Category Archives: Douglas Jackson

James Douglas : The Samurai Inheritance (Review)

James Douglas

James Douglas's picture

A pseudonym used by Douglas Jackson
James Douglas is the pen name of an author of successful historical fiction novels.
Douglas Jackson was born in Jedburgh in the Scottish Borders in the summer of 1956. Educated at Parkside Primary School and Jedburgh Grammar School, he left three weeks before his 16th birthday with six O levels and no idea what he was going to do with the rest of his life.
Doug now lives in Bridge of Allan, a lovely village on the doorstep of the Trossachs and is married to wife Alison. They have three children who never fail to make him terribly proud.
He enjoys watching rugby, and finds life at its most relaxing by the river with a fly fishing rod in my hand, although he seldom disturbs many fish.

Author web site

book cover of The Samurai Inheritance

April 1943 – A Mitsubishi transport plane plunges from the sky over the island of Bougainville. On board is Admiral Isoruku Yamamoto, architect of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. In a document case chained to his wrist is the greatest secret of the Second World War – a revelation with the potential to change the world if it is ever revealed.

December 2011 – Art recovery expert Jamie Saintclair celebrates the return of a Vermeer painting to its rightful owner, and the day turns even better when he’s offered a lucrative commission. Not much can surprise Jamie, but he blinks when mining tycoon Keith Devlin reveals the object he wants him to find. How did the preserved head of a Solomon Island warrior end up in a German museum? And how is he supposed to discover what happened to it in 1945?

The search takes Jamie from Berlin to Tokyo and with every turn the significance of the Bougainville skull becomes ever greater. Soon he realizes he’s become involved in something much more important than finding a lost piece of history. Three thousand miles away, the answer lies in airless jungles that have already swallowed up one terrible conflict and are now being torn by a war the world isn’t meant to know about . . .

Review

I have to admit that i have held on to this book for a couple of years. As soon as i discovered it would be the last Jamie Saintclaire i decided to save it for a rainy day thriller, when i needed something special.

I wasn’t disappointed, James Douglas just got better and better with this series, a series that had so much more scope. This time our hero is dragged into danger unwittingly, a small job that turns out to be not everything he was told. Jamie is a little older a little wiser and less wet behind the ears, the extra calmness plays well in the plot of this book.

As always there is the time hope element to the plot which pulls you back and forth in time, and drives the plot forward at a furious pace as you the reader try to race to the next element of the story in each timeline.

Ultimately the pace and the brilliant characterisation means that the book is over before you know it or want it, and with a satisfying dramatic conclusion, and yet not once does the plot or action lean to the impossible or unbelievable as many action books can.

I shake my head in despair that this series stopped…. truly a massive shame and loss. But for those that have not read any, this is a set of 4 books to not miss.

(Parm)

 

Series

Jamie Saintclaire
1. The Doomsday Testament (2011)
2. The Isis Covenant (2012)
3. The Excalibur Codex (2013)
4. The Samurai Inheritance (2014)

As Douglas Jackson
Series
Rufus
1. Caligula (2008)
2. Claudius (2009)
Gaius Valerius Verrens
1. Hero of Rome (2010)
2. Defender of Rome (2011)
3. Avenger of Rome (2012)
4. Sword of Rome (2013)
5. Enemy of Rome (2014)
6. Scourge of Rome (2015)
7. Saviour of Rome (2016)

Glen Savage mystery
War Games (2014)
Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under Action/ Adventure Thrillers, Douglas Jackson, James Douglas

Douglas Jackson: Scourge of Rome (Review)

Douglas Jackson

Douglas Jackson's picture
Scotland (1956 – )

aka James Douglas

Douglas Jackson is the author of the successful historical novels Caligula and Claudius and my next book Hero of Rome, the first of a new trilogy, will be published in July 2010. I was born in Jedburgh on the border between England and Scotland in the summer of 1956. It’s a place full of history and haunted by the ghosts of Border reivers and the victims of centuries of bloody border warfare. I left school three weeks before my 16th birthday with six O levels and no idea what I was going to do with the rest of my life. Luckily, a friend worked in the local employment office and got me a place on a youth work scheme. It turned out to be restoring a Roman marching camp in the Cheviot Hills and I had a wonderful summer turning turf and dreaming of Romans. Later I joined my local paper and for the next 36 years worked in local and national newspapers in Scotland, including the Daily Record and the Scotsman. I left the Scotsman after nine years as assistant editor in the summer of 2009 to become a full-time writer.

Scourge of Rome  (2015)
(The sixth book in the Gaius Valerius Verrens series)

70AD: disgraced, dishonored, and banished into exile on pain of execution if he ever returns to Rome, the former military tribune Gaius Valerius Verrens makes his way East through the death and destruction of the savage Judaean rebellion. Valerius knows his only hope of long term survival and a restoration of his family’s fortunes lie with his friend Titus, commander of the Army of Judaea and son of the newly crowned Emperor Vespasian. But when he reaches the ring of legionary camps around the seemingly impregnable city of Jerusalem, he finds Titus a changed man. Gone is the cheerful young officer he knew, replaced by a tough, ruthless soldier under pressure from his father to end the insurrection at any cost. Soon, Valerius finds himself at the center of a web of intrigue spun by Titus’s lover, Queen Berenice of Cilicia, and her sometime ally, the general’s turncoat adviser, Flavius Josephus, who have an ulterior motive for ending the siege quickly. Yet the laurels that will regain his honor cannot be won in the negotiations in the murky tunnels beneath Jerusalem. Only amid the fire and blood of battle will he equal the glory that brought him the title Hero of Rome.

scourge

Buy from Amazon

Review

Douglas Jackson is quite simply a writer at the top of his game, his books are the complete package, filled with intrigue, action and adventure.But more than that they are filled with history, with heart and emotion and characters that will make you bleed and cry and love, characters that will involve you deeply in every aspect of their lives and drag you ever deeper into the bloody Roman world.

This series that started so triumphantly, and still holds one of the (IMHO) greatest scenes in historical fiction (the last stand at the temple) has become so much more than just an adventure following the seemingly indestructible Verrens. Integral to the story now is Serpentius, a man who is still as deadly as he ever was, but now more real, flawed, destructible. Both of them now are older, they are scarred beyond measure and yet they survive in a world where so many of their friends and comrades have gone to an early death, they survive as much by luck and brains as they do by brawn and skill.

Douglas Jackson challenges our hero’s to bring all of their luck and skill to the fore in surviving the wrath of Domitian who has grown in power since the taking of Rome, he may not have executed Verren’s but he is not beyond sending men after him, despite his agreement. Freedom, for the hand of Domitia Longina Corbulo, one forced upon him , read enemy of Rome. Its this uncertainty and intrigue that drives much of the early part of the book. Who is after them? some one must be and there are many potential names in the frame, staying alive is a war on its own, surviving to reach his friend Titus, paranoid that death awaits around any corner, hidden under any robe.

Along the way he (Verren’s) will find love, step into greater and greater danger and become embroiled in one of the bloodiest fights in Roman history, (with claims by Josephus that around 1.1 million people died), until ultimatly the great city of Jerusalem is ground to dust.

This has such a huge potential to be a dark dark story, but Douglas Jackson tells it with such passion and skill that while you feel the horror, the terror and the heat of battle, you also feel the passion of new love, and the enduring love of two friends who cling to each other come what may, tossed around like flotsam to the whims of the great and powerful and and the tide of history yet always striving for each other and honour first.

I truly love this series, its one of my all time favourite. Nothing to do with the period, all to do with the skill of the writing and the great characters.

I cannot recommend this highly enough

(Parm)

Series

 

Rufus
1. Caligula: The Tyranny of Rome (2008)
2. Claudius (2009)

 

Gaius Valerius Verrens
1. Hero of Rome (2010)
2. Defender of Rome (2011)
3. Avenger of Rome (2012)
4. Sword of Rome (2013)
5. Enemy of rome (2014)
6. Scourge of Rome (2015)

Glen Savage mystery
War Games (2014)

3 Comments

Filed under Douglas Jackson, Historical Fiction

Douglas Jackson: Enemy of Rome (Review)

Doug

 

Biography of Douglas Jackson

Author web site

Douglas Jackson was born in Jedburgh in the Scottish Borders in the summer of 1956. Educated at Parkside Primary School and Jedburgh Grammar School, he left three weeks before his 16th birthday with six O levels and no idea what he was going to do with the rest of his life.

Fortunately, a friend worked in the local employment office and got him a place on a Youth Opportunities Scheme. It turned out to be restoring a Roman marching camp at Pennymuir in the Cheviot Hills and he had a wonderful summer turning turf and dreaming of Romans.

Obviously, he couldn’t do that for the rest of his life. He was good at English and had a voracious reading habit, and his dad pointed him towards an advert for a junior reporter with the local paper – and changed his life. The next 30-odd years were spent working in local and national newspapers before he sat down in 2005 to work on a ‘project’. After a year of writing on the train and whistling the theme to the Great Escape he finally reached The End, and the project became a book. That book was The Emperor’s Elephant, which, with a bit of help from Youwriteon.com, eventually became Caligula and Claudius. which were bought by Transworld for a ‘six figure sum’. When the publishers offered him a second deal to write three more books, he decided with the support of his family to try writing full time. He has now published five historical novels and two thrillers (as James Douglas), with a further five books in the pipeline

Doug now lives in Bridge of Allan, a lovely village on the doorstep of the Trossachs and is married to wife Alison. They have three children who never fail to make him terribly proud.

He enjoys watching rugby, and finds life at its most relaxing by the river with a fly fishing rod in my hand, although he seldom disturbs many fish.

Enemy of Rome (2014)

(The fifth book in the Gaius Valerius Verrens series)

enemy

Buy a Signed book

In the dry heat of an August morning Gaius Valerius Verrens wakes filthy and bearded and prepares for his last day on earth. Wrongly accused by enemies on his own side, Valerius is destined to die a coward’s death for deserting his legion on the field of Bedriacum. It is the summer of AD 89 and after a year of slaughter and turmoil the Empire remains trapped in the coils of a desperate, destructive civil war. Valerius’ old friend, Aulus Vitellius, victor in the decisive confrontation that left Otho’s armies shattered, sits uneasily on a golden throne in Rome, and his rival is dead by his own hand. But a new challenge arises in the East where Titus Flavius Vespasian has been declared Emperor by his legions. The only way Valerius can survive to reach Rome and be united with his lost love Domitia Longina Corbulo is to ally himself with Vitellius’ enemies. On the way he must battle through a maze of distrust, corruption, bloody conflict and betrayal, with as many perils behind as there are in front. A powerful enemy, a burning temple and divided loyalties all stand in his way, but the prize that awaits has never been more worthwhile.

Review

Doug Jackson, the quiet gentleman of historical fiction. With every book he takes his writing to a new level, the Gaius Valerius Verrens series being an interesting, clever and thrilling mix of story telling, blood and thunder battles, political intrigue and well thought out well written “real” characters.

The main character Verrens, with his almost stiff necked honesty and Roman honour that borders on the suicidal at times, needs a foil, someone to bounce off as a character in the plot, to keep him alive in the reality of the ancient Roman world and to keep the story honest. We get that with Serpentius, who im glad to say in this book is back to being a deadly (but mortal) ex-gladiator, those who read my review of Sword of Rome will remember i was worried that he was becoming a bit super human, but Doug has it perfect in this book, flawed, fallible, but highly skilled, emotional, but tightly wound and highly introspective, one of my favorite characters.

Others that i think Doug writes to perfection in this book; the brief glimpse of Pliny, Marcus Antonius Primus a man who could be an enemy, but is a bigger man. The brilliant emperor Vitellius, corpulent, cowardly, heroic, highly intelligent, and utterly doomed from the start. A character who steals chunks of the book. Given how well he has been written i long to see how Vespasian will grow into the next book.

All of this fantastic characterisation is portrayed in Douglas Jackson uniquely detailed yet fast paced style that lifts the reader from the first page, thrusts a Sword in one hand, a Shield in the other and slams you into the shield wall of Battle. But more than just swords and sandals it has you creeping and spying, exploring the motives and streets of Rome, there is simply no let up in this tale (or the entire series), Book 1 Hero of Rome still holds the best written scene in any book, with Verrens battling Boudicca, that writing skill and talent just grown and grows and will keep me coming back for more.

Highly Recommended (in the do not miss category)

(Parm)

Rufus
1. Caligula: The Tyranny of Rome (2008)
2. Claudius (2009)
Caligula: The Tyranny of RomeClaudius
 Gaius Valerius Verrens
1. Hero of Rome (2010)
2. Defender of Rome (2011)
3. Avenger of Rome (2012)
4. Sword of Rome (2013)
5. Enemy of Rome (2014)
Hero of RomeDefender of RomeAvenger of RomeSword of RomeEnemy of Rome
 Glen Savage mystery
War Games (2014)
War Games

As James Douglas

Jamie Saintclaire
1. The Doomsday Testament (2011)
2. The Isis Covenant (2012)
3. The Excalibur Codex (2013)
4. The Samurai Inheritance (2014)
The Doomsday TestamentThe Isis CovenantThe Excalibur CodexThe Samurai Inheritance

2 Comments

Filed under Douglas Jackson, Historical Fiction