Category Archives: Steven A McKay

Steven A McKay: The Abbey of Death (Review)

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Steven A. McKay was born in Scotland in 1977. His first novel, Wolf’s Head, was published in 2013 and went on to be an Amazon UK top-twenty bestseller. The Abbey of Death is the final story in the Forest Lord series. Steven is currently researching and writing a brand-new tale set in post-Roman Britain. He plays lead guitar and sings in a heavy-metal band when they can find the time to meet.

The Abbey of Death (Kindle Single) by [McKay, Steven A.]

He wanted to find peace in prayer, but some men serve God best with a sword in their hand.

Will Scaflock wants only to live in peace. He had more than his share of adventure when he went by the name Will Scarlet and fought corrupt authority alongside Robin Hood. Now widowed and alone, and estranged from his adult daughter, he has taken holy orders and sought refuge in a remote Benedictine abbey.

But even there, trouble and violence follow him. The abbot, John de Wystow, is a good man but a weak leader, and easily undermined by a faction of dissident monks. When the rebels, led by Brother Robert de Flexburgh, run riot in the local community—stealing, drinking, fornicating—Scaflock’s old instincts return. Reluctantly taking charge of the abbey’s moral defence, he finds himself embroiled in a series of fierce clashes with de Flexburgh’s rowdy gang.

As the abbey’s tranquillity is shattered, its cloisters stained with blood, Scaflock is forced to reconsider the direction of his life. Has he really left Will Scarlet behind him—or has he simply been running from reality?

Review

With each and every book in the forest lord series i have watched Steven A Mckay grow as a writer, both in style and confidence, until he has reached his latest point with The Abbey of Death. This tales shows a much more rounded tale steeped in confident writing and plot twists and misdirection. His characters continue to grow and coalesce into full realized and realistic personas making the book come alive. Will Scaflock being probably my favourite in the series , because he isn’t nice, he is rough and real and he has suffered. This book truly shows just how much he has suffered and how real he can be…. much to the horror of his attackers….

So with Abbey of Death, McKay brings down the curtain on the Forest Lord series, with his best work to date.

if that isnt worth £1.98…. well, im not sure what is.

(Parm)

 

 

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Steven A McKay: Blood of the Wolf (Review)

(In his own words)

My name is Steven A. McKay and I’m a writer from Old Kilpatrick, near Glasgow in Scotland, heavily influenced by the likes of Bernard Cornwell, Douglas Jackson, Ben Kane et al.

My first book in the Forest Lord series, Wolf’s Head, was set in medieval England and it’s a fast-paced, violent retelling of the Robin Hood legends. It hit the number 1 spot in the UK “War” chart, reached the overall Kindle top 20 bestsellers list and is available on Kindle, audiobook and paperback from Amazon here:  http://smarturl.it/2636

As I write, in October 2016, I’m just about to publish the fourth and final book in the series, Blood of the Wolf. I think my take on the Robin Hood legend is quite different to anything that’s been done before – check out the reviews to see for yourself.

In total, including my two novellas, Knight of the Cross and Friar Tuck and the Christmas Devil, I’ve sold over 75,000 books in the past three years with hundreds of five star reviews for them.  As a working class man from a little village in Scotland, I’m honestly amazed at how many people enjoy my books.

Thank you all so much for reading!

Author Website

Robin Hood author
Blood of the Wolf: Volume 4 (The Forest Lord)
ROBIN HOOD RETURNS! And this time the legendary wolf’s head is working for the sheriff… After winning his freedom in Rise of the Wolf, Robin – with his faithful lieutenant John Little at his side – now spends his days travelling around northern England dispensing King Edward II’s justice. When a new band of outlaws appears in Barnsdale, Sheriff Henry de Faucumberg sends Robin and John to deal with them. Before the lawmen can track them down though, Will Scaflock is attacked and another of their old companions murdered in his own home by the outlaws whose leader seems to have only one thing on his mind: Bloody vengeance! Will Robin’s reunited gang be enough to defeat this savage new threat that seeks to wipe them out one by one? Or will another old foe provide the final twist that sees England’s greatest longbowman dead and buried? This stunning conclusion to the bestselling Forest Lord series will delight and entertain readers looking for action packed historical fiction in the mould of Scarrow, Kane and Cornwell! “McKay calls time on his highly original Robin Hood series with a gripping, action packed finale.” – Parmenion Books Praise for RISE OF THE WOLF: “This is the best Robin Hood you are ever going to encounter.” Professor Andrew A. Latham on Medievalists.net
Review
I think the cover quote above says most of what i need to: “McKay calls time on his highly original Robin Hood series with a gripping action packed finale”.
Steven has been kind enough to think i know what i’m talking about and allows me an early look at his books. Something i have enjoyed immensely with this series. This Robin Hood isn’t your Lincoln green wearing maverick do gooder. He is just a kid who has some skills, can lead men and wants to stay one step ahead of the noose. By this 4th book in the series he had outrun the noose and he is now the law. This is a clever plot device from McKay showing the shifted perception of his men, his people and family, their views on how power can corrupt even a good man, how the desire to do good can be warped by the need to create something, some wealth for your family.
The introduction of a known bad guy also lends a cyclical inevitability to the story, and this bad guy is an evil SOB, makes Gisbourne look sane and reasoned. This added to the return of all our old favorites from Robins gang makes for an action packed final story. Mckay can pull out all the stops, all  characters can be up for grabs when its the last book, anyone can die in any fashion, which adds more of an edge of the seat feeling to the tale, there is no holding back for future plot lines…. who will make it to the end for a happy ever after?
go buy the book.. find out yourself…. if you have not read the rest go buy the series. This is a great fun read, don’t miss it.
(Parm)

 

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Steven A McKay: Friar Tuck and the Christmas Devil (review)

Author bio from his own web site

My name is Steven A. McKay and I’m a writer from Old Kilpatrick, near Glasgow in Scotland, heavily influenced by the likes of Bernard Cornwell, Douglas Jackson, Simon Scarrow, Ben Kane et al.

My first book, Wolf’s Head, is set in medieval England and is a fast-paced, violent retelling of the Robin Hood legends. I think my take on the theme is quite different to anything that’s been done before. It hit the number 1 spot in the UK “War” chart, reached the overall Kindle top 20 bestsellers list and is available on Kindle and paperback from Amazon here:  http://smarturl.it/2636  . The sequel, The Wolf and the Raven was also a “War” chart number 1 as well as hitting the top spot in the US “Medieval” chart.

The third book Rise of the Wolf is out now and, as I write this, at number 1 in the “Biographical Historical Fiction” Kindle chart

Also look out for my spin-off novella, Knight of the Cross, featuring Sir Richard-at-Lee and his faithful sergeant-at-arms Stephen which is out now. I’ll be publishing another novella this Christmas (2015) starring Friar Tuck, called The Christmas Devil.

Thanks for reading!

Robin Hood author

Author web site

Buy the book (UK)

Buy the book (USA)

ftxd pr foreword kindle version smaller

December, 1323 AD

Holly and ivy decorate the houses while voices are raised in song, but the Christmas cheer is tempered by terror this festive season, as demons haunt a small English village.

Strange thefts; cloven hoof-prints in the snow; a house burned to the ground.

Something evil stalks the icy streets of Brandesburton and former mercenary Tuck must find out what, before it’s too late.

As he sets out to solve the mystery the friar prays his faith will protect him. His faith AND his great quarterstaff, for he knows full well – the Devil makes no deals…

This brand new novella from the best-selling author of the Forest Lord series will delight and entertain historical fiction fans looking to escape the madness of Christmas shopping for a little while. Grab a mince pie, warm some mulled wine, and join Friar Tuck on this snowy adventure!

Review

Steven McKay has produced a heart warming Christmas tale, wrapping the deep meaning of xmas, the helping of others in among-st a clever little mystery centered on one of his merry bands, lesser written characters; Friar Tuck. Tuck is always one of those characters that i feel is far deeper than he is given credit for. A man of God, one who can clearly fight , in a time when ex-soldiers often turned to the clergy to deal with what must have been PTSD. Tuck is such a multi faceted character and Mckay shines the Christmas light on just a small part of that.
So pull up a chair while the snow swirls and the fire crackles and let him spin his tale…..i promise it one you will enjoy.
(Parm)

Excerpt

Holy Mary, Mother of God. It’s him! The devil!
The man shrank back, too anxious to approach his own front door for fear of
what terrors he might find inside the thatch-roofed hovel he called ‘home’.
The snow had fallen sporadically for the past week or so and had been
particularly heavy that day, leaving a clean white covering on the land. The
roads around the village were, of course, muddy and sodden from travellers’
feet and the wheels of delivery wagons and the animals that pulled them but
here, outside the old peasant’s home, the snow was thick and fresh and
untouched.
Or at least it should have been untouched, since no one ever came to visit
the man and, as his family had all died or grown-up and left to live
elsewhere, there was really no reason for anyone to have been near his front
door.
So the sight of footprints leading towards the threshold had made the
peasant pause and then stare, wide-eyed and terror-stricken at the low
dwelling, which had begun to seem horribly sinister in the early-evening
gloom. For upon closer inspection the prints in the snow weren’t normal
human, or even animal prints – they appeared to have been made by some
bipedal beast with hoofs for feet. Cloven hoofs.
“The devil!” the peasant shouted in alarm, his strangled cry somewhat
muffled by the falling snow yet still loud enough to bring his neighbours to
their own doors. Their faces peered out, framed in the orange glow from
their cosy hearths.

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Steven A McKay : Rise of the Wolf

Author Bio (in his own words)

Steven A. McKay

My second book, The Wolf and the Raven was released on April 7th 2014, at the London Book Fair where I was part of the Amazon KDP/Createspace/ACX stand. My debut novel, Wolf’s Head, was also released the same day as an audiobook.
My new book, Rise of the Wolf, will be published in June/July 2015.

I was born in 1977, near Glasgow in Scotland. I live in Old Kilpatrick with my wife and two young children. After obtaining my Bachelor of Arts degree with the Open University I decided to follow my life-long ambition and write a historical novel.

Bernard Cornwell’s King Arthur series was my biggest influence in writing “Wolf’s Head”, and “The Wolf and the Raven”, but I’ve also really enjoyed recent books by guys like Ben Kane, Glyn Iliffe, Douglas Jackson and Anthony Riches.

I play guitar and sing in a heavy metal band when we can find the time to meet up.

Buy the book

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Sir Guy of Gisbourne is back! Bent on vengeance against Robin Hood and with a turncoat new lieutenant in tow, an unlikely new hero must stand up for herself… YORKSHIRE, ENGLAND – 1323 AD The greenwood has been quiet and the outlaws have become complacent, but the harsh reality of life is about to hit the companions with brutal, deadly force thanks to their old foe, Prior John de Monte Martini. From a meeting with King Edward II himself to the sheriff’s tournament with its glittering prize, the final, fatal, showdown fast approaches for the legendary Wolf’s Head. New friends, shattered loyalties, and a hate-fuelled hunter that threatens to wipe out not only Robin’s companions but his entire family will all play their part in the RISE OF THE WOLF.

Review

So… always a tough review to write; when the author has been crazy …sorry kind enough to ask you to be part of the shaping of a book and beta read and feedback your thoughts on the book i find it quite difficult to write a review because i have more than one version swimming around in my head. I think Steven possibly deep down regretted asking me this time, i took the gloves off because it was book 3 in the series and book 4 over all and i think by the time i was done he felt like he had gone a few rounds with Gisbourne himself (sorry Steven).

For anyone who is ever lucky enough to be asked to get involved in something like this i highly recommend doing this because its very interesting and highly rewarding, especially when the author listens. I never think you can take credit for anything in the final draft, but you can feel some joy in little snippets you can see your quill dipped in.

So how does the book stand up to the rest of the series and my expectations? McKays Gisbourne is deliciously dark, a man pushed to the edge and then over it, and its this and his new sergeant that really make the book, there are some surprises in who lives and who dies but mainly the book suffers a tad from its wider angle lens. The previous books focused so much Robin and his immediate men and this gave them a pace and immediacy that this book doesn’t have. But this book has instead other very bright sparks, the return of a traitor, one so bad you can hate him while possibly feeling sympathy for Gisbourne (i know…crazy), there is more of a focus on Robins wife and sister, both written with a very female sympathetic edge. we visit the royal court and have more than one humorous encounter with the king the later one i really enjoyed.

So in summary, this is another excellent book in the series, not my favourite, but still well worth a read, and gives a lead in to what should be a high charged and dramatic conclusion……. Bring on book 4

(Parm)

 

 

The Wolf and the Raven (The Forest Lord Book 2)Wolf's Head (The Forest Lord Book 1)Rise of the Wolf (The Forest Lord Book 3)

Knight of the Cross

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Steven A McKay: Knight of the Cross (Review)

My name is Steven A. McKay and I’m a writer from Old Kilpatrick, near Glasgow in Scotland, heavily influenced by the likes of Bernard Cornwell, Douglas Jackson, Simon Scarrow, Ben Kane et al.

My first book, Wolf’s Head, is set in medieval England and is a fast-paced, violent retelling of the Robin Hood legends. I think my take on the theme is quite different to anything that’s been done before. It hit the number 1 spot in the UK “War” chart, reached the overall Kindle top 20 bestsellers list and is available on Kindle and paperback from Amazon here:  http://smarturl.it/2636  . The sequel, The Wolf and the Raven was also a “War” chart number 1 as well as hitting the top spot in the US “Medieval” chart.

The third book in the series is coming along nicely and should – all being well – be available around late 2014/ early 2015In the meantime, look out for my spin-off novella, Knight of the Cross, featuring Sir Richard-at-Lee and his faithful sergeant-at-arms Stephen.

Thanks for reading!

DSC_4100-2x

Knight of the Cross

Buy the book

Knight-Of-The-Cross
Description
The Knights Hospitaller battle ancient evil in medieval Rhodes as mysterious disappearances and insane devil-worshippers threaten to turn the entire island into a bloodbath…When three Hospitallers go missing from a local village outraged Grand Master Foulques de Villaret sends the English knight Sir Richard-at-Lee and his trusted sergeant-at-arms Jacob to discover their fate. Met with resistance from frightened locals and rumours of a blasphemous sect performing unspeakable rites beneath the village Sir Richard must overcome not only the devil-worshippers but the faceless, unstoppable demon that stalks his dreams.

Fans of the best-selling Forest Lord books “Wolf’s Head” and “The Wolf and the Raven” will enjoy this spin-off novella that sees the much-loved English knight up against a foe that threatens not just his life and his sanity, but God himself!

Review
This book for me has been one of those really enjoyable moments in books, reviewing and all that goes with this side of the publishing industry. Steven (crazy man that he is..well he is Scottish) asked me to test read this novella very early on, I hope I had some impact on his final product its things like that which bring publishing to life for me.

I like a few other reviewers of this tale don’t normally do supernatural books, but i don’t mind short stories / novellas, particularly if they form part of a series (hint hint Mr McKay). Stevens other two books have been very well written forays into the world of Historical Fiction… so his readers would be expecting something good, something accomplished.

Steven’s novella features one of his side characters from his Forest Lord series (Sir Richard-at-Lee), set earlier in his life, before his return the England, fighting for the military orders (the Hospitallers),  set in Rhodes, on a mission seemingly of little importance, Richard soon finds himself fighting enemies that seem beyond mortal, and downright evil.

The novella is a splendid mix of Historical fiction, mystery story, action, adventure, conspiracy and supernatural. At 68 pages it’s a fast read, but feels longer, in that it sucks you into the tale very quickly. So prepare for the twists the turns, the blood and the gore, this is a McKay book after all and a very good one.

(Parm)

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Steven A McKay: The Wolf and the Raven (Review)

Author

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Biography

My second book, The Wolf and the Raven will be released on April 7th, get your pre-order in now and come meet me at the London Book Fair between April 8-10!I was born in 1977, near Glasgow in Scotland. I live in Old Kilpatrick with my wife and two young children. After obtaining my Bachelor of Arts degree I decided to follow my life-long ambition and write a novel.Historical fiction is my favourite genre, but I also enjoy old science-fiction and some fantasy.

Bernard Cornwell’s King Arthur series was my biggest influence in writing “Wolf’s Head”, but I’ve also really enjoyed recent books by guys like Ben Kane, Glyn Iliffe, Douglas Jackson and Simon Scarrow.

I play lead/acoustic guitars (and occasional bass) in a heavy metal band when we can find the time to meet up.

Wolf-and-Raven-Banner_Facebookbanner

Book Description

In the aftermath of a violent rebellion Robin Hood and his men must fight for survival with an enemy deadlier than any they’ve faced before…

1322. England is in disarray and Sir Guy of Gisbourne, the king’s own bounty hunter, stalks the greenwood, bringing bloody justice to the outlaws and rebels who hide there.
When things begin to go horribly wrong self-pity, grief and despair threaten to overwhelm the young wolf’s head who will need the support of his friends and family now more than ever. But Robin’s friends have troubles of their own and, this time, not all of them will escape with their lives…

Violence, betrayal, brutality and death come to vivid life in The Wolf and the Raven, the brilliant sequel to Amazon’s “War” chart number 1, Wolf’s Head.

w and r cover

Buy the eBook

Review

I’m always intrigued by a series starring Robin Hood, there haven’t been too many worth while series in recent years, but then along came Angus Donald with his brilliant series with the style godfather meets robin hood, i was hooked again. Out of the blue another new name appeared, admittedly self published but for me that’s never an impediment, in fact with some of the latest awesome writers, SJA Turney, Gorden Doherty and now Steven A McKay can really write, easily as well as those historical fiction authors being represented and published by the big mainstream publishing houses.

Steven was kind enough to ask me to beta read this book, which for a frustrated writer like myself is a wonderful insight into the writing process. It also meant much less of a wait between books. Book one saw the building of a new world, a different Robin Hood, a Robin Hood those in Nottinghamshire (where i live) would point and shout thief! As he moves Robin Hood away from the boundaries of his fabled home, north into Yorkshire. He manages to pull this off with some considerable style and makes it believable, which is key to this type of book.

Book two The Wolf and the Raven takes Robin Hoods band of men to the next stage, they are still on the wrong side of the law, but now worse they are on the wrong side of a rebellion, and there is a new name hunting Robin and his men. Guy of Gisbourne, and Guy is not the blonde clumsy wally from the TV series of the 80’s this Guy is a black clad killing machine with a devious scheming mind.

I’m not going to say that this is the complete novel, but it is a great fun read, Its well researched, well thought out and has a really fun interesting plot that carry’s you from first page to last with a fairly rapid pace its well worth paltry £2.26 that is the cover price.

So if you’re looking for something to whisk you back to medieval times for a journey around the woodlands dodging soldiers, living off the land, robbing the rich to live and giving back what you can, some classic Robin Hood mixed with some realistic wolf’s head exploits, then this is a series you need to read.

I feel there is a lot more to come from this series and this writer.

recommended

(Parm)

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