Category Archives: Uncategorized

Sherrilyn Kenyon: Dead Men Walking (Blog Tour)

Sherrilyn Kenyon

Author Bio

About the author:

Writing as Sherrilyn Kenyon and Kinley MacGregor, she is the New York Times bestselling and award-winning author of several series: the Dark-Hunters; the Lords of Avalon; and the League. She lives with her husband and three sons in Nashville, Tennessee.

www.sherrilynkenyon.com

www.twitter.com/kenyonsherrilyn

www.facebook.com/AuthorSherrilynKenyon

Deadmen tell their tales . . .

To catch evil, it takes evil. Enter Devyl Bane – an ancient dark warlord returned to the human realm as one of the most notorious pirates in the New World. A man of many secrets, Bane makes a pact with Thorn – an immortal charged with securing the worst creations the ancient gods ever released into our world. Those powers have been imprisoned for eons behind enchanted gates . . . gates that are beginning to buckle. At Thorn’s behest, Bane takes command of a crew of Deadmen: humanity’s last hope to restore the gates.

But things are never so simple. And one of Bane’s biggest problems is the ship they sail upon. For the Sea Witch isn’t just a vessel, she’s also a woman born of an ancient people he wronged – a woman who is also sister to their primary target. Now Marcelina, the Sea Witch, must choose. Either she remains loyal to her evil sister and watches humanity fall, or she puts her faith in an enemy who has already betrayed her. Her people over the totality of humanity? Let’s hope Bane can sway her favour. . .

Other titles by Sherrilyn Kenyon out in 2017

Dragonmark

Paperback | £8.99 | 2nd February 2017 | Dark-Hunter series

 

Centuries ago, Illarion was betrayed – a dragon made human against his will, then forced to serve humanity as a dragonmount in their army, and to fight for them in barbaric wars, even while he hated everything about them. Enslaved and separated from everyone he knew and from his own dragon brothers, he was forced into exile in a fey realm where he lost the only thing he ever really loved.

Now he has a chance to regain what’s been lost – to have the one thing he covets most. But only if he gives up his brothers and forsakes the oaths he holds most dear. Yet what terrifies him most isn’t the cost his happiness might incur, it’s the fact that there is just enough human in his dragon’s heart that he might actually be willing to pay it and betray everything and everyone – to see the entire  world burn . . .

Born of Vengeance

Hardback | £20 | 7th February 2017 | League series

 

Bastien Cabarro survived the brutal slaughter of his entire family only to have his wife pin their murders on him. Made Ravin by The League, he is now a target for their assassins-in-training to hunt and kill. The average life expectancy for such beings is six weeks. But defying the odds is what this Gyron Force officer does best, and Bastien won’t rest until he lays his betrayers in their graves.

Ten years later, he has one chance to balance the scales of justice, provided he relies on his former wingman – the very sister of the woman who testified against him.

** Born of Legend (paperback edition) will be published on the 6th April**

Intensity

Trade Paperback Original | £12.99 | 24th April 2017 | Chronicles of Nick series

 

It’s a demon-eat-demon world for Nick Gautier. Just when he thinks he’s finally gotten a handle on how not to take over the world and destroy it, Death returns with an all-star cast that is determined to end the Malachai reign and lineage forever. Worse? Death and War have found the one, true enemy Nick can’t find, and even if he did, it’s one he could never bring himself to banish or kill.

Now framed for murders he hasn’t committed, and surrounded by new friends who might be turncoats, Nick is learning fast how his father went down in flames.

The heat in New Orleans is rising fast, and Nick’s threat-level has gone into a whole new level of intensity. He’s learning fast that when War and Death decide to battle, they don’t take prisoners. They don’t negotiate. And they’re both immune to his biting sarcasm and Cajun charm. To win this, he will have to embrace a new set of powers, but one wrong step, and he will belong to the side of Darkness, forever

Series
League
1. Born of the Night (1996)
2. Born of Fire (2009)
3. Born of Ice (1994)
aka Paradise City
4. Fire and Ice (2001)
5. Born of Shadows (2011)
6. Born of Silence (2012)
7. Cloak & Silence (2013)
8. Born of Fury (2013)
9. Born of Defiance (2015)
10. Born of Betrayal (2015)
11. Born of Legend (2016)
12. Born of Vengeance (2017)
13. Born of Trouble (2018)
14. Born of Darkness (2018)
The League: Nemesis Rising (omnibus) (2016)
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Dark-Hunter
Fantasy Lover (2002)
House of the Rising Son (2016)
0.5. Phantom Lover (2003)
1. Night Pleasures (2002)
2. The Beginning (2002) (in Sins of the Night)
2. Dragonswan (2002)
3. Night Embrace (2003)
5. Dance with the Devil (2003)
6. Kiss of the Night (2004)
6.75. Fear the Darkness (2007)
7. A Dark-Hunter Christmas (2003) (in Dance with the Devil)
7. Night Play (2004)
8. Seize the Night (2004)
9. Sins of the Night (2005)
10. Winter Born (2004)
10. Unleash the Night (2005)
11. The Dark Side of the Moon (2006)
12. The Dream Hunter (2007)
13. Second Chances (2005)
13. Devil May Cry (2007)
14. Upon the Midnight Clear (2007)
15. Dream Chaser (2008)
16. A Hard Day’s Night-Searcher (2006)
16. Acheron (2008)
17. Until Death We Do Part (2006)
17. One Silent Night (2008)
18. Dream Warrior (2009)
19. Bad Moon Rising (2009)
20. No Mercy (2010)
21. Retribution (2011)
22. The Guardian (2011)
23. Time Untime (2012)
24. Styxx (2013)
25. Son of No One (2014)
26. Dragonbane (2015)
27. Dragonmark (2016)
28. Dragonsworn (2017)
Night Pleasures / Night Embrace (omnibus) (2005)
Shadow of the Moon (2008) (in Dead After Dark)
Dark-Hunter Boxed Set (omnibus) (2010)
Dark Bites (2014)
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B.A.D. (Bureau of American Defense)
1. Bad Attitude (2005)
2. Phantom in the Night (2008)
3. Whispered Lies (2009) (with Dianna Love)
4. Silent Truth (2010) (with Dianna Love)
Born to Be B.A.D. (2005)
A B.A.D. Collection (omnibus) (2011) (with Dianna Love)
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Dark-Hunter Manga
1. The Dark-hunters Vol. 1 (2009)
2. The Dark-Hunters Vol. 2 (2010)
3. The Dark-Hunters Vol. 3 (2010)
4. The Dark-Hunters Vol. 4 (2011)
Lords Of Avalon: Knight Of Darkness (2009)
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Chronicles of Nick
1. Infinity (2010)
2. Invincible (2011)
3. Infamous (2012)
4. Inferno (2013)
5. Illusion (2014)
6. Instinct (2015)
7. Invision (2016)
8. Intensity (2017)
Chronicles of Nick, (omnibus) (2016)
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Belador (with Dianna Love)
1. Blood Trinity (2010)
2. Alterant (2011)
3. The Curse (2012)
4. The Rise of the Gryphon (2013)
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Chronicles of Nick: Graphic Novel
The Dark-Hunters: Infinity, Vol. 1 (2013)
The Dark-Hunters: Infinity, Vol. 2 (2013)
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Dark-Hunters Omnibus
The Collection Thus Far (2013)
The Dark-Hunters, Books 1-3 (2013)
The Dark-Hunters, Books 10-12 (2013)
The Dark-Hunters, Books 13-15 (2013)
The Dark-Hunters, Books 7-9 (2013)
The Dark-Hunters, Books 4-6 (2013)
The Dark-Hunters, Books 19-21 (2013)
The Dark-Hunters, Books 16-18 (2013)
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Dark-Hunter: Deadman’s Cross Trilogy
1. Deadmen Walking (2017)
2. Death Doesn’t Bargain (2017)
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Omnibus
Naughty or Nice? (2001) (with Carly Phillips, Patricia Ryan and Kathryn Smith)
Tapestry (2002) (with Madeline Hunter, Lynn Kurland and Karen Marie Moning)
Big Guns Out of Uniform (2003) (with Nicole Camden and Liz Carlyle)
Stroke of Midnight (2004) (with Amanda Ashley, L A Banks and Lori Handeland)
Love at First Bite (2006) (with L A Banks, Susan Squires and Ronda Thompson)
Dead After Dark (2008) (with Dianna Love, Susan Squires and J R Ward)
In Other Worlds (2010)
Winter’s Night (2015)
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Collections
Midnight Pleasures (2003) (with Amanda Ashley, Maggie Shayne and Ronda Thompson)
Man of My Dreams (2004) (with Suzanne Forster, Virginia Kantra and Maggie Shayne)
Tie Me Up, Tie Me Down (2005) (with Jaid Black and Melanie George)
What Dreams May Come (2005) (with Robin D Owens and Rebecca York)
Playing Easy to Get (2006) (with Jaid Black and Kresley Cole)
Blood Lite (2008) (with Kelley Armstrong, Jim Butcher and Charlaine Harris)
Deadly Promises (2010) (with Cindy Gerard, Laura Griffin and Dianna Love)
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Series contributed to
Angel’s Touch
Daemon’s Angel (1995)
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Non fiction
The Character Naming Sourcebook (1994)
The Writer’s Guide to Everyday Life in the Middle Ages(1995)
The Dark-Hunter Companion (2007) (with Alethea Kontis)
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Anthologies containing stories by Sherrilyn Kenyon
My Big Fat Supernatural Wedding (2006)
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Lucille Turner: The Sultan, the Vampyr and the Soothsayer (Review)

Lucille Turner, Author of historical fiction, including Gioconda, and The Sultan, the Vampyr and the Soothsayer

In her own words:

I was born in Bournemouth in 1964. My first book,Gioconda, which I began in 2007 and finished in 2010, is a novel about the life of Leonardo da Vinci. Although some of Leonardo’s work was familiar to me then, the idea only came to me when I fell upon a print of the Mona Lisa in the aisles of a supermarket one day. One avenue of research led to another, and since then Gioconda has been translated into several languages, winning Spain’s Hislibris prize for historical fiction in 2012.
For the past few years I have been busy writing my second book,
The Sultan, the Vampyr and the Soothsayer. I sometimes review other people’s work for Bookmunch, and enjoy being surprised by things I didn’t think I’d like, be it books or new experiences. And of course I love history

 

1442: When Vlad Dracula arrives at the court of the Ottoman Sultan Murad II, his life is turned upside down. His father Dracul cannot protect him; he must battle his demons alone. And when the Sultan calls for the services of a soothsayer, even the shrewd teller of fortunes is unprepared for what he learns.
Meanwhile, the Ottoman Turks are advancing through the Balkans with Vienna in their sights and Constantinople, the Orthodox Greek capital, within their grasp. As Eastern Europe struggles against the tide of a Muslim advance it cannot counter, Western Christendom needs only one prize to overthrow its enemies.

Review:

This book was a pleasant surprise, the title gives a suggestion of the supernatural with the inclusion of the Vampyr, and the book all the while hints at it, but only in so far as what was perceived to be supernatural in the 1400’s, that’s the beauty of this book. The author takes you on a journey back to the Balkans of 1442, to a time of huge change and turmoil, clashing empires and religions, the end of the old Roman world and the rise of the Ottoman. Lucille Turner covers brilliantly the variances between the court of Vlad Dracul’s father and the court of Sultan Murad giving all the main players a very human face, a persona molded by circumstance and situation as much as personality. She weaves in the political players from all sides of Christianity, the orthodox and the Holy Roman empire, the old pagan Wallachian’s and the many variances between.

Can Dracul and others save the history that lies within Constantinople before its inevitable fall to the Ottomans? Lucille Turners portrayal of Vlad’s time in Murads court goes a long way to show his later personality and enmity with Mehmed II. The book as a whole brings to life a highly evocative view of the turning point of the world and the clashing empires.

Well worth reading.

(Parm)

 

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Fantasy and History: Writing Battle

With Pen and Sword

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I have been asked many times what the difference is between writing about historical battles and fantasy battles.  I suspect I’m going to disappoint you all; especially anyone who sees either genre as special and unique, and say that to me, they are often very similar.  There are differences; for example, considering the effect of a dragon on a medieval battlefield is virtually the definition of ‘speculative fiction’ and trying to imagine the impact of reliable aviation (as in, a hippogrif, or allied wyverns) on logistics or reconnaissance in a  medieval environment is almost as challenging.

But for me, the writer, both kinds of battle scenes are based on experience.  The experience comes to me in different ways; lived experience, like conducting electronic warfare in an aging S-3 Viking;

Military Career

reenactment experience, like commanding a thousand men (and women) in a recreation of a battle…

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Or second hand experience, like reading…

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John Owen Theobald: What the Raven Brings (Blog Tour and Review)

 

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John Owen Theobald
John Owen Theobald's picture

Born and raised in Eastern Canada, John moved to the UK to study the poetry of Keats, and in 2009 received a PhD from the University of St. Andrews. He lives in London, England.

John is the author of the Ravenmaster trilogy. At the height of the Blitz, 12-year-old Anna Cooper is sent to live with her uncle, the Ravenmaster at the Tower of London, and discovers that the fate of the kingdom is in her hands. Book 1, These Dark Wings, was released on 11 February 2016, and What the Raven Brings was released 1st Dec 2016 from Head of Zeus, UK.

book cover of What The Raven Brings

London, 1942: the Blitz is over but the war rages on. With the country still fighting for its existence, a young girl takes to the skies…

After her mother was killed in an air raid, Anna Cooper was sent to live with her uncle, the Ravenmaster at the Tower of London. Now, he too is dead. His dying wish was for Anna to be the next Ravenmaster, keeper of the birds who, according to legend, guard the fate of the kingdom. But the Tower authorities won’t stand for a female Ravenmaster, let alone one who is not yet sixteen years old.

Denied her destiny, Anna is desperate to escape the Tower and join the war effort. She bluffs her way into the glamorous – and dangerous – world of the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force.

But no matter how high she flies, Anna can’t escape her past… nor the secret that it conceals. A secret that could change the course of the war.

Guest Post

I set out to write the origin story of a supernatural legend, and went on to write about something very real but no less amazing: the courage and strength of women in wartime.

When I first heard the legend, ‘if the ravens leave the Tower of London, Britain will fall,’ I wanted to know where it came from. It turns out no one knows. Although the legend has been credited to everyone from Charles II to the Victorians, the first record of it isn’t until the 1950s.

So I wanted to write the origin story of this unexplained legend.

The Tower is a place of many superstitions, but this one – ‘Britain will fall’ – seemed to have its roots in war. The Blitz was Britain’s darkest hour, so I imagined this was the best time for a legend like this to take hold. It is easy to envision the people living in the Tower clinging to this belief, especially as the Blitz intensified and the ravens died, one by one, from starvation or bombing.

In These Dark Wings, the legend originates as a protective charm, as a sick old man, the first Ravenmaster, tells his terrified niece not to fear the Blitz: all she has to do is look after the ravens. They will keep Britain safe. So my character, Anna Cooper, a 12 year-old orphaned by the Blitz and sent to live at the Tower, ensures the survival of the legend.

In Book 2, What the Raven Brings, the war rages on and Anna (now 15) yearns to escape the Tower and join the war effort. She bluffs her way into the glamorous – and hazardous – world of the Women’s Auxiliary Airforce.

The ‘Attagirls,’ as they were called, piloted all kinds of aircraft, collecting Lancaster bombers from factories and delivering them to aerodromes, bringing Spitfires to airfields to be tested and armed, and taxiing pilots to Fighter Command in transport planes.

On top of the rigorous training involved, Anna has an additional problem. Fighting to earn her wings and prove herself, obstacles emerge from an unexpected source: men of the RAF who believe women have no place in the skies.

Because women were deemed unsuitable to be trained on the instrument panel (life-saving in bad weather), or the radio transmitter (life-saving when needing to check in with an RAF station), and since they were banned from flying planes fitted with weapons (life-saving during a run-in with a Luftwaffe raid), female pilots had the dangerously absurd job of flying the aircraft blind, deaf, and without weapons. And in Anna’s case, direct sabotage seems a chilling possibility.

The legend of the Tower ravens protects Anna in These Dark Wings, but in What the Raven Brings she has to learn to protect herself and those around her.

Anna was originally inspired by my grandmother, who lived in London throughout the war. I grew up listening to her stories about it all – the fear and sadness, but also the excitement and the mischief. For Book 2, I took inspiration from my other grandmother, who was a member of the Royal Canadian Air Force, and one of the toughest people I ever knew. The stories of my grandmothers convinced me to try and pass on their fighting spirits with these novels, which have become a celebration of all kinds of strong women in wartime.

Review

A wonderfully written series, capturing the times with the feelings and mind of a child. The author has a fantastic ability to take you what ever your age and put you in place of Anna Cooper. When HOZ first passed on to me a copy of These Dark Wings i was skeptical, YA can be a hard genre to get right, to talk to that age group where they are starting to feel and be a bit more grown up, but also to appeal to the adults who dip so often into this genre. This author pulls it off with the trick of communicating to all at the same level, my father in Law does it with children, no matter the age he talks to them like they are grown ups, it works.

The writing has that wonderful sparse quality that still conveys so much meaning and sentiment, its exciting and consumes the reader, making them part of the story not just a voyeur. Its a series i highly recommend and one i look forward to reading more of

(Parm)

Series
Ravenmaster Trilogy
1. These Dark Wings (2016)
2. What The Raven Brings (2016)
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E. S. Thomson: Dark Asylum (Blog Tour Guest Post)

E S Thomson

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E. S. Thomson was born in Ormskirk, Lancashire. She has a PhD in the history of medicine and works as a university lecturer in Edinburgh. She was shortlisted for the Saltire First Book Award and the Scottish Arts Council First Book Award. Elaine lives in Edinburgh with her two sons.

 

The lips had been darned closed with six long, black, stitches. Clumsily executed, they gave the face a crude deaths-head appearance, like a child’s drawing scrawled upon a wall . . .

1851, Angel Meadow Asylum. Dr Rutherford, principal physician to the insane, is found dead, his head bashed in, his ears cut off, his lips and eyes stitched closed. The police direct their attention towards Angel Meadow’s inmates, but to Jem Flockhart and Will Quartermain the crime is an act of calculated retribution, rather than of madness.

To discover the truth Jem and Will must pursue the story through the darkest corners of the city – from the depths of a notorious rookery, to the sordid rooms of London’s brothels, the gallows, the graveyard, the convict fleet and then back to the asylum. In a world where guilt and innocence, crime and atonement, madness and reason, are bounded by hypocrisy, ambition and betrayal, Jem and Will soon find themselves caught up in a web of dark secrets and hidden identities.

Guest Post

Writing Dark Asylum, E.S. Thomson

Although I set my books in London of the 1840s and 1850s, it is this history of medicine in Edinburgh that forms the background to much of what I write.   I can’t leave my house without being reminded of it.  Down the road from where I live, for instance, Scottish surgeon James Syme used to own a villa.  I pass his house every day.  James Syme lectured at Edinburgh University medical school throughout the mid 1800s.  He could excise a hip joint faster than anyone – without anaesthetic, of course.  Meanwhile, across town, James Young Simpson was experimenting on himself, trying out a new drug, chloroform, which was to revolutionise surgical procedures and make all areas of the body – including the brain – accessible to the surgeon’s knife. Not far from Syme, on the other side of Morningside Road, Thomas Clouston was building the Royal Edinburgh Asylum.  Ways of treating the mad varied greatly in the mid Victorian period, from incarceration and neglect, to more unusual but humane ‘hygienic’ practices.  Pioneered by Clouston, these included lengthy walks – or runs – around the asylum grounds, dancing, gardening, and the consumption of rich and sedating foods, such as custard.  

Thomas Clouston became one of the key supporters of the first generation of women doctors in the city.  Some years earlier, a young man named James Miranda Barry had graduated from Edinburgh University Medical School.  Barry worked as a surgeon in the British Army all his life. On his death he was found to be a woman, who had lived her entire life disguised as a man, entering the medical profession some sixty yearsbefore women were formerly permitted to receive a medical education.

Around the same time that Barry was at the University, and Syme was amputating legs before crowds of cheering students, a less orthodox medical man was lecturing on the new ‘science’ of phrenology.  Phrenologists believed that a person’s head might be measured and calibrated with a view to explaining their character traits and disposition.  Andrew Combe, and his brother George, both Edinburgh man, started a craze for head measuring that was to remain influential in some quarters of the medical profession for over forty years.

Over the road from the university medical school, a druggist named Flockhart plied his trade, providing James Young Simpson with chloroform, while across town, more medical men were establishing a physic garden that grew to be second only to Kew in terms of the size and magnificence of its collections.  Syme, Clouson, Simpson, Barry, all had their likenesses taken using the new and developing technology of photography.  In 1840s Edinburgh, two pioneers, Hill and Adamson, captured numerous images of the city and its inhabitants, demonstrating to the world the potential of the new medium.

All these ideas have found their way into my work.   I set my books in London, as I wanted a dark anonymous place which the intimate setting of my home city could not provide.  In terms of the medical profession that dominates my novels, however, Dark Asylum and Beloved Poison are pure Edinburgh.

Series
Jem Flockhart
The Blood (2017)
1. Beloved Poison (2016)
2. Dark Asylum (2017)
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David Gilman: Vipers Blood (Review)

David Gilman UK flag

David Gilman's picture

David Gilman has had an enormously impressive variety of jobs – from firefighter to professional photographer, from soldier in the Parachute Regiment’s Reconnaissance Platoon to a Marketing Manager for Penguin South Africa.

He is also a hugely successful television screenwriter. For the last six years he has been principal writer on A Touch Of Frost. He has lived and travelled the world gathering inspiration for his exotic children’s adventure series along the way.

Now, David is based in Devon, where he lives with his wife.

book cover of Viper's Blood

Buy a Signed Limited HB

and

Buy a Signed Limited HB edition of Defiant Unto Death

A gripping chronicle of pitched battle, treachery and cruelty’ ROBERT FABBRI.

Edward III has invaded France at the head of the greatest host England has ever assembled. But his attempt to win the French crown is futile. The Dauphin will no longer meet the English in the field and the great army is mired in costly sieges, scavenging supplies from a land ruined by decades of conflict.

Facing a stalemate – or worse – the English are forced to agree a treaty. But peace comes at a price. The French request that Blackstone escort their King’s daughter to Italy to see her married to one of the two brothers who rule Milan – the same brothers who killed Blackstone’s family to revenge the defeats he inflicted on them. Blackstone, the French are certain, will never leave Milan alive..

Review

Book four in the Master of War series and the bone crunching intensity of this series shows no signs of abating. Blackstone and his men leading the way, first at Reims and then onward towards Paris, the war of muck, mire and attrition takes its toll on all and truce is finally in the air. Tasked with taking the kings daughter to his deadliest enemies  the Vipers of Milan, Benarbo and Galeazzo to see her married to Galeazzo’s son and thus provide the funds to secure the release of the King of France, this sale was vital to the stability of Europe. Yet to Thomas Blackstone it was a means of access to the man or men who arranged the death of his wife and child. Revenge is in the air, will Blackstones rage cloud his judgement, can his friends survive to aid him in his wrath?

As ever David Gilman provides us with a well researched book set right in the heart of the action of 1300’s war torn Europe. There is no pretension to pomp and parade, even royalty is down in the mud and the damp, their only concessions to rank being the ability to get dry and eat better food than their men. With Gilmans writing, you can feel the ooze of the mud, the bite of the cold, most of all you can feel the weight of the sword and armour, the draw and weight of the bow and the rushing death of the arrow storm and the disregard of mortality.

But if you mistake this book and series for just the hack of the sword you would be missing out on so much more depth. Blackstone is a complex man, with a deep loyalty to his men and to his King. His honour is something he holds dear, but not so dear that he would get his men killed needlessly for it. He wages war for soldiers and men, he will not stand for the rape and murder if innocents, his punishments are swift and they are brutally final. He is a no nonsense man who holds his emotions close, his feelings for his men expressed in bluff soldiers conversation and friendly abuse, his love for his son threatening to overwhelm him while at the same time he knows he must raise him to be hardy enough to survive this brutal world and so appearing at times the cold father. All this is reflected upon as is Blackstone’s battle with his own guilt and grief over the death of his wife and child, he may have dragged himself from the bottle, but for a man like him, facing all that emotion is not an easy task…. and i pity the person in front of him when he is having a bad day dealing with it all.

A truly excellent book and part of an excellent series.

(Parm)

Series
Danger Zone
1. The Devil’s Breath (2007)
2. Ice Claw (2008)
3. Blood Sun (2009)
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Master of War
1. Master of War (2013)
2. Defiant Unto Death (2015)
3. Gate of the Dead (2015)
4. Viper’s Blood (2016)
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Novels
Monkey and Me (2014)
The Last Horseman (2016)
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Mary Gibson: Bourbon Creams and Tattered Dreams (BLOG TOUR)

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Mary Gibson was born and brought up in Bermondsey, south east London. In 2009, after a thirty-year career in publishing, she took the opportunity of early retirement to write a book of her own! The result was her début novel, Custard Tarts and Broken Hearts, which was inspired by the lives and times of her grandparents in World War One Bermondsey. The novel went on to become a top ten Kindle best seller and has been selected as one of twenty titles for World Book Night 2015.
Her second novel, Jam and Roses, about three sisters living in the Dockhead area of Bermondsey during the 1920s, was published in paperback in May 2015, having been a Nielsen Top 20 hardback bestseller. Her third novel Gunner Girls and Fighter Boys which is set in Bermondsey during World War Two, was published in November 2015.

Over 250, 000 copies of Mary’s books have been sold to date and she is delighted to have signed a new two book contract with Head of Zeus

Mary’s fourth novel, Bourbon Creams and Tattered Dreams, was published in January 2017 and is set in Bermondsey during the 1930s.Mary now lives in Kent and is writing her fifth Bermondsey novel.

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Frank Rossi promised Matty the world. The Cockney Canary would become a world famous movie star. As his wife, she would be one half of a power couple, feted and adored by all. But the Wall Street crash puts paid to that and as Frank becomes more violent and unstable, Matty knows she must escape and so she flees at dead of night.

Once home in Bermondsey, she goes into hiding and starts desperately looking for work. But only the hated biscuit factory, Peek Frean’s, is hiring. Then, as a secret from her past comes back to hurt her, Matty learns that Frank is on the move, determined to find her and get her back.

Bourbon Creams and Tattered Dreams. The new novel by Mary Gibson
Order Kindle Edition Today | Available from 1st November 2016

Parmenion Books Blog guest post By Mary Gibson

My Bermondsey

Bourbon Creams and Tattered Dreams is the fourth in my series of novels set in Bermondsey, the village-like, working class, riverside area in south east London where I was born and grew up during the nineteen fifties.  The story takes place during the nineteen thirties depression era when life was particularly tough in Bermondsey, an area already blighted by poverty. The heroine is Matty Gilbie, a character who first appeared in Custard Tarts and Broken Hearts and who we left on the brink of music hall stardom, debating whether she should leave Bermondsey and go to America to pursue a career in the ‘talkies’. Matty is unusual in being able to escape the life of a factory girl, as for most in Bermondsey at that time there was little other choice.

But if there was little choice, there was certainly variety. Crammed within Bermondsey’s densely packed 1300 acres, factories abounded: Crosse & Blackwell’s pickles, Southwell’s and Hartley’s jam, Lipton’s tea, but there was also Pearce Duffs custard and blancmange; Peek Frean’s and Jacobs biscuits; as well as Shuttleworth’s chocolate factory . No wonder the place was called London’s Larder! There were also numerous smelly industries. Breweries, heavy with malty aromas – Courage’s beer; Sarson’s vinegar; vile smelling tanneries such as Garner’s and Bevington’s; the Alaska fur factory. The bone yard stench of Young’s glue factory vied with sweet California Poppy from Atkinson’s cosmetic factory next door and the grammar school I attended was situated between the two. We always prayed that the wind would be in the right direction!

But my heroine Matty’s escape is short lived, and after some success on Broadway and in the talkies, she is forced to flee her mobster boyfriend, returning to Bermondsey with her dreams of screen stardom in tatters. There she finds herself exchanging tinsel town for biscuit town! For the only place Matty can find work is in Peek Frean’s biscuit factory, which occupied such a vast tract of land along the railway viaduct in Bermondsey that it became known as ‘biscuit town’.

As with all my novels, much has been inspired by my own family history and the personal anecdotes of many elderly relatives and friends. I first decided to write about Bermondsey when I realized that the once tight knit community I grew up in had vanished forever.  ‘You never know what you’ve got till it’s gone’; so goes the saying, but I think that sometimes you can know what you’ve got just at the point of losing it. During the nineteen eighties my parents were part of a reminiscence group called ‘Bermondsey Memories’. A group of academics conducting a study about building ‘communities’ in the modern world came to interview my parents. The academics were looking for answers in the history of Bermondsey, but all my parents could tell them was that times were hard in those days, growing up between the wars, and people naturally helped each other. Ironically, the very things that had potentially caused most misery in the lives of Bermondsey people: the poverty, poor housing, lack of health care, had proved to be the source of their community spirit. But when your birthplace becomes the subject of an academic study, you know it is fast fading into history and I wanted to capture that lost world before it was totally forgotten.

Each of my novels focusses on a different Bermondsey factory and a different decade during the first half of the twentieth century. The first, Custard Tarts and Broken Hearts, begins in 1911and was inspired by my paternal grandmother’s early life. She worked as a powder packer in Pearce Duffs custard factory at the time of the famous Bermondsey women’s strike of 1911 when thousands of women walked out of the factories, dressed in their Sunday best, one sweltering day during what became known as the ‘Summer of Unrest’. I also drew on many of my grandfather’s experiences in the Royal Field Artillery during World War I driving a six horse gun team. He was, like most returning soldiers, reticent about the war, but he did share how deeply affected he was by the plight of his horses, and I included this in the novel.

My parents left me a rich archive of written and oral memories as well as video diaries and photographs and this was the starting point for much of my writing. But my own historical  research took me deep into the fascinating story of how Bermondsey changed from being one of the most notorious slums in London to a virtual socialist utopia by the end of the nineteen thirties. This was due largely to the pioneering work of its Independent Labour Council under the leadership of Bermondsey’s visionary MP, Dr Salter and his wife Ada. I have woven much of their municipal pioneering into my second novel Jam and Roses, in which I drew on my maternal grandmother’s life, working in Southwell’s jam factory in the Dockhead area and struggling with extreme poverty through the twenties.

In Bourbon Creams and Tattered Dreams the Salter’s vision of new housing estates replacing old Victorian slums and a health care system which would become the envy of every borough in Britain was becoming a reality. And my heroine, Matty Gilbie, eventually plays her part by joining the work of the Bermondsey Borough Council film department, which produced their own health education films and screened them in the streets from a mobile cinema, which had been converted from an old disinfectant van! But already there were dark clouds of economic depression and the prospect of war looming.

In 1927, when the armaments race in Europe was already beginning, Dr Salter made a chilling prophecy. He declared that when the next war inevitably came ‘Bermondsey will be an area of smashed buildings, wrecked factories, devastated houses, mangled corpses, and bodies of helpless men, women and children…’ Fourteen years later during the Blitz he was proved tragically right. This was the Bermondsey I chose to explore in my third novel Gunner Girls and Fighter Boys, where I drew heavily on my father’s own war diaries of his time in the RAF in the far east and on his letters home to my mother, who was a gunner girl in the ATS.

When World War Two ended, Bermondsey was a scene of devastation. Of its 19,500 dwellings only 730 escaped bomb damage and 50% of its population was gone – lost to bombs and battles or evacuated, never to return. It was a common saying when I was growing up, that what Bermondsey Borough Council’s slum clearance programme had begun, the Luftwaffe had finished.

As a child my playgrounds were the numerous bomb sites littering the riverside borough. Shells of wrecked houses made for dangerous ‘camps’ and the deep, concrete tanning pits of ruined leather factories made for deadly hiding places. It is this chilling territory I am now exploring as I write my fifth, as yet untitled, Bermondsey novel.

The closure of the docks in the late sixties sounded the death knell for Bermondsey factories and within a decade most of them had either closed or moved out of London. The docks had fed the industries and the industries had fostered a community, unchanged for hundreds of years. Only as it disappeared did I realize its worth, the close knit, supportive way of life, based upon shared work, shared hardships and extended families all concentrated in a small area at the heart of London was gone forever. This was the vanished way of life which I hope I have managed to capture in my novels

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