Category Archives: S J A Turney

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)

 

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

SJA Turney: Insurgency (extract)

Author Website

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In his own words:

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.

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Prologue

 

There is a strange saying among the northern folk:

‘a tripod may stand solid, but a ladder can be climbed.’

 

The emperor Kiva the Golden moved about his court like a gilded moth, flittering from flame to flame, moving on briskly before his wings were singed. A tall, willowy figure with slim build and slender fingers, a wise, contemplative face and his father’s eyes, Kiva played the role of ruler of the civilised world with aplomb. He was a master of tact and tactics, playing down the argumentative, suppressing the sycophantic, embracing the distant and fending off the o’er-close. Even now, as he was cornered by some brash western lord with rosy cheeks and an even rosier nose, Kiva laughed off some accidental slight, deftly swiping a crystal goblet of wine from a passing tray, slipping it smoothly into the drunken lord’s hand and removing the empty with barely a glance. As the lord realised he had a full glass once more he reached down and took a deep swig. When he looked up, the emperor was gone, swirling in the dance of sociability, quick-stepping with an ambassador from Pelasia.

Quintillian watched from the side-lines.

Not for him the pageantry of the imperial celebrations. He danced with the best of men, but only when his hand held a blade and the end of the dance meant the end of a life. Instead, the younger brother of the emperor, senior marshal of the armies and lord of Vengen, stood on a narrow, balustraded balcony overlooking the grand evening, half hidden in the shadows above the hall. Here in the old days musicians would sit by lamplight playing their hearts out. In these times it was more common for such entertainment to be placed among the guests for better captivation of their melody.

The balcony was dark, and Quintillian smiled as he took a sip of his wine and watched his brother at work. They had always been close, he and Kiva – closer than most brothers. But their father had brought them up like that – to believe that family was all, and that nothing in the world had the right, nor the power, to stand between two brothers who loved each other. Their father, of course, had suffered in his life, losing the friend who had been as close as a brother – Quintillian’s namesake, in fact – during the great interregnum. And he had lost a father – a great father – before he had even found out who he was. And so the emperor Darius had instilled in his sons the need for that bond and for a closeness with no secrets.

No secrets…

Some secrets were kept out of love, though. Hadn’t their father ever considered that?

It had been a hard time, five years ago, when their father had died. Darius had been an active emperor and a good one, long-reigning. After the twenty years of civil war and anarchy, he had put the empire back together, healed the wounds of the land and its people, and initiated a golden age that had lasted longer than anyone could have hoped. When he had finally passed on, in his chambers on the island of Isola, it had been after a full life and with a reign fulfilled. And he had followed all his friends to the grave, knowing that they were all waiting for him in the afterlife, for he was not a man to believe in the divinity of rulers, just like his sons.

Kiva had taken the purple cloak and the obsidian sceptre, the orb of the heavens in his other hand, the very next day. There had, of course, been no dissent over the natural succession of eldest son, though there had been a few voices that had expressed the quiet, careful opinion that the younger brother might have been stronger in the role. Not that they would have pushed for a change, and most certainly Quintillian would have refused. Not that he couldn’t have done the job, not that he would be unwilling to, but his brother was natural heir and that was all there was to it.

And Kiva was good at it. There was simply no denying that.

Five years to the day since the accession and the blessings, that purple cloak almost gleaming in the sun, so well brushed was the velvet. Five years of growth for the empire and of peace within its borders. Five years of strong economies and excellent external relations. It had seemed wholly appropriate to celebrate such a milestone in this manner, with everyone of any rank both within and without the empire all gathered at the palace in Velutio. And among the tanned visages of the imperial lords, governors, officers and administrators, there were different faces – interesting faces. The king of the Gotii beyond the Pula mountains with his retinue, for instance. It was the first time those violent raiders had visited the capital – the first time in the empire’s history when relations between the two people had been good enough. The Gota king sat with his three wives and his close companions not far from the emperor’s seat. He was a tall and broad man with a flat face, strong jaw, flaxen hair and ice blue eyes. His wives were… well, Quintillian had oft heard it said that the Gota prized strength and ability to bear children above simple looks. It had taken Quintillian some time to distinguish the wives from the bodyguards, of whom there were five, including relations of the king himself. They had been denied the right to carry weapons this close to the emperor, but there was no doubt in Quintillian’s mind that each of them could kill in the blink of an eye with just their bare hands. And there was the king’s seer: an old man with hair down to his backside, who wore dirty rags and the pelts of a number of unfortunate small animals, their bones clattering in his hair as he moved. He gave Quintillian the shivers, not least since he seemed to be the only person aware that the younger brother was here, having looked up into the shadows directly at him.

There were other northern chieftains who were in the process of buying into the imperial model in Kiva’s new world, too, though they all looked a little like the Gota king would have, had he tried to assimilate into imperial culture.

There were two kings from the dark-skinned lands south of Pelasia. They were interesting, but required a translator to pass even the slightest time of day, and Quintillian’s brief introduction to them at the start of the celebration had been hard work. Their world was so alien, and most of Quintillian’s hungry questions had been lost on them with no mutual frame of reference. Invites had even been sent to the lords of that peculiar eastern world beyond the steppes from whence silk came, though they had not come. Very likely the messengers never reached those lands. Few did, for the route to the silk lands crossed the most dangerous territories in the world. That had been a shame, though. Quintillian liked the feel of silk and it was said that the sharper a blade was, the more likely the miraculous material was to turn it aside. The idea of a light fabric that could stop a blade was simply too fascinating to him. One day, if they did not come here, he would have to go to them.

And, of course, there were the Pelasians. Three of their highest nobles were present, including a prince of the realm. Young Ashar Parishid though – son of Ashar the great, and God-King of Pelasia – sadly could not be here. A riding accident had left him with a badly broken leg a week earlier, and he had been advised by the best physicians in the world that he would recover fully, but there was simply no way he could leave his chambers for several weeks. It must had been a terrible blow for Ashar, for while he and the emperor – and Quintillian too, for that matter – were as close friends as it was possible for neighbouring rulers to be, Ashar would be particularly missing the opportunity to visit his beloved sister.

Jala.

The empress.

Jala, unlike her husband, sat upon her comfortable divan at the heart of proceedings, smiling and doling out compliments. Each of her honeyed words was as sought after as a lordship or a chest of gold, and each was prized and tightly-held once received. Her soft skin, the light brown of the deep desert, was more on show than was traditional among imperial ladies. But then Jala was no ordinary imperial lady. She was a princess of Pelasia, sister to the God-King, and now, for five years, wife of the emperor Kiva the Golden. And she was exquisite.

Yes, some secrets had to be kept for the good of all concerned.

For two years now, Kiva had been pushing him to marry – to take a wife from among the many beauties of the imperial court. His brother simply could not understand why Quintillian remained alone. But how could he marry a woman knowing that his heart was already in the care of another. It beat silently, deep in his chest, only for Jala. And it would beat silently for her until the end of his days, for even the hint of such a thing carried the scent of tragedy, and neither Kiva nor Jala deserved such a thing. So Quintillian would remain alone. What need had he of a wife anyway? True soldiers should not take wives, for a warrior took a promising girl and turned her into a hollow widow. It was the way of things. And while there was no true need for an officer of such high command to involve himself directly in combat, there was something in the song of steel and the dance of blades that called to Quintillian. He could no more refuse to fight than he could refuse to breathe… than he could open his heart…

Something was happening now, down in the hall. Quintillian squinted into the thick, cloying atmosphere of oil lamps, braziers and incense.

An argument had broken out between two guests. Ordinarily such things would be unthinkable in the imperial presence, but the variety of uncivilised figures present had made such things almost an inevitability. That was why his favourite marshal, Titus, son of Tythias, had positioned burly, competent imperial guards in strategic positions around the hall, subtly-armed.

Quintillian contemplated descending from the balcony to deal with the problem, but Titus’ men were already moving to contain the trouble, so the younger brother relaxed a little and leaned on the balustrade, watching.

‘Trouble,’ muttered a familiar voice behind him. Quintillian didn’t rise or turn, simply smiling as he continued to lean on the balcony.

‘Titus. How did you know where I was.’

‘I am your brother’s best officer and commander of his guard. I know where everyone is. It’s part of my job.’ Titus Tythianus slipped in next to Quintillian, leaning his scarred forearms on the stone rail, waggling his nine remaining fingers.

‘Yes, it seems there’s a spot of trouble,’ Quintillian noted. ‘Shall we intervene?’

Titus snorted. ‘Not unless they threaten imperial guests. In some of these cultures they murder each other for entertainment. If it gets out of hand my men will deal with it. It’s unseemly anyway for a member of the imperial family to involve himself in a brawl.’

Quintillian chuckled and watched as the two arguing groups moved closer.

‘I recognise the Gota one, but I can’t place the white-haired one,’ Quintillian said almost conversationally.

Below, the crowd was beginning to pull apart, leaving a circle at the centre, where one of the Gotii – a strapping young man… not a woman? No, not one of the wives. A big strong warrior with a face like an abused turnip was stamping his feet like a petulant child, roaring imprecations in a tongue that sounded like someone gargling with broken glass. The crowd was fascinated, though not enough to involve themselves any closer than at the level of interested spectator.

At the far side of the expanding circle, one of the northern lords was sneering and waving a deprecating finger at the Gota warrior. But it was not that lord who was stepping forward. It was a strange pale figure. Both northerners – lord and servant – looked in build and physical makeup to have far more in common with the king of the Gotii than their imperial hosts, yet they wore breeches and tunic in the imperial style, if of an outdated northern cut and in semi-barbaric colours.

Borderlanders.

It was a recent process, begun by the emperor Darius, but continued by Kiva in the same vein. You took the barbarian tribes who lived around the borders and you brought them to the empire. You introduced them to the benefits of imperial culture, engineering and science, and you dazzled them with what they could have. Then you offered to send them men to help build aqueducts and temples, bridges and mills. You often built their chiefs palaces to house their egos. And all you asked in return was that they pay lip service to the emperor and protect the borders from the less civilised barbarians beyond. As a system it made sense. And it had proven to work too, for already, a decade on, some of those barbarian nobles had brought their lands into the empire entire, becoming lords in their own right and expanding the borders through gentle, subtle assimilation, as the same process then began on the tribes beyond.

But they were decades away from being true imperial subjects, even if that were ever to happen.

Certainly, looking at the behaviour unfolding in the hall below, this particular northern border lord seemed to be far from cultured.

‘The noble is Aldegund, lord of Adrennas,’ Titus said quietly. ‘He’s one of the ones your father first settled. He’s been a lord now for over five years, and two more semi-barbarian border tribes owe him fealty already. He alright, I suppose. A bit brash and still far from courtier material, but he’s loyal and he knows he’s onto a good thing. His ghost I don’t know, but he’s a reedy fellow. Don’t much fancy his chances against the Gota.’

‘Will you have your men stop it?’

Titus shook his head. ‘Aldegund should know better, and his man is about to learn a horrible lesson. But once he’s seen this, he won’t do the same again. The Gotii take insults very personally, and they cleanse their spirit of insult with the blood of the offender. That pale, ghostly fellow is about to die. Unless he’s very lucky. Maybe the Gota warrior’s feeling generous and he’ll just rip off an arm. They are celebrating and having a drink after all.’

The Gota warrior had removed his leather vest and was stretching his arms, moving like a dancer. Quintillian appreciated his form. He was a warrior bred to the art. The white-haired, pale northerner opposite him just sneered and took another drink from his cup.

‘He really doesn’t know what he’s in for,’ Titus snorted.

Quintillian frowned. ‘A gold corona on the pale one.’

Titus’ eyebrow ratcheted upwards. ‘Are you mad?’

‘He’s not afraid.’

‘Maybe that’s because he’s stupid? Aldegund certainly seems to be. And that half-naked warrior is the third bastard son of the Gota king. He’ll have been trained with the best of the Gotii.’

‘There’s something about the white one. I think you’re underestimating him. Is it a wager?’

‘Damn right it’s a wager,’ snorted Titus. ‘And make it five.’

‘Five it is.’

Down below, the crowd was now in a wide circle around the two combatants, Titus’ guardsmen in plain evidence, making sure the duel was contained. The Gota was snarling again in his horrible language. The icy white opponent was examining his nails.

‘Make it ten,’ Quintillian said quietly.

‘Done.’

At a command from the king, the two men moved towards one another. On the balcony, Quintillian glanced to the side. Titus looked hungry, like a spectator at the pit fights, and the sight of him leering down at the two men made the prince smile.

The Gota warrior struck the first blow, which had seemed inevitable. Stepping the last pace into the fight, the hairy north-easterner with the naked torso and the leather kirtle delivered a powerful punch to the ghost’s upper left arm at a point that would surely deaden the muscle for some time. Barely had the white-haired northerner had a breath to recover before the second blow took him in the gut, followed by a head-butt that sent him staggering back a pace. The Gota threw his arms out and roared as his father and the other Gotii cheered him on. The crowd thrummed with inappropriate interest.

‘Easiest money I’ll ever make,’ snorted Titus.

‘I’m still not so sure.’

The white man was stepping slowly backwards, regaining his senses as he went, while the Gota played to the crowd, roaring and beating his chest.

‘He’s not really got going yet,’ Titus hissed. ‘I’ve fought Gotii. This is just warming up. I kid you not – he’ll rip off the man’s arm. I’ve seen it done and by smaller Gotii than him!’

‘He’s predictable. The ghost isn’t.’

I predict he’s going to die,’ snorted Titus. ‘He never even raised a fist to block that flurry!’

‘Precisely. He never even tried. He was seeing what the man could do. Testing him.’

‘If he’s very lucky he’ll test him to death.’

The pale figure had stopped now and was pacing forward again. He still didn’t appear prepared for the fight. He was sauntering as though he wandered quiet gardens. The Gota warrior snarled and came on once more, smacking his fists against his hips and then bringing up his hands into a fighting stance. As they closed to three or four paces the Gota leapt, swinging his punch, aiming for the pale man’s other arm to deaden a second muscle and leave him largely helpless.

It all happened in such a blur that the pair on the balcony almost missed it. A moment later, the ghost was standing behind his opponent, and the Gota was dead.

Titus blinked.

As the burly warrior had swung and stepped in to the strike, the white-haired man had simply bent like a stalk of grass in the wind, slipped beneath the lunging arm, and delivered his own blows – three in such quick succession that they were almost invisible to the naked eye. But Quintillian had seen the angle of the moves and could see the results clearly enough to identify the strikes. The numb arm he’d been unable to raise but had instead used it to grab hold of the pronounced hamstring behind his opponent’s knee, wrenching it agonisingly. And even in the blink of an eye that his opponent had begun to collapse, white-hair’s other hand had jabbed twice. The first blow had struck at the point where shoulder meets neck, paralysing the muscle there and thus – along with the hamstring – rendering the Gota’s entire left side useless. But as quick as the thumb had left the flesh, it struck again, a jagged thumbnail tearing a small nick in the neck. It was a minute hole. But it was well placed. The vein beneath was an important one, and the dark blood was jetting from it with impressive strength.

The white man straightened, examined his nails again, and now chewed off the jagged point he’d deliberately left as he strolled around the stricken man and back to his lord.

‘Shit on a fat stick!’ breathed Titus, slapping the balustrade. ‘How the hell did he do that?’

‘Planning,’ Quintillian smiled. ‘He was willing to take a couple of blows to size up his chances.’

‘I’m glad he’s on our side. At least I won’t worry so much about the northern borders any more!’

Quintillian chuckled as Titus slipped the coins grudgingly into his palm. Down below, Lord Aldegund was congratulating his man in a quiet, steady tone – the white man’s name, it transpired, was Halfdan. No one seemed to be paying any attention to the dying Gota at the centre of the circle, who had now collapsed to the floor, entirely useless and paralysed on one side, desperately trying to hold his vein shut with his other arm as he slipped and slid in the growing pool of his own blood. But the pressure was too much and he was already becoming weak. The warrior looked up imploring at his father, the Gota king, but all he found there was contempt as the king turned his face from the bastard son who had so clearly disappointed him.

The Gota champion died unsung and alone on the floor and such was the speed and efficiency of the palace staff and the guard that within a matter of minutes all that remained to mark the passing of these events was a clean damp section of marble.

Quintillian gave an odd half smile as Titus disappeared back to the stairs muttering to himself. The younger brother could see the emperor moving among them now, absolving Aldegund and his man of any blame in what had happened and giving reassurance, then passing on to the Gota king – not commiserating, since clearly the king cared little – but empathising and discussing the qualities of warriors. Kiva may not have the makings of a fighter himself, but he knew what made one, and he was a consummate politician.

Perhaps Titus was right and men like this Halfdan were the future of border defences. It certainly freed up the military from dull garrison life on the edge of empire and made them useful for such things as construction of roads and aqueducts, keeping banditry down and clearing the seas of pirates. The north, then, was protected, and with Pelasia tied to them by marriage the south was settled. To the west: the open ocean. Only the lands to the east were still troublesome, but they would ever be so.

For a moment, Quintillian wondered whether the nomad horse clans of the steppe would be amenable to a similar arrangement as the barbarians in the north. No… they had no concept of home or ownership. They were nomadic. How could a people who never stopped moving guard a border? Besides, trying to get the thousand disparate horse clans to agree on anything together would be like trying to nail fog to a tree. The east would always be a fluid border with the risk of banditry and raids, and the imperial military would need to keep men around that edge of the world for safety.

Lost in thought about the strange eastern land of silk-makers, the ephemeral nature of the horse clans and the solidity of imperial frontiers, Quintillian had no idea he had company until there was a faint rustle behind him. He turned, startled.

Jala stood silhouetted in the faint light of the stairwell, the back-glow making her robe surprisingly gauzy and throwing her shape into sharp relief most inappropriately. Quintillian swallowed down his panic and his desire somewhat noisily and threw a fraternal smile across his face.

‘Dearest sister.’

‘Quintillian, why will you not join the festivities? Must you lurk here in the shadows like some monster in a poor play?’

She reached out and grasped his upper arms in her warm, sensuous fingers, and Quintillian gave an involuntary shudder.

‘I… I don’t like parties. I don’t socialise well.’

‘Nonsense,’ Jala smiled. ‘I have seen you do just that many times.’

‘I’m not in the mood, Jala.’

Her lip stuck out slightly in a barely discernible pout, and Quintillian almost laughed despite himself.

‘Come on, dear Quintillian.’

‘I really cannot. I should be doing many other things. And you should be with your husband down there.’

Without warning, Jala leaned close and planted a kiss upon his lips before leaning back with a strange smile. ‘Your brother is too busy with affairs of state to keep me company, and I tire of all these rough northerners. I need company, Quintillian. Good company.’

Quintillian stared in abject panic.

‘You look like a hare caught in the hunter’s gaze,’ she chuckled. ‘Will you come join me, then?’

Quintillian’s voice seemed to have vanished. It was there somewhere, though, deep inside, and it took a great deal of coaxing to draw it up into his throat where it still wavered and croaked.

‘I’ll be down shortly.’

‘Don’t keep me waiting,’ Jala smiled, and swayed off back into the stairwell.

Quintillian stared at her retreating form and continued to gaze at the empty archway long after she had gone. His mind was churning like a winter sea, his heart hammering out like a cavalry horse at the charge. Had that been innocent? Was he reading something into what just happened that wasn’t truly there?

But Quintillian prided himself on his ability to read people. Had not his instincts just won him ten gold corona? And he had seen Jala’s eyes as she’d lunged forth and kissed him. It had been as deliberate a blow as any he’d ever struck with a sword. It had been no kiss of brother and sister, for all its seeming innocence from the outside. He had seen through her eyes. He had seen into her soul. And there it had been: the reflection of himself. The longing. The desire. Suppressed beneath a veneer of civilisation and correctness. She had wanted him as he wanted her!

The realisation almost floored him.

He turned back to the room, suddenly aware he was trembling and sweating coldly. Down below, he saw Jala emerge once more into the hall, barely noticed amid the rich and the powerful. Kiva spotted her through the crowd and gave her a warm smile, which she returned easily, but he was trapped in conversation by a pair of stocky, swarthy lords and as soon as smiles had been exchanged he was back again, drawn into their talk. Jala took her seat at the room’s centre once more, where she became an island amid a sea of busy socialising.

Quintillian stared at her.

What should he do? What could he do?

A line had been crossed, a barrier broken. And no hand in the world could repair that barrier. No digit could redraw the line. Why were human hearts such fragile things? As fragile as an empire, perhaps? An empire could not ruin a heart, but for certain a heart could shatter an empire if misused.

The panic was gone, but it had left a desolate, hollow uncertainty in its place.

He had to do something, but what?

He made the mistake – or was it a mistake? – of looking down at Jala just as she looked up at him from her divan, and his gaze swept in through her eyes and deep into her heart once more, leaving him in absolutely no doubt now that Jala shared his feelings. Oh, he did not doubt that she loved Kiva. And so did he. And therein lay the worst of the problem, for he could no more hurt his brother than he could strike off his own head.

Fragile. Hearts and empires.

Whatever he did, it would have to take him away from Jala, he realised, for if they remained in the same place, no matter how hard they might fight it, trouble would be inevitable. One man could live with impossible, unrequited love, no matter how painful. But to have that love shared could bring down the whole empire.

No, he had to find a way out somehow.

And soon.

 

Insurgency is published by Canelo priced £3.99 as an ebook.

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SJA Turney & Dave Slaney : Crocodile Legion (BUY THIS BOOK)

Perfect for kids 7-11 years old

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Buy the e-Book

The prefect of Egypt needs money. And the men of the 22nd legion must brave mazes and tombs and curses and crocodile gods to get it.

Marcus and Callie, orphaned in ancient Alexandria and taken in by their uncle, the standard bearer in the legion, are about to travel up the great river Nile with the legionaries in a tense and funny adventure to grab the gold of the Pharaoh Amenemhat.

Join the legion and discover ancient Roman Egypt.

Front Cover

Some of Dave Slaney’s excellent artwork

Prologue kids

Previous work from Simon Turney
Series
Marius’ Mules
1. The Conquest of Gaul (2009)
aka The Invasion of Gaul
2. The Belgae (2010)
3. Gallia Invicta (2011)
4. Conspiracy of Eagles (2012)
5. Hades’ Gate (2013)
6. Caesar’s Vow (2014)
7. The Great Revolt (2014)
8. Sons of Taranis (2015)
Prelude to War (2014)


Tales of the Empire
1. Interregnum (2009)
2. Ironroot (2010)
3. Dark Empress (2011)
Ottoman Cycle
1. The Thief’s Tale (2013)
2. The Priest’s Tale (2013)
3. The Assassin’s Tale (2014)
4. The Pasha’s Tale (2015)
Praetorian
1. The Great Game (2015)
2. The Price of Treason (2015)
Novels
A Year of Ravens (2015) (with Ruth Downie, Stephanie Dray, E E Knight, Kate Quinn, Vicky Alvear Shecter, SJA Turney and Russell Whitfield)
Collections
Tales of Ancient Rome (2011)

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SJA Turney : Praetorian: The Price of Treason

About the Author: From his own web site

Praetorian: The Price of Treason: Volume 2

Praetorian2FrontCover

Two years have passed since the emperor’s loyal Praetorian guardsman Gnaeus Marcius Rustius Rufinus foiled Lucilla’s great assassination plot. Plagued by the ghosts of his past, Rufinus has enacted his own form of justice upon the praetorian cavalrymen who murdered the imperial agent Dis two years earlier.

But the Fates will not let Rufinus rest. Rome is beginning to seethe with rumour and conspiracy as Perennis, the prefect of the Praetorian Guard, and Cleander, the imperial chamberlain, continue to play their ‘great game.’ With the tide of opinion turning against their commander, Rufinus and his friends embark upon a mission to save the Prefect’s family, only to uncover a plot that runs deep… to the very heart of the empire.

Armed with rare and dangerous evidence, Rufinus faces insurmountable odds in an attempt to bring the truth to light. To save his prefect. To save Rome. To save everyone he cares about.

Review

Once again Simon Turney has managed to pull off a brilliant book. I was lucky enough to read book one of this series as it was created, and really enjoyed its difference from Marius Mules.

What i find the biggest surprise with book two is the difference again from Book 1 the Great Game , it is a much much darker and deeper  plot line as Rufinus deals with the fall out from his escapades in the Great Game. Turney covers many subjects, from PTSD to addiction. The friendship with his fellow Praetorians is explored with Simons usual wit and humor, the camaraderie and love between the men that can never be expressed in any way but abuse. We see the next tentative steps in his love life and how he uses his contacts in the upper echelons of Rome and the games of the powerful, all played out against the slow quiet war between Perennis and Cleander.

Simon Turney truly gets better with every book, the style and depth he puts into the book to draw the reader in and play out the intrigue is up there with the best in the genre. Anyone who looks at his books as “Just another self publish” is missing some of the best historical fiction out there.

this book and all his books (especially my favourite series by him “The Ottoman Cycle” ) are highly recommended.

(Parm)

Series
Marius’ Mules
1. The Conquest of Gaul (2009)
aka The Invasion of Gaul
2. The Belgae (2010)
3. Gallia Invicta (2011)
4. Conspiracy of Eagles (2012)
5. Hades’ Gate (2013)
6. Caesar’s Vow (2014)
7. The Great Revolt (2014)
8. Sons of Taranis (2015)
Prelude to War (2014)


Tales of the Empire
1. Interregnum (2009)
2. Ironroot (2010)
3. Dark Empress (2011)
Ottoman Cycle
1. The Thief’s Tale (2013)
2. The Priest’s Tale (2013)
3. The Assassin’s Tale (2014)
4. The Pasha’s Tale (2015)
Praetorian
1. The Great Game (2015)
2. The Price of Treason (2015)
Novels
A Year of Ravens (2015) (with Ruth Downie, Stephanie Dray, E E Knight, Kate Quinn, Vicky Alvear Shecter, SJA Turney and Russell Whitfield)
Collections
Tales of Ancient Rome (2011)

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S J A Turney Sons of Taranis (2015) Review

simon1

Author Web site

Sons of Taranis  (2015)
(The eighth book in the Marius’ Mules series)
A novel by S J A Turney

Buy the book

Taranis

51 BC. In the aftermath of the dreadful siege of Alesia the tribes of Gaul lie broken and sparse, and yet the fires of rebellion still burn in the hearts of a few. As Caesar and his army continue to pacify the land wherever revolt can be found, a new conspiracy is rising.

Lucterius of the Cadurci, survivor of Alesia, seeks to raise a new great revolt, building an army in his homeland while a small group of dangerous warriors embark upon a secret and dangerous mission to rebuild all that was lost in that great siege.

Meanwhile, Marcus Falerius Fronto tries to adjust to life as a wine merchant in Massilia, little suspecting that old friends and new will soon be fighting alongside him as the last great threat from Gaul is brought right to his door.

The final battle for Gaul is about to begin.

Review

Book 8 is a hard hill for Simon Turney to climb, it follows on from the hugely powerful and climactic “Great Revolt” and the battle of Alesia. Even after reading so many of Simon Turneys books i wondered how he could produce something that would deserve its place in this series. As ever he managed to surprise me and delight me.

This book is to a degree a mop up exercise for the Romans, as Caesars army takes on the dregs, the left overs, dregs that are still formidable armies in formidable fortresses. Yet his main character Fronto is no longer with the army, we get to see a different side of Roman and Greek life as Fronto builds his Wine business. As usual it would not be Fronto if it was straight forward, he comes up against local politics and to a degree organised crime. Couple these main plot points with the return of some old enemies on a crazy mission to resurrect the hopes of Gaul and you have a splendid engaging, twisty and entertaining plot line.

For me this is one of the better books in the series, the removal of major battles forces Simon Turney to concentrate on the smaller side plots, the town life and family life of Fronto, other key soldiers come to the fore with the army and show their skills, in this book giving a great view of cavalry life.

so for a book that had to follow the big battle of the series, this is a true triumph and a real surprise, a sign that S J A Turney is more than just your everyday Self Published author, i believe he is one of the major players in the Historical Fiction genre, up there with the likes of Ben Kane, Anthony Riches, Douglas Jackson and Christian Cameron.  If you have not read his books please do so (my favorite series is the Ottoman Cycle.

(Parm)

Series
Marius’ Mules
1. The Conquest of Gaul (2009)
aka The Invasion of Gaul
2. The Belgae (2010)
3. Gallia Invicta (2011)
4. Conspiracy of Eagles (2012)
5. Hades’ Gate (2013)
6. Caesar’s Vow (2014)
7. The Great Revolt (2014)
8. Sons of Taranis (2015)
Prelude to War (2014)


Tales of the Empire
1. Interregnum (2009)
2. Ironroot (2010)
3. Dark Empress (2011)
Ottoman Cycle
1. The Thief’s Tale (2013)
2. The Priest’s Tale (2013)
3. The Assassin’s Tale (2014)
4. The Pasha’s Tale (2015)
Novels
Praetorian: The Great Game (2015)
Collections
Tales of Ancient Rome (2011)

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S.J.A Turney The Pasha’s Tale (The Ottoman Cycle Book 4) Review

Author Bio in his own words

Find me on Twitter@SJATurney

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

TPT Cover

Buy the Book

Five years have passed since Skiouros left Istanbul with his brother’s remains and a nebulous goal to make the usurper prince Cem pay for Lykaion’s death. Skiouros is older and wiser, and has come to understand the dreadful price that vengeance exacts from its wielders. Saved from the French authorities by Dragi, the Romani crewman of a Turkish galley, he and his friend Parmenio are bound once more for the east.

But Dragi’s aid in desperate times comes with a price: the Romani await Skiouros’ return to the great city of Constantine, bringing about the conclusion of a series of events that has been building since those that first led to his flight five years ago.

In the Ottoman capital, the populace prepares for a great festival, and for the first time in many years the Sultan’s three sons are all present in the same place at the same time. And in the dangerous streets a sect of disenfranchised Romani plot a deadly coup to overthrow the Sultan and place one prince on the throne. Can Skiouros, Dragi, Parmenio and Diego thwart the mysterious Kingbreaker and save the lives of the Sultan’s sons? The sequence of events that shattered Skiouros’ life is coming to an end…

Review

Regular blog readers will be aware of this, but for anyone new, full disclosure, Simon Turney is a good friend as well as some one i enjoy reading. I have been a friend and fan since before book one and have been privileged to have seen, enjoyed and been a small part of his journey. This is a Journey that seems to reach new heights with every book.

While im a big fan of his Marius Mules series, his latest work for me is his best work, both in the roman world with Praetorian and even more so his Ottoman Cycle series. This series following Skiouros the thief, the adventurer, the explorer fighter and spy. A boy who had to quickly grow, and become a man, haunted by his dead brother, hunting retribution. A retribution that takes him across the globe and back.

Pasha’s tale will see him return home, to face up to his past and help guide the future of the world as Islam and Christianity clash over the succession of the Ottoman throne. Aided by his friend Parmenion, and his sword master Diego and guided by the mysterious Dragi the trio bounce from one perilous situation to another as they try to outwit their enemies. As a book it has everything, pace, action, wonderful character and the authors deep empathy for the trade-off between religions , walking the tightrope between christianity and Islam, so fraught with danger and yet so well accomplished while not compromising the plot one bit.

As a series it culminates with a beautifully poetic ending, with shades of butch and Sundance, seeing Parmenio sailing off into the sunset, hopefully his version of Bolivia gives him peace and Skirouros neatly closing off so many of the stories threads. It’s not often a series leave you satisfied and yet still longing for more. I will miss these friends, and yet it only leads me to wonder what Simon can do next outside of the Roman world.

very highly recommended

(Parm)

 

Series
Marius’ Mules
1. The Conquest of Gaul (2009)
aka The Invasion of Gaul
2. The Belgae (2010)
3. Gallia Invicta (2011)
4. Conspiracy of Eagles (2012)
5. Hades’ Gate (2013)
6. Caesar’s Vow (2014)
7. The Great Revolt (2014)
Prelude to War (2014)
The Conquest of GaulThe BelgaeGallia InvictaConspiracy of Eagles
Hades' GateCaesar's VowThe Great RevoltPrelude to War
Tales of the Empire
1. Interregnum (2009)
2. Ironroot (2010)
3. Dark Empress (2011)
InterregnumIronrootDark Empress
Ottoman Cycle
1. The Thief’s Tale (2013)
2. The Priest’s Tale (2013)
3. The Assassin’s Tale (2014)
The Thief's Tale The Priest's TaleThe Assassin's Tale
Novels
Praetorian: The Great Game (2015)
Praetorian: The Great Game
Collections
Tales of Ancient Rome (2011)
Tales of Ancient Rome

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SJA Turney : Praetorian: The Great Game (Review / Blog Tour)

Author Bio in his own words

Find me on Twitter @SJATurney

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.

Praetorian Blog Tour

(in case you can’t read the image)

Thursday 12th:    SJAT’s blog (https://sjat.wordpress.com) – Extract of the book, Competition, Background to the story and other bits and pieces
Friday 13th:        I and I (https://bantonbhuttu.blogspot.co.uk/) – Review
Saturday 14th:    For Winter Nights (https://forwinternights.wordpress.com/) – Guest post on writing about historical locations
Sunday 15th:      Parmenion Books (https://parmenionbooks.wordpress.com/) – Review
Monday 16th:     Hoover Book Reviews (https://hooverbookreviews.wordpress.com/) – Review and Q&A
Tuesday 17th:     Reading Gives Me Wings (https://readinggivesmewings.wordpress.com/) – Review & interview

Praetorian Front Cover (1) - Copy

Buy the book….A Bargain at £1.99 (uk)

Buy the book….A Bargain at $3.01 (usa)

Promoted to the elite Praetorian Guard in the thick of battle, a young legionary is thrust into a seedy world of imperial politics and corruption. Tasked with uncovering a plot against the newly-crowned emperor Commodus, his mission takes him from the cold Danubian border all the way to the heart of Rome, the villa of the emperor’s scheming sister, and the great Colosseum. 

What seems a straightforward, if terrifying, assignment soon descends into Machiavellian treachery and peril as everything in which young Rufinus trusts and believes is called into question and he faces warring commanders, Sarmatian cannibals, vicious dogs, mercenary killers and even a clandestine Imperial agent. In a race against time to save the Emperor, Rufinus will be introduced, willing or not, to the great game. 

“Entertaining, exciting and beautifully researched” – Douglas Jackson 

“From the Legion to the Guard, from battles to the deep intrigue of court, Praetorian: The Great Game is packed with great characters, wonderfully researched locations and a powerful plot.” – Robin Carter

Review

When Simon said he was writing a new Roman series i worried that it would be Fronto by another name, something so easy to do when you have a series as successful as Marius Mules. Simon very generously involved me in his writing process, sending me the book in very early stages for comment and feedback (he knows i love that sort of thing, and pretends i add value). This allowed me to See Rufinus evolve, and soon dispelled any concerns about a carbon copy of Marius Mules, this was something new, something sharp and intelligent, full of intrigue, but still laden with Simon’s sharp wit and mischievous humour.

Rufinus takes the reader from the Legion to the Guard, from battles to the deep intrigue of court, Praetorian: The Great Game is packed with great characters, wonderfully researched locations and a powerful plot that fans have come to associate with Simon Turney.

This truly is the start of something new and special i highly recommend it

(Parm)

Series
Marius’ Mules
1. The Conquest of Gaul (2009)
aka The Invasion of Gaul
2. The Belgae (2010)
3. Gallia Invicta (2011)
4. Conspiracy of Eagles (2012)
5. Hades’ Gate (2013)
6. Caesar’s Vow (2014)
7. The Great Revolt (2014)
Prelude to War (2014)
The Conquest of GaulThe BelgaeGallia InvictaConspiracy of Eagles
Hades' GateCaesar's VowThe Great RevoltPrelude to War
Tales of the Empire
1. Interregnum (2009)
2. Ironroot (2010)
3. Dark Empress (2011)
InterregnumIronrootDark Empress
Ottoman Cycle
1. The Thief’s Tale (2013)
2. The Priest’s Tale (2013)
3. The Assassin’s Tale (2014)
The Thief's Tale The Priest's TaleThe Assassin's Tale
Novels
Praetorian: The Great Game (2015)
Praetorian: The Great Game
Collections
Tales of Ancient Rome (2011)
Tales of Ancient Rome

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Filed under Historical Fiction, S J A Turney, Uncategorized