Category Archives: Thrillers

Thriller reviews

Matthew Reilly : The Great Zoo Of China (Review)

Matthew Reilly's picture

Matthew Reilly

Australia (1974 – )

Matthew Reilly was born in Sydney in 1974 and studied Law at the University of New South Wales. He has written both screenplays and magazine articles, and recently optioned the film rights to Contest. His second and third novels, Ice Station and Temple, became No. 1 bestsellers in his native Australia, and went on to enjoy huge success internationally. The author still lives in Sydney, and keeps on writing.

zoo

Product details

  • Hardcover: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Orion (12 Feb. 2015)
  • ISBN-10: 1409134253
  • ISBN-13: 978-1409134251
  • Product Dimensions: 16.3 x 4.7 x 24 cm

In the blockbuster and bestselling tradition of Jurassic Park comes the breakneck new adventure from the New York Times and #1 internationally bestselling author Matthew Reilly whose imaginative, cinematic thrillers “make you feel like a kid again; [they’re] a blast” (Booklist).

It is a secret the Chinese government has been keeping for forty years. They have proven the existence of dragons – a landmark discovery no one could ever believe is real, and a scientific revelation that will amaze the world. Now the Chinese are ready to unveil their astonishing findings within the greatest zoo ever constructed.

A small group of VIPs and journalists has been brought to the zoo deep within China to see these fabulous creatures for the first time. Among them is Dr. Cassandra Jane “CJ” Cameron, a writer for National Geographic and an expert on reptiles. The visitors are assured by their Chinese hosts that they will be struck with wonder at these beasts, that the dragons are perfectly safe, and that nothing can go wrong.

Of course it can’t..

Review (With Spoilers… not usual for me… but there you go)

I don’t normally write reviews for books that I score below a 4 star rating, but I felt compelled to write something about this one. I have always enjoyed the release of Matthew Reilly’s books, they are my escape from genre and reality. After spending so much time in the past sometimes I need something fantastical, something out there on the edge that tests your ability to suspend belief, where you are not wondering if a person could really have survived an encounter (we know that really they would have died in scene one).

What I think that readers of this genre do demand though is originality, and for the first time ever I think the author fails, there is no way anyone can do anything but compare this book to Jurassic park, only instead of Raptors and T-Rex chomping people to bits we have dragons. The author does add in a few nuances around intelligence (but we saw that with the raptors in Jurassic park) the Dragons desire to escape, again we saw that in Jurassic park. The hero (Geoff Goldblum) became a heroine (CJ Cameron), nice move, but she was just too much, she would have and should have died so many times, too many to swallow. Normally The authors weapon research is excellent, but this time they only worked to suit the author, eg: grenades that go off at the touch of a flame (nope) tanks and Apache helicopters destroyed in a blink, yet they (dragons) could not destroy a fire truck, and CJ… well charmed life with the odd scratch.

I know already that fans of the author will flame any review I add like this, if I put it on good reads or amazon I can ticker tape count the negative votes it will get. But I’m sorry that will be an emotive response… quick protect the poor fragile author. I’m pretty certain that he is expecting reviews like this, and maybe hoping to get away with out them. Reviews are a personal thing, so for me, personally this did not work, I’m sure it will for many other.

That said I still passed some fun hours, even if I scoffed at much of the action… but it really is a 3/5. The characters are fun as ever, the writing is splendidly paced as usual, but the plot was the let down… and that’s the first time I have ever said that for a Matthew Reilly book.

as with any book that isn’t to my taste… read it yourself, make up your own mind (just maybe save it for the pool on holiday when you have left the brain back at home.)

(Parm)

Scarecrow

1. Ice Station (1998)
2. Area 7 (2001)
3. Scarecrow (2003)
4. Hell Island (2006)
5. Scarecrow and the Army of Thieves (2011)
aka Scarecrow Returns
Ice Station / Hell Island (omnibus) (2007)
Ice StationArea 7ScarecrowHell IslandScarecrow and the Army of Thieves
Hover Car Racer
1. Crash Course (2005)
2. Full Throttle (2006)
3. Photo Finish (2007)
Hover Car Racer (2004)
Crash CourseFull ThrottlePhoto FinishHover Car Racer
Jack West Junior
1. The Seven Ancient Wonders (2005)
aka Seven Deadly Wonders
2. The Six Sacred Stones (2007)
3. The Five Greatest Warriors (2009)
The Seven Ancient WondersThe Six Sacred StonesThe Five Greatest Warriors
Tournament
Roger Ascham and the King’s Lost Girl (2013)
The Tournament (2013)
Roger Ascham and the King's Lost GirlThe Tournament
Troll Mountain Serial Novel
1. Troll Mountain: Episode I (2014)
2. Troll Mountain: Episode II (2014)
3. Troll Mountain: Episode III (2014)
Troll Mountain: The Complete Novel (2014)
Troll Mountain: Episode ITroll Mountain: Episode IITroll Mountain: Episode IIITroll Mountain: The Complete Novel
Novels
Temple (1999)
Contest (2000)
The Great Zoo of China (2014)
TempleContestThe Great Zoo of China
Series contributed to
Quick Reads 2006
Hell Island (2006)
Hell Island

 

 

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Filed under Action/ Adventure Thrillers, Matthew Reilly, Thrillers

2015: Titles i hope to review….

Every year around this time i post a list of books that i would like to review… its only ever a starter for 10, it only includes the ones i know, there are many i don’t, many that will be a surprise: Its a line in the sand (and maybe a hint for the lovely publishers 😉

I hope it also helps my fellow readers and bloggers know what is coming…..

Title Author Publisher Date
Rain on the Dead Jack Higgins Putnam 30/12/2014
The Providence of Fire: Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne: Book Two Brian Staveley Tor 15/01/2015
The Last Roman: Honour Jack Ludlow Allison & Busby 22/01/2015
The Mime Order (The Bone Season) Samantha Shannon Bloomsbury 27/01/2015
Blood Infernal: The Order of the Sanguines Series James Rollins, Rebecca Cantrell William Morrow 10/02/2015
Guns of the Dawn Adrian Tchaikovsky Tor 12/02/2015
The Autumn Republic (Powder Mage trilogy) Brian McClellan Orbit 12/02/2015
Master of War: Defiant Unto Death David Gilman Head of Zeus 12/02/2015
Kings and Emperors: An Alan Lewrie Naval Adventure (Alan Lewrie Naval Adventures) Dewey Lambdin Thomas Dunne 24/02/2015
Fields of Wrath: A Renshai Novel Mickey Zucker Reichert DAW 24/02/2015
Wings of the Storm Giles Kristian Bantam 25/02/2015
Those Above (The Empty Throne) Daniel Polansky Hodder 26/02/2015
Gallow: The Anvil Nathan Hawke Gollancz 26/02/2015
The Boy Who Wept Blood (Erebus Sequence 2) Den Patrick Gollancz 28/02/2015
Maximus Richard L. Black Shadow Mountain 03/03/2015
Rome’s Lost Son: Vespasian VI Robert Fabbri Atlantic Books 05/03/2015
Tom Swan and the Siege of Belgrade: Part Four Christian Cameron Orion 12/03/2015
The Assassin (Isaac Bell Series) Clive Cussler Michael Joseph 12/03/2015
Sword Of The North (The Grim Company) Luke Scull Head of Zeus 12/03/2015
Empire of the Moghul: Traitors in the Shadows Alex Rutherford Headline 09/04/2015
Eagles at War: (Eagles of Rome 1) Ben Kane Preface 09/04/2015
Tom Swan and the Siege of Belgrade: Part Five Christian Cameron Orion 09/04/2015
Gallow: Solace Nathan Hawke Gollancz 09/04/2015
The Skull Throne (The Demon Cycle, Book 4) Peter V. Brett Harper Voyager 09/04/2015
The Patriot Threat (Cotton Malone) Steve Berry Hodder 09/04/2015
Thunder of the Gods (Empire) Anthony Riches Hodder 16/04/2015
The Curse of Anne Boleyn C C Humphreys May-15
Keane’s Charge Iain Gale Heron Books 07/05/2015
At the Ruin of the World John Henry Clay Hodder 07/05/2015
At the Ruin of the World John Henry Clay Hodder 07/05/2015
Absolution (The Carnivia Trilogy) Jonathan Holt Head of Zeus 07/05/2015
The Girl Who Walked Into The Fire Manda Scott Bantam 07/05/2015
The Watchman of Eternity Paul Witcover Bantam 07/05/2015
The Seeker (Damian Seeker 1) S. G. MacLean Quercus 07/05/2015
Solomon Creed Simon Toyne Harper Collins 07/05/2015
Black River Tom Harper Hodder 07/05/2015
Tom Swan and the Siege of Belgrade: Part Six Christian Cameron Orion 14/05/2015
Blood and Steel (Throne of the Caesars, Book 2) Harry Sidebottom Harper Collins 21/05/2015
Piranha (Oregon Files) Clive Cussler Putnam 26/05/2015
Greatcoat’s Lament Sebastien De Castell Jo Fletcher 02/06/2015
Tintagel Book 1 M. K. Hume Headline 04/06/2015
Whose Business is to Die Adrian Goldsworthy W&N 11/06/2015
The King’s Assassin Angus Donald Sphere 15/06/2015
The Liar’s Key (Red Queen’s War, Book 2) Mark Lawrence Harper Voyager 18/06/2015
Queen of Fire: Book 3 of Raven’s Shadow Anthony Ryan Orbit 02/07/2015
The Bone Labyrinth: A Sigma Force Novel (Sigma Force Novels) James Rollins William Morrow 02/07/2015
Uprooted Naomi Novak Tor 02/07/2015
The Immortal Throne Stella Gemmell Bantam 02/07/2015
Kingmaker 2: Betrayal Toby Clements Century 02/07/2015
The Insider Threat: A Pike Logan Thriller Brad Taylor Dutton 07/07/2015
Wars of the Roses: Margaret of Anjou Conn Iggulden Putnam 16/07/2015
The Madagaskar Plan Guy Saville Hodder 16/07/2015
Ruin John Gwynne Tor 16/07/2015
Ruin John Gwynne Tor 16/07/2015
Marston Moor (The Civil War Chronicles) Michael Arnold Hodder 16/07/2015
Half a War (Shattered Sea) Joe Abercrombie Harper Voyager 28/07/2015
Hereward: The Immortals: (Hereward 5) James Wilde Bantam 30/07/2015
Vanishing Games Roger Hobbs DoubleDay 30/07/2015
The Protector S.J. Deas Headline 30/07/2015
Saxon: The Pope’s Assassin Tim Severin Macmillan 30/07/2015
The Eternal World Christopher Farnsworth William Morrow 04/08/2015
Salamis Christian Cameron Orion 13/08/2015
Fool’s Quest (Fitz and the Fool, Book 2) Robin Hobb Harper Voyager 13/08/2015
Sword of Apollo Noble Smith Thomas Dunne 18/08/2015
Scourge of Rome: Gaius Valerius Verrens 6 Douglas Jackson Bantam 27/08/2015
A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms George R. R. Martin Harper Voyager 06/10/2015
The Prisoner’s Gold (The Hunters 3) Chris Kuzneski Headline 08/10/2015
The City of Mirrors Justin Cronin Orion 08/10/2015
The Hanging Tree Ben Aaronovitch Gollancz 19/11/2015
War Hawk James Rollins, Grant Blackwood Orion 07/01/2016
Fire C C Humphreys Century 05/05/2016
King of Ashes (The War of Five Crowns, Book 1) Raymond E. Feist Harper Voyager 05/05/2016
The Ember in the Ashes: The Book and the Sword: 2 Antoine Rouaud Gollancz 16/06/2016
Robin Hobb Untitled 3 (Fitz and the Fool, Book 3) Robin Hobb Harper Voyager 14/07/2016

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Filed under Action/ Adventure Thrillers, Crime, Dystopian, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Non Fiction, Supernatural, Thrillers, Young Adult

Parmenion Books 2014 : The best books i have read this year.

As i do every year i have struggled and struggled with this list. How do you compile it, who goes in it etc… There are so so many great books in 2014 and many many authors not mentioned who deserve a mention, EG: Paul Collard, Anthony Riches, Douglas Jackson, SJA Turney, Robert Fabbri, Michael Arnold, Ben Kane, Nick Brown, Conn Iggulden, Simon Scarrow, Alex Scarrow, Harry Sidebottom, Angus Donald, Andy McDermott, Sam Sykes, SJ Deas/Nathan Hawke, James Wilde … see what i mean!!

There was a new Robin Hobb this year, CC Humphreys produced another splendid book, The very underrated Noble Smith had his second book out, there were some debuts that blew me away, inc I.D Roberts and Kingdom Lock and Toby Clements Kingmaker… If someone could figure out how i could just sit and read and still earn a living please let me know… because keeping up with all these amazing writers is becoming a full time gig, i think at last count i have read 127 books this year (and i still have time to get over the 130 mark).

Best of the year.

Best Short Story

Part Three (2013)

Tom Swan: Christian Cameron Blog Review

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Print Length: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Orion (20 Nov 2014)

Best Short Story/ Novella Honourable Mention

Murder at KH

Murder at the Kinnen Hotel Brian McClellen Blog Review

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Print Length: 74 pages
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.

Best Compilation:

DOF

Day of Fire: Stephanie Dray, Ben Kane, E. Knight, Sophie Perinot, Kate Quinn, Vicky Alvear Shecter Blog Review

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Print Length: 340 pages
  • Publisher: Knight Media, LLC (4 Nov 2014)

 Best Fantasy (Joint Winner)

The Incorruptables

The Incorruptibles: John Horner Blog Review

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz (14 Aug 2014)

One of the splendid debuts this year, incredible world building.

Fools

Prince of Fools : Mark Lawrence Blog Review

  • Hardcover: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Voyager (5 Jun 2014)

First in a wonderful new series, by a man who is a master of the genre (and a bloomin nice chap too)

 Best Historical Fiction

GoV

God of Vengeance : Giles Kristian Blog Review

Trailer Shoot (Behind the Scenes)

Book Trailer

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam Press (24 April 2014)

(many will note that I have not picked a Christian Cameron book for best Historical Fiction, it was a deliberate omission to allow others to shine forth. Both Long War and Great King are books that could have sat along side this title, But i felt that God of Vengeance deserved to shave it on pure merit, it’s a stupendous piece of writing. Giles writing has a poetic almost musical quality even when the blood is flying and the swords are singing, hence my winner)

 Best Crime

abduction

The Abduction: Jonathan Holt Blog Review

A very evocative crime thriller, transports the reader.

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Head of Zeus (8 May 2014)

Best SCi Fi

red rising

Red Rising: Pierce Brown Blog Review

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton (28 Jan 2014)

One of the best debuts i have ever read.

 Best Action Adventure

Ptramid+Headline+jacket

Pyramid: David Gibbins Blog Review

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Headline (6 Nov 2014)

A man who lives his craft, he is Jack Howard, and it shows on every page.

 Best Debut

traitors blade

Traitors Blade: Sebastian De Castell Blog Review

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Jo Fletcher Books (6 Mar 2014)

The Dumas for the fantasy genre, and a stupendous debut.

Best Young Adult

half a king US Half a King UK

Half a King: Joe abercrombie Blog Review

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Voyager; 1st edition (3 July 2014)

People said Joe Abercrombie couldn’t write Young Adult…. oh so wrong.

 Non Book Highlights

53a 2014-06-16 18.02.10

Thorkil Jewellery Blog Review

A master craftsman, bringing the past to life using very old tools and skills.

2014: Book that affected me the most:

goldenred rising

To be Honest it is Golden Son by Pierce Brown, but technically that a 2015 release, so I will instead choose Red Rising. I really do NOT like SCiFi, fantasy, history,crime etc… love it, most genres I really enjoy, I watch SciFi, but I cannot read it. Yet Red Rising  (and Golden Son) had me in their grip from first page to last. I enjoyed them immensley. Pierce Brown is a very very talented man.

Blog Review (Golden Son)

  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton (8 Jan 2015)

I look forward to sharing 2015 with you all, publishers, readers, reviewers, everyone. this is a hobby that gives and gives, i hope im giving back in some small way.

(Parm)

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Filed under Action/ Adventure Thrillers, Crime, Dystopian, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Supernatural, Thrillers, Uncategorized, Young Adult

Pierce Brown Golden Son (Review)

Pierce Brown's picture

Pierce Brown

USA
Pierce Brown spent his childhood building forts and setting traps for his cousins in the woods of six states and the deserts of two. Graduating college in 2010, he fancied the idea of continuing his studies at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have a magical bone in his body. So while trying to make it as a writer, he worked as a manager of social media at a startup tech company, toiled as a peon on the Disney lot at ABC Studios, did his time as an NBC page, and gave sleep deprivation a new meaning during his stint as an aide on a U.S. Senate Campaign.
Now he lives in Los Angeles, where he scribbles tales of spaceships, wizards, ghouls, and most things old or bizarre.

Book Description

Buy the Books from Amazon UK

Buy a signed copy from the USA

golden

Ender’s Game meets The Hunger Games in this, the second in an extraordinary trilogy from an incredible new voice.

‘I’m still playing games. This is just the deadliest yet.’

Darrow is a rebel forged by tragedy. For years he and his fellow Reds worked the mines, toiling to make the surface of Mars inhabitable. They were, they believed, mankind’s last hope. Until Darrow discovered that it was all a lie, and that the Red were nothing more than unwitting slaves to an elitist ruling class, the Golds, who had been living on Mars in luxury for generations.

In RED RISING, Darrow infiltrated Gold society, to fight in secret for a better future for his people. Now fully embedded amongst the Gold ruling class, Darrow continues his dangerous work to bring them down from within. It’s a journey that will take him further than he’s ever been before – but is Darrow truly willing to pay the price that rebellion demands?

A life-or-death tale of vengeance with an unforgettable hero at its heart, Golden Son guarantees Pierce Brown’s continuing status as one of fiction’s most exciting new voices.

Review

When i started reading the first book in this series it was because i had been told by some very reliable people “Its amazing”, the reason i needed convincing was due to the fact that i simply never ever read space books, i love to watch SCIFI but i cannot read it.

It takes something very rare to capture me and make me break that rule and i expected to ditch Red Rising after a couple of chapters, only to find myself utterly absorbed in this heroic tale of flawed human beings in a deeply flawed society. Red Rising was a total triumph, and yet still a Young Adult novel and held back slightly.

Golden Son doesn’t, it pushes every boundary, friendships are made and lost, alliances or created and broken, worlds and the whole of human society is in flux, all because Darrow has been raised, carved into Gold to cause waves, to put the whole of the current status quo into question, to challenge the rule of gold, to save the other colours of humanity, to save mankind/ society from its own entropy, from the evil arrogance and entitlement that has become the golds lot in life, bred for war, bred to be the cream of society, both physically and mentally.

I really don’t want to delve into the plot too much because i don’t want to spoil anything for anyone else, but know that there is so much covered, Darrow must face the sovereign the leader of the Golds, he must confront his former friend Cassius and his family, he will meet Are’s and find out who his real friends are and who will betray him. This book astounded me, when i finished it last night i was utterly elated, deflated, battered exhausted and full of longing for book 3… its simply a brilliant book, written by such a talented writer.

As its Dec 2014 i have no issue saying that not only will this make my Top 10 for 2014 this will be joining one other title as joint book of the year for Parmenion Books in 2014, my top 10 to be announced in the next couple of weeks.

I cannot recommend this book/ series highly enough

(Parm)

Series

 

Red Rising
1. Red Rising (2014)
2. Golden Son (2015)
Red RisingGolden Son

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Filed under Action/ Adventure Thrillers, Dystopian, Fantasy, Pierce Brown, Thrillers, Young Adult

David Gibbins: Pyramid (review)

‘What do you get if you cross Indiana Jones with Dan Brown? Answer: David Gibbins’

David+Gibbins+Author+2010

BIOGRAPHY (in authors own words)

Much of the inspiration for my novels comes from my own experiences as an archaeologist and diver. I was born in Canada to English parents, and have divided my time between the two countries when I’ve not been on expeditions and travelling. After taking a first-class honours degree from the University of Bristol I completed a PhD in archaeology at the University of Cambridge, and then spent almost ten years as an academic in England before becoming a writer full-time. I’ve been a passionate diver since boyhood, and have led many expeditions to investigate ancient shipwrecks in the Mediterranean and elsewhere in the world.

The photo in the banner was taken when I was a graduate student, and shows me examining pottery from a Roman shipwreck excavated under my direction off Sicily. To find out more about my background and interests, click on the boxes below and follow my blog

Ptramid+Headline+jacket

 

For thousands of years, Egypt was a rich, ingenious civilization. Then it became a fertile hunting ground for archaeologists and explorers. Now the streets of Cairo teem with violence as a political awakening shakes the region.

Archaeologist Jack Howard has connected a mystery hidden inside a great pyramid to a fossilized discovery in the Red Sea and a 150-year-old handwritten report of a man who claims to have escaped a labyrinth beneath Cairo. For that his team is stalked by a brutal extremist organization that will destroy any treasure they find.

As people fight and die for their rights above ground, Jack fights for a discovery that will shed an astounding new light on the greatest story ever told: Moses’s exodus from Egypt and the true beginnings of a new chapter in human history.

Review:

I have taken my time on this one, i wanted to read an review a little after the book had come out, i also wanted to go back and re-read Pharaoh, to give me that continuity of story arc in a back to back read.

I’m glad i did, for me i love that extended storyline, the two books blending so well (yet i can see how they work as stand alone entities) . There has it seems been a story arc in David Gibbins books that has developed and matured over the 8 books written in the Jack Howard series. When i first started reading this author back in 2005, it was with a view to having found a nice fluffy new brain wipe thriller writer, one with a historical twist and not too much conspiracy. What i have got instead has been an ongoing growth in story and characters, a plot that developed in depth and complexity as the series progressed, as the author brought to the fore more and more fantastic yet highly plausible scenarios for famous historical figures or locations. That then evolved again in book 6 when the author delved deeper into the location and reasoning for Atlantis, and its ties to Europe and its development, the development of language and nations all of this wrapped up in a highly thrilling adventure story.

Then comes Pyramid, this book brings everything full circle, the characters, the plot, the hypothetical journey of mankind and which nation influenced which (Greece or Egypt), all of this told against the backdrop of an Egypt going up in flames, literally. The descendants of the Mahdi (out for revenge for a slight 100 years old, committed by Kitchener after the death or Gordon of Khartoum ), the Jihadists, infiltrating all levels of government until Egypt is ready to fall, and with it the western worlds cradle of archaeology. The country that captures the imagination with its immense age and towering monuments, all at risk, and Jack and Costas searching for the last clues to 10 years of searching, a trail of clues spanning 8 books, to find Akhenaten, his links to Moses and what drove these men, one to destroy and army and turn against his gods and another to found a people.

The final chapters of this book are utterly breathless, not just because the many times one or both of our heroes are down to little or no air left, but the power and pace of the story. David Gibbins captures the feel, sights and sounds of a city tearing its self apart, descending back into the dark ages. Sinking to levels of depravity that the mind shies away from. I applaud the authors skill and also bravery in describing the scenes so well, nothing is glorified, it is reported giving it the feel of a CNN news crew at the heart of the destruction and horror, yet keeping the thriller and mystery of the plot going.

I truly enjoyed this book, the horror and the fear, the potential for disaster should be mandatory reading to everyone, to understand what we could lose if groups like ISIS ever made it into control of wonders like Egypt, and the wonders we are losing in places like Syria, and the suffering of the people already under the control of these people. At the same time as this serious plot line is an utterly compelling historical adventure thriller, delivered by a man who lives and breathes the archaeology.

Highly Recommended

(Parm)

Series

 

Jack Howard
1. Atlantis (2005)
2. Crusader Gold (2006)
3. The Last Gospel (2008)
aka The Lost Tomb
4. The Tiger Warrior (2009)
5. The Mask of Troy (2010)
6. The Gods of Atlantis (2011)
aka Atlantis God
7. Pharaoh (2013)
8. Pyramid (2014)
The Atlantis Collection: Atlantis / Crusader Gold / The Last Gospel (omnibus) (2014)
AtlantisCrusader GoldThe Last GospelThe Tiger WarriorThe Mask of TroyThe Gods of AtlantisPharaohPyramid
The Atlantis Collection: Atlantis / Crusader Gold / The Last Gospel
 Total War Rome
1. Destroy Carthage (2013)
2. Sword of Attila (2015)
Destroy Carthage

 

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Filed under Action/ Adventure Thrillers, David Gibbins, Historical Fiction, Thrillers

Jonathan Holt: The Abduction (review)

Jonathan Holt

jh
Jonathan Holt read English at Oxford, and is now the creative director of an advertising agency. He has travelled widely in Italy, where he fell in love with its language, food and people. He lives in London.

Book Description

abduction

The Abduction is the heart-pounding, adrenaline-fuelled follow up to Jonathan Holt’s highly acclaimed international thriller The Abomination – a modern tale of mystery, treachery, and intrigue that moves between the physical and virtual worlds of Venice, Italy, blurring the boundary between dark fantasy and terrifying reality.

An unlikely trio must form an alliance to save a kidnapped young girl and untangle a nefarious plot that reaches back decades.

Second Lieutenant Holly Boland is an intelligence analyst trained to look for clues ordinary investigators miss. When a U.S. army officer’s daughter is kidnapped from an American base in Venice, Holly is sure that the mysterious abductors want more than a ransom.

Venetian police captain Kat Tapo has found a webcam feed embedded in the encrypted website Carnivia.com, a virtual Venice. It streams video of a terrified teenage girl, hooded and tied to a chair. A strand of text scrolls across the screen: “Sensory deprivation is not torture.” Is the girl the missing daughter of the American military officer? Who is behind the cryptic message?

Daniele Barbo, the genius webmaster and creator of Carnivia, has never let the government access his servers, and finding the missing girl is not his problem. But then secrets from Italy’s dark wartime past begin to surface – revelations that could put them all in danger. To save his own skin, Daniel must decide how far he’s willing to let them in.

In a race against time, Holly, Kat, and Daniel must find the shocking truth . . . or watch as more than one innocent life is sacrificed.

Review

Book two for any author can almost be harder than book one, can you write it? are you a one hit wonder? how will it be received, can you reach the heady heights of a great book one?

There is no need to be concerned with Jonathan Holt and The Abduction, if anything, its better than The Abomination. The author does walk a fine line with the conspiracy theory and the church, but aren’t all the best books the ones that make you think….could it be? would they? And in the case of the church make you wince just a little.

As per book one the writing is excellent, with well balanced and carefully constructed characters. A plot that is skilfully woven, full of intrigue, mystery, tense drama and the wonderful history of ancient Venice and unlike another famous author, his tour of Venice didn’t come across like a bad tour guide…although Mr Holt does have a habit of making you Hungry with his culinary descriptions.

This latest book is conspiracy thriller as it should be written, powerful and energetic, ancient and modern worlds colliding, at the same time as we tour the real and the virtual world of Venice. This is truly the type of crime fiction I need to read and I cant wait for book three.

(Parm)

Carnivia Trilogy
1. The Abomination (2013)
2. The Abduction (2014)
The AbominationThe Abduction

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Filed under Crime, Jonathan Holt, Supernatural, Thrillers

Edward Cox : Relic Guild (review)

Edward Cox's picture

Edward Cox

UK (1971 – )

Edward Cox began writing stories at school as a way to pass time in boring lessons. It was a hobby he dabbled with until the late 80’s when he discovered the works of David Gemmell, which not only cemented his love of fantasy but also encouraged a hobby to become something much more serious.

With his first short story published in 2000, Edward spent much of the next decade earning a BA 1st class with honours in creative writing, and a Master degree in the same subject. He then went on to teach creative writing at the University of Bedfordshire. During the 2000’s he published a host of short stories with the smaller presses of America, where he also worked as a reviewer.

Currently living in Essex with his wife and daughter, Edward is mostly surrounded by fine greenery and spiders the size of his hand. The Relic Guild is his first completed novel, and it is the result of more than ten years of obsessive writing.

The Relic Guild

(2014)
A novel by Edward Cox

Buy a signed copy from Goldsboro Books

Relic

Magic caused the war. Magic is forbidden. Magic will save us.

It was said the Labyrinth had once been the great meeting place, a sprawling city at the heart of an endless maze where a million humans hosted the Houses of the Aelfir. The Aelfir who had brought trade and riches, and a future full of promise. But when the Thaumaturgists, overlords of human and Aelfir alike, went to war, everything was ruined and the Labyrinth became an abandoned forbidden zone, where humans were trapped behind boundary walls 100 feet high.

Now the Aelfir are a distant memory and the Thaumaturgists have faded into myth. Young Clara struggles to survive in a dangerous and dysfunctional city, where eyes are keen, nights are long, and the use of magic is punishable by death. She hides in the shadows, fearful that someone will discover she is touched by magic. She knows her days are numbered. But when a strange man named Fabian Moor returns to the Labyrinth, Clara learns that magic serves a higher purpose and that some myths are much more deadly in the flesh.

The only people Clara can trust are the Relic Guild, a secret band of magickers sworn to protect the Labyrinth. But the Relic Guild are now too few. To truly defeat their old nemesis Moor, mightier help will be required. To save the Labyrinth – and the lives of one million humans – Clara and the Relic Guild must find a way to contact the worlds beyond their walls.

Review

Debut novels are always a treat for me, they are among of my favourite reads in the year, not because they are often the best books, but because they are the hope for the future of writing in their genre and in some cases across genres.

Reading Edward Cox’s bio was straight away a draw for me, a man who enjoys Gemmell, who’s love for reading and fantasy grew from my own personal all-time favourite writer. This fills me with hope as a reader, but also dread, will they try to be DG? Or will they be unique and exemplify his best traits?

Relic Guild shows a bit of a mix, the author clearly shows a great skill for characterisation, he has spent a great deal of time weaving the plot so that the reader is drip fed the importance of the plot while surrounded by the adventure. He incorporates one of Gemmell’s best character traits the flawed hero, Old Man Sam being a mix of deadly Bounty hunter, a man who can kill without compunction, who is utterly remorseless if he needs to be, a man of legend (see my sneaky Gemmell reference) this is mixed with his non nonsense dialogue, a demeanour that holds you at bay but at the same time makes you want to know more about this man who has truly lived his life. As with DG you need to blend this type of character with others who offer humour, genuine laugh out loud moments, this is embodied well in Hamir the necromancer, a man with a sense of humour after my own heart, at times a darkly humours little swine, and there are many many more well thought out well fashioned characters, making you want to be part of the story, not an observer.

One of the truly interesting styles in the book was the introduction of timeslip, the story being told in 2 time periods, I know this device is regularly used in thrillers, but I cant think of another Fantasy that uses it (im sure you can all point out how wrong I am). Its this that made me look further that the style and realise, that while the author uses some of the best parts of Gemmells style he has brought something new, a little bit of darkness of Grim Dark, a bit of the flawed hero, the pace of a good thriller, the western style of Abercrombies Red Country / John Horners Incorruptibles mixed with that little dose of horror and blended it into a wonderful unique tale. My only criticism would be a slight tendancy to get wordy, but only slight and for a debut it’s a cracking read, im simply stunned it’s a debut.

This truly is a do not miss fantasy title for 2014, right up there with the stunning Incorruptibles and Traitors Blade

(Parm)

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J T Brannan: Whatever the cost (Review)

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JT Brannan is the Bradford-born author of high-concept thrillers.

Trained as a British Army officer at Sandhurst, before deciding to pursue a writing career, he is a former national Karate champion and doorman.

He now writes full-time, and teaches martial arts in Harrogate, where he lives with his wife and two young children.

He is currently working on his next novel.

 

Whatever the Cost

(2014)
(A book in the Mark Cole series)
A novel by J T Brannan

Buy the e-book

whatever the cost

A Chinese cargo ship is hijacked off the coast of Indonesia by ruthless pirates; North Korea is involved in a covert plan to reunify the country by taking control of the South; and in Saudi Arabia, a terrifying new terrorist group has emerged that threatens to destabilize the entire world.

Adrift and psychologically damaged after the brutal murder of his family, ex-covert operative Mark Cole stumbles across a clue which might lead him to the hijacked ship. Realizing that it offers the opportunity to give him a purpose in life, Cole sets out to find the ship in a bid to earn redemption for his past.

From a gun market in the ancient jungles of Cambodia, to the teeming streets of Jakarta, Cole stumbles upon a plot far greater than the simple hijacking of a ship; and as he battles against North Korean agents and Islamic fundamentalists, he promises himself that he will do whatever it takes to stop the unleashing of a terrifying jihad which threatens the Western world like never before.

Review

Firstly, my apologies to the author, not sure how i have let this slip through my reading net until now. I really enjoyed the first Mark Cole tale (Stop at nothing) , and was immensely pleased to see a quote from it on the new front cover.

So how does the follow-up novella “Whatever the Cost” stack up after such a brilliant book 1?

What i love about Mark Cole is that he embodies everything that’s fun in an action thriller, he is the consequential Bond, in that he is just so damn good, both tactically and martially. He is a weapons expert, an unarmed combat specialist, well almost to Bruce Wayne levels, bringing in lethal arts from India that go beyond power and speed. More than this though he is fallible, remorseful, punished by his doubts, his failings and in this book while he punishes himself he comes to a deeper understanding of himself and his own motivations, (this isn’t just a fluff character who fights a lot), that’s a continuation of the Jason Bourne element, the doubt, the unknown, the reactions taking over ahead of conscious thought.

All that powerful characterisation is blended with what is rapidly becoming the norm for this author, plots devilishly woven together, so large, so devious and malicious as to at first be implausible, but the worst disasters are the most implausible, who could have envisaged the hijacking of passenger jets and their use as weapons of destruction? J T Brannan, takes our worst fears as a civilised society and gives them voice in the potential for Armageddon, be it globally in Extinction, or nationally in Whatever the cost. At every turn when you expect the tension to subside he cranks up the pace, and the plot twists one more time, coming to a thrilling conclusion.

I cant wait to get my hands on Beyond all Limits, and what ever novel he has in the work. The books are always a breakneck thrill ride and just the sort of escapism i want when sitting down for an escapist read.

Highly recommended

(Parm)

Mark Cole
Stop at Nothing (2014)
Whatever the Cost (2014)
Beyond All Limits (2014)
Stop at NothingWhatever the CostBeyond All Limits
Adventures of Sally Johnson
How I Accidently Helped Columbus Discover America(2014)
How I Accidently Helped Columbus Discover America
Novels
Origin (2012)
Extinction (2014)
OriginExtinction
Novellas
Destructive Thoughts (2014)
Destructive Thoughts

 

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John Carter: Last Judgement (Review)

John Carter

mystery

John Carter is an author who writes books for Penguin. Officially, John Carter is the pseudonym of a bestselling novelist and academic who lives in the US.

Unofficially, he is an unapologetic addict of toast, mildly obsessed with hiking, and when pressed will admit to not having written The Hunt for Red October.

You can follow him on Twitter @JohnCarterAuth

You can also find him on Facebook at facebook.com/johncarterauthor

Web site Click Here

Book Description

Last Judgement

Last Judgement is a rip-roaring conspiracy thriller debut from John Carter.

In a hidden chamber off the coast of Nova Scotia an ancient tablet has been unearthed. Under layers of dirt is a series of symbols that will lead to one of the greatest treasures the world has ever known. For over 650 years it had remained undiscovered.

Angela Derby, the woman behind the discovery, enlists the help of ex-army Captain, Jack Shepherd and together they decipher the runes and begin a journey across the world. But they are not the only ones seeking the treasure and their quest soon becomes a race to stay alive.

Review

It you love action thrillers, conspiracy thrillers and books which take the unsolved and give you a reasoned (if fantastic) scenario to fill in the blanks, then whats not to like in this book. Its got the mystery of the Templar Knights, a group that has filled hundreds of thousands of pages of thrillers and still in every new one manages to capture the imagination. John Carter (or whom ever he really is….man that’s going to bug me) has utilised Time-slip style to tell the story, jumping from the death of the last Grand Master in 1314 to modern day america and state of the art archaeology with out treasure hunters. We follow the journey of one of the last Knights Templar, escaping the purge of his order, but also on his road to revenge , whilst at the same time we follow that journey in modern times using the clues this Knight left behind and a small group of well funded professionals all with their own reasons for tracking him.

This type of book is very easy to say “yeah right, as if” , but its also very easy to suspend disbelief, to let yourself go and be subsumed by the fantastical and be pulled into a well told story, especially when its told so well and filled with great research into the history being used to drive the plot. The main thrust of the journey rips across the world, taking our heroes from America all the way across the world, the pace is addictive and stops you putting the book down at, even at 1am, stealing sleep at every opportunity. Its that fantastic pace that is used to hide the purpose of the plot, and that you need to read the book to find out, but be warned this book is not just a treasure hunt, there is much more to it, and well worth the time spent on it.

If you are still due to go on holiday, then this is the pool side book you must take with you, if you need a book to eclipse a wet autumn / winter weekend, then look no further, Although this seems to be a debut book by John Carter but Carter is the pseudonym of a successful thriller writer and it shows in this book.

If i had to be slightly critical (and this is purely my own person observation.. i know others who share my enjoyment of this type of book think differently) i found myself wondering why Jack Joined the group, he didn’t provide a stunning difference to the group in terms of skills and he also felt a bit wooden at times. I found the Blackburn’s very well written and also Angela Derby, and also all past characters, Jack felt like the linchpin to pull it together and follow the story, and as such more of a plot leader than a real person… i hope in book 2 he will gain some depth (i’m sure he will, given the writing skill of the author).

I certainly recommend this thriller, but that doesn’t mean i wont be looking for improvement in book 2 (sorry have to push)

(Parm)

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Andy McDermott: Kingdom of Darkness (Review)

Author: Andy McDermott

Andy McD

Andy McDermott is the international bestselling author of the Nina Wilde/Eddie Chase series of adventure thrillers, the first of which, THE HUNT FOR ATLANTIS, became a New York Times bestseller on its September 2009 publication in the United States. He is currently working on his twelfth novel.

Born in Halifax, England, and a graduate of Keele University, Andy now lives in Bournemouth, where he works as a full-time writer. Previously, he was an entertainment journalist and the editor of such magazines as DVD Review and the iconoclastic film publication Hotdog, where his lifelong love of movies (and vast knowledge of movie trivia) finally became a useful job skill. He has also worked as a cartoonist, graphic designer and videogame reviewer, and written for the award-winning British sci-fi comic2000AD.

Author Web Site

Kingdom of Darkness (2014)
(The tenth book in the Nina Wilde and Eddie Chase series)

Kingdom of darkness

 

Buy the book

“What’s the connection between a dig in Alexandria for Alexander the Great’s tomb and a wanted Nazi war criminal?

Nina and Eddie about to find out as they go on a search across the globe, from Egypt to Argentina and Italy to Iran, to find the truth. They have located the most exciting archaeological treasures the world has ever known – they have found Atlantis and walked in the Garden of Eden, they have wielded Excalibur and seen the vast sums of gold in El Dorado.
Could they now be about to find the greatest prize of all – the secret to eternal life?

Full of his trademark action, thrills and humour, this is Andy McDermott’s most exciting novel to date and marks the 10th novel featuring his brilliant series leads, Nina Wilde and Eddie Chase.”

Review

I’ve always been a little astounded by the books from Andy McDermott, first that he could write so fast, these are not small books, but look at his track record, his first six books were published in three years, in 7 years Eleven novels (Stunning). Each and every book has been a epic thrill ride, worthy of any Hollywood studio / film writer. Which brings me to my amazement that none of these books have been made into a big budget film.

So Kingdom of Darkness, probably the least OTT of the series, but this is a series you read for the wild thrill ride, not plausibility. That said its also well researched, down to some very fine detail (both the modern and the historical) and always remains just within the bounds of possible. This time, throw in Nazis’s, Alexander the Great and a secret to eternal life and you have an absolute winner.  With any great thriller, to talk to much about the plot is a spoiler, and same about the back story. Needless to say for those who read this series Eddie Chase is his usual puntastic self, Nina gets them into the thick of trouble with her single minded pursuit of legend and along the way there will be wild chases, explosions, bullets galore and twists and turns so mind bendingly good you will be guessing all the way to the end.

In summary: An excellent thriller, exhausting, Laugh out loud funny and gobsmackingly heartbreaking.

If you like high octane thrillers then you CANNOT miss this book.

(Parm)

 

 

Series
Nina Wilde and Eddie Chase
1. The Hunt for Atlantis (2007)
2. The Tomb of Hercules (2008)
3. The Secret of Excalibur (2008)
4. The Covenant of Genesis (2009)
5. The Cult of Osiris (2009)
aka The Pyramid of Doom
6. The Sacred Vault (2010)
aka The Vault Of Shiva
7. Empire of Gold (2011)
8. Temple of the Gods (2011)
aka Return to Atlantis
9. The Valhalla Prophecy (2014)
10. Kingdom of Darkness (2014)
The Hunt for AtlantisThe Tomb of HerculesThe Secret of ExcaliburThe Covenant of GenesisThe Cult of OsirisThe Sacred VaultThe Sacred VaultTemple of the GodsThe Valhalla ProphecyKingdom of Darkness
Novels
The Persona Protocol (2013)
aka The Shadow Protocol
The Persona Protocol

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Filed under Action/ Adventure Thrillers, Andy McDermott, Historical Fiction