Category Archives: Fantasy

Fantasy reviews

David Gemmell Rhyming Rings (Review)

David Gemmell

David A Gemmell's picture
UK flag (19482006)
aka Ross Harding

David Andrew Gemmell was a bestselling British author of heroic fantasy. A former journalist and newspaper editor, Gemmell had his first work of fiction published in 1984. He went on to write over thirty novels. Best known for his debut, Legend, Gemmell’s works display violence, yet also explores themes in honour, loyalty and redemption. With over one million copies sold, his work continues to sell worldwide.

(Pre order link at the bottoms, 18th May release date)

book cover of Rhyming Rings

Rhyming Rings is a never-before-seen Gemmell novel, discovered in his papers by his widow, Stella Gemmell. Merging autobiographical details of Gemmell’s life as a journalist in South London with a serial killer and a tinge of the supernatural, this is perfect for fans of David’s work, as well as readers of gritty crime novels. Set against the backdrop of a London simmering with poverty, change and racial tension, this taut thriller is a fitting legacy for the great writer.

This book includes a brand new introduction from massive Gemmell fan Conn Iggulden, and an afterword by Gemmell’s friend Stan Nicholls.

An ambidextrous killer is murdering women, leaving virtually no evidence behind, and struggling journalist Jeremy Miller wishes he was covering the case. Instead, he’s stuck with heart-warming local stories about paraplegic teenagers and elderly psychic ladies.

So when his stories and the murder case start to converge no one is more surprised than Jeremy.

Or, it turns out, more at risk.

Review:

Reading this book has been a journey for me, I knew after so long reading a new David Gemmell would be an emotive experience and i tried to take my time with the book and truly read it and let it take me on its intended journey, right through to the afterword which brought tears to my eyes and I only knew the Big man a little, yet his kindness touched me as much as his words always inspired me, his simple encouragement to a new bookseller and reviewer had a profound impact on me.

I think i needed this book, its very easy to become a little jaded in reviewing, so many books and a to be read pile that grows every year and if you are lucky an audience who expects more and more books to be reviewed, only then it takes away the simplistic joy of reading for yourself. When David Gemmell passed away i never wanted to be in a place where there was no new Gemmell on the horizon, that perfection of writing to come, so the final book of the Troy series always sat there on the shelf unread but after this book I think I can finally finish reading the Troy series … silly as it sounds I never wanted to let go that last book, but the words should be read and lived and loved., and finishing this book has left me refreshed and ready for more worlds and time periods, and most of all its reminded me to take time out and go back and read the books i love.

Rhyming Rings is truly such a simple and powerful book and yet takes me back to why I love reading … and the simple answer is David Gemmell .. that’s where my love of reading , my real passion to constantly seek out the next book came from and how can you ever repay that. Stan Nichols and Conn Igguldens words helped remind me of the person behind the words, in many ways this book reminds me of White knight Black Swan, that simple honest yet impacting story… he still stuns me with his writing now, so honest and real.

I don’t want to delve too much into the plot, the blurb tells you pretty much all you need to know, the book is as much a journey of self awareness as it is a crime drama, but done in that unique subtle Gemmell style, there is I feel a little Jeremy Miller in us all, that wanting to belong yet feeling outside the group, the degrees of self doubt and angst and the inexperience of youth not knowing when to shut up and listen. The use of the polar opposites in Mr Sutcliffe and Ethel offer that counter point of experience and understanding, that stillness and reflection or maturity.  All of this is wrapped around a very cleverly put together crime drama, set in 80’s London, and while the book may be set in the 80’s it does not feel dated, it reminds me a bit of life on Mars in that it feels fresh and right, it feels like the author lived through those times and is just now retelling them, its a story that has not dated at all.

For me i think this is a book to be experienced as much as read, but i acknowledge my fan status and love of the mans work, please do try this, see the style and quality, and if you have never picked up his other work i hope this leads you into the worlds of David Gemmell, because they are a true joy to read.

(Parm)

 

Series
Drenai
1. Legend (1984)
aka Against the Horde
2. The King Beyond the Gate (1985)
3. Waylander (1986)
4. Quest for Lost Heroes (1990)
5. In the Realm of the Wolf (1992)
6. The First Chronicles of Druss the Legend (1993)
7. The Legend of Deathwalker (1996)
8. Winter Warriors (1997)
9. Hero in the Shadows (2000)
Drenai Tales (omnibus) (1991)
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Sipstrassi : Jon Shannow
1. Wolf in Shadow (1987)
aka The Jerusalem Man
2. The Last Guardian (1989)
3. Bloodstone (1994)
The Complete Chronicles of the Jerusalem Man (1995)
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Sipstrassi : Stones of Power
1. Ghost King (1988)
2. Last Sword of Power (1988)
Stones of Power (omnibus) (1992)
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Lion of Macedon
1. Lion of Macedon (1991)
2. Dark Prince (1991)
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Hawk Queen
1. The Ironhand’s Daughter (1995)
2. The Hawk Eternal (1995)
Hawk Queen (omnibus) (2014)
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Rigante
1. Sword in the Storm (1998)
2. Midnight Falcon (1999)
3. Ravenheart (2001)
4. Stormrider (2002)
Tales of the Rigante (omnibus) (2001)
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Skilgannon the Damned
1. White Wolf (2003)
2. The Swords of Night and Day (2004)
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Troy
1. Lord Of The Silver Bow (2005)
2. The Shield of Thunder (2006)
3. Fall Of Kings (2007) (with Stella Gemmell)
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Novels
The Lost Crown (1989)
Knights of Dark Renown (1989)
Morning Star (1992)
White Knight, Black Swan (1993) (as by Ross Harding)
Dark Moon (1996)
Echoes of the Great Song (1997)
Rhyming Rings (2017)
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Mark Lawrence: Red Sister (Review)

Mark Lawrence

Mark Lawrence
Mark Lawrence was born in Champagne-Urbanan, Illinois, to British parents but moved to the UK at the age of one. He went back to the US after taking a PhD in mathematics at Imperial College to work on a variety of research projects including the ‘Star Wars’ missile defence programme. Returning to the UK, he has worked mainly on image processing and decision/reasoning theory. He says he never had any ambition to be a writer so was very surprised when a half-hearted attempt to find an agent turned into a global publishing deal overnight. His first trilogy, THE BROKEN EMPIRE, has been universally acclaimed as a ground-breaking work of fantasy. Following The Broken Empire comes the bestselling RED QUEEN’S WAR trilogy. The BOOK OF THE ANCESTOR trilogy, in an entirely new setting, commences with RED SISTER in 2017. Mark is married, with four children, and lives in Bristol.

Author Website

Release date: April 6th 2017

25895524

“I was born for killing – the gods made me to ruin”
At the Convent of Sweet Mercy young girls are raised to be killers. In a few the old bloods show, gifting talents rarely seen since the tribes beached their ships on Abeth. Sweet Mercy hones its novices’ skills to deadly effect: it takes ten years to educate a Red Sister in the ways of blade and fist.
But even the mistresses of sword and shadow don’t truly understand what they have purchased when Nona Grey is brought to their halls as a bloodstained child of eight, falsely accused of murder: guilty of worse.

Review:

I’m not sure if i should be immensely grateful to Mark Lawrence or curse him soundly? This has been book 7 for 2017 for me, and i’m not sure i want to be in a position of thinking I’ve just read what is highly likely to be the best book i will read this year. But that’s the case, any other author is going to have to smack the ball way way out of the park to top this read.

I admit i’m a fan of Mark Lawrence’s writing, and I’ve given him high praise before, but even with my love of the wonderfully sarcastic Jalan and the brutally efficient Snorri, i could very quickly see them eclipsed by the characters of this new series. Who would have imagined that the antics of a bunch of young girls training to be warrior Nuns would be so well imagined? The world building in this book is phenomenal, Marks style as always is so subtle, the world emerges around you as you read, there is no conscious information drop, you see it and it develops through the eyes of the characters, with different view points and perceptions. The magic in the book is subtle and wonderful, a little bit shown then a bit more, each piece branching and dovetailing neatly into the next to weave a complex set of abilities and society of magic amidst a failing world. There are ever progressing tantalizing glimpses of where these people came from, making the book borderline Sci-Fi (careful there mark…. i don’t like Sci-Fi 😉  ) I feel this series has so much more to come, so many layers to the story and the characters that no matter the genre you read it can and will totally capture your attention and take you on an amazing journey.

I find myself wanting the use the phrase character growth, yet it seems redundant, we are following the early years of training and growing up of these girls, so there has to be character growth. yet it is carried out in a very real fashion, all the little interplay’s of friendship, politics, fun and pain are there, all the little interplay’s that children have but in a more brutal word with a harder set of rules and training, an uncompromising life for an uncompromising world.

This book and its lead character Nona will literally explode into your life from the first page, demanding your attention, needing love and protection and your time and devotion, and giving you none of those in return, but instead delighting you with her growth and achievements, her prowess and her misdemeanors. Mark Lawrence seems have managed to make a book that emotionally is the equivalent of raising your own warrior child.

Book 2 cannot come soon enough.

Literally

(Parm)

Series

Broken Empire
1. Prince of Thorns (2011)
2. King of Thorns (2012)
2.5. Sleeping Beauty (2014)
3. Emperor of Thorns (2013)
Mark Lawrence 2-Book Bundle (omnibus) (2013)
The Complete Broken Empire Trilogy (omnibus) (2014)
The Secret (2015)
Road Brothers (2015)
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Red Queen’s War
1. Prince of Fools (2014)
2. The Liar’s Key (2015)
3. The Wheel of Osheim (2016)
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Red Sister
1. Red Sister (2017)
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Collections
Road Brothers Stories (2017)
Novellas
During the Dance (2014)
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Amanda Bouchet : A Promise of Fire (Blog Tour)

Amanda Bouchet

Amanda Bouchet's picture

Amanda Bouchet grew up in New England where she spent much of her time tromping around in the woods and making up grand adventures in her head. It was inevitable that one day she would start writing them down. Drawing on her Greek heritage for the setting and on her love of all things daring and romantic for the rest, her debut trilogy, The Kingmaker Chronicles, took form. She writes what she loves to read: epic exploits, steamy romance, and characters that make you laugh and cry.

A French masters graduate and former English teacher, Amanda lives in Paris, France. She met her husband while studying abroad, and the family now includes two bilingual children who will soon be correcting her French.

 

book cover of A Promise of Fire

 

KINGDOMS WILL RISE AND FALL FOR HER…
BUT NOT IF SHE CAN HELP IT

Catalia “Cat” Fisa lives disguised as a soothsayer in a traveling circus. She is perfectly content avoiding the danger and destiny the Gods-and her homicidal mother-have saddled her with. That is, until Griffin, an ambitious warlord from the magic-deprived south, fixes her with his steely gaze and upsets her illusion of safety forever.

Griffin knows Cat is the Kingmaker, the woman who divines the truth through lies. He wants her as a powerful weapon for his newly conquered realm-until he realizes he wants her for much more than her magic. Cat fights him at every turn, but Griffin’s fairness, loyalty, and smoldering advances make him increasingly hard to resist and leave her wondering if life really does have to be short, and lived alone.

The Kingmaker Chronicles:
A Promise of Fire (Book 1)
Breath of Fire (coming January 2017)
Heart on Fire (coming Fall 2017)

Review

A clever debut novel, somewhat outside my normal read, with beautiful cover art. The author has clearly put a lot of time and effort into the building of this world, she mixes this with some fast paced and amusing dialog guaranteed to draw in the reader. Her piece de resistance is her characters, a wonderfully real imagining that coupled with the dialogue brings the book to life. There is a great plot here that in many respects is just beginning to unfold, I will be very interested to see where the series goes next…

(Parm)

Series
Kingmaker Trilogy
1. A Promise of Fire (2016)
2. Breath of Fire (2017)
3. Heart On Fire (2017)
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Tad Williams: The Heart of What Was Lost: A Novel of Osten Ard (Memory, Sorrow & Thorn) Review.

Author Website

Tad Williams is a California-based fantasy superstar. His genre-creating (and genre-busting) books have sold tens of millions worldwide. His considerable output of epic fantasy and epic science-fiction series, fantastical stories of all kinds, urban fantasy novels, comics, scripts, etc., have strongly influenced a generation of writers. Tad always has several secret projects on the go. 2016 will see the debut of a number of them; March 2017 brings ‘The Witchwood Crown’, the first volume in the long-awaited return to the world of the ‘Memory, Sorrow & Thorn’ novels. Tad and his family live in the Santa Cruz mountains in a suitably strange and beautiful house.

Buy from Amazon

The world was nearly destroyed, but now knows hope again. At the end of Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn, Ineluki the Storm King, an undead spirit of horrifying, demonic power, came within moments of stopping Time itself and obliterating humankind.

He was defeated by a coalition of mortal men and women joined by his own deathless descendants, the Sithi. In the wake of the Storm King’s fall, Ineluki’s loyal minions, the Norns, retreat north to Nakkiga, an ancient citadel which holds a priceless artefact known as The Heart of What Was Lost.

They are pursued by the army of Duke Isgrimnur who is determined to wipe out the Norns for all time.
The two armies will soon clash in a battle so strange and deadly, so wracked with dark enchant­ment, that it threatens to destroy not just one side but quite possibly all.

Review

Memory Sorrow and Thorn forms a seminal part of my reading life and direction. I stumbled across The Dragonbone chair in 1990 when i had just become a single parent. I was trapped indoors with nappies, and all the other new baby things, it was still in the era of 4 channels of nothing on TV and only so many videos to watch. I was a huge fan of David Gemmell, and was branching out into other authors, but i was far from a huge reader. This Tad Williams series broke open mew worlds, new ideas and new opportunities. It led to reading the Many Colored Land a SCI/ FI Fantasy cross over, this led to many other series (this was one of the few sci fi series i ever read, i don’t like it much, The Otherland series is one of the few others i really love). in short that series kept me sane and opened a myriad of wonderful worlds. 

So when i was offered the chance to read “The Heart of what was Lost”… well it was who do i need to sleep with moment? I simply had to get my hands on this book. That trip down memory lane, could the author keep the same voice from the series?

The story has a very intense dark fantasy norse flavour, with the cold and ice, the long march after the Norns. The Men mainly true Norsemen, men hardened to nature and fighting, now worn by the level of death and strangeness of the Norns, fighting now from a feeling of fear and revenge and a desperate desire to just go home.

The story follows that long slog north to the Norns ancient citadel, skirmishing all the way, with an inevitable clash at the end….. what holds the reader is the politics and schisms in both sides. The level of imagination for all parts of the world is there, i didn’t go back and read Memory Sorrow and Thorn,  but 26 years later all the magic is still there and i could feel the memory cells firing as Tad Williams carried me back to Osten Ard.

The True return will happen in April with The Witchwood Crown and i really am looking forward to that return

very Highly recommend this book… and if you have never read Memory Sorrow and Thorn, then do so…. it truly is up there with the greatest Fantasy Series.

(Parm)

Series
Last King of Osten Ard
1. The Witchwood Crown (2017)
2. Empire of Grass (2017)
Memory, Sorrow and Thorn
1. The Dragonbone Chair (1988)
2. The Stone of Farewell (1990)
3. To Green Angel Tower (1993)
4. To Green Angel Tower Part 2 (2016)
To Green Angel Tower
1. Siege (1994)
2. Storm (1994)
Otherland
1. City of Golden Shadow (1996)
2. River of Blue Fire (1998)
3. Mountain of Black Glass (1999)
4. Sea of Silver Light (2001)
Otherland (1997)

Shadowmarch
1. Shadowmarch (2004)
2. Shadowplay (2007)
3. Shadowrise (2010)
4. Shadowheart (2010)
Ordinary Farm Adventures (with Deborah Beale)
1. The Dragons of Ordinary Farm (2009)
2. The Secrets of Ordinary Farm (2011)
Angel Doloriel / Bobby Dollar
1. The Dirty Streets of Heaven (2012)
2. Happy Hour in Hell (2013)
3. Sleeping Late on Judgement Day (2014)
4. God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlepig (2014)
Tales of Osten Ard
1. The Heart of What Was Lost (2017)
Novels
Caliban’s Hour (1993)
Tad Williams’ Mirror World (1998)
The War of the Flowers (2003)
Diary of a Dragon (2012)
Collections
The Wood Boy / The Burning Man (2006) (with Raymond E Feist)
Rite (2006)
A Stark And Wormy Knight (2011)
The Very Best of Tad Williams (2014)
Series contributed to
Dragonflight (with Nina Kiriki Hoffman)
Child of an Ancient City (1992)
Oz Reimagined
The Boy Detective of Oz (2013)
Anthologies edited
Weird Tales 292 (1988) (with Darrell Schweitzer)
Treasury of Fantasy (1995)
Anthologies containing stories by Tad Williams
Book of Dreams (1991)
Vampires: The Greatest Stories (1991)
Peter S Beagle’s Immortal Unicorn 2 (1995)
Peter S Beagle’s Immortal Unicorn (1995)
The Best of Weird Tales (1995)
David Copperfield’s Beyond Imagination (1996)
Legends (1998)
Legends 3 (2000)

 

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Will Panzo: The Burning Isle (Author Guest Blog)

ABOUT WILL PANZO:

 Will Panzo's picture

After working in publishing and as an editor for Marvel Comics, Will Panzo found his true calling as a physician assistant for an emergency department. The Burning Isle is his first novel. He lives and works in New York City.

book cover of The Burning Isle

ABOUT THE BURNING ISLE:

Buy the Book

The mage Cassius has just arrived on the island of Scipio. Five miles of slum on the edge of fifty miles of jungle, Scipio is a lawless haven for criminals, pirates, and exiles. The city is split in two, each half ruled by a corrupt feudal lord. Both of them answer to a mysterious general who lives deep in the jungle with his army, but they still constantly battle for power. If a man knows how to turn their discord to his advantage, he might also turn a profit…

But trained on the Isle of Twelve, Cassius is no ordinary spellcaster, and his goal is not simply money. This is a treacherous island where the native gods are restless and anything can happen…

 Author Guest Post

 Justice in the Absence of Law

by Will Panzo

            Violence is the oldest tradition of justice known to man. Society, through the rule of law, offers other means of redress, but in exchange for this alternative, people must relinquish their right to violence. In a lawful world, society has a monopoly on the use of force. But a lawful world is a man-made concept and, like everything made by man, it’s impermanent. Violence has existed long before man though, and may well exist forever.

In today’s society, we take the rule of law for granted. Disputes which can’t be settled privately are brought before a court for arbitration. When a citizen’s life or property is endangered, the police, an instrument of the law, are a mere phone call away. But we need not look deep into history to find a society where law did not exist, or where it proved too ineffective to supplant the older tradition of violent retribution.

In ancient Greece, retribution was considered a noble act, one sanctioned by the gods. Rome had a rich tradition of blood feuds, which often pit warring families against one another for generations. Similar vendettas can be found in feudal Japan, the Philippines, medieval Scotland and Ireland, Norse cultures.

Even in America, only a few centuries past, settlers of the West found themselves in a frontier not yet touched by the institutions of government. Where, then, did they turn for protection and recompense? Without the framework of a lawful society, the settlers learned a lesson well known to the ancient world. The oldest form of justice is violence.

Blood feuds such as the Pleasant Valley War, the Lincoln County War (featuring Billy the Kid), and the Earp Vendetta Ride (an attempt to settle scores after the gunfight at the O.K. Corral) gave the Old West its reputation for violence. At that time, without an efficient system of law, or a government powerful enough to monopolize the use of force, people returned to a more primal system of justice. It would take decades before the rule of law took hold. The old traditions died hard.

My novel, The Burning Isle, is a dark tale, set in a fantasy world reminiscent of ancient Rome. On the fringe of this republic lies the island of Scipio, a place where the rule of law has lapsed. All manner of society’s castoffs make their way to Scipio: fugitives fleeing justice, exiles unwelcome elsewhere in the Republic, criminals seeking illicit profit. Into this world enters a young spellcaster named Cassius who, at first, appears to be a common mercenary looking to earn some coin. It soon becomes clear that Cassius has other plans though, that he has come to Scipio not to seek his fortune, but to right a great injustice.

Cassius fancies himself a man on a crusade, but on an island with no laws, vengeance is his only means of seeking justice. There are no courts in which he can plea his case, no police to arrest those who have wronged him, no jury to weigh the merits of his claim. Cassius, alone in a wild frontier, and beset on all sides by enemies, decides that violence is his only recourse.

As he sets about his work though, Cassius soon comes to realize that violence is a messy business. Vengeance is not a task undertaken flippantly. It demands dedication and self-sacrifice. When Cassius’ naïve morality meets his desire for retribution, the dissonance between the two threatens his very sanity. Can Cassius navigate the tricky path necessary to see his work completed without losing his mind? Or will his appeal to violence, that most primal form of justice, lead to his ruin? Only one thing is for certain. Before Cassius finds his answer, he’ll find bloodshed.

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Miles Cameron : A Plague of Swords (Review)

Miles Cameron
A pseudonym used by Christian Cameron

(Photo with permission from Cole Cioran)

Miles Cameron is an author, a re-enactor, an outdoors expert and a weapons specialist. He lives, works and writes in Toronto, where he lives with his family.

book cover of A Plague of Swords

Buy a Signed Limited Edition

One enemy has fallen. A greater one remains.

Now it’s war.

With one army defeated in a victory that will be remembered through the ages, now the Red Knight must fight again.

For every one of his allies, there is a corresponding enemy. Spread across different lands and on sea, it will all come down to one last gamble. And to whether or not the Red Knight has guessed the foe’s true intentions.

With each throw of the dice, everything could be lost.

Review

I find these days with Miles/ Christian Cameron books i have to start a review will full disclosure, admit to the fact that he is a friend and someone i admire for his writing, his many many skills (weapons and much much more) and intelligence (that said… if the book was bad i would honestly tell him). In fact its often that intelligence in the books that so captivates me. He is that rare author who can educate and entertain at the same time and he seems to do it effortlessly. Although i do admit to that fact that when i read the books, i can hear Christians voice, not the sound, but the nuances, and it manages to make me feel like the class dumbo, worse than when sat across the table from him… but i learn and for that… well how can i be anything but appreciative, there are also times when the character uses a turn of phrase and its like he is there in the room. I’m not sure if the characters are assuming his personality or he is assuming theirs. But ultimately it shows how involved he is in the whole writing process (just look at the photo on this blog… he is the Red Knight), and the combination makes for such a great book.

Lets get the summary out of the way, The book is excellent, it doesn’t have anything of a middle book or a pre-end of series book. It has quite simple jumped to the top of my book of the year pile (the only reason Rage of Ares isn’t already in that spot is because i have to let someone else win the book of the year .. Or Christian Would walk off with it every year… yes yes i know Miles is Christian… but its a fairly new genre for him after all.).

A Plague of Swords see’s Christian utilise every skill at his disposal, but i think most of all his analytical and intelligence officers skills. The Book goes above and beyond the average writers skill to manipulate the reader into following the narrative while the pieces of the puzzle are slowly turned, revealing only at the last moment a situation of victory or disaster. The author is often there to have his main character admit “I make mistakes”, again with the moments when i can hear Christian in the character. The Red Knight isn’t an all round super good guy, he is vain, he is arrogant, he basically has all the expected human vices and more because he is a man at the forefront of power and he revels in it, and hates it, because he cares about his people too much. Its the deeper emotions and motives of his main character where again Christian comes out, but also where i think his own reading comes out, flashes of authors like the great David Gemmell. The Author is a man who lives and writes his experiences. He knows the fighting, but more than that he knows the logistics, the clothes, dancing, the everyday life that the people in this book would have… the only true mystery is the magic, and he has created such a depth of magic system that it is truly breath taking when you sit back an examine it, you can tell he has tried to pick any holes in it and closed everything he could to make it as realistic as possible, for magic it feels real.

This for me shows up so many “Epic Fantasy” series, there are no Tom Bombadil wasted moments, pointless characters or devices, everything has a purpose and an end game, even if it takes more than one book to discover it, and there are so many more threads and exciting moments to come. (although finding Capitano Parmenio in this book was blooming exciting)

This truly for me is the pinnacle of fantasy writing. And the ultimate in Fantasy/ Historical fiction cross over… the blending of genres is completed in this series.

Book of the Year…. unless someone can pull a rabbit out of the hat in the coming weeks.

(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)
Masters & Mages
1. The Master (2017)

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Scott Oden: A Gathering of Ravens 2017

Image result for scott oden

Scott Oden USA (1967 – )

Scott Oden was born in Columbus, Indiana, in 1967. The youngest of five, he was raised in rural North Alabama, near Huntsville, where he still resides. Scott’s fascination with Egypt and the ancient world began in 1976, when his third-grade teacher showed the class slides from the traveling Tutankhamen exhibit. He studied history and English at Calhoun College and the University of Alabama before pursuing the usual variety of odd jobs–from delivering pizza to working in the bindery of a printing company to clerking at a video store. Men of Bronze is his first novel.

gathering-of-ravens

Author Web site

He is called by many names. To the Danes, he is skraelingr; to the English, he is orcnéas; to the Irish, he is fomoraig. He is Corpse-maker and Life-quencher, the Bringer of Night, the Son of the Wolf and Brother of the Serpent. He is Grimnir, and he is the last of his kind – the last in a long line of monsters who have plagued humanity since the Elder Days.

Drawn from his lair by a thirst for vengeance against the ambitious Dane who slew his brother, Grimnir emerges into a world that has changed. A new faith has arisen, a Nailed God from the East, and against it the Elder World cannot abide. The Old Ways are dying, and their followers retreating into the shadows; even still, Grimnir’s vengeance cannot be denied.

Taking as hostage a young Christian to be his guide, Grimnir embarks on a journey that takes him from the hinterlands of Denmark, where the wisdom of the ancient dwarves has given way to madness, to the war-torn heart of southern England, where the spirits of the land make violence on one another. And thence to the green shores of Ireland and the Viking stronghold of Dubhlinn, where his enemy awaits . . .

But, unless Grimnir can set aside his hatreds, his dream of retribution will come to nothing. For Dubhlinn is set to be the site of a reckoning – the Old Ways versus the New – and Grimnir, the last of his kind left to plague mankind, must choose: stand with the Christian King of Ireland and see his vengeance done, or stand against him and see it slip away?

Review

For quite some time i have espoused the huge (and growing) cross over in the Fantasy and Historical Fiction genres, the two genres i have most read and reviewed in the last 25 years.

Scott Odens A Gathering of Ravens takes it a step further, he pulls in the deep myths of the Norse and Anglo Saxon world, just as Christianity is blooming across Europe, Britain and then later wraps in the ancient tales of Ireland. The old world is fading but the pagan world is still a huge part of many lives and for those converted to the nailed god, some have a tenuous hold on their new faith. For me this book brought back memories of 2000ad and Slaine…. in one of the most famous stories Slaine is sent back to Ireland to fight Balor the one Eye and the Formorians ( aka skraelingr) . This book follows The profoundly dark Grimnir a hard spoken loner, a Skraelingr and Etain a follower of the Nailed god, a young christian certain in her faith. Both are set for new revelations towards each others beliefs and understanding and the reader is treated to two totally opposing views of the world.

Scott Oden has done a marvelous job of weaving his tale of myths, legends and history into a tale that feels like an ancient chronicle a fable for warriors, remembering their history, recounting the glory of the old gods in the face of the new one. There are many times in this book that you lose track of what may have been taken from facts and fables and what is from the mind of the author, which for me is a true triumph. I remember while reading the book, ooh I know X & Y author who will love this book, which to me also screams the authenticity of the book, the skill, effort and research that’s gone into it, and also the passion behind the subject, the voices of the characters and how they change with the locale, blending the myth and poetry of the story into a fire side fable.

I know this is some time away, but this really is a book not to miss in 2017

Buy The Book

(Parm)

Novels
Men of Bronze (2005)
Memnon (2006)
The Lion Of Cairo (2010)
Serpent of Hellas (2012)
A Gathering of Ravens (2017)

 

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Filed under Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Scott Oden