Category Archives: Fantasy

Athour Spotlight – Steven. A. McKay plus review!

It’s been a while since I’ve done a little author spotlight..lets rectify that now as I welcome author Steven A. McKay to my blog. Keep reading for my lastest review as well!!

Steven is author of the brilliant Forest Lord series and now The Warrior Druid of Britain series. Not to forget if you are a fan of Audible you should check out his Roman slave tale Lucia!

Let’s get on with the Q&A.. Welcome!!

So I’ve a few questions I hope you won’t mind answering.

After the success of the Forest Lord series it must have been quite daunting starting a fresh new series. Did you worry at all and how has the new series been received?

Yes, it was a bit of a wrench to leave behind my Forest Lord series. Not just because I had really grown to know and love the characters, but because it had done so well for me in terms of sales and reviews. There’s always a chance any new series won’t garner as much interest so, yeah, I was a bit apprehensive of starting a new book with all new characters. But then I began writing The Druid and I realised I was enjoying it immensely – that’s always a good sign! If a book is fun to write, and the characters really entertain you as the author, well, readers might enjoy it too.

I’d say most of my readers like the druid books even more than they did the Forest Lord ones, although some, like you I believe, prefer the latter. As a writer you always want to improve, and create better stories, but it’s also nice to know your previous work has also really touched someone and given them a few hours of entertainment.

N.b – I love them both for very different reasons but without the Firest Lord series we may never have seen you develop and produce The Druid… 5* books every last one!

 

For those who don’t know about your latest series what would you say to entice them to pick up a copy?

I think it’s set in a period of history that isn’t really that well covered in fiction – post-Roman Britain. It was called the “dark ages” for a long time, but people are now beginning to realise that civilisation didn’t just completely collapse when the Romans left this island. Things changed, of course, and quite drastically, but everyone didn’t become a mad savage overnight – they still had culture and religion and so on and it’s interesting to explore all that. Then of course you add in my main characters like the giant warrior druid Bellicus, little princess Catia, the former centurion Duro, dangerous Saxons Horsa and Hengist, and all the various kings of the time (even Arthur makes a small appearance in the first book) and, well, they’re the perfect guides to Britain in the fifth century.

Apart from all that, the books are free on Kindle Unlimited so if you have a membership why not check them out? They are a great way to escape all the lockdown bleakness just now.

 

Now I can’t ignore the obvious going on around us. The dreaded COVID19. How are things for you? Many may think this is an ideal time for writing but I know you’ve an important day job.

Important day job? It depends on what you mean by important. It pays my mortgage, but even in these times when so-called “unskilled” workers are finally gaining recognition, I don’t know if a part-time gas and electric meter reader would be classed as that important, ha! But my company told us we weren’t to go out working about 5 weeks ago now, so me and the family have been staying home. Yeah, there’s lots of free time to write, but when there’s so much fear and uncertainty going around, it’s extremely hard to get into the right frame of mind to sit down and work on a novel.

Last week, I decided to write a new Warrior Druid of Britain short story to give away to my email list subscribers and, honestly, that was great. There was no real pressure, I just had to write something fun and entertaining with the specific idea of entertaining myself and my subscribers and the result was “Over The Wall”. My readers enjoyed it and I thought it was good too, so I’ve expanded and polished it and since it was set at Beltane, I’ve decided to make it available on Kindle this May 1st  – Beltane! Complete with a professional new cover.

It was really enjoyable to write and kinda focused my mind so I’ve been able to get back onto the novel writing again this week and book 3 in the druid series is coming along nicely.

N.b – All jobs are important if they pay the bills! Ha and look out for my review of Over The Wall… Keep scrolling!!!

over the wall medium

Giving the current situation I’ve seen authors have release dates pushed back by their publishers. What’s your take? Me personally I’ve been looking for more books than ever and really do see these luxuries a way to keep us indoors safe.. Ebooks even more so.

Yeah, I agree, it seems a bit strange NOT to publish a new book if it’s all ready to go. Personally, I’ve had a Kindle Unlimited subscription for a long time but I’ve only started to really use it in the last month. I’ve read lots of books on things like ghosts and the unexplained, purely to take my mind off all the scary stuff in real life just now. So, when everyone is stuck at home, looking to be entertained, why not give them new books to read? It seems like publishers are shooting themselves in the foot in that regard, but then hardly any of my sales come from actual print books. About 95% of my readers do it via Kindle so I’m thinking of it in that sense – maybe the big publishers would lose out on a lot of business if they couldn’t have a launch party for a hardback? I don’t know. I suppose, if there’s less books coming out, there’s more chance people will find my back catalog so…

Whats your plans for the next book.. Will we see Bellicus return? he’s got plenty fight left in him?

He’s still in his twenties, so I think he has many years left to kick ass. Duro is older, although, sadly, even though he’s the veteran centurion, he’s a few years younger than me! But yes, Bellicus and Duro are both back in the next book and they’re facing a very tough time. I don’t want to give away too much, but the plot so far has been influenced by what’s happening in the real world just now so it’s pretty bleak in places. But, as anyone who’s read my previous books will know, I always like my characters to live in hopes of prevailing, no matter how dark their circumstances. So, I’m about a third finished and I don’t know how it will end, but I’m sure the gods won’t abandon our heroes!

N.B – I’ve always felt Bellius as a little older… I guess it’s the respect he commands and his presence…certainly he’s far wiser than I was in my twenties! ha

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Any chance of any more Robin Hood themed short tales? You have quite a talent for the novella I must say?

Thank you! Yes, I like writing the shorter things as there’s not so much to keep track of, it can all be a bit more linear. My last one, Faces of Darkness was really well received – I think it has the highest average rating of any of my books on Amazon UK, so, although novellas and novelettes never sell as well as novels, it’s great to know that readers appreciate them. It spurs me on to create more in a similar vein so yes, there will be more Forest Lord novellas. I already have a basic outline for another Friar Tuck/Little John mystery, again, like Faces of Darkness based on a real criminal case which I heard about on a podcast. I would expect it to be published in the autumn or winter, all being well with the next druid novel coming out before it in the summer.

If you’re anything like me I’m sure you’ve not had much downtime since lockdown but what have you been doing to keep yourself and the family busy? I know you like your guitars? I’ve never learned to play… I really should.

Oh yes, my guitars have been a really good way for me to escape reality. There’s been a few times, particularly at the start of the lockdown, when I started to feel quite stressed and fearful, and I’d pick up one of my guitars and just start playing along to Metallica or some old death metal song and I’d completely lose myself in the music. Not for very long, but enough to let me relax and really chill out. I’d recommend you start learning an instrument given all this free time we have!
Other than that, my family keep me busy – there’s always another meal to cook, or clothes to be washed, or stories to be read, and there’s the home-schooling thing too just now. I’ve actually never been bored at all, which is pretty incredible. Any time I do feel like quiet time, like I say I’ve been reading stuff on Kindle or browsing the creepy  r/unresolvedmsyteries pages on Reddit.

This post is of course a way for me to highlight your awesome books but if you had to pick someone who you think is on fire at the moment in the book world who would it be?

Well, I don’t read much fiction anymore since I have to spend most of my reading time on research for my own books – even in lockdown I’ve been mostly reading non-fiction. I have been really impressed, and pleased, with Matthew Harffy’s rise though. His newest book, Wolf of Wessex, was a cracking read which I was happy to endorse and now he’s even got a TV series in the works which is probably every writer’s dream. I won’t deny I’m jealous of that success, but not in a bad way – he’s a good guy and supports other authors and he likes Iron Maiden so good luck to him!

 

Lastly, If Bellicus was here today.. would he have any words of wisdom?

I tend to think of Bellicus and Friar Tuck in a similar way, since they’re both hard, fighting men who represent a higher power. I think Tuck’s wise words to Robin in my second novel, The Wolf and the Raven are particularly appropriate for all of us in these frightening times. I wrote that book when I was going through a very tough period in my own life since our second child had just been stillborn, and this particular line of Tuck’s was as much for me as it was for Robin, who’d been beaten, imprisoned and was very close to breaking point:

His eyes welled up, but he angrily wiped them, not giving in to the self-pity that threatened to overwhelm him and he remembered Tuck’s words from not so long ago: “Never give up hope!”

He clenched his fists and forced a smile into the oppressive darkness. It would take more than this to break Robin Hood.

Never give up hope everyone, and stay safe.

If you’d like to sign up for my email list and receive a FREE Forest Lord short story, “The Rescue”, along with regular chances to win signed books, posters, mugs and Audible downloads click here: http://eepurl.com/bqatb5


 

I’d like to give a big thank you to Steven for appearing on my blog today and what better way can I do that then with a review for his lastest book Over The Wall..

Here’s the blurb

Beltane, AD425
Northern Britain

Midnight approaches and in Dun Breatann’s great hall the Beltane feasting continues, with stories and songs and as much meat and ale as anyone could wish for.
On the western side of the towering fortress however, ten small figures make their way up the shadowy rock. Armed to the teeth, and hand-picked for their particular, deadly skills, these warriors have travelled far across the sea from Dalriada and are utterly focused on their mission, despite the fact most – perhaps all – of them will die this night.
High above, guards patrol the fortress walls as usual, but they expect yet another quiet shift for, as everyone knows, Dun Breatann is impregnable.
Isn’t it?

Review

Over The Wall is a 31 page novella, part of the author’s Warrior Druid series. Written during the lockdown of 2020.

As night falls and drink is flowing King Coroticus’s enemies approach..

Will these dark assassins manage to carry out their plan? it’s almost certain death for them.

What they don’t know is that Bellicus and his trusty hound Eolas are in attendance in the great hall.

31 pages isn’t a lot to fit a story in to but McKay manged it perfectly leaving me eager for the next book in the series to come out.

The plot was fun and the story linking with the Trojan horse fit perfectly.

McKay always manages to give life to characters, even in such a short space of time and I loved the interactions with Gavo, the captain of the guard.. I love that guy.

A fun novella which any fan will be excited to read.. and if you are anything like me it will have you rereading the series.. I need another Bellicus fix and fast.

5* Novella!

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon

The Zolin Conspiracy (Malykant Mysteries #9) by Charlotte E. English – Review

Next up on David’s Book Blurg I’m reviewing The Zolin Conspiracy (Malykant Mysteries #9) by Charlotte E. English.

Here’s the blurb

Konrad Savast is the Malykant: the most secret servant of the God of Death. His job? To track down the foulest of murderers and bring them to The Malykt’s Justice. No mercy. No quarter.

Out in the deep snow lies the body of a gentleman, dressed for a party — and missing his head. Konrad investigates, only to find a surprising dearth of information about the victim. Bogdan Zolin was a man with a glittering social record — and little else.

Just who was he? What secrets lie in his mysterious past? With the help of a wayward witch, a mild-mannered police inspector, and an undead street urchin, Konrad must delve deep into the hidden secrets of the aristocratic world. And hope to emerge alive.

Review

It’s been a while since I reviewed a book of Charlotte’s.. why you may ask.. she’s just so prolific I can’t keep up! Ha.

In all honesty I’ve been reading lots.. life got in the way of reviewing but it’s time to make up for that and get some reviews up J

So we are back with Konrad Savast.. he’s the Malykant and gives a voice to those who no longer have their own..Trust me.. you don’t want Konrad knocking on your door! He’s a hunter..with a talent for tracking down murderers.

This time Konrad finds the headless body of Bogdan Zolin.. but who is he? And why do people seem to know so little about the man? He’s a mysterious figure that’s for sure but Konrad is duty bound to bring the killer to justice.

While hunting the killer we continue to see the character development from Konrad that has been building over the series..he’s not the person he once was..can he still trust in his powers to be there when he needs them? And ultimately what will happen to him in the end? It’s not like you walk away from this type of job.

As usual theres twists and turns and hidden truths to be found. I don’t think I’ve read a more fun series that also happens to be pretty gruesome in its portrayal of death.. but the humour is perfectly balanced. His complicated relationship with Nanda will keep fans of the series hooked too!

I don’t want to spoil the plot but the details but the character of Bogdan was fascinating.. a task made difficult since he’s dead.. but he’s effortlessly brought to life and the major twists with him really gave him something.. made him more than just a footnote in the book.

I bang on about this a lot but Charlotte E. English has the perfect style of writing to hook you in, short sharp and ultimately easy flowing chapters means you can be forgiven for demolishing this book in a of couple hours.

What I really love about the series is the fact it never gets boring or repetitive.. yes there’s the underlying character development of Konrad.. but that’s something I want to see.. mix in a fun and fresh plot each time just makes this one of the best series to read. Dark and magical with the humour to match.

Another cracking read from the author who continues to give the readers just what they need.

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon.

5/5 Stars.

The Innkeeper by MJ Porter as JE Porter – Review

Next up on David’s Book Blurg I’m reviewing The Innkeeper by MJ Porter as JE Porter.

Here’s the blurb

Mann has a secret he can tell no one, and it’s not that the beguiling whores of Slutet believe he’s the best shag they’ve ever had.

No, being able to summon anything he wants, from thin air, is not something he wants to share. Neither is the fact that he has no recollection of his past, or that, as time goes on, his life never ends. (He doesn’t mind if the whores want to tell everyone about his prowess in the bedchamber, mind, and neither does he mind sharing it with all who come asking).

Not that his summoning power is his only secret, but the end of the millennia and a meeting of apparent strangers might be about to answer the questions he never even realised he had.

Whether a Nine or a None, Mann has a duty only he can fulfil, and this cycle, he’s failed, spectacularly. But there’s always tomorrow, or, rather, yesterday, to do it all over again, if he can only find what he lost.

As a Nine or a None, Mann must uncover his destiny by revisiting the past.

Review

The Innkeeper follows Mann.. he appears out of nowhere near Slutet.. why or how he doesn’t  know but he soon learns he has a special ability to summon the things he needs to survive.. but where do they come from and why does he have this power?

Full disclosure this book is like nothing I’ve read before.. it’s a magical fantasy/mystery tale but Mann is quite an enigma so the only thing you learn quickly is that he likes the word fuck a lot and he’s fond of his lady friends.

Mann soon settles in Slutet as an Innkeeper. As the years pass he sees those he knows live and die.. but he’s still here….and he’s not aged a day… at some point people will start to notice won’t they? Surely? He needs an exit plan.

This is a complex plan involving him leaving his home… at least for a while.

Just when he feels he has a way out others like him appear.. they are searching for someone.. is it him? If not who?

The major issue is he doesn’t know who he can trust…and even if they seem honest is this just an act?

As the tale progresses we see Mann learn to master his powers which made the chapters intriguing as he tried to put his plan into action.

The Nine and the None are a fun idea.. neither group seems to really know who is which or if they even like each other but the conversations between them were fun to read.

Looking at characters The Innkeeper has a vast array of weird and wonderful  individuals to get to know.. not many like to give much away though.. but it’s this lack of connection with them that actually makes them very appealing.

The plot itself is insane..crazy and bloody marvellous.. I can’t quite explain it.

For being so wonderfully strange and original it’s a 4* star from me.. The Nine and the None are so mysteriously baffling and I found myself really enjoying it.

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon.

4/5 Stars.

The Flight of the Darkstar Dragon by Benedict Patrick – Review

Next up on David’s Book Blurg is The Flight of the Darkstar Dragon by Benedict Patrick

Here’s the blurb

Genre: – Fantasy/Steampunk

Lost with her ship and crew in an unfamiliar land, Min’s first command could be her last.

Nothing here behaves the way it should:

The magic that powers her skyship has been drained, rendering it immobile.

The sky is an endless twilight, lit by the luminous fish that swim in it.

Off starboard, there’s also the country-sized dragon that is looking particularly hungry.

It will take all of Min’s training and experience to get her people safely back home, but as the truth about the Darkstar Dimension begins to be revealed, Min will have to prove to her crew – and to herself – that she is still the best person for the job.

Review

The Flight of the Darkstar Dragon is the newest offering from Benedict Patrick. I’ve been a fan of the author for a while after being sucked into his work with his rather unique imagination. The style of writing always keeps me engaged and its impossible to put his books down.

In the latest offering we are following Min.. Captain of the Melodious Narwhal.. well I say Captain but she’s not really and the rest of the crew have no issues with letting their commanding officer know what they think of her and her fancy academy training.

When we first meet the crew they are in danger as their ship plummets to the ground.. the issue is no one knows what’s went wrong..or even where they are..

Now it wouldn’t be much of a story if they died in chapter one so it won’t shock you to know they make it.. just.. it’s then they realise things aren’t quite right and it slowly becomes apparent this isn’t their home.

Slowly drifting towards and island they notice they aren’t alone and this is where we meet the wonderful Brightest..this old man has a lot of tricks up his sleeve and the biggest is the fact the island isn’t quite an island.. I’ll say no more on that J

We soon learn from Brightest that the Darkstar Dimension sucks all sorts of things into it from other worlds.. including them..the issue is the ship is broken and they have no way to get home.

A moment of hope is given when Brightest explains these rifts that open into the Darkstar Dimension sometimes have a pattern to their movements and Min’s homeworld will reappear.. in three years!

Faced with that bombshell the crew have mixed feelings.. There must be a way home..and what price are they willing to pay to get there?

Min is pitted against some of the crew in a battle that will test her resolve.. she’s strong willed and wants to uphold the values set by her people.. but not everyone agrees.

While Min tries to keep her crew in check Brightest takes her on a trip through a rift in search of food supplies.. while there who will keep the crew in check?

What happens next is full on heart stopping! The Darkstar Dragon is hungry.. and the one thing keeping them safe is also their one chance of making it home but can Min convince the crew the price is too high? As the suspense builds so does the excitement!

There’s so many wonderful characters in this book and the plot was just exceptional.. I don’t know where the author’s ideas come from but he continues to amazing me.

The only word I can think of the describe the book is “exceptional”

The pace of the tale is slow at first.. so many questions waiting to be answered but the author has put you right in Min’s shoes.. you learn as she does and this perspective just adds to the suspense of the unknown.

There seems like endless possibilities in this world that’s been created so I do hope more is on the way 🙂

Full 5/5 Stars from me for the author who continues to offer fun, exciting and gripping tales.. I almost feel bad that I burn through his books so fast but they are just so damn good!

To find out more head to Amazon or Goodreads

Song of the Centurion by Steven A. McKay – Review

Next up on David’s Book Blurg I’m reviewing Song of the Centurion by Steven A. McKay.

Here’s the blurb

It is AD 430. Against all odds Princess Catia has been rescued from her brutal Saxon captors and Bellicus is taking her home at last.

As the giant warrior-druid knows, however, the gods rarely make things easy and, even if he can escort the girl back to the North safely, their troubles will be far from over…
In a land beset by the rivalries of petty warlords, Dun Breatann has stood solid and secure for untold generations. Trouble brews though as King Coroticus has cracked under the pressure and, as well as starting a war with the neighbouring kings, he has become jealous, suspicious, and often blind drunk. When the king’s paranoia finally boils over during a winter feast, Bel finds himself with two choices – accept exile, or complete another seemingly impossible undertaking.
So much for the returning hero…

Accompanied by his massive war-dog, Cai, and the ever-loyal former centurion, Duro – who has his own painful issues to contend with – Bellicus must somehow survive a journey east into enemy-held lands. There, he will need to use his gods-given talents to the full if they are to survive the winter frosts and carry out the mad king’s orders without being captured or killed by the men of Dalriada.

Folklore, superstition, the healing power of song, and even a wondrous white stag will all play a part in the companions’ continuing adventures, but, no matter the outcome of their mission, it will take a miracle to untangle the mess they’ve left behind in Alt Clota. Armies are gathering and, when spring returns, the people of Dun Breatann will be under siege once again.

Will their legendary warrior-druid be there to defend them, or will the new ways sweep away the old once and for all?

Review

When we last saw Bellicus he had just rescued Princess Catia from the Saxons. As he makes his way back to the King and Queen we see that the relationships between Catia, Bellicus and Duro has grown strong and they’re all looking forward to a nice warm welcome on their return…

You’d think the King would be happy to see the return of the Princess but in Bellicus’s absence the King has changed.. he’s not the man he was and his quick temper is slowly putting his people under  strain.. they will only take so much.. can Bellicus help set the King back on the right path?

Well he tries.. he really does but in the end the King sends Bellicus away on a mission.. a mission that seems doomed to fail.

Bellicus will honour the King’s wishes but he knows the Saxon’s are the real threat so he needs to get this task done.. and fast.

Things never go to plan of course and Bellicus must use all his cunning to make it out in one piece.

When all is done it’s time to return home.. but how will the King receive him this time?

McKay has outdone himself with this one. Being a fan of the author my biggest fear was him moving away from a series I loved to something new.. would It live up to expectations.. well it smashed the ball out of the park to be honest.

While the first book in the series The Druid was very plot driven to get the readers sucked in to a new series, book two is character driven development which is what I wanted to see.. this is the kind of action I need.. the kind of connections with the characters I want.

The word to describe this book is “Development” in more than one way. Not only does the tale develop amazingly I feel it shows real author development as McKay cements is credentials as a top-notch author.. he’s no one trick pony. He himself says that at one point progress on this book was side-lined for a while as he was involved with other projects but you’d never think that from reading the book.. it flows perfectly, the direction is never forced and that ending was pure brilliance.. as a storyteller McKay is up there with the best of them..the whole white stag storyline was not only riveting but joyous to read.

Bellicus along with his loyal war dog Cai and Duro the centurion are the perfect team.. they complement each other superbly and I can’t wait to see what happens next!

Duro for me steals the show as I felt he had a larger part to play in this tale compared to the first book in the series..(for obvious reasons if you’ve read the book)..  he was often the one who put a smile on my face with his humour but I also felt for him.. there’s some deep wounds that will take time to heal and this side of him really makes you take a shine to him.

Overall it’s a cracking read.. but it’s more than that.. it’s the perfect 2nd book in a series.. it shows growth from the first book but leaves you in no doubt this Is a series you need to keep following.

Everyone should have a copy of this on their bookshelf.

My rating – 5/5 Stars

To find out more head to Amazon or Goodreads

Snowbound (Malykant Mysteries Book 8) by Charlotte E. English – Review

Next up on David’s Book Blurg I’m reviewing Snowbound book 8 in the Malykant Mysteries by Charlotte E. English.

Here’s the blurb

Genre – Fantasy.

Detective. Judge. Executioner.

Konrad Savast is the Malykant: the most secret servant of the God of Death. His job? To track down the foulest of murderers and bring them to The Malykt’s Justice. No mercy. No quarter.

Konrad may be finished with the coven at Divoro — but are they finished with him? Outside the gates of Ekamet, a new ice-palace has arisen, its grisly contents aimed squarely at the Malykant. Its message is clear: interference with the necromancers’ aims will not be tolerated.

Forced to return to Divoro, Konrad does so with trepidation — for murderers tend to run away from the Malykant, not towards. What dark purpose does the coven have in mind, and is he walking straight into a trap?

Review

To say Charlotte E. English has been prolific with the releases would be an understatement so I’m a little behind but catching up fast.

Longevity isn’t something easy to achieve in my opinion.. it takes a fantastic imagination to keep tales fresh and interesting.. Charlotte E. English knows the recipe well and serves up another delicious read.

If you aren’t familiar with the series it follows Konrad Savast.. he’s the Malykant.. he’s one person you hope you’ll never meet..his job is to deliver justice for those murdered.. and if you are unlucky to be on the wrong side of him it’s a lifetime of pain that awaits you.

The series has been developing at pace and Snowbound is linked heavily with the last book in the series The House At Divoro, so please do read the books in order otherwise it won’t make much sense.

Forced to return to Divoro Konrad is set for an out-of-body experience which has you gripping the edge of the seat. This tale shows how vulnerable Konrad really is… his Malykant powers can’t always save him.

For me this books screams character development as Nanda, the inspector and Tasha come to the foreground to save Konrad, this enabled the author to explore relationship dynamics but also have a little bit of fun with Konrad who is quite powerless for once.

Snowbound is another cracking tale. The page length is short at less than 150 pages but the author’s style fits perfectly, effortlessly packing in so much yet keeping the flow natural rather than forced. I’m always surprised how much plot the author can fit in within a few pages.

Dark and humorous is the only way to describe this series and Konrad’s serpents Ootapi and Eetapi epitomise the series, they always put a smile of my face.. the back and forth with Konrad is just a delight to read.

It’s another 5/5 stars for Charlotte E. English.. once again proving she’s the Queen of the short story.

Look out for my review of book 9 in the series The Zolin Conspiracy shortly!

To find out more head to Amazon or Goodreads.

The Bastard Cadre by Lee Carlon – Review

Next up on David’s Book Blurg I’m reviewing The Bastard Cadre by Lee Carlon

Here’s the blurb

Genre – Epic Fantasy/Dystopian

Take a stand. Defy the gods.

Avril was raised salvaging tech in the dead cities left behind after the apocalypse. He was happy, living quietly and avoiding the chosen’s holy wars, but a chance encounter reveals people are coming for him. Whether he wants it or not, he has a role to play in the holy wars and life will never be the same again. Neutrality is not an option for Avril as forces on all sides of the conflict learn who and what he is and set plans in motion to use him to gain the upper hand.

The Bastard Cadre is an ambitious science fantasy saga set in a futuristic dystopia where dragons soar above cities of technological splendor, and what’s left of humanity must choose between kneeling to malevolent gods and risking annihilation to fight them.

Review

I actually read The Bastard Cadre series some time ago and loved it..my only comment to the author was the covers lacked the first impression to make a reader buy the book.. well the author has clearly took that on-board and has released the series with fab new covers..not only that but book 1 in the series has had a rewrite… and to tease me there’s also now a book 5 to the series I’ve yet to read. To do the series justice I thought the best idea was to read the series again from the start to enjoy the ride once again J

What originally caught my eye was the author’s tag line.. epic fantasy without the word count. At 178 pages it’s perfect for a quick read and a great way to test if a series is for you.

The Bastard Cadre is the best series I’ve read and the rewrite for book 1 served only to improve on what I deemed perfection.. as if that was even possible.

The tale follows Avril.. he’s being raised (or rather protected) by Ethan Godkin but why?

After Avril and Ethan are attacked while on the road their life is turned upside down and Ethan does everything in his power to protect Avril… and that means calling someone he’d rather not..he’s stuck in a hard place and there doesn’t appear to be an easy way out.

Set in a futuristic dystopia era where cities are now wasteland you can’t trust anyone as most are struggling to survive… only the rich thrive while the gods play their little games.

A series of events lead Avril to the conclusion he’s not just another lost soul..he’s part of something bigger…but what…. there’s a connection to the gods themselves.. but why was Ethan hiding this truth?  Who can he trust?

I really enjoyed the setting along with the futuristic technology used by Avril to stay alive. I’ll be honest.. the plot was great and the setting perfect.. the detail given in under 200 pages sucks the reader in and leaves so many questions open setting the series up perfectly.

5/5 stars!

To find out more head to Amazon or Goodreads

Music and Misadventure: Modern Magick, 6 by Charlotte E. English – Review

Today I’m back with a review for Music and Misadventure book 6 in the Modern Magick series by Charlotte E. English.

You know the drill..here’s the blurb 🙂

Genre Fantasy

Ves hasn’t heard from her mother in six years — until now. With nothing but a peremptory summons and some map co-ordinates to work with, Ves has no idea what to expect.

The short answer is: trouble, for Mother Dearest is in rather a lot of it. And like daughter, like mother, for there’s a shiny artefact in the offing, and only a few gigantic lindworms in the way. Who isn’t up for a minor little challenge like that?

It’s off to Faerie for Ves and Jay, for the artefact in question was once the property of the legendary King Evelaern. And as it turns out, the declining and dusty kingdom of the Yllanfalen may hold some unexpected truths about her past…

Review

Ves is back for more mayhem and this time her mother is along for the ride…

After six years of silence a message arrives for Ves from her mother Delia Vesper, and with Milday’s leave she sets out with partner Jay to find out what all this is about.

As it turns out her mother is in a little trouble.. Lindworms..like Dragons..and dangerous..but that’s just the start of it.

After coming to her mother’s aid Ves and co start exploring..and they soon find a portal…but where does it lead?

What happens next is a whirlwind of adventure as the team are whisked off to other lands with legendary artefacts & sprites and oh and we meet….:)

Hey..i’m not going to spoil it all but this book in the series delves further into the main plot of magic decline and its origins but also Ves’s own family and their connection to magic itself.

What I’m really enjoying about this series is how each book has its own focus but you can see the bigger picture starting to form..even though I have no idea where the author is going to go next..the authors imagination means anything is possible!

This is a fun series that is developing well. The book/chapter length is short so this means it’s an easy series to get into and enjoy.

I was left with more questions than answers.. in a good way.. there’s so many ways for this story to continue and I can’t wait to read more.

My rating – 5/5 Stars!!

To find out more head to Amazon or Goodreads

Young Warlock by Mathew Bridle – The One Saga – Review

Next up on David’s Book Blurg is Young Warlock by Mathew Bridle.

Here’s the blurb

Genre – Epic/High Fantasy

On his graduation day at the University of Elements Dekor is shown how to conjure fire, an art forbidden to mages. He immediately succumbs to the lust of the flame. Now a battlemage Dekor is expected to climb through the ranks and become a great mage. His experiments with fire lead him to a confrontation with the Archmage resulting in Dekor becoming a wanted criminal.
He sets out on a night of lust driven destruction securing his transformation to warlock. Now he must flee for his life, pursued by hunters who will stop at nothing to bring him in. He heads north, through dark, spider infested forests, over mountains and through dangerous swamps where he encounters Icthus, a truth provoking creature who becomes his friend. Icthus guides Dekor to a place of refuge but first they must scale vast cliffs and traverse the plains of Oumtuk before they can reach the safety of Gamran Mire where the next part of his journey begins.
Dekor is asked by the enemy of the mages to help them open a magical doorway into the Cavern of Souls though what they really want is something different. With Icthus as guide the party sets out on a simple quest. When he returns Dekor finds he has something unexpected.
War has come to lands of men. Dekor’s homeland is laid waste by armies of goblins and the undead. The people of land flee to the neighbouring kingdom of Grimlaw where they live as refugees. The mage guild is no more, Dekor is a free man. Now he must put his inner demons rest and to put right the wrongs of his night of lust.

Review

From the outset I had a feeling I would like this book, the blurb screams potential.

Dekor is a battlemage, training to offer his support wherever he may be needed..but as with all magic there’s a dark side to tempt you and Dekor is unable to keep his lust for fire in check and turns to the darkness.

All is not as is seems though, there’s a plan and the One has his eye on Dekor and others. With the aid of allies the One sets up the chessboard ready for the war to come. A prophecy long ago foretold is about to come to fruition but many are blind to the danger they are in.

This is most certainly the kind of book I want to read when I think of epic fantasy, there’s gnomes, dwarfs, goblins, orcs and trolls to name just a few! plus the gods they pray too.

The pace of the tale for the most part works well and builds up the plot nicely but at times it did seem things progressed rather fast so didn’t get much page time, one major event stands out.. I’d love to be specific but that would ruin a big piece of the plot… The chapters could have probably done with a timeline of sorts.

What the author gets spot on for me is the setting and its characters..both grew nicely as the tale progressed helping me as a reader understand the bigger picture. I particularly found Icthus and Gestorn highly fascinating. Dekor himself has the most page time and therefore the most growth throughout the tale and it worked pretty well. I’d loved to have seen more inner struggles with the fire.

One of the best things about the book is the build-up, you never quite know who to trust and what their true motives are.. even the One. It made for an exciting read.

Easy 4* for me! I’ll definitely add Mathew Bridle to my authors to look out for list as I’d like to see where the story goes as the ending leaves me in no doubt the adventure will continue.

My thanks go to the author and Charles at Publishing Push for the chance to read/review the book.

To find out more head to Amazon or Goodreads

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey by Gordon Doherty (@GordonDoherty) – Review

Next up on David’s Book Blurg Is Assassin’s Creed Odyssey by Gordon Doherty.

Here’s the blurb

Greece, 5th century BCE. Kassandra is a mercenary of Spartan blood, sentenced to death by her family, cast out into exile. Now she will embark on an epic journey to become a legendary hero – and uncover the truth about her mysterious lineage.

Review

Gordon Doherty fast became a favourite author of mine while reading his Legionary series. When I heard he was on board with an Assassin’s Creed book I felt two emotions, firstly happiness that Gordon’s work would reach a wider audience and also apprehension… I’m not really a gamer..would I still enjoy the book?

Well I needn’t have worried..Gordon smashed it again!

This tale follows Kassandra who as a child was cast out by her family.. she went against the gods and for that there is no forgiveness…all she cared about was saving little Alexios..her sibling..only for her parents to abandon her.

Years have passed and we find Kassandra using her Spartan skills to get by..she’s a mercenary and for the right price she will sort your problems out for you.

From the off you can tell that while Kassandra needs money..she still has a few morals left. This is confirmed as soon as we meet Phoibe..A little girl Kassandra has decided to take care off..if she doesn’t no one else will. The relationship between these two was a joy to follow.

The plot is well-developed and we have a nice build-up for the character as we see her skills put to use. Tasked with using her talents to obtain a treasure little does she know it’s really just a test and the past won’t stay hidden for long.. it’s going to hit hard.

From one lead to another Kassandra sets out on a path to learn about herself and the fateful night she was lost to her parents.. little does she know that all is not as she first thought.

Gordon Doherty gives us twist after twist and effortlessly paints a picture of Kassandra’s life and the places she visits. This might be an adaptation of a game but Doherty manages to give the written word depth and emotion that no game has been able to give me in the past. It’s written in such a way that young adults and old alike will love it with the perfect amount of detail to keep his diehard fans happy but also suck in new readers without overwhelming them.

I really think Gordon managed to put his own style of writing into an established series which is no mean feat.

Overall Assassin’s Creed Odyssey earns it’s place on my bookshelf..fast paced, exciting and vivid.

I’m always impressed when I read Gordon’s work and he didn’t let me down with Odyssey.. I loved it!

My rating – 5/5 Stars

To find out more head to Amazon or Goodreads