Tag Archives: Borgia

S.J.A Turney The Assassin’s Tale (The Ottoman Cycle book 3)

Author Biography

SJA

(In his own words)
I live with my wife, my son and two (close approximations of) dogs in rural North Yorkshire, where my wife and I both grew up, surrounded by friends and family. A born and bred Yorkshireman with a love of the country, I cannot envisage spending my life anywhere else, though my anchor is sometimes tested as the wanderlust hits and we travel wherever I can find the breathtaking remains of the classical world. I have a love of travel and history, architecture and writing and those four interact well enough to keep me almost permanently busy.Since leaving school and University, I have tried a great number of careers, including car sales, insurance, software engineering, computer network management, civil service and even painting and decorating sales. I have lived in four counties and traveled as widely as time and budget allowed and find myself, on the cusp of my fortieth year, back where I began and finally doing something I love.

Having written a number of unpublished short stories in my early days, I decided back in 2003 to try and write a full length novel. That was the start of Marius’ Mules. Being a lover of Roman history, I decided to combine my love of writing and my love of classical history. Marius’ Mules was followed two years later by Interregnum, my attempt to create a new fantasy story still with a heavy flavour of Rome. Since then, the success and popularity of both has spawned sequels to each work, with three tales in each series so far and more planned.

As well as my own website at http://www.sjaturney.co.uk I maintain a website detailing the Roman sites I visit and photograph at http://www.roman-sites.com, and blog at http://sjat.wordpress.com. I am an almost terminally chatty person. That’s just a due warning if you feel like contacting me (via my website.) I am always happy to speak to people and have just put together an FAQ gathered together from things I have been asked previously.

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Product Description

HiResAssassin'sTaleCoverFront

Italy, 1493. Returning from the new world to the old, Skiouros is confronted with lands ruled by a strict and unyielding religion, and which yet still contrive to be corrupt and debased, as the inquisition takes hold in Spain and the Vatican seethes under the rule of the Borgia family.Through this world of intolerance, greed and wickedness, the former thief-turned-explorer finally sets his mind to that mission that has underlain his every move since leaving the great city of Istanbul some two years earlier: the death of the usurper sultan, Cem.

Gathering old friends and new, Skiouros travels the length of Italy in his quest for vengeance and the quieting of his brother’s restless soul. But on his dreadful quest he will face more than mere physical danger, for beneath all his strength and will, does Skiouros have a heart black enough to commit murder in the name of revenge?

Review
I know Simon prefers transparency in the case of reviews, so to be totally upfront: I would always struggle to dislike this book. Simon is about as good a friend as i have, add to that he did me the huge honour of adding a character to this series (Parmenio). Its those things that put a huge smile on my face and give a wonderful gloss to this reviewing lark.
All that aside; This is a wonderful book, even without being predisposed to want to love the book. Simon has a true talent for story telling, and a prodigious output (see below for his full book list). This series (Ottoman Cycle) is my personal favorite from Simon. Filled with a deep sense of connection for every location, i know Simon has meticulously researched each and every one, but research only takes you so far, its the passion for history in general that makes this a winner add to that the writing, the locations and telling talent a story that shines through on every page and you get a little bit of magic.
Assassins Tale see’s our main character Skiouros return from an unexpected trip to the new world, he returns to a Europe divided and held together at the same time by religion, its wars, its politics and its superstitions. Skiouros returns older, wiser, stronger; ready to take on the rest of his mission. He has to find his friends and return to his pledge to rid the world of the man responsible for his brothers death.
A journey that will place him at the heart of Roman politics, in direct harms way of a warrior king hell bent on expanding his empire, and smack in the middle of Borgia politics.
There is so much in this book i was riveted, i remember emailing Simon at midnight to go “What the F…” on at least one occasion.
A book that can elicit emotions like that is for me a winner.
So this is highly recommended.
(Parm)
Marius’ Mules
1. The Conquest of Gaul (2009)
aka The Invasion of Gaul
2. The Belgae (2010)
3. Gallia Invicta (2011)
4. Conspiracy of Eagles (2012)
5. Hades’ Gate (2013)
6. Caesar’s Vow (2014)
Prelude to War (2014)
The Conquest of GaulThe BelgaeGallia InvictaConspiracy of EaglesHades' GateCaesar's VowPrelude to War
Tales of the Empire
1. Interregnum (2009)
2. Ironroot (2010)
3. Dark Empress (2011)
InterregnumIronrootDark Empress
Ottoman Cycle
1. The Thief’s Tale (2013)
2. The Priest’s Tale (2013)
3. The Assassin’s Tale (2014)
The Thief's Tale The Priest's TaleThe Assassin's Tale

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Filed under Historical Fiction, S J A Turney

Matt Rees: A name in Blood (Review)

The Author

M Rees

Matt Rees, (also known as Matt Beynon Rees, born in Newport, Wales) is a Welsh novelist and former journalist. He is the author of the Omar Yussef (character) series of mystery novels about a Palestinian sleuth and of historical crime novels. He is the winner of a Crime Writers Association Dagger for his crime fiction. He lives in Jerusalem.

Product Description

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blood
Italy, 1605: For the ruling Borgia family, Rome is a place of grand palazzos and frescoed cathedrals. For the lowly artist Caravaggio, it is a place of rough bars, knife fights, and grubby whores. Until he is commissioned to paint the Pope… Soon, Caravaggio has gained entry into the Borgia family’s inner circle, and becomes the most celebrated artist in Rome. But when he falls for Lena, a low-born fruit-seller, and paints her into his Madonna series as a simple peasant woman, Italian society is outraged. Discredited as an artist, but unwilling to retract his vision of the woman he loves, Caravaggio is forced into a duel – and murders a nobleman. Even his powerful patrons cannot protect him from a death sentence. So Caravaggio flees to Malta, where, before he can be pardoned, he must undergo the rigorous training of the Knights of Malta. His paintings continue to speak of his love for Lena. But before he can return to her, as a Knight and a noble, Caravaggio, the most famous artist in Italy – simply disappears…

Review

I’m a voracious reader of historical fiction, but not much historical crime fiction, I steer away from crime drama’s where possible. But this one intrigued me, and im glad it did. The author appears to have a passion for the period and Caravaggio. The Borgia’s are topical right now with the TV series and its nice too read contrasting characters and settings.
The true victory of this book is the passion of the author, while the story is well told and tragic, its the writing that transports you to the 1600’s to experience the sights, sounds, smells and emotions of the people and time.
For those who might think this would be a plodding period piece, its not, its atmospheric, action packed and full of dramatic twists and turns. I soon forgot this was a crime drama, it became a deeply involved story that just transported me to a more artistic era of time, and a more dangerous time, when life was lived to the full.
Highly Recommended
(Parm)

Other Work

Series
Omar Yussef
1. The Bethlehem Murders (2007)
aka The Collaborator of Bethlehem
2. The Saladin Murders (2008)
aka A Grave in Gaza
3. The Samaritan’s Secret (2009)
4. The Fourth Assassin (2010)
The Bethlehem MurdersThe Saladin MurdersThe Samaritan's SecretThe Fourth Assassin
Novels
Mozart’s Last Aria (2011)
A Name in Blood (2012)
Mozart's Last AriaA Name in Blood
Novellas
Damascus Trance (2011)
The Sweetest Things (2012)
Lazarus’s Brush: a short story of Caravaggio in Sicily (2012)
The Man Who Went Out at Night (2012)
Damascus TranceThe Sweetest ThingsLazarus's Brush: a short story of Caravaggio in SicilyThe Man Who Went Out at Night
Non fiction series
Untold Mideast
The Dark Refuge: Israel’s Scandalous Neglect of its Mentally Ill Holocaust Survivors (2012)
Heroic Scum: How the PLO’s Old Campaigners Were Betrayed by Peace (2012)
Kissing the Dead: The Revenge of a Betrayed Hamas Leader(2012)
The Painter and the Prophet: Two Men Who Paid a Price for Loving the Land (2012)
The Dark Refuge: Israel's Scandalous Neglect of its Mentally Ill Holocaust SurvivorsHeroic Scum: How the PLO's Old Campaigners Were Betrayed by PeaceKissing the Dead: The Revenge of a Betrayed Hamas LeaderThe Painter and the Prophet: Two Men Who Paid a Price for Loving the Land
Non fiction
Cain’s Field: Faith, Fratricide, and Fear in the Middle East (2008)
Matatya’s Cafe: The Israeli Musicians Who Brought East and West Together (2012)
Cain's Field: Faith, Fratricide, and Fear in the Middle EastMatatya's Cafe: The Israeli Musicians Who Brought East and West Together

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Filed under Crime, Historical Fiction