Category Archives: Historical Fiction

All Historical Fiction Reviews

Theodore Brun A Sacred Storm (2018)

Theodore Brun

Theodore Brun's picture

Theo is an established author and public speaker.​ At Cambridge, he studied Dark Age archaeology (amongst other things). After university he trained as a solicitor, qualifying into international arbitration law where he worked for several years, including for two Magic Circle firms. His career took him first to London, then to Moscow, Paris and finally

A Sacred Storm  (2018)
(The second book in the Viking Chronicles series)

book cover of A Sacred Storm

8th Century Sweden: Erlan Aurvandil, a Viking outlander, has pledged his sword to Sviggar Ivarsson, King of the Sveärs, and sworn enemy of the Danish king Harald Wartooth. But Wartooth, hungry for power, is stirring violence in the borderlands. As the fires of this ancient feud are reignited Erlan is bound by honour and oath to stand with King Sviggar.

But, unbeknownst to the old King his daughter, Princess Lilla, has fallen under Erlan’s spell. As the armies gather Erlan and Lilla must choose between their duty to Sviggar and their love for each other.

Blooded young, betrayed often, Erlan is no stranger to battle. And hidden in the shadows, there are always those determined to bring about the maelstrom of war..

Review

When i read the first book in this series A Mighty Dawn i admitted to having had initial reservations, but the book grew and drew me in. Sacred Storm however took hold of me from the first page, my only concern was its size a whopping 704 pages, its a hefty beast. But there isn’t a wasted sentence in the whole book

This is a book and series that crosses boundaries, On the one had we have the viking world told in all its visceral glory, not needing to go raiding elsewhere, but life, love and war in their lands, and on the other had we have blended in the myths that surround their lives, the superstition brought to life, which for me edges the book into both the Historical Fiction Genre and also the Fantasy Genre, it certainly stimulates my love of both genres.

Sacred storm takes the reader on turbulent ride following the rise and fall of the fortunes of Erlan Aurvandil, an outsider with no past, at least not one he wants to share.  By wits and skill of arms he has risen high in fortunes and favour with the Svear King Sviggar, and on his coat tails rides his friend (Kai) the Loki to his brooding warrior. Their world is due to endure a dramatic upheaval, machinations are at work, both political and mysterious, and the impact will be catastrophic, love will be gained and lost, wealth and power gained and lost, and ultimately the warp and weft of fate will be decided on the battlefield.

Where i enjoyed A Mighty Storm, i loved a Sacred Storm, it has all the elements you need in an epic tale of battle , love and power, and its told in a gripping energetic style, nothing mythological seems far fetched, just another explanation of haw the world turns, the authors love of the Viking period shines like polished hack silver from every line.

This is a truly wonderful story and it still has so much more to give, the fact that this is a book two clearly shows how much this author has to give both in story and talent, this is a series both genres need to get behind, Fantasy/ Myth and History  blended to perfection.

Highly recommended

(Parm)

Series
Viking Chronicles
1. A Mighty Dawn (2017)
2. A Sacred Storm (2018)
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C. C. Humphreys : Chasing the Wind: A Roxy Loewen Mystery (Review)

C. C. Humphreys

Chris (C.C.) Humphreys was born in Toronto and grew up in the UK. All four grandparents were actors and since his father was an actor as well, it was inevitable he would follow the bloodline. He has acted all over the world and appeared on stages ranging from London’s West End to Hollywood’s Twentieth Century Fox. Favorite roles have included Hamlet, Caleb the Gladiator in NBC’s Biblical-Roman epic mini-series, ‘AD – Anno Domini’, Clive Parnell in ‘Coronation Street’, and Jack Absolute in Sheridan’s ‘The Rivals’.

Chris has written ten historical novels. The first, ‘The French Executioner’ told the tale of the man who killed Anne Boleyn, was runner up for the CWA Steel Dagger for Thrillers 2002, and has been optioned for the screen. Its sequel was ‘Blood Ties’. Having played Jack Absolute, he stole the character and has written three books on this ‘007 of the 1770’s’ – ‘Jack Absolute’, ‘The Blooding of Jack Absolute’ and ‘Absolute Honour’- short listed for the 2007 Evergreen Prize by the Ontario Library Association, all currently being re-released in the US by Sourcebooks. His novel about the real Dracula, ‘Vlad, The Last Confession’ was a bestseller in Canada and his novel, ‘A Place Called Armageddon’ was recently published in Turkish. All have been published in the UK, Canada, the US and many have been translated in various languages including Russian, Italian, German, Greek, Spanish, Portuguese, Czech, Serbian, Turkish and Indonesian. His adult novel ‘Shakespeare’s Rebel’, about William Shakespeare’s fight choreographer at the time of ‘Hamlet’, was released in the UK in March 2013 and in Canada August 2011.

His most recent adult novels for Century in the UK and Doubleday in Canada are ‘Plague’ and ‘Fire’. Tales of religious fundamentalist serial killers set against the wild events of 1665 to 1666, London, ‘Plague’ won Canada’s Crime Writers’ Association Best Crime Novel Award, the Arthur Ellis in 2015. In the Summer of 2016, both novels spent five weeks in the Globe and Mail Top Ten Bestseller list.

He has also written a trilogy for young adults ‘The Runestone Saga’. A heady brew of Norse myth, runic magic, time travel and horror, the first book in the series ‘The Fetch’ was published in North America in July 2006, with the sequel, ‘Vendetta’ in August 2007 and the conclusion, ‘Possession’, August 2008. They are also published in Russia, Greece, Turkey and Indonesia. His Young Adult novel ‘The Hunt of the Unicorn’ was released by Knopf in North America in March 2011 and also published in Spain. A loose sequel, The ‘Hunt of the Dragon’, was published in Canada in Fall 2016.

Author in the role of Jack Absolute. Malvern 1987

Author in the role of Jack Absolute. Malvern 1987

His new novel is in the editing stage and has a working title of ‘Girl on a Zeppelin’. It tells of Roxy Loewen, a 1930’s Aviatrix, a tough and sassy flyer who steals art from under Hitler’s nose at the Berlin Olympics and ends up on the Hindenberg. Look for it in May 2018.

Chris lives on Salt Spring Island, BC, Canada, with his wife, son and his writing partner, Dickon the Cat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chasing The Wind

Chasing the Wind: A Roxy Loewen Mystery by [Humphreys, C. C.]

Review

I have to admit to being shocked when i heard that CC Humphreys , the author of such amazing books as Jack Absolute, Vlad, Shakespeare’s Rebel and many other books, was self publishing, but publishing is a funny old business.

What it does mean is that for once with a self pub purchase you the reader know you’re going to get wonderful polished writing.

Chasing the Wind was always going to be a bit of a departure in reading for me and im sure writing for the author, its a lot more modern, set just before WW2. But while its much more immediate in terms of history its also set in a time of huge peril, massive global changes and immense personal peril for so many, Fascism has risen its ugly head, persecution is rife, and ugliness and right wing agenda has come to the fore  (sound familiar). As a book its unwritten narrative has some sobering and scary parallels for the modern world.

But Chasing the wind, is also a book about Love, adventure, romance, action daring and female empowerment. Following the fall and rise of Roxy Loewen one of the 99’s, the international female pilots, including friends like Amelia Earhart, her fortunes take her across a war torn world, taking risks and pushing her flying skills to the maximum. Until a job lands in her lap, to help secure a lost work of art, to save it from the Nazis and raise funds to fight them. to do this she must fly into the lair of the beast all the while being stalked by the demons of her past.

Once again CC Humphreys has created a wonderful canvas and painted on it fantastic and very real characters, Roxy is both believable and funny and very engaging to read, yes at times there is a little of the Penelope Pitt stop about some of the scenes, but its fits with the plot, it fits with the adventure style of the book. There is a very boys own style to the adventure and action, and it works.

I had great fun with this book and this character and flew through the reading of the book, i really do recommend it, there are very few people who can write such wonderful characters.

Buy the book… total bargain at £4.50.

(Parm)

Series

French Executioner
1. The French Executioner (2002)
2. Blood Ties (2003)
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Jack Absolute
1. Jack Absolute (2003)
2. The Blooding of Jack Absolute (2004)
3. Absolute Honour (2006)
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Runestone Saga (as by Chris Humphreys)
1. The Fetch (2006)
2. Vendetta (2007)
3. Possession (2008)
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Roxy Loewen Mystery
Chasing the Wind (2018)
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Novels
Vlad (2008)
The Hunt of the Unicorn (2011)
A Place Called Armageddon (2011)
Shakespeare’s Rebel (2013)
Plague (2014)
The Curse of Anne Boleyn (2015)
Fire (2016)
The Hunt of the Dragon (2016)
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Conn Iggulden: Falcon of Sparta (Review)

Conn Iggulden

Conn Iggulden is one of the most successful authors of historical fiction writing today. He has written three previous bestselling historical series, including Wars of the RosesDunstan is a stand-alone novel set in the red-blooded world of tenth-century England.

Get in contact with Conn Iggulden:
conn.iggulden@amheath.com

The Falcon of Sparta

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book cover of The Falcon of Sparta

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In the Ancient World, one army was feared above all others. This is their story.

When Cyrus, brother to the Great King of Persia, attempts to overthrow his reckless sibling, he employs a Greek mercenary army of 10,000 soldiers. When this army becomes stranded as a result of the unexpected death of Cyrus and then witnesses the treacherous murder of its entire officer corps, despair overtakes them.

One man, Xenophon, rallies the Greeks. As he attempts to lead them to freedom across 1,500 miles of hostile territory seething with adversaries, 10,000 men set off on the long way home.

Review:

Falcon of Sparta the latest stand alone novel from Conn Iggulden, As ever with Conn Iggulden you get a blending of fact with immersive fiction, you gain insights and education. For me the 10,000 was always about Xenophon’s struggle to get his people home. As always Conn Iggulden starts it well before that, in fact for more than half the book Xenophon is a bit player, far from the central figure of the plot. The story follows the plight of Cyrus, Son and upon his demise brother to the great king of Persia.

Following Cyrus we are introduced to the Greek generals, the soldiers he admires most for their professionalism, and we start to learn the vastness of the Persian empire, and how the Greeks were masters of their art (of war). We learn the differences in cultures, and how the people perceived themselves, only after the great betrayal do we truly find Xenophon and his mettle, and struggle home with him and the remaining people.

As with all Conn Igguldens books, its his totally immersive characters that you grow with that bring the story to life, that enfold you the reader into the plot and in this case make you a Spartan in the front line, a scout out hunting, a member of the camp scared at night wishing only to survive even a Persian running from the utterly terrifying red cloaked war machine that is a Spartan army.

Falcon of Sparta means i have now read 2 books this year that i would class as great, its never a surprise to put an Iggulden in this category and Falcon of Sparta is one of Conn Igguldens best ever books, quite an achievement for a man who has written so many fantastic books.

This book will appeal to Historical Fiction and Fantasy fans, the march of the 10,000 and the Persian empire being the basis for many fantasy novels. But most of all its because its such a fast paced story with a rich tapestry painted for the reader.

go buy this book

(Parm)

Series
Emperor
1. The Gates of Rome (2002)
2. The Death of Kings (2004)
3. The Field of Swords (2004)
4. The Gods of War (2006)
5. The Blood of Gods (2013)
Gates of Rome / Death of Kings (omnibus) (2009)
Emperor (omnibus) (2011)
The Emperor Series Books 1-5 (omnibus) (2013)
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Conqueror 
1. Wolf of the Plains (2007)
aka Genghis: Birth of an Empire
2. Lords of the Bow (2008)
aka Genghis: Lords of the Bow
3. Bones of the Hills (2008)
4. Empire of Silver (2010)
aka Khan: Empire of Silver
5. Conqueror (2011)
Conqueror and Lords of the Bow (omnibus) (2009)
The Khan Series (omnibus) (2012)
Conqueror Series 5-Book Bundle (omnibus) (2013)
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Tollins
1. Tollins (2009)
2. Dynamite Tales (2011)
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Wars of the Roses
1. Stormbird (2013)
2. Trinity (2014)
aka Margaret of Anjou
3. Bloodline (2015)
4. Ravenspur (2016)
Wars of the Roses (omnibus) (2017)
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Novels
Dunstan (2017)
The Abbot’s Tale (2018)
The Falcon of Sparta (2018)
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Novellas
Fig Tree (2014)
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Series contributed to
Quick Reads 2006
Blackwater (2006)
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Quick Reads 2012
Quantum of Tweed (2012)
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Non fiction
The Dangerous Book for Boys (2006) (with Hal Iggulden)
The Dangerous Book for Boys Yearbook (2007) (with Hal Iggulden)
The Pocket Dangerous Book for Boys: Things to Do (2007)(with Hal Iggulden)
The Dangerous Book for Boys Kit: How to Get There(2008)
The Dangerous Book for Boys Kit: Nature Fun (2008)
The Dangerous Book for Boys: 2009 Day-to-Day Calendar (2008)
The Pocket Dangerous Book for Boys: Facts, Figures and Fun (2008)
The Pocket Dangerous Book for Boys: Things to Know(2008) (with Hal Iggulden)
The Pocket Dangerous Book for Boys: Wonders of the World (2008) (with Hal Iggulden)
The Dangerous Book for Boys 2010 Day-to-Day Calendar(2009) (with Hal Iggulden)
The Dangerous Book of Heroes (2009) (with David Iggulden)
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Matthew Harffy: Warrior of Woden (Review)

Matthew grew up in Northumberland where the rugged terrain,

ruined castles and

rocky coastline had a huge impact on him He now lives in Wil

tshire, England, with his

wife and their two daughters.

AD 642. Anglo-Saxon Britain. A gripping, action-packed historical thriller and the fifth instalment in the Bernicia Chronicles. Perfect for fans of Bernard Cornwell.

Oswald has reigned over Northumbria for eight years and Beobrand has led the king to ever greater victories. Rewarded for his fealty and prowess in battle, Beobrand is now a wealthy warlord, with a sizable warband. Tales of Beobrand’s fearsome black-shielded warriors and the great treasure he has amassed are told throughout the halls of the land.

Many are the kings who bow to Oswald. And yet there are those who look upon his realm with a covetous eye. And there is one ruler who will never kneel before him.

When Penda of Mercia, the great killer of kings, invades Northumbria, Beobrand is once more called upon to stand in an epic battle where the blood of many will be shed in defence of the kingdom.

But in this climactic clash between the pagan Penda and the Christian Oswald there is much more at stake than sovereignty. This is a battle for the very souls of the people of Albion.

Links to buy

Amazon https://amzn.to/2I4PeTA

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2Gf2V1P

Google Play: http://bit.ly/2umk5ZO

iBooks: https://apple.co/2G7vhyW

Follow Matthew Harffy

Website: http://www.matthewharffy.com/

Review:

 I have said for some time that Matthew Harffy is writing at a very high level, his Bernicia Chronicles started as most debuts with a good book but one with a few flaws, like a truly talented writer he listened to feedback and learned from it and The Cross and the Curse showed a big leap in writing skill, an improvement that has continued with every book, by Killer of Kings Matthew had a series to rival Bernard Cornwells Uthred, only Matthew Harffys is grittier, the characters deeper, more real and as such the plot more satisfying.

Warrior of Woden isn’t a book that kind on Beobrand, for a man who is a bit of a tortured soul, this book takes him further, and shows that no matter the era, warriors suffered from the constant war and the killing, but as ever our man digs deep into that well of courage to try to survive and over come. This is a brutal time and to survive it takes a man of depth and one who has come to terms with his own level of brutality.

Be prepared for death both on a big scale, but also on a personal scale, in the same vein as Anthony Riches, no one is safe….. read the book and see who gets it!

a highly accomplished gritty book, in a series that never fails to impress.

(Parm)

Series
Bernicia Chronicles
1. The Serpent Sword (2015)
2. The Cross and the Curse (2016)
3. Blood and Blade (2016)
4. Killer of Kings (2017)
5. Warrior of Woden (2018)
6. Storm of Steel (2019)
Kin of Cain (2017)
The Bernicia Chronicles Boxset 1-3 (omnibus) (2018)
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Giles Kristian: Lancelot (Review)

Giles Kristian USA flag (1975 – )

Giles Kristian's picture

Giles has led a varied life, to say the least. During the 90s he was lead singer of pop group Upside Down, achieving four top twenty hit records, performing twice on Top of the Pops, and singing at such venues as the Royal Albert Hall, the N.E.C. and Wembley Arena. As a singer-songwriter he lived and toured for two years in Europe and has made music videos all over the world, from Prague, Miami, Mexico and the Swiss Alps, to Bognor Regis! To fund his writing habit, he has worked as a model, appearing in TV commercials and ads for the likes of Walls Ice Cream (he was the Magnum Man), Canon cameras and two brands of lager! He has been an advertising copywriter and lived for three years in New York, where he wrote copy for movie marketing company Empire Design but mainly worked on his first novel.

Family history (he is half Norwegian) inspired Giles to write his first historical novels: the acclaimed and bestselling RAVEN Viking trilogy – Blood EyeSons of Thunder and Odin’s Wolves. For his next series, he drew on a long-held fascination with the English Civil War to chart the fortunes of a family divided by this brutal conflict in The Bleeding Land and Brothers’ Fury. Giles also co-wrote Wilbur Smith’s No.1 bestseller, Golden Lion. In his newest novels – God of Vengeance (a TIMES Book of the Year), Winter’s Fire, and Wings of the Storm – he returns to the world of the Vikings to tell the story of Sigurd and his celebrated fictional fellowship. Currently, Giles is working on his next novel, Lancelot, scheduled for publication in the summer of 2018. Giles Kristian lives in Leicestershire.

Lancelot  (2018)

Buy a Signed Copy

book cover of Lancelot

The legions of Rome are a fading memory. Enemies stalk the fringes of Britain. And Uther Pendragon is dying. Into this fractured and uncertain world the boy is cast, a refugee from fire, murder and betrayal. An outsider whose only companions are a hateful hawk and memories of the lost.
Yet he is gifted, and under the watchful eyes of Merlin and the Lady Nimue he will hone his talents and begin his journey to manhood. He will meet Guinevere, a wild, proud and beautiful girl, herself outcast because of her gift. And he will be dazzled by Arthur, a warrior who carries the hopes of a people like fire in the dark. But these are times of struggle and blood, when even friendship and love seem doomed to fail.
The gods are vanishing beyond the reach of dreams. Treachery and jealousy rule men’s hearts and the fate of Britain itself rests on a sword’s edge.
But the young renegade who left his home in Benoic with just a hunting bird and dreams of revenge is now a lord of war. He is a man loved and hated, admired and feared. A man forsaken but not forgotten. He is Lancelot.

Set in a 5th century Britain besieged by invading bands of Saxons and Franks, Irish and Picts, Giles Kristian’s epic new novel tells – through the warrior’s own words – the story of Lancelot, that most celebrated of all King Arthur’s knights. It is a story ready to be re-imagined for our times.

Review

In 1995 Bernard Cornwell wrote the Warlord Chronicles, with that he set the bar for Arthurian tales. He took the world of knights in plate armour on horseback, with couched lances and their flowery medieval poetry of vanquishing barbarian foes with honour and knocked them right back to the 6th century, a post Roman world, riddled with Saxon invaders, a land with its opulent stone buildings falling down and no skills to repair them, back to the dirt the grime and the terror of small kingdoms stitching together parts of that Roman prowess to forge new alliances and petty grievances. No one has attempted to emulate that achievement since… Until Lancelot.

Giles Kristian is one of the finest storytellers in the genre, he has a lyrical poetry to his writing that has never failed to capture me and my imagination, so when i heard he was writing Lancelot i was excited, but also intrigued, after all Arthurian legend is about Arthur….. isn’t it?

What struck me immediately on starting the book was how the approach was similar to Conn Igguldens Gates of Rome (a No 1  best seller), taking a historical figure (or in this case myth) and starting their story at the beginning, showing how the man was made, the sequences, the accidents, the mistakes and the tragedies that shaped the man who would be. Not only do you get that shape, you get that emotion, the child becomes your family, you grow with them, you nurture them and hurt with them and love with them and this is the brilliance of the writer and his craft, to weave you into the fabric of the book, but also the soul of the characters.

Giles Kristian is very honest at the outset of this book in that its inception started at a time of great personal tragedy, and you can feel in the book and the story raw honest emotion, its not that the grief he must have experienced is expressed in the book, his writing transcends that, its more that every event is viewed with an exposed honesty, an openness that hides nothing, instead you feel the love. Given that the soul of this book is a love story, the story of Lancelot , Guinevere and ultimately Arthur, sworn lord and friend of one and Husband of the other,  the heartbreak that must ensue, and ultimately for one a betrayal, that outpouring of emotion has so many outlets, so many paragraphs to fill and Giles Kristian pored into them until they over flowed. This is a book that you feel as much as you read.

What we end up with is utterly staggering. A book to be beyond proud of. Giles Kristian has surpassed the Cornwall trilogy in a single title. Truly I’m in awe of this book, I’ve been spell bound for days, and the ending … I’m emotionally spent. … really a honour and a privilege to read it.

I cannot recommend this book enough, no matter the genre you love, if you love great writing and great stories, read this book.

(Parm)

Buy a Signed Limited Edition

Series
Raven 
1. Blood Eye (2009)
2. Sons of Thunder (2010)
3. Odin’s Wolves (2011)
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Bleeding Land
1. The Bleeding Land (2012)
2. Brothers’ Fury (2013)
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Rise of Sigurd
1. God of Vengeance (2014)
2. Winter’s Fire (2016)
3. Wings of the Storm (2016)
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Courtney (with Wilbur Smith)
14. Golden Lion (2015)
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Novels
Lancelot (2018)
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Novellas
The Terror (2014)
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Anthony Riches: Retribution (review)

Anthony Riches

Image result for anthony riches

began his lifelong interest in war and soldiers when he first heard his father’s stories about World War II. This led to a degree in Military Studies at Manchester University. He began writing the story that would become Wounds of Honour after a visit to Housesteads in 1996. He lives in Hertfordshire with his wife and three children.

Retribution  (2018)
(The third book in the Centurions series)

book cover of Retribution

Victory is in sight for Kivilaz and his Batavi army. The Roman army clings desperately to its remaining fortresses along the Rhine, its legions riven by dissent and mutiny, and once-loyal allies of Rome are beginning to imagine the unimaginable: freedom from the rulers who have dominated them since the time of Caesar.

The four centurions – two Batavi and two Roman, men who were once comrades in arms – must find their destiny in a maze of loyalties and threats, as the blood tide of war ebbs and flows across Germania and Gaul.

For Rome does not give up its territory lightly. And a new emperor knows that he cannot tolerate any threat to his undisputed power. It can only be a matter of time before Vespasian sends his legions north to exact the empire’s retribution.

Review

Book Three of Anthony Riches brilliant new series, with any trilogy the expectation is clear….. can he finish it with style and energy or will it be a damp squib of an ending?

Was the result ever in doubt? I’ve not read a book yet by Anthony Riches that was anything but a thrill ride and Retribution continues that epic roll of fantastic books.

The Centurions series has always felt like something new, a series taking a more serious edge to the writing than Empire usually does (don’t get me wrong, Empire is one of my Fav series), but the writing of Kivilaz and the Batavi has always felt more serious, more intense and more sweepingly intense as a historical period than the exploits of Two Knives and Dubnus.

Book Three pulls together all the threads from the previous books, not only does the author fully tie every thread off with a flourish, but the book romps along at a breakneck pace, more though, the book contains some very raw emotion driven by the betrayals, the deaths and the culmination of the Batavi mutiny. For a story based on history, somehow Antony Riches has you guessing and hoping for a different outcome, that history can change and the Batavi can win their independance.

Anthony Riches has always managed to surprise me with who he feels capable of killing in a book and the twisted machinations of his mind. But with this book he has managed to surprise me in new ways, that an author can write something so different, and yet maintain his pace and wonderful characterization.  This book will be right up there at the end of the year, butting heads for a spot in the top 10 of the year, its a do not miss book and series.

(Parm)

Buy a Signed copy

Series
Empire 
1. Wounds of Honour (2009)
2. Arrows of Fury (2010)
3. Fortress of Spears (2011)
4. The Leopard Sword (2012)
5. The Wolf’s Gold (2012)
6. The Eagle’s Vengeance (2013)
7. The Emperor’s Knives (2014)
8. Thunder of the Gods (2015)
9. Altar of Blood (2016)
The Empire Collection Books I-3 (omnibus) (2017)
The Empire Collection Books 4-6 (omnibus) (2017)
The Empire Collection Books 7-9 (omnibus) (2017)
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Centurions 
1. Betrayal (2017)
2. Onslaught (2017)
3. Retribution (2018)
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Ben Kane: Clash of Empires (Review)

Ben Kane

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Is a bestselling Roman author and former veterinarian. He was born in Kenya and grew up in Ireland (where his parents are from). He has traveled widely and is a lifelong student of military history in general, and Roman history in particular. He lives in North Somerset, England, with his family.

Clash of Empires  (2018)
(The first book in the Clash of Empires series)

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When a new empire rises, and old one must fall

After 16 years of bloody war against Rome, Hannibal Barca is on the verge of defeat. On the plains of Zama, Felix and his brother Antonius stand in the formidable Roman legions, ready to deliver the decisive blow. Victory will establish Rome as the pre-eminent power in the ancient world.

But in northern Greece, Philip V of Macedon is determined to restore Alexander the Great’s kingdom to its former glory. Charismatic leader, ruthless general, he will use the unforgiving might of his phalanx to unite Greece and to fend off Rome’s grasping fingers.

In Rome, young senator Flamininus is set on becoming one of the Republic’s greatest military commanders. With Hannibal on the verge of defeat, the as-yet-unconquered Macedon and Greece are ripe for conquest. Strategist and spymaster, politician and general, Flamininus will stop at nothing to bring Philip V to heel.

Demetrios slumps on the rowing bench of his Macedonian ship. Thirsty, hungry, burnt by the unforgiving Mediterranean sun, dreams are his only sustenance. Dreams of the perfect thrust of a 15-foot sarissa spear, of the unyielding phalanx wall, of the glory of Macedon.

The Roman wolf has tasted blood, and it wants more. But the sun of Macedon will not set without a final blaze of glory.

Review

Series five begins for Ben Kane with Clash of Empires, two empires butting up against one another, one a shadow of its once greatness but still with sharp teeth, and the other an Empire on the rise, growing, determined and ravenous for conquest.

Ben Kane’s books are always an annual treat, his ability to tell a tale from each and every side in  such a personal fashion has always been the uniqueness that brings me back book after book. Clash of Empires is no different, no matter how low each of the major players can go at some point Ben Kane has you rooting for them, You find sympathy for Flamininus despite his rampant ambition, you find sympathy and root for Philip despite his ruthless streak as king. Ben also lifts the narrative up and down, showing us the heights of power and the machinations of the political climates of both worlds, and then in the next breath takes us down to the dirt where the soldiers abide, to what drives them, what makes them stand in line and die, to the camaraderie and the drive of men with nothing but each other.

Its always easy to say a book is better than the last, because its fresh, its new and both of those things drive that vision of it being better. But in the case of this book its more, its an immersive read, a total absorption into the worlds of both Greece and Rome driving you both one way then the next, splitting your loyalties, despite knowing the history it makes you hope for different outcomes, living with the soldiers of both armies and somehow wanting all to survive and both to walk away winners.

Ben Kane has tapped into a fantastic period of history, one with a rich vein of story, and he writes it so well, this will appeal to fans of both Greek and Roman history and once read they will be hooked for this series…. and his others.

A highly recommended book

(Parm)

 

 

Forgotten Legion Chronicles
1. The Forgotten Legion (2008)
2. The Silver Eagle (2009)
3. The Road to Rome (2010)
Forgotten Legion Chronicles Collection (omnibus) (2012)
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Hannibal
1. Enemy of Rome (2011)
2. Fields of Blood (2013)
3. Clouds of War (2014)
The Patrol (2013)
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Spartacus
1. The Gladiator (2012)
2. Rebellion (2012)
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Pompeii (with Stephanie Dray, Sophie Perinot, Kate Quinn and Vicky Alvear Shecter)
A Day of Fire (2014)
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Eagles of Rome
The Shrine (2015)
1. Eagles at War (2015)
2. Hunting the Eagles (2016)
3. Eagles in the Storm (2017)
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Clash of Empires
1. Clash of Empires (2018)
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Novellas
The Arena (2016)
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Filed under Ben Kane, Historical Fiction