Tag Archives: kings

Christian Cameron: Force of Kings (Review)

Christian Cameron

Christian Cameron

Christian Cameron was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1962. He grew up in Rockport, Massachusetts, Iowa City, Iowa, and Rochester, New York, where he attended McQuaid Jesuit High School and later graduated from the University of Rochester with a degree in history.

After the longest undergraduate degree on record (1980-87), he joined the United States Navy, where he served as an intelligence officer and as a backseater in S-3 Vikings in the First Gulf War, in Somalia, and elsewhere. After a dozen years of service, he became a full time writer in 2000. He lives in Toronto (that’s Ontario, in Canada) with his wife Sarah and their daughter Beatrice, currently age seven. He attends the University of Toronto when the gods move him and may eventually have a Masters in Classics, but right now he’s a full time historical novelist, and it is the best job in the world.

Christian is a dedicated reenactor and you can follow some of his recreated projects on the Agora . He’s always recruiting, so if you’d like to try the ancient world, the medieval world, or the late 18th century, follow the link to contact us.

 

Force of Kings (2014)

(The sixth book in the Tyrant series)

Buy the book

force of kings

Twin monarchs Satyrus and Melitta have worked hard, seen much blood shed and many good friends die to secure their fertile kingdom on the Black Sea. But as the colossal conflict between Alexander the Great’s former generals to inherit his empire rages from one end of the known world to the other, sitting on the sidelines is not an option. If their kingdom is to have a future, Satyrus and Melitta must join forces with one of the contenders, knowing that making the wrong choice could mean disaster. And with Ptolemy, Antigonus-One-Eye and his son Demetrius ‘the Besieger’, Lysimachus and Seleucus all massing their forces for one last battle, the stakes could not be higher. But with the wily Athenian schemer Stratokles, the courtesan-spy Phiale and Satyrus’s lover, the power-hungry Briseis, daughter of the Tyrant of Syracuse, also determined to secure the spoils of victory for themselves, the twins find themselves caught in a deadly web of intrigue that could cost them everything.

Review

I makes no bones about the fact that I’m a Christian Cameron fan, his books top my annual must read list every year, and are often competing for my book of the year award. This latest book Force of Kings is no different, although its a bitter sweet experience, the final book in a series going back to 2008 and the debut book in this series, a series that has helped give me a deeper love of ancient Greek culture, respect for that culture and respect for the author as one of the smartest most driven, nicest guys i know.

None of that tells you about force of Kings, as ever i hate to and wont give away the plot of a book in a review. What i will cover is: the totally immerse history, so well researched and written the reader is sucked back in time to live, breath fight and die hand in hand with Satyrus and his friends and enemies. My favorite underlying part of all Christians books is that there is no real good guy/ bad guy dynamic, he paints the shades of grey, weaving reality into the plot but without losing the wonder of the age.

The history is romantic and idealised, at times poetic, but that comes across as the authors love of the location and the period. None of it corrupts the plot, the woven intricacies of Stratokles, the machinations of “the doctor”, the self assured megalomania of Demetrius ‘the Besieger’ and the quiet self assured nature of Satyrus, always searching to be a better man, and running headlong into any fire going to do the right thing.

I love the way the author plays out his script, and at the same time makes the reader explore their own inner self, own decisions and the reasons behind them. I’m always left with some form of self examination afterwards, both myself and going back over decisions by characters, should they have made that choice, would i have made that choice. For me its the sign of a great book that challenges you to reread, to explore deeper and more thoroughly the plot and the people. A book that educates while it entertains.

This is the second book this year from this prolific author (great king already out and been an outstanding read) The Long Sword the second William Gold book is out in November 2014 and there are 3 more Tom Swan books due out also.

this is in my top 5 for this year, and will be competing for the top spot come the end of the year. A writer who makes you love history the way he loves it, seen through his eyes, and sharing his experiences. (visit his web site and you will see how intimately he will share the privations and wonders of Ancient Greece, and his commitment to learning the martial skills.)

Highly recommended

(Parm)

 

Tyrant
1. Tyrant (2008)
2. Storm of Arrows (2009)
3. Funeral Games (2010)
4. King of the Bosporus (2011)
5. Destroyer of Cities (2013)
6. Force of Kings (2014)
TyrantStorm of ArrowsFuneral GamesKing of the BosporusDestroyer of CitiesForce of Kings
Long War
1. Killer of Men (2010)
2. Marathon: Freedom or Death (2011)
3. Poseidon’s Spear (2012)
4. The Great King (2014)
Killer of MenMarathon: Freedom or DeathPoseidon's SpearThe Great King
Tom Swan and the Head of St George
1. Castillon (2012)
2. Venice (2012)
3. Constantinople (2012)
4. Rome (2013)
5. Rhodes (2013)
6. Chios (2013)
7, 8 & 9 due (2014)
CastillonVeniceConstantinopleRomeRhodesChios
Novels
Washington and Caesar (2001)
God of War (2012)
The Ill-Made Knight (2013)
The Long Sword (2014)
Washington and CaesarGod of WarThe Ill-Made KnightThe Long Sword

 

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Filed under Christian Cameron, Historical Fiction

Sebastien de Castell: Traitor’s Blade (The Greatcoats) review

Author

Sebastien de Castell ,

Author Web site

Sebastien de Castell had just finished a degree in Archaeology when he started work on his first dig. Four hours later he realized how much he actually hated archaeology and left to pursue a very focused career as a musician, ombudsman, interaction designer, fight choreographer, teacher, project manager, actor, and product strategist. His only defence against the charge of unbridled dilettantism is that he genuinely likes doing these things and that, in one way or another, each of these fields plays a role in his writing. He sternly resists the accusation of being a Renaissance Man in the hopes that more people will label him that way.

Sebastien lives in Vancouver, Canada with his lovely wife and two belligerent cats.

Book description

Paperback Published 4th Sept 2014, click to buy.

traitors blade

 

(Published March 6th 2014)

Falcio is the first Cantor of the Greatcoats. Trained in the fighting arts and the laws of Tristia, the Greatcoats are travelling Magisters upholding King’s Law. They are heroes. Or at least they were, until they stood aside while the Dukes took the kingdom, and impaled their King’s head on a spike.

Now Tristia is on the verge of collapse and the barbarians are sniffing at the borders. The Dukes bring chaos to the land, while the Greatcoats are scattered far and wide, reviled as traitors, their legendary coats in tatters.

All they have left are the promises they made to King Paelis, to carry out one final mission. But if they have any hope of fulfilling the King’s dream, the divided Greatcoats must reunite, or they will also have to stand aside as they watch their world burn…

Review

There must be something in the water or maybe the good clean open air of Canada at the moment, this is yet another author able to turn out something amazing. (others being Christian Cameron and CC Humphreys, two of my personal fav authors.)

Traitors Blade is something new in the fantasy genre, at least for me (im not as widely read in fantasy as i used to be). To get a fantasy using Timeslip, something normally reserved to thrillers worked fantastically, introducing back story and tension at the same time. This book is neither character driven or plot driven, its a wonderful blending, the author getting that fine balance between driving forward the story, and the characters voices and narrative. The story is packed with humour, emotion, banter and great character camaraderie. I’m sure that some of my enjoyment is due to the dry, self deprecating at time sarcastic voice of Falcio first Cantor of the Greatcoats and his companions.

The Greatcoats being the books/ authors fantastic creation, both the Armour they are named for, and the ideals and reason for their being. The enemy, the Dukes of the kingdom, put me in mind of the opposite of King John, where the dukes brought the King to heel and signed the people charter (Magna Carta) in Traitors Blade the king was the driving force for good and change, for the people, and the dukes are the petty tyrants.

This is yet another book this year that is in the category, “Left me with a book Hangover”, ie left me thinking about it for days afterwards, the style, the plot, the characters, and most of all wishing for the next book in the series. In finding and publishing Sebastian de Castell and Traitors Blade Jo Fletcher Books have given the genre a real treat, and i hope something new for years to come.

I want to join the Greatcoats, and ride with them again…. i honestly urge you to also Join them Buy the book

Also to find your greatcoat name, use your maternal grandmothers maiden name and your primary school. (mine is Carter St Joseph)

Highly recommend this one

(Parm)

5 Comments

Filed under Fantasy, Sebastien De Castell