Category Archives: Historical Fiction

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.

Shield of the Rising Sun by Adam Lofthouse – Review

Today I’m reviewing Shield of the Rising Sun by Adam Lofthouse, the third book in the Path of Nemesis Series.

Here is the blurb :-

War still rages at the edge of empire while centurion Albinus Silus fights at its beating heart.

Gone is the boy who joined the legions. What remains is a man torn apart by the savagery of battle, the heartache of lost love.

He does not know what became of his wife, and now he must balance being both a soldier and a father.

And yet, for all his pain, he shall have to endure more than he ever thought he could. His valour in the northern wars has not gone unnoticed, and now he is to be given a special mission.

Marcus Aurelius’ star falls with his health. One day the sun will rise on his successor and son, Commodus. But he must be ready, must know what it is to lead. Centurion Albinus has been chosen to educate him.

From Pannonia to Rome, to the far reaches of the east, Albinus must protect Commodus from enemies both inside the empire and out.

Can he keep the Caesar safe? Can he nurture him, teach him what it is to be a man? Can he be The Shield of the Rising Sun?

Review

What a beautifully heart pulverising read! You’d be forgiven for assuming this tale followed on from the last instalment, same style, same pace.. wrong…it flows on but the style is different..It’s a thousand times better if that’s even possible since I’ve loved every book in the series.

I had high expectations based on previous offerings from the author but what a real treat they gave me this time… it’s not just the story of Albinus Silus.. It’s the story of Licina, Calvus, Habitus and so many more as we learn the fate of Albinus through the eyes of his son Faustus as told by the ever protective Calvus.

An air of melancholy surrounds Faustus and while we learn of a few events quickly.. some take more time to play out.. the wounds run deep.

Calvus has sworn to take care of Albinus’s boy no matter what.. it’s time he learned about the man his father was. As the plot progresses you really do see similarities between father and son.. they both struggle with being associated with their father..they feel as if they are in their shadow fighting to just be accepted as who they are.. but do they really know who they want to be?

What worked super well in the story is the historical setting…Young Commodus! Yes please. It was the perfect amount of historical detail weaved into a spectacular tale. It’s the kind of historical novel I like.. I love the historical detail, but I don’t always need reams of description. Sometime I just want action ha ha.

When I read the 1st book in the series I commented on the emotions Albinus and his solider brothers openly showed.. It wasn’t something I was used too.. I’m used to my soldiers farting, pissing and dying but in a bit of a turn of events it’s exactly what I needed in this instalment and the author got it spot on..I’ve been emotionally invested in these guys all along and I didn’t know it until it came to the end..the end hurt..like a sword thrust to the chest.. it hits hard.. and even through you knew all along something like this could happen you never thought the day would come.

I’ve read all of Adam Lofthouse’s books so far and every time I feel the same thing.. this is the best yet from him.. He always has me hooked… I never quite know where the plot will go and those twists give me the good old hand over mouth “oh sh*t” type moment.

What I want from a book.. what I need.. is that urge after reading it to tell everyone about it. If you get a knock at the door it will just be me selling Shield of the Rising Sun!

Buy a copy! 🙂

5/5 Stars!

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon.

 

 

 

 

RELEASE DAY!!!! The Northern Throne (Warrior Druid of Britain Book 3) by Steven A. McKay – Review

Today I’m reviewing The Northern Throne by Steven A. McKay, Book 3 in the Warrior Druid of Britain series! It’s just out today!!!

First things first.. that cover! I’m bloody well quoted on it!!! Now is that going to make me take it easy on McKay? No no no.. If my name is added to something it bloody better be a 5* read!

Here’s the blurb

Northern Britain, AD431, Spring.
Bellicus the Druid and his friend Duro, a former Roman centurion, have already suffered a great deal in recent years but, for them, things are about to get even worse.
Britain is changing. The Romans have gone and warriors from many different places seek to fill the void the legions left behind. In the south, the Saxons’ expansion seems unstoppable despite the efforts of the warlord Arthur, while north of Hadrian’s Wall various kings and chieftains are always looking to extend their borders.
In Dun Breatann, Bellicus believes the disparate northern tribes must put aside their differences, become allies, and face the Saxon threat together, under one High King. Or High Queen…
Small-minded men don’t always look at the bigger picture though, and, when Bellicus and Duro seek to form a pact with an old enemy, events take a shocking and terrible turn that will leave the companions changed forever.
This third volume in the Warrior Druid of Britain Chronicles is packed with adventure, battles, triumph, and tears, and at the end of it a new course will be set for Bellicus.
But at what cost?

Review

Times are changing for Bellicus.. the land is in turmoil, the Druid order’s reach is being curtailed by the growing Christian faith and there is a real threat being posed by the Saxon’s. The only way to save Alt Clota along with his ways is if everyone bands together to face the Saxon threat..but that’s easier said than done.

No one trusts each other and there is more than one person who feels they should be High King.. Or Queen.

Bellicus sets out to unite the people and face the threat head on and that means joining the warlord Arthur.. he is in great need of men and Bellicus and Duro are just the ones to help!

Clearly things aren’t going to just go their way..that’s the way of war.. and it wouldn’t be much of a story if it did..we see our heroes face probably their biggest challenge to date. I was torn as I read, I felt a wedge growing and was dreading either one not making it out alive.. or simply parting ways.

I’m going to skip Bellicus a little.. not that he isn’t a major part of book because he clearly is.. but Duro.. my god Duro.. what a guy.. this is his book for me. He has got to go through some of the worst trials in his life and that’s saying something after losing his wife.

Bellicus has his own challenges to face, mainly being human.. I think the power given to a Druid made Bellicus a little blind at times and he’s certainly knocked down a peg or two as he is shown his own weaknesses.

I’m a big fan of flow.. a book has to progress at the right speed but McKay did something I didn’t see coming. He’s used recent events of the global pandemic/lockdown to feed his plot..lets just say Duro has some hard times ahead.. our lockdown is nothing compared to his ordeal. Was I bored? Did I skim read.. NO! McKay managed to keep the story flowing even when I didn’t see/feel it.. I was just honestly hooked in.

I really don’t want to spoil the plot at all but I was very pleased to see Cai make his “mark”.. who doesn’t love a faithful hound?? I’m also already in love with Aife, A Pict who I’m sure we will be seeing more of… She is clearly one to watch.

As a fan of the author when he started this series I was torn a bit.. I loved the comfort of his Forest Lord series and Robin Hood but that only had so much life in it… The Druid series has given the author the time to showcase his skills more..it feels like anything is possible.

For the people of Alt Clota war is coming.. it’s going to be brutal for sure and the build-up has been immense and gripping. For the actions junkies there is definitely some heart stopping moments. (you know, those moments you stop reading, sit up and focus, take a breath before continuing) and a few good twists thrown in there.

One thing I really liked about the book was the detail.. the numbers given to the warbands. You imagine a fight scene with hundreds..thousands.. sometimes all it takes is 20!

Overall I think this book packed a punch, the author manged to give me exactly what I needed but at the same time through some curve balls to give me a little scare… remember no one lives forever.

The plot was superb and leaves me in little doubt more will follow..

I eagerly wait the next instalment!

5/5 Stars!

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon.

 

The Last King (The Ninth Century #1) by M J Porter – Review

Today I’m reviewing The Last King (The Ninth Century #1) by M J Porter

Here’s the blurb –

Genre – Historical Fiction

They sent three hundred warriors to kill one man. It wasn’t enough.

Mercia lies broken but not beaten, her alliance with Wessex in tatters.

Coelwulf, a fierce and bloody warrior, hears whispers that Mercia has been betrayed from his home in the west. He fears no man, especially not the Vikings sent to hunt him down.

To discover the truth of the rumours he hears, Coelwulf must travel to the heart of Mercia, and what he finds there will determine the fate of Mercia, as well as his own.

Review

The book starts with a brilliant scene that details Lord Coelwulf’s capture as he’s brought before the Raiders. It sets the tone of the book perfectly. Coelwulf isn’t afraid to use a bit of bad language and blood will be spilt.

Chapter one goes back to the past to detail the events that led up to his capture as he’s quickly swept up in battle. Coelwulf is used to protecting Mercia from the Welsh but this new threat has come from nowhere.. and at first he hasn’t a clue why.

We soon learn that King Burhred of Mercia ha fled leaving it to the whim of the Raiders.. There’s one hope.. Coelwulf!

Coelwulf has ties back to the throne but doesn’t see himself as a King..but he does like to kill people.. the battle fame.. the thrill of being the best.. and that’s just what Mercia needs right now to survive.

It’s a hard journey for him and his men.. and they don’t come out of this unscathed. I really thought the detail into the battles and injuries was fascinating. I particularly liked the recovery with the constant risk of infection. We are lucky with have antibiotics and such to fight infections.. back then not so much..

The Raiders are numerous..Coelwulf doesn’t stand a chance given the numbers but he knows just how to tip things in his favour.. He has home court advantage so to speak. He’s not alone in this though.. if only the men of Merica could come together to fight.

The final few chapters were pure magic for me as we relive Coelwulf’s capture and learn of his fate. I found myself reading that chapter the 2nd time with different eyes.. a different outlook and that is credit to the author that they were able to mould how I felt and imagined events playing out so easily.

To say this book is excellent would be a understatement.. it’s a blood and gore fest for any fan of the period or this type of novel. You would be forgiven to think a tale with so many battles might get repetitive but no..each are unique and exhilarating.

Overall I loved it, the detail, the use of language, the characters, damn.. I could go on and on.

5/5 Stars!

To find out more head to Goodreadsor Amazon.

If you love it why not pre-order – The Last Warrior: England: The First Viking Age (The Ninth Century Book 2).. I have

NEW RELEASE – Empires of Bronze – Dawn of War by Gordon Doherty – Review!

Today I’m wishing Gordon Doherty a very happy publication day as we see the release of Dawn of War, book2 in the Empires of Bronze series.

If you’re not familiar with the series, you can read my review of book 1 in the series – Son of Ishtar here 😊

Now..on to the new book 😊

Here’s the burb –

1294 BC: The fragile accord between the Hittite and Egyptian empires is crumbling. The ancient world braces itself for war on an unprecedented scale. Prince Hattu, the greatest of the Hittite generals, suffers dreams of terrible consequences – conjured by the Goddess Ishtar. But Hattu refuses to accept her prophecies, adamant that there is one last chance for peace.

This fragile hope lies in the borderlands of the east, where the two rival empires touch. Hattu gathers a chosen band and sets out for this distant, blistering desert land, determined and defiant. Yet the further he ventures, the darker and more twisted his mission becomes. Old ghosts rise around him and Ishtar haunts his every move.

The Goddess’ divinations cannot be avoided, men say. Hattu will walk through fire to prove them wrong.

Review

Wow! Now this is the kind of story I want as the author ramps up the odds against Prince Hattu.

Hattu is haunted by the Goddess Ishtar who saved his life when he was born… it came at a price.. a price that is still to be paid. He refuses to believe the prophecies put forth and will do anything to prove them wrong.

With the evil Volca out of the way there is a kind of peace for the Hittites but it’s not going to last long.

It soon becomes clear the Egyptians are on the war path and with Hattu now one of the Hittite’s best generals, he sets out to secure alliances but all he will find is hardship.

Along the way many will die… those trusted will show their true colours..and in the end it will leave Hattu broken.

Once again Gordon has provided the reader a real treat! Beautifully written and packed with detail..so much so I can’t believe it’s not an 800 page tome! Gordon just knows exactly the right mix of detail and plot to keep the tale flowing.

The detail of the differences between the armies, the structure, what they wear.. it all made for a fascinating immersive tale.

I highlighted lots of text while reading… why? Oh my god.. some of the things Hattu and other men are put through are horrendous and I paused quite often to share these events with my wife.. the details of torture were just brutal.. you just can’t imagine anyone doing these things to another.

The Sherdan Volca doesn’t stay quiet for long either and has a very big part to play. Will Hattu ever get the revenge he needs? I’m not sure he will if I’m honest.

During the journey Hattu forges new friendships and I loved the bond that was created between the Hittites and the Kaskan warriors. I also really enjoyed the addition of Iranzi who ends up being someone Hattu can really rely on.

War is still coming but after the events in this book I’m left wondering how will Hattu come back from the brink.. and will that bastard Volca ever die? He has more lives than a cat! Ha

Two of the main characters really came to life in my mind. Pharoah Seti.. at first blinded by greed…then vengeance. King Muwa also shines through. There’s a scene in the tin mines that really cements Muwa as being a great leader.. he’s not prefect.. no one is.. but he will do anything to show his people they can survive..that he can save them all.. even if it’s not true he knows just how to get the people on side.

Oh, side note for the author.. I think I’ll have nightmares about getting stuck in a small space now..cheers for that.. either that or spiders…urghhhh.. again cheers! Ha.

For me Gordon is simply a master with wordplay.. he knows how to write a tale in such a way it will never leave you. I think I’m going to need a better bookshelf at this rate to hold all his books!

The best and most brutal from Gordon to date.. loved it!

5/5 Stars!

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon.

 

 

An English King by Gabriel Stein – Review

Reviewing as a hobby means sometimes I forget to read books I really want to as I take on too many review requests.

During this year I’ll still take on requests but I’m going to focus more heavily on my own reading pile.. I’ve some brilliant books just waiting to be picked up.

Next up being An English King by Gabriel Stein.

Here’s the blurb

Gerne – Historical Fiction

Constantinopolis. 1096.

Sometimes the enemy comes from within.

Edmund has fought the Normans most of his life – at Hastings under King Harold of England, and later in Greece as a soldier in the Varangian Guard of the Byzantine Emperor.

His dream is to lead an army of battle-hardened warriors back home and expel the Normans from England.

With the Empire finally at peace, Edmund feels that the time has arrived to fulfil his duty and avenge his king.

But there are rumours of a new threat. Large hosts of armed Latins – westerners – are marching towards the city, brandishing the sign of the Cross. One of the Crusader leaders is Bohemond of Taranto.

England will have to wait, while Edmund is tasked by his Emperor with a delicate and dangerous assignment: find out if Bohemond is friend or enemy. And if he is an enemy – stop him.

Edmund’s assignment will take him through Anatolia. Battles and sieges await.

The Varangian’s strength – and spirit – will be tested like never before.

Review

An English King is book 2 in The Varangian Series. I very much enjoyed the 1st instalment so I was looking forward to this one.. did it disappoint..not in the slightest!

We are back with Edmund and the Varangian guard.. this time he’s no fresh recruit.. he’s a seasoned warrior and life is looking good for him.. he still dreams of a return to England but he has a family now who rely on him.

A new threat arrives.. the issue is they aren’t really an enemy… it’s the Crusaders.. the problem is they will pass through the Emperor’s land..someone needs to make sure they behave themselves.

As they pass through the Emperor agrees to send in his own troops to support the effort.. the upside for him means he can hopefully reclaim lands long lost to the Empire. The downside for Edmund means he’s tasked with going along with Bohemond of Taranto…. Enemies once… can he be trusted now?

There’s battles aplenty.. treachery.. and loyalty when you least expect it and it will test Edmund to the fullest.

While fighting physically Edmund is also dealing with the mental side of things.. he’s been part of the Empire now for a long time.. will he ever go home.. does he want to.. will it be the place he remembers.. it’s an internal struggle for him. Edmund will need to put these thoughts on hold if he’s going to make it back in one piece.

The battle sequences were detailed and exciting to read. I really felt immersed in Edmund’s world.

As the battles continue the stress begins to show and loyalty is tested..without the Emperors presence the Crusaders trust starts to wane… how long can Edmund and the Emperor’s men keep everyone on the same side.

While An English King is a work of fiction it’s very detailed and shows a keen interest in the subject matter.. this adds to the tale..it’s what sucks you in.

If you are looking for an interesting and exciting historical fiction read you could a lot worse than this. A beautifully brutal tale at times.. showing the stress Edmund is under … it’s a slow burner..it’s all about the build up but when the action really hits it’s cracking! For me it’s all about the development of Edmund as his place in the Empire is solidified.

4/5 Stars!

To find out more head to GoodreadsorAmazon.