John Gwynne: A time of Blood (Review)

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John Gwynne was born in Singapore while his dad was stationed there in the RAF. Up until he retired that meant a lot of traveling around, generally a move every three years or so.
He lives with his wife and four wonderful (and demanding) children in East Sussex. Also three dogs, two of which will chew anything that stands still. He has had many strange and wonderful jobs, including packing soap in a soap factory, waitering in a french restaurant in Canada, playing double bass in a rock n roll band, and lecturing at Brighton University
“I stepped out of university work due to my daughter’s disability, so now I split my time caring for her and working from home – I work with my wife rejuvenating vintage furniture, which means fixing, lifting, carrying, painting and generally doing what my wife tells me to do…

And somehow during this time I started writing. I’ve always told my children stories at bed-time, and they pestered long and hard for me to write some of it down. At the same time I felt that my brain was switching off a little – vintage furniture is my wife’s passion, whereas my passions are geekier!”

book cover of A Time of Blood

Defy the darkness. Defend the light.

Drem and his friends flee the battle at Starstone Lake to warn the Order of the Bright Star. They’ve witnessed horrors they’ll never forget, such as magic warping men into beasts. But worst of all, they’ve seen a demon rise from the dead – making it even more powerful. Now Fritha, the demons’ high priestess, is hunting Drem’s party.

Concealed in Forn Forest, Riv struggles to understand her half-breed heritage. She represents the warrior angels’ biggest secret, one which could break their society. And when she’s found by the Ben-Elim’s high captain, he swoops in for the kill.

As demonic forces multiply, they send a mighty war-host to overthrow the angel’s stronghold. This could decimate the fractured Ben-Elim. And their allies in the Order may be too overwhelmed to send aid – with Fritha and her monstrous beasts closing in. Like heroes of old, Drem and the Bright Star’s warriors must battle to save their land. But can the light triumph when the dark is rising?

A Time of Blood is the spectacular follow-up to John Gwynne’s A Time of Dread.


A Time of Dread was an extraordinary read, something that was a step up even from the amazing and original Faithful and Fallen series, so i had high expectations for A time of Blood, also as many of you lovely people who read this know i had taken a sabbatical from reading and was struggling with books full stop, it needed special books to reignite my passion for reading, i can happily state that this is indeed a very special book.

There are many stories within the book, many key characters, but for me i’m hooked by the trials and troubles of Riv and Drem, Drem more than any other. I find i can really identify with the character, not just on a personal level but also because he reminds me so much of various David Gemmell characters, even the over all cadence of the books have a very Gemmell quality and tone to them.

I find that John deals with adversity and loss in such a humane and sensitive fashion in his writing, which although i have not met him face to face, seems to very much match the man i have come to know online (seriously one of the kindest and toughest (mentally) people i have had the pleasure of speaking with)… that personality comes across so much and so well in his books and his cast.

As ever im not going to try and rehash elements of the story, the synopsis lays out whats going to happen… well teases it lol. But to summarize,  This book will make you say WTF!, OMG, it will keep you on the edge of the page and turning that page long after you should have gone to sleep. It will have you in tears and it will fill you with hope and joy, such is the skill of the story and the writer, the book will end way way way before you want it to and leave you begging for the next… and there is no greater achievement or compliment than that…. serious contender for book of the year… do NOT miss this


Faithful and the Fallen
1. Malice (2012)
2. Valour (2014)
3. Ruin (2015)
4. Wrath (2016)
Faithful and the Fallen Collection 4 Books Set (omnibus)(2017)
Tales of the Apt (with Frances Hardinge, Joff Leader, Tom Lloyd, Juliet E McKenna, Keris McDonald, Peter Newman, Justina Robson, David Tallerman and Adrian Tchaikovsky)
The Scent of Tears (2018)
Blood & Bone
1. A Time of Dread (2018)
2. A Time of Blood (2019)


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Filed under Fantasy, John Gwynne

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