Song of War (Review)

Kate Quinn

Kate Quinn is a native of southern California. She attended Boston University, where she earned a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Classical Voice. A lifelong history buff, she has written four novels in the Empress of Rome Saga, and two books in the Italian Renaissance detailing the early years of the infamous Borgia clan. All have been translated into multiple languages.

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.

SJA Turney

I live with my wife, son and daughter, and two (close approximations of) dogs in rural North Yorkshire, where my wife and I both grew up, surrounded by friends and family. A born and bred Yorkshireman with a love of the country, I cannot envisage spending my life anywhere else, though my anchor is sometimes tested as the wanderlust hits and we travel wherever I can find the breathtaking remains of the classical world. I have a love of travel and history, architecture and writing and those four interact well enough to keep me almost permanently busy.

Since leaving school and University, I have tried a great number of careers, including car sales, insurance, software engineering, computer network management, civil service and even paint ing and decorating sales. I have lived in four counties and travelled as widely as time and budget allowed and find myself finally back where I began and finally doing something I love.

Having written a number of unpublished short stories in my early days, I decided back in 2003 to try and write a full length novel. That was the start of Marius’ Mules. Being a lover of Roman history, I decided to combine my love of writing and my love of classical history. Marius’ Mules was followed two years later by Interregnum, my attempt to create a new fantasy story still with a heavy flavour of Rome. Since then, the success and popularity of both have inflated my head so that I can no longer comfortably fit through doors, and has spawned sequels to each work, with the fantasy trilogy complete, six volumes in the Marius’ Mules series, and two books of the Ottoman Cycle quadrilogy now out.

I maintain another website detailing the Roman sites I visit and photograph, and write a blog about books. I am an almost terminally chatty person. That’s just a due warning if you feel like contacting me (see above.) I am always happy to speak to people and have put together an FAQ gathered together from things I have been asked previously.

Libbie Hawker

Libbie Hawker

Libbie was born in Rexburg, Idaho and divided her childhood between Eastern Idaho’s rural environs and the greater Seattle area. She presently lives in Seattle, but has also been a resident of Salt Lake City, Utah; Bellingham, Washington; and Tacoma, Washington. She loves to write about character and place, and is inspired by the bleak natural beauty of the Rocky Mountain region and by the fascinating history of the Puget Sound.

After three years of trying to break into the publishing industry with her various books under two different pen names, Libbie finally turned her back on the mainstream publishing industry and embraced independent publishing. She now writes her self-published fiction full-time, and enjoys the fact that the writing career she always dreamed of having is fully under her own control.

Libbie’s writerly influences are varied, and include Vladimir Nabokov, Hilary Mantel, Annie Dillard, George R. R. Martin, songwriter Neko Case, and mixed-media storyteller Chris Onstad, to name but a few.

She previously wrote under the pen name L.M. Ironside (historical fiction)

Stephanie Thornton

I’m a writer and high school history teacher who has been obsessed with infamous women from history since I was twelve.
My first two novels, The Secret History: A Novel of Empress Theodora and Daughter of the Gods: A Novel of Ancient Egypt focus on two of history’s forgotten women: Theodora of the Byzantine Empire and Pharaoh Hatshepsut.My third novel and fourth books center around the women who stood behind the greatest conquerors the world has ever seen. The Tiger Queens is the story of Genghis Khan’s wifeand daughters, while The Conqueror’s Wife tells of the women who both loved and hated Alexander the Great.I recently joined the H Team to help write a collaborative novel, Song of War: A Novel of Troy (Available October 2016) in which I tell the story of Cassandra, King Priam’s cursed seer of a daughter.I live with my husband and daughter in Alaska, where I’m at work on my next novel about history’s forgotten women.
Vicky Alvear Shecter
Vicky Alvear Shecter is the award-winning author of Young Adult Fiction

When I was a kid, I wanted to be an archaeologist. By the time I entered college, I had forgotten my dreams of digging in the dirt and ended up with a degree possibly even less marketable than archaeology—English. My love for ancient history went underground as I threw myself into a career writing marketing materials for banks, corporations, and tech companies.

I reconnected with my love of the past when I started telling my kids stories about some of Alexander the Great’s most outlandish antics. They started asking for more, so I wrote a kid’s biography on that crazy character and in 2006, Alexander the Great Rocks the World was born. The book was well received and was named a VOYA Honor Book for nonfiction and to the list of “25 Books all Georgia Children Should Read” by the Georgia Center for the Book. In 2010, my biography of Cleopatra—Cleopatra Rules! The Amazing Life of the Original Teen Queen—was released and was similarly well received.

In 2011, I moved into young adult historical fiction with the release of Cleopatra’s Moon(Arthur A. Levine/Scholastic), named one of the best books of 2012 by the Center for Children’s Literature. The novel is a coming of age story of Cleopatra’s real-life daughter, Selene, and offers a glimpse of both Egypt and Rome during the latter’s transition into the age of Empire. The novel earned excellent reviews in Publisher’s Weekly, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, and other national outlets, including Atlanticonline and EW online.

My latest young adult novel, Curses and Smoke: A Novel of Pompeii (May 2014), tells of the story of two teens in the weeks leading up to the eruption. Publisher’s Weekly said the novel “makes clever use of the historical eruption to give her tragic climax a bitterly ironic twist.” Kirkus said, “the eruption engenders considerable tension as the lovers try to escape.”

In 2013, my midgrade series on mythology—Secrets of the Ancient Gods— was released by Boyds Mills Press. School Library Journal called the first book in the series—Anubis Speaks! A Guide to the Afterworld by the Egyptian God of the Dead“wickedly funny” and “chock full of interesting information.” It was a Cybils Award Finalist for midgrade nonfiction. The second in the series, Hades Speaks! A Guide to the Underworld by the Greek God of the Dead releases October 2014. And Thor Speaks! A Guide to the Norse Realms by the Viking God of Thunder releases in 2015.

For nearly a decade I have served as a docent at the Michael C. Carlos Museum of Antiquities at Emory University where I get to share my passion for ancient history with visiting school kids. Few things make me happier than showing off our Egyptian mummies and breathtaking classical statues.

Russell Whitfield

Author Russell Whitfield

Russell Whitfield was born in Shepherds Bush in 1971. An only child, he was raised in Hounslow, West London, but has since escaped to Ham in Surrey.

Russell has had an (almost) life long fascination with ancient Greece and Rome, sparked by seeing the The Three Hundred Spartans on ITV in the seventies. Educated to A-Level, he did not complete college, preferring instead to seek fame and fortune in a heavy metal band. Sadly, fame and fortune were not forthcoming and a career in telesales beckoned. A series of jobs followed culminating in the heady heights of ‘content editor’ for a large multi-national.

Gladiatrix was Russ’s first novel, published in 2008 by Myrmidon Books. The sequel, Roma Victrix, continues the adventures Lysandra, the Spartan gladiatrix, and a third book, Imperatrix, sees Lysandra stepping out of the arena and onto the field of battle.

Heavy Metal is Russ’s music of choice, though he was also in a goth band and thus has the obligatory Sisters of Mercy and Mission CD’s in his collection.

He is a huge fan of the Swedish band Hysterica and has written a song for their forthcoming album The Art of Metal.

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Troy: city of gold, gatekeeper of the east, haven of the god-born and the lucky, a city destined to last a thousand years. But the Fates have other plans—the Fates, and a woman named Helen. In the shadow of Troy’s gates, all must be reborn in the greatest war of the ancient world: slaves and queens, heroes and cowards, seers and kings . . . and these are their stories.

A young princess and an embittered prince join forces to prevent a fatal elopement.

A tormented seeress challenges the gods themselves to save her city from the impending disaster.

A tragedy-haunted king battles private demons and envious rivals as the siege grinds on.

A captured slave girl seizes the reins of her future as two mighty heroes meet in an epic duel.

A grizzled archer and a desperate Amazon risk their lives to avenge their dead.

A trickster conceives the greatest trick of all.

A goddess’ son battles to save the spirit of Troy even as the walls are breached in fire and blood.

Seven authors bring to life the epic tale of the Trojan War: its heroes, its villains, its survivors, its dead. Who will lie forgotten in the embers, and who will rise to shape the bloody dawn of a new age?

Buy the book

Review

I thought initially when i reviewed this book that i would review it based on each authors song, their tone, tenor, base etc.. how their voice echoed the tone of the people and the time. But then as i read it i saw very quickly that this team had blended their voices perfectly into a perfect harmonic whole, a song of Troy, making it difficult to individualize one over the other.

The whole book feels immensely personal as we join individual characters taken from the pages of the Iliad and given life, and not just the template life of the Iliad but complex interacting real characters dealing with the minutia of life as well as the heroic and sickening deeds of battle.

I would suspect that many would be waiting for me to call out and laud Christian Cameron’s (as i’m a known fan), story as my fav in the book, but to be honest everyone created their own immensely real characters that i can only go with my fav character from the tale and that is Odysseus, oddly he is probably the nerd of the bunch and i love the fighting. But he is the brains not the brawn, and he has always felt to me to have so many more levels than the other characters, and i’m always drawn to him because his tale never ends at Troy….  Special mention does also go to Simon Turney though, the end song, this one had to pull all the final threads together, and allowed him to end with the lead into the tale of the Aeneid with its founding of Rome and his great passion, (something he managed with great skill).

For a story that we all know so well, to find that its told in a way that leaves you on the edge of your seat throughout wondering if something might change, if Cassandra might be believed, as the passion and madness of her character race across the page, to… would Aeneas be able to save someone in the destruction of Troy, Or could it be avoided if Hector and Achilles find a way to walk away from a fight…and so much more, this speaks volumes of the ability of all the writers in this group.

What ever it is for you and on what ever level it works for you,  for me the Tale has ended, the songs are done, but this book joins some of the great tales of Troy, and the notes of Troy’s song will continue to echo through eternity when writers of passion and skill enthrall readers in this way.

(Parm)

 

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6 Comments

Filed under Christian Cameron, Historical Fiction, S J A Turney, Uncategorized

6 responses to “Song of War (Review)

  1. Rod

    I hope, like some others, that u do a printing of this book, would love to read it as a “real” book. thanks for all you do for us readers….

    rod

  2. It will available to order in paperback, not just in e-versions, if that’s what you mean!

  3. Hi, Rod

    There is indeed a paperback version of A Song of War! The release date is October 18th, but you can pre-order it now and it will be shipped on release day.

    We all hope you enjoy it! 🙂

    • Hi Kate / Libbie…. i think Rod was looking to see if i was doing a special edition signed Limited HB….
      Rod… unfortunately not, signing would be very hard to organise…. but not impossible…. i can still talk to all… but dont hold your breath

  4. Yes, we’re scattered across 9 time zones and 3 countries, so coordinating a complete signed edition would probably be a bit tricky!

  5. Pingback: Parmenion Books: My Best of 2016 | parmenionbooks

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