Category Archives: Historical Fiction

BLOG TOUR – The Walls of Rome by Robert M. Kidd

Today I’m taking part in the blog tour for The Walls of Rome by Robert M. Kidd

Why not follow the tour?

Let’s get started! Oh and keep reading for a chance to win a copy of A Hostage of Rome (Book 3 in the series)

Here is the blurb –

Genre – Historical Fiction

218 BC. Sphax is seventeen and haunted by the brutal murder of his parents at the hands of Rome. After ten years of miserable slavery he will make his last bid for freedom and go in search of Hannibal’s army and his birthright. He will have his revenge on the stinking cesspit that is Rome!

Destiny will see him taken under the wing of Maharbal, Hannibal’s brilliant general, and groomed to lead the finest horsemen in the world – the feared Numidian cavalry that would become the scourge of Rome.

From the crossing of the great Rhodanus River, Sphax’s epic journey takes him through the lands of the Gaul to the highest pass in the Alps. This is the story of the most famous march in history. A march against impossible odds, against savage mountain Gauls, a brutal winter and Sphax’s own demons.

This is more than a struggle for empire. This is the last great war to save the beauty of the old world, the civilized world of Carthage, Greece and Gaul. The world of art and philosophy – before it is ground into dust by the upstart barbarity of Rome.

Review

As the story starts we are introduced to Sphax, a slave to an unforgiving master. Sphax hasn’t had it easy, his family were murdered before his eyes and after ten years as a slave he’s had enough.

Sphax learns Hannibal’s army is marching on Room, now is his chance to make his bid for freedom and get revenge on those he deems responsible for his parents’ murder.

On his journey to freedom and vengeance, Sphax even has time to find a love interest in Fionn who was a character I very much enjoyed. She made Sphax open up a little and showed a different side to him which helped me believe his journey.

We soon get introduced to Hannibal, a man of varying moods…wow he’s brilliant though.

Sphax is then caught up in the war against Rome.. it’s what he wants more than anything.

Of course things don’t ever go to plan… there are clashes.. and lots of blood and guts spilt along the way.

I won’t spoil the ending but it was the perfect place to stop.. paving the way for the next instalment..Rome will shake!

I very much enjoyed Sphax and his journey, there is some interesting detail thrown in along the way… the locations, the animals, the style of fighting, it’s all there but presented in such a manner that the story progresses quickly.

I’d recommend to anyone who likes the genre but also new readers as it’s fast paced and not too heavy for a first time historical fiction reader.

4/5 Stars

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon

My thanks go to the author, the publisher and Rachel’s Random Resources for having me on the blog tour! I received an ARC of the book as part of the tour but I’ll be adding this to my purchased collection too 🙂


Author Bio – Robert M. Kidd

When Cato the Censor demanded that ‘Carthage must be destroyed,’ Rome did just that. In 146 BC, after a three year siege, Carthage was raised to the ground, its surviving citizens sold into slavery and the fields where this once magnificent city had stood, ploughed by oxen. Carthage was erased from history.

That’s why I’m a novelist on a mission! I want to set the historical record straight. Our entire history of Hannibal’s wars with Rome is nothing short of propaganda, written by Greeks and Romans for their Roman clients. It intrigues me that Hannibal took two Greek scholars and historians with him on campaign, yet their histories of Rome’s deadliest war have never seen the light of day.

My hero, Sphax the Numidian, tells a different story!

When I’m not waging war with my pen, I like to indulge my passion for travel and hill walking, and like my hero, I too love horses. I live in Pembrokeshire, West Wales.


Follow the author –

https://robertmkidd.com/

https://twitter.com/RobertMKidd1

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100064169594911


Want the chance to win a signed book?

Click here to enter the giveaway to Win the A Hostage of Rome (Book 3) to be dedicated to the winner, & a signed dedicated copy too

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

Publication Day!! – Empires of Bronze: Book 4 – The Crimson Throne by Gordon Doherty

Today I’m celebrating the release of Empires of Bronze Book 4 – The Crimson Throne by Gordon Doherty, and what better way to do that then with a bloody good review 😊

Let’s get started!

Here is the blurb –

Genre – Historical Fiction

A story of bloody and world-shaking revenge

The King of the Hittites has been slain, and a reign of terror begins…

1272 BC: Prince Hattu returns home from the battlefield of Kadesh to find his nephew on the throne, the old king’s blood dripping from his hands. Under Urhi-Teshub’s reign, the Hittite realm has become a land of fear and violent reprisals. Ancient family lines and old ways are being wiped out as the young tyrant strengthens his bronze-fisted grip on power.

Hattu’s loved ones are spared only in return for his absolute obedience. Yet he knows he must choose between his family and his burning need for restitution. The Goddess Ishtar, ever-present in his dreams, assures him that there is only one future.

A war for the throne is coming… and blood will be let.

Review

When last we were with Hattu he had just returned home to find his brother dead and his nephew on the throne.. The truth only just becoming real..the evil that is Urhi-Teshub!

As we rejoin Hattu he’s subdued, his men are scattered and his loved ones used as tool to keep him in check.. meanwhile Ishtar continues to plague Hattu’s dreams with visions of blood.. but he’s stil quite reluctant to accept his fate.

Meanwhile the author transports us to Troy and explores the well-known story around Helen of Troy, Priam, Paris and Hector to name a few, but approaches this tale with his own style and direction, which I really enjoyed.

Praim, king of Troy is well liked by Hattu, and the Hittites have been Troy’s allies for a long time, each coming to the call of the other when in time of need. While on a visit Hattu confides in Praim and the path for both sides starts to become clear. Hattu cannot keep standby and let Urhi-Teshub continue his crimes but Troy is in no position to help him after losing many men at the battle of Kadesh.. Troy have their own trouble brewing. Hattu returns home and forces continue to urge him to act, to seize the throne.

Urhi-Teshub continues to torment his people and removes those he deems to have slighted him.. he’s wicked and evil, and his generals revel in the bloodshed.

How long with Hattu stand back and accept this? And what can he do to stop it? He knows the chances of success are slim…and many will die.. but each and everyone is loyal to Hattu… Urhi-Teshub must fall.

Urhi-Teshub is cunning and has lined many a pocket to buy loyalty, this earns most a slow death, even those who serve him well, but this tactic works for Urhi-Teshub  and we see Hattu banished to the Well of Silence.. In the Well time becomes meaningless and here he endures the worst tortures known.

The Well of Silence for me cemented this book as incomparable and I do not think there is anything that has been, or will be, written that will outshine these scenes!

Hattu battles to survive and sees freedom but there’s no respite.. it’s time for war! Allies make themselves known as they emerge from unlikely sources and together they will face Urhi-Teshub..he will fall..

Now, you may know or may not know the outcome for the Hittites already but the ending of The Crimson Throne is depicted so perfectly, Troy is on the verge of defeat…but where are the Hittites? I really enjoyed the author notes on this bit too linking back to well known sources and the lack of Hittite involvement, enabling the author to weave his tale in such a deliciously amazing way!

Gordon Doherty continues to shine in the historical fiction genre, his passion seeps through the pages and you cannot help but feel his energy in what has to be his best work to date. Fans of the author or the genre will not be disappointed!

5/5 Stars!

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon!

I received an ARC to allow me to have my review ready for release but as always I’ve bought my own copy and an ARC in no way ensures a good review, Gordon Doherty just knows what I like, if it was crap I’d tell you!

BLOG TOUR – Masters of Rome by Gordon Doherty and Simon Turney

Today is my turn on the blog tour for Masters of Rome, book 2 in the Rise of Emperors series by Gordon Doherty and Simon Turney.

Let’s ger started!

Here is the blurb –

Genre – Historical Fiction

As competition for the imperial throne intensifies, Constantine and Maxentius realise their childhood friendship cannot last. Each man struggles to control their respective quadrant of empire, battered by currents of politics, religion and personal tragedy, threatened by barbarian forces and enemies within.

With their positions becoming at once stronger and more troubled, the strained threads of their friendship begin to unravel. Unfortunate words and misunderstandings finally sever their ties, leaving them as bitter opponents in the greatest game of all, with the throne of Rome the prize.

It is a matter that can only be settled by outright war…

Review

When last we were with Constantine and Maxentius their friendship was fractured, their childhood connection  and long standing respect hanging by a thread as they both struggle to gain power within the empire.

War is coming.. but neither side want to admit it or is ready to make the first move.

Doherty and Turney cowrite perfectly, each depicting the role of an emperor and the struggles they faced… money, religion, love, betrayal, murder.. its all there!

I’ve been a big fan of both authors since I caught the reading bug and Masters of Rome didn’t disappoint, it’s a real talent to make history come alive, to add passion..and the knowledge and talent of both authors shines through.

For the action fans there’s some brilliantly depicted military actions on Constantine’s part that I just loved..things could have turned out very differently.

The story really helped me as a reader see the fragility of those in power.. sometimes there is no right decision.. someone will always be unhappy.. but as Maxentius learns the hard way you can only run away from your troubles for so long, sooner or later it will come back to bite you in the arse and towards the end of the book you see the wolves biting at his heals leading to one of the worst decisions he could ever make.

The most interesting bit for me was the advisors both Constantine and Maxentius took guidance from.. They were so heavily relied upon and actually had more power/control than the emperors themselves really.. the trust they had in these individuals must have put a major strain on the relationship.

Both emperors suffer from grief, leading to some rash actions but you could really feel how the events could have played out this way. Mental health is a massive topic these days.. I can’t imagine the mental health of these rulers was all that good to be honest, you really feel for them. I don’t think either really wanted war.. but they are left with little option in order to take the power they truly believe is theirs.

For someone like me who loves the period but doesn’t know a lot of the history it’s great to have it come to life so majestically and what I always appreciate even more is the author notes which clarify where they may have deviated from facts, or made assumptions as there are things we just will never know for sure.. I think that’s why I love the genre.. there’s scope to weave a wonderful tale into history as we know it.

Wonderfully written, powerful, raw emotion. Simply WOW!

Looking forward to the next instalment in the series.

My thanks go to Netgalley and the publisher for a review copy. I’ve purchased a copy myself too.. Had it pre-ordered.. I just couldn’t say no to being able to read the book early 😊

5/5 Stars!

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon!


About the authors

Simon Turney is the author of the Marius’ Mules and Praetorian series, as well as The Damned Emperor series for Orion and Tales of the Empire series for Canelo. He is based in Yorkshire.

Follow Simon

Twitter: @SJATurney

Instagram: @simonturney_aka_sjaturney

Website: http://simonturney.com/

Gordon Doherty is the author of the Legionary and Strategos series, and wrote the Assassin’s Creed tie-in novel Odyssey. He is based in Scotland.

Follow Gordon

Twitter: @GordonDoherty

Instagram: @gordon.doherty

Website: https://www.gordondoherty.co.uk/


Follow Aries

Twitter: @AriesFiction

Facebook: Aries Fiction

Website: http://www.headofzeus.com

Spear Havoc: 1066 – Alternative Histories by C.R. May – Review

Today I’m going to be reviewing Spear Havoc: 1066 – Alternative Histories by C.R. May.

Here is the blurb –

Genre – Historical Fiction/Alternative History

The year 1066 is arguably the most famous in English history. Assailed on all sides, King Harold and his doughty army finally fall to a last gasp Norman assault.

It is perhaps the very first of those fights against the odds which have entered the national psyche, of which Agincourt, Rorke’s Drift and Dunkirk are but a few.

But what if Harold Godwinson had prevailed on that blood soaked ridge? Or the invasions of Harald of Norway and William of Normandy had never taken place at all?

Here, bestselling author C.R.May presents twelve short stories, each outlining widely differing ways which could easily — and in some cases should have — produced an entirely different timeline, alternative futures which would have had a dramatic effect on the world in which we live today.

Review

I’m a big fan of “What if” when it comes to history. One little event could have changed the course of history forever and that fascinates me.

What C.R. May delivers is a collection of short stories based around the events of 1066 in which the author shows his talent as a storyteller but also how knowledgeable of the period he is.

The accounts are very detailed when it comes to names and places. The events themselves are plausible and I loved the arguments/evidence put forward with each to help you see yourself how real these events could have been.

It’s a quite fun read if you enjoy the subject, I know I do, but any fan of history or alternative history would certainly enjoy this.

I’m definitely a fan of the author, his style is very much “detail”, you are going to get sucked into the vivid detail of each event and for me they just got better as the book progressed, each adding it’s own wow factor.

Another plus for me is the chapter length and flow, it’s perfect for someone like me who has a short lunch break at work and needs a reading fix, and the author commentary after each tale helps keep things fresh and intriguing.

5/5 Stars!

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon!

Blog Tour – A Time for Swords by Matthew Harffy

Today is my turn on the blog tour for A Time for Swords by Matthew Harffy!

Follow the tour –

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Here is the blurb –

Genre – Historical Fiction

Lindisfarne, AD793.

There had been portents – famine, whirlwinds, lightning from clear skies, serpents seen flying through the air. But when the raiders came, no one was prepared.

They came from the North, their dragon-prowed longships gliding out of the dawn mist as they descended on the kingdom’s most sacred site.

It is 8th June AD793, and with the pillage of the monastery on Lindisfarne, the Viking Age has begun.

While his fellow monks flee before the Norse onslaught, one young novice stands his ground. He has been taught to turn the other cheek, but faced with the slaughter of his brothers and the pagan desecration of his church, forgiveness is impossible.

Hunlaf soon learns that there is a time for faith and prayer . . . and there is a time for swords.

Review

Now we all know Matthew Harffy is a master wordsmith. The Bernicia Chronicles has to be one of my favourite sagas and The Wolf of Wessex packs a punch, so of course I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a copy of his latest work… A Time for Swords.

Word of warning, I don’t like spoilers but I can’t help but give little tit bits away on this one.  Otherwise, I can’t do the review justice. Do not worry, I’ll be sure to keep it to a minimum 😊

This is a fresh tale for the author who moves away from his well-established characters to bring us the tale of Hunlaf, a monk, forced to stand tall when the Norse attack!

Oh, you miss Beobrand and his Black Shields just as much as me? Don’t worry.. the author adds some really nice touches to the tale.. it might not be Beobrand’s tale but his legend lives on! It’s this gentle nod the author gives to his tales that really make you appreciate the effort he makes.. he’s writing these tales for you.. he knows exactly what you want to hear.

Hunlaf, where to start. God I loved his character. He loves nothing more than a good book (who doesn’t? 😊 ) and lives a life under the protection of God. Along with his mentor Leofstan he visits Lindisfarne after a exciting discovery is made… only to have his life turned on end.

The Norse attack.. and it’s brutal.. savage.. gut wrenching. This might be a work of fiction but it’s based on real facts..The Norse really did attack, rape, pillage and murder and while we can never really know how it would have felt at the time to see it through Hunlaf’s eyes was hard to swallow.

This battle is a turning point in Hunlaf’s life as he makes a stand in order to save his cousin..he’s not a warrior though.. or does he hold that fire within him to run towards danger rather than away from it?

An unlikely ally emerges from the smoke and fire.. a heathen devil called Runolf. Hunlaf is torn..does he truly believe this man was brought to him by God to help..or does he just not want to see other people die needlessly.

Either way the Norse will return, of that is there is no doubt… they know the riches the monks have. Can Runolf and Hunlaf really stand up against an onslaught?

Help isn’t easy to come by. No one knows when the Norse will return. There’s just not enough fighting men to go around.. It’s all on Hunlaf and a small band of men to turn the tide.

This little band of men really bloody excited me, each have their own talent and purpose for being and they are here to defend those who cannot defend themselves.

Hereward, a man I loathed at first.. his role is to lead and on his head be it if Runlof should disgrace his lord.

Drosten, a man of few words.. he prefers to let his fists do the talking.

Gwawrddur, whose skill with a blade cannot be matched.

Cormac, the cocky one with skill but who also needs to keep his temper in check.

When the battle comes it’s intense and there’s a beauty of a twist thrown in. It’s a twist I hoped for if I’m honest..Let’s see if you can spot which twist I’m referring to 😊

Now the ending! Come on! It’s killing me already.. I need more ha. What the author manages quite brilliantly to do is to leave a cliff-hanger so perfect..it’s designed so well for the author he can either write a sequel or leave it as a standalone… Although I do hope this isn’t the end.

Truthfully, I’ve read everything Matthew Harffy has published. I’ve been a fan from day one. A Time for Swords is the best yet from him and quite easily a top read of 2020! Harffy never fails to deliver, every offering is new and refreshing but you instantly feel at home with his writing and warm to the characters.

Flawless!

5/5 Stars!

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon!

My thanks as ever go to the author, the publisher and also NetGalley  for the chance of an advance copy of the book. As always I’ve purchased my own copy on the day of release.. there’s no free rides with me. I’ve even pre-ordered the hardback version for the collection 😊


About the author

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Matthew Harffy grew up in Northumberland where the rugged terrain, ruined castles and rocky coastline had a huge impact on him. He now lives in Wiltshire, England, with his wife and their two daughters.

Follow Matthew

Twitter: @MatthewHarffy

Website: www.matthewharffy.com

 

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Twitter: @AriesFiction

Facebook: Aries Fiction

Website: http://www.headofzeus.com

Blog tour – Sons of Rome by Simon Turney and Gordon Doherty – Review!

Today its my turn on the blog tour for Sons of Rome by Simon Turney & Gordon Doherty, the 1st book in a new series!

Follow the tour!

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Here is the blurb –

Four Emperors. Two Friends. One Destiny.

 

As twilight descends on the 3rd century AD, the Roman Empire is but a shadow of its former self. Decades of usurping emperors, splinter kingdoms and savage wars have left the people beleaguered, the armies weary and the future uncertain. And into this chaos Emperor Diocletian steps, reforming the succession to allow for not one emperor to rule the world, but four.

Meanwhile, two boys share a chance meeting in the great city of Treverorum as Diocletian’s dream is announced to the imperial court. Throughout the years that follow, they share heartbreak and glory as that dream sours and the empire endures an era of tyranny and dread. Their lives are inextricably linked, their destinies ever-converging as they rise through Rome’s savage stations, to the zenith of empire. For Constantine and Maxentius, the purple robes beckon…

Review

Regular readers of my blog will no doubt recognise the names Simon Turney & Gordon Doherty, both have featured more than a few times and I must say they always know what I’m after as a reader. I’ve never read a jointly written book before but with these guys behind it I knew it would be a cracking read.

Sons of Rome follows the footsteps of Constantine and Maxentius as the grow from little boys into men fighting for the purple robe of the empire!

The prologue sets the scene for the series as we meet Constantine on the eve of battle against someone he once knew as friend.. how did they get here.. what happened to change those boys.

Power.. that’s what.. and paranoia.

As boys Maxentius and Constantine see Emperor Diocletian share his vision for the future, the empire is too big for one man to rule.. Diocletian wishes to create a new system to share power, A Tetrarchy, which will also inturn decide rightly who will rule when an Augustus dies.

The issue is both boys have fathers who are flawed and neither are really shown the love and affection a young boy needs.

As men both are overlooked and we see them navigate what can only be described as a nightmare of events for both of them..each always thinking of the other but never truly understanding the others motives..jealously and paranoia strike at every turn and while you hope for things to turn out ok nothing is going to stop the black events that are going to follow.

War and death stalk them…greed and the urge to show strength lead both men to do things they likely regret but can never admit.. to proud.. and scared to admit the truth…as they grow you see their hearts turn black, ever changed by the events that mould them into the men they are.

Knowing both authors styles I had no worries at all that the joint effort would be anything but a masterpiece, but they have surpassed all expectations and have given me a true highlight in what has been a pretty shitty year.. we’ve waited for this team up for sooooo long but it was worth the wait!

If you are a fan of the writers’ or just love the genre then I promise you will not be disappointed. It’s got the historic detail you won’t but mixed with a well woven and written plot that flowed almost effortlessly.

Oh, I loved it that much I pre-ordered a limtied editon signed copy from Parmenion Books (Parm was the 1st stop on the tour so do take a look and follow the tour)

5/5 Stars!

To find out more head to Goodreads or you can Pre-Order on Amazon!

My thanks go to both Simon and Gordon along with the publisher for the exciting opportunity to be one of the first to read the book but to also be part of the blog tour to celebrate the release!

About the authors

Simon Turney is the author of the Marius’ Mules and Praetorian series, as well as The Damned Emperor series for Orion and Tales of the Empire series for Canelo. He is based in Yorkshire.

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Follow Simon

Twitter: @SJATurney

Website: http://simonturney.com/

Gordon Doherty is the author of the Legionary and Strategos series, and wrote the Assassin’s Creed tie-in novel Odyssey. He is based in Scotland.

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Follow Gordon

Twitter: @GordonDoherty

Website: https://www.gordondoherty.co.uk/

 

Follow Aries

Twitter: @AriesFiction

Facebook: Aries Fiction

Website: http://www.headofzeus.com

New Release! – Empires of Bronze: Thunder at Kadesh by Gordon Doherty – Review

Today I’m reviewing Empires of Bronze: Thunder at Kadesh by Gordon Doherty, book 3 in the Empires of Bronze series.

Here is the blurb –

1275 BC: Tensions between the Hittite and Egyptian Empires erupt and the two great superpowers mobilise for all-out war. Horns blare across the Hittite northlands and the dunes of Egypt rumble with the din of drums as each gathers an army of unprecedented size. Both set their eyes upon the border between their domains, and the first and most important target: a desert city whose name will toll through history. Kadesh!

Prince Hattu has lived in torment for years, plagued by the memory of his wife’s murder. Thoughts of her poisoner, Volca the Sherden – for so long safe and distant by Pharaoh Ramesses’ side – have sullied his dreams, blackened his waking hours and driven him to commit the darkest of deeds. Now that war is here, he at last has the chance to confront his nemesis and have his vengeance.

But as the ancient world goes to war, Hattu will learn that the cold, sweet kiss of revenge comes at a terrible price.

Review

To say I’ve eagerly been awaiting this release would be an understatement.. I just needed to know if Hattu would get his revenge on Volca for the murder of his wife.

Volca isn’t the only threat Hattu and the Hittite’s face after a failed attempt at peace with the Egyptian empire.

The Pharaoh is amassing an army.. he blames Hattu for the death of his brother and his only goal is to do what his father could not.. kill Hattu and every single Hittite if he has too!

The size of the armies is mind boggling, around 50 thousand on each side.. this really is the battle to end all battles..

Each side has their setbacks in the race to Kadesh, the staging point for the war. The first there holding the advantage.

We see some very interesting subplots going on with Volca worming is way in at any chance.. he really is vile but god he’s the perfect bad guy..his luck will run out one day but will it end there for Hattu? Not likely.. some people were born for battle.

Hattu himself is blind with vengeance.. King Muwa his brother can see this but Hattu doesn’t care… He just wants to see Volca die by his hand. For this reason Muwa nearly leaves him behind but the men of the Hittite army admire Hattu and the King needs them to be confident..strong..and he will take any help he can get.

The goddess Ishtar still plagues Hattu’s dreams but we do see a glimmer of hope arrive… I’m not going to spoil that one 😊 let’s just say things get interesting.

There are some brilliant twists and turns but eventually war will catch-up to Hattu.. and it’s brutal..each side use their wits to trick the other but at the cost of thousands of lives.

When all is said and done many friends will be dead.. but Ishtar has other plans for Hattu.. and more pain and bloodshed await.

What I love about Gordon’s work is that he never fails to offer up something epic.. something flawless and beautifully prefect… you can tell how much time he must put into these books.. there’s no way you could rattle a tale off like this without devoting yourself fully, no matter how good of a storyteller you are.. The author continues to put everything he has into his work and it pays off..you are right there with them in those destroyers alongside the men of Troy basking in the sun..what a sight those armies must have been.

I loved the detail given too when describing the different cultures, the vassal King’s and the way each group dressed.. the weapons they used.. that detail just sucked me in and had my own imagination firing.

The climax of the book reveals secrets you felt were coming.. but god it’s good.. there’s deception all around and it’s a good job Hattu has a goddess watching his back.

I know the day will come soon when we must say goodbye to Hattu.. history is already written.. but I can’t wait to see Gordon Doherty weave his magic with it. Just take my money now!

5/5 Stars!

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon.

Bloodaxe (Erik Haraldsson #1) by C.R. May – Review

Today I’m reviewing Bloodaxe, Book 1 in the Erik Haraldsson series by C.R. May.

Here is the blurb –

Under the iron rule of Harald Fairhair, Norway has been a land at peace for half a century.

Groomed for the succession, the king’s eldest surviving son has lived the life of a Viking prince; harrying wherever his longships can reach, from the frozen forests of Bjarmaland to the rocky shores of Brittany and beyond.

But none expected Harald to live so long, and as the king enters his ninth decade his powers begin to wane.

Seizing their chance other Haraldssons move to snatch the crown for themselves, and a brother war sweeps the land as Erik fights to defend his birthright…

Bloodaxe is the first volume in a trilogy which will tell the story of one of the Viking Age’s legendary kings.

Review

Bloodaxe is the story of Eric Haraldsson, son of  Harald Fairhair, King of Norway.

You’d always imagine in the modern day that being heir to a throne would be an easy, sheltered life. Not so in times past! It just leads to bloodshed.

I loved Eric from the start, the guy just oozes confidence and strength, he’s got something about him.

As a young boy Eric was sent away to live with one of Harald’s most trusted, he learns the ways of a warrior and soon starts to build a relationship of sorts with his father.

It’s the real brutal Viking tale you’d expect as Eric leave a path of red behind as he makes a name for himself and earns the respect of the men who fight at his side.. he’s going to need those men.

Eric isn’t one to shy away from a fight, he’s got wits and knows when to use them. I think he proves early on that he has the qualities needed to become King when Harald eventually dies.. but the old king has been rather promiscuous to say the least and there is many with a claim to the throne.

What we see then is a rather brutally vivid and well actioned series of events to see Eric claim power… there’s no time for niceties.. he’s going to seize power one way or another. It’s not an easy ride for Eric but you see him prove time and time again he’s got the qualities needed to rule.. yes he’s still up for a good slaughter but he’s learned to pick his battles well.

C.R. May effortlessly transported me back to the age of Vikings and showed how rough life would have been for them.. It’s a fight from day 1..You have to prove yourself and if you aren’t a warrior you might as well be dead already.

The plot was very enticing to say the least and while history can be a little incomplete at times I loved that C. R. May offers up a plausible storyline but at the same time hits the high notes with the use of descriptiveness to an awe inspiring level. Bloodaxe isnt a book you can just skim read.. it’s not the kind of book you read a chapter here and there..No, Bloodaxe instantly sucks you in.. immerses you in Viking world.. It’s vivid and packs a punch and the turmoil/fear is real.

Take your time to enjoy Bloodaxe, there’s a lot to get to grips with.. so many names…why did Harald have so many sons? Ha.. It’s worth savouring.. sit down in your favourite chair and watch the hours fly by.

I don’t think you’ll find a better example of an Historical Fiction novel as the author perfectly demonstrates his knowledge of the subject expertly woven with his imagination and storytelling skills.

The only word to describe C. R. Mays’ work is “detail” he knows his stuff and these detail shines through to give us the most beautifully brutal book I’ve read in a long time!

Bloodaxe is the 1st in what can only be an epic saga!

5/5 Stars!

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon.

Legionary: Eagles in the Desert by Gordon Doherty

Today I’m reviewing Legionary: Eagles in the Desert by Gordon Doherty.

Eagles in the Desert is a short story and prequel to the Legionary series.

By trying this book you’ll also be making a difference – 100% of the proceeds from this short story will go to the blood cancer charity Myeloma UK https://www.myeloma.org.uk/

Here is the blurb –

360 AD: A Roman legion is trapped and surrounded in the blistering Persian desert… and a great saga begins.

Review

So we thought we had seen the last of Pavo but we were wrong.. Well he doesn’t play a big part in this short story but he’s never far from your thoughts as we follow Falco! Pavo’s Father.

The Persians are on the offensive and the legionaries must hold Bezabde.. they know they hold little chance of doing so.. but they must have hope.. courage!

For a fan of the series it’s quite a thrilling tale and it was great to see the similarities between father and son. In the main series Pavo dreams of his father daily… in Eagles in the Desert we see Falco thinking of his son often. The connection between the too has been there all along even though fate does not treat them kindly.

I love the Legionary series and this offering just cements my love of the authors work.. how can anyone make such a good story in 34 pages? Oh and it was bloody nice to seethe withered old crone appear.. A must for any book in the Legionary series!

I think this book works well as a little standalone to introduce you to the series but for anyone like me it just reminds me how good this series really is. There is a tonne of detail for those who love an author setting the scene but also plenty of action driven moments for the adrenaline junkies. What’s not to enjoy?

5/5 Stars!

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon.

Do look out for more from the author soon! 

Empires of Bronze: Thunder at Kadesh (Empires of Bronze 3) due for release 24th September 

Sons of Rome (Rise of Emperors Book 1) a joint effort with the awesome Simon Turney due for release 15th October.

 

 

Rise of a Champion (Legend of the Cid Book 1) by Stuart Rudge – Review

Today I’m reviewing Rise of a Champion by Stuart Rudge, Book 1 in the Legend of the Cid series.

I stumbled upon Stuart Rudge by chance while on Twitter, promoting his 1st book. I had a lot on my TBR list but I liked the sound of the plot so I thought what the hell.. I’ll buy a copy. Now I’m the first to admit word of mouth tempts me in…and I started to notice others tweeting about this book..every day, 2 or 3 mentions…then when I heard book 2 was just about to be released I thought it high time I find out what the fuss is about.

Here is the blurb –

Antonio Perez is the son of a knight and a returning war hero, yet he loathes the idea of following in his father’s footsteps. But when his father is executed for alleged treason against Fernando, King of Leon-Castile, he launches a desperate bid to save his life and clear his name. Antonio soon learns that the world is much crueller and darker than he ever could have imagined.

Bereft of hope and condemned to slavery for his sins, he finds himself in the household of a young knight named Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar, a man destined for greatness. Together, they must face their demons and put an end to the man responsible for the downfall of the fathers; known as Azarola, renowned for his fox like cunning and malice, and one of the most powerful lords of Leon.

Rise of a Champion is the epic beginning to the Legend of the Cid.

Review

Antonio is book smart.. he’s not like his father, a war hero, and he’s got very little common with his brother too. Little does he know his life is soon to change and his strengths and weaknesses will be put to the test.

For Antonio life is simple.. he loves to learn and only has eyes for 2 things.. books and Jimena, the daughter of a local count.

Things are not meant to be easy for Antonio and he is to be separated from the girl he yearns for.. he’s going to learn to be a fighter one way or another if his dad has anything to say about it!

Things don’t quite go to plan.

Tragedy soon strikes a heavy blow when Antonio’s father is executed for treason! A crime he did not commit.. but what can Antonio do about it? He’s got to save his own neck first as the men charged with the execution want him too!

From there his life hits a downward spiral. He survives with this brother and cousin at his side but they are very much chalk and cheese.. Inigo his brother is mean and controlling and they are soon involved in events Antonio will live to regret.

I’m not going to spoil what happens but as the synopsis suggests Antonio soon ends in the household of Rodrigo, a fair but harsh man when needed. This relationship sees Antonio grow from a boy into a man.. a man Antonio never thought he would be.. A man his father would be proud to see.

War is brewing and with this comes the chance to exact revenge on the person Antonio believes is responsible for his fathers death.. Azarola.. it’s not going to be easy though.

What I really enjoyed with this tale more than anything was the mix of detail and plot.. the fight scenes were immense and heart stoppingly gripping..not only did you get an overall picture of events of the period the tale is set but you get to see it from Antonio’s eyes, blinkered at times.. with sight only for Azarola.. but can that hatred and lust be tamed? It’s a great balance of history and the authors creative skills allowing him to stamp his mark on the world.

I also really enjoyed that we get to meet Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar, who will become known as El Cid, through the eyes of Antonio. I’ll be the first to admit I’ve heard the name.. and heard of the movie from the 60s but that’s as far as my knowledge goes. I love when an author can help introduce me to real history while writing their tale..Not only do a get a wonderful book to read but afterwards I find myself doing my own research.. reading more..and now I can’t wait to get to grips with book 2 in the series!

I love history but largely my knowledge is what I learned at school… so very little since there’s so much out there to learn.. teachers can’t possibly share it all. I really do believe tales this this have a big part to play in keeping history alive. Loved it!

4/5 Stars!

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon.