Category Archives: Historical Fiction

BLOG TOUR – The Capsarius by Simon Turney!!

Today is my stop on the blog tour for The Capsarius by Simon Turney! Book 1 in the brand new Legion XXII series.

Here’s the blurb

Warrior and combat medic, Titus Cervianus, must lead a legion and quell the uprisings in Egypt in a new Roman adventure from Simon Turney.

Titus Cervianus is no ordinary soldier. And the Twenty Second is no ordinary legion…

Egypt. 25 BC. A former surgeon from the city of Ancyra, Titus Cervianus is now a capsarius – a combat medic. He is a pragmatist, a scientist – and deeply unpopular with his legion, the Twenty Second Deiotariana.

The Twenty Second have been sent to deal with uprisings in Egypt. Founded as the private army of one of Rome’s most devoted allies, their ways are not the same as the other legions’, which sets them apart and causes friction with their fellow soldiers.

Marching into the unknown, Cervianus will find unexpected allies: a local cavalryman and a troublesome lunatic. Both will be of critical importance as the young medic marches through the searing sands of the south, finding forbidden temples, hidden assassins, and worst of all, the warrior queen of Kush…

Review

Cervianus isn’t your typical Roman solider, he’s a also a medic. At times this role seems to have an advantage as he gets a few perks but it soon become clear it’s not a free ride in any sense and he has his own unique battles to face in this role.

He’s also an outcast within the legion.. as a medic he puts some of his faith in knowledge and skill while many still hold the belief a man’s life is in the hands of the Gods.

The twenty second legion have been given the task of tackling the Kushite’s in Egypt and to take back what is rightly theirs!

It’s not going to be an easy fight for sure but Cervianus has to hope his fellow soldiers don’t kill him first.. he doesn’t make friends easily.

Cervianus has luck on his side I feel and makes it to the battle but events along the way give him pause for thought.. maybe there is something to be said about the will of the Gods.

What Turney always does so well is the battles and the detail added to everything to set the scene, from the makeup of the army, the buildings, the heat.. the dints in a helmet.. nick in the armour.. everything.. it just puts you right there in the action.

For fans of the genre there’s plenty of action but what I’ve always admired about Turney’s work is how he manages to interweave personal fights too, it’s not just about the big battle… there’s lots to this tale to savour.. read it slowly, enjoy every morsel offered and I guarantee you’ll not be disappointed. It’s a talent to add knowledge and detail to an exciting plot like this one, some readers are simply in it for the action but Turney adds detail without forcing it, or slowing the pace.

I can honestly say I was hooked in from the prologue which set the tone of the story and has my mouth watering for more! Bring on book 2.

I also really enjoyed the character development throughout this one. It’s difficult at times to make characters real but Turney seems to do this effortlessly and I loved the relationship dynamic growing within the senior staff… oooo the tension!! You could cut it with a knife!

It’s a 5/5 star rating from me!

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon!

My thanks go to Andrew @ Head of Zeus for inviting me to participate in the tour. I was given a ARC of the book to aid in my review but as a massive fan of Simon’s I bought a copy too and book 2 in the series is already pre-ordered 😊.


Why not follow the blog tour?


About the author.

Simon Turney is from Yorkshire and, having spent much of his childhood visiting historic sites, fell in love with the Roman heritage of the region. His fascination with the ancient world snowballed from there with great interest in Rome, Egypt, Greece and Byzantium. His works include the Marius’ Mules and Praetorian series, the Tales of the Empire and The Damned Emperor series, and the Rise of Emperors books with Gordon Doherty.

Follow Simon

Twitter: @SJATurney

Instagram: @simonturney_aka_sjaturney

Website: http://simonturney.com/

BLOG TOUR – The Lost Boy of Bologna by Francesca Scanacapra

Today I’m kicking off the blog tour for The Lost Boy of Bologna by Francesca Scanacapra!

Keeping reading too! If you like the sound of the book there’s a chance to win a copy! UK Only.

Here’s the blurb!

Bologna, 1929. A newborn baby boy is abandoned by his desperate unmarried mother, who believes he is dead and that she is to blame. Heartbroken, she leaves her child, accepting that her actions will haunt her for the rest of her days. But unbeknown to her, the kindness of a stranger means the starving baby survives. And so begins the extraordinary life of Rinaldo Scamorza

Following several years in an orphanage, where Rinaldo still holds onto the hope that his mother will come to claim him, he is entrusted to a heartless foster-mother who treats her charges as nothing more than financial opportunities. Yet amidst the cruelty and violence of this loveless environment Rinaldo meets fellow orphan, Evelina, and the two children create a bond which they believe will never be broken. 

Rinaldo holds tight to the few people who show him love, and he becomes a loyal, intelligent and kind boy. But his life is shattered when aged barely 13, Evelina is sold into prostitution by their foster-mother. 

As he grows up and becomes more resourceful, he finds work as an errand boy in a brothel, where he encounters Evelina once again. But in his efforts to help her escape her life of exploitation, another dark misfortune pulls them apart and she disappears. 

When at last Italy begins to emerge from the shadows of World War II and Bologna’s economy recovers, Rinaldo uses his intimate knowledge of the city to change his life for the better. But through everything, the successes and the moments of loneliness and misery, the women he yearns to see again – Evelina and his mother – are always on his mind…

Fans of Angela Petch, Helen Fripp, Dinah Jeffries, Rhys Bowen and Louise Douglas will adore this captivating historical novel.

Review

A desperate mother struggles to support her new-born baby, with little money and with the babe sickly she’s in a very bad place. When the baby turns blue the new mother fears the worst! When there’s no signs of life the mother does what she feels best.. the last resort.. she leaves the baby with everything she has, including a family earring in the hope it can be used the pay to give the baby the funeral he deserves.

Little does the new mother know the baby survives, although still a little sickly. The baby is named Rinaldo Scamorza.

Rinaldo spends years in the orphanage waiting for his mothers return, he never gives up hope, but no one is looking for him.

Eventually after a tough start to life he’s set to leave the orphanage. Little does he know his hardships are just beginning. The only good thing in his life is Evelina, she’s like a big sister to him but as a pretty girl her life’s not going to be easy either.

Evelina and Rinaldo learn the hard way that there are some very bad people in life. Some of the events are quite difficult to read as they cause very personal traumas to the characters.

As we fast forward through Rinaldo’s life I was just waiting, desperate to see where he would end up. Little did I know his whole world is going to be fractured again.. but will the latest events be good or bad? I’ll let you find out 😊

I loved the plot of this one, when you start this, you’re in it for the long haul as it’s all about that build up, the history. The pace was prefect, but I can’t lie, I powered through those last 3 – 4 chapters. You know something is coming, you know how you want it to play out, but will it?

As much as some of the events are harrowing, the word best to describe this book is “Hope”.  Rinaldo never gives up… he never stops thinking about his mother and Evelina.

I can’t stress enough how much I loved the flow, the connections built with the characters. It meant there were many times I felt warm and fuzzy as events linked to Rinaldo and played out beautifully, full of emotion.. Wow

I spectacular 5* which I’d highly recommend

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon.

My thanks go to the author, publisher and Rachel @rararesources for having me on the tour. I received a copy of the book in our to take part in the tour but have already added this to my purchased list 🙂 Too good not to buy!

Why not follow the tour?

Author Bio –

Francesca Scanacapra was born in Italy to an English mother and Italian father, and her early childhood was spent in Bologna, the city whose rich history has been the inspiration for the Bologna Chronicles series of novels. Francesca’s adult life has been somewhat nomadic with periods spent living in Italy, England, France, Senegal and Spain. In 2021 she returned to her native country and back to her earliest roots to pursue her writing career full time. She now resides permanently in rural Lombardy in the house built by her great-grandfather which was the inspiration for her Paradiso Novels.

Social Media Links –

Twitter https://twitter.com/FrancescaScana2

Insta @francescascana2

Giveaway!!!

Click here to enter the giveaway to Win 5 x PB copies of The Lost Boy of Bologna (Open to UK Only)

*Terms and Conditions –UK 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.

BLOG TOUR- A Night of Flames by Matthew Harffy! HAPPY PUBLICATION DAY!!!

Today is my turn on the blog tour for A Night of Flames by Matthew Harffy! It also happens to be the official publication day too!!!

If you follow my blog you’ll know Harffy is a firm favourite so to say I was eager to get to grips with this one was an understatement!

Here’s the blurb

In the wild lands of Norway, Hunlaf must quell a vicious slave uprising in Matthew Harffy’s new historical adventure.

A wild land. A lethal fanatic. A violent revolt.

Northumbria, AD 794. Those who rule the seas, rule the land. None know the truth of this more than the Vikings. To compete with the seafaring raiders, the king of Northumbria orders the construction of his own longships under the command of oath-sworn Norseman, Runolf.

When the Vikings attack again, the king sends cleric turned warrior, Hunlaf, on a mission to persuade the king of Rogaland into an alliance. But Hunlaf and Runolf have other plans; kin to seek out, old scores to settle, and a heretical tome to find in the wild lands of the Norse.

Their voyage takes them into the centre of a violent uprising. A slave has broken free of his captors and, with religious fervour, is leading his fanatical followers on a rampage – burning all in his path. Hunlaf must brave the Norse wilderness, and overcome deadly foes, to stop this madman. Can he prevent a night of flames and slaughter?

Review

Firstly I have to commended the author on creating a new series set away from his Serpent Sword series but at the same time offering subtle nods to his previous work. These litter eastereggs are there to find and really did put a smile on my face. I know the characters aren’t real but at the same time the investment you put into a story as the reader makes them real, so adding in these little extras triggers the memories and it’s great to see those adventures are still locked in my head 😊.

So we are back with Hunlaf, he’s firmly shed his monk robes for the touch of cold hard steel but that doesn’t mean he’s still not conflicted at times. Mainly because the warrior life has come easy to him and sometimes that doesn’t sit well with his soul. He’s about to be tested like never before.

Runolf wants to start building his boat to cross the sea to find out what has become of his family. Hunlaf has a desire more then most to join him after his kin was take in a previous Viking raid. Neither know how their loved ones fair so as you can imagine.. there’s a lot of nervous energy going around with them both eager to set sail.

After receiving the blessing of the King to build the boat and with orders to gain a truce with the Norse we see a few new faces join our band of heroes and at times tensions can run high but the call of the sea and the torment it can cause soon allows bonds to grow.. which will make future events even harder to swallow. The journey across the sea will be completed but comes at a price.

When eventually they arrive on Norse lands all is not well. A slave has revolted and is causing havoc. If Runolf and Hunlaf ever want to see peace and their kin again they must fight a new threat.. and this threat is a little bit crazy to say the least.

We learn early on that death will show it’s face so while I was kind of prepared it really didn’t help lessen the shock when events unfolded.

What happens next is beyond belief and is the best 10 – 15 chapters I’ve ever read in my life…the grizzly horror.. the bloodshed.. the pain.. it’s beautiful in it’s madness as Hunlaf tries to make it out of this one alive.. but nothing is certain, but.. Anything is possible.

If it’s even possible I think Harffy gets better and better which each offering and as this is still a relatively new series for the author it’s given him the ability to explore things a little more than with his established characters I feel.. he really let his creative juices flow on this one.

I always like to comment on writing style, chapter length etc but on this one I simple can’t.. I was so engrossed I just didn’t take that in.. I just ploughed through this one with a desire to learn the outcome.. We know Hunlaf makes it through this adventure as he’s the one recounting the tale to us but the rest is not known and there’s so much at stake… I really didn’t want to see loose anyone but it wouldn’t be a Harffy book without a few tears.

It’s a 5* from me without a shadow of a doubt.

It’s unreal how haunting amazing this book is.. how is it even possible to write something so disturbingly beautiful! There’s so many emotions that pass through you as you read this one and it’s something that will really stay with you.

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon.

My thanks go to the publishers for gifting me a copy of the book for review! This one was on pre-order too but it’s always exciting to get to read in advance in order to jump on a wonderful blog tour!

Why not follow the tour??

About the author

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

Follow Aries

Twitter: @AriesFiction

Facebook: Aries Fiction

Website: http://www.headofzeus.com

BLOG TOUR – Son of Mercia by MJ Porter

Today is my stop on the blog tour for Son of Mercia by MJ Porter!

Here’s the blurb

Tamworth, Mercia AD825.

The once-mighty kingdom of Mercia is in perilous danger.

Their King, Beornwulf lies dead and years of bitter in-fighting between the nobles, and cross border wars have left Mercia exposed to her enemies.

King Ecgberht of Wessex senses now is the time for his warriors to strike and exact his long-awaited bloody revenge on Mercia.

King Wiglaf, has claimed his right to rule Mercia, but can he unite a disparate Kingdom against the might of Wessex who are braying for blood and land?

Can King Wiglaf keep the dragons at bay or is Mercia doomed to disappear beneath the wings of the Wessex wyvern?

Can anyone save Mercia from destruction?

Review

I’m a fan of MJ Porter but being prolific with the releases I find it hard to keep up ha! I jumped at the chance to get onboard with this new series early!

The story follows young Icel whose past is shadowed in mystery.. his mother unfortunately died and he’s never known who his farther is so he’s been raised by his uncle Cenfrith. Icel has trained in the arts of healing but there’s something in him just waiting to come out.

King Ecgberht is looking to expand his reach and senses weakness in Mercia. He’s right I guess as King Wiglaf seems to disappear but why? And have we been given the full story?

When King Ecgberht descends Icel is forced to flee to safety with his uncle and his friend Edwin. Along the way Icel learns a little of past events but only what his uncle allows. Will he ever learn the full truth?

What happens next was the most amazing few chapters I’ve ever read! I can’t spoil it but Cenfrith is an amazing character who supports Icel and keeps him safe. When the opportunity comes for Icel to save Mercia he sets out to find King Wiglaf.

The tension mounts and battle commences.. it’s time for Icel to learn more about himself than he ever thought possible.

Son of Mercia is a real coming of age tale for Icel as he learns what kind of man he’s destined to be… although there’s certainly more to come.

I can’t give this anything less than 5*. The plot was astonishingly gripping. I’ve struggled the past few months to devote time to reading but I was hooked as soon as I picked this one up and it’s helped me fall back in love with books again.

What a cracking read! I look forward to more!

My thanks go to MJ Porter, Boldwood Books and NetGalley for providing a copy of this ebook in return for my honest review and Rachel from http://www.rachelsrandomresources.com  for having me on the blog tour!

This a certainly a book I want on my shelf so will be ordering a paperback asap!

To find out more why not follow the blog tour? or head to Goodreads or Amazon!

Author Bio –

MJ Porter is the author of many historical novels set predominantly in Seventh to Eleventh-Century England, and in Viking Age Denmark. Raised in the shadow of a building that was believed to house the bones of long-dead Kings of Mercia, meant that the author’s writing destiny was set.

Social Media Links – https://twitter.com/coloursofunison

https://www.instagram.com/m_j_porter/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7163404.M_J_Porter

BLOG TOUR – The Custard Corpses by MJ Porter

Today I’m taking part in the blog tour for The Custard Corpses, the 1st book in The Erdington Mysteries series by M J Porter.

As a fan of the author I jumped at the chance to be on the blog tour, no review copy needed.. I had this one already 😊

Keep reading for the chance to win a copy of the book too!!

Here’s the blurb

A delicious 1940s mystery.

Birmingham, England, 1943.


While the whine of the air raid sirens might no longer be rousing him from bed every night, a two-decade-old unsolved murder case will ensure that Chief Inspector Mason of Erdington Police Station is about to suffer more sleepless nights.

Young Robert McFarlane’s body was found outside the local church hall on 30th September 1923. But, his cause of death was drowning, and he’d been missing for three days before his body was found. No one was ever arrested for the crime. No answers could ever be given to the grieving family. The unsolved case has haunted Mason ever since.

But, the chance discovery of another victim, with worrying parallels, sets Mason, and his constable, O’Rourke, on a journey that will take them back over twenty-five years, the chance to finally solve the case, while all around them the uncertainty of war continues, impossible to ignore.

Review

MJ Porter is a master of style and wit. Porter manages to perfectly add her edge to a wonderful historical mystery.

Set during the war the people are suffering..suffering shortages, suffering grief..suffering fear…but that’s not all.

A body is found with striking similarities to a case back in 1923. Is this a 2nd chance to catch the killer?

The Custard Corpses is a well crafted tale showing the constraints of the time and shows gritty determination law enforcement would have needed at the time to solve crimes with little evidence.

Chief Inspector Sam Mason is on the case and must painstakingly look to the past to find clues.

The characters feel real, the relationships natural and the flow prefect.

As the case develops the plot thickens and takes a disturbing direction.. could there be more victims?

I’m a big fan of police procedural stories but this has MJ Porter’s style infused, which just kicks it up a notch and makes it unlike anything I’ve ever read before.

I’d certainly describe the book as delicious.. You’ll get hooked into the dark world and you’ll devour this tale in no time!

Grab a cup of tea and get stuck into this 5* read!

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon

Why not follow the blog tour –

Author Bio – I’m an author of historical fiction (Early English, Vikings and the British Isles as a whole before the Norman Conquest) and fantasy (Viking age/dragon-themed). I’ve recently written a relatively modern mystery novel set in 1943. I was born in the old Mercian kingdom at some point since 1066. Raised in the shadow of a strange little building, told from a very young age that it housed the bones of long-dead Kings of Mercia and that our garden was littered with old pieces of pottery from a long-ago battle, it’s little wonder that my curiosity in Early England ran riot. I can only blame my parents!

I write A LOT. You’ve been warned!

Find me at http://www.mjporterauthor.com and @coloursofunison on twitter.

Social Media Links – https://twitter.com/coloursofunison

https://www.instagram.com/m_j_porter/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7163404.M_J_Porter

Giveaway to Win 2 x copies of The Custard Corpses (Open INT)

For a chance to win head to http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494455/?

*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.

The Bear of Britain (Warrior Druid of Britain Book 4) by Steven A. McKay – Review

Today I’m going to be reviewing The Bear of Britain, book 4 in the Warrior Druid of Britain series by Steven A McKay.

This review is well overdue so I hope it’s been worth the wait!

Here’s the blurb

AD 432. BRITAIN. The winter snows are melting at last, but spring will bring more than just rebirth this year. The Saxons are coming, and that means war.
Bellicus, Duro and Cai have travelled south to join the warlord, Arthur, and his growing army of Britons. New friendships have been made and exciting adventures await the warrior-druid and his companions, but the threat of Hengist and his invaders casts a dark cloud over all. For years, the Saxons have been content to remain mostly confined to the eastern parts of the country, but now they are marching west, and Hengist has amassed the biggest army seen on these shores since the Romans left over twenty years ago.
Arthur – dubbed the Bear of Britain by his advisor, Merlin – has never truly felt he’d earned such a grand title, but now he will have a chance to prove himself. The addition of a new, crack unit to his ranks will, he hopes, be enough to sweep the Saxon threat from Britain once and for all, and herald a generation of peace and prosperity for his people. But nothing in war is straightforward and even their own countrymen can turn violently against them at any moment, as Bellicus discovers to his cost…

Review

The Saxons are ready to attack.. War is coming to Britain.. the only thing standing in their way is Arthur, the Bear of Britain… well not just Arthur. He’s got help from the big warrior druid Bellicus!

A lot has happened to Bellicus and his faithful companion Duro but the upcoming war is going to push them to their limits.

As Arthur sets about raising an army to face the Saxons Bellicus manages to get himself into scrape that nearly costs him his life. I really enjoyed seeing Bellicus’s vulnerability as he recovers.

Vulnerability is probably the word I’d use to best describe the development in this instalment as the author manages to show the human toll paid during war. Duro is a fine example, there’s a sadness to him, still haunted by the past when his wife was brutally murdered… will this be his chance to heal those wounds?

Character development is key to a series.. you need to keep things fresh and boy does the author know how to keep the readers hooked. My favourite character had to be Sulinus. Arthur needs cavalry to win the war.. and Sulinus is the man to train them, he’s a former Roman solider and knows his stuff.. unluckily for him though Arthurs men are not trained to the same standard as the legions.. they aren’t soldiers so he’s got his work cut out for him. It’s Sulinus’s humour that really makes you love him.. you can’t help but smile.

For fans of history, you see the author take on some well know figures, we have Arthur, Merlin and Lancelot…how can you not get excited when you hear those names. Each of these characters felt perfect.. it’s hard to explain but you have expectations when you think of historical names but McKay knows just how to tackle big characters and do them justice!

I don’t want to spoil anything too much but I can’t write my review without talking about one scene.. Merlin and the Sword in the Stone…wow. I’m not going to say any more than that.. wow!

The Bear of Britain is a wonderfully written book. I’m kind of in awe of the author and how he manages to keep offering up gripping tales, weaving his skill and imagination throughout history. His tales are exhilarating, the characters believable and exciting and the action hard hitting.

I can’t give the book any less than a 5*…when’s the next book?? Ha. This series is a must!

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon!

The Shadow of Troy by Gordon Doherty (Empires of Bronze Book 5) – Review!

Next up on David’s Book Blurg is The Shadow of Troy, Book 5 in the Empires of Bronze series by Gordon Doherty.

Here’s the blurb

The war at Troy has raged for ten years. Its final throes will echo through eternity…

1258 BC: Surrounded and outnumbered by the army of Agamemnon, King Priam and his Trojan forces fight desperately to defend their city. In the lulls between battle, all talk inevitably turns to the mighty ally that has not yet arrived to their aid. Agamemnon will weep for mercy, the Trojans say, when the eastern horizons darken with the endless ranks of the Hittite Empire.

King Hattu has endured a miserable time since claiming the Hittite throne. Vassals distance themselves while rival empires circle, mocking him as an illegitimate king. Worst of all, the army of the Hittites is but a memory, destroyed in the civil war that won him the throne. Knowing that he must honour his empire’s oath to protect Troy, he sets off for Priam’s city with almost nothing, praying that the dreams he has endured since his youth – of Troy in ruins – can be thwarted. All the way, an ancient mantra rings in his head: Hittites should always heed their dreams.

Review

It’s been 10 long years but King Hattu has never forgotten the Hittite oath to Troy. One way or another Hattu will aid his friends.. the issue is the Hittite’s no longer have an army. He knows the danger.. not only to himself, but the struggling Hittite empire too. Hattu will do everything he can to uphold the oath his brother made to the people of Troy.

The journey to Troy doesn’t go quite as planned and there’s some wonderful interaction with Achilles, the champion within Agamemnon’s army. The early setup in the story describing the dynamic between Achilles and Agamemnon and the struggles they have in the army really worked well.

Hattu arrives at Troy thanks to an unlikely source, only to find things a little bit off. Troy have managed to stop Agamemnon at every step but it’s not been without loss… and the reason behind the losses is not clear cut.. there’s more at play here than we know and Hattu makes his own vow to get to the bottom of this.

The story of Troy’s fall is one most will have heard of, their fate is already sealed, but what Gordon Doherty offers is something new, something fresh, something god damn breath-taking! It felt like I was hearing the tale for the first time. It didn’t feel like a story I’d heard before, there’s so much more depth and emotion.

We see the tale from a different perspective woven expertly with the Hittite’s struggle. The Hittite empire has it’s own issues and I feel the author managed to capture both the struggles of Troy and the Hittites well, neither overshadowing the other.

What Gordon Doherty hit perfectly was the plot and character development, the story flows so naturally and we get depth added to a large number of characters in quick succession as he brings individuals such as Paris, Hector, Agamemnon and many others to life , it’s pure talent to give each character their own depth without moving too far away from the focus of the plot itself.

Doherty constantly brings history to life, uses his knowledge and storytelling skills in such a way that the story mesmerises you. I’m utter in awe of the author and what I’ve just read. The easiest 5* I’ll give this year!

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon

Gods of Rome (Rise of Emperors Book 3) by Gordon Doherty and Simon Turney

September is turning out to be a very good month indeed with the release of Gods of Rome, book 3 in the Rise of Emperors by Gordon Doherty and Simon Turney!

Happy publication day!!!!

What better way to celebrate than with a 5* review by yours truly!!!

Here’s the blurb

312 AD is a year of horrific and brutal warfare. Constantine’s northern army is a small force, plagued by religious rivalries, but seemingly unstoppable as they invade Maxentius’ Italian heartlands. These relentless clashes, incidents of treachery and twists of fortune see Maxentius’ armies driven back to Rome.

Constantine has his prize in sight, yet his army is diminished and on the verge of revolt. Maxentius meanwhile works to calm a restive and dissenting Roman populace. When the two forces clash in the Battle of the Milvian Bridge, there are factors at work beyond their control and soon they are left with carnage.

There is only one way Constantine and Maxentius’ rivalry will end. With one on a bloodied sword and the other the sole ruler of Rome…

Review

When we last were with Constantine and Maxentius it looked like what could have been a lovely brotherhood had suffered irreparable damage that could only lead to war.

Maxentius still holds out hope but the die has been cast… Constantine will march on Rome.

Along the way the blood of many will be shed and the authors managed to wonderfully depict the toll this takes on both men.. it weighs heavy but neither are willing, or able to back down.

What I really find amazing about this series is how seamless each chapter flows into the next, these two authours’ styles blend perfectly together to give us one hell of a richly detailed and exhilarating tale! If you want to get excited about history you can’t go wrong with these two! Doherty and Turney make history come alive!

I also really loved how well the authors showed the discontent of the people, and the legions, with the growing religious tensions added its only a matter of time until the fists start flaying and the swords come out.

I think the most surprising thing is throughout the series I’ve never disliked either Constantine and Maxentius. You always expect to take a side.. but you can’t.. both actually seem to want to do right by Rome and truly believe they are the man to do it, in hindsight I don’t think either man would be able to reconcile the death toll and the pain this journey will cost. They both loose so much.

I’m a big fan of character development and Doherty and Turney are Gods themselves in this arena, not only do the main protagonists develop but they also manage not outshine the rest of the characters, there’s so much packed in it almost seems impossible.

This has been an amazing series to follow and I really hope to see more collaborations, Doherty and Turney bring the best out of each other and as a reader that makes me very lucky..it’s not often you get to read a true masterpiece.

For the lovers of detail and history this book ticks the boxes, for the plot driven lovers you get a detailed plot with beautiful twists along the way..everything flows naturally and damn is it good!

My thanks go to Netgalley and the publisher Aria & Aries, Head of Zeus for an advanced review copy. There’s no way I could pass up the chance to celebrate the release day with a review but as always I’ve bought my own copy too! There’s no free rides with David’s Book Blurg.

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon! Of course please do check any local booksellers too! and do let me know of some good ones to follow 🙂

BLOG TOUR – For Lord and Land (The Bernicia Chronicles Book 8) by Matthew Harffy.

Today I’m kicking off the blog tour for For Lord and Land (The Bernicia Chronicles Book 8) by Matthew Harffy.

Here’s the blurb

Greed and ambition threaten to tear the north apart.

War rages between the two kingdoms of Northumbria. Kin is pitted against kin and friend becomes foe as ambitious kings vie for supremacy.

When Beobrand travels south into East Angeln to rescue a friend, he unwittingly tilts the balance of power in the north, setting in motion events that will lead to a climactic confrontation between Oswiu of Bernicia and Oswine of Deira.

While the lord of Ubbanford is entangled in the clash of kings, his most trusted warrior, Cynan, finds himself on his own quest, called to the aid of someone he thought never to see again. Riding into the mountainous region of Rheged, Cynan faces implacable enemies who would do anything to further their own ends.

Forced to confront their pasts, and with death and betrayal at every turn, both Beobrand and Cynan have their loyalties tested to breaking point.

Who will survive the battle for a united Northumbria, and who will pay the ultimate price for lord and land?

Review

We are back with Beobrand for the 8th instalment in The Bernicia Chronicles series. As a long-time fan of the series I’ve been impressed how the author manages to keep the things fresh and exciting, and latest effort doesn’t disappoint.

From the outset Beobrand puts his neck on the line when his friend Coenred looks to be in danger. Brobrand and his black shields turn the tide of war but this only angers their King who seems to enjoy making Beobrand squirm as much as possible.. it’s like he purposely will find fault, spiteful.. the pressure has been building for a while now and it’s only a matter of time before things come crashing down around them.

Beobrand is still very much in awe of the Queen and this affection continues to plague his mind..he knows he can never have her, but can he keep his feelings secret? Or does the King already know?

What the author did superbly in this instalment was bring in Cynan to the forefront, one of Beobrand’s sworn men. He has his own adventure when a face from the past reappears in need of assistance.. but will this cost Cynan is life? His lord isn’t going to be pleased when he finds out who Cynan has been helping.

We also see great development of the ensemble cast too Brinin and Cuthbert particularly shine through and keep the reader guessing as to what will happen next. We know Beobrand pretty well now, we know how he will react..but not the other characters, this leads to some rather astonishing developments and gives the tale the shock factor!

Beobrand’s son Octa also plays his part in this adventure. There’s no love lost between father and son.. but why? And can Beobrand do anything to mend the family bond?

For anyone who is familiar with the authors work you’ll know the action is going to come thick and fast but by god it’s good and there’s plenty of blood and guts for the fans of the grizzly details! The pace is perfect, and the detail added to the battle scenes is just mesmerising.

The author manages to give us fresh action with each instalment, that yearns to be devoured from the first page, each new book better than the last!

A well-deserved 5/5 stars!

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon!

My thanks go to the publisher for the advanced review copy, I had a copy pre-ordered too but it’s great to be able to be part of the blog tour 🙂

Why not follow the tour??


About the author

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

Follow Aries

Twitter: @AriesFiction

Facebook: Aries Fiction

Website: http://www.headofzeus.com

BLOG TOUR – The Winter of Winters (The Histories of Sphax Book 2) by Robert M. Kidd.

Today is my turn on the blog tour for The Winter of Winters (The Histories of Sphax Book 2) by Robert M. Kidd.

I eagerly signed up for the blog tour after reading the first instalment in the series so let’s see if it lived up to expectations :).

Here’s the blurb

Genre – Historical Fiction

218 BC. Hannibal’s exhausted army staggers down from the last Alpine pass like a rabble of half-starved savages, the remnants of a once magnificent army that had set out from the Rhodanus with such hope. Now there is no way back. With the legions of Consul Publius Scipio closing fast, Carthage needs its Gaulish allies like never before. But where are the Insubres? Where are the Boii? Where are the thousands of warriors pledged by solemn oath?In the maelstrom of battle, Sphax, nephew of Hannibal, forges a reputation as the scourge of Rome. But will his ingrained recklessness and quest for honour set him at odds with the forbidding genius of his uncle? Only one thing is certain in this winter of winters, a great battle is coming that will decide the fates of Rome and Carthage

Review

We are back with Sphax, former slave and nephew to Hannibal, as the Carthage army and their allies march on Rome!

Sphax suffered a lot in the first instalment, a slave to Rome who manages to escape to freedom to find love only for it to be taken away so cruelly. The pain of which is still raw with him at the beginning of the story..but there’s no time to dwell on this for long.. Rome must pay.

Soon enough Sphax has his chance to shed blood, the action is fast paced but subtle enough for any reader of the genre to enjoy and get engrossed.

As with any war, people will get hurt.. many will die and it’s only a matter of time before Sphax gets himself on the wrong end of a spear thrust..it could have been a lot worse but as young men do.. he ignores that.. rather he wants to get back out there.

The time to prove himself is now. Hannibal’s army lost many men in the last big battle and food is running low. Sphax sets out to see what can be gained from the immediate area.. he has two jobs, secure food.. and allies where possible.

Along the way Sphax will meet some interesting new characters, the most intriguing being Corinna, a prisoner of Rome, her husband killed and her son held hostage. The dynamic between the two was electric at times.

The addition of Corinna also allowed Hannibal to use his cunning. His words say one thing but there’s hidden meaning.. he’s a very clever man… when you get him in the right mood.

Battles will be fought.. blood will be shed and men will die. It’s one rough ride for Sphax with a few twists along the way to keep his mind sharp.

Overall I really enjoyed the latest instalment. You can see the progression since the first book, more development of the established characters and good additions but the author maintains his style of storytelling, its fast paced and flows super easy. There’s detail when needed but the author doesn’t let it outshine the plot, rather compliment it.

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 🙂


Why not follow the tour?


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 –

Website

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