Monthly Archives: August 2019

Miles Cameron: Bright Steel (Review)

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Miles Cameron is a fantasy novelist who currently lives in Toronto, Canada. He is a military veteran and has a degree in Medieval History.

His debut novel (The Red Knight), first in The Traitor Son novels, was one of the most acclaimed fantasy debuts of 2012 and nominated for the David Gemmell Morningstar award. It is followed by The Fell Sword.

He also writes highly acclaimed historical fiction under the name Christian Cameron.

book cover of Bright Steel

Every war comes down to the flash of bright steel, even when the air is full of magic . . .

Aranthur and his friends have come together across different continents and realms with one purpose: to strike back against the forces which have torn a hole in the heavens and threaten to rip the world beneath them apart as well.

With time running short, and treason at home, there are battles to be fought on the field, in the magical arena, and in the ever-deadly realm of politics, and they must succeed on every front or everything will fall. Victory will require enemies to trust one another, old foes to fight together, spies to reveal the truth and steadfast allies to betray long-corrupt rulers.

Is Aranthur, a twenty-year-old student, really the master strategist to bring it all together? And can he and his friends overcome aeons of lies when their plans inevitably fall to pieces? Do they even know, for sure, who the enemy is . . . ?

Review

The end of another stunning trilogy/ series.  Miles / Christian Cameron as you all know is my favourite writer, he is the smartest man i know and i’m lucky enough to call him a friend… but id still call him out if the plot was bad…. fortunately it never is because he has an easy going authentic style that draws you into his world and his characters. When you add in his huge depth of knowledge in history, fighting skills, arms and armour and geo politics and so much more you start to understand why what he writes feels so real, he imbues his writing with more than imagination, he adds in the real, what does it feel like to fight in armour, how do you use a sword or a bow, what logistics are involved in moving an army etc… all this is something the author has done in real life, so every tale is an education as well as an adventure… but carried but so subtly that you don’t notice that you have been subtly educated, you’re to swept up n the grand scale and world of the story.

Bright steel brings an end to his latest series, a tale where once again the dungeon master has woven us into a new time, a new world, a unique magic system, a set of new nations and protagonists. Once again he has made us fall in love with new people in new worlds, showing the horror and futility of war as well as the beauty and skill of the swordsman and the camaraderie of the soldiers. men and women fighting side by side heroism and arrogance on all sides, political maneuvering at a small and nation level… that winning is never the end, only the start of something new, as is losing…what ever the outcome the world keeps turning, but can you influence or change the way it turns?

With the last 2 series as Miles Cameron i believe that the author has cemented himself as one of the key authors in the fantasy genre (along side his mastery of the Historical Fiction genre), his world building is second to none, but more than that his ability to create a world spanning plot that is both intricate and also realistic is something few authors can accomplish, his tales have the complexity and breadth of authors like GRRM, but he keeps the plot tight and fast and easy to read, avoids getting windy about side plots, whilst teasing us with a myriad of tales that could still be told. We stick with our reluctant hero Aranthur and his group of “Cold iron” and follow as the plot unravels to reveal the bad guys and the mysteries of the world, its magic and its politics, until the story is told to a satisfying conclusion…. yet at the same time leaving you wanting more of the side tales and sub plots, to have those tales of other key characters payed out as well, to enjoy time with those favorite characters.

I’d struggle to say which of his series i loved the most…. i believe Masters and Mages was the easier read, because the scope of Traitors Son was just beyond compare, making GRRM look unambitious… but both series share that same engaging reality and amazing people.

There is i’m sure more to come from this world, as there is from Traitor son cycles world…. but Miles/ Christian also loves to bring something new to the table, the man seems to have an inexhaustible imagination.

This is again a series that belong on the Collection Shelf of any reader, Fantasy or Historical fiction, it doesn’t matter… its just writing and imagination at its best. A must buy/ Must read series.

(Parm)

Traitor Son Cycle
1. The Red Knight (2012)
2. The Fell Sword (2012)
3. The Dread Wyrm (2012)
4. A Plague of Swords (2016)
5. The Fall of Dragons (2017)
Traitor son cycle series: Books 1-4 (omnibus) (2018)
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Masters & Mages
1. Cold Iron (2018)
2. Dark Forge (2019)
3. Bright Steel (2019)
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Series
Alan Craik (as by Gordon Kent)
1. Night Trap (1998)
aka Rules of Engagement
2. Peace Maker (2000)
3. Top Hook (2002)
4. Hostile Contact (2003)
5. Force Protection (2004)
6. Damage Control (2005)
7. The Spoils of War (2006)
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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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Commander
1. The New Achilles (2019)
2. The Last Greek (2020)
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Novels
Cauldron of Violence (2000) (as by Gordon Kent)
Washington and Caesar (2001)
The Falconer’s Tale (2007) (as by Gordon Kent)
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 (2019)
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Pierce Brown: Dark Age (Review)

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Pierce Brown spent his childhood building forts and setting traps for his cousins in the woods of six states and the deserts of two. Graduating college in 2010, he fancied the idea of continuing his studies at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have a magical bone in his body. So while trying to make it as a writer, he worked as a manager of social media at a startup tech company, toiled as a peon on the Disney lot at ABC Studios, did his time as an NBC page, and gave sleep deprivation a new meaning during his stint as an aide on a U.S. Senate Campaign.
Now he lives in Los Angeles, where he scribbles tales of spaceships, wizards, ghouls, and most things old or bizarre.

 

book cover of Dark Age

He broke the chains. Then he broke the world… .

A decade ago Darrow led a revolution, and laid the foundations for a new world. Now he’s an outlaw.

Cast out of the very Republic he founded, with half his fleet destroyed, he wages a rogue war on Mercury. Outnumbered and outgunned, is he still the hero who broke the chains? Or will he become the very evil he fought to destroy?

In his darkening shadow, a new hero rises.

Lysander au Lune, the displaced heir to the old empire, has returned to bridge the divide between the Golds of the Rim and Core. If united, their combined might may prove fatal to the fledgling Republic.

On Luna, the embattled Sovereign of the Republic, Virginia au Augustus, fights to preserve her precious demokracy and her exiled husband. But one may cost her the other, and her son is not yet returned.

Abducted by enemy agents, Pax au Augustus must trust in a Gray thief, Ephraim, for his salvation.

Far across the void, Lyria, a Red refugee accused of treason, makes a desperate bid for freedom with the help of two unlikely new allies.

Fear dims the hopes of the Rising, and as power is seized, lost, and reclaimed, the worlds spin on and on toward a new Dark Age.

Review

I hate reading Sci-Fi, always have…. yet since book one this series has totally captivated me, it may be set in space, but this is (to quote the author) a tale of Hi-Tech Romans and Space Vikings…. that’s me sold immediately. Its all the passions, intrigue, back stabbing, political maneuvering and bloody violence of the great Empires of earth, thrown into space with the most imaginative weapons, alliances and more, mixed with the age old failings of mankind, a society built on history but always doomed to not learn its lessons.

Each  book in the series has been packed with intrigue and surprises, but they all pale into insignificance to Dark Age, every time you thought you had a handle on what was going to happen, the whole world of possibility and salvation was blown up in your face, no characters is safe, all can die, and most only cling to life due to the imaginative medical advances that are needed in this galactic pit of violence and Machiavellian politics.

So i still hate Sci-Fi, but i utterly love this series and its characters, i’ve lost sleep, i’ve lost patience, i’ve been astounded and amazed. This is a series that i will simply never forget and sits proudly on my shelf of all time greats.

I can give this no higher recommendation than, DO NOT MISS THIS, put down what ever you are reading and pick up book one and enjoy the ride, because its amazing.

(Parm)

Bibliography

Red Rising
0. Sons of Ares (2018) (with Rik Hoskin)
1. Red Rising (2014)
2. Golden Son (2015)
3. Morning Star (2016)
4. Iron Gold (2018)
5. Dark Age (2019)
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Nicholas Eames: Kings of the Wyld & Bloody Rose (Review)

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Nicholas Eames was born to parents of infinite patience and unstinting support in Wingham, Ontario. Though he attended college for theatre arts, he gave up acting to pursue the infinitely more attainable profession of ‘epic fantasy novelist.’ Kings of the Wyld is his first novel. Nicholas loves black coffee, neat whiskey, the month of October, and video games. He currently lives in Ontario, Canada, and is very probably writing at this very moment.

book cover of Kings of the Wyld

Clay Cooper and his band were once the best of the best, the most feared and renowned crew of mercenaries this side of the Heartwyld.

Their glory days long past, the mercs have grown apart and grown old, fat, drunk, or a combination of the three. Then an ex-bandmate turns up at Clay’s door with a plea for help–the kind of mission that only the very brave or the very stupid would sign up for.

It’s time to get the band back together. 

(Review)

 

 

 

book cover of Bloody Rose

Tam Hashford is tired of working at her local pub, slinging drinks for world-famous mercenaries and listening to the bards sing of adventure and glory in the world beyond her sleepy hometown.

When the biggest mercenary band of all rolls into town, led by the infamous Bloody Rose, Tam jumps at the chance to sign on as their bard. It’s adventure she wants – and adventure she gets as the crew embark on a quest that will end in one of two ways: glory or death.

It’s time to take a walk on the wyld side. 

(Review)

Ok so i may seem a little late to the table with these two books, but that’s because i wanted to read them when i could really enjoy them, to spend time on them, and am i so glad i did, this is a truly excellent new series. Its been a long time since i’ve read anyone who reminds me so much of James Barclay (an author who deserves to have been sooo much bigger). The characters and new , fresh, funny, a team dedicated to each other over and above any mission or cause, friends and family come first, even if you need to cross the most dangerous land and battle an entire horde to get there….

What won me to these books is the easy comradeship, the conversation and the gallows humour, i chuckled all the way through these books and i read them both twice, something i almost never do, there is an easy reading qulity to these while containing complex and very real characters.

There is no need to analyse every person or place in this review….. simply if you love reading go buy these books, they are awesome , Nicholas Eames has with 2 books jumped onto my MUST read pile and must collect book shelf.

beyond Highly recommended … you would be mad not to buy these

(Parm)

 

 

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David Wragg: Black Hawks (Review)

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Dave Wragg really got into writing stories just as he finished English GCSE, then took about twenty years to get back to it. In the meantime, he studied software engineering, worked in global shipping and technical consultancy, and once spent a year in the Foreign Office ‘hiding in the basement’.

He currently does Software Odd Jobs around central London. In his vanishingly rare free time (when not working, writing, or enjoying the fruits of parenthood), he tries to consume as much digital entertainment as possible, as well as reading genre fiction and enjoying the odd board game. Some of them are very odd indeed.

Dave lives in Hertfordshire with his wife, two small daughters and two smaller cats.

book cover of The Black Hawks

Life as a knight is not what Vedren Chel imagined. Bound by oath to a dead-end job in the service of a lazy step-uncle, Chel no longer dreams of glory – he dreams of going home.

When invaders throw the kingdom into turmoil, Chel finds opportunity in the chaos: if he escorts a stranded prince to safety, Chel will be released from his oath.

All he has to do is drag the brat from one side of the country to the other, through war and wilderness, chased all the way by ruthless assassins.

With killers on your trail, you need killers watching your back. You need the Black Hawk Company – mercenaries, fighters without equal, a squabbling, scrapping pack of rogues.

Prepare to join the Black Hawks.

(Review)

I was sold on this book as soon as i saw the cover, because you certainly do tell a book by the cover, why else do you pick it up in the first place!!? The art work on this one is just brilliant.

When i started to read it i had a wobble, it felt a little slow, but i think may have been more my issue getting my head around the society and the hierarchy, because the story starts with a punch and keeps on going until you’re either a fan or a bloody pulp.

The main character has a hint of Mark Lawrence and the reluctant Jal, but when doing the right thing is needed Chel goes forward not in the opposite direction, there is certainly a hint of Nicholas Eames bloody rose, with Chel like Tam learning new skills from the highly trained mercenaries, with dark humour, fast violence and a cynical view of their world. These guys fight dirty, fight hard and fast and run away when they need to, this is a business not a quest.

I loved the characters, no matter how dark and devious they got there was always something new about them, the story brought something new to the table which i think gets harder every year. When you add in cannibals, assassins, back stabbings, lies and misdirection… you end up with an awesome mix.

Highly recommend this book, its great fun and really fast….

(Parm)

 

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