Category Archives: Historical Fiction

All Historical Fiction Reviews

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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James Wilde: Pendragon (Reviews)

James Wilde

James Wilde is a Man of Mercia. Raised in a world of books, James studied economic history at university before travelling the world in search of adventure. He was unable to forget a childhood encounter in the pages of a comic with the great English warrior, Hereward. Wilde returned to the haunted fenlands of Eastern England, Hereward’s ancestral home, where he became convinced that this legendary hero should be the subject of his first novel. Wilde now indulges his love of history and the high life in the home his family have owned for several generations, in the heart of a Mercian forest.

Author Website

book cover of Pendragon

Pendragon (2017)
(The first book in the Dark Age series)

Here is the beginning of a legend. Long before Camelot rose, a hundred years before the myth of King Arthur was half-formed, at the start of the Red Century, the world was slipping into a Dark Age…

It is AD 367. In a frozen forest beyond Hadrian’s Wall, six scouts of the Roman army are found murdered. For Lucanus, known as the Wolf and leader of elite unit called the Arcani, this chilling ritual killing is a sign of a greater threat.
But to the Wolf the far north is a foreign land, a place where daemons and witches and the old gods live on. Only when the child of a friend is snatched will he venture alone into this treacherous world – a territory ruled over by a barbarian horde – in order to bring the boy back home. What he finds there beyond the wall will echo down the years.
A secret game with hidden factions is unfolding in the shadows: cabals from the edge of Empire to the eternal city of Rome itself, from the great pagan monument of Stonehenge to the warrior kingdoms of Gaul will go to any length to find and possess what is believed to be a source of great power, signified by the mark of the Dragon.
A soldier and a thief, a cut-throat, courtesan and a druid, even the Emperor Valentinian himself – each of these has a part to play in the beginnings of this legend… the rise of the House of Pendragon.

Review

Pendragon…. the name just screams Arthur, Genevieve, Lancelot and all that goes with it. Well take that preconception and throw it out the window. Not since Bernard Cornwall took on the Arthur myth has any writer provided such a new and innovative view of the Arthurian story.

James Wilde takes us back to before Arthur, to a time when Rome still clings to power in Britain, but only by its finger nails. The barbarians that have been held back so long by the great wall of Hadrian  are probing, looking, change is in the wind, because they can sense a weakness in Rome, a chance to retake the land a chance that has not been there in all the year of Roman occupation.

In a book filled with the history of both Britain and Rome, James Wilde pulls on the tale of Mithras and also the burgeoning power and rise of the Christ religion to provide a back drop of conspiracy and intrigue wrapped around the ever present guidance of the Druids and Myrddin. How can the rise of Arthur be assured, who would be the ones to protect him, who will be his parents/ grandparents. So many questions and ideas are opened up by this story, so many surprises and all delivered with a fast paced action packed book brimming with wonderful characters. If you were making a tv series it has action, fights, love interest, bad guys a plenty, tortured heroes… sometimes mentally often physically, highs, lows, misdirection and utter surprises… so much packed into a book 1.

I love the Arthur myth but always approach a new book with low expectations because there are so very many bad books, this i’m glad to say is not one, its a wonderful tale and i honestly cannot wait for the next one.

Highly recommend this read.

(Parm)

 

Series
Hereward
1. Hereward (2011)
aka The Time of the Wolf
2. The Devil’s Army (2012)
aka The Winter Warrior
3. End of Days (2013)
4. Wolves of New Rome (2014)
5. The Immortals (2015)
6. The Bloody Crown (2016)
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Dark Age
1. Pendragon (2017)
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Matthew Harffy: Killer of Kings (review)

Matthew Harffy

Matthew Harffy lived in Northumberland as a child and the area had a great impact on him. The rugged terrain, ruined castles and rocky coastline made it easy to imagine the past. Decades later, a documentary about Northumbria’s Golden Age sowed the kernel of an idea for a series of historical fiction novels that became THE BERNICIA CHRONICLES.

Matthew has worked in the IT industry, where he spent all day writing and editing, just not the words that most interested him. Prior to that he worked in Spain as an English teacher and translator. He has co-authored seven published academic articles, ranging in topic from the ecological impact of mining to the construction of a marble pipe organ.

Matthew lives in Wiltshire, England, with his wife and their two daughters.

Matthew was the singer in Rock Dog.

Buy links

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2nNItf2

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2nNEyPz

iBooks: http://apple.co/2ocWWEi

Google Play: http://bit.ly/2ocS2Y7

Follow Matthew

Website: www.matthewharffy.com

Twitter: @MatthewHarffy

Facebook: MatthewHarffyAuthor

Follow Aria

Website: www.ariafiction.com

Facebook: @ariafiction

Twitter: @aria_fiction

Instagram: @ariafiction

NetGalley: http://bit.ly/2lkKB0e

Sign up to the Aria newsletter: http://bit.ly/2jQxVtV

 

Ad 636. Anglo-Saxon Britain. A gripping, action-packed historical thriller and the fourth instalment in The Bernicia Chronicles. Perfect for fans of Bernard Cornwell. Beobrand has land, men and riches. He should be content. And yet he cannot find peace until his enemies are food for the ravens. But before Beobrand can embark on his bloodfeud, King Oswald orders him southward, to escort holy men bearing sacred relics. When Penda of Mercia marches a warhost into the southern kingdoms, Beobrand and his men are thrown into the midst of the conflict. Beobrand soon finds himself fighting for his life and his honour. In the chaos that grips the south, dark secrets are exposed, bringing into question much that Beobrand had believed true. Can he unearth the answers and exact the vengeance he craves? Or will the blood-price prove too high, even for a warrior of his battle-fame and skill?

Extract

Beobrand smelt the smoke before he heard the screams.

The scent of burning wood was not uncommon. They had passed many small steadings as they travelled south. Each hut or hall had its own hearth. Sometimes, the aroma of baking bread or roasting meat would waft on the wind from some unseen farmer’s hovel, or from a shepherd’s camp nestled in the shelter of a valley. At such times, it always surprised him how far smells could travel.

Sounds of anguish, shouts of terror and shrieks of pain, could not be heard from so far away. And were less common.

There was a light breeze blowing into their faces and at the first scent of smoke Beobrand had wondered whether there was a hall nearby. They had been travelling for days and had not slept with a roof above them in all that time. The days were warm, but the nights were yet chill. A place by a fire and some warm food would be welcome. Perhaps even some ale or mead.

Then he had seen the broad smudge of grey, like a blurred heron’s feather, hanging in the flax-flower blue sky and he had known they would not be sleeping in a hall that night. Judging from the amount of smoke, something big was burning.

A piercing scream came to them on the wind. No, there would be no rest any time soon. Someone was in agony just the other side of the next rise. Beobrand’s black stallion, Sceadugenga, lowered its ears and snorted.

Beobrand pulled the beast’s head back with a tug of the reins. He could feel the great muscles bunching beneath him, ready to gallop forward; towards the screams. Towards danger. Sceadugenga was a true warrior’s steed.

“Are we yet in Mercia, Attor?” he asked, twisting in the saddle to turn to the slim rider beside him.

“I cannot say for certain, lord. We are in the land of the Gyrwas, I believe, but we may already be in the territory of the Herstingas. It is all fen and forest in this part of Albion.” He shrugged. “I cannot be sure.” Another scream drifted to them. Attor’s mount tossed its mane and rolled its eyes.

Beobrand had hoped to make this journey without incident, but the island of Albion was seldom safe. He rode at the head of a small band of mounted warriors. Not large enough to be called a warband, but hopefully enough of a show of force to avoid most confrontations. They numbered thirteen men in all. Beside Beobrand rode Wynhelm, fellow thegn of Bernicia. He was several years Beobrand’s senior. Black-haired, with a close-cropped beard, he was aloof and sometimes haughty, but had fought bravely at Hefenfelth and Din Eidyn, and King Oswald trusted him. Wynhelm brought four warriors from his retinue, all battle-hard, grim-faced men. Killers, if Beobrand was any judge.

In the centre of the group rode the monks, Gothfraidh and Coenred, whom they were charged with protecting. Gothfraidh was an elderly man, his grey hair thinning. Kindly, and uncomplaining, he was always quick to offer his help when they were setting up camp. Coenred was much younger, barely a man, though Beobrand knew that despite his youthful aspect, he was brave and had proven himself to be a true friend.

Beobrand quickly cast his gaze on those of his own retinue, his gesithas, who accompanied him. Dour Dreogan was closest to Attor, the black lines of his soot-scarred cheeks making his face savage. Behind him followed Gram, tall and powerful. He was a mighty warrior, who never seemed to show fear or excitement; a steadfast shield-brother whom they would be glad to have at their shoulder, if it came to a fight.

Broad-shouldered Elmer rode towards the rear of the group. He was brave and bold, and despite the horrific sounds of pain that came to them on the breeze, he had a wide grin on his face. He was still so pleased to have been asked to ride with his lord. He felt that in the past he had too often been left behind with the women, children and old men, and no matter the number of times Beobrand had told him this was due to the trust he had in the muscular warrior, Elmer had taken it as a slight. The last two riders were the inseparable Ceawlin and Aethelwulf. They were woven from the same cloth, each taciturn and stocky, savage in combat but quick to jest and laugh when the mead flowed.

They were all good men. Strong warriors. Loyal gesithas. Beobrand was proud that they called him lord. And yet he wished Acennan was with them. He missed his friend. He had not seen him since before Solmonath, the month of rain and mud. Summer had long since begun to warm the land and Beobrand had expected Acennan’s return weeks before.

Another scream.

Acennan would have to wait.

The trail rose up a shallow bluff. To the west huddled a stand of alder.

“Whether Mercia or no,” said Beobrand, reaching his damaged left hand down to touch the hilt of his sword, Hrunting, “I will not ride by while someone faces torment. Come, let us see what is burning.”

 

Review:

What can i say that i have not already said about this series? probably not a lot, Matthew has continued to push and grow both his characters and his writing style book after book. Any of the wrinkles that a debut writers suffers and clunks and slips have long since vanished and his smooth writing and earthy characters shine through, his plot always have a twist and a turn that is unexpected and death lurks around any page for any character, giving the book an immediacy of the time where live is cheap and precious at the same time.

Bring on book 5 Matthew, this series just gets better with age

(Parm)

 

 

 

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Paul Fraser Collard: The True Soldier (Review)

Paul Fraser Collard

Paul Fraser Collard's picture

UK flag (1973 – )

Paul’s love of military history started at an early age. A childhood spent watching films like Waterloo and Zulu whilst reading Sharpe, Flashman and the occasional Commando comic, gave him a desire to know more of the men who fought in the great wars of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries. At school, Paul was determined to become an officer in the British army and he succeeded in wining an Army Scholarship. However, Paul chose to give up his boyhood ambition and instead went into the finance industry. Paul stills works in the City, and lives with his wife and three children in Kent.

The True Soldier  (2017)
(The sixth book in the Jack Lark series)
book cover of The True Soldier

April, 1861. Jack Lark arrives in Boston as civil war storms across America.

A hardened soldier, Jack has always gone where he was ordered to go – and killed the enemy he was ordered to kill. But when he becomes a sergeant for the Union army, he realises that this conflict between North and South is different. Men are choosing to fight – and die – for a cause they believe in.

The people of Boston think it will take just one, great battle. But, with years of experience, Jack knows better. This is the beginning of something that will tear a country apart – and force Jack to see what he is truly fighting for.

Review

I have to be transparent from the start, i’m a HUGE fan of this series, If any writer has managed to capture the spirit and adventure of Sharpe and the daring of his character then its Paul Collard, but he has done it in his own unique way with his own unique character, Jack Lark. ( Jack Lark v Sharpe).

What this series has (for me) more than Bernard Cornwells Sharpe is a disquiet about war. Jack like Sharp is a beast of war, but Jack Lark sees and feels the darkness and futility of war, he like Sharpe has also been on both sides of the army line, both soldier and officer, but his was always riven with fear of being discovered. But no longer, now Jack is himself and essentially a mercenary, he is in America and Civil War has begun, Jack has been tasked with looking after a rich mans son, but Jack is also a consummate professional, and can’t help but impose his skills on his men, to turn them into the best fighting men they can be.

When i started reading this book i felt it had a slight melancholy edge, one that blended perfectly with the feelings i experienced after waking to the Manchester bombings, joining Jack in that feeling of hopelessness and darkness, Paul Collard had captured that feeling so well, the futility of all that death. The book moves on from there, but gone is the Jack we knew, he is older, and no longer having to hide who he is. But does he like who he has found himself to be, he like America is searching for his identity, fighting to make a place for himself.

This is the best book Paul Collard has written, the most accomplished with the most mature writing, i did tell him it wasn’t my fav read when i was about 30% in, but i was wrong, it is. As the book progressed it worked its magic on me and it made me love it so much so that once again i miss Jack Lark his absence leave a hole that hard for another book to fill, a year is a long time to wait until his next adventure but the wait i’m sure will be worth it as there is so much detail and depth, and so many places for Jack to be Jack in a Civil War torn USA.

Very Highly Recommended

(Parm)

Buy a Signed Copy

 

Series
Jack Lark
0.5. Rogue (2014)
1. The Scarlet Thief (2013)
2. The Maharajah’s General (2013)
3. The Devil’s Assassin (2015)
4. The Lone Warrior (2015)
5. The Last Legionnaire (2016)
aka The Forgotten Son
6. The True Soldier (2017)
Recruit (2015)
Redcoat (2015)
The Jack Lark Library (omnibus) (2017)
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James Heneage: By Blood Divided (review)

By Blood Divided blog tour poster.jpg

James Heneage's picture

James Heneage has been fascinated by history from an early age, in particular the rise and fall of empires. He was the founder of the Ottakars chain of bookshops which, between 1987 and 2006 grew to 150 branches before being bought by Waterstones. James spent these twenty years reading and researching historical subjects before settling on the end of the Byzantine Empire as the period he wanted to write about.

After Ottakars, he chaired the Cheltenham Literary Festival before setting up his own festival entirely devoted to history with author James Holland. The Daily Mail Chalke Valley History Festival is now in its third year and attracts around 30,000 people to its menu of talks, debates and living history displays.

The first of his Mistra Chronicles, The Walls of Byzantium, was launched at the Festival in June 2013.

book cover of By Blood Divided

Siward, scion of a great dynasty, commands the Varangian Guard and has vowed to defend the Roman Empire to the last.

Makkim, renowned general to Ottoman rule, has vowed to destroy it. They are enemies in war, but unknown to them, they are also rivals to inherit one of Europe’s greatest fortunes. Even worse, they are competing for the love of the same woman .Their vast inheritance lies in Venice, as does the famous courtesan they both love. She is the reason they will find themselves fighting on the walls of Constantinople, in one of the most dramatic sieges in history.

Review

I always think when i pick up a book by James Heneage that i’m about to embark on an epic, and as such need to slow down my expectations, wade through a slow burn of meticulous detail, but ultimately come out the other end educated. I’m not sure if its the name, or the fantastically intricate covers… its just an instinctive feeling. Yet nothing could be further from the truth, all the books especially this latest one, are fast paced action packed and full of passion for the subject at hand.

Set during the 15th Century at a turning point in history, east hit west in one of the greatest most dramatic and significant sieges in history, Constantinople.  Siward Margoris the young commander of the Varangian Guard, the legacy of British/ Viking warriors, sworn to defend the Roman Empire to the last set against him is Makkim General of the Ottoman army who seeks to destroy everything the Romans stands for. This is East v’s West, for the destruction of last remanant of the Roman Empire, a clash of religions. Wrapped around it all is a tale of family, love and money.

If i had to criticize anything it would be some of the weapon knowledge, EG: at the start a volley fire from bows at 500 paces destroyed an attack, that range is far to far, an average pace i s0.75m x 500 is 375m, that’s 410 yards, The current world record is about 360 yards and about the maximum distance expected in historic periods, and at this extreme range, accuracy is sacrificed to a storm of arrows, which this passage in the book didn’t have. Now i don’t expect to find utter accuracy, but to drift into the realms of fantasy was a bit much for me (but it’s my sport so I’m picky).

Would i recommend this book, absolutely i would, and all the previous books by this author. I would not only say they are a wonderfully engaging read, with a passion for the characters and subject that shines through, but they also look blooming amazing on the shelf, the covers are simply stand out amazingly vivid.

Go read… promise you will not regret it… but if you’re and archer… forgive the trespasses.

(Parm)

 

Mistra Chronicles / Rise of Empires Chronicles
1. The Walls of Byzantium (2013)
2. The Towers of Samarcand (2014)
3. The Lion of Mistra (2015)
4. By Blood Divided (2017)
Rise of Empires Omnibus (omnibus) (2015)
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James Jackson: Treason (Review)

James H Jackson's picture

James H Jackson UK flag (1962 – )

Born in London in 1962. Educated at Cheam School, Wellington College, Bristol University, King’s College London, the London College of Law, and the Inns of Court School of Law. Called to the Bar and is a Member of the Inner Temple.

book cover of 

Treason

Behind the famous rhyme lies a murderous conspiracy that goes far beyond Guy Fawkes and his ill-fated Gunpowder Plot . . .

In a desperate race against time, spy Christian Hardy must uncover a web of deceit that runs from the cock-fighting pits of Shoe Lane, to the tunnels beneath a bear-baiting arena in Southwark, and from the bad lands of Clerkenwell to a brutal firefight in The Globe theatre.

But of the forces ranged against Hardy, all pale beside the renegade Spanish agent codenamed Realm.

Review

This is an excellent, hard and uncompromising novel, Taking the reader through the dark murky world of espionage in England in the early 1600’s. The brutality of the clash of protestant and catholic worlds, all narrowed down to a single plot, an attempted act of terrorism that still resounds through the country today such was its audacity.

James Jackson takes very little mercy on the reader, providing a view of London and wider England in all its filth, muck and mire, with betrayals, backstabbing, murder and mayhem. This is not a gentle time in this lands history and it is right it should be shown warts and all. When the author couples that with a twisting winding plot and disparate hunters many of which controlled by the spider at the center of the web of intrigue Robert Cecil you get a book that grabs you and doesn’t let go until the final page.

A very interesting and very powerful book, highly recommended

(Parm)

Novels

Dead Headers (1997)
Cold Cut (1999)
The Reaper (2001)
Blood Rock (2007)
Pilgrim (2008)
Realm (2010)
Hllenfeuer (2011)
Perdition (2012)
Endkampf (2013)
The Race (2013)
Treason (2016)
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Non fiction
The Counter-Terrorist Handbook (2005)
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Lucille Turner: The Sultan, the Vampyr and the Soothsayer (Review)

Lucille Turner, Author of historical fiction, including Gioconda, and The Sultan, the Vampyr and the Soothsayer

In her own words:

I was born in Bournemouth in 1964. My first book,Gioconda, which I began in 2007 and finished in 2010, is a novel about the life of Leonardo da Vinci. Although some of Leonardo’s work was familiar to me then, the idea only came to me when I fell upon a print of the Mona Lisa in the aisles of a supermarket one day. One avenue of research led to another, and since then Gioconda has been translated into several languages, winning Spain’s Hislibris prize for historical fiction in 2012.
For the past few years I have been busy writing my second book,
The Sultan, the Vampyr and the Soothsayer. I sometimes review other people’s work for Bookmunch, and enjoy being surprised by things I didn’t think I’d like, be it books or new experiences. And of course I love history

 

1442: When Vlad Dracula arrives at the court of the Ottoman Sultan Murad II, his life is turned upside down. His father Dracul cannot protect him; he must battle his demons alone. And when the Sultan calls for the services of a soothsayer, even the shrewd teller of fortunes is unprepared for what he learns.
Meanwhile, the Ottoman Turks are advancing through the Balkans with Vienna in their sights and Constantinople, the Orthodox Greek capital, within their grasp. As Eastern Europe struggles against the tide of a Muslim advance it cannot counter, Western Christendom needs only one prize to overthrow its enemies.

Review:

This book was a pleasant surprise, the title gives a suggestion of the supernatural with the inclusion of the Vampyr, and the book all the while hints at it, but only in so far as what was perceived to be supernatural in the 1400’s, that’s the beauty of this book. The author takes you on a journey back to the Balkans of 1442, to a time of huge change and turmoil, clashing empires and religions, the end of the old Roman world and the rise of the Ottoman. Lucille Turner covers brilliantly the variances between the court of Vlad Dracul’s father and the court of Sultan Murad giving all the main players a very human face, a persona molded by circumstance and situation as much as personality. She weaves in the political players from all sides of Christianity, the orthodox and the Holy Roman empire, the old pagan Wallachian’s and the many variances between.

Can Dracul and others save the history that lies within Constantinople before its inevitable fall to the Ottomans? Lucille Turners portrayal of Vlad’s time in Murads court goes a long way to show his later personality and enmity with Mehmed II. The book as a whole brings to life a highly evocative view of the turning point of the world and the clashing empires.

Well worth reading.

(Parm)

 

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