Tag Archives: London

Fire Sermon (Francesca Haig) + Harper Voyager Blogger event.

Today (Sat 24th Jan) was one of those great rare days when i get invited to a publisher event (along with many other far more talented people) … The subject of the event? The launch of the upcoming Fire Sermon due out on the 26th Feb 2015.

Fire Sermon Buy from Amazon

Fire Sermon Buy Signed from Goldsboro

So up nice and early and on the train to London, leaving behind the wife and my little Diva

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Powering through the usual East coast mainline farce (they had reserved the same seat for 3 people…inc me) on a packed train, picturing a 90 min stand to lLondoni sighed down to the last carriage, and struck lucky with a reserved seat who hadn’t turned up…and what would any self respecting blogger do next… Out with the book ( Long Sword by Christian Cameron… review to come soon)

Due at 11.30am , in my usual fashion i arrived very early…

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(Anyone recognise the location?)

on a lovely sunny day you see the great buildings and sights in a different way…. none so much as coming out of the London Bridge Tube station…

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This is what you see just rising up in front of you, the stop must have been deliberately positioned to give this awe inspiring view as you rise up the escalator.

This is only the start of the amazing view that is the new Harper offices

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and the view from inside…one so fabulous that you wonder if anyone will get any work done

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this is only a small part of the stunning panoramic view from this wonderful new office building.

All this and i had not even got to the main event….meeting Francesca Haig and her wonderful new book.

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Greeted by Francesca… “Parmenionbooks, are you the one who has been tweeting me?”….. erm….. quickly tries to remember how cheeky i had been “Yes…erm thats me”…. yup i stunned her with my witty repartee!

I need not have worried, she was a truly lovely person to meet, (as was her husband and little one). We were treated to tea and coffee and then a reading or two from the pending excellence that is Fire Sermon

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(please note in the background the splendid book wall… close up below)

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also add in the some quite excellent typewriter table lamps (want one)

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The author reading soon turned into the blogger Q&A…. just for a few seconds there was that stunned silence of …”agghhh i don’t want to be first”.. i didn’t really help here.

But soon those other talented bloggers soon had Francesca pouring out little facts. When you read the book, pay attention to place names, there are some nods to dystopian authors of the past. We learned the origin of character names, where she wrote the book, how she wrote the book, the inspiration for the book and more. It all made for a fascinating morning…. and honestly everyone was listening, not thinking about cake…

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nope…no thinking about cake at all…from anyone….

(i snagged one of these for the Diva)…..

and some lunch for me….(lovely sandwiches Harper Voyager thank you)

Then a surprise book signing and a copy of the book for each blogger and and goody bag of other books (yey… also containing a very interesting flyer for An Ember in the Ashes  – 4 Jun 2015 by Sabaa Tahir, i’m very intrigued by this one)… and a copy of Joe Abercrombie Half a World

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So for a blogger it was a wonderful day out, meeting some wonderful people…. some of the best being the lovely ladies of Harper Voyager themselves, a group who look after us all year long as readers, and went above and beyond today. THANK YOU.

and Thank you to Francesca Haig (and her family)

and those who enjoy this blog, or just seethe with jealousy…please read the book…(Review ) its compelling reading. For me…. its a heck of a long wait for book 2.




Filed under Dystopian, Francesca Haig

Do you have the PLAGUE!!! Interview with C C Humphreys


C C Humphreys:

I have again been fortunate in that Chris has agreed to answer some of my frivolous questions regarding his book, Chris is one of my favourite authors, it seems the air in Canada breeds writing ability (might have to move there…. if it wasn’t for all that…Cold).  I hope you like the Interview, any lacking in the interview is my daft questions, so feel free to comment and give me questions for future interviews.

What ever you do please click one of the links and buy the book, its not often i say “i promise” but in this case i mean it, “I promise you will not be disappointed” this is once again a great book and riveting read.

My review

Plague: Interview:


1: What led you to write about one of the darkest periods in history?

My agent and I were chatting and he was talking about the book. How people love the artifact, the touch, the smell. ‘I can see a rack of books at WH Smiths Charing Cross. The title ‘Plague’. All black and red and…”

     “Hold on,” I said, “Are you talking about the Great Plague of London?”

     “Well, as an example of books that are black, and red and…”

     “Give me a moment,” I said.

     I went into my writing hut and these characters, this plot, just exploded. It was like I was being tapped on the shoulder by people, ‘I’m Captain Coke. I’m a highwayman. Known as Captain Cock. You should put me in your book.” So I did. And the backdrop of the plague was just too darkly delicious to not want to write about.


2: Recently you have written standalone books, How many books in this series?

At the moment, two. I am working of ‘Fire’ right now. Same characters, different dramatic backdrop.



3: Once again the redoubtable Absolute family make an appearance, do you have a conscious reason for the link (or just for fun)?

     It’s mainly fun – but I like the way Wilbur Smith has linked up all the Courtenays. I also love a certain blood continuity – this is what happened to a beloved character’s family. That way, in a way, the character himself or herself lives on.


 4: Do you have a clear Absolute family tree to refer to and help guide you to other stories to write?

   No. Well, maybe a vague one in my head. I’d like to link up Lucy’s son with Monmouth’s rebellion, then his son will be Jack’s dad, Mad Jamie. That would be a hoot!


5: Where do the inspiration for your characters come from: EG: Pitman & Captain Coke/Cock.

      Gosh! I don’t know really. They are inspired by so many things: modern cop dramas; cavaliers vs. roundheads. I liked the idea of old enemies uniting in a common cause. Of a world turned upside down, enabling a gentleman and a working class man to come together in mutual respect. 


6: With a subject and period like this, how do you get into the writing flow? Is it like getting into Character on stage?

      I suppose I do act out my characters a little. Though its more a mumble at my desk rather than striding about, shouting. But yes, I use acting techniques to create them and drive the action. What does she want now? What’s stopping her getting it?


7: Your books have been some of my favourite reads over the last few years (especially Shakespeare’s Rebel) what has been your personal favourite? And what has been the biggest challenge (and why?)

      I always find that question hard to answer. They are all my children, I love them all for different reasons. ‘Rebel’ was very personal, with the whole Shakespeare/Hamlet/sword thing. Also, fathers and sons move much of my writing now as I have one, am one.

     ‘Vlad, the Last Confession’ was the hardest because the subject matter was so dark. I didn’t want to whitewash a killer but I also didn’t want to depict a psychopath. Also the history was so complex how was I to render it entertainingly without giving lessons, which I abhor. Hitting on the structure, the ‘confession’in the dungeon centred it for me. It was a huge technical and emotional challenge, so I learned a huge amount doing it. I think it leapt me forward as a writer.


8: As you are located in Canada, can we look forward to a tour for the latest book? (will there be signed copies anywhere?)

 I hope so! I love the UK and seem to be writing about London more and more. No plans … however if you get lots of people to buy Plague… I’ll sign happily!


 9: Normally my last question is a fun one, who would you invite to dinner… but for your good self… If you could have any 4 people from history to walk the boards with you, or watch the play whom would they be any why?

Very good question! I think I’d like to play Laertes to Burbage’s Hamlet, with Will in the wings… then have Vlad the Impaler join us for a pint or seven at the Spoon and Alderman afterwards. That’s a conversation I’d like to partake in!

Buy from Amazon

Buy from W H Smiths (cheapest UK Price)


Many thanks for visiting



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Filed under C C Humphreys, Historical Fiction

C C Humphreys: Plague (Review)

C C Humphreys


aka Chris Humphreys

Author Bio (and web site)

Book Description

Buy from Amazon

Buy from WH Smiths

Buy from Waterstones


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.


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.


Other Books

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
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


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

Andrew Swanston: The Kings Return (Review + Q&A)



Andrew read a little law and a lot of sport at Cambridge University, and held various positions in the book trade, including being a director of Waterstone & Co, and chairman of Methven’s plc, before turning to writing. Inspired by a lifelong interest in seventeenth century history, his ‘Thomas Hill’ novels are set during the English Civil Wars, and the early period of the Restoration.

He lives with his wife in Surrey, near to their three children and two grandchildren. His interests include golf, gardening, and drawing.

Author Web site

Product Description

Buy the Book

kings return

Spring, 1661.
   Thomas Hill travels from his home in Romsey to London to attend the coronation of King Charles II. His sister Margaret has died, and both his nieces are now married. At a dinner party after the Coronation, Thomas meets the charming Chandle Stoner, and Sir Joseph Williamson, security advisor to His Majesty, and in charge of the newly restored Post Office. Learning of Thomas’s skill with codes, Williamson asks him to take charge of deciphering coded letters intercepted at the Post Office. Reluctantly, Thomas agrees. A spate of murders takes place in London — including two employees of the Post Office. Thomas finds himself dragged into the search for the murderer — or murderers. It soon becomes apparent that those responsible are closer to Thomas — and his loved ones — than he imagined. But can he ensure they are apprehended for their crimes before it’s too late?

 Set in the aftermath of the Civil War, in a dangerous and deadly London.Like Swanston’s other novels, this too features a combination of fact and fiction. The key context — the Post Office — was indeed a hotbed of spies both for the King and for his enemies.

Author Q&A


What led you to become a writer? I suppose reading led to writing. And from a very young age I filled notebooks with this and that – diaries, stories, half-formed thoughts – so the urge to write must always have been there

Favorite author / Inspiration? Conan Doyle and CS Forester were my first inspirations. I discovered them in the school library and devoured them. I still love Sherlock Holmes and Horatio Hornblower. A little later, PG Wodehouse.

Who do you read for relaxation? A mixed bag. John Gribbin (science), Michael Lewis (finance), Tom Holland and Anthony Beevor (history), Jared Diamond (anthropology) are among my favourites.  All brilliant in their own way.

What was your inspiration for Thomas Hill? Thomas was the product of Thomas Phelippes, who broke the code that proved Mary Queen of Scots was plotting to overthrow Queen Elizabeth which led to her execution, the Vigenère Cipher and the idea that Civil War Oxford would make a good setting for a story. I wanted an unusual protagonist, not a military man or a politician, but someone dragged unexpectedly into the war.

How long is the series? (Given that Thomas is aging rapidly in the series) Now that Thomas is about to be a husband and father, he will be on paternity leave for a while. If he decides to return, I do have a job for him.

What’s next for Andrew Swanston? (period of history?) I am working on two stories. A murder/mystery set in Cambridge in 1572 and a fictionalised account of the soldier chosen by Wellington as ‘the bravest man at Waterloo’. Hopefully, both will appear next year.

If you could have anyone from history to dinner, who would it be and why? I would invite to dinner the man known as Jesus of Nazareth. I do not believe he was the son of God but am willing to be persuaded.

Your PR person has decided the best way to push the book is to stand you outside Kings cross, you only have a few words to describe the books to passers by before they are gone, so…So how do you sell it? 

I would of course refuse this request, but……….

‘1661. England again has a king but London is a city of spies and malcontents. Murder follows murder. Can scholarly Thomas Hill find the killer and foil a plot that threatens the country?’

Parmenion Books Review

I find myself in a bit of a quandary with writing this review, a review is a very personal thing, and even 15 years on from the early days of reviews i find that i cannot move away from just giving my person insight, whilst tempering it with a hope that each of you will make up your own mind. As it had been some time since I read the last book and there had been many pages and many centuries between the books (From Rome, to modern thrillers) I decided that I would re-read books one and two and then dive straight into book 3, Kings return.

I finished all 3 books off in just over a week which clearly shows that there is something significantly engaging and entertaining in the books, that the characters are there and that they are well rounded and developed. That there has been a large amount of research put into the plot and its delivered in a very engaging style.

But: I found that the stories while well told and complex, felt like they lacked something, lacked those little nuggets of history that delight me (forgive me Andrew if i missed them) EG: in Simon Scarrows Young Bloods series about Wellington and Napoleon there is a wonderful scene where young Napoleon is at school and despite not being one of the “popular “ boys he ends up leading by force of character one of the sides in an all out snowball war. It’s a real nugget of history and its stayed with me for years. This series by Andrew Swanston has some delightful passages and really carries the reader along with the plot. But it feels to hover above history, slightly outside it, offering a birds eye view rather than immersing me in the history. I didn’t feel the heat of the island, I didn’t smell the stink of the sugar (and I live in a town with a Sugar factory so would have found it easy to smell the history), i didn’t feel the grime of old London .  It may well be that reading this just after reading The new God of Vengeance by Giles Kristen isn’t a fair scenario, that book was just stunning and so many authors would pale in comparison. On another day this series may gain a higher rating from me, but i could not escape the feeling of being a voyeur in Mr Hills travails rather than a participant. Please please though read these books, my review comes from my impression at the time of reading and in comparison to some truly remarkable writing. Andrews work is still a delight to read.

 I do truly feel that if you love Civil War history, and you love a puzzle, then try the series. The lead character is a cryptographer and there are many puzzles and turns to hold the attention of the reader. It is a fun and interesting read and has a pace that makes the books fly past.

 Well worth a read


Thomas Hill Trilogy

1. The King’s Spy (2012)
2. The King’s Exile (2013)
3. The King’s Return (2014)
The King's SpyThe King's ExileThe King's Return
Beautiful Star (2014)
Beautiful Star

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Filed under Andrew Swanston, Historical Fiction

Ben Aaronovitch: Broken Homes (Review)

About the Author


Ben Aaronovitch was born in 1964. He had parents, some brothers, some sisters and a dog named after a Russian cosmonaut. He also had the kind of dull childhood that drives a person to drink, radical politics or science fiction.

Discovering in his early twenties that he had precisely one talent, he took up screenwriting at which he was an overnight success. He wrote for Doctor Who, Casualty and the world’s cheapest ever SF soap opera Jupiter Moon. He then wrote for Virgin’s New Adventures until they pulped all his books.

Then Ben entered a dark time illuminated only by an episode of Dark Knight, a book for Big Finish and the highly acclaimed but not-very-well-paying Blake’s 7 Audio dramas. Trapped in a cycle of disappointment and despair Ben was eventually forced to support his expensive book habit by working for Waterstones as a bookseller.

Ironically it was while shelving the works of others that Ben finally saw the light. He would write his own books, he would let prose into his heart and rejoice in the word. Henceforth, subsisting on nothing more than instant coffee and Japanese takeaway, Ben embarked on the epic personal journey that was to lead to Rivers of London (or Midnight Riot as it is known in the Americas).

At some point during the above, the most important thing in his life happened and he became a father to a son, Karifa, whom he affectionately refers to as ‘The Evil Monster Boy’. The Evil Monster Boy will be reaching university age soon, so all donations will be gratefully received.

Ben Aaronovitch currently resides in London and says that he will leave when they pry his city from his cold dead fingers.

Authors Web Site

Buy a signed Copy of Broken Homes

Buy a copy from Amazon

Product Description

Broken Homes

Ben Aaronovitch has stormed the bestseller list with his superb London crime series. A unique blend of police procedural, loving detail about the greatest character of all, London, and a dash of the supernatural.

In the new novel DC Peter Grant must head south of the river to the alien environs of Elephant and Castle. There’s a murderer abroad and, as always when Grant’s department are reluctantly called in by CID there is more than a whiff of the supernatural in the darkness.

Full of warmth, sly humour and a rich cornucopia of things you never knew about London, Aaronovitch’s series has swiftly added Grant’s magical London to Rebus’ Edinburgh and Morse’s Oxford as a destination of choice for those who love their crime with something a little extra.


When Rivers of London came out in 2011 it was in my opinion ground breaking, each book in the series has built upon the last in a unique, witty and captivating style (Broken Homes, takes it to a new height). Peter Grant the main protagonist could be a guy you went to school with, well if you forget the fact that he can do magic, and is often as confused about it as you or I. Nightingale (his boss) is the mentor, some would say the Dumbledore, I would say the Doctor Who, the man with the past he doesn’t share, the knowledge he drip feeds, and the personality of the irritable professor.

What I love about the series is the total unpredictable nature of the story/ Series, the topsy turvy contrary nature of the River spirits/ Gods and other magical beings. The twists and turns and machinations of the faceless man leave you guessing constantly as to where things will go next, what risks Peter will take next and powers he will try and use. Broken Homes introduces a new form of magic and takes us further into the political/ magical landscape of London and the Rivers. It throws up some serious surprises for the established characters, and delves deeper into the past, with more hints at the geo-political/ Magical landscape of Europe during WW2 and before.

In this series there are always some fantastic side plots, the boy meets girl plot lines, the boy runs from crazy girl, or  girl from boy who does magic. Always the story arc and the small incidentals will leave you smiling or laughing out loud.

This truly is the most interesting, uniquely funny series being written. Its a must read, no matter what genre you like.

Highly Recommended


Peter Grant

1. Rivers of London (2011)
aka Midnight Riot
2. Moon Over Soho (2011)
3. Whispers Under Ground (2012)
4. Broken Homes (2013)
Rivers of LondonMoon Over SohoWhispers Under GroundBroken Homes
Doctor Who 
Short Trips: Repercussions (2013)
Short Trips: Repercussions

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Filed under Fantasy, Supernatural

James Benmore: Dodger (Review)

James Benmore


James Benmore was born in Kent and currently lives in South-East London. He studied literature at the Open University and has since completed an Mst in Creative Writing from Oxford University.

A prolific short story writer, his short fiction has been published in various anthologies, including All These Little Worlds published by The Fiction Desk and The Failed Novelist’s Anthology 2011. These have received positive reviews from magazines such as Cherwell’s.

Dodger is his first novel.


Book description

London, 1850s.

After five years in an Australian penal colony, the Artful Dodger returns to London in search of a hidden fortune. Unaware of the fate that befell Twist, Fagin and Sikes, Dodger revisits the criminal underworld of Dickensian London to seek out his old comrades, any of whom might possess the key to the treasure.

He finds the city a changed place from his youth: with law and order upheld by a new police force, Fagin gone to the gallows, his old gang scattered and danger around every corner.


This is one of those books that should not need too much advertising or blurb, at least it should not for anyone who loves reading. We are after all talking about a sequel to one of the all time great stories “Oliver Twist”, a story from the great Charles Dickens.

A debut writer taking on something like this might be considered, arrogant, audacious, possibly even career suicide. But the fact that Heron are publishing it, means that there is something there.

So first impressions; The cover art, personally I think its fantastic, it’s what drew me to the book immediately (well that and im a sucker for a debut novel) Then the concept, the return of the artful dodger, the return of a boy transported to the colonies (australia) for stealing. (maybe we need a new place to transport the thugs and thief’s of today?), how has he returned? is he reformed?

The Dodger is back and he has an agenda. Given a pardon by a disreputable peer of the realm and a mission to fulfil with his ever-present watcher the aboriginal Warrigal. We get to find out the fate of many of the characters in Oliver twist and also meet up with the members of Fagin’s gang who are still living the life of the thief, while our rascal The Dodger looks for the Jakkapoor Stone, a Jewel of value, and ominous history.

Like in life sometimes its best not to go back, not all reunions are sweet, and some are dangerous. Old friendships are reforged, some are forver consigned to history and in the case of Ruby some friendships turn to love for our young Dodger.

So can Benmore write? I’m happy to say yes he can, but if you are looking for the deep dark dank of Victorian London then you wont find it here, because even though Benmore doesn’t hide the filth and poverty of London, its seen through the eyes of the Artful Dodger, and ole artful loves his London, so even filth has a pink rosy tint to it.

After reading the book the first thought that struck me was that this would make an excellent saturday evening TV series. Something to replace a show like Merlin or Dr Who. A great fun wholesome family TV show. I’m not sure if that is the intent of the author, but hidden in amongst the tale of an almost irredeemable thief are morals, and friendships and honour. There is plenty of depth and emotion, something for everyone. I don’t think there is even an age or gender group for this book, from Young Adult to grandparent, there is something in this story for all to love.

I really recommend this book to you all. and I look forward to what ever James Benmore writes next.



Filed under Crime, Historical Fiction

Giles Kristian: Brothers’ Fury

Author: Giles Kristian


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.

giles 2

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 two and a half years in New York where he wrote copy for movie marketing company Empire Design but mainly worked on his first novel.

Family history and his storytelling hero, Bernard Cornwell, inspired GILES KRISTIAN to begin writing his action-packed Viking series. The first book, Raven: Blood Eye, was published to great acclaim and two further highly praised novels, Sons of Thunder and Odin’s Wolves, complete the bestselling trilogy.

Giles’ fascination with the English Civil War began at school, where he appreciated the cold efficiency of Cromwell’s New Model Army but also revelled in the flamboyance of the Cavaliers and the romance of the doomed Royalist cause. It is this complex and brutal conflict that provides the backcloth to his new historical series, The Bleeding Land.

He lives in Leicestershire.

Author Web Site: http://www.gileskristian.com/

Author Raven Video: http://youtu.be/VSMV4GjzYRE

Bleeding Land Video: http://youtu.be/AFIxzqHVATA

Book Description


Following in the footsteps of Bernard Cornwell, Giles Kristian continues his thrilling and acclaimed story of the Rivers family, whose lives are turned upside down by that most brutal and tragic of wars — the English Civil War.
Rebel: Cast out from his home, rejected by his family, Tom Rivers returns to his regiment. But his former commander believes the young hothead”s recklessness and contempt for authority has no place in his troop. And yet to a spymaster like Captain Crafte, Tom”s dark and fearless nature is in itself a weapon to be turned upon the hated Cavaliers. For who else would dare to infiltrate Oxford, now the Royalist capital, to destroy the King”s printing press and strike a blow at the very heart of the enemy?

Renegade: Raw with grief at the death of his father, Edmund Rivers rejects the peace talks between Parliament and the King. Instead, he leads a ragged but hardened band of marauders across the moors, appearing out of the frozen world to fall on unsuspecting rebel columns like wolves. But Prince Rupert, who recognises in Mun a fellow child of war, has other uses for him, from stealing an enormous gun, to burrowing through mud beneath the walls of Lichfield. The only peace the enemy will get from Mun Rivers is that of the grave.

Huntress: Her heart broken from the loss of her beloved Emmanuel and her father, Bess Rivers must make the hardest decision of her life. Leaving her new-born son behind she rides from Sheer House seeking Lady Mary”s estranged father, for she hopes he will help her re-unite what is left of her broken family. Risking her own life on the road, Bess will do whatever it takes to find her brother Tom and secure his Royal pardon — can she douse the flames of her brother’s’ fury and see them reconciled?


Before I start on the book a small note about the author: Giles is one of the truly nicest most genuine people I have met, not just in the world of writers but just in life.

I feel that this genuine real personality is something that influences his writing. Don’t get me wrong his books are not nice guy books, they are not judgemental, they don’t push an agenda. You get a story (or in the case of the Raven, a saga). The characters are real people, real people set in the past, living a real existence that is accurate to the period.

In book one; The Bleeding Land, we met the Rivers family and experienced the pain and suffering, the love and the adventures that all members of the family endured. https://parmenionbooks.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=6&action=edit

Brothers Fury (bk 2) picks up not long after the end of book 1. We see and experience how the brothers Mun and Tom have changed, how the war has changed them both, how the spectre of death has shaped them

What a cruel thing is war: to separate and destroy families and friends, and mar
the purest joys and happiness God has granted us in this world; to fill our
hearts with hatred instead of love for our neighbors, and to devastate the fair
face of this beautiful world. ~Robert E. Lee

The English Civil war has torn a country, families, neighbours communities asunder.  The Rivers family are all changed by this war. Both Mun and Tom are now killers, not born but made by the hell of civil war.

While clinging to the sanity of family and trying to pull her beloved brothers back from the brink of chaos is Bess Rivers. She is scouring the country with her protectors looking for Tom, certain that finding him and talking to him will be enough to put out the fires of his fury and the pain of his loss.

Giles characters are so real it can be quite scary at times. I can relate to Mun in particular, his desire to do the right thing, to live and if need be die for his honour and his family, whilst controlling the killer he has within. While the brothers are on opposite sides of the war they share the same traits of fearless fighters, but where Mun is a controlled killer of men, Tom is almost swamped by his rage in battle a baresark warrior,, a man who gives himself over to the rage and black fog of war.

It’s this realistic characterisation that makes this such a special book. Giles is exceptional at his historical research down to the geek level of the right uniform, weapons, even the buttons and material. But the people are so real so life-like you can relate to every emotion. The setting of a portion of the book in Oxford, my birthplace and a wonderful historic place to grow up was just the icing on the cake. Roll all of that into a story told in such a flowing compelling style and Brother Fury will be one of the finest books you read this year, and is a tale you can re-read many times as years go by. It has all the quality of a timeless classic of the genre.

My Highest recommendation


Other Books by Giles:

Blood Eye
Sons of Thunder
Odin's Wolves


Filed under Historical Fiction