Category Archives: Christian Cameron

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

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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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Filed under Christian Cameron, Fantasy, Miles Cameron

Christian Cameron: Rage of Ares (review)

Christian Cameron USA (1962 – )
aka Miles Cameron, Gordon Kent

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Christian 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, Canada with his wife Sarah and their daughter Beatrice.

book cover of Rage of Ares

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Rage of Ares  (2016)
(The sixth book in the Long War series)
Arimnestos of Plataea was one of the heroes of the Battle of Marathon, in which the heroic Greeks halted the invading Persians in their tracks, and fought in the equally celebrated naval battle at Salamis.
But even these stunning victories only served to buy the Greeks time, as the Persians gathered a new army, returning with overwhelming force to strike the final killing blow.
For the Greeks, divided and outnumbered, there was only one possible strategy: attack. And so, in the blazing summer of 479 BC, Arimnestos took up his spear one final time at the Battle of Plataea.

Review

I could apologise in advance for any fan boy nature that may follow in the rest of this review….. but i wont, the book is just excellent, so it deserves it.

This is the sixth and (for now) final book in the Long War series. The book is about the build up to the battle at Plataea, and also near Lade, but more it is about the people of Greece and how their way of life survived by the skin of its teeth. As always Christian provides a careful educational and entertaining approach to the battle, mixing daily life and frustrations with the machinations of power and the repeated points of near disaster for the Greeks. Highlighting just how balanced the whole war was, as he often states, the war is won by the side who makes the least mistakes.

Rage of Ares is in many ways not just the culmination of the Long war but also of the character Arimenestos. Throughout the series he has grown as a character, his trials have taught him and hardened him, they have given him a depth of character and personality, shaped his prowess on the battlefield and formed his friendships and social status, provided the core of the small Plataean fleet and the backbone of its taxeis. So that in time for the last battle, he is the trusted go between for the key nations (Athens and Sparta), allowing him to provide that roving view of the battle field, to be at both battles, and to also take part and provide an intimate view of the scale and feel of the battles. It feels like a perfectly spun story arc that has finally come to fruition.

By the end of the book the emotions are pulled as taut as possible, i have to admit to having become invested in Ari as a character over the last 6 years, but i still didn’t expect that the final book would hit so hard, this i have to credit to the authors concept of writing style, making you the reader one of the audience at his family get together, it reads like a fireside tale because its told that way, a great epic tale of life and history told at the feet of the man himself. Woven into this style is the author himself, having been lucky enough to sit and chat with him you can see the nuances of his style of speech and mannerisms in the book and in Arimenestos. A book filled with battles, blood, action, politics, family, friendship, comradeship, craftsmanship, statesmanship… the list of areas used to entertain and educate is just breathtaking.

What we have in this book and this series is a powerfully emotional story told in a way that is not only imaginative and entertaining but it also manages to fully educate the reader in the politics and people of ancient Greece. It is one of the best series i have read and should not be missed, it transcends genre because i truly believe there is something for everyone in this series.

(Parm)

 

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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)

Long War
1. Killer of Men (2010)
2. Marathon (2011)
3. Poseiden’s Spear (2012)
4. The Great King (2014)
5. Salamis (2015)
6. Rage of Ares (2016)

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)

Chivalry
1. The Ill-Made Knight (2013)
2. The Long Sword (2014)
3. The Green Count (2017)
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)

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)
Novels
Washington and Caesar (2001)
God of War (2012)
A Song of War (2016) (with Libby Hawker, Kate Quinn,Vicky Alvear Shecter, Stephanie Thornton, S J A Turneyand Russell Whitfield)
Tudor Knight (2018)
 Series
Traitor Son Cycle
1. The Red Knight (2012)
2. The Fell Sword (2014)
3. Dread Wyrm(2014)
4. A Plague of Swords (2016)
5. The Fall of Dragons (2017)
 Masters & Mages
1. The Master (2017)
Series
Alan Craik
1. Night Trap (1998)
aka Rules of Engagement
2. Peace Maker (2000)
3. Top Hook (2002)
4. Hostile Contact (2003)
5. Force Protection (2004)
6. Damage Control (2005)
7. The Spoils of War (2006)

Novels
Cauldron of Violence (2000)
The Falconer’s Tale (2007)

2 Comments

Filed under Christian Cameron, Historical Fiction

Song of War (Review)

Kate Quinn

Kate Quinn is a native of southern California. She attended Boston University, where she earned a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Classical Voice. A lifelong history buff, she has written four novels in the Empress of Rome Saga, and two books in the Italian Renaissance detailing the early years of the infamous Borgia clan. All have been translated into multiple languages.

Christian Cameron

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Christian 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.

SJA Turney

I live with my wife, son and daughter, and two (close approximations of) dogs in rural North Yorkshire, where my wife and I both grew up, surrounded by friends and family. A born and bred Yorkshireman with a love of the country, I cannot envisage spending my life anywhere else, though my anchor is sometimes tested as the wanderlust hits and we travel wherever I can find the breathtaking remains of the classical world. I have a love of travel and history, architecture and writing and those four interact well enough to keep me almost permanently busy.

Since leaving school and University, I have tried a great number of careers, including car sales, insurance, software engineering, computer network management, civil service and even paint ing and decorating sales. I have lived in four counties and travelled as widely as time and budget allowed and find myself finally back where I began and finally doing something I love.

Having written a number of unpublished short stories in my early days, I decided back in 2003 to try and write a full length novel. That was the start of Marius’ Mules. Being a lover of Roman history, I decided to combine my love of writing and my love of classical history. Marius’ Mules was followed two years later by Interregnum, my attempt to create a new fantasy story still with a heavy flavour of Rome. Since then, the success and popularity of both have inflated my head so that I can no longer comfortably fit through doors, and has spawned sequels to each work, with the fantasy trilogy complete, six volumes in the Marius’ Mules series, and two books of the Ottoman Cycle quadrilogy now out.

I maintain another website detailing the Roman sites I visit and photograph, and write a blog about books. I am an almost terminally chatty person. That’s just a due warning if you feel like contacting me (see above.) I am always happy to speak to people and have put together an FAQ gathered together from things I have been asked previously.

Libbie Hawker

Libbie Hawker

Libbie was born in Rexburg, Idaho and divided her childhood between Eastern Idaho’s rural environs and the greater Seattle area. She presently lives in Seattle, but has also been a resident of Salt Lake City, Utah; Bellingham, Washington; and Tacoma, Washington. She loves to write about character and place, and is inspired by the bleak natural beauty of the Rocky Mountain region and by the fascinating history of the Puget Sound.

After three years of trying to break into the publishing industry with her various books under two different pen names, Libbie finally turned her back on the mainstream publishing industry and embraced independent publishing. She now writes her self-published fiction full-time, and enjoys the fact that the writing career she always dreamed of having is fully under her own control.

Libbie’s writerly influences are varied, and include Vladimir Nabokov, Hilary Mantel, Annie Dillard, George R. R. Martin, songwriter Neko Case, and mixed-media storyteller Chris Onstad, to name but a few.

She previously wrote under the pen name L.M. Ironside (historical fiction)

Stephanie Thornton

I’m a writer and high school history teacher who has been obsessed with infamous women from history since I was twelve.
My first two novels, The Secret History: A Novel of Empress Theodora and Daughter of the Gods: A Novel of Ancient Egypt focus on two of history’s forgotten women: Theodora of the Byzantine Empire and Pharaoh Hatshepsut.My third novel and fourth books center around the women who stood behind the greatest conquerors the world has ever seen. The Tiger Queens is the story of Genghis Khan’s wifeand daughters, while The Conqueror’s Wife tells of the women who both loved and hated Alexander the Great.I recently joined the H Team to help write a collaborative novel, Song of War: A Novel of Troy (Available October 2016) in which I tell the story of Cassandra, King Priam’s cursed seer of a daughter.I live with my husband and daughter in Alaska, where I’m at work on my next novel about history’s forgotten women.
Vicky Alvear Shecter
Vicky Alvear Shecter is the award-winning author of Young Adult Fiction

When I was a kid, I wanted to be an archaeologist. By the time I entered college, I had forgotten my dreams of digging in the dirt and ended up with a degree possibly even less marketable than archaeology—English. My love for ancient history went underground as I threw myself into a career writing marketing materials for banks, corporations, and tech companies.

I reconnected with my love of the past when I started telling my kids stories about some of Alexander the Great’s most outlandish antics. They started asking for more, so I wrote a kid’s biography on that crazy character and in 2006, Alexander the Great Rocks the World was born. The book was well received and was named a VOYA Honor Book for nonfiction and to the list of “25 Books all Georgia Children Should Read” by the Georgia Center for the Book. In 2010, my biography of Cleopatra—Cleopatra Rules! The Amazing Life of the Original Teen Queen—was released and was similarly well received.

In 2011, I moved into young adult historical fiction with the release of Cleopatra’s Moon(Arthur A. Levine/Scholastic), named one of the best books of 2012 by the Center for Children’s Literature. The novel is a coming of age story of Cleopatra’s real-life daughter, Selene, and offers a glimpse of both Egypt and Rome during the latter’s transition into the age of Empire. The novel earned excellent reviews in Publisher’s Weekly, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, and other national outlets, including Atlanticonline and EW online.

My latest young adult novel, Curses and Smoke: A Novel of Pompeii (May 2014), tells of the story of two teens in the weeks leading up to the eruption. Publisher’s Weekly said the novel “makes clever use of the historical eruption to give her tragic climax a bitterly ironic twist.” Kirkus said, “the eruption engenders considerable tension as the lovers try to escape.”

In 2013, my midgrade series on mythology—Secrets of the Ancient Gods— was released by Boyds Mills Press. School Library Journal called the first book in the series—Anubis Speaks! A Guide to the Afterworld by the Egyptian God of the Dead“wickedly funny” and “chock full of interesting information.” It was a Cybils Award Finalist for midgrade nonfiction. The second in the series, Hades Speaks! A Guide to the Underworld by the Greek God of the Dead releases October 2014. And Thor Speaks! A Guide to the Norse Realms by the Viking God of Thunder releases in 2015.

For nearly a decade I have served as a docent at the Michael C. Carlos Museum of Antiquities at Emory University where I get to share my passion for ancient history with visiting school kids. Few things make me happier than showing off our Egyptian mummies and breathtaking classical statues.

Russell Whitfield

Author Russell Whitfield

Russell Whitfield was born in Shepherds Bush in 1971. An only child, he was raised in Hounslow, West London, but has since escaped to Ham in Surrey.

Russell has had an (almost) life long fascination with ancient Greece and Rome, sparked by seeing the The Three Hundred Spartans on ITV in the seventies. Educated to A-Level, he did not complete college, preferring instead to seek fame and fortune in a heavy metal band. Sadly, fame and fortune were not forthcoming and a career in telesales beckoned. A series of jobs followed culminating in the heady heights of ‘content editor’ for a large multi-national.

Gladiatrix was Russ’s first novel, published in 2008 by Myrmidon Books. The sequel, Roma Victrix, continues the adventures Lysandra, the Spartan gladiatrix, and a third book, Imperatrix, sees Lysandra stepping out of the arena and onto the field of battle.

Heavy Metal is Russ’s music of choice, though he was also in a goth band and thus has the obligatory Sisters of Mercy and Mission CD’s in his collection.

He is a huge fan of the Swedish band Hysterica and has written a song for their forthcoming album The Art of Metal.

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Troy: city of gold, gatekeeper of the east, haven of the god-born and the lucky, a city destined to last a thousand years. But the Fates have other plans—the Fates, and a woman named Helen. In the shadow of Troy’s gates, all must be reborn in the greatest war of the ancient world: slaves and queens, heroes and cowards, seers and kings . . . and these are their stories.

A young princess and an embittered prince join forces to prevent a fatal elopement.

A tormented seeress challenges the gods themselves to save her city from the impending disaster.

A tragedy-haunted king battles private demons and envious rivals as the siege grinds on.

A captured slave girl seizes the reins of her future as two mighty heroes meet in an epic duel.

A grizzled archer and a desperate Amazon risk their lives to avenge their dead.

A trickster conceives the greatest trick of all.

A goddess’ son battles to save the spirit of Troy even as the walls are breached in fire and blood.

Seven authors bring to life the epic tale of the Trojan War: its heroes, its villains, its survivors, its dead. Who will lie forgotten in the embers, and who will rise to shape the bloody dawn of a new age?

Buy the book

Review

I thought initially when i reviewed this book that i would review it based on each authors song, their tone, tenor, base etc.. how their voice echoed the tone of the people and the time. But then as i read it i saw very quickly that this team had blended their voices perfectly into a perfect harmonic whole, a song of Troy, making it difficult to individualize one over the other.

The whole book feels immensely personal as we join individual characters taken from the pages of the Iliad and given life, and not just the template life of the Iliad but complex interacting real characters dealing with the minutia of life as well as the heroic and sickening deeds of battle.

I would suspect that many would be waiting for me to call out and laud Christian Cameron’s (as i’m a known fan), story as my fav in the book, but to be honest everyone created their own immensely real characters that i can only go with my fav character from the tale and that is Odysseus, oddly he is probably the nerd of the bunch and i love the fighting. But he is the brains not the brawn, and he has always felt to me to have so many more levels than the other characters, and i’m always drawn to him because his tale never ends at Troy….  Special mention does also go to Simon Turney though, the end song, this one had to pull all the final threads together, and allowed him to end with the lead into the tale of the Aeneid with its founding of Rome and his great passion, (something he managed with great skill).

For a story that we all know so well, to find that its told in a way that leaves you on the edge of your seat throughout wondering if something might change, if Cassandra might be believed, as the passion and madness of her character race across the page, to… would Aeneas be able to save someone in the destruction of Troy, Or could it be avoided if Hector and Achilles find a way to walk away from a fight…and so much more, this speaks volumes of the ability of all the writers in this group.

What ever it is for you and on what ever level it works for you,  for me the Tale has ended, the songs are done, but this book joins some of the great tales of Troy, and the notes of Troy’s song will continue to echo through eternity when writers of passion and skill enthrall readers in this way.

(Parm)

 

6 Comments

Filed under Christian Cameron, Historical Fiction, S J A Turney, Uncategorized

Miles Cameron Dread Wyrm (review)

Miles Cameron

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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.

Christian 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, Canada with his wife Sarah and their daughter Beatrice.

The Dread Wyrm  (2015)
(The third book in the Traitor Son Cycle series)
A novel by Miles Cameron

dread

Some are born to power. Some seize it. And some have the wisdom never to wield it.

The Red Knight has stood against soldiers, armies, and the might of an empire without flinching. He’s fought on real and magical battlefields alike, and now he’s facing one of the greatest challenges yet. A tournament.

A joyous spring event, the flower of the nobility will ride against each other for royal favor and acclaim. It’s a political contest – one that the Red Knight has the skill to win. But the stakes may be higher than he thinks. The court of Alba has been infiltrated by a dangerous faction of warlike knights, led by the greatest knight in the world: Jean de Vrailly – and the prize he’s fighting for isn’t royal favor but the throne of Alba itself….

This is the third book in the Traitor Son Cycle, following The Red Knight and The Fell Sword.

Review

Move over Tolkien, GRR Martin and all other writers of deeply, involved complex fantasy worlds, because the more this series progresses the better it gets, it doesn’t fall into the trap of other series where side avenues get explored for the sake of page count, it doesn’t flap on with inconsequential characters. What it does is grab the reader by the neck and take them into a well thought out and highly complex world (just as you would expect a real world to be), there is no room or tolerance for two dimensional characters, nations, ideas or concepts, each idea and concept is heavily thought through and explored, researched and imagined, and yet at no time does it waffle or become mundane. It excites, it thrills and it makes you laugh, for a writer to pack so much description and emotion into something so real is simply astounding.

In the same way as a child when i was dragged into the sphere of Narnia or Middle earth, Miles Cameron has created a world and an idea that is all encompassing and utterly enthralling, such that you cannot help but fall in love with the place. The magic, the politics, the pageantry all build to give the reader the fullest of fantasy reading experience and whilst book 3 answers so much, and gives so much to the reader, at the end, the possibilities abound for the next direction the writer and this world will take.

If Westeros could be made into a household name by GoT, then someone needs to wave this under the right noses at the big TV companies. This has the makings of something truly epic for more than just literature.

I highly recommend this series, not just to fantasy readers, but also Historical fiction

(Parm)

Series

Traitor Son Cycle
1. The Red Knight (2012)
2. The Fell Sword (2014)
3. The Dread Wyrm (2015)
4. A Plague of Swords (2016)

Books written as 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)

Long War
1. Killer of Men (2010)
2. Marathon (2011)
3. Poseidon’s Spear (2012)
4. The Great King (2014)
5. Salamis (2015)
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)
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)
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 (2015)
William Gold
The Ill-Made Knight (2013)
The Long Sword (2014)
Novels
Washington and Caesar (2001)
God of War (2012)

2 Comments

Filed under Christian Cameron, Fantasy, Miles Cameron, Uncategorized

Christian Cameron: Salamis (Review)

Marathon's_Best

Christian Cameron

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USA (1962 – )

aka Miles Cameron, Gordon Kent

Christian 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, Canada with his wife Sarah and their daughter Beatrice.

Signed Limited exclusive edition (Click to buy)

Buy from Amazon

Book Description

slamis

Arimnestos of Plataea has already lived through several lifetimes’ worth of adventure, from being a rich man’s slave in Ephesus to winning glory at the battle of Marathon against the might of the Persian Empire. But the gods – and the Persians – aren’t finished with him yet. As an experienced sea captain – his enemies might say pirate – he has a part to play in the final epic confrontation of the Long War between the Greeks and Persians, the Battle of Salamis. It is a battle where many debts of blood will be repaid, ancient grudges settled, fame won and treachery exposed, where the Greeks must finally bury their differences and fight as one – for against them Xerxes, the Great King, has assembled the greatest fleet the world has ever known, his sworn purpose to brutally extinguish the flame of freedom and make every Greek his slave.

Review

The Long War is the second series from Christian Cameron, this prolific writer manages to keep writing tales of such epic beauty and quality its hard to imagine that this is already book 5 of the Long War. His lead character Arimenstos of Plataea is to coin a phrase from the title of the original book a “Killer of Men” a man forged by the sum of his life and the heat of battle.

Arimnestos has been a blacksmith, a slave, a warrior, a captain, a friend, a pauper, a rich man, a legend and so much more. A life filled with every extreme and normality that can be lived, and Christian Cameron has a way of making you experience every step and every emotional moment of his life’s journey.

Salamis is the latest of many battles, the latest leg of the aptly named long war. The great king has come, despite the epic sea battle of Artemisium, the loss at the Hot gates has opened Attica to his huge army and Plataea and Athens are at his mercy. Will the league fight? can they win? of course this is history and we know the answer, but with every page of this book it feels new and the outcome feels in flux. So many people from Arimnestos past make a return in this book, a convergence of his past and his present, but while you would find in many books this replays old issues, Arimnestos has grown, matured and this colours every interaction, making the book so much more realistic and so new.

Salamis has everything a reader like me could want, epic battles, battles brought down from the broad spectrum of hundreds of ships to the immediacy of a single boarding and hand to hand combat. Yet that wasn’t the  best part of this book. I had just made it through the adrenaline emotionally charged battle of Salamis, and then Christian threw in a race for love, a time of reflection and self realisation, families coming together and a nation being a nation instead of city states.

Salamis is a book that challenges the spirit as well as thrills the mind, leaving the reader wanting to be a better person, to excel at the things you do, and even now 24 hours later i’m still basking in that glow.

Its not my favourite book in the series, but i think its the most emotive and powerful, and very highly recommended.

(parm)

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)
 Long War
1. Killer of Men (2010)
2. Marathon: Freedom or Death (2011)
3. Poseidon’s Spear (2012)
4. The Great King (2014)
5. Salamis (2015)
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)
 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)
William Gold
1. The Ill-Made Knight (2013)
2. The Long Sword (2014)
 
Novels
Washington and Caesar (2001)
God of War (2012)
Also by Christian Cameron (AKA Miles Cameron)
Series
Traitor Son Cycle
1. The Red Knight (2012)
2. The Fell Sword (2014)
3. The Dread Wyrm (2015)
Also by Christian Cameron (And Kenneth Cameron), under the pseudonym Gordon Kent
Series
Alan Craik
1. Night Trap (1998)
aka Rules of Engagement
2. Peace Maker (2000)
3. Top Hook (2002)
4. Hostile Contact (2003)
5. Force Protection (2004)
6. Damage Control (2005)
7. The Spoils of War (2006)

Novels
Cauldron of Violence (2000)
The Falconer’s Tale (2007)

2 Comments

Filed under Christian Cameron, Historical Fiction

Christian Cameron: Long Sword (Review)

Chris 1Chris 2

*Photos courtesy of Ian LaSpina* (with much appreciation)

Christian 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.

Book Description

long sword

Pisa, May 1364. Sir William Gold – newly knighted on the battlefield outside the gates of Florence – can look forward to a lucrative career as a sword for hire in the endless warring between Italy’s wealthy city states. But when a message comes from Father Pierre de Thomas, Grand Master of the Order of St John – better known as the Hospitallers – Sir William knows he has no choice but to leave his dreams of fame and fortune behind him.

Father Pierre is gathering men across Europe for a crusade, and as a donat of the order, Sir William is pledged to serve him. But before setting out for the Holy Land, Sir William and his companions face deadly adversaries closer to home. In the labyrinthine politics of Italy, not only would some cities rather side with the Saracen than their fellow Christians, but there are powerful princes of the church whose ambitions would be better served if the crusade failed – not to mention two of Sir William’s bitterest enemies – the maniacal Bourc le Camus, now in the pay of the ruthless Cardinal Robert of Geneva, and the Count D’Herblay, husband of the woman who still holds Sir William’s heart.

With assassins and conspirators on all sides, Sir William and his band of knights must overcome overwhelming odds – but if they survive, can the crusade be anything more than a suicide mission?

Long Sword: Review

I’m sure many of my regulars are expecting my usual litany of effusive comments about the remarkable writing that Christian produces. I do feel a bit like his English fan boy some days when I write the review, but I love the writing.

That said I struggled with the start of this one, be it my state of mind coming into my 10th book in January, or back to back to back historical fiction? I don’t know, but it felt a bit mired in detail, detail that Christian releases normally so effortlessly, it seemed to come out a little like a manual… I even think that I may have had a Tom Swan hangover, Tom Swan is one of the great unsung heroes of the Historical Fiction genre, an e-Book only serial, but so brilliant I miss it every day.

But William Gold didn’t/ couldn’t let me down, and neither did Christian, almost without noticing I went from the mire to brightness and solid ground.

As ever with Christians books this isn’t a light tome, its 448 pages long, but if you are like me, it will only be a 48 -72 hour read, after my initial struggle, which TBH was really only about a chapter when I checked back, I was fully caught up, I could not put it down. Christians research is amazing, he packs in such detail, but effortlessly, you feel the weight of armour, and you feel the maneuverability, and the exhaustion of wearing it, and I know this comes from the fact that he does wear it, and he does fight in it .

chris 3

Christian was also a warrior in his own right, and an intelligencer, so he knows how battles are fought, he knows the nuances, the thought process used by commanders, subordinates etc and dare I say by those who have to go and gather the intelligence in the most dangerous of circumstances.

What isn’t written down in history book (and even things that are) he checks. If how to swing a sword doesn’t sound right he will practice, if the clothing doesn’t sound authentic he will check with someone who knows, or even try to make it. I don’t think I have ever met someone so full of and yet still desperate for knowledge, and we the reader benefit from all of this.

Long sword isn’t Christians best book, but it is still an excellent book and I desperately want the next book in the series… as I seem to for every next book in every one of his series.

I highly recommend this, this isn’t just a book about fighting and the crusades, this is a book about chivalry, about love, and abstinence and its difficulty and temptations and about the glory of true friendship and a man striving to be better than he was yesterday.

(Parm)

 

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)
TyrantStorm of ArrowsFuneral GamesKing of the BosporusDestroyer of CitiesForce of Kings
Long War
1. Killer of Men (2010)
2. Marathon: Freedom or Death (2011)
3. Poseidon’s Spear (2012)
4. The Great King (2014)
Killer of MenMarathon: Freedom or DeathPoseidon's SpearThe Great King
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)
CastillonVeniceConstantinopleRomeRhodesChios
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)
Tom Swan and the Siege of Belgrade: Part OneTom Swan and the Siege of Belgrade: Part TwoTom Swan and the Siege of Belgrade: Part Three
Novels
Washington and Caesar (2001)
God of War (2012)
The Ill-Made Knight (2013)
The Long Sword (2014)
Salamis (2015)
Washington and CaesarGod of WarThe Ill-Made KnightThe Long Sword

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Filed under Christian Cameron, Historical Fiction

Christian Cameron Tom Swan and the Siege of Belgrade (review)

Christian Cameron

chris 1
USA (1962 – )

aka Miles Cameron, Gordon Kent

Christian 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, Canada with his wife Sarah and their daughter Beatrice.

Part Three

(2013)
(The third book in the Tom Swan and the Siege of Belgrade series)

Part Three (2013)

Part nine of a fast-paced serialised novel set in the turbulent Europe of the fifteenth century.

Review

If you’re an author and you want to write a series of short stories, then this is the bench mark, this is how it is done, and done excellently. Anyone who follows this blog will be aware i’m a huge fan of this author. But that never colours my review of his work, if he ever produces a book that falls below the extremely high standards he sets himself then i will be first to call it out.

Tom Swan is the pinnacle of historical fiction writing for me, each episode/ novella a journey into fifteen century europe, a look behind the curtain of so many aspects of that time, a Donat of St John, a spy, a historian/ archaeologist, a lover and a fighter, Our hero Tom Swan is all these things and so much more. He is literally brought to life in book one and from that point onwards i have looked forward to the next tale, the next adventure. Adventures so real, so well researched and coupled with the authors own experience with swords and armour that you really feel like you are adventuring alongside Tom Swan.

This latest book allows yet more growth in Toms character, and all the supporting cast, and thats one of the true talents of Christian Cameron, that he brings all characters to life, there are no 2D characters. As usual there is an intricately woven plot, with plenty of devious machinations and superb visualisation of 15th Century Venice to add to the wonderful ongoing tale.

If ever some one is looking for the next “Perfect TV series” then this is the story to look at, The serial nature of the book gives this series a real HBO feel, but with the added depth and quality only a book can provide.

I say again… it gets no better… Highly recommended

(Parm)

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)
TyrantStorm of ArrowsFuneral GamesKing of the Bosporus
Destroyer of CitiesForce of Kings
Long War
1. Killer of Men (2010)
2. Marathon: Freedom or Death (2011)
3. Poseidon’s Spear (2012)
4. The Great King (2014)
Killer of MenMarathon: Freedom or DeathPoseidon's SpearThe Great King
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)
CastillonVeniceConstantinopleRome
RhodesChios
Tom Swan and the Siege of Belgrade
1. Part One (2013)
2. Part Two (2013)
3. Part Three (2013)
Part OnePart TwoPart Three
Novels
Washington and Caesar (2001)
God of War (2012)
The Ill-Made Knight (2013)
The Long Sword (2014)
Salamis (2015)
Washington and CaesarGod of WarThe Ill-Made KnightThe Long Sword

 

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Filed under Christian Cameron, Historical Fiction