Category Archives: Historical Fiction

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

Twitter

Facebook


Want the chance to win a signed book?

Giveaway to Win Book 4 in The Histories of Sphax series to be dedicated to the winner, & a signed dedicated copy too (Open INT)

*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.

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

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

Why not follow the tour?

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

Here is the blurb –

Genre – Historical Fiction

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

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

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

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

Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4/5 Stars

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon

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


Author Bio – Robert M. Kidd

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

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

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

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


Follow the author –

https://robertmkidd.com/

https://twitter.com/RobertMKidd1

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


Want the chance to win a signed book?

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

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

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

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

Let’s get started!

Here is the blurb –

Genre – Historical Fiction

A story of bloody and world-shaking revenge

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

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

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

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

Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5/5 Stars!

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon!

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

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

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

Let’s ger started!

Here is the blurb –

Genre – Historical Fiction

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

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

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

Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wonderfully written, powerful, raw emotion. Simply WOW!

Looking forward to the next instalment in the series.

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

5/5 Stars!

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon!


About the authors

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

Follow Simon

Twitter: @SJATurney

Instagram: @simonturney_aka_sjaturney

Website: http://simonturney.com/

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

Follow Gordon

Twitter: @GordonDoherty

Instagram: @gordon.doherty

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


Follow Aries

Twitter: @AriesFiction

Facebook: Aries Fiction

Website: http://www.headofzeus.com

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

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

Here is the blurb –

Genre – Historical Fiction/Alternative History

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

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

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

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

Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

5/5 Stars!

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon!