Ben Kane: Eagles in the Storm (Review)

Ben Kane Image result for irish flag (1970 – )

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Ben Kane is a bestselling Roman author and former veterinarian. He was born in Kenya and grew up in Ireland (where his parents are from). He has traveled widely and is a lifelong student of military history in general, and Roman history in particular. He lives in North Somerset, England, with his family.
 Eagles in the Storm  (2017)
(The third book in the Eagles of Rome series)

book cover of Eagles in the Storm

AD 15. The German chieftain Arminius has been defeated, one of the lost Roman eagles recovered, and thousands of German tribesmen slain.

Yet these successes aren’t nearly enough for senior centurion Lucius Tullus. Not until Arminius is dead, his old legion’s eagle found and the enemy tribes completely vanquished will he rest.

But Arminius – devious, fearless – is burning for revenge of his own.

Charismatic as ever, he raises another large tribal army, which will harry the Romans the length and breadth of the land.

Soon Tullus finds himself in a cauldron of bloodshed, treachery and danger.

His mission to retrieve his legion’s eagle will be his most perilous yet…

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Review

Ben Kane is one of a select few authors, who writes books that sit in the category of “Must” read. The problem this creates for him and similar authors is that they have to compete with themselves and my ever increasing expectations. Now i’m utterly unqualified to know if Bens research is 100% accurate, i wish i could retain all the detail, but i do know the work he puts into ensuring it is, i do know when a book feels authentic and impassioned, and this like all his other work sits firmly in that category, this is a writer who has put himself in the kit and walked the miles to understand the pain of the legionary.

Once for our roman and Germanic friends time moves on, Arminius still hungers for Roman blood, but it will not be so forthcoming, not under a real General such as “Germanicus”, the legions are taking the fight well and truly to the Germanic tribes, the sneaky tricks of his traitorous actions are well known and less and less likely to defeat any further legions. Those few few men to survive the bloodbath that Varus led them into are eager for revenge, none more so than Centurion Lucius Tullus, Vengeance burns through him, drives him to greater and greater acts of martial heroics, desire for perfection from his troops and defeat for any and all barbarians. He wants Arminius’ head on a spike and he wants his legions eagle back. Opposite him is arminius, with an equal burning passion to tear down anything Roman that treads in his world, but also to make himself King or even Emperor of the Germanic Tribes, he is a man of both and neither world, more Romanised that he cares to admit.

This book takes you on many journeys from so many perspectives: You have both the opposing perspectives of Arminius and Tullus, riven by rage and a desire to destroy their opposing enemy. The difference being Arminius will do at any cost, no matter who he destroys in the process, Tullus only seems to be hell bent on destroying himself as he tries to come to grips with his foe, its his love for his men that pulls him back from the abyss. Tullus men bring the humour and the boots on the ground squaddie view, the everyday, among the destruction, the distance of orders and yet the close proximity of the action to give a uniquely close perspective of the fighting. There are some real laugh out loud moments in this book from characters like Piso, likewise there are some truly shocking irrevocable moments startling in their waste and pointlessness. I  loved this book, there are some startling shocks in there that make it very real. At times its light, at times its dark, its melancholy, its brilliantly funny and poignantly thought provoking… its got so much packed into it and is a real winner, this years bar met and exceeded Ben, bravo!

Highly recommended

(Parm)

Series
Forgotten Legion Chronicles
1. The Forgotten Legion (2008)
2. The Silver Eagle (2009)
3. The Road to Rome (2010)
Forgotten Legion Chronicles Collection (omnibus) (2012)
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Hannibal
1. Enemy of Rome (2011)
2. Fields of Blood (2013)
3. Clouds of War (2014)
The Patrol (2013)
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Spartacus
1. The Gladiator (2012)
2. Rebellion (2012)
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Pompeii (with Stephanie Dray, Sophie Perinot, Kate Quinn and Vicky Alvear Shecter)
A Day of Fire (2014)
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Eagles of Rome
The Shrine (2015)
1. Eagles at War (2015)
2. Hunting the Eagles (2016)
3. Eagles in the Storm (2017)
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Novellas
The Arena (2016)
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David Gilman: Vipers Blood (Review)

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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

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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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Anthony Riches : Betrayal (The Centurions 1) Review

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Anthony Riches began his lifelong interest in war and soldiers when he first heard his father’s stories about World War II. This led to a degree in Military Studies at Manchester University. He began writing the story that would become Wounds of Honour after a visit to Housesteads in 1996. He lives in Hertfordshire with his wife and three children.

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Betrayal  (2017)
(The first book in the Centurions series)

book cover of Betrayal

Rome, AD 68. Nero has committed suicide. One hundred years of imperial rule by the descendants of Julius Caesar has ended, and chaos rules. His successor, Galba, dismisses the incorruptible Germans of the Imperial Bodyguard for the crime of loyalty to the dead emperor. Ordering them back to their homeland, he releases a Batavi officer from a Roman prison to be their prefect. But Julius Civilis is not the loyal servant of empire that he seems.

Four centurions, two Batavi and two Roman, will be caught up in the intrigues and the battles that follow – as friends, as victims, as leaders and as enemies. Hramn is First Spear of the Bodyguard. Fiercely proud of his men’s honour and furious at their disgrace, he leads them back to the Batavi homeland to face an uncertain future. Alcaeus is a centurion with the tribe’s cohorts serving Rome on the northern frontier – men whose fighting skills prove crucial as Roman vies with Roman for the throne. A wolf-priest of Hercules, he wields the authority of his god and his own fighting prowess. Marius is a Roman, first spear of the Fifth Legion: a self-made man who hates politics but cannot avoid them in a year of murderous intrigue. Aquillius, former first spear of the Eighth Augustan, like Hramn, is in disgrace for refusing to dishonour his oath of loyalty. But their paths will lead them to opposite sides of an unforgiving war.

And Civilis, Kivilaz to his countrymen, heroic leader, Roman citizen and patriotic Batavi, will change both the course of the empire’s destiny and that of the centurions.

Review

Anthony Riches Books are one of those rare treats i look forward to every year, his writing stands out from the crowd with a style that engages you as part of the story not a voyeur. His, unlike the majority of Historical Fiction is told from the common view, the everyday grunt and how he is impacted by the decisions and machinations of power.

Betrayal is different, in that by its nature it has to have some level of focus on those pulling the strings of political power, but also while the arc of this story must keep us close to those movers and shakers the author keeps us close to what matters, the men of the legion, the Centurions and most of all the action.

In this book and new series Anthony Riches takes on not only one of the most action packed and climactic years in Roman history, but also focuses on a people who gain many mentions in historical books, and also in films when they need to pull out a person of exceptional fighting ability. The Batavi, a people who were for many years Romes shock troops used to break the line, or operate behind the line. This first book in the series starts with the expulsion of the Batavi Imperial bodyguard, an honour they had held for a century, Galba has taken power and changes are afoot, not all is right and happy with the empire. before long Vitellius has been acclaimed Emperor by the Legions of the Rhine and Otho has deposed Galba. Among all of this are the seething animosities of the legions and the distrust and they hold for the Batavi and sins of the past, and the Centurions are determined to right what they deem to be the wrongs of Rome, while the Batavi will look to ensure the future of their people and align themselves with another potential Emperor rising in Judea… all this leading eventually to the Batavian Revolt.

Anthony Riches while adopting a slightly different style in this series manages to make this book a deeper plot whilst retaining the true soul of his style, that action packed true storyteller, in with the muck, spears and swords. Always writing where the action is thickest and the intrigue is dirtiest, coupled with impeccable research and attention to detail.

I loved this book, I loved the brilliant graphic novel snippet that the author produced pre release and know that this series has so much more to give, for those who have not read anything by this author start now, he is one of the best in the genre and you will find it very hard to get more bang for your buck elsewhere.

(Parm)

Series
Empire
1. Wounds of Honour (2009)
2. Arrows of Fury (2010)
3. Fortress of Spears (2011)
4. The Leopard Sword (2012)
5. The Wolf’s Gold (2012)
6. The Eagle’s Vengeance (2013)
7. The Emperor’s Knives (2014)
8. Thunder of the Gods (2015)
9. Altar of Blood (2016)
The Empire Collection Books I-3 (omnibus) (2017)
The Empire Collection Books 4-6 (omnibus) (2017)
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Centurions
1. Betrayal (2017)
2. Onslaught (2017)
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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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bourbon-creams-cover

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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Ian Ross: The Mask of Command (2016) Review

Ian Ross

Ian Ross lives in England, and has been researching and writing about the later Roman empire and its army for over a decade.
The ‘Twilight of Empire’ series is a sequence of novels set in the early 4th century, a dramatic and violent era which saw the rise of the Emperor Constantine and the transformation of the Roman world.

Publisher website

Author Web site

The Mask of Command (2016)
(The fourth book in the Twilight of Empire series)

book cover of The Mask of Command

 

When a treacherous act of murder throws the western provinces into turmoil, Aurelius Castus is ordered to take command of the military forces on the Rhine. But he soon discovers that the frontier is a place where the boundaries between civilisation and barbarism, freedom and slavery, honour and treason have little meaning.

At the very heart of the conflict are two vulnerable boys. One is Emperor Constantine’s young heir, Crispus. The other is Castus’s own beloved son, Sabinus. Only Castus stands between them and men who would kill them.

With all that he loves in danger, Castus and a handful of loyal men must fight to defend the Roman Empire. But in the heat of battle, can he distinguish friend from enemy?

Review

This is book four in the excellent Twilight of Rome series a series that focuses on a very much ignored part of the rich and varied Roman history (4th Century), I’ve always been surprised that there are not more books based around this transitional period. Constantine and his tenure is such a rich tapestry of events, a new religion, vast changes in the empire and the armies that control those huge tracts of land, This is a time when the Auxiliaries are the army, the empire is the sum of its parts rather than the sum of its core.

Our Core character Castus has come a long way from the bruiser on the frontline. Over the course of this series his bravery and his dependable honest character has won him Imperial Patronage. This while a personality that has won him renown with the Emperor doesn’t win him many friends at court, the roman court is after all filled with greed, envy and treachery, none of this is set to make Castus’s task of of intermediary to the Germanic people an easy role.

As with all of this series i find the books initially a slow burn, even knowing the characters well as i now do, Ian takes his time to build you back into the Roman world, to acclimate you to the time period and the situation, and then he starts to turn the screw and ratchet up the pace. By the time he hits the last quarter of the book it is at a pace that makes the book very hard to put down, as Castus world turns to crap very quickly, his life seems to be a parallel for the story of the empire at the time.

As with this whole series the research is exemplary (well to my untrained eye), the attention to detail is first class, and yet not thrust down the readers neck, its subtle and yet intricate, and the battles are a joy to read.

Another absolute winner…

(Parm)

Series
Twilight of Empire
1. War At the Edge of the World (2015)
2. Swords Around the Throne (2015)
3. The Battle for Rome (2015)
4. The Mask of Command (2016)
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Adrian Magson: The Bid (Review)

Adrian Magson

Adrian Magson's picture
Adrian Magson is the author of 20 crime and spy thrillers. His series protagonists include Gavin & Palmer, Harry Tate, Marc Portman, Insp Lucas Rocco and Gonzales & Vaslik. He is also the author of Write On!, a writers help book.

Author website

The prisoner who wakes up in a box miles from anywhere.

The jailer who doesn’t question his job.

The shipment of drones stolen in transit from a cargo hub.

The kidnappers planning a devastating attack on US soil.

When James Chadwick, a drone expert, disappears suddenly, Cruxys Solutions investigators Ruth Gonzales and Andy Vaslik are assigned to track his last movements. With few clues to go on, the hunt moves from London to New York, gathering speed as they close in on a horrifying plan to kill the US President and inflict total damage on a US Air Force base.

And time is running out.

Review

This is the first of my “read a different author books” for this year… and its always great to strike gold on the first attempt. I have to be honest, i own the first three Harry Tate books and for some reason they are sat on my shelf unread, they sound great and yet my reading pile never seemed to allow for me to read them (i seem to always be trying to keep up with the review pile rather than the read for myself pile, its great when the two coincide).

The Bid follows Ruth Gonzales and Andy Vaslik as they search for their client who is missing, his Insurance contract comes into effect as soon as he fails to check in. This extra insurance security must be for a reason and as they dig into his past they discover this consultant is more than he appears on the surface, and his skills are in demand by people who will do anything to make him work for them. His life and his family under threat.

The book follows both from the perspective of the trackers and also the man who holds him captive, all is not  what it seems with the captors, this is not your average terrorist cell. The author give the plot plenty of pace and action, without ever once drifting into improbability, the scariest part of this book is that everything is utterly probable, and scarily real.

Given that the book i had finished prior to this and was so so good, i needed something to really grab me, i had actually ditched 4 books in between that book and The Bid because they just didn’t cut the mustard i could not get into them, i had the worst post book hangover. But The Bid, grabs you from the first page, its a very hard to put down book, pulling you across the Atlantic and then across the USA in search of James Chadwick , following the thinnest of threads and battling the reddest of government tape. Because of the utterly realistic nature of the plot, the people really come alive on the page, the exhaustion and frustration, the captivity and desperation of the hunt and the pace and power of the plot, it all culminates in a very tidy Action Thriller and i will most certainly be reading more from this author,

Recommended

(Parm)

Series
Riley Gavin and Frank Palmer
1. No Peace for the Wicked (2004)
2. No Help for the Dying (2005)
3. No Sleep for the Dead (2006)
4. No Tears for the Lost (2007)
5. No Kiss for the Devil (2008)
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Harry Tate
1. Red Station (2010)
2. Tracers (2011)
3. Deception (2011)
4. Retribution (2013)
5. Execution (2013)
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Lucas Rocco
1. Death on the Marais (2010)
2. Death on the Rive Nord (2011)
3. Death on the Pont Noir (2012)
4. Death at the Clos du Lac (2013)
Rocco and the Snow Angel (2015)
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Marc Portman
1. The Watchman (2014)
2. Close Quarters (2015)
3. Hard Cover (2016)
4. Dark Asset (2017)
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Cruxys Solutions Investigation
1. The Locker (2016)
2. The Bid (2017)
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Novels
The Lost Patrol (2010)
Smart Moves (2013)
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Collections
Killer Fiction (2010) (with Miles Archer, Mort Castle, Libby Fischer Hellmann, Thomas Millstead and Simon Wood)
Shades of Mayhem Vol 1 (2012)
Shades of Mayhem Vol 2 (2012)
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Non fiction
Write On – The Writer’s Help Book (2011)
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The David Gilman: Master of War (Series Review + Competition)

David Gilman

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 Master of War

Buy From Waterstones

MASTER OF WAR

England, 1346: For Thomas Blackstone the choice is easy – dance on the end of a rope for a murder he did not commit, or take up his war bow and join the king’s invasion. As he fights his way across northern France, Blackstone learns the brutal lessons of war – from the terror and confusion of his first taste of combat, to the savage realities of siege warfare.

Vastly outnumbered, Edward III’s army will finally confront the armoured might of the French nobility on the field of Crecy. It is a battle that will change the history of warfare, a battle that will change the course of Blackstone’s life, a battle that will forge a legend.

book cover of Defiant Unto Death

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FRANCE: 1356. Ten years ago, the greatest army in Christendom was slaughtered at Crecy. Archer Thomas Blackstone stood his ground and left that squalid field a knight. He has since carved out a small fiefdom in northern France, but the woulds of war still bleed and a traitor has given the King of France the means to destroy the English knight and his family. As the traitor’s net tightens, so the French King’s army draws in. Blackstone will stand and fight. He will defy his friends, his family and his king. He may yet defy death, but he can’t defy his destiny: MASTER OF WAR.

book cover of Gate of the Dead

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Hundred Years War. It is a gripping chronicle of pitched battle, treachery and cruelty. The stench and harshness of medieval life is ever present’ ROBERT FABBRI, bestselling author of the Vespasian series. Tuscany, 1358: Thomas Blackstone has built a formidable reputation in exile, fighting as a mercenary amid the ceaseless internecine warring of Italy’s City States. But success has bred many enemies, and when a dying man delivers a message recalling him to England, it seems almost certain to be a trap. Yet Blackstone cannot disobey – the summons is at the Queen’s demand. On his journey, Blackstone will brave the terrors of the High Alps in winter, face the Black Prince in tournament, confront the bloody anarchy of a popular revolt and submit to trial by combat. And every step of the way, he will be shadowed by a notorious assassin with orders to despatch him to Hell.

Series Review

A Series that starts with a bang Master of War (click for original review), set  in the Hundred Years War and introduces us to the life of former stonemason and now English longbowman Thomas Blackstone during the Battle of Crécy in 1346. With all the animosity on a battlefield you would expect it to be between the 2 foes, but the nature of alliances mean that the English and Welsh as ever have a fair bit of animosity… very similar to the French and Normans (no one got along then, or now), but it all makes for a great backdrop for war, where the hatred between England and France trumps all (and did it ever really get any better).  The location allows the author to draw on the imagery of the stunning landscape and castles, to provide some truly epic battle scenes and scenery.

Book one is in the main a book about War, and the Growth of Thomas as a warrior.

Defiant Unto Death (click for original review), is set in 1356, ten years have passed and our lead character the Longbowman, Thomas Blackstone was knighted on the field of Crécy by the Black Prince, such is his skill and prowess. In the intervening period (between books) Sir Thomas has become lord of the manor, Husband and father. But being a Knight has its obligations. Thomas’ Prowess and skills soon earn him powerful enemies, this in the form of The Savage Priest, as nasty a character as you will meet in a book and an implacable, nasty enemy. An enemy that pursues our hero through war, we go from battle to battle (notably Poitiers) , again the authors descriptive is something that clearly shows his TV background, the visuals for scenery and most of all grim death and gore on the battlefield are painted with every sentence. As with Most really great Historical Fiction, the hero is some distance short of perfect, his imperfections clear, and yet his striving and humanity making him so much more real.

Gate of the Dead set in 1358, The shine has gone from Sir Thomas Blackstone, now banished from England forced into the roving the continent he finds himself with his men in Tuscany. Out of the Blue he is recalled to England to fight alongside the man who he assumed hates him, The Black prince, not knowing the truth of the matter he must go, no one can refuse the Queen of England he is honour bound to go home (that and its in the plot). His journey home isn’t going to be a quick trip on the eurostar, this is a plague ravaged continent, full of roving bands of men most of them desperate or beholden to brutal lords, in his usual approachable style Thomas is soon cutting a bloody swathe home. David Gilman in his usual graphic and uncompromising style gives us (in my opinion) a very original and real picture of the time, no gloss of modern sensibility is added to this fantastic tale of personal growth in bloody times.

Coming soon: full review of Vipers Blood (see below)

(Parm)

Competition

If you can email me a Pre order confirmation for Vipers Blood (to parmenionbooks@yahoo.co.uk), then i will enter you in the draw for a Signed Limited edition of Defiant unto death.

Draw to be made on 9th Feb

Pre-Order a Signed Limited Edition

 

book cover of Viper's Blood

Winter, 1360: Edward III has invaded France at the head of the greatest English host 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 to a treaty. But peace comes at a price. The French request that Blackstone escort the Dauphin’s daughter to Italy to see her married to one of the brothers who rule Milan – the same brothers who killed Blackstone’s family. Blackstone, the French are certain, will not leave Milan alive.

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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Filed under David Gilman, Historical Fiction