Tag Archives: blood

Michael Arnold: Warlords Gold (Review)

Michael Arnold

Mike

UK
Michael lives in Hampshire with his wife and young son. His childhood holidays were spent visiting castles and battlefields, but his fascination with the civil wars was piqued partly by the fact that his hometown and region of Hampshire are steeped in Civil War history.

Book Description

warlords gold

3 July 2014 The Civil War Chronicles

Autumn,1643. As an increasingly bitter war rages across England, Captain Innocent Stryker leaves Oxford with orders to recover a lost treasure, vital to the success of the Royalist cause. But a seemingly simple mission to the remote Scilly Isles is soon jeopardised, for enemies lie in wait. A formidable Parliamentarian agent has been sent ahead of Stryker’s force, intent on defeating Royalist plans. Feared by ally and enemy alike, he is a man whose determination is only matched by his hatred for Stryker.

The quest for the gold takes Stryker across storm-ravaged seas, through enemy territory and finally to the Royalist stronghold of Basing House. And it is there that Stryker will face his most dangerous challenge yet.

Review

Reading Innocent Stryker is always a pleasure, I’m not even going to try and lead up to is this book any good, It is, its Bloody good. I had one more day left on my holiday, i got up took the little one to nursery, came home made a cuppa and sat in my sunny conservatory. The next eight hours were a trip back in time, a dark revenge fueled mission for a man from Strykers past. Can Stryker survive the violent world of Civil War England? will his past catch up and kill him? will his weaknesses and hidden compassion’s cause his ruination.

From dark Scilly isles shrouded in storm and misery, through to the wild rides and action of Basing House, a story jammed with every type of action and emotion, the book is a truly exhausting roller-coaster of emotion and action.

There are very few authors and subjects I can read for 464 pages and Michael Arnold is very much one of them, When you get an writer with the skill and ability to blend sublime and realistic characterization with superbly researched plot and that fictional flair to make the story race along and fire the imagination, that’s when you have a winner and a book and writer that not only should be on the best seller list, but very much has earned the right to be there.

This book as you might have guessed will be competing come December for the Parmenionbooks book of the year, what ever happens its easily going to be Top 5.

I don’t think i need to say anything else, because if you’re not convinced to buy this by now you never will be… go buy it and read for your self.

(Parm)

Series
Civil War Chronicles
1. Traitor’s Blood (2010)
2. Devil’s Charge (2011)
3. Hunter’s Rage (2012)
4. Assassin’s Reign (2013)
5. Warlord’s Gold (2014)
Stryker and the Angels of Death (2013)
Traitor's BloodDevil's ChargeHunter's RageAssassin's Reign
Warlord's GoldStryker and the Angels of Death
Novellas
Highwayman: Ironside (2013)
Highwayman: Ironside

 

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Filed under Historical Fiction, Michael Arnold

C C Humphreys: Plague (Review)

C C Humphreys

CC H

aka Chris Humphreys

Author Bio (and web site)

Book Description

Buy from Amazon

Buy from WH Smiths

Buy from Waterstones

Plague

London, 1665. A serial killer stalks his prey, scalpel in his hand and God’s vengeance in his heart.

Five years after his restoration to the throne, Charles II leads his citizens by example, enjoying every excess. Londoners have slipped the shackles of puritanism and now flock to the cockpits, brothels and, especially, the theatres, where for the first time women are allowed to perform alongside the men.
But not everyone is swept up in the excitement. Some see this liberated age as the new Babylon, and murder victims pile up in the streets, making no distinction in class between a royalist member of parliament and a Cheapside whore. But they have a few things in common: the victims are found with gemstones in their mouths. And they have not just been murdered; they’ve been . . . sacrificed.
Now, with the plague is returning to the city with full force, attacking indiscriminately . . . and murder has found a new friend.

Review

Plague for me was always going to be a difficult book by this exceptional author. His last title Shakespear’s Rebel was just so amazingly well written, researched and composed, it became my book of the year last year, a book that had more than just writing passion, but I felt a little of the authors soul poured onto the pages. How can you follow that? Can you follow that?

Plague isn’t in the same league as Shakespear’s Rebel, but once again C C Humphreys has served up a real reading treat. The book very patiently paints a vivid and real London of 1665 (the dirt and squalor, but also the families who live there), adding in the authors usual realistic and dramatic main characters, developing the plot introducing each character carefully and fully. Moving carefully from a Highwayman, to a dangerous killer who is every bit as nasty as Jack the ripper, to a thief catcher of one of the boroughs of London. It doesn’t end there, some big great players walk upon this stage, including the King, I really enjoyed seeing the king portrayed in the book, his love of theater giving the impression of a frivolous king, but clearly hidden under that a sharp and keen mind. As ever I enjoyed the introduction of one of the Absolute Clan, the link that ties the authors books together.

Writing a book about the Plague is also a tough ask, its a seriously dark period of time, and a dark subject matter. Chris manages to imbue it with something different, the plague is happening, but it isn’t the key driver for the plot. There is instead a Psychotic and dangerous killer loose in London, a dangerous plot brewing,  families struggling to survive the danger that is daily life, let alone the plague. All of this we see though the eyes of Captain Coke and Pitman the thief and the thief catcher. So while this isn’t a new Shakespeare Rebel, it is a plot with many many levels with characters real, but for me having a hint of the stage about them, not that i mind that, in fact i enjoy it in this author books because its coupled with such vivid portrayal of the time, place and circumstances (the many sub plots).

So as ever I highly recommend this book, this time to fans of Historical Fiction, Crime, and books that are just brilliantly written.

(Parm)

Other Books

Series
French Executioner
1. The French Executioner (2002)
2. Blood Ties (2002)
The French ExecutionerBlood Ties
Jack Absolute
1. Jack Absolute: The 007 of the 1770s (2003)
2. The Blooding of Jack Absolute (2004)
3. Absolute Honour (2006)
Jack Absolute: The 007 of the 1770sThe Blooding of Jack AbsoluteAbsolute Honour
Novels
Vlad: The Last Confession (2008)
The Hunt of the Unicorn (2011)
A Place Called Armageddon (2011)
Shakespeare’s Rebel (2013)
Plague (2014)
Vlad: The Last ConfessionThe Hunt of the UnicornA Place Called ArmageddonShakespeare's RebelPlague

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Filed under C C Humphreys, Crime, Historical Fiction, Thrillers

Rebecca Cantrell and James Rollins: Innocent Blood (2013) Review

The Author’s

James Rollins

rollins

JAMES ROLLINS is the New York Times bestselling author of international thrillers, translated into more than forty languages.  His Sigma series has been lauded as one of the “top crowd pleasers” (New York Times) and one of the “hottest summer reads” (People Magazine). In each novel, acclaimed for its originality, Rollins unveils unseen worlds, scientific breakthroughs, and historical secrets–and he does it all at breakneck speed and with stunning insight. James Rollins decided to become a writer as a boy immersed in the scientific adventures of Doc Savage, the wonders of Jules Verne and H.G. Wells, and pulps such as The Shadow, The Spider, and The Avenger. He honed his storytelling skills early, spinning elaborate tales that were often at the heart of pranks played on his brothers and sisters.

Although his talent emerged and grew, writing was not James’ original profession. Before he would set heroes and villains on harrowing adventures, he embarked on a career in veterinary medicine, graduating from the University of Missouri and establishing a successful veterinary. This hands-on knowledge of medicine and science helps shape the research and scientific speculation that set James Rollins books apart.

The exotic locales of James Rollins novels have emerged as a hybrid between imagination, research, and James’ extensive travels throughout the United States and Europe, as well as New Zealand, the South Pacific, China, Southeast Asia, Africa, Australia, and South America. Recent travel includes book tours and stops across the country and several European nations to meet readers and give talks, seminars, and media interviews.

In recent years, much of James’ travel has involved meeting readers in small and large groups, at writing and fan conferences, and even aboard seagoing “seminars.” James’ mentoring temperament and coaching skills have made him a sought-out writing instructor and guest speaker for workshops, symposia, conventions, and other forums throughout the country. He is among the core faculty of the annual Maui Writer’s Conference and Retreat.

James Rollins is the author of seven thrillers in the bestselling Sigma Force series (Sandstorm, Map of Bones, Black Order, The Judas Strain, The Last Oracle, The Doomsday Key, and The Devil Colony); six individual adventure thrillers; the blockbuster movie novelization, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull; and the Jake Ransom middle grade series (Jake Ransom and the Skull King’s Shadow, Jake Ransom and the Howling Sphinx, and more coming in 2013). The eighth Sigma Force adventure, Bloodline, is coming in Summer 2012.

In 2005, James joined other luminaries in the genre to create the International Thriller Writers, Inc. ITW recognizes and promotes the thriller genre, provides opportunities for mentoring, education, and collegiality among authors and industry professionals, and grants awards for excellence in thriller writing. James is currently the Co-President of ITW, serving alongside Steve Berry. (From Author’s Bio)

Rebecca Cantrell

Rebecca Cantrell

 Rebecca Cantrell’s Hannah Vogel mystery/thriller novels have won the Bruce Alexander and Macavity awards and been nominated for the Barry and RT Reviewers Choice awards; her critically-acclaimed cell phone novel, iDrakula, was nominated for the APPY award and listed on Booklist’s Top 10 Horror Fiction for Youth. She and her husband and son just left Hawaii’s sunny shores for adventures in Berlin. Find Rebecca Cantrell on Facebook, Twitter, and at Authors Website.

Innocent Blood (2013)

(The second book in the Order of the Sanguines series)
A novel by Rebecca Cantrell and James Rollins

Innocent Blood

Innocent Blood

A vicious attack at a ranch in California thrusts archaeologist Erin Granger back into the folds of the Sanguines, an immortal order founded on the blood of Christ and tasked with protecting the world from the beasts haunting its shadows and waiting to break free into the sunlight.  Following the prophetic words found in the Blood Gospel–a tome written by Christ and lost for centuries–Erin must join forces with Army Sergeant Jordan Stone and the dark mystery that is Father Rhun Korza to discover and protect a boy believed to be an angel given flesh.

But an enigmatic enemy of immense power and terrifying ambition seeks the same child–not to save the world, but to hasten its destruction.  For any hope of victory, Erin must discover the truth behind Christ’s early years and understand His first true miracle, an event wrapped in sin and destruction, an act that yet remains unfulfilled and holds the only hope for the world.

The search for the truth will take Erin and the others across centuries and around the world, from the dusty plains of the Holy Land to the icy waters of the Arctic Ocean, from the catacombs of Rome to an iron fortress in the Mediterranean Sea, and at last to the very gates of Hell itself, where their destiny–and the fate of mankind–awaits.

With The Blood Gospel, the first novel in the Order of the Sanguines series, James Rollins and Rebecca Cantrell breathtakingly combined science, myth, and religion and introduced a world where miracles hold new meaning and the fight for good over evil is far more complicated than we ever dreamed. In Innocent Blood they again take us to the edge of destruction . . . and into the deepest reaches of imagination.

Review:

Review of book one Blood Gospel

A second book is always a concern, was the first a flash in the pan? or will book two be w bridge to book three and the finale of the trilogy? The fact of Innocent blood is its neither, its a fully fledged wonderful thriller, a book that could stand alone and do so as one of the best of its genre this year (personally i would read Blood Gospel first though).

As in book one we follow the perils of The Warrior of Man (Jordan) the Woman of Learning (Erin) and the Knight of Christ Father Rhun, the trio of prophecy confused by the death of the last of the line of Bathory? The first angel needs to be found to fulfill the prophecy, the Damnatus has his own agenda and wants to bring about the ruin of all, Rasputin is back and up to his old tricks, and Cardinal Bernard still thinks he can control destiny/ prophecy.

This book see’s the culmination of centuries of prophecy, and manipulation, history guided by two hands but with separate goals, The Order of the Sanguines are not the only immortals in the world.

The thing i love about James Rollins books is the flight of fancy, the dazzling and fantastic journey all his books take you on, occasionally that can be bordering on the edge of the imagination. What i love about this series is that despite the vampires, and the angels, the miracles and the secret world, it all feels so much more grounded, so real. I have to put that down to the influence of Rebecca Cantrell. Its like a perfect confluence of writing style and skill. It happened once before for me in a fantasy series with Raymond Feist and Janny Wurts, both splendid writers, but paired for a trilogy they produced one of the most remarkable fantasy series i have ever read. For the vampire Genre this is turning into something similar.

A truly splendid and terrifying world hidden in plain sight, believable while at the same time fantastical imagining.

very highly recommended

(Parm)

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Filed under James Rollins, Rebecca Cantrell, Supernatural, Thrillers

David Gilman: Master of War (Review)

About David Gilman
gilman da
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.

The Blooding (2013)
(The first book in the Master of War series)
A novel by David Gilman

Buy a Signed copy for £9.99

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 Crécy. 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.

THE BLOODING is the first part of the David Gilman’s epic novel MASTER OF WAR, published on 01 August 2013. Readers of Conn Iggulden, Simon Scarrow and Bernard Cornwell will be delighted to discover a new series to follow.

Review

Is Rome becoming the period of the past? More and more books and series seem to be gravitating to medieval periods and warfare. This is no bad thing, a change to different times, different outlooks on the aspects and manner of war. A change in weapons and a change in the pre-eminent

There are as many rich periods and great battles to centre a series around, and so many more nations to look at and explore.

Of all the battles and wars David Gilman has chosen one of the true stand outs; The battle of Crecy, set during the Hundred Years War.

My personal knowledge of the period is not the best, and that’s what I love about more and more authors writing in this period, it’s a chance for me to learn something new. Can I be educated at the same time as entertained?

In Master of War we the reader are introduced to one of the kings archers, Thomas Blackstone, a boy trained from childhood (as were all boys) to master the English longbow. The longbow was at the time THE weapon of destruction, ranks of archers firing bows of over 100lb draw, with a destructive force that could pierce plate armour, thus nullifying the French superior numbers in chivalry.

This book is a brilliant mix or characterisation, intrigue, battles, nationalities, history, enmity, courage, cowardice, fear and bravery. But ultimately for this period it is Chivalry that rules the day, the rules of chivalry that bind nobleman or all nations, as long as you are of noble blood, the peasants are as ever…fodder for the mill of war. This does not lessen the brutality of war, it does not reduce the death count in the field or war, in the destruction of castles and sieges, it just adds a set of rules, rules iron clad and the breaching of such would lead to outrage, ridicule and shunning by all sides.

Thomas soon becomes a man to know, and a man to fear, a bringer of death in a world or death dealers. Life is short and to be lived to the full, love is quick, and comradeship earned, won, lost and grieved over many times in short periods. It’s a harsh life and one that Thomas Blackstone is good at.

I was very impressed an immersed in this book, the only bits that brought me up short were the depiction of the ladies and attitudes towards them. While I know we are in a period where women were chattel for many men, they were also many strong women, women who led through a power behind the throne, and some who were a lot more overt, and I’m not sure that all men were so universally of that opinion. But this was my only nit-pick with the book, a book that I really enjoyed and look forward to more.

(Parm)

Other titles

Danger Zone
1. The Devil’s Breath (2007)
2. Ice Claw (2008)
3. Blood Sun (2009)
The Devil's BreathIce ClawBlood Sun

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Iain Gale: Keanes Company (2013) Review

gale

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

Buy the book

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