Category Archives: Historical Fiction

Blog Tour – Storm of Steel by Matthew Harffy

Next up on David’s Book Blurg I’m taking part in the blog tour for torm of Steel by Matthew Harffy!!!

Here’s the blurb

AD 643. Anglo-Saxon Britain. A gripping, action-packed historical thriller and the sixth instalment in the Bernicia Chronicles. Perfect for fans of Bernard Cornwell.

Heading south to lands he once considered his home, Beobrand is plunged into a dark world of piracy and slavery when an old friend enlists his help to recover a kidnapped girl.

Embarking onto the wind-tossed seas, Beobrand pursues his quarry with single-minded tenacity. But the Whale Road is never calm and his journey is beset with storms, betrayal and violence.

As the winds of his wyrd blow him ever further from what he knows, will Beobrand find victory on his quest or has his luck finally abandoned him?

Review

It seems like forever since we last saw Beobrand and his brave gesithas.. in reality it hasn’t been that long.. I’m just impatient ha.

The wait is over..it’s time to join Beobrand on his latest adventure and this time not much of it will be spent on land as we take to the high seas in search of a missing girl.

While on a mission to bring the soon to be new Queen home Beobrand gets a blast from the past and is torn… he’s oath sworn to do as his King requests but that would mean leaving the girl to fate.

Luckily for Beo the decision is taken out of his hands, the new queen is known to Beo and after a night of feasting they have grown rather close..so much so she orders him to do whatever it takes to bring the little girl home.

Beobrand enlists the help if a group of sailors to aid him in his journey and very soon they are bound together in blood as they set sail on the trail of a group of pirates who have taken the girl hostage.

Twists and turns come aplenty and Beo’s life will never be the same.

The best addition to this story for me is young Brinin..he’s betrothed to Ardith, the girl who has been taken, and he joins Beobrand in the hunt. Brinin reminds me a lot of Beo, he’s young and headstrong and has a big part to play.

For me the plot was just amazing..dark and brutally gripping..the past haunts Beobrand and I really enjoyed it when the author gives you the chance to reflect on moments throughout the series that have impacted on the man Beo is today.

The last fight scene was pure wow factor.. brothers at arms..sacrifices are made that will shape the destiny of others.

This series goes from strength to strength and credit to the author that he manages to keep each story so fresh and entertaining.

5/5 Stars!!

To find out more head to Amazon or Goodreads.

My thanks go to the author and Victoria @ Head of Zeus for the chance to be part of the blog tour!

Buy links:

Amazon, Kobo, Google Play, iBooks

Follow the tour!!!

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About the author

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Matthew 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 Harffy:    

Twitter: @MatthewHarffy

Facebook: @MatthewHarffyAuthor

Website: http://www.matthewharffy.com/

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Website: www.ariafiction.com

Twitter: @aria_fiction

Facebook: @ariafiction

Instagram: @ariafiction

The Wine Boy by L.J. Trafford – Review

Next up on David’s Book Blurg is The Wine Boy by L.J. Trafford

Here’s the blurb

Genre – Historical Fiction

Rome 31 AD.
The aged Emperor Tiberius has retired to Capri leaving his most trusted advisor, Praetorian Prefect Sejanus to run the city in his absence.
To lowly wine boy, Epaphroditus, the Prefect is an example to emulate. From a humble background Sejanus has risen to his current rank through sheer graft and talent. Both attributes sorely missing in the Imperial family.
However an encounter with Palace secretary Caenis reveals the truth behind Sejanus’ rise; treachery on an epic scale. She is determined to bring him down, but she needs Epaphroditus’ help.

Review

The Wine Boy is linked very much to The Four Emperors series which I loved and this short tale is exactly what I needed after that series ended.

If you’ve read The Four Emperors series you’ll easily recognise a few of the names that appear including Epaphroditus.

It’s a real page turner as we learn about Epaphroditus and his early years..his ambitions to be more than just a wine boy… and the fall of Praetorian Prefect Sejanus.

The tale is exactly what I’ve come to expect from the author, all-encompassing and gripping from the first page till the last as we see a plot develop and treachery exposed.

At 60 pages it’s a super quick read but it certainly feels like a full/finished story to me..the pace was perfect, it would be so easy to rush a short tale and throw too much at the reader but The Wine Boy is simply a wonderful quick read. It’s perfect for fans of the author but also a great starting point for those who may not want to commit to The Four Emperors series just yet.

If you enjoy Rome and its backstabbing then this will be perfect for you!

5 Stars!!

To find out more head to Amazon or Goodreads

The Watson Letters Volume 1: Something Wicker This Way Comes by Colin Garrow – Review

Today I’m going to share my thoughts on The Watson Letters Volume 1: Something Wicker This Way Comes by Colin Garrow.

Here’s the blurb :-

Genre – Historical Mysteries

In a not quite Post-Victorian, steampunk parallel universe, Holmes and Watson continue their fight against crime.
Based on the infamous Blog of the same name, this indecorous take on the Holmes and Watson stories pitch the detecting duo into Whitechapel, the Western Isles and the Village of the Damned. Adult humour throughout.

THE WATSON LETTERS is book #1 in this Victorian comedy adventure series.

Review

I chanced upon Colin Garrow while on Twitter.. I’m nosy so had a look at the books he’s written..Sherlock Holmes? YES PLEASE!.

Sherlock has always been a favourite of mine, his humour dark as well as the subjects he explores.

This collection is written from Watson’s viewpoint as he chronicles the cases he and Sherlock examine. More often than not Holmes leaves Watson in the dark and this is where the adult humour really comes in. The relationship between the two was so much fun.. humorous..witty..

I really enjoyed the short sharp style diary entries which made it easy to read. It was exciting and riveting, a thoroughly enjoyable read!

It can’t be easy writing a story based on a well-known figure..how can you live up to expectations? For me Garrow got it spot on and I immediately felt at home with the tale and I loved it from the first page to the last!

Why did I choose to read this book you might wonder? Well I read a lot and sometimes I need a change of pace or an easy quick read. At under 150 pages this filled my needs for a quick read..but what I got was so much more than I could have expected and I’m so glad I took the time to enjoy this beauty of a book.

My rating – 5/5 Stars!

To find out more head to Amazon or Goodreads

The Scathing (King’s Bane #3) by C.R. May – Review

Next up for review is The Scathing (King’s Bane #3) by C.R. May

Here’s the blurb –

Genre – Historical Fiction

In an epic tale of courage and ferocity, the kingdom of Mercia is born.

More than a year has passed since the English crossed the German Sea to settle the island of Britain.
Secure now in their Anglian fastness, their gaze turns to the West.
But other kingdoms also covet the middle lands.
Sweeping down from the western hills Cynlas Goch and his army of Powys lay waste the valley of the River Trenta, burning, killing and enslaving as they go.
Heavily outnumbered but trusting to their valour, can Eofer king’s bane and his war band slow the onslaught until the English and their allies wrest a final victory from the ashes of defeat?

The Scathing is the third book in the Bestselling King’s Bane series, the genesis of England.

Review

The Scathing is the 3rd and final book in the King’s Bane series and we are back with Eofer and his loyal troop.

Years have passed since Eofer earned the title of King’s Bane.. he’s older but also a little wiser.

With the Powys on the attack our heroes are tasked the unenviable task of putting an end to their rampage..and they’re heavily outnumbered…they must do what they can to protect those that can’t defend themselves.

This story really develops Eofer for me, many friends have come and gone and he’s haunted by his past as it walks beside him..he will never let the memory of those lost be forgotten. Not only were these moments quite moving but I thought it linked the books together well. Eofer’s memories tugged at my own and I found myself reliving past events in the series.

May sets a vivid scene of tumultuous times..people are dying horribly and something must be done.. many more lives will be lost…it’s a tale of camaraderie and hard-fought battles..

What the author did superbly for me was the connection between Eofer and his men…not only is it believable but each member of the team has value and is developed in their own right… they really are a tight team of loyal men who would die for each other.

The main storyline of war was vivid and engrossing but so emotionally charged..each chapter tearing at me as the tale progressed. So much so that the ending left me shattered..heartbroken..what a cracking ending to a very detailed and exciting series.

The Scathing has the perfect mix of plot and character development, there’s a big picture but lots of personal titbits to make you fall in love with the characters..their humour..I’ll truly miss them.

There’s something to keep everyone happy with this book..it just ticks so many boxes.

I can’t give it any less than a 5 star rating.. that ending.. just wow. Top marks!

To find out more head to Amazon or Goodreads

Seraphina’s Song by Kathryn Gauci – Review

Next up for review is Seraphina’s Song by Kathryn Gauci.

Here’s the blurb

Genre – Historical Fiction

Dionysos is a man without a future, a man who embraces destiny and risks everything for love.

“If I knew then, dear reader, what I know now, I should have turned on my heels and left. But I stood transfixed on the beautiful image of Seraphina. In that moment my fate was sealed.”

A refugee who escapes Smyrna in 1922 disguised as an old woman. Alienated and plagued by remorse, he spirals into poverty and seeks solace in the hashish dens of Piraeus.

When he can go no lower, opportunity knocks, and Dionysos’ meets Aleko, an expert bouzouki player, recognising a rare musical talent, Aleko offers to teach him to play.

But Dionysos’ hope for a better life unravels when he meets Seraphina — the singer with the voice of a nightingale. From that moment his life is in danger and there is no going back.

Review

I remember vividly reading The Embroiderer by Kathryn Gauci and the word that still comes to mind is epic…luckily for me the author isn’t a one trick pony!

Seraphina’s Song follows Dionysos.. his life was turned upside down.. he fled his war-torn home but is beaten up with guilt.. just when he’s got a chance of a new life we learn it’s not going to be the happy ending he would like.

Dionysos is down on his luck..scrapping money together of with odd job just to get by. Aleko walks into his life and takes a shine to him. so much so he promises to teach Dionysos to play the bouzouki.

At first Dionysos doesn’t believe him.. but when he goes to the club Aleko claims to play in he soon realises the truth and the chance he’s got.

Soon Dionysos meets Seraphina, a woman who could charm any man.. and Dionysos falls hard a fast..and this ultimately leads to his downfall…he’s not the only man with his eye on her.

What Kathryn Gauci does perfectly is the characters and their development. Each character feels real and they all have their own story to tell.. and little by little we are given more detail..never forced..the chracters just grow naturally.

For me Aleko stole the show, at first little is known about the man but we soon get to learn more about his family and a connection to Seraphina which causes Dionysos to doubt everything.

The tales is paced well and the plot is dark and intense.. you know from the outset the outcome of the tale… but we get to read the journey..and I was hooked.

Seraphina’s Song is a short tale at 172 pages but it’s certainly a well planned and gripping ..another epic read from the author for me. I could never imagine such a dark and emotionally charged tale could be written but that’s what the author does best..you get so much more than you could ever imagine.. rich in detail and a plot that will stay with you long after you’ve finished.

My rating – 5/5 stars!!!!

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon

Michael : The Triptych Chronicle #3 by Prue Batten (@pruebatten) – Review

Next up on David’s Book Blurg I’m reviewing Michael by Prue Batten.

Here’s the blurb

Genre – Historical Fiction

Michael Sarapion, merchant and thief, returns to Byzantine Constantinople from which he fled the year before in fear of his life. In his company is Tobias, the dwarf brother of an icon thief and Ahmed, an Arab galleymaster with secrets.

Michael searches for his greatest treasure, something lost to him twelve years before. Filled with grief and fury, he intends vengeance, but he must trust in priests, defy the empire and guard those dearest to him as he searches high and low.

As Byzantium’s Angelid dynasty weakens, as Genoa and Pisa challenge Venice’s trading excellence, so merchants become thieves and murderers. Michael understands that to restore what is rightfully his, he must kill… or be killed..

Review

Michael is the third book in the Triptych Chronicle. This instalment follows Michael Sarapion as he confronts his past whilst also trying to keep the secrets he holds deep just that.. secret.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the series but the plot of Michael was truly breath-taking and for me was the best yet..The man has lost so much but little does he know glimmer of hope remains.

The main focus of the tale is Michael and has past.. a family lost..his inner turmoil. He seeks to bury the past with work. When he receives his chance of redemption he set outs under the guise of a business trip for his Venetian trading house. How long can he keep his true intent secret?

What the author really does well for me is mix a exciting plot with a very detailed view of trading at the time and the rewards up for grabs.. as well as the dangers they risked. Even friends aren’t always to be trusted when money is concerned and dangers lurk around every corner.

The pace of the tale is set perfect to grab you.. there’s no let up.. there’s always something on the horizon and Michael can’t let his guard down and you can really see how much of a strain this puts upon him as his journey continues… It’s a wonder how he even manages to stand up at times the amount of stress his body must be under.

Prue Batten gives the reader a spectacularly gripping plot and very appealing characters, each has a part to play in the tale and they all get their chance to shine. Its a talent to make a story become so real but Batten does it with ease.

A series to be savioured..Each tale fits nicely with the last but at the same time stands alone..A true joy to read.

To find out more head to Amazon or Goodreads

River God by Wilbur Smith – Review

Now, you might wonder why I’m reviewing a book that was 1st released so long ago..Well here’s the thing.. I’ve only been reading properly the past few years..I’ve lots to catch up on and one thing I want my blog to be is a true reflection of my reading journey…old and new books it doesn’t matter to me.. it’s the journey those books take me on that counts.

Genre – Historical Fiction

Taita is a humble slave; an expert in art, poetry, medicine and engineering, as well as keeping important secrets. He is the most treasured possession of Lord Intef. Yet when Intef’s beautiful daughter Lostris is married to the Pharaoh, Taita is commanded to follow her, and swiftly finds himself deeper than he ever could have imagined in a world of deception and treachery.

But outside the palace, the great kingdom of Egypt is divided, and in even greater danger. Enemies threaten on all sides, and only Taita holds the power to save them all . . .

Review

I picked up a bunch of Wilbur Smith books cheap.. I’m late to the party I know but I thought it was about time I gave his work ago.

River God follows Taita, a slave who ends up helping the most important man in Egypt.. The Pharoah.

Taita used to be the property of Lord Intef and Intef is not happy to let him go even if it is to serve his daughter Lostris. Taita know’s Lord Intef’s secrets and Intef wants nothing more than to quieten Taita permanently.

If that wasn’t bad enough Taita’s troubles increase when it’s clear Lostris does not love the Pharoah and never will.. not so bad in itself..the issue is she loves another..Tanus, the fair-haired warrior..most trusted of the Pharoah..ooh it’s getting good isn’t it. Can Taita keep this secret from the Pharoah? and at what cost?

There are bigger problems afoot too as an army approaches.. This army uses tactics unknown to the Egyptians and many will fall in the battle. The survivors flee but vow to return to take back what was once theirs.

The tale was quite graphic at times, dark and disturbing all of which had me hooked.

My only issue is the main character Taita. It’s claimed he is a humble slave but he is anything but humble. He’s the bloody best at everything and seems quite happy to make sure everyone knows that. He’s got so many talents the list goes on – surgeon, tactician, weapons designer, political adviser, lip reader.. he even designs a wheel and learns to ride a horse in the blink of an eye. He simply grated on me at times.

The other thing that didn’t work for me was the style of writing. To start with it felt like 1 chapter of plot, then 2 of detailed description then back to 1 chapter of plot progression then back to 2 chapters of description. It took too long for me to get to the good stuff. Once it did though I was hooked and I plan to continue on with the series to see where things end up..

I have the feeling Taita will never grow on me though.. time will tell… I do hope I’m wrong.

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon