Category Archives: James Wilde

James Wilde: Pendragon (Reviews)

James Wilde

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

Author Website

book cover of Pendragon

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

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

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

Review

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

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

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

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

Highly recommend this read.

(Parm)

 

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

James Wilde

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

Author Website

bloody Crown

Hereward: The Bloody Crown: (Hereward 6)

1081. And so the bloody battle for the crown of the Holy Roman Empire begins.
Within the city of Constantinople itself, three venal factions will go to any lengths – will, it seems, kill any who might stand in their way – to seize the throne.
And outside the city’s walls, twin powers threaten a siege that will crush the once-mighty empire forever.
To the west, the voracious forces of the most feared Norman warlord are gathering. While in the east, the Turkish hordes are massing – theirs is a lust for slaughter.
And in the midst of this maelstrom of brutality and betrayal, Hereward and his English spear-brothers prepare to make what could be their final stand . . .

Review

James Wilde is back with Hereward and The Bloody Crown, this book has to be his most twisty, plot bending best. What starts out with more of the usual (and fantastic) Hereward and his spear brothers neck deep in the poo, soon transforms into a Machiavellian game of smoke and mirrors. With multiple parties vying for  control of the great city of Constantinople and what remained of its empire, Hereward and his friends and cohorts must navigate the turbulent waters of intrigue and deceit, brain becomes more important than brawn for this leader of men, and with what is currently the last in this series, what would the conclusion be? Who would live and who would die? The last book in a series can often be a death fest.

Right from the start (book 1 in 2011) James Wilde’s writing has hooked me, the style and pace he brings from his Mark Chadbourn work  coupled with his copious historical research has created a truly spell binding series, of which this book is the pinnacle.  Historically we know who wins the battle of succession, how we get there is masterfully done, with characters so well drawn and so alive that the reader is literally part of the tale, the locations sounds and smells brought to life on the page to complete your submersion into Constantinople in 1081 and the mayhem that ensues.

To add a cherry on top of this great book  finding a quote from a previous review on the rear of the dust jacket was the icing on the cake. Closing an excellent read and seeing that words i had written myself for a prior book in the series still rang true was immensely gratifying and always a little humbling, something i say a huge thank you to James Wilde for, i write the reviews because i love the books i review… That any one pays attention is still a surprise.

This book and this series is a must read for fans of reading… not just history.. but any genre.

(Parm)

Hereward
1. Hereward (2011)
aka The Time of the Wolf
2. The Devil’s Army (2012)
aka The Winter Warrior
3. End of Days (2013)
4. Wolves of New Rome (2014)
5. The Immortals (2015)
6. The Bloody Crown (2016)

Written as Mark Chadbourn
Series
Age of Misrule
1. World’s End (1999)
2. Darkest Hour (2000)
3. Always Forever (2001)
The Age of Misrule Omnibus (omnibus) (2006)
Dark Age
1. The Devil in Green (2002)
2. The Queen of Sinister (2004)
3. The Hounds of Avalon (2005)
Kingdom of the Serpent
1. Jack of Ravens (2006)
2. The Burning Man (2008)
3. Destroyer of Worlds (2009)
Swords of Albion
1. The Silver Skull (2009)
aka The Sword of Albion
2. The Scar-Crow Men (2011)
3. The Devil’s Looking-Glass (2012)
Novels
Underground (1993)
Nocturne (1994)
The Eternal (1996)
Testimony (1996)
Scissorman (1997)
The Fairy Feller’s Master Stroke (2002)
Lord of Silence (2009)

Series contributed to
Doctor Who
Wonderland (2003)
Hellboy
The Ice Wolves (2008)
Anthologies containing stories by Mark Chadbourn
The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror Volume Eight(1997)
Scaremongers (1998)
Scaremongers 2 (1998)
Short stories
Six Dead Boys in a Very Dark World (1990)
The King of Rain (1996)
Above, Behind, Beneath, Beside (1997)
Vaudeville (1998)
Wan Light (1999)

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James Wilde: Hereward the Immortals (review)

James Wilde


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

The Immortals  (2015)
(The fifth book in the Hereward series)

book cover of 

The Immortals

1073 – under the merciless sun of the east, a dark force has risen – a Norman adventurer who could rival the feared King William for bloody ambition. He has conquered his land, he has built his fortress and he has amassed his army. And now he has taken Constantinople’s ruler as his prisoner…

It falls to Hereward to rescue this precious captive. For this great English warrior-in-exile and his spear-brothers, it will mean mounting a raid that could prove the most dangerous and deadliest of their lives. Assisting them in their task will be an elite and legendary band of fighters, the Immortals – so-called because they believe they cannot die in battle. But it will not be enough – for enemies hide within the jewelled heart of Byzantium: vipers who spread their poison, who want to see the English dead at any cost and who are to transform a mission that was at best dangerous into an adventure that is now suicidal. . .

With this rousing adventure full of brutal sword play, treachery, camaraderie and honour, James Wilde continues his bestselling account of the action-packed life and times of England’s great and now, thanks to his his fiction, perhaps not-so-forgotten hero – Hereward the Wake.

Review

Book 5 in this excellent series, one  i have enjoyed immensely. Up to now i have been unsure what it was that made this series different, but i think i have it now.

Hereward the Immortals is much more of a departure from the history, that’s not to say that James has not done his research, and doesn’t keep impeccable detail in the Byzantine world, because he does. But book 5 isn’t tied by the History of Hereward, the author gets to make suppositions, to place our hero and his men in the line of some of the greatest history of the time period, embroiled in the bloody decline of the Eastern Roman Empire. This freedom from the history books i believe allows the author to give flight to his fantasy writing skills (and they are many), making the battles dramatic, bloody and fast paced and the characters an extra depth.

This book also see’s the author explore a more emotional Hereward, his men depend on him and he feels every loss, every mistake personally no matter his out of his control. This book pits him against the snakes of Roman Constantinople, a new Norman foe and an old one, we meet the Turk for the first time and through out all the trials the team have one aim, to become members of the Varangian guard.

With excellent prose and characterisation James wiles races us through this highly emotional and action packed journey. I enjoyed every moment and am really looking forward to what comes next.

Highly recommended

(Parm)

Series

Hereward
1. Hereward (2011)
aka The Time of the Wolf
2. The Devil’s Army (2012)
aka The Winter Warrior
3. End of Days (2013)
4. Wolves of New Rome (2014)
5. The Immortals (2015)

AKA Mark Chadbourn was raised in the mining communities of South Derbyshire. He studied Economic History at Leeds before becoming a national newspaper journalist. He is the author of several novels, including The Age of Misrule trilogy
Series
Age of Misrule
1. World’s End (1999)
2. Darkest Hour (2000)
3. Always Forever (2001)
The Age of Misrule Omnibus (omnibus) (2006)
Dark Age
1. The Devil in Green (2002)
2. The Queen of Sinister (2004)
3. The Hounds of Avalon (2005)
Kingdom of the Serpent
1. Jack of Ravens (2006)
2. The Burning Man (2008)
3. Destroyer of Worlds (2009)
Swords of Albion
1. The Silver Skull (2009)
aka The Sword of Albion
2. The Scar-Crow Men (2011)
3. The Devil’s Looking-Glass (2012)
Novels
Underground (1993)
Nocturne (1994)
The Eternal (1996)
Testimony (1996)
Scissorman (1997)
The Fairy Feller’s Master Stroke (2002)
Lord of Silence (2009)

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James Wilde: Wolves of New Rome (Review)

James Wilde

james w

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

Visit author web site

Buy From Amazon

Buy From Goldsboro Books (signed)

Wolves of New Rome (2014)
(The fourth book in the Hereward series)

Hereward WONR

1072 – The great battle has been lost. King William stands victorious. And for the betrayed and abandoned English rebels, the price of their crushing defeat is cruel: exile.
Cut adrift from family, friends, home, their hopes of survival lie with one man, their leader Hereward. But can even that now-legendary hero navigate a safe course across a world torn by war? Their ultimate destination is the jewelled heart of the Christian emperor in the East, the New Rome – Byzantium. Here the English hope to find gold and glory by joining those pledged to protect the emperor, the elite and savage Varangian Guard. But this once-mighty empire is slipping into shadow. Beyond the vast walls, the endless Turkish hordes plan for an attack that could come at any moment. And within the sprawling city, rival factions threaten bloody mayhem as they scheme to seize the crown.

Here begins a new chapter in the stirring tale of England’s forgotten hero. But now the enemies are hidden, their methods bloodier, the battlefield and weapons unfamiliar and to stay alive in this cauldron of plot, betrayal and murder, Hereward and the English must fight as never before.

Review

Its that time of year again, Hereward is back and every year he gets better and better, the book and the writing at least, Poor Hereward himself seems to find himself in bigger and bigger sh!t every book. This book is no exception, its also not glorious trouble, its just the mad bad and crazy world of 1072, its a hard bitter world, life is cheap and its truly rules by those with power and money and the strength to hold it. Hereward and his crew have the will and the skill, but they don’t seem to have the luck to hold on, they have been battered by the winds of fate, by the sweeping plague that is the Norman conquest, a group of singularly nasty, single minded tough, uncompromising nation hell bent on conquest.

This the fourth book in the series see’s our group away from England and travelling to Constantinople, to join the fames Varangian Guard, somewhere they can be lauded for their prowess , gain wealth and start to mend the wounds or their lost home of England. Only fate has other plans, the grass isn’t greener, and their are worse people out there than Normans.

James Wilde is one of the nicest people i have met since i started going to reading events, signing etc, a truly generous chap, always willing to spend time and energy having a conversation and boosting confidence to “have a go” myself at writing, always appreciative of a nice comment about his books, and accepting of any criticism. With this book i have nothing but nice things to say. To say i was lost in the book, doesn’t do it justice. From first page to the last i was member of Herewards crew, i suffered every mile , every mishap and every setback, I was rewarded with the camaraderie of his men and belonged with them fighting my way to and in Constantinople. Thats the joy and experience of his books and writing, that you become part of the book. The only thing wrong is its an experience that ends too soon and then there is a year to wait for the next one.

So thank you James for one again giving me a unique, immersive truly historic experience.

(Parm)

 

Hereward
1. Hereward (2011)
aka The Time of the Wolf
2. The Devil’s Army (2012)
aka The Winter Warrior
3. End of Days (2013)
4. Wolves of New Rome (2014)
HerewardThe Devil's ArmyEnd of DaysWolves of New Rome
Also writes under the name  Mark Chadbourn

Novels

  • Underground (1992)
  • Nocturne (1994)
  • The Eternal (1996)
  • Scissorman (1997)

The Age of Misrule

  • World’s End (1999)
  • Darkest Hour (2000)
  • Always Forever (2001)

The Dark Age

  • The Devil in Green (2002)
  • The Queen of Sinister (2004)
  • The Hounds Of Avalon (2005)

Kingdom of the Serpent

  • Jack of Ravens (2006)
  • The Burning Man (2008)
  • Destroyer of Worlds (July 2009)

The Ghost Warrior

  • Lord of Silence (July 2009)

Swords of Albion

  • The Silver Skull (November 2009, UK (Title: “The Sword of Albion”: April 2010)
  • “The Scar-Crow Men” (February 2011, UK: April 2011)
  • The Devil’s Looking Glass (UK: April 2012, US: tbc)

Novellas

  • The Fairy Feller’s Master Stroke(2002)
  • Dr Who: Wonderland (2003

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