Monthly Archives: August 2017

Michael Whitehead: Legion Of The Undead: Rise and Fall (Review)

Michael Whitehead

Michael Whitehead was born in Liverpool, UK and did most of his growing up in Nottinghamshire. He now lives on the edge of Sherwood Forest with his wife and two children.

Growing up he was passionate about Liverpool FC and Heavy Metal. Not much has changed.

He has spent most of his working life as a truck driver, which means a fantastic amount of time spent listening to audio books.

Legion Of The Undead: Rise and Fall

Caught between the undead horde and civil war, the Roman Empire is on the verge of destruction.

Italy is in flames and Rome is under siege by the Risen, while Titus and Otho both lay claim to the title of Emperor.

Centurion Vitus Protus, Praetor Domitius, and their allies face a desperate choice. They must either stay and fight for the City of Rome or leave and survive in the wilderness left behind by the Risen.

Review:

I read Michael’s first book back in March and have to say i was pretty impressed, the story was well paced and despite it being Zombies had a decent level of reality to it with realistic characters. What it lacked was a bit of experience , feedback and editing.

Book Two Rise and Fall, Michael has taken all of that feedback on board, he has sought out a decent editor and between them they have made a very tight very fast paced tale. This book once again gives you all the flavour of the period but with that light historical touch so that you are not seeking the accuracy of historical fiction. His Zombies have more about them than the shambling walking dead who kill by weight of numbers, these bad boys are more along the lines of World War Z, they run they jump they attack. Couple that with Otho and his touch of Nero type madness and the story has quite a frenetic pace to see who will win the power battle for Rome, Titus, Otho… or the Undead. But the real win of this book is that while this cataclysmic tale is going on there is the more immediate/ Intimate family story of friends trying to escape and survive, to make it past the undead and soldiers and just get away from the madness.

I always like to find a new writer who can learn and grow very fast and am really impressed with the huge leap forward Michael has made in the space of 2 books….. i really am looking forward to book 3.

(Parm)

 

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Filed under Michael Whitehead, Supernatural

Steven Savile: Glass Town (Review)

author

Steven Savile is an international sensation, selling over half a million copies of his novels worldwide and writing for cult favorite television shows including Doctor WhoTorchwood, and Stargate. Now, he is finally making his US debut with Glass Town, a brilliantly composed novel revolving around the magic and mystery lurking in London.

GLASS TOWN

There’s always been magic in our world
We just needed to know where to look for it

In 1924, two brothers both loved Eleanor Raines, a promising young actress from the East End of London. She disappeared during the filming of Alfred Hitchcock’s debut, Number 13, which itself is now lost. It was the crime of the age, capturing the imagination of the city: the beautiful actress never seen again, and the gangster who disappeared the same day.

Generations have passed. Everyone involved is long dead. But even now their dark, twisted secret threatens to tear the city apart.

Joshua Raines is about to enter a world of macabre beauty, of glittering celluloid and the silver screen, of illusion and deception, of impossibly old gangsters and the fiendish creatures they command, and most frighteningly of all, of genuine magic.

He is about to enter Glass Town.

The generations-old obsession with Eleanor Raines’s unsolved case is about to become his obsession, handed down father-to-son through his bloodline like some unwanted inheritance. But first he needs to bury his grandfather and absorb the implications of the confession in his hand, a letter from one of the brothers, Isaiah, claiming to have seen the missing actress. The woman in the red dress hadn’t aged a day, no matter that it was 1994 and she’d been gone seventy years.

Long buried secrets cannot stay secrets forever. Hidden places cannot stay hidden forever.

The magic that destroyed one of the most brutal families in London’s dark history is finally failing, and Joshua Raines is about to discover that everything he dared dream of, everything he has ever feared, is waiting for him in Glass Town.

Review

Anyone who is a regular reader of my reviews will know that this book is way outside my usual reading material. But look at Savile’s resume so much great writing on so many great shows (and he wrote Slaine…. one of my all time fav 2000ad characters)… i mean… whats not to like.

The story, Glass Town story is an observational mix of London life, old fashioned east end underworld and the supernatural/ mystic providing a backdrop for the dark tale of family secrets and obsession. the author has a intimate grip and feel for the location and also both the periods of this book. But the real win is  the characterization and observational descriptive in the book, it’s just excellent. At first i worried that the author was going to be a little windy in his descriptions, but very quickly i fell into the rhythm of the writing and found that rather than being too much the descriptive writing pulled me further into the plot and wrapped me tighter into the characters and the emotions that drove them.

The imagination behind the supernatural elements and the creatures that are conjured is just hugely impressive, but i should not be surprised for a man who wrote 2 Slaine books (serious… hero worship)… yeah he wrote a few other things as well… but Slaine!! sorry any way…..Glass Town, something fantastical, but yet written in such a way as to be highly believable and realistic.

Took me somewhere very new, and left me hugely impressed and as a dabbler at writing made me reassess my own descriptive writing.

Highly reccomended

(Parm)

 

Series
Slaine
1. Slaine the Exile (2006)
2. Slaine the Defiler (2007)
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Lazarus Initiative (with David Sakmyster)
1. N.D.E. (2011)
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Fireborn 
1. Each Ember’s Ghost (2012)
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Dane Maddock Origins
4. Dead Ice (2014) (with David Wood)
The Dane Maddock Origins Omnibus 1 (omnibus) (2016)(with Rick Chesler, Sean Ellis and David Wood)
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Infinite Frontiers
1. Stellaris (2016)
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Akiri (with Brian D Anderson)
1. The Scepter of Xarbaal (2016)
2. Sands Of Darkness (2017)
3. Dragonbane (2017)
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Byron Tibor (with Sean Black)
3. Winter’s Rage (2017)
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Ogimos: The Origins
Argo (2017)
Shining Ones (2017)
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Novels
Microfax Star Wars (1997)
The Sufferer’s Song (2000)
Secret Life of Colors (2000)
Similar Monsters (2001)
Houdini’s Last Illusion (2004)
Angel Road (2004)
The Fragrance of You (2005)
Laughing Boy’s Shadow (2010)
Last Angel (2010)
The Black Chalice (2011)
Hallowed Ground (2011) (with David Niall Wilson)
London Macabre (2012)
Immortal (2014)
Moonlands (2015)
Ritual (2015) (with Albert Johnson)
Sunfail (2015)
Parallel Lines (2017)
Glass Town (2017)
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Collections
Icarus Descending (1999)
Temple: Incarnations (2007)
eBooks at the Crossroad (2010) (with Ronald Kelly, Elizabeth Massie, Wayne Allen Sallee and David Niall Wilson)
The Forgetting Wood (2010)
Infinities (2011) (with Eric Brown, Garry Kilworth, Scott Nicholson, Kristine Kathryn Rusch and Anna Tambour)
Worlds Apart (2013) (with Jim Bernheimer, Lauren Harris, Matt Hilton, Laura Howard, Ashley Knight, Laura Bradley Rede, Liz Reinhardt, Aaron Rosenberg and David Wood)
Time’s Mistress (2014)
Crusader Kings II (2014) (with Scott Anderson, Lee Battersby, Luke Bean, Jordan Ellinger, James Erwin, Axel Kylander, Cory Lachance, James Mackie, M Harold Page, Aaron Rosenberg and Joseph Sharp)
Urban Enemies (2017) (with Kelley Armstrong, Amber Benson, Jim Butcher, Kevin Hearne, Caitlin Kittredge, Jonathan Maberry, Seanan McGuire, C E Murphy, Joseph Nassise, Lilith Saintcrow, Craig Schaefer, Jeff Somers, Carrie Vaughn, Jaye Wells and Sam Witt)
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Novellas
For This Is Hell (2012) (with Aaron Rosenberg)
H.N.I.C. (2013) (with Albert Johnson)
King Wolf (2014)
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S

Series contributed to
Warhammer : Von Carstein
1. Inheritance (2006)
2. Dominion (2006)
3. Retribution (2007)
Vampire Wars (omnibus) (2008)
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Doctor Who : Short Trips
Destination Prague (2007)
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Warhammer
Curse of the Necrarch (2008)
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Torchwood
Hidden (2008)
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Primeval
1. Shadow of the Jaguar (2008)
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Stargate SG-1
15. The Power Behind the Throne (2009)
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Ogmios Team Adventure
1. Silver (2010)
2. Solomon’s Seal (2012) (with Steve Lockley)
3. Wargod (2012) (with Sean Ellis)
4. Lucifer’s Machine (2013) (with Rick Chesler)
5. Crucible (2014) (with Steve Lockley)
Ogmios (omnibus) (2013) (with Rick Chesler, Sean Ellisand Steve Lockley)
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Stellar Guild
1. Tau Ceti (2011) (with Kevin J Anderson)
Stellar Guild Box Set One (omnibus) (2017) (with Kevin J Anderson, Eric Flint and Charles E Gannon)
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Latchkeys
1. Unlatched (2012)
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Arkham Horror (with Steve Lockley)
The Sign of Glaaki (2013)
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Kindle Worlds : Shadow Ops
1. Embracing the Shadows (2015)
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Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (with Robert Greenberger)
Murder at Sorrow’s Crown (2016)
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Anthologies edited
Scaremongers 2 (1998)
Elemental (2006) (with Alethis Kontis)
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Non fiction
Fantastic TV (2010)
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Anthologies containing stories by Steven Savile
Scaremongers (1998)
Scaremongers 2 (1998)
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Marcus Sakey: Afterlife (Review)

Marcus Sakey

Author Site

Marcus Sakey is the author of The Blade Itself, a thriller Publishers Weekly called “brilliant…a must read.” To prepare for the novel he shadowed homicide detectives, learned to pick a deadbolt in sixty seconds, and drank plenty of Jameson. Born in Flint, Michigan, he now lives in Chicago with his wife.

Afterlife  (2017)

An instant Wall Street Journal bestseller. Soon to be a major motion picture from Imagine Entertainment and producers Ron Howard and Brian Grazer.

Between life and death lies an epic war, a relentless manhunt through two worlds… and an unforgettable love story.

The last thing FBI agent Will Brody remembers is the explosion – a thousand shards of glass surfing a lethal shock wave.

He wakes without a scratch.

The building is in ruins. His team is gone. Outside, Chicago is dark. Cars lie abandoned. No planes cross the sky. He’s relieved to spot other people – until he sees they’re carrying machetes.

Welcome to the afterlife.

Claire McCoy stands over the body of Will Brody. As head of an FBI task force, she hasn’t had a decent night’s sleep in weeks. A terrorist has claimed eighteen lives and thrown the nation into panic.

Against this horror, something reckless and beautiful happened. She fell in love… with Will Brody.

But the line between life and death is narrower than any of us suspect – and all that matters to Will and Claire is getting back to each other.

Review:

Ex Marine Will Brody , now Special Agent Brody is at the latest murder scene of a Spree-killing Sniper, his Boss and lover is Claire McCoy head of the FBI task force.

The author spends time building these two characters, making them and their relationship real and well formed, putting them in place to truly drive the plot forward. The more you believe in these two and their dialogue the more you can believe the plot, allowing the author then take the story into more and more normally implausible and strange places, to bend the plot across genres a touch of romance here, a dollop of supernatural, a spoonful of sci-fi and a whole load of thriller. The story abounds with tension, and suspense that will hook you in and pull you all the way to the end in a very short space of time. (prepare for a book that gets you thinking…. this is a mind bender of a book)

Its no wonder this is set to be a major Ron Howard motion picture.

(Parm)

 

 

Series
Brilliance Trilogy
1. Brilliance (2013)
2. A Better World (2014)
3. Written in Fire (2016)
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Novels
The Blade Itself (2007)
At the City’s Edge (2008)
aka Accelerant
Good People (2008)
aka Too Good To Be True
The Amateurs (2009)
aka No Turning Back
The Two Deaths of Daniel Hayes (2011)
No Rest for the Dead (2011) (with Jeff Abbott, Lori Armstrong, David Baldacci, Sandra Brown, Thomas H Cook, Jeffery Deaver, Diana Gabaldon, Tess Gerritsen, Andrew F Gulli, Lamia Gulli, Peter James, J A Jance, Faye Kellerman, Raymond Khoury, John Lescroart, Jeff Lindsay, Gayle Lynds, Alexander McCall Smith, Phillip Margolin, Michael Palmer, T Jefferson Parker, Matthew Pearl, Kathy Reichs, Jonathan Santlofer, Lisa Scottoline, R L Stine and Marcia Talley)
Afterlife (2017)
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Collections
Scar Tissue (2010)
Thriller 2.2 (2016) (with Phillip Margolin and Carla Neggers)
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Novellas
As Breathing (2010)
The Days When You Were Anything Else (2010)
The Desert Here and the Desert Far Away (2010)
Gravity and Need (2010)
No One (2010)
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Miles Cameron: Fall of Dragons (review)

Image result for christian cameron

Christian/ Miles 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.

The Fall of Dragons  (2017)
(The fifth book in the Traitor Son Cycle series)

book cover of The Fall of Dragons

The Red Knight’s final battle lies ahead…but there’s a whole war still to fight first.

He began with a small company, fighting the dangerous semi-mythical creatures that threatened villages, nunneries and cities. But as his power – and his forces – grew, so the power of the enemy he stood against became ever clearer. Not the power of men…but that of gods, with thousands of mortal allies.

Never has strategy been more important, and this war will end where it started: at Lissen Carak. But to get there means not one battle but many – to take out the seven armies which stand against them and force Ash, the huge black dragon, to finally take to the field himself….

Review

The Traitor Son Cycle has been Miles Cameron’s fantasy debut, with so many amazing Historical fiction titles written and read by many proving the quality and power of his writing, for me this was always going to be a case of how good can this get, how can it compare to the many accomplished fantasy series out there, how will the plot cope with the freedom beyond the structure of history?

Miles Cameron has since book one given us an astounding series, one filled with a new and highly intelligent and in-depth magical system, a total world spanning societal structure based on varying real world empires and a code of chivalry that underpins the fighting force of the red Knight, one that we can truly believe, because Christian himself lives this code himself, fights in the amour and knows the history. Most of all it has given us a deeply involved plot that employs all of the research and all of the knowledge of a great writer.

Fall of Dragons is the culmination of this wonderful series, and for me the linchpin of the series, if you fail to tie the knots of a series so full and complex you fail the series. At times Christian/ Miles has cast his net of plot far and wide, sometimes worryingly so, but slowly carefully and with great precision he has pulled those differing views, plots, perspectives and locations together back into the main sort arc, giving a series and book that absorbs you utterly with all its twists and turns. More complex and yet with none of the waffle when compared to series like Game of Thrones, for me this blows away GRRM’s work, because it keeps the plot on point, nothing is there just to appear smart, its there for a reason and you can feel the tension mounting as the author takes you on this majestic and massive journey.

Most of all for me, the series had an ending, one that’s hugely satisfying and really powerfully done. The author doesn’t save himself for a another book or a further series, he powers towards the promised ending and leaps into that void with the reader no character is safe. Couple that with the utterly relentless pace of this book, which is essentially 560 pages of battle , journey to battle, preparation for battle and then more battle…. yet written with true heart and passion, taking account of the lives and travails of all involved, lost and celebrated in this war to end all wars.

I cant give this any higher recommendation…. i doff my cap sir!!

(Parm)

Series
Traitor Son Cycle
1. The Red Knight (2012)
2. The Fell Sword (2014)
3. The Dread Wyrm (2014)
4. A Plague of Swords (2016)
5. The Fall of Dragons (2017)
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Masters & Mages
1. The Master (2018)
Christian Cameron
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)
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Long War
1. Killer of Men (2010)
2. Marathon (2011)
3. Poseidon’s Spear (2012)
4. The Great King (2014)
5. Salamis (2015)
6. Rage of Ares (2016)
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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)
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Chivalry
1. The Ill-Made Knight (2013)
2. The Long Sword (2014)
3. The Green Count (2017)
4. Sword of Justice (2018)
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Tom Swan and the Siege of Belgrade
1. Tom Swan and the Siege of Belgrade: Part One (2014)
2. Tom Swan and the Siege of Belgrade: Part Two (2014)
3. Tom Swan and the Siege of Belgrade: Part Three (2014)
4. Tom Swan and the Siege of Belgrade: Part Four (2015)
5. Tom Swan and the Siege of Belgrade: Part Five (2015)
6. Tom Swan and the Siege of Belgrade: Part Six (2015)
7. Tom Swan and the Siege of Belgrade: Part Seven(2015)
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Tom Swan and the Last Spartans
1. Tom Swan and the Last Spartans: Part One (2016)
2. Tom Swan and the Last Spartans: Part Two (2016)
3. Tom Swan and the Last Spartans: Part Three (2017)
4. Tom Swan and the Last Spartans: Part Four (2017)
5. Tom Swan and the Last Spartans: Part Five (2017)
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Novels
Washington and Caesar (2001)
God of War (2012)
A Song of War (2016) (with Libbie Hawker, Kate Quinn, Vicky Alvear Shecter, Stephanie Thornton, S J A Turneyand Russell Whitfield)
Tudor Knight (2018)
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Omnibus
Songs of Blood and Gold (2017) (with Ruth Downie, Stephanie Dray, Libbie Hawker, Ben Kane, E Knight, Sophie Perinot, Kate Quinn, Vicky Alvear Shecter, Stephanie Thornton, S J A Turney and Russell Whitfield)
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Filed under Christian Cameron, Fantasy, Miles Cameron