Category Archives: Alternative History

1066 Turned Upside Down – Review

Title – 1066 Turned Upside Down
Author  – Joanna Courtney, Helen Hollick, Annie Whitehead, Anna Belfrage , Alison Morton, Carol McGrath, Eliza Redgold, GK Holloway, Richard Dee
Genre – Historical Fiction /Alternative History
Length –    197 Pages
Publication – 1st August 2016
My Rating – 5/5 Stars

Synopsis

Ever wondered what might have happened if William the Conqueror had been beaten at Hastings? Or if Harald Hardrada had won at Stamford Bridge? Or if Edward the Confessor had died with an heir ready to take his place? Then here is the perfect set of stories for you. ‘1066 Turned Upside Down’ explores a variety of ways in which the momentous year of 1066 could have played out differently.

Written by nine well-known authors to celebrate the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings, the stories will take you on a journey through the wonderful ‘what ifs’ of England’s most famous year in history.        

Review

What a brilliant book this was. I just love the idea that the authors have taken a period in time and let their creative juices flow. 1066 is a fascinating period to read about and to have these authors explore the “what if” was refreshing

I’m a big fan of collections like this, I find then fun to read. Not only do they flow easily since they are self-contained short stories but you also get introduced to some authors you might not previously have heard of. I’ll admit I’ve only read books be three of these authors.. that will soon change.

The book starts with a forward by C.C Humphreys. I’m the first to admit I’ve never really understood the need for these in a book but this one has changed my mind. This forward was witty and fun and perfectly set up the book for me as a reader

Each author tackles at least one story, they each take an event that happened and twist it.. they explore the possibilities that might have occurred if things went differently.

After reading other books I’ve always wondered about the “what ifs” Such as what would have happened if Harold had waited before going to war on that fateful day.. what would have happened if the rest of Harold’s army had arrived in time to engage in the fight..the outcome could have been so different

One of my favourite stories had to be the tale by Richard Dee, the perfect mix of science fiction and historical fiction, where the butterfly effect is explored and that if you could travel back to the past even the slightest change could mean big changes to the future

It was really good to see Annie Whitehead take part in this book also. If you’ve read my reviews you’ll know I’m a fan of hers and her story was particularly enjoyable to read. Her tale focused on the Battle of Fulford where Morcar and Edwin were defeated by Harald Hardrada.. what if this was the other way around??

Each story was well written and allowed the author to play with the events of history and I enjoyed every one of them. I also really liked at the end of each story the reader is given discussion suggestions which raise some interesting thoughts

This book was a gripping read and it’s opened my eyes to more wonderful authors.. I’ll be sure to add some of their books to my TBR list… some i already have 🙂

Any fan of the period who likes the idea of exploring the endless possibilities of what could have happen will enjoy this

You can pre-order the book now for £1.99!

To find out more head to Goodreads, Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

The Reaper’s Breath by Robert Southworth – Review

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Title – The Reaper’s Breath (The Ripper Legacies Book 1)
Author – Robert Southworth
Genre – Historical Fiction / Alternative History
Length – 242 Pages
Publication – Feb 2016
My Rating – 5/5 Stars

Synopsis

Mary Kelly lies dead upon her bed… Her sorrowful eyes still hold captive, the agony of her fate. Anger, and fear walk side by side as the populace of London demand justice for the slain. Is it a single mad man or is there a bloody political game being played out in the grime filled streets of the old City? The authorities are powerless to stop the bloodletting and call for a new kind of law. William Harkness, former officer of the 66th Regiment of Foot will join the hunt. His task is not to bring an insane killer to court, his hands are not tied by the laws of the day.
William Harkness is the killer of killers, the assassin of evil…

Review

Finally we have the new book from Robert Southworth. It feels like I’ve been waiting ages.. but let me tell you the wait has been worth it!

If you’ve read Rob’s previous series focusing on Spartacus you will know he has a talent for making a story based loosely on history. It’s an interesting style of story and If I’m honest before reading this book I wasn’t 100% sure it would work..the whole ripper event are well documented so I just couldn’t see an story to be told.. but credit to the author, he easily manages to take a little bit of history and give it a twist which shows just how good his imagination is.

To be clear for anyone who reads the book.. this isn’t a ripper book as such. It’s based on some of the events and some of the real people are mentioned but this is entirely a book of fiction on which Rob has been able to show his unique style of storytelling. I’ve never read anything like Rob’s book before and I’m so glad I found his work.

So.. the story. Well this book follows William Harkness, the classic flawed character which every great book needs. William is approached by Inspector Abberline to help when people turn up murdered.. they think there’s more to these murders than they are willing tell the public… they want him to help catch a killer who has avoided the police for over 15 years!

There was some great stand out characters for me, namely Obadiah & Naismith. Obadiah had the aura around him.. like nothing could hurt him.. ever. Naismith.. mysterious Naismith.. he was just an intriguing character from the start.

Let’s get down to the honesty I like to bring to all my reviews… The plot itself seems well planned out.. everything made sense, nothing seemed out of place or had me confused. At one point I was 100% sure I had figured everything out..Then the author throws in some spectacular twists and turns that I just didn’t see coming.

Emily was an interesting character, to be truthful I would have liked to see more scenes between her and William to see the connection develop but what the author gives us didn’t disappoint me..

The biggest enigma in the book for me was Williams’ dad, Sir Simeon Harkness. You don’t know much about him at first only that he and his son have issues. Throughout the book he develops well and the author finally lets you into the family history that has plagued these two men.

In conclusion Rob has brought his unique style to this book, plenty of suspense and twists to keep you gripped and it’s written so well, enough detail to keep your mind activate but not enough to bog you down.

Robert Southworth has delivered another brilliant book which showcases his talent and I’m eager for more

Look out for an interview with the author on my blog in the near future!

To find out more head to Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com or Goodreads.