Category Archives: Historical Fiction

Lions of Rome by S.J.A Turney – Review

Next up on David’s Book Blurg I’m reviewing Lions of Rome book 4 in the Praetorian series by S.J. A. Turney

Here’s the blurb

Genre – Historical Fiction.

Rufinus is dead, crumpled at the base of a cliff in far-off Dacia. Or so the world believes. Back in the west, secretly in the entourage of the fierce Septimius Severus, the young hero moves in the shadows with fellow conspirators in an attempt to finally bring down the would-be tyrant of Rome: Cleander.

Under assumed names and in a variety of roles, the former Praetorian conspires with some of the most important men in Rome, bringing the city to the very brink of disaster in a grand and complex plot to cause the fall of the untouchable chamberlain.

And as governors, prefects, Praetorians and consuls work their secret plots in the seedy underbelly of Rome, Rufinus finds he has an opportunity to settle old scores along the way.

The empire is suffering. Rome is seething. Rufinus is back.

Review

We are back with Rufinus for his fourth adventure , you’d think after past events he would want the quiet life..not so.. he still wants to see the downfall of Cleander.

Plot wise I think the author took a slight risk, although it worked pretty well, as the series takes a more fun tone at times. The author provides insights into this in his author notes and it was really interesting to see his thought process.

So on with the nitty-gritty…  Rufinus is for all intents and purposes is dead after a nasty fall from a cliff.. he survived barely and now he’s fit and healthy it’s time to get back to Cleander and his downfall. But he’s going to need the help of some likeminded and powerful individuals to do it.

Along the way we learn more about the men sent to kill Dis, a frumentarius, loyal to the Emperor who was murdered way back at the start of the series and now he’s this close Rufinus vows to take vengeance.

We see Rufinus tackle each foe In turn.. getting closer and closer until the time is right to strike..some chances come sooner than others and the waiting game certainly frustrates Rufinus whilst building up the tension for the reader.

What Turney get’s spot on for me is the detailed plot. Whilst a little bit more outrageous with Rufinus changing his appearance to stay hidden time to time the frankly exciting and well planned plot was easy to get sucked in. You can see the cogs turning slowly as Rufinus works his way through his targets and the author managed to show his impressive knowledge of roles within the empire and how individuals would interact with each other day-to-day.

I also really enjoyed the links to the past..I’m not going to say much but I’m glad Merc wasnt forgotten.

Lions of Rome is a slow burner..not to steal a phrase but we are in the endgame now..and the pieces on the board need to be set in such a way that Cleander won’t see it coming! While you might feel the frustration just like Rufinus does the author knows just what to give his readers, just wait until you get to the last 3rd of the book when everything starts to come to fruition..you won’t want it to end!

Overall a detailed and fun story that didn’t disappoint..i’m excited for more from the author although I fear he churns hits out faster than I can read them! Ha

One final note for the author.. I missed Acheron greatly.. and for anyone who gets the reference don’t worry too much 🙂

4/5 Stars!

To find out more head to Amazon or Goodreads.

Oathbreaker by Adam Lofthouse

Next up on David’s Book Blurg I’m reviewing Oathbreaker by Adam Lofthouse!

Here’s the blurb

“It’s not the shadows you should fear, but what hides within.”

Alaric is an enemy of Rome.

For too long he has thwarted the empires attempts to gain control over the land that has long resisted them: Germania.

To the Romans he is a scourge, always evading their carefully laid traps. But to the tribes he is much worse: Outlaw, chief killer, battle turner, Oathbreaker.

All men know him, all men fear him. At his back is a war host, on his shoulder sits Loki, the Trickster.

A deal has been struck between the legions and the tribes: lifelong enemies agree to become friends, for a time. The eagles march with the wolves, together they hunt the raven.

Isolated and lacking in allies, will Alaric be able to break free from the noose that slowly encircles him? Or will the Sly One once more come to his rescue.

OATHBREAKER: One man’s stand against the tyranny of empire.

Review

After reading the authors last two offerings I had high hopes for Oathbreaker..I’ve been craving something a little bit darker..grittier and boy did the author get it spot on!

If you’ve read the authors previous works you’ll know the name Alaric, don’t’ worry if you haven’t as this book will work just as good as a standalone tale.

Alaric is a mercenary for hire and he’s damn good a what he does… he turns the tide in favour of whoever pays the most and there’s not many he wouldn’t stab in the back for the right price.

We find Alaric and his band of 500 battle hardened men, the Ravensworn, in search of their next commission.. the only problem is something doesn’t smell right.

Alaric soon learns a powerful enemy wants him dead.. but why now.. he’s been in game a long time.. it just doesn’t make sense to him. I loved this part of the plot, the pace of the development was spot on revealing just enough to keep you hooked but never enough to give the game away too soon.

One really interesting thing about the book is the backstory of Alaric.. we learn of how he became to be the man he is.. and as much as I didn’t want to I found myself liking the character more and more even though he’s a bringer of death and destruction.

I really enjoyed the development throughout the tale as Alaric fights his way to the truth behind the plot to have him killed.. not only that but the characters themselves were captivating and when the action hit the story was utterly invigorating.. I was on the edge of my seat..especially during the last battle!

There’re so many good characters to pick from but for me Ketill and Birgir shine through simply through not only be interesting characters but also because of the connections they have to Alaric.

I was fully immersed in the vivid battle scenes which had the adrenaline pumping overtime! This is what i wanted.. dark and dirty..life and death.. when push comes to shove niceties go out the window.

The last two offerings from the author were an easy 4* rating from me..great but I craved a darker tale and the tone of Oathbreaker ticked all the boxes for a 5* rating from me. This tale definitely left me with that “damn that was good” feeling you get after a particularly good read.

To find out more head to Amazon or Goodreads

War In The Wilderness by Adam Lofthouse – Review

Next up on David’s Book Blurg I’m reviewing War In The Wilderness by Adam Lofthouse!

Here’s the blurb

Genre – Historical Thriller

Balomar, King of the Marcomanni and leader of the united army of the tribes, broods and drinks his way through the long winter as his alliance falls apart. He won great fame when he destroyed the Fourteenth legion and brought his army to Italian soil. Rome will not let his victory go unanswered; new legions have been formed, and their spear tips point north.

Elsewhere Albinus braves the harsh weather and tribal hordes as he searches desperately for Licina, his lost fiancé. Once more he must play dice with Fortuna as he launches himself into the iron storm.

For Rome, and his father’s shade…

Review

We are back with Albinus for book 2 in The Centurion’s Son Chronicles.. he’s grown up fast since the death of his farther in the previous instalment…he’s lost so much but things were looking up when he found love with Licina..only for his hopes and dreams to be dashed.

Time has passed but Albinus hasn’t given up on finding Licina…how can he find his love whilst also fulfilling his commitment to the legion though..it’s not going to be easy.

Albinus is pretty lucky as the legion aren’t just comrades..their brothers and he along with a trusted few set out to find Licina.. of course they end up in a bit of bother and the stakes are high.. the cost too much and the guilt will stay will Albinus forever.

Meanwhile we also learn of Licina’s fate.. she’s become rather resourceful and brave in her own right.. the perfect match for Albinus..if only she can get back to him… If anything her tale overshadowed that of Albinus and I would have loved to see her fight more…who doesn’t love a strong female character!

Both Albinus and Licina struggle at times being apart..does the other still care about them..is it worth fighting for? Neither are going to give up easily though.

War in the Wilderness is a great mix of legion comradery mixed with a personal plot you can get invested in, add in a couple of big twists along the way and you’ve got a smashing read.

I won’t lie.. these soldiers aren’t the hard-nosed warriors I’m used too.. they show their emotions..but that makes them more real at the same time.. what would you do for the one you loved? Would you lay your life on the line for a friend?

One bit that really had me hooked was the whole conspiracy angle..there’s a whole section when you are left wondering who are the good guys.. why are certain people associating with those with a not so clean profile? All this plays out with Albinus in the dark and the repercussions will rock his world.

I loved the book, the pace was pretty decent.. if anything I would just have liked the story strung-out a little longer.. More fighting.. less talking..ha.

The author did a great job a tying up the threads of the plot whilst also developing his characters.. Adam Lofthouse is finding his feet as an author and hit the right notes for me. One to watch? I’d say so!

A plot driven tale with fun and interesting characters to boot 4/5 Stars 🙂

To find out more head to Amazon or Goodreads

Blog Tour – Victoria to Vikings: The Circle of Blood by Trisha Hughes – Review

Next up on David’s Book Blurg I’m taking part in the blog tour for Victoria to Vikings: The Circle of Blood by Trisha Hughes!

Victoria to Vikings Full Tour Banner

Here’s the blurb

At the heart of our present are the stories of our past. In ages gone by, many monarchs died while they were still young. There were battles and diseases and many were simply overthrown. But the days of regal engagement in hand-to-hand combat are over and the line of succession has a good ageing prospect these days.

One of the most famous monarchs in history is Queen Victoria and her passing brought an end to an amazing era. She could be demanding, rude and she frequently fled public duties for the solitude of Scotland. But she loved fiercely and her people loved her fiercely in return. Under her reign, England achieved a greatness it had never known before.

Victoria to Vikings: The Circle of Blood spans from this great queen to another one: Queen Elizabeth II. Ours is the era of the longest living monarch in history and her ancestry is incredible. But walking two steps behind her, stalwart and loyal, stands Prince Philip, the strawberry to her champagne, and with him comes his own amazing Viking heritage.

Review

Ever wondered what is was like to be King? Ever wonder what it took to become a Queen in a largely male dominated world? Well look no further. Victoria to Vikings: The Circle of Blood is the 3rd and final book delving into the history of our monarchy.

I’d like to think I know a little about history.. I enjoy the subject that’s for sure but what you get taught at school barely scratches the surface!

Trisha Hughes has a very fun approach to sharing history with the reader, with added little commentary along the way. It’s like being back at school.. the fun teacher who makes you enjoy learning but you try not to admit it since you want to look “cool”.

Without going into massive detail..since I want you to buy the book..simply wow.. there’s so much more to our monarchy than I ever imagined. The stress of trying to keep the crown in your family requiring an heir..high mortality rates..birth defects.. madness.. illness not to mention good old religious and cultural divides.

 

We all know bits and pieces about our monarchy..but there’s just so much that you’ve never learned. Bertie has to be the one who shocked me the most..his early life, how power changed him without really being trained for the role.. it’s no wonder time caught up to him in the end.

The author didn’t disappoint with this one.. if anything I’ve caught the bug again…I need more.

It’s one of those books that just gets the synapses firing..one little mention of Rasputin and I’m already looking for my next history book to read.

The most fascinating point of the book for me was the Jack the Ripper links.. not sure what I’m on about? Ah well, buy the book and find out…fascinating!!

The word to describe this series is simply.. Enlightening.

Not to steal words but they say with great power comes great responsibility.. and they are right.. some don’t choose this power..some have it trust on them..while some thrive..some crash and burn..this is their legacy.

My thanks go to the author for the chance to read and review the book.. I’ve bought a copy myself too! it’s worth it!

This is soooo much more than a history book.. it’s more than simply rehashing facts..the author brings everything together and tells the tale in such way to grip you..it’s told the right way.. the fun and riveting way.. get rid of the text books and get these in stock I say!

To find out more head to Amazon or Goodreads

Author Bio –  

I am an Australian author born in Brisbane, Queensland now living in Hong Kong.  My writing career began 18 years ago with my best-selling autobiography ‘Daughters of Nazareth’ published by Pan MacMillan Australia.  Over the past 8 years, I have been researching and writing a historical fiction trilogy based on British Monarchy throughout the ages beginning with the Vikings. Originally meant to be a single book, as facts accumulated the material gradually filled three books. I call this series my V2V trilogy.

Social Media Links –

Facebook:  Trisha Hughes Author

Twitter:      @TrishaHughes_

Pinterest:   Trisha Hughes

Linkedin:    Trisha Hughes

ARC Review – Odin’s Game (The Whale Road Chronicles Book 1) by Tim Hodkinson

Next up on David’s Book Blurg I’m reviewing an ARC of Odin’s Game by Tim Hodkinson

Here’s the blurb

AD 915.

In the Orkney Isles, a young woman flees her home to save the life of her unborn child. Eighteen years later, a witch foretells that evil from her past is reaching out again to threaten her son.

Outlawed from his home in Iceland, Einar Unnsson is thrown on the mercy of his Uncle, the infamous Jarl Thorfinn ‘Skull Cleaver’ of Orkney. He joins forces with a Norse-Irish princess and a company of wolfskin-clad warriors to become a player in a deadly game for control of the Irish sea, where warriors are the pawns of kings and Jarls and the powerful are themselves mere game pieces on the tafl board of the Gods.

Together they embark on a quest where Einar must fight unimaginable foes, forge new friendships, and discover what it truly means to be a warrior.

As the clouds of war gather, betrayal follows betrayal and Einar realises the only person he can really trust is himself.

Not everyone will survive, but who will conquer all in Odin’s game?

Review

This tale follows Einar whose mother fled her past many years ago. Life seems settled but after a disagreement Einar must leave his home behind or risk death! Unn, his mother, feels there is little choice but send him to the home of his uncle, known as Skull Cleaver.

Einar sets out to prove his worth but ends up in over his head, captured and held hostage..what price will his uncle pay to see him free?

The relationship between Jarl Thorfinn ‘Skull Cleaver’ and Einar is wonderful to see unfold with quite a few twists along the way..the past won’t stay buried for long.

Along the way we meet the Wolf Coats..Fierce warriors who utterly engrossed me..the dark humour they have made it such fun to read.

The plot was well planned out and paced perfectly to keep on the edge of my seat..there’s no time to be bored.. you just get sucked into this one so easily.

A word to describe this tale is deception.. nothing is what it seems…backstabbing and plotting are high on everyone’s agenda..who can you trust.

What I really enjoyed was that on the whole this is a dark and gritty tale of deceit with war brewing but you can see some moments where the author really had some fun.

Odin’s Game ticks the boxes for me, plot is fantastic and when you add in the very likeable characters you’ve got a hit!

Tim Hodkinson has written an epic tale and I can’t wait to see where this goes..that ending has me itching for more! The scene has been set.. an earth shattering saga in the making!

My thanks go to NetGalley for the ARC! Certainly a book I’ll happily buy myself on release tomorrow!

5/5 Stars for me

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon!

The Forest Lord Collection by Steven A. McKay. (@SA_McKay)

Any follower of my blog with have heard the name Steven A. McKay, the brilliant author of the fantastic Forest Lord series. The series follows one of my favourite characters ever.. Robin Hood!

What really sucked me into the series is it felt real and fresh and that mainly came from the change in setting for the series, namely Barnsdale. I asked the author about this and this is what he had to say

When I started researching the Robin Hood legend I realised the original ballads were actually set in Yorkshire, not Nottingham. I knew I had to stick pretty closely to the well-known tales, but somehow stand out from all the other modern retellings – moving the setting away from Sherwood was the ideal way to do that while still remaining faithful to the earliest ballads.

McKay continue..

I wanted The Forest Lord series to be familiar to fans of Robin Hood, yet, at the same time, new and fresh and exciting and not just another rehash of the same old story.

I’ve previously reviewed the books separately but now the box set is out I thought it high time to update/combine my reviews 🙂

Here we go..

So we’ve all heard of Robin Hood yes? Of course we have. As a boy Robin Hood was always one of my favourite characters. This was one of my reasons for buying this series and I’m so glad I did! McKay gives us the Robin Hood we never knew we wanted.. and damn it’s good!

McKay has decided to revamp the whole Robin Hood tale, moving the location to Yorkshire when England was under the reign of Edward II. This makes the book quite refreshing as it’s moved away from the well-known tale set in Nottingham. From the authors notes you can see a lot of thought and hard work has went into this series and it shows.

The story starts with Hoods early life and the events that led him to become an outlaw. We see him climb the ranks to eventually lead this band of outlaws.

Along the way we see him deal will conflict not only with the rich people of Yorkshire but also himself and the outlaws where personalities clash.

Even though the setting has changed we still have the heroes we all know and love, Little John, Friar Tuck, Will Scarlet & Much.

Chapter after chapter you see the tension grow as McKay takes you from one characters journey to another, friendships are made.. and broken… this isn’t a tale of merry men.. but desperate men who want only to live life or care for their family..it’s a struggle. There’s plenty of humour within the tale but the underlying struggle to stay alive keeps you on the edge of your seat!

We see Robin beaten, men killed, imprisonments, executions the works

The word that springs to mind about this series is “Growth” Not only does each storyline improve on the previous one but McKay has managed to grow his characters superbly throughout the series. You can really tell the author has put a lot of time and energy into his work.

What I really enjoyed about these books is that the author takes risks, the heroes don’t always live, it was gobsmackingly refreshing.

This series is dark, gritty and downright engrossing.. You never know what will happen next and when events play out your heart is in your mouth it’s pumped that fast!

The end of the series is a true highlight. Not only does it do the series justice but it also leaves fate to the reader.. read into that what you will 🙂

I strongly recommend the series..I bought 2 paperbacks of each book just so I could share with my dad who I knew would love it just as much as me.. do yourself a favour and get the 4 book set for £9.99… bargain price!

 

Blog Tour – Storm of Steel by Matthew Harffy

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

Here’s the blurb

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

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

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

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

Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5/5 Stars!!

To find out more head to Amazon or Goodreads.

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

Buy links:

Amazon, Kobo, Google Play, iBooks

Follow the tour!!!

I5NTQ-J1

About the author

tnYRphGA

Matthew grew up in Northumberland where the rugged terrain, ruined castles and rocky coastline had a huge impact on him. He now lives in Wiltshire, England, with his wife and their two daughters.

 Follow Matthew Harffy:    

Twitter: @MatthewHarffy

Facebook: @MatthewHarffyAuthor

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

Follow Aria

Website: www.ariafiction.com

Twitter: @aria_fiction

Facebook: @ariafiction

Instagram: @ariafiction