Category Archives: Historical Fiction

The Blood Road (Legionary #7) by Gordon Doherty (@GordonDoherty) – Review #HistFic

Today I’m reviewing The Blood Road (Legionary #7) by Gordon Doherty, here’s the blurb

Genre – Historical Fiction 
Pages – 345 pages
My Rating – 5/5 Stars

381 AD: The Gothic War draws to a brutal climax, and the victor’s name will be written in blood…

The great struggle between the Eastern Roman Empire and the Gothic Horde rumbles into its fifth year. It seems that there can be no end to the conflict, for although the Goths are masters of the land, they cannot topple the last of the imperial cities. But heralds bring news that might change it all: Emperor Gratian readies to lead his Western legions into the fray, to turn matters on their head, to crush the horde and save the East!

The men of the XI Claudia legion long for their homeland’s salvation, but Tribunus Pavo knows these hopes drip with danger. For he and his soldiers are Gratian’s quarry as much as any Goth. The road ahead will be fraught with broken oaths, enemy blades… and tides of blood.

Review

Usually when I read a book I make a few key notes to help when writing the review. I just wasn’t able to with this book.. because I couldn’t put it down long enough to write even one word. The only way to describe this book is simply tremendous!

It says something about the writer when they are able to keep a series going..and to keep it fresh and interesting.. It just never feels like the end for Pavo will ever come, even though I know one day this great series will draw to an end. That will be a sad day indeed!

But for now at least we have a new book in the series! The Blood Road, book 7 in the series. The situation with the goths is turbulent to say the least but it’s time to draw an end to the war as the western and eastern armies clash with the goths with heavy losses felt on both sides. Emperor Gratian wants to be the saviour but just how much is he willing to sacrifice to ensure glory?

I really enjoyed the warfare in the tale which was easy to immerse myself in and get lost. I’m no historian but I loved the detail of the places, weapons, clothes the author put into the tale. All of which make the story feel real as you can imagine it in your mind’s eye.

Fans of a good battle will love this tale as there’s plenty of detailed battles, and when I say detailed I mean both factual and down right engrossing man vs man to the end type of fights when your heart pumps so hard your chest will burst.

Caught in the middle of everything is Pavo who has made himself quite the enemy in Emperor Gratian and Pavo has to do his very best to stay out of harms way…in doing so he puts everyone he cares about in danger but the only way to stop things is to help end the war! but if you know the author then you’ll already know not everyone will come out of this unscathed.

There’s twists as usual from the author that really do keep you hooked and that ending had me fuming! how could you leave us like that Mr Doherty! ha.

Overall a smash hit of a book that continues to add to an already riveting series! Detailed enough to please fans who enjoy historical details but not so much as to alienate those who prefer the thrill of the plot and warfare. Gordon Doherty always has that knack of writing things exactly how I like it and long may it continue.

Hats off to the author, simply wondrous.

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon.

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An English Revenge by Gabriel Stein – Review

Today I’m going to be reviewing An English Revenge by Gabriel Stein. The author contacted me to see if I was willing to review his work and I gladly bought a copy via Amazon.

Here’s the blurb –

Genre – Historical Fiction
Pages – 475 pages
Rating – 4/5 Stars

The greatest battle lies within…

England is at war.

Edmund has fought the Normans all his life. First at Hastings, then in uprisings against William the Conqueror.

But as the rebellions fail, Edmund leaves England and eventually travels to Constantinople, where he joins the Byzantine Emperor’s elite Varangian Guard.

Yet Edmund is at war with himself too, torn between his new life and his dreams of revenge against the Normans – of leading an army of battle-hardened Englishmen back home to restore an English King.

Before fighting the Normans in his homeland however Edmund must defeat his enemy on the blood-soaked lands of Greece.

Edmund is a soldier. And a soldier must fight.

But not all will go according to plan. War – and revenge – always exacts a price.

Review

The tale follows Edmund a solider who has fought battles but has many more to come.

After the defeat at Hastings and the Norman’s tighten their rule Edmund finds himself drafted to Constantinople to join the Byzantine Emperor’s guard. England may have lost the will to fight but Edmund hasn’t.

An English Revenge is the authors first novel and I was surprised just how extensive the plot is.

There’s a lot going on in this tale as the Emperor has many enemies so at times It was a little hard to remember who was who when the author set the scene but as soon as we get to the juicy action I couldn’t find fault.

The pace jumps around a bit but with a plot like this one it was expected and quite easy to follow.

I enjoyed the overall plot, the characters were likable and interesting and the more I read the more I was sucked in.

Ultimately Edmund’s goal is to come back to England and rid the country of the Normans but along the way he changes..grows and while he still wants to go home you can see he’s got some inner turmoil brewing.

Edmund has found not only a place to live but also someone to love and as he starts to form some friendships you can see him slowly start to accept his lot in life.

Overall a cracking read which is well worth reading.

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon

The Centurion’s Son by Adam Lofthouse – Review

Today I’m reviewing The Centurion’s Son by Adam Lofthouse.

Here’s the blurb –

Genre – Historical Fiction/Romance.

Amazon Verified Purchase.

My Rating – 4/5 Stars.

Albinus, the son of a revered Roman veteran Silus, has always longed to be a farmer, not a soldier, and live his days ploughing and reaping the harvests, with his bride-to-be, Licina. But Silus’ has darker ambitions, for Albinus to follow in his footsteps in the army.

But, as the conflicts between father and son come to a head, a growing threat comes down from the vengeful Germanic tribes to the north. Just as Albinus and Licina are about to marry, their settlement is raided by barbarians and Silus and his veteran comrades are brutally killed, while Licina is kidnapped by the raiders and taken to their king as a gift.

Believing her to be alive, Albinus sets out on a quest to find Licina, finally fulfilling his father’s wishes as training as a soldier, even as he is spurred to avenge his father’s death. As the barbarian hordes gather and plan major rebellion against the Romans, Albinus finds a new fighting spirit within him and grows in stature among the legionaries.

Licina meanwhile has a fight of her own, to escape from slavery and find Albinus. Time is running out, as the northern tribes head for Rome, decimating everything in their path…

Review

Albinus is the son of a famous Centurion but he’s nothing like his father..he’s just not cut out to be a solider and because of this the tension between them could be cut with a knife.

Silus, Albinus’s father, is retired and has set up a nice little place for his son and former colleagues to live out the rest of their days. During an outing to secure supplies for the community we get our first glimpse of the differences between the two. Albinus wants to make his dad proud but he just can’t see any way to do it.

The plot moves quickly as two Romans are captured as slaves.. will Silus help free them? The choice made haunts Albinus for a time and I’m sure he will never come to terms with it.

We next see a few really good plot developments as a strange figure appears, he’s got an agenda and is willing to do anything to make sure events play out the way he wants. At the same time we also see an enemy of Silus plot revenge for what he sees as a past wrong to be put right. These events lead Albinus and Silus down very different paths and is the making of Albinus.

Silus is now dead with Licina, Albinus’s love interest, taken. Albinus sets out to be the man his father would have always wanted. It’s time to join up and become a solider.

The story is told from different perspectives and this made for a fun read and you can see things developing quickly. You’d get engrossed and just at the right point the author would switch focus building the excitement and ramping up the suspense.

I really enjoyed the book. At times the soldiers were a bit too lovey dovey for my tastes, I prefer my soldiers to be rocks and simple nod or grunt to show affection ha.

The plot certainly has promise and I’d like to see where Albinus ends up. The development of this plot really made it what it is..and to top it off it’s a very easy-going read so someone of a younger age wouldn’t struggle with the language or word count.

A good read and an author who shows promise in the areas I like.. keep switching perspective to build on that strong plot that’s developing and you’ll have me back for the rest of the series when published 🙂

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon

The Cold Light Of Dawn by Anna Belfrage – Review

Title – The Cold Light Of Dawn (The King’s Greatest Enemy #4)
Author – Anna Belfrage
Genre – Historical Fiction/Romance
My Rating – 5/5 Stars

Synopsis

After Henry of Lancaster’s rebellion has been crushed early in 1329, a restless peace settles over England. However, the young Edward III is no longer content with being his regents’ puppet, no matter that neither Queen Isabella nor Roger Mortimer show any inclination to give up their power. Caught in between is Adam de Guirande, torn between his loyalty to the young king and that to his former lord, Roger Mortimer.

Edward III is growing up fast. No longer a boy to be manipulated, he resents the power of his mother, Queen Isabella, and Mortimer. His regents show little inclination of handing over their power to him, the rightful king, and Edward suspects they never will unless he forces their hand.

Adam de Guirande is first and foremost Edward’s man, and he too is of the opinion that the young king is capable of ruling on his own. But for Adam siding with his king causes heartache, as he still loves Roger Mortimer, the man who shaped him into who he is.

Inevitably, Edward and his regents march towards a final confrontation. And there is nothing Adam can do but pray and hope that somehow things will work out. Unfortunately, prayers don’t always help.

Review

The Cold Light of Dawn is book four in the highly enjoyable The King’s Greatest Enemy series by Anna Belfrage.

You can read my reviews for the rest of the series by clicking the links below.

In the Shadow of the Storm

Days of Sun and Glory

Under the Approaching Dark

I had high hopes for book 4 of this series. I’m invested in Kit and Adam’s future and I just hope one day they get the peace they deserve..will they get this in book 4??? Not bloody likely ha.

King Edward is growing up fast and he’s starting to resent his mother’s control and Lord Rogers more so. Lord Roger may have become regent with the best of intentions but power has a way of changing a person and Lord Roger is no exception.

The this tale Adam is torn even more in two and both the King and Lord Roger questioning his loyalty..the trouble is he’s loyal to both but that’s not going to be acceptable by either of them..it’s time he picks a side one way or another and without giving the game away something rather personal for Adam happens that really tests loyalty to both.

The plot is strong but also balanced well with the personal aspect of Kit and Adams relationship. I’ve said it every time but I’m no fan of romance in novels but the romance in the Cold Light of Dawn builds on the story for me rather than distract from it.

We see more of Queen Phillipa in this tale and Kit has her own issues when she finds herself a pawn being controlled by two Queens.. how can she please them both while not betraying either?

The ending of the story does give the reader a little closure as the tension that has been brewing finally plays out but at the same time leaves the door open for more tales from our favourite knight.

This series is exactly what I love about historical fiction. A tale of the authors imagination written around facts. While the life of King Edward and Lord Roger have already been written in history but Kit and Adam’s story belongs to the author and her alone and what a wonderful, heart wrenching tale of love and loyalty we’ve been given.

I challenge anyone to read this series and not enjoy it..it would be impossible not to love it.

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon.

Empire of Shades (Legionary #6) by Gordon Doherty – Review

To celebrate the release of book 7 of the Legionary series I’ve got right up to date with the adventures of Pavo and the XI Claudia so here’s the blurb and my review for book 6 of the series Empire of Shades!

The blurb –

379 AD: Thracia has fallen to the Gothic horde…

With the ashes of Adrianople still swirling in the air, the Eastern Roman Empire is in turmoil. The emperor is dead, the throne lies empty and the remaining fragments of the army are few and scattered. Numerius Vitellius Pavo, now Tribunus of the XI Claudia, tries to hold his patchwork ranks together amidst the storm. One of the few legions to have survived the disaster at Adrianople, the Claudia do what they can to keep alive the dying flame of hope.

When word spreads of a new Eastern Emperor, those hopes rise. But the coming of this leader will stir the Gothic War to new heights. And it will cast Pavo headlong into the sights of the one responsible for the East’s plight – a man mighty and seemingly untouchable, and one who will surely crush any who dares to challenge him.

From the ashes of Adrianople, new heroes will rise… with dark ghosts in close pursuit.

Review

After the events in the last book I wondered if the series had any life left in it.. I’m so glad to say YES IT DOES!

Shades torment Pavo during this tale. The faces from the past now walking by his side always. We see occasions when Pavo is urged on by these shades.

With Emperor Valens dead a new emperor must be crowned. Will this man be another puppet of Emperor Gratian?

Pavo is now Tribunus of the XI Claudia and while the faces from the past might be gone they are not forgotten. While I loved the old characters some of the new ones are just wonderful! Libo and Rectus I just loved! Stichus was by far the best addition to this tale. Pavo can see himself in Stichus and learns a lot about how to be a leader from guiding the young lad just like Gallus did with him many years back.

The war with the Goth’s intensifies as the horde splits its forces, each force might be separate but they have enough manpower to make the men of Rome shake and now Gratian is calling support to the West! this means one thing..a showdown between Pavo and Emperor Gratian. Pavo is on a mission of vengeance for Tribunus Gallus whose family were slayed on the orders of Gratian may years ago.

Now here’s an interesting thing..we’ve met Speculatores before..they are assassins loyal to only Emperor Gratian.. we hate them right? nah I’m starting to like them..well one of them at least! Scapula is his name and the relationships he forms in the story really ramped up the excitement level.

Overall another cracking plot and a storyline that just keeps getting stronger and more bloody.

The ending smashed the ball out of the park leaving me wondering just how much longer Pavo can last.. lets find out in book 7!

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon

 

Gods & Emperors (Legionary 5) by Gordon Doherty – Review

Hey all, as you may remember I reviewed book 4 of the awesome Legionary series by Gordon Doherty last week! This is a series I’ve really enjoyed but sometime reviewing non stop means I miss out on books I want to read..no more! Requests make up a very small amount of my reading total now and I made it my mission to catch up on this series ready for book 7’s release tomorrow!

Here’s the blurb for  Gods & Emperors

The fate of the East rests on the edge of a sword as the legions and the Goths march to war…

378 AD: Fritigern’s Gothic horde tightens its iron grip on Thracia and only a handful of well-walled cities to the south remain in imperial hands. The few tattered legions pinned in these cities can only watch on from the battlements as smoke rises across their lost lands and the Goths roam at will, pillaging and extorting. Every Roman – legionary or citizen – speaks of only one thing: the Emperors of East and West, Valens and Gratian, who are said to be closing swiftly on this war-stricken land, each bringing with them vast armies capable of vanquishing the horde.

Awaiting the relief armies in Constantinople, Centurion Pavo and the XI Claudia prepare as best they can. The Gothic War has taken much from each of them, and none more so than Pavo. But still he and his fellow officers cling to the chance that two lost to them might yet return: their leaders, Tribunus Gallus and Primus Pilus Dexion – Pavo’s brother – have not been seen or heard from since setting off on a mission to Emperor Gratian’s court in the West. Some are sure they must have fallen, yet Pavo refuses to give up hope, instead whetting his blade and praying that fate will guide the pair back in time for the clash that is to come: a clash that promises to end the Gothic War – for the empire’s finest legions are destined to meet Fritigern’s ferocious masses… on the plains of Adrianople.

My Rating – 5/5 Stars!

Review

Just when I thought there’s no way this series could get better Doherty gives us Gods & Emperors, the most gut wrenching read I’ve ever came across.

I’m going to be honest from the start. The plot beautifully plays out but I had my heart in my mouth from the minute I opened the book…I’ve grown attached to the characters and in the latest installment the author takes an axe to many and some deaths hurt more than others.

Some major truths were revealed towards the end of book 4 that will play out during this book so I don’t want to spoil too much. THIS SERIES IS A MUST READ.

Pavo and the remains of the XI Claudia are without their leader Tribunus Gallus and Primus Pilus Dexion who set out on a mission to contact Emperor Gratian to petition him to bring his forces to bear on the Gothic horde..but why has it taken so long without any word..and if they did make it when will Gratian arrive?

There’s plenty of twists in this tale but for me character development played a heavy part in how good this book truly is. The author manages to breathe life in to the men of the XI Claudia and after 4 previous installments you’d think the author would be running on fumes.. not so.

While awaiting Gratian’s arrival Emperor Valens must ready his army. He’s quite a likable leader and seems to care about the true cost of war..He knows he’s outnumbered so eager to reach a truce with the Goths but the speculators, loyal only to Emperor Gratian, are set are making sure war comes to Valens. Gratian is only after power and has set his pieces on the table well.

Eventually the battle we know would happen comes to pass but even I could not have guessed the ending Doherty gives us, just simply WOW.

Overall another masterpiece from Gordon Doherty. He broke my heart with this one but damn it was one hell of a ride!

My review for book 6 will be out tomorrow to celebrate the release of book 7!

Check out the links below for more info.

Book 5 Gods & Emperors – Goodreads

Book 5 Gods & Emperors – Amazon

Book 7 – Amazon 

 

Legionary: The Scourge of Thracia by Gordon Doherty – Review

Title – Legionary: The Scourge of Thracia (Legionary #4)
Author – Gordon Doherty
Genre – Historical Fiction
Length – 396 pages
Publication – 5th February 2015
My Rating – 5/5 Stars

Synopsis

The legions are in tatters, and the Gothic hordes are gathering beyond the mountains . . .

377 AD: Thracia’s legions are few and broken in the wake of the Battle of Ad Salices. But the scattered centuries and cohorts rally in an effort to blockade the Haemus Mountain passes and hold back the relentless attacks of Fritigern’s swelling Gothic armies. These passes must endure until Eastern Emperor Valens and Western Emperor Gratian can muster and bring their Praesental Armies in relief.

Numerius Vitellius Pavo and the men of the XI Claudia return to Constantinople from their brutal Persian sortie to hear widespread tales of Thracia’s plight and the precarious mountain blockades. Each of them knows what is at stake should those passes fall: the heartland of the Eastern Empire would face the wrath of the barbarians and loved ones would be at the mercy of their savage blades. When the Claudia are despatched to aid the effort at the mountains, Pavo can think only of two souls wandering in the jaws of the Gothic threat: his beloved Felicia and his lost half-brother, Dexion. So he and his comrades march at haste, headlong into the storm that awaits them . .

Review

After the battle of Ad Salices the legions are in tatters but the Goth’s will be back soon..The forces of Emperor Valens and Emperor Gratian must combine if they have any chance of stopping the Gothic horde.

Pavo and the XI Claudia were assumed dead by most. Including Felicia who happens to Pavo’s beloved. He doesn’t have much time to rest as every man is needed to man the mountain passes. He gets his chance at a reunion with Felicia but also gets closer to his half-brother Dexion..it’s not going to be smooth sailing though that’s for sure!

Haunted by the past Pavo travels blindly on until he finds Dexion and no one could be happier for the pair than Gallus the fearless XI Claudia centurion. This book really made Gallus stand out and I couldn’t love the character more. His dealings with the speculatores are explored and it really adds to an already exciting plot.

What I really enjoyed about this book was the build up, it’s not just a simple tale of Roman’s vs Goth’s fighting to the death.. smash..smash..smash..there’s so much more, the plot goes deeper and when we get towards the end of the book the author hits you dead between the eyes with some revelations you just don’t see coming.

Gordon Doherty stands out for me as one of only a few authors I’ve read that truly know how to mix plot and descriptiveness. It’s too easy to add information that just isn’t needed for the reader to pad the word count out a bit but not with Gordon, every bit of detail feels important to the tale. I’ve read too many books that have paragraphs that leave me wondering why it was even included but not Gordon Doherty!

The author also stands out for me as one who can really engage a reader. Usually I find myself burning through a book or sometimes losing a little bit of interest (staring into space type of moment) but not with Gordon Doherty’s work. He makes me take my time.. Makes me truly appreciate the time and effort heput in to writing what I can only describe as a masterpiece! (That’s the first time I’ve ever used the word (“masterpiece” in a review)

Super plot, super twists and I’m just left with that excited/nervous feeling for more. So much so I’ve already finished books 5 & 6 ready for book 7 of the series which is released on July 10th!

Look out tomorrow for a little post about the release of book 7 and a review of book 5! I hope you are as excited for it as me!

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon.