Tag Archives: simon scarrow

Parmenion Books 2014 : The best books i have read this year.

As i do every year i have struggled and struggled with this list. How do you compile it, who goes in it etc… There are so so many great books in 2014 and many many authors not mentioned who deserve a mention, EG: Paul Collard, Anthony Riches, Douglas Jackson, SJA Turney, Robert Fabbri, Michael Arnold, Ben Kane, Nick Brown, Conn Iggulden, Simon Scarrow, Alex Scarrow, Harry Sidebottom, Angus Donald, Andy McDermott, Sam Sykes, SJ Deas/Nathan Hawke, James Wilde … see what i mean!!

There was a new Robin Hobb this year, CC Humphreys produced another splendid book, The very underrated Noble Smith had his second book out, there were some debuts that blew me away, inc I.D Roberts and Kingdom Lock and Toby Clements Kingmaker… If someone could figure out how i could just sit and read and still earn a living please let me know… because keeping up with all these amazing writers is becoming a full time gig, i think at last count i have read 127 books this year (and i still have time to get over the 130 mark).

Best of the year.

Best Short Story

Part Three (2013)

Tom Swan: Christian Cameron Blog Review

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Print Length: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Orion (20 Nov 2014)

Best Short Story/ Novella Honourable Mention

Murder at KH

Murder at the Kinnen Hotel Brian McClellen Blog Review

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Print Length: 74 pages
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.

Best Compilation:

DOF

Day of Fire: Stephanie Dray, Ben Kane, E. Knight, Sophie Perinot, Kate Quinn, Vicky Alvear Shecter Blog Review

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Print Length: 340 pages
  • Publisher: Knight Media, LLC (4 Nov 2014)

 Best Fantasy (Joint Winner)

The Incorruptables

The Incorruptibles: John Horner Blog Review

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz (14 Aug 2014)

One of the splendid debuts this year, incredible world building.

Fools

Prince of Fools : Mark Lawrence Blog Review

  • Hardcover: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Voyager (5 Jun 2014)

First in a wonderful new series, by a man who is a master of the genre (and a bloomin nice chap too)

 Best Historical Fiction

GoV

God of Vengeance : Giles Kristian Blog Review

Trailer Shoot (Behind the Scenes)

Book Trailer

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam Press (24 April 2014)

(many will note that I have not picked a Christian Cameron book for best Historical Fiction, it was a deliberate omission to allow others to shine forth. Both Long War and Great King are books that could have sat along side this title, But i felt that God of Vengeance deserved to shave it on pure merit, it’s a stupendous piece of writing. Giles writing has a poetic almost musical quality even when the blood is flying and the swords are singing, hence my winner)

 Best Crime

abduction

The Abduction: Jonathan Holt Blog Review

A very evocative crime thriller, transports the reader.

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Head of Zeus (8 May 2014)

Best SCi Fi

red rising

Red Rising: Pierce Brown Blog Review

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton (28 Jan 2014)

One of the best debuts i have ever read.

 Best Action Adventure

Ptramid+Headline+jacket

Pyramid: David Gibbins Blog Review

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Headline (6 Nov 2014)

A man who lives his craft, he is Jack Howard, and it shows on every page.

 Best Debut

traitors blade

Traitors Blade: Sebastian De Castell Blog Review

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Jo Fletcher Books (6 Mar 2014)

The Dumas for the fantasy genre, and a stupendous debut.

Best Young Adult

half a king US Half a King UK

Half a King: Joe abercrombie Blog Review

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Voyager; 1st edition (3 July 2014)

People said Joe Abercrombie couldn’t write Young Adult…. oh so wrong.

 Non Book Highlights

53a 2014-06-16 18.02.10

Thorkil Jewellery Blog Review

A master craftsman, bringing the past to life using very old tools and skills.

2014: Book that affected me the most:

goldenred rising

To be Honest it is Golden Son by Pierce Brown, but technically that a 2015 release, so I will instead choose Red Rising. I really do NOT like SCiFi, fantasy, history,crime etc… love it, most genres I really enjoy, I watch SciFi, but I cannot read it. Yet Red Rising  (and Golden Son) had me in their grip from first page to last. I enjoyed them immensley. Pierce Brown is a very very talented man.

Blog Review (Golden Son)

  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton (8 Jan 2015)

I look forward to sharing 2015 with you all, publishers, readers, reviewers, everyone. this is a hobby that gives and gives, i hope im giving back in some small way.

(Parm)

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Filed under Action/ Adventure Thrillers, Crime, Dystopian, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Supernatural, Thrillers, Uncategorized, Young Adult

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!

DSC_4100-2x

Knight of the Cross

Buy the book

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

Simon Scarrow: Brothers in Blood (2014) (Book 13 in the Cato series)

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Simon Scarrow is a Sunday Times No. 1 bestselling author. His bestsellers include his novels featuring Roman soldiers Macro and Cato, most recently THE BLOOD CROWS, PRAETORIAN and THE LEGION, as well as SWORD AND SCIMITAR, about the 1565 Siege of Malta, and four novels about the lives of the Duke of Wellington and Napoleon Bonaparte. He is the author with T. J. Andrews of the bestselling ARENA, introducing the gladiator hero Pavo, and the new ebook novella series INVADER.

Simon’s novels have been published in the USA and in translation all around the world.

His latest novel is the 13th Cato and Macro adventure, BROTHERS IN BLOOD.

Author Web Site

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Brothers in Blood  (2014) (Book 13 in the Cato series)

A novel by Simon Scarrow

brothers in blood

The Roman Empire’s conquest of Britannia is under threat from within. Prefect Cato and Centurion Macro must uncover a traitor to prevent unthinkable defeat.

A messenger on the streets of Rome has been intercepted and tortured, revealing a plot to sabotage the Roman army’s campaign against Caratacus, commander of Britannia’s native tribes. A treacherous agent’s mission is to open a second front of attack against them and eliminate the two Roman soldiers who could stand in the way.

Unwarned, Cato and Macro are with the Roman army pursuing Caratacus and his men through the mountains of Britannia. Defeating Caratacus finally seems within their grasp. But the plot against the two heroes threatens not only their military goals but also their lives.

Review

I always like my reviews to be upfront and honest, so just for sake of clarity: I have been a fan of Simon Scarrow’s books since his first book 14 years ago. I have been lucky enough to consider Simon a friend and have (Centurion) Parmenion appear as a character in two of the Cato series (Eagle in the Sand and Centurion), that however should no way colour my review, each book on its merit.  As a fan of the series i had started to experience some concern with the Cato series around book 9 (Gladiator), I wasn’t a fan of the introduction of Julia as a character, she works well as a device in the background, a way to improve Cato’s position in Roman Society, but as a participant i always felt she diluted the plot, as such i have enjoyed her not being in the book. (sorry Simon)

I very much enjoyed book 12 and the introduction of the Blood Crows, a return to Britannia and a return to Macro and Cato being soldiers, working with their men within the twisted politics of the Roman world and army. Brothers in Blood is another continuation of that return to classic Macro and Cato. Our dynamic duo set to capture Caratacus, dangerous battles to be fought, The spies of Pallas to contend with and the ever present political shenanigans of the Roman army, the petty politics of the cursus honorum driving the behavior of so many of their peers.  As ever Simon manages to weave a splendid web of intrigue, making us guess at every turn who the Pallas may have put in their path, i like to think that knowing Simon and his books so well is why i guessed right, i think the reveal will come as a surprise to most. All in all the plot for this book is very well constructed, throwing plenty in the path of Macro and Cato, but always something the average good solider could deal with, there is no “Super Hero” here. Simons skill with this series is the down to earth soldier.

I do feel though that there is a lacking still in the books, we know Macro and Cato cannot die, they never really even suffer an injury to severe.  This is to be expected, many authors protect their Heroes,  But there are no characters surrounding them that grow with them, that you come to invest in and hope for survival, I have come to call all the supporting cast “Red Shirts” because like on a star trek mission you know they are going to get it, they are the cannon fodder, and to be honest, who really cares about them, we know nothing about them and have not grown with them or experienced their pain.  I feel with the introduction of the Blood Crows there is room to develop some supporting cast, some friends for both of the men. Macro and Cato are now set slightly apart in rank, so we could see the development of friendships in their own peer groups. A man who excels at this is Anthony Riches, there is a rich cast of many, and with every book he delights in keeping the reader on tenterhooks as to whom out of the cohort of friends he might kill. Its this that adds an extra depth and element of suspense and drama that is missing at the moment (at least for me) in the Cato books.

That aside this is a splendid 4/5 for me, i enjoyed it and look forward to the next book, Britannia gives Simon a very rich tapestry for Macro and Cato to explore with minimal interjection from the devious politics of Rome. There are so many more fights to come before they need to get back embroiled with Rome…and what will eventually be the Year of the four Emperors.

(Parm)

Series

Cato
1. Under the Eagle (2000)
2. The Eagle’s Conquest (2001)
3. When the Eagle Hunts (2002)
4. The Eagle and the Wolves (2003)
5. The Eagle’s Prey (2004)
6. The Eagle’s Prophecy (2005)
7. The Eagle in the Sand (2006)
aka The Zealot
8. Centurion (2007)
9. The Gladiator (2009)
10. The Legion (2010)
11. Praetorian (2011)
12. The Blood Crows (2013)
13. Brothers in Blood (2014)
Under the EagleThe Eagle's ConquestWhen the Eagle HuntsThe Eagle and the WolvesThe Eagle's PreyThe Eagle's ProphecyThe Eagle in the SandCenturionThe GladiatorThe LegionPraetorianThe Blood CrowsBrothers in Blood
Revolution
1. Young Bloods (2006)
2. The Generals (2007)
3. Fire and Sword (2007)
4. The Fields of Death (2010)
Young BloodsThe GeneralsFire and SwordThe Fields of Death
Gladiator
1. Fight for Freedom (2011)
2. Street Fighter (2012)
3. Son of Spartacus (2013)
4. Vengeance (2014)
Fight for FreedomStreet FighterSon of SpartacusVengeance
Roman Arena
1. Barbarian (2012)
2. Challenger (2012)
3. First Sword (2013)
4. Revenge (2013)
5. Champion (2013)
Arena (omnibus) (2013)
BarbarianChallengerFirst Sword Revenge Champion Arena
Invader
1. Death Beach (2014)
2. Blood Enemy (2014)
3. Dark Blade (2014)
4. Imperial Agent (2015)
5. Sacrifice (2015)
Death BeachBlood EnemyDark Blade
Novels
The Sword and the Scimitar (2012)
The Sword and the Scimitar

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Filed under Historical Fiction, Simon Scarrow