Tag Archives: bernard cornwell

Giles Kristian: The Terror (Review)

About the author:

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Family history (he is half Norwegian) and his storytelling hero, Bernard Cornwell, inspired Giles Kristian to write his first historical novels, the acclaimed and bestselling Raven Viking trilogy – Blood Eye, Sons of Thunder and Odin’s Wolves. For his next series, he drew on a long-held fascination with the English Civil War.The Bleeding Land and Brothers’ Fury follow the fortunes of a divided family against the complex and brutal backcloth of the conflict that tore this country apart and ended with the killing of a king. In his new novel – God of Vengeance – Giles returns to the world of the Vikings to tell of the origins of Sigurd and his celebrated fictional fellowship.

Giles lives in Leicestershire. To find out more, visit http://www.gileskristian.com

“I loved this. It’s for people who like their historical fiction high-octane . . .a superb, brutal story that pulls no punches” (ROBERT FABBRI)

 

The Terror:

terror

BUY THE BOOK  only 99p

An exclusive straight to digital short story which also includes the first chapter of Giles Kristian’s God of Vengeance

AD768, Avaldsnes, Norway

Jarl Harald’s mead hall thrums with life. His people have gathered to feast on meat and mead and listen to the old tales. But the village skald, with all his talk of heroes and kings, will have to wait his turn. It is Harald himself who will hold them all spellbound this night. For the jarl has his own story to tell: a tale of adventure and courage. Of honour and of how friendship can be forged in fire and quenched in blood.

It is a story of love, too.

And of The Terror.

Praise for Giles Kristian’s most recent novel, GOD OF VENGEANCE:

“Action-packed storytelling which stirs the blood and thrills the soul” (WILBUR SMITH)

“Unrelenting pace, brilliant action and characters. A masterwork.” (CONN IGGULDEN)

“A glorious, bloody, perfect Viking saga, rich with the poetry of the skald, ripe with blood and glory, vengeance and heartbreak. The characters stride from the page, alive, hungry, real . . . this is Viking writing at its very best” (MANDA SCOTT)

“This is the best kind of storytelling – a saga full of blood and thunder that grabs you and doesn’t let go until long after the final page is turned” (STEVEN PRESSFIELD)

Review

The Terror is a short story set in Giles Kristians fantastic retelling of 8th Century Norway, following the early exploits of our later (in the series) hero Sigurds, father Harald. A retelling of a tale from his youth, the rush or youthful desire and exuberance to win the ultimate prize, the woman he loves.

Giles is a master storyteller, in my other reivews, EG: God of Vengeance i have waxed lyrical about his skill with words and his deep knowledge and love of history. He is at heart a viking, longing to pull at the oars and stand in the shield wall, but more than that, i feel he would always have been a skáld.

The Terror while slotting nicely into the world of Sigurd and his farther, is a lot lighter than other work by Giles Kristian, and it should be, its a small book, a short story. In that story you need pack in a complete tale, start, middle and end and from what i have seen with short stories this is often harder to achieve than writing a full novel, brevity is also a skill. The beauty of this book is in how its just an everyday tale of young men doing daft things, but in the harsh world of the Norse 8th century, that can lead to deaths and injuries, also there is a real light hearted fun element to the story, bare arsed naked swimming, bits dangling in the chill laden breeze. Giles has fun with this story and yet delivers some more background to his Viking defining series.

I cannot in comparison give this 5 stars, because id be comparing it to GOD of Vengeance which deserves 10 / 5 its that good. but i can give it a good 4/5 and say go buy it. if you’re a fan then enjoy the return to the Norse saga, if you’re new, well use this to dip your toe, and then dive into the series.

Highly recommend

Parm

Watch a trailer for God of Vengeance

Look behind the scenes for God of Vengeance trailer

Series
Raven
1. Blood Eye (2009)
2. Sons of Thunder (2010)
3. Odin’s Wolves (2011)
Blood EyeSons of ThunderOdin's Wolves
Bleeding Land
1. The Bleeding Land (2012)
2. Brothers Fury (2013)
The Bleeding LandBrothers Fury
Novels
God of Vengeance (2014)
Wings of the Storm (2015)
God of Vengeance
Novellas
The Terror (2014)
The Terror

 

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Filed under Giles Kristian, Historical Fiction

Steven A McKay: Knight of the Cross (Review)

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

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

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

Thanks for reading!

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Knight of the Cross

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Parm)

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Filed under Historical Fiction, Steven A McKay, Supernatural

Giles Kristian: God of Vengeance (Review)

Author

Author Website

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Giles has led a varied life to say the least. During the 90s he was lead singer of pop group Upside Down, achieving four top twenty hit records, performing twice on Top of the Pops, and singing at such venues as the Royal Albert Hall, N.E.C. and Wembley Arena. As a singer songwriter he lived and toured for two years in Europe and has made music videos all over the world, from Prague, Miami, Mexico, and the Swiss Alps, to Bognor Regis! To fund his writing habit he has worked as a model, appearing in TV commercials and ads for the likes of Walls Ice Cream (he was the Magnum Man) Canon cameras and two brands of lager! He has been an advertising copywriter and lived for three years in New York where he wrote copy for movie marketing company Empire Design but mainly worked on his first novel.

Family history (he is half Norwegian) and his storytelling hero, Bernard Cornwell, inspired Giles Kristian to write his first historical novels, the acclaimed and bestselling Raven Viking trilogy – Blood EyeSons of Thunder and Odin’s Wolves. For his next series, he drew on a long-held fascination with the English Civil War. The Bleeding Land and Brothers’ Fury follow the fortunes of a divided family against the complex and brutal backcloth of a conflict that tore this country apart and ended with the killing of a king. In his new novel – God of Vengeance – Giles returns to the world of the Vikings to tell of the beginnings of Sigurd and his celebrated fictional fellowship. Giles lives in Leicestershire.

Book Description

GoV

Buy a Signed copy

Norway 785 AD. It began with the betrayal of a lord by a king . . .

But when King Gorm puts Jarl Harald’s family to the sword, he makes one terrible mistake – he fails to kill Harald’s youngest son, Sigurd.

On the run, unsure who to trust and hunted by powerful men, Sigurd wonders if the gods have forsaken him: his kin are slain or prisoners, his village attacked, its people taken as slaves. Honour is lost.

And yet he has a small band of loyal men at his side and with them he plans his revenge. All know that Ódin – whose name means frenzy – is drawn to chaos and bloodshed, just as a raven is to slaughter. In the hope of catching the All-Father’s eye, the young Viking endures a ritual ordeal and is shown a vision. Wolf, bear, serpent and eagle come to him. Sigurd will need their help if he is to make a king pay in blood for his treachery.

Using cunning and war-craft, he gathers together a band of warriors – including Olaf, his father’s right hand man, Bram who men call Bear, Black Floki who wields death with a blade, and the shield maiden Valgerd, who fears no man – and convinces them to follow him.

For, whether Ódin is with him or not, Sigurd will have his vengeance. And neither men nor gods had best stand in his way . . .

Review

Fans of the hit “Raven” series, great news the Vikings are back, only this isn’t the Sigurd we know from the fantastic Raven Series. God of Vengeance begins a prequel series for Sigurd, his early years, how he became who he is and what molded him into the fearsome and Odin favoured warrior that he is. Its an introduction into some of the key characters such as Black Floki and Bear, and oh what an introduction.

Sigurd very quickly goes from the son of a prominent Jarl to a man hunted, no home and death dogging his footsteps. But he comes from a respected lineage and supported by his fathers remaining men who will back him all the way to Odin’s’ Hall, he is not out for the count. He is also a tricky little SOB and soon his star is on the rise, recruiting what will be the core of the crew we meet in the Raven. Along the way the body count is high but none of it just for the heck of it, this is a bloody tale, but a tale told in a poetic yet brutal fashion. If Giles had pulled a single punch in the telling i think it would have demeaned the plot, because he didn’t we are left with a tale of truly epic proportions.

I held off writing my review because i had the additional readers glow of a character in the book (Kætil Kartr) having that character was…. i have no words that describe it well enough, awesome, amazing, fantastic all that and more. I have been fortunate in that i have won a character in several books, and friends have kindly used the Parmenion name in their books, and each one brings a smile to my face and a warm glow to my heart. But Kætil, Kætil made me want to be a viking, made me want to pack my kit, grab an oar and take to the whale road (and i get really sea sick). Even after all of that fan boy excitement faded, we’ll a little, (but lets face it, its never going away) i could not escape the fact that this book is a saga that will and does deliver on every page, and then afterwards leaves you wanting more. A tale so boldly told, so beautifully told that you will experience the whole spectrum of emotions, and finish the book exhausted.

This is the book where the bloody legend of Sigurd is born, given voice not just in swathes of blood and violence, but also in the living breathing Norse world that comes to life on every page, as Giles weaves his tale like a master skald from the past.

God of Vengeance is without doubt a top 5 book this year, and come December it’s going to take something seriously amazing to stop it taking my book of 2014. If I could find time in my swamped reading schedule I would honestly read it again immediately.

Giles i doff my cap sir…bravo..

my highest possible recommendation

(Parm)

Have a look behind the scenes of the God of Vengeance Trailer film shoot

 

Raven 
1. Blood Eye (2009)
2. Sons of Thunder (2010)
3. Odin’s Wolves (2011)
Blood EyeSons of ThunderOdin's Wolves
Bleeding Land
1. The Bleeding Land (2012)
2. Brothers Fury (2013)
The Bleeding LandBrothers Fury
Novels
God of Vengeance (2014)
God of Vengeance

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Filed under Giles Kristian, Historical Fiction

Iain Gale: Keanes Company (2013) Review

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Born in London , Iain Gale began writing historical fiction in 2005 after a successful career as an art critic and journalist.
He has experience as a judge in prestigious art and literary prizes and served for a number of years on the visual art committee of the Scottish Arts Council. He was also instrumental in the foundation of the Edinburgh Art Festival. Iain is currently an active member of the Scottish Committee of the Society of Authors, the Friends of the Waterloo Committee and the Waterloo 200 Committee.
In 1997 Iain was commended as Art Critic of the Year in the Bank of Scotland Press Awards.He has also made numerous appearances on national radio, including the BBC World Service, BBC Radio 4, LBC radio and Radio Scotland.Iain is married to an Edinburgh GP and between them they have six children aged between 17 and 7 and two impossible Labradors. They divide their time between Edinburgh and Fife.

keane

Publication Date: 25 April 2013 | Series: Keane 1

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James Keane, officer in the 27th Foot, card sharp, ladies’ man and one of the finest but most rebellious soldiers in the British army, is under threat of court martial for disobeying Wellesley’s strict rules. But his special, even ungentlemanly, skills have caught his general’s eye, so he is selected to form a unique unit which will work behind enemy lines.

Keane’s next task is to hand-pick his band of men, some from prison for their aptitude at lock-picking and forgery as well as fighting skills, and form them into an effective unit before being sent on their first intelligence-gathering special mission, this time to link up with a lethal Spanish guerrilla leader.

Stealing into Oporto, Keane’s men have to hold a vital post over the river a crossing against overwhelming forces, before being detached once more into the high mountains on another mission where the strains of the diverse characters of the unit test Keane’s leadership skills to the uttermost.

Review:

Author Iain Gale begins a new series with his protagonist James Keane, and oh what a series it is. I will not pretend to know the history of this type of Soldier in this period. But Keane commands the first example of Special forces for the British Army. A company of men with exceptional skills, and like most highly skilled and tuned men, men with their own flaws and issues. These men are the top of their field, but don’t think SAS, imagine the time period and the pool being pulled from. Heroic, but flawed. Keane must shape this group, a group with access to the best materials and also privy to information the enemy would kill to get their hands on, into the best of the best. Viewed with suspicion, envy and potentially awe by their comrades in other units, the regular troops, cannon fodder.

This is a must for those who love Sharpe and or the peninsular war. It takes the sort of story a Sharpe fan would love and takes it to the next level. Anyone who knows Iain Gales work will already be aware that he is an exceptional writer, skilled in bringing the sights sounds smells and brutality of war out on the page and alive in the imagination.

 Fans of Bernard Cornwell: please do beware this covers the same ground trodden by the illustrious Sharpe, and as such there can be only one hero… But also remember, Sharpe is fictional, as is Keane, so don’t expect Sharpe to save the day in Gales book. There is an element of the Dirty Dozen style in the band, but for me that added to the enjoyment, in this style plenty may seen…how shall I say… Magnified, something that seems a little unbelievable, but remember these boys are the elite company.  This really is action adventure set with a historical back ground, something I suspect would have been published in Boys own once upon a time.

In summary…Loved it, bring on book 2.

 Highly recommend

(Parm)

Other titles

Jack Steel
1. Man of Honour (2007)
2. Rules of War (2008)
3. Brothers in Arms (2009)
Man of HonourRules of WarBrothers in Arms
Peter Lamb
1. Black Jackals (2011)
2. Jackals’ Revenge (2012)
Black JackalsJackals' Revenge
Novels
The Four Days in June (2006)
Alamein (2010)
Keanes Company (2013)
The Four Days in JuneAlameinKeanes Company

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Filed under Historical Fiction