on his hugely popular artwork as well as original pieces produced exclusively for this book, Terry Pratchett’s Discworld Colouring Book features iconic Discworld personalities as Granny Weatherwax,  Sam Vimes, Rincewind, Tiffany Aching and, of course, DEATH.

Terry Pratchett’s Discworld Colouring Book will be published by Gollancz on the 11th August priced at £9.99

About Paul Kidby

Paul Kidby discovered Terry Pratchett’s Discworld in 1993 and since then has devoted his working life to the place. He is the illustrator of The Pratchett Portfolio, the bestsellers The Last Hero and The Art Of Discworld, as well as The Discworld Diaries, cards, T-shirts, maps, mugs and, of course, the covers.

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Desmond Seward : The Demon’s Brood (Review)

Desmond Seward is one of Britain’s best known popular historians, often regarded as a successor to Christopher Hibbert. He has been writing professionally for over fifty years and is author of nearly thirty books. These range from studies of our medieval kings and the Wars of the Roses to a comparative biography of Napoleon and Hitler.

He was born in 1935 in Paris where his father was managing director of Timken Français S.A. (taper-bearing manufacturers) into a family of Anglo-Irish origin who had been wine merchants at Bordeaux since the 1870s, a background that instilled a lasting love of France. He is a fondateur of the Association de Lassaye, dedicated to preserving a fifteenth century château at Lassaye-les-Châteaux near Mayenne, which is owned by French cousins.

Educated at Ampleforth and St Catharine’s College, Cambridge where he was an Exhibitioner in History, he has published twenty-eight books of history and travel. Unfashionably, harking back to Gibbon and Macaulay, he believes history is literature, and that readability and accessibility are an essential part of the historical process, but is equally convinced that there is no substitute for a first hand study of primary sources.

In 1991 (in a book of essays on Brooks’s, edited with Philip Ziegler), he unveiled the true identity of the model for the great anti-hero Widmerpool in Anthony Powell’s novel A Dance to The Music of Time.



Buy from Amazon

Book Description

A Plantagenet galllery, from Black Fulk to Bosworth Field.

From the Inside Flap

We come from the Devil and we’ll end by going to the Devil.‘ Richard the Lionheart

The extraordinary Plantagenet dynasty, who reigned over England from the accession of Henry II in 1154 until Richard III’s death at Bosworth in 1485, included some of the most magnificent kings ever to rule England – and also some of the most unworthy. During their time on the throne, they hammered out what became our nation, presiding over the fusion of French-speaking colonists and conquered Anglo-Saxons into one race, over the emergence of the Common Law and parliamentary government.

However, bloody rebellions and bitter family rivalries often had terrifying consequences for them. Of fourteen Plantagenet sovereigns, one was shot by a crossbowman, four were murdered, one was deposed but regained his crown, two came very close to deposition and the last was killed by rebels on the battlefield. The dynasty finally destroyed itself in the ferocious bloodbath later known as the Wars of the Roses.

In this single volume, acclaimed historian Desmond Seward brings each one of the Plantagenets to vivid life, recreating the dramatic history of medieval England. Drawing on the major chronicles of the period and on the latest research, he offers fresh perspectives.

The Demon’s Brood is a short, readable and easily accessible account of the longest reigning dynasty in English history – providing an invaluable overview.


I don’t often read non fiction, not because its badly written, just because i don’t have time with all the great fiction out there. Yet now and again a book will come along and something will click and make me pick it up. This is one of those books, a non fiction account of the Plantagenet Dynasty

I in no way ever claim to know that much about history, im one of those who remember the broad strokes but not the dates and often not the names. So this is a fantastic book to read and fill those gaps with detail, i have read so many fictional books set against this dynasty and wondered at what liberties may have been taken or not, this book helps set lots of that straight in my head, one king at a time down the Plantagenet line.

There is so much to learn in the broad strokes of this book, but also so much more in the little details, the small nuggets of research, couple this with the elegant turns of descriptive phrase that the author uses, makes this a really engaging book.


Click the below for someone who puts this much better than i do….

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Paul Fraser Collard : The Last Legionnaire (Review)

Paul Fraser Collard
UK (1973 – )

Paul’s love of military history started at an early age. A childhood spent watching films like Waterloo and Zulu whilst reading Sharpe, Flashman and the occasional Commando comic, gave him a desire to know more of the men who fought in the great wars of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries. At school, Paul was determined to become an officer in the British army and he succeeded in wining an Army Scholarship. However, Paul chose to give up his boyhood ambition and instead went into the finance industry. Paul stills works in the City, and lives with his wife and three children in Kent.




The Last Legionnaire  (2016)
(The Forgotten Son)
(The fifth book in the Jack Lark series)

After years fighting for Queen and country, and for his own survival, Jack Lark finds his way back to his mother’s gin palace. But life as a soldier has changed him almost beyond recognition, and London is no longer the city he remembers.

In a desperate moment, he makes a mistake that leads him back to where he swore he’d never return – the battlefield…


Paul Collard’s Jack Lark series has joined a celebrated few that are on my “drop what ever you are reading and read his new book now” list. Which is exactly what i did when i got my hands on The Last Legionnaire.

The books have always had comparisons to Bernard Cornwell’s  iconic character Sharpe, and with good reason, both are the same character from the gutter making their way in an officers world, only their routes there differ, Sharpe by battering his way to the top, Jack Lark through lies, fraud and skill and courage. They both also have that fast flowing action packed writing style that keeps you turning the next page through to the early hours of the morning.

In this latest book Jack finally returns home to London and his mothers gin palace, bringing with him all his dark emotional baggage. Hi travels from the Crimea to Delhi, with so many battles and so much death in between, Jack is a man who’s soul is battered and scarred, he needs to come home to heal, to return to the old familiarity of the rough London streets.

Jacks home-coming is not at all that he wanted, this includes the return to his life of the Intelligence Major Ballard and his bodyguard  Palmer. Jack is soon back off to war to use his skills of lies deception and courage to help in a new mission. The theater is Europe, Jack marches with the French against the Austrians, and while many of the troop maneuvers are similar to ones that Sharpe may remember the ordnance isn’t. This is the start of a more modern war, rifled cannon, creating death on a new scale.

I powered through this latest book from Paul Collard, and when i finished i summarised the book immediatly, i wanted the instant impact to be the end line of my review: “harrowing and shockingly dark, this book is utterly emotionally mind numbing. Stunning work.”

I now have three of my top books for the year (including this one), choosing the best of 2016 is going to be almost impossible at this rate.

Highly recommended



The Last Legionnaire (Jack Lark 5)


Jack Lark
0.5. Rogue (2014)
1. The Scarlet Thief (2013)
2. The Maharajah’s General (2013)
3. The Devil’s Assassin (2015)
4. The Lone Warrior (2015)
5. The Last Legionnaire (2016)
aka The Forgotten Son
Recruit (2015)
Redcoat (2015)


Filed under Historical Fiction, Paul Fraser Collard

Joe Hill: The Fireman (Review)

Joe Hill

Joe Hill's picture
(Joseph Hillstrom King)
USA (1972 – )
Son of Stephen King and Tabitha King

Joe Hill, born in 1972 as Joseph Hillstrom King, is an American writer of speculative fiction. Hill is the second child of the authors Stephen and Tabitha King. His younger brother Owen King is also a writer.

517omMAz91L.SX316 the-fireman-joe-hill-cover

In a world overtaken by a deadly and dramatic new virus, Harper is determined to live long enough to deliver her baby. But when all it takes is a spark to start a deadly blaze, she’s going to need some help from the mysterious fireman.


I have to admit to only ever having read NOS4A2 and also not being a fan of Steven King or that type of novel, and yet when the chance to read this book came along i was at the front of the queue. NOS4A2 was such an interesting read i wanted to see what came next from Joe Hill.

This story isn’t what i expected, the globally apocalyptic pandemic is a riveting enough story, the imagination behind this complex virus and how its spreads and consumes humanity is astounding. But that’s not even the meat of the book, the true genius of the story is the people, the community, how the structure of humanity breaks down and polarizes in extreme circumstances. All of this is told in an intimate and personal fashion from the perspective of one woman’s journey, told in a compelling humorous style.

This book is utterly addictive, sleep was the only things that made me put this book down. Everything in this story draws you in, in the same way that a great TV box set serial hooks you, draws you into the plot, takes you through a wide ranging emotional roller coaster,  and then forces you to watch the ride all the way to the end regardless of sleep.

a real contender for book of the year




Locke & Key
1. Locke & Key (2008) (with Gabriel Rodriguez)
aka Welcome to Lovecraft
2. Head Games (2009) (with Gabriel Rodriguez)
3. Crown of Shadows (2009) (with Gabriel Rodriguez)
4. Keys to the Kingdom (2011)
5. Clockworks (2012) (with Gabriel Rodriguez)
6. Alpha & Omega (2014)
Locke & Key Master Edition Volume 2 (omnibus) (2016)

Heart-Shaped Box (2007)
Horns (2009)
NOS4A2 (2013)
aka NOS4R2
The Fireman (2016)
Heart-Shaped Box / 20th Century Ghosts / Horns / NOSA2 (2014)
20th Century Ghosts (2005)
Road Rage (2009) (with Stephen King and Richard Matheson)
Four For Fantasy (2013) (with Brian Aldiss, Joanne Harrisand Richard Christian Matheson)
Graphic Novels
Joe Hill’s The Cape (2010) (with Jason Ciaramella, Nelson Daniel and Zach Howard)
The Cape: 1969 (2013) (with Jason Ciaramella and Nelson Daniel)
Joe Hill’s Thumbprint (2014) (with Jason Ciaramella and Vic Malhotra)
The Wraith (2014)
Gunpowder (2008)
20th Century Ghost (2009)
Abraham’s Boys (2009)
Better Than Home (2009)
The Black Phone (2009)
Bobby Conroy Comes Back from the Dead (2009)
Dead-Wood (2009)
In the Rundown (2009)
Last Breath (2009)
My Father’s Mask (2009)
Pop Art (2009)
Voluntary Committal (2009)
The Widow’s Breakfast (2009)
You Will Hear the Locust Sing (2009)
The Cape (2012)
Throttle (2012) (with Stephen King)
In the Tall Grass (2012) (with Stephen King)
Thumbprint (2012)
Twittering from the Circus of the Dead (2013)
Best New Horror (2014)
Wolverton Station (2014)
By the Silver Water of Lake Champlain (2014)

Anthologies edited
Shadow Show (2012) (with Eddie Campbell, Mort Castle,Dave Eggers, Harlan Ellison, Maria FrAihlich, Neil Gaiman, Alice Hoffman, Charles Paul Wilson III, Audrey Niffenegger, Sam Weller, Sam Wheeler and Charles Yu)
The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2015(2015) (with John Joseph Adams)
World Fantasy Best Collection nominee (2006) : 20th Century Ghosts
Bram Stoker Best First Novel winner (2007) : Heart-Shaped Box
British Fantasy Society Best Novel nominee (2008) : Heart-Shaped Box
Macavity Awards Best First Novel nominee (2008) : Heart-Shaped Box
Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature Best Book nominee (2015) : Locke & Key

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Giles Kristian: Winter’s Fire (Review)


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. 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 three years in New York where he wrote copy for movie marketing company Empire Design but mainly worked on his first novel.

Family history (he is half Norwegian) inspired GILES KRISTIAN to write his first historical novels: the acclaimed and bestselling Raven Viking trilogy – Blood EyeSons of Thunder and Odin’s Wolves. For his next series, he drew on a long-held fascination with the English Civil War to chart the fortunes of a family divided by this brutal conflict in The Bleeding Land and Brothers’ Fury. Giles also co-wrote Wilbur Smith’s recent No.1 bestseller, Golden Lion but in his new novels – God of Vengeance (a TIMES Book of the Year) and now Winter’s Fire – he returns to the world of the Vikings to tell the story of Sigurd and his celebrated fictional fellowship. Giles Kristian lives in Leicestershire.

Author Web Site

Winter’s Fire: (The Rise of Sigurd 2)

Winter’s Fire  (2016)
(The second book in the Rise of Sigurd series)
A novel by Giles Kristian


Norway, AD 785 – a vow of vengeance must be kept . . .
Sigurd Haraldarson has proved himself a great warrior . . . and a dangerous enemy.
He has gone a long way towards avenging the murder of his family. And yet the oath-breaker King Gorm, who betrayed Sigurd’s father, still lives. And so long as he draws breath, the scales remain unbalanced.
The sacred vow to avenge his family burns in Sigurd’s veins, but he must be patient and bide his time. He knows that he and his band of warriors are not yet strong enough to confront the treacherous king. They need silver, they need more spear-brothers to rally to the young Viking’s banner – but more than these, they need to win fame upon the battlefield.
And so the fellowship venture west, to Sweden, to fight as mercenaries. And it is there – in the face of betrayal and bloodshed, on a journey that will take him all too close to the halls of Valhalla – that Sigurd’s destiny will be forged. There, in the inferno of winter’s fire . . .
The Vikings return in this thrilling, thunderous sequel to Giles Kristian’s bestselling God of Vengeance.


This book i have to admit was right in the handful of books “I must read” in 2016, it was one i would drop what ever i was reading to start as soon as it arrived (something i don’t do lightly or often).

As with every book Giles Kristian produces the quality of the writing increases with each new book. The depth of history and the authors passion and empathy for the Norsemen portrayed is simply stunning. There are very few authors who can provide books  of the level of descriptive prose displayed in this book, but beyond that, there are only a handful who can truly transport the reader with the power of the plot, the pace of the story and the totally immersive empathy for the subject.

I think what surprised me the most with this book is that while its a middle book, the plot is a middle plot and like all books of that type, its bridging the gap to a dramatic, climactic conclusion, despite all that its stand alone, brilliantly written. A tale of journey, the explosive action of God of Vengeance has its repercussions in Winters Fire, and decisions must be made. Sigurd isn’t ready to face his nemesis in the form of Oath-Breaker King Gorm, so he must travel, make his name, build his fortune and his crew. The journey is what we have in this book, imbued with many tales both large and more importantly the small, the minute details, the emotions the nitty gritty that makes this book come alive.

The quality of the book is truly displayed in the brutal yet elegantly lyrical nuances of the prose. Normally with Giles Kristian books there is a feeling of being sat listening to the Skald telling the tale by the fireside on a cold winters night, the deep aching cold held back by the flames of the fire-pit. But this book truly takes you on the adventure, part of the crew fully ensnared in the adventure out in that biting cold and on the waves, salt spray stinging your face.

I hope that you enjoyed this review, please see links below for other Giles Kristian Books, and also this for the day out my most popular and favorite blog.



1. Blood Eye (2009)
2. Sons of Thunder (2010)
3. Odin’s Wolves (2011)



Rise of Sigurd
1. (2014)
2. Winter’s Fire (2016)
3. Wings of the Storm (2016)


Filed under Giles Kristian, Historical Fiction

Finishing the Long War — On parting with old friends

My Fav Author, talking about one of my Fav series…. the end is nigh… but what an ending it will be.

With Pen and Sword

A long, long time ago, in what sometimes seems like a different world, I sat down, full of passion, to write the book that eventually became ‘Killer of Men.’  And today, in a coffee shop, I sat down to write the last lines in what will probably be the last book of the Long War series.  Six books.  About a million words, and almost ten years.


It was the most exciting intellectual journey of my life.  It involved more original research than I ever expected to do to write historical fiction.  It changed my philosophy of reenacting; reconstructed my view of the world, altered my own take on philosophy profoundly, and allowed me to drain away some PTSD.  Oh, and I took up a new martial art.

So I hope you will all understand that it took a major effort not to weep as I wrote the last lines.  I…

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SJA Turney & Dave Slaney : Crocodile Legion (BUY THIS BOOK)

Perfect for kids 7-11 years old


Buy the e-Book

The prefect of Egypt needs money. And the men of the 22nd legion must brave mazes and tombs and curses and crocodile gods to get it.

Marcus and Callie, orphaned in ancient Alexandria and taken in by their uncle, the standard bearer in the legion, are about to travel up the great river Nile with the legionaries in a tense and funny adventure to grab the gold of the Pharaoh Amenemhat.

Join the legion and discover ancient Roman Egypt.

Front Cover

Some of Dave Slaney’s excellent artwork

Prologue kids

Previous work from Simon Turney
Marius’ Mules
1. The Conquest of Gaul (2009)
aka The Invasion of Gaul
2. The Belgae (2010)
3. Gallia Invicta (2011)
4. Conspiracy of Eagles (2012)
5. Hades’ Gate (2013)
6. Caesar’s Vow (2014)
7. The Great Revolt (2014)
8. Sons of Taranis (2015)
Prelude to War (2014)

Tales of the Empire
1. Interregnum (2009)
2. Ironroot (2010)
3. Dark Empress (2011)
Ottoman Cycle
1. The Thief’s Tale (2013)
2. The Priest’s Tale (2013)
3. The Assassin’s Tale (2014)
4. The Pasha’s Tale (2015)
1. The Great Game (2015)
2. The Price of Treason (2015)
A Year of Ravens (2015) (with Ruth Downie, Stephanie Dray, E E Knight, Kate Quinn, Vicky Alvear Shecter, SJA Turney and Russell Whitfield)
Tales of Ancient Rome (2011)

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Pierce Brown: Morning Star (Review)

Pierce Brown 

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

book cover of Morning Star

Morning Star: Red Rising Trilogy 3

Darrow would have lived in peace, but his enemies brought him war. The Gold overlords demanded his obedience, hanged his wife, and enslaved his people. But Darrow is determined to fight back. Risking everything to transform himself and breach Gold society, Darrow has battled to survive the cutthroat rivalries that breed Society’s mightiest warriors, climbed the ranks, and waited patiently to unleash the revolution that will tear the hierarchy apart from within.

Finally, the time has come.

But devotion to honor and hunger for vengeance run deep on both sides. Darrow and his comrades-in-arms face powerful enemies without scruple or mercy. Among them are some Darrow once considered friends. To win, Darrow will need to inspire those shackled in darkness to break their chains, unmake the world their cruel masters have built, and claim a destiny too long denied – and too glorious to surrender.


How how how do i like these books? I really do not like SCIFI, for some reason its one of the few genres i struggle to read (love the films, but the books leave me cold). Yet since i first started this series i have been captivated. was my initial taste of this book, and i left readers of this site in no doubt as to my feeling for this series, a year later after the most teasing PR campaign for some time followed and as follow up books go, it blew book one away.

Morning star once more takes new leaps, with all the power and pace of Red Rising, and all the depth of Golden Son, it introduces a new depth a darker Darrow and a darker storyline. everything is gritty, edgy and literally a life or death decision. Once again Pierce Brown does a Derren Brown, we spend plenty of time looking at whats in front of us in the book while the misdirect pulls the rug from under the reader and yanks the story into a new direction, a new darkness an new danger, a new death.

MorningStar will be one of my top books for the year without a doubt, as a series its been an impressive and immersive debut series, everbook highly anticipated. And now the man himself drops the teaser “IRON GOLD. Aka. Shit escalates. Howlers, on me.”

Read for yourself about what comes next…(Spoilers)

This series has epic movie franchise written all over it, i honestly don’t see that it will be long before this hits the big screen.



Red Rising
1. Red Rising (2014)
2. Golden Son (2015)
3. Morning Star (2016)

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