Monthly Archives: September 2017

Angus Donald: Blood’s Game (Review)

Angus Donald

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Angus Donald was born in China in 1965 and educated at Marlborough College and Edinburgh University.

He has worked as a fruit-picker in Greece, a waiter in New York and as an anthropologist studying magic and witchcraft in Indonesia.

For the past 20 years, he has been a journalist in Hong Kong, India, Afghanistan and London.

Author Website

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book cover of Blood's Game

THE THRILLING NEW SERIES FROM THE BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF THE ‘OUTLAW CHRONICLES’. PERFECT FOR FANS OF BERNARD CORNWELL AND CONN IGGULDEN. AFTER THE TUDORS CAME THE STUARTS . . . London, Winter 1670. Holcroft Blood has entered the employ of the Duke of Buckingham, one of the most powerful men in the kingdom after the king. It is here that his education really begins. With a gift for numbers and decoding ciphers, Holcroft soon proves invaluable to the Duke, but when he’s pushed into a betrayal he risks everything for revenge. His father, Colonel Thomas Blood, has fallen on hard times. A man used to fighting, he lives by his wits and survives by whatever means necessary. When he’s asked to commit treason by stealing the crown jewels, he puts himself and his family in a dangerous situation – one that may end at the gallows. As the machinations of powerful men plot to secure the country’s future, both father and son must learn what it is to survive in a more dangerous battlefield than war – the court of King Charles II.

Review

Angus Donald has managed over the last 8 years to provide us with one of the best modern retelling’s of Robin Hood that you could ever possibly want to read. When it finished what would come next?

Colonel Blood is not an unknown character to me, but he is very much a little known enigma for many readers…..

So how would Angus bring this man alive?

The answer is through his own trials and those of his family and the daring theft of the Crown Jewels. The key character for me in this book is his son Holcroft Blood. Angus Donald brings to life the time period and the people, the nasty conniving Buckingham with his privilege and power, a spoiled king and various sections of society from the theater to the slums of London. While Angus tells the history lightly, he also manages to weave the reader right into the immediate so you feel part of the story not a voyeur in a tale.

By the end of the story Holcroft Blood has become a new fav character, a young man different from his peers, but gifted and talented in many ways, with an honour that leads him into some strange situations. His friend Jack Churchill and he bring the story to a very satisfying and tense conclusion, in a book with action and humour aplenty, setting the scene for what i feel will be a truly excellent series in the future…. book two cannot come soon enough for me.

Bravo Angus…. loved this book

(Parm)

Series
Outlaw Chronicles
1. Outlaw (2009)
2. Holy Warrior (2010)
3. King’s Man (2011)
4. Warlord (2012)
5. Grail Knight (2013)
6. The Iron Castle (2014)
7. The King’s Assassin (2015)
8. The Death of Robin Hood (2016)
The Rise of Robin Hood (2013)
The Betrayal of Father Tuck (2013)
The Hostility of Hanno (2013)
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Blood 
1. Blood’s Game (2017)
2. Blood’s Revolution (2018)
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Filed under Angus Donald, Historical Fiction

Paul Hoffman: Scorn (Review) Blog Tour

Paul Hoffman studied English at New College, Oxford before becoming a senior film censor at the British Board of Film Classification. He lives in the United Kingdom.

 

 

After an experiment at the Large Hadron Collider goes horribly wrong, depressed scientist Aaron Gall wakes up to discover his mind and body have undergone an astonishing transformation. Now bursting with the joys of life, he is inspired to undertake a radical new therapy: to talk to the priests who brutalised him and his school friends, point out the intellectual dishonesty and inhumanity of their religious beliefs – and then eat them. Aaron enjoys the process so much (as well as taunting the police and MI5) he decides to extend his murderous conversations to include the Archbishop of Westminster, recently converted Catholic Tony Blair, the Queen of England – and, finally, the Pope himself. But a Catholic Church that has given the world the Crusades, the Inquisition, and Papal Infallibility hasn’t survived for two thousand years without a reason. Aaron is in for the greatest shock in the history of mankind.

Review

When in 2010 Paul Hoffman burst onto the writing scene with The Left Hand of God i was beyond pleasantly surprised by the rich colourful and original world that had been created. The story was such an eclectic mix of real world names and fantastical armies and lands. With a protagonist that grew with the book, both in power and stature but also in age and experience. Sadly for me the series declined from that epic beginning (though they were still solid 3/5 books)

I wondered what had happened to this highly original and extremely engaging author, when out of the blue i was sent a review copy of Scorn. The cover alone just jumps out at you, again something new different and a bit irreverent.

As ever Paul Hoffman mixes the real with the fantastical, EG: the Queen, the Pope and Tony Blair to name some…. the latter who at one point has a long involved chat with a werewolf… yes i think that gives you an idea that this book has a level of insanity to it, but in every insanity is an element of genius, which once again exists in this book as it did in Left Hand, mix in walking the very fine line of irreverence/ blasphemy with the church which is something to be encouraged as too many authors shy away from pushing that boundary. Scorn has so much…. and yet unfortunately it fails to reach the heady heights that Left Hand of God did… close… but not quite. for me it squeaks a 4/5, which seems damning praise…. because i very very much enjoyed it… but i started and so will end comparing to that splendid book, Left hand of God, still the mans best work…. but if he keeps writing like this i think will even surpass it with this splendidly irreverent, crazy mind bending plot.

(Parm)

Series
Left Hand of God Trilogy
1. The Left Hand of God (2010)
2. The Last Four Things (2011)
3. The Beating of his Wings (2013)
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Filed under Fantasy, Paul Hoffman, Supernatural, Uncategorized