Monthly Archives: June 2017

James Wilde: Pendragon (Reviews)

James Wilde

James Wilde is a Man of Mercia. Raised in a world of books, James studied economic history at university before travelling the world in search of adventure. He was unable to forget a childhood encounter in the pages of a comic with the great English warrior, Hereward. Wilde returned to the haunted fenlands of Eastern England, Hereward’s ancestral home, where he became convinced that this legendary hero should be the subject of his first novel. Wilde now indulges his love of history and the high life in the home his family have owned for several generations, in the heart of a Mercian forest.

Author Website

book cover of Pendragon

Pendragon (2017)
(The first book in the Dark Age series)

Here is the beginning of a legend. Long before Camelot rose, a hundred years before the myth of King Arthur was half-formed, at the start of the Red Century, the world was slipping into a Dark Age…

It is AD 367. In a frozen forest beyond Hadrian’s Wall, six scouts of the Roman army are found murdered. For Lucanus, known as the Wolf and leader of elite unit called the Arcani, this chilling ritual killing is a sign of a greater threat.
But to the Wolf the far north is a foreign land, a place where daemons and witches and the old gods live on. Only when the child of a friend is snatched will he venture alone into this treacherous world – a territory ruled over by a barbarian horde – in order to bring the boy back home. What he finds there beyond the wall will echo down the years.
A secret game with hidden factions is unfolding in the shadows: cabals from the edge of Empire to the eternal city of Rome itself, from the great pagan monument of Stonehenge to the warrior kingdoms of Gaul will go to any length to find and possess what is believed to be a source of great power, signified by the mark of the Dragon.
A soldier and a thief, a cut-throat, courtesan and a druid, even the Emperor Valentinian himself – each of these has a part to play in the beginnings of this legend… the rise of the House of Pendragon.


Pendragon…. the name just screams Arthur, Genevieve, Lancelot and all that goes with it. Well take that preconception and throw it out the window. Not since Bernard Cornwall took on the Arthur myth has any writer provided such a new and innovative view of the Arthurian story.

James Wilde takes us back to before Arthur, to a time when Rome still clings to power in Britain, but only by its finger nails. The barbarians that have been held back so long by the great wall of Hadrian  are probing, looking, change is in the wind, because they can sense a weakness in Rome, a chance to retake the land a chance that has not been there in all the year of Roman occupation.

In a book filled with the history of both Britain and Rome, James Wilde pulls on the tale of Mithras and also the burgeoning power and rise of the Christ religion to provide a back drop of conspiracy and intrigue wrapped around the ever present guidance of the Druids and Myrddin. How can the rise of Arthur be assured, who would be the ones to protect him, who will be his parents/ grandparents. So many questions and ideas are opened up by this story, so many surprises and all delivered with a fast paced action packed book brimming with wonderful characters. If you were making a tv series it has action, fights, love interest, bad guys a plenty, tortured heroes… sometimes mentally often physically, highs, lows, misdirection and utter surprises… so much packed into a book 1.

I love the Arthur myth but always approach a new book with low expectations because there are so very many bad books, this i’m glad to say is not one, its a wonderful tale and i honestly cannot wait for the next one.

Highly recommend this read.



1. Hereward (2011)
aka The Time of the Wolf
2. The Devil’s Army (2012)
aka The Winter Warrior
3. End of Days (2013)
4. Wolves of New Rome (2014)
5. The Immortals (2015)
6. The Bloody Crown (2016)
Dark Age
1. Pendragon (2017)


Filed under Historical Fiction, James Wilde

Sherrilyn Kenyon: Dead Men Walking (Blog Tour)

Sherrilyn Kenyon

Author Bio

About the author:

Writing as Sherrilyn Kenyon and Kinley MacGregor, she is the New York Times bestselling and award-winning author of several series: the Dark-Hunters; the Lords of Avalon; and the League. She lives with her husband and three sons in Nashville, Tennessee.

Deadmen tell their tales . . .

To catch evil, it takes evil. Enter Devyl Bane – an ancient dark warlord returned to the human realm as one of the most notorious pirates in the New World. A man of many secrets, Bane makes a pact with Thorn – an immortal charged with securing the worst creations the ancient gods ever released into our world. Those powers have been imprisoned for eons behind enchanted gates . . . gates that are beginning to buckle. At Thorn’s behest, Bane takes command of a crew of Deadmen: humanity’s last hope to restore the gates.

But things are never so simple. And one of Bane’s biggest problems is the ship they sail upon. For the Sea Witch isn’t just a vessel, she’s also a woman born of an ancient people he wronged – a woman who is also sister to their primary target. Now Marcelina, the Sea Witch, must choose. Either she remains loyal to her evil sister and watches humanity fall, or she puts her faith in an enemy who has already betrayed her. Her people over the totality of humanity? Let’s hope Bane can sway her favour. . .

Other titles by Sherrilyn Kenyon out in 2017


Paperback | £8.99 | 2nd February 2017 | Dark-Hunter series


Centuries ago, Illarion was betrayed – a dragon made human against his will, then forced to serve humanity as a dragonmount in their army, and to fight for them in barbaric wars, even while he hated everything about them. Enslaved and separated from everyone he knew and from his own dragon brothers, he was forced into exile in a fey realm where he lost the only thing he ever really loved.

Now he has a chance to regain what’s been lost – to have the one thing he covets most. But only if he gives up his brothers and forsakes the oaths he holds most dear. Yet what terrifies him most isn’t the cost his happiness might incur, it’s the fact that there is just enough human in his dragon’s heart that he might actually be willing to pay it and betray everything and everyone – to see the entire  world burn . . .

Born of Vengeance

Hardback | £20 | 7th February 2017 | League series


Bastien Cabarro survived the brutal slaughter of his entire family only to have his wife pin their murders on him. Made Ravin by The League, he is now a target for their assassins-in-training to hunt and kill. The average life expectancy for such beings is six weeks. But defying the odds is what this Gyron Force officer does best, and Bastien won’t rest until he lays his betrayers in their graves.

Ten years later, he has one chance to balance the scales of justice, provided he relies on his former wingman – the very sister of the woman who testified against him.

** Born of Legend (paperback edition) will be published on the 6th April**


Trade Paperback Original | £12.99 | 24th April 2017 | Chronicles of Nick series


It’s a demon-eat-demon world for Nick Gautier. Just when he thinks he’s finally gotten a handle on how not to take over the world and destroy it, Death returns with an all-star cast that is determined to end the Malachai reign and lineage forever. Worse? Death and War have found the one, true enemy Nick can’t find, and even if he did, it’s one he could never bring himself to banish or kill.

Now framed for murders he hasn’t committed, and surrounded by new friends who might be turncoats, Nick is learning fast how his father went down in flames.

The heat in New Orleans is rising fast, and Nick’s threat-level has gone into a whole new level of intensity. He’s learning fast that when War and Death decide to battle, they don’t take prisoners. They don’t negotiate. And they’re both immune to his biting sarcasm and Cajun charm. To win this, he will have to embrace a new set of powers, but one wrong step, and he will belong to the side of Darkness, forever

1. Born of the Night (1996)
2. Born of Fire (2009)
3. Born of Ice (1994)
aka Paradise City
4. Fire and Ice (2001)
5. Born of Shadows (2011)
6. Born of Silence (2012)
7. Cloak & Silence (2013)
8. Born of Fury (2013)
9. Born of Defiance (2015)
10. Born of Betrayal (2015)
11. Born of Legend (2016)
12. Born of Vengeance (2017)
13. Born of Trouble (2018)
14. Born of Darkness (2018)
The League: Nemesis Rising (omnibus) (2016)
Fantasy Lover (2002)
House of the Rising Son (2016)
0.5. Phantom Lover (2003)
1. Night Pleasures (2002)
2. The Beginning (2002) (in Sins of the Night)
2. Dragonswan (2002)
3. Night Embrace (2003)
5. Dance with the Devil (2003)
6. Kiss of the Night (2004)
6.75. Fear the Darkness (2007)
7. A Dark-Hunter Christmas (2003) (in Dance with the Devil)
7. Night Play (2004)
8. Seize the Night (2004)
9. Sins of the Night (2005)
10. Winter Born (2004)
10. Unleash the Night (2005)
11. The Dark Side of the Moon (2006)
12. The Dream Hunter (2007)
13. Second Chances (2005)
13. Devil May Cry (2007)
14. Upon the Midnight Clear (2007)
15. Dream Chaser (2008)
16. A Hard Day’s Night-Searcher (2006)
16. Acheron (2008)
17. Until Death We Do Part (2006)
17. One Silent Night (2008)
18. Dream Warrior (2009)
19. Bad Moon Rising (2009)
20. No Mercy (2010)
21. Retribution (2011)
22. The Guardian (2011)
23. Time Untime (2012)
24. Styxx (2013)
25. Son of No One (2014)
26. Dragonbane (2015)
27. Dragonmark (2016)
28. Dragonsworn (2017)
Night Pleasures / Night Embrace (omnibus) (2005)
Shadow of the Moon (2008) (in Dead After Dark)
Dark-Hunter Boxed Set (omnibus) (2010)
Dark Bites (2014)
B.A.D. (Bureau of American Defense)
1. Bad Attitude (2005)
2. Phantom in the Night (2008)
3. Whispered Lies (2009) (with Dianna Love)
4. Silent Truth (2010) (with Dianna Love)
Born to Be B.A.D. (2005)
A B.A.D. Collection (omnibus) (2011) (with Dianna Love)
Dark-Hunter Manga
1. The Dark-hunters Vol. 1 (2009)
2. The Dark-Hunters Vol. 2 (2010)
3. The Dark-Hunters Vol. 3 (2010)
4. The Dark-Hunters Vol. 4 (2011)
Lords Of Avalon: Knight Of Darkness (2009)
Chronicles of Nick
1. Infinity (2010)
2. Invincible (2011)
3. Infamous (2012)
4. Inferno (2013)
5. Illusion (2014)
6. Instinct (2015)
7. Invision (2016)
8. Intensity (2017)
Chronicles of Nick, (omnibus) (2016)
Belador (with Dianna Love)
1. Blood Trinity (2010)
2. Alterant (2011)
3. The Curse (2012)
4. The Rise of the Gryphon (2013)
Chronicles of Nick: Graphic Novel
The Dark-Hunters: Infinity, Vol. 1 (2013)
The Dark-Hunters: Infinity, Vol. 2 (2013)
Dark-Hunters Omnibus
The Collection Thus Far (2013)
The Dark-Hunters, Books 1-3 (2013)
The Dark-Hunters, Books 10-12 (2013)
The Dark-Hunters, Books 13-15 (2013)
The Dark-Hunters, Books 7-9 (2013)
The Dark-Hunters, Books 4-6 (2013)
The Dark-Hunters, Books 19-21 (2013)
The Dark-Hunters, Books 16-18 (2013)
Dark-Hunter: Deadman’s Cross Trilogy
1. Deadmen Walking (2017)
2. Death Doesn’t Bargain (2017)
Naughty or Nice? (2001) (with Carly Phillips, Patricia Ryan and Kathryn Smith)
Tapestry (2002) (with Madeline Hunter, Lynn Kurland and Karen Marie Moning)
Big Guns Out of Uniform (2003) (with Nicole Camden and Liz Carlyle)
Stroke of Midnight (2004) (with Amanda Ashley, L A Banks and Lori Handeland)
Love at First Bite (2006) (with L A Banks, Susan Squires and Ronda Thompson)
Dead After Dark (2008) (with Dianna Love, Susan Squires and J R Ward)
In Other Worlds (2010)
Winter’s Night (2015)
Midnight Pleasures (2003) (with Amanda Ashley, Maggie Shayne and Ronda Thompson)
Man of My Dreams (2004) (with Suzanne Forster, Virginia Kantra and Maggie Shayne)
Tie Me Up, Tie Me Down (2005) (with Jaid Black and Melanie George)
What Dreams May Come (2005) (with Robin D Owens and Rebecca York)
Playing Easy to Get (2006) (with Jaid Black and Kresley Cole)
Blood Lite (2008) (with Kelley Armstrong, Jim Butcher and Charlaine Harris)
Deadly Promises (2010) (with Cindy Gerard, Laura Griffin and Dianna Love)
Series contributed to
Angel’s Touch
Daemon’s Angel (1995)
Non fiction
The Character Naming Sourcebook (1994)
The Writer’s Guide to Everyday Life in the Middle Ages(1995)
The Dark-Hunter Companion (2007) (with Alethea Kontis)
Anthologies containing stories by Sherrilyn Kenyon
My Big Fat Supernatural Wedding (2006)





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Matthew Harffy: Killer of Kings (review)

Matthew Harffy

Matthew Harffy lived in Northumberland as a child and the area had a great impact on him. The rugged terrain, ruined castles and rocky coastline made it easy to imagine the past. Decades later, a documentary about Northumbria’s Golden Age sowed the kernel of an idea for a series of historical fiction novels that became THE BERNICIA CHRONICLES.

Matthew has worked in the IT industry, where he spent all day writing and editing, just not the words that most interested him. Prior to that he worked in Spain as an English teacher and translator. He has co-authored seven published academic articles, ranging in topic from the ecological impact of mining to the construction of a marble pipe organ.

Matthew lives in Wiltshire, England, with his wife and their two daughters.

Matthew was the singer in Rock Dog.

Buy links




Google Play:

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Twitter: @MatthewHarffy

Facebook: MatthewHarffyAuthor

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Ad 636. Anglo-Saxon Britain. A gripping, action-packed historical thriller and the fourth instalment in The Bernicia Chronicles. Perfect for fans of Bernard Cornwell. Beobrand has land, men and riches. He should be content. And yet he cannot find peace until his enemies are food for the ravens. But before Beobrand can embark on his bloodfeud, King Oswald orders him southward, to escort holy men bearing sacred relics. When Penda of Mercia marches a warhost into the southern kingdoms, Beobrand and his men are thrown into the midst of the conflict. Beobrand soon finds himself fighting for his life and his honour. In the chaos that grips the south, dark secrets are exposed, bringing into question much that Beobrand had believed true. Can he unearth the answers and exact the vengeance he craves? Or will the blood-price prove too high, even for a warrior of his battle-fame and skill?


Beobrand smelt the smoke before he heard the screams.

The scent of burning wood was not uncommon. They had passed many small steadings as they travelled south. Each hut or hall had its own hearth. Sometimes, the aroma of baking bread or roasting meat would waft on the wind from some unseen farmer’s hovel, or from a shepherd’s camp nestled in the shelter of a valley. At such times, it always surprised him how far smells could travel.

Sounds of anguish, shouts of terror and shrieks of pain, could not be heard from so far away. And were less common.

There was a light breeze blowing into their faces and at the first scent of smoke Beobrand had wondered whether there was a hall nearby. They had been travelling for days and had not slept with a roof above them in all that time. The days were warm, but the nights were yet chill. A place by a fire and some warm food would be welcome. Perhaps even some ale or mead.

Then he had seen the broad smudge of grey, like a blurred heron’s feather, hanging in the flax-flower blue sky and he had known they would not be sleeping in a hall that night. Judging from the amount of smoke, something big was burning.

A piercing scream came to them on the wind. No, there would be no rest any time soon. Someone was in agony just the other side of the next rise. Beobrand’s black stallion, Sceadugenga, lowered its ears and snorted.

Beobrand pulled the beast’s head back with a tug of the reins. He could feel the great muscles bunching beneath him, ready to gallop forward; towards the screams. Towards danger. Sceadugenga was a true warrior’s steed.

“Are we yet in Mercia, Attor?” he asked, twisting in the saddle to turn to the slim rider beside him.

“I cannot say for certain, lord. We are in the land of the Gyrwas, I believe, but we may already be in the territory of the Herstingas. It is all fen and forest in this part of Albion.” He shrugged. “I cannot be sure.” Another scream drifted to them. Attor’s mount tossed its mane and rolled its eyes.

Beobrand had hoped to make this journey without incident, but the island of Albion was seldom safe. He rode at the head of a small band of mounted warriors. Not large enough to be called a warband, but hopefully enough of a show of force to avoid most confrontations. They numbered thirteen men in all. Beside Beobrand rode Wynhelm, fellow thegn of Bernicia. He was several years Beobrand’s senior. Black-haired, with a close-cropped beard, he was aloof and sometimes haughty, but had fought bravely at Hefenfelth and Din Eidyn, and King Oswald trusted him. Wynhelm brought four warriors from his retinue, all battle-hard, grim-faced men. Killers, if Beobrand was any judge.

In the centre of the group rode the monks, Gothfraidh and Coenred, whom they were charged with protecting. Gothfraidh was an elderly man, his grey hair thinning. Kindly, and uncomplaining, he was always quick to offer his help when they were setting up camp. Coenred was much younger, barely a man, though Beobrand knew that despite his youthful aspect, he was brave and had proven himself to be a true friend.

Beobrand quickly cast his gaze on those of his own retinue, his gesithas, who accompanied him. Dour Dreogan was closest to Attor, the black lines of his soot-scarred cheeks making his face savage. Behind him followed Gram, tall and powerful. He was a mighty warrior, who never seemed to show fear or excitement; a steadfast shield-brother whom they would be glad to have at their shoulder, if it came to a fight.

Broad-shouldered Elmer rode towards the rear of the group. He was brave and bold, and despite the horrific sounds of pain that came to them on the breeze, he had a wide grin on his face. He was still so pleased to have been asked to ride with his lord. He felt that in the past he had too often been left behind with the women, children and old men, and no matter the number of times Beobrand had told him this was due to the trust he had in the muscular warrior, Elmer had taken it as a slight. The last two riders were the inseparable Ceawlin and Aethelwulf. They were woven from the same cloth, each taciturn and stocky, savage in combat but quick to jest and laugh when the mead flowed.

They were all good men. Strong warriors. Loyal gesithas. Beobrand was proud that they called him lord. And yet he wished Acennan was with them. He missed his friend. He had not seen him since before Solmonath, the month of rain and mud. Summer had long since begun to warm the land and Beobrand had expected Acennan’s return weeks before.

Another scream.

Acennan would have to wait.

The trail rose up a shallow bluff. To the west huddled a stand of alder.

“Whether Mercia or no,” said Beobrand, reaching his damaged left hand down to touch the hilt of his sword, Hrunting, “I will not ride by while someone faces torment. Come, let us see what is burning.”



What can i say that i have not already said about this series? probably not a lot, Matthew has continued to push and grow both his characters and his writing style book after book. Any of the wrinkles that a debut writers suffers and clunks and slips have long since vanished and his smooth writing and earthy characters shine through, his plot always have a twist and a turn that is unexpected and death lurks around any page for any character, giving the book an immediacy of the time where live is cheap and precious at the same time.

Bring on book 5 Matthew, this series just gets better with age





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Victoria Aveyard: Kings Cage (review)

Victoria Aveyard

Victoria Aveyard's picture

Victoria Aveyard  is a screenwriter/YA author who likes books and lists.

book cover of King's Cage

In this breathless third installment of Victoria Aveyard’s best-selling Red Queen series, allegiances are tested on every side. And when the Lightning Girl’s spark is gone, who will light the way for the rebellion?

Mare Barrow is a prisoner, powerless without her lightning, tormented by her lethal mistakes. She lives at the mercy of a boy she once loved, a boy made of lies and betrayal. Now a king, Maven Calore continues weaving his dead mother’s web in an attempt to maintain control over his country – and his prisoner.

As Mare bears the weight of Silent Stone in the palace, her once-ragtag band of newbloods and Reds continue organizing, training, and expanding. They prepare for war, no longer able to linger in the shadows. And Cal, the exiled prince with his own claim on Mare’s heart, will stop at nothing to bring her back.

When blood turns on blood and ability on ability, there may be no one left to put out the fire – leaving Norta as Mare knows it to burn all the way down.


This series has surprised me since book one Red Queen, This is a dystopian style world, where society is 2 tiered and the elites are not the nicest people…. only even the elites have tiers within tiers, being a red is to be down trodden, but is being a silver better? Silvers have powers, but now so do some of the Reds and these are powers that require work  and te Red population of down trodden people are much more used to that than Silvers. All of this is a cauldron boiling toward ruin and has been all series long.

Kings Cage brings much of the animosity to its head, schisms appear sight through the silver community, civil war looms. This series and this book is forever full of surprises, action, miss direction, real depth of sub plot and characters that will dominate the book and your thoughts while reading it. Most of all as a granddad of a very strong willed young lady i love the strong female characters in this book, i love the way they drive the book and the plot and have real key pivotal roles in the book, not relegated to gender stereotypes. I will be happy to let her get her hands on this at some point.

This series blows away most of the YA dystopian series i have read in recent years, and i highly recommend it.




Red Queen
0.1. Queen Song (2015)
0.2. Steel Scars (2016)
0.5. Cruel Crown (2016)
1. Red Queen (2014)
2. Glass Sword (2016)
3. King’s Cage (2017)
Red Queen 2-Book Collection (omnibus) (2016)

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Paul Fraser Collard: The True Soldier (Review)

Paul Fraser Collard

Paul Fraser Collard's picture

UK flag (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 True Soldier  (2017)
(The sixth book in the Jack Lark series)
book cover of The True Soldier

April, 1861. Jack Lark arrives in Boston as civil war storms across America.

A hardened soldier, Jack has always gone where he was ordered to go – and killed the enemy he was ordered to kill. But when he becomes a sergeant for the Union army, he realises that this conflict between North and South is different. Men are choosing to fight – and die – for a cause they believe in.

The people of Boston think it will take just one, great battle. But, with years of experience, Jack knows better. This is the beginning of something that will tear a country apart – and force Jack to see what he is truly fighting for.


I have to be transparent from the start, i’m a HUGE fan of this series, If any writer has managed to capture the spirit and adventure of Sharpe and the daring of his character then its Paul Collard, but he has done it in his own unique way with his own unique character, Jack Lark. ( Jack Lark v Sharpe).

What this series has (for me) more than Bernard Cornwells Sharpe is a disquiet about war. Jack like Sharp is a beast of war, but Jack Lark sees and feels the darkness and futility of war, he like Sharpe has also been on both sides of the army line, both soldier and officer, but his was always riven with fear of being discovered. But no longer, now Jack is himself and essentially a mercenary, he is in America and Civil War has begun, Jack has been tasked with looking after a rich mans son, but Jack is also a consummate professional, and can’t help but impose his skills on his men, to turn them into the best fighting men they can be.

When i started reading this book i felt it had a slight melancholy edge, one that blended perfectly with the feelings i experienced after waking to the Manchester bombings, joining Jack in that feeling of hopelessness and darkness, Paul Collard had captured that feeling so well, the futility of all that death. The book moves on from there, but gone is the Jack we knew, he is older, and no longer having to hide who he is. But does he like who he has found himself to be, he like America is searching for his identity, fighting to make a place for himself.

This is the best book Paul Collard has written, the most accomplished with the most mature writing, i did tell him it wasn’t my fav read when i was about 30% in, but i was wrong, it is. As the book progressed it worked its magic on me and it made me love it so much so that once again i miss Jack Lark his absence leave a hole that hard for another book to fill, a year is a long time to wait until his next adventure but the wait i’m sure will be worth it as there is so much detail and depth, and so many places for Jack to be Jack in a Civil War torn USA.

Very Highly Recommended


Buy a Signed Copy


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
6. The True Soldier (2017)
Recruit (2015)
Redcoat (2015)
The Jack Lark Library (omnibus) (2017)

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Filed under Historical Fiction, Paul Fraser Collard

James Heneage: By Blood Divided (review)

By Blood Divided blog tour poster.jpg

James Heneage's picture

James Heneage has been fascinated by history from an early age, in particular the rise and fall of empires. He was the founder of the Ottakars chain of bookshops which, between 1987 and 2006 grew to 150 branches before being bought by Waterstones. James spent these twenty years reading and researching historical subjects before settling on the end of the Byzantine Empire as the period he wanted to write about.

After Ottakars, he chaired the Cheltenham Literary Festival before setting up his own festival entirely devoted to history with author James Holland. The Daily Mail Chalke Valley History Festival is now in its third year and attracts around 30,000 people to its menu of talks, debates and living history displays.

The first of his Mistra Chronicles, The Walls of Byzantium, was launched at the Festival in June 2013.

book cover of By Blood Divided

Siward, scion of a great dynasty, commands the Varangian Guard and has vowed to defend the Roman Empire to the last.

Makkim, renowned general to Ottoman rule, has vowed to destroy it. They are enemies in war, but unknown to them, they are also rivals to inherit one of Europe’s greatest fortunes. Even worse, they are competing for the love of the same woman .Their vast inheritance lies in Venice, as does the famous courtesan they both love. She is the reason they will find themselves fighting on the walls of Constantinople, in one of the most dramatic sieges in history.


I always think when i pick up a book by James Heneage that i’m about to embark on an epic, and as such need to slow down my expectations, wade through a slow burn of meticulous detail, but ultimately come out the other end educated. I’m not sure if its the name, or the fantastically intricate covers… its just an instinctive feeling. Yet nothing could be further from the truth, all the books especially this latest one, are fast paced action packed and full of passion for the subject at hand.

Set during the 15th Century at a turning point in history, east hit west in one of the greatest most dramatic and significant sieges in history, Constantinople.  Siward Margoris the young commander of the Varangian Guard, the legacy of British/ Viking warriors, sworn to defend the Roman Empire to the last set against him is Makkim General of the Ottoman army who seeks to destroy everything the Romans stands for. This is East v’s West, for the destruction of last remanant of the Roman Empire, a clash of religions. Wrapped around it all is a tale of family, love and money.

If i had to criticize anything it would be some of the weapon knowledge, EG: at the start a volley fire from bows at 500 paces destroyed an attack, that range is far to far, an average pace i s0.75m x 500 is 375m, that’s 410 yards, The current world record is about 360 yards and about the maximum distance expected in historic periods, and at this extreme range, accuracy is sacrificed to a storm of arrows, which this passage in the book didn’t have. Now i don’t expect to find utter accuracy, but to drift into the realms of fantasy was a bit much for me (but it’s my sport so I’m picky).

Would i recommend this book, absolutely i would, and all the previous books by this author. I would not only say they are a wonderfully engaging read, with a passion for the characters and subject that shines through, but they also look blooming amazing on the shelf, the covers are simply stand out amazingly vivid.

Go read… promise you will not regret it… but if you’re and archer… forgive the trespasses.



Mistra Chronicles / Rise of Empires Chronicles
1. The Walls of Byzantium (2013)
2. The Towers of Samarcand (2014)
3. The Lion of Mistra (2015)
4. By Blood Divided (2017)
Rise of Empires Omnibus (omnibus) (2015)

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