Tag Archives: Book Release

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!

Renegade (A Ryker Returns Thriller Book 1) by Rob Sinclair – Review

Today I’m reviewing Renegade by Rob Sinclair. It also happens to be publication day!!!

Let’s ger started!

Here is the blurb –

He’s back and better than ever.

James Ryker, a veteran intelligence agent now freelancer, working for the secretive Joint Intelligence agency on an op-by-op basis, finds himself embroiled in a complicated mission that will test him to his limit.

When a simple surveillance mission goes awry and the key target is kidnapped in broad daylight in a busy London square, Ryker knows he has his work cut out.

Ryker is tasked with figuring out what went wrong. But when his good friend Sam Moreno disappears without a trace, the mission becomes more personal than he could have imagined.

Torn between toeing the government line, and finding the answers he needs, Ryker realises there’s only one way to find those responsible and to punish them… His way.

Genre – Spy Thriller

Review

Where to start! God it feels good to have Ryker back. Fans of the author will know the roots of James Ryker, an intelligence agent whose had more than his fair share of trauma in his life… but guys like Ryker only give up when their dead.

The story starts on what seems like a simple mission for Ryker but nothing ever goes simple does it? A surveillance mission turns to kidnap..and worse.. but why?

To ramp up the pressure Ryker is also feeling watched…paranoid.. but so should trust your gut sometimes…or is he just getting too old for the game? and there’s not just bad guys to watch for now…he’s on home soil.. everyone has a camera these days.

Ryker goes out on the limb to find out who is behind the kidnapping and why, and the JIA who he works for aren’t the only ones looking to track him down after he kind of goes rogue, MI5, MI6 you name it..he’s pissed them off some how.

To top off the pressure a close acquaintance of Ryker’s goes missing. This friend has a strong connection to Ryker.. let’s be fair, not many can call Ryker a friend and stay alive for long.

The connections explode in this action packed story as Ryker painstakingly puts the pieces together. It’s gruesome and awesome at the same time..

It’s another cracking read in the life of James Ryker by the author who is a wizard with the wordplay, the flow is so bloody good I found myself reading at midnight, hours had gone by without me noticing.

Renegade can certainly be read is a standalone if you are new to the author and it’s credit where credits due to the author on that, his plot lines are so easy to follow it’s effortless to jump in whilst at the same time have such riveting action that you can’t help but get hooked and see the time and attention the author has clearly put into the story.

For me it was great to be back with Ryker but the addition of Moreno blew my mind, I honestly didn’t think we would see her again and what a comeback!

The writing is a pure joy to read and I love how I drifted off reminiscing about other Ryker adventures along the way!

It’s a brilliant return of an established character, fans will love it.. quite honestly everyone will love it.

5/5 Stars!

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon!

Blog Tour – Family by Owen Mullen

Today I’m taking part in my first blog tour of the year! I’m going to be reviewing Family by Owen Mullen.

I’m a big fan of the author so jumped at the chance to get involved!

Here is the blurb –

Family – might be the death of you…

The Glass family business is crime, and they’re good at what they do. Vengeance took Luke Glass behind bars – but now he’s free and he’s never going back. Luke wants out of the gangster life – all he has to do is convince his family to let him go.

His brother holds the reins of the South London underworld in his brutal hands – nobody tells Danny Glass no and expects to live – not even DCI Oliver Stanford, bent copper and one of the Met’s rising stars. The way Danny sees it, his younger brother and sister Nina owe him everything. The price he demands is loyalty, and a war with their arch enemy gives him the leverage he needs to tie Luke to the family once more.

Luke can’t see a way out, until Danny commits a crime so terrible it can’t be forgiven. Love turns to hate when secrets are unearthed which pit brother against brother. Left with no choice but to choose a side, Nina holds the fate of the family in her hands.

In the Glass family, Owen Mullen has created a crime dynasty to rival the Richardsons and the Krays. Heart-pounding, jaw-dropping with non-stop action, Family is perfect for fans of Martina Cole, Kimberley Chambers and Mandasue Heller.

Review

Family is the tale of Danny, Luke and Nina Glass. As young children they were forced to fend for themselves and turned to the life of crime… Danny found he quite enjoyed the gangster life and has built up quite an empire with the support of his sister Nina.

Nina is less brash than her brother but is certainly a Glass through and through. She may look good but those teeth are sharp!

Luke on the other hand is a little different. He’s been in prison for the murder of Albert Anderson a rival who dared to go a step too far. He’s always followed his bothers lead but it’s time for that to change.

Each family member has their own agenda and their bond will be tested..it’s not a matter of will the bond break.. but when … and who will be standing at the end.

As Luke is finally released from prison after serving his time it’s a new life he’s after.. but Danny won’t let his brother go that easily and wants to bring him back into the fold.

Times a healer they say…but no one forgets..soon events force Luke back into a world he no longer wants to be part of. An adversary is out for payback.

Matters escalate quickly with a rival gang out for blood and Danny doesn’t give an inch. The hard-hitting plot just keeps serving as the brutality level is ramped up to the max when Danny plans to put an end to things… in the most gruesome and flashy way he can, even if this means harming innocent bystanders. It’s all one big show to Danny.

Luke’s whole world comes crashing down as events spiral, secrets are revealed and the bone chilling reality hits home.. but don’t forget.. Luke is a Glass! It won’t be over until there’s a bullet in his head.

Owen Mullen is quite the wordsmith, it’s brutal and vivid. Lets be fair we all know a gangsters favourite method of getting rid of someone involves a little bit of torture. These scenes weren’t overdone, they added to Danny’s character and his meltdown.. he’s a loose cannon from the start.

Luke’s character develops very well, but what makes it hit the high note is how the author manages to makes his feelings come alive.. you feel that adrenaline rush with Luke..every heart pounding moment you live it with him.

Overall a very enjoyable read. Yeh it’s gut wrenchingly horrid at times what these gangsters will do for power and control but damn it’s a compelling story and I just loved how everything tied together nicely at the end, all those bits of thread woven throughout the tale pulled tight to give the reader that wow moment they are looking for.

Being a fan I had high hopes for this book and Owen Mullen delivered! Mullen constantly delivers high-pressure, fresh and exhilarating tales.

The only downside to the book is that it had to end.. the good news is there’s already a new book planned for July!!

5/5 Stars!

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon!

My thanks go to Owen, Boldwood Books and Rachel’s Random Resources for having me on the tour. I already had the book ordered but couldn’t pass up the opportunity to join in on the tour 😊


Do follow the tour and check out the other amazing reviews!


Author Bio –

When he was ten years old, Owen Mullen won a primary schools short story competition and didn’t write another word for four decades. One morning he announced he was going to write a book. He did. Since then he has written seven. Owen was born in Coatbridge, a few miles from Glasgow, where the Charlie Cameron stories take place, and where he ran a successful design and marketing business. A late developer, he has a Masters degree from Strathclyde University which he got in his forties. In his earlier life he lived in London and worked as a musician and session singer. People tell him he enjoyed himself and he has no reason to doubt them. The journey from rocker to writer has been a fascinating experience and the similarities between the music and book industries, never cease to amaze him. His passions are travel, food and Arsenal Football Club. A gregarious recluse, he now splits his time between Scotland and the island of Crete, along with his wife, Christine.

Twitter https://twitter.com/OwenMullen6

Facebook https://m.facebook.com/OwenMullenAuthor

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/owenmullen6/

YouTube https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCirKpr7Dzji0x-0teu2nhqw

BookBub https://www.bookbub.com/authors/owen-mullen

The Wreckage by Robin Morgan-Bentley

Today I’m going to be reviewing the Audio version of The Wreckage by Robin Morgan-Bentley narrated by Emilia Fox & Jack Hawkins.

Here is the blurb –

Genre – Psychological Thrillers

Things will never be the same again….

Ben is driving on the motorway, on his usual commute to the school where he works.

A day like any other, except for Adam, who in a last despairing act jumps in front of Ben’s car, and in killing himself, turns the teacher’s world upside down.

Wracked with guilt and desperate to clear his conscience, Ben develops a friendship with Alice, Adam’s widow, and her seven-year-old son, Max.

But as he tries to escape the trauma of the wreckage, could Ben go too far in trying to make amends?

Gripping and sinister, The Wreckage is guaranteed to keep you up all night….

Review

Ben is driving home from work but unlike his normal commute, today is the day he is going to be involved in an accident that will change his life.

We soon learn of Adam who commits suicide by jumping In front of Ben’s car.

What follows next was very believable as Adam’s wife Alice, and Ben both deal with this tragedy as best they can.

They both feel guilt and this guilt leads them to growing some sort of connection. The connection is disturbing at times, but you can see the motivations behind their actions.

Ben becomes obsessed with Alice and her little boy, he wants nothing more than to keep them safe, to love them, to be there for them. Alice on the other hand seems to only feel revulsion, she hates herself, but is still drawn to Ben.

A lot of what happens comes down to lack of communication or just moving way to damn fast, and it’s this that causes things to spiral out of control when the motivations are quite innocent really. Ben feels he’s offering support but Alice only sees this as Ben forcing himself into her life.. and at one point comes across as a bit of a stalker.

There’s a twist at the end I didn’t really see coming, it’s a little crazy to be honest but that’s what makes it a psychological thriller, it messes with the readers head too and makes you stop and say “Bloody Hell”.

The writing style was good for me and very easy to follow, it alternated perspectives allowing each character to develop and helped me form my own opinion on Ben and Alice and their unlikely connection. The story flowed well so it was a super quick book to get sucked into.

For me the biggest selling point that actually made me buy the book was that Alice as narrated by Emilia Fox who’ve I’ve been a fan of since I watched the remake of Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) some 20 years ago now! Jeez. For me it’s the narration from both Emilia and Jack Hawkins that make this a very easy book to listen to. I enjoy audio books but prefer the physical books as I get distracted far too easily if I don’t have something to look at.. but I was quite hooked as I wanted to see how the relationship would play out.

For a debut novel the author did a great job with the characters, their development and the emotions felt raw and real.

Very much enjoyed this one.

4/5 Stars!

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon!

Blog tour – Sons of Rome by Simon Turney and Gordon Doherty – Review!

Today its my turn on the blog tour for Sons of Rome by Simon Turney & Gordon Doherty, the 1st book in a new series!

Follow the tour!

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Here is the blurb –

Four Emperors. Two Friends. One Destiny.

 

As twilight descends on the 3rd century AD, the Roman Empire is but a shadow of its former self. Decades of usurping emperors, splinter kingdoms and savage wars have left the people beleaguered, the armies weary and the future uncertain. And into this chaos Emperor Diocletian steps, reforming the succession to allow for not one emperor to rule the world, but four.

Meanwhile, two boys share a chance meeting in the great city of Treverorum as Diocletian’s dream is announced to the imperial court. Throughout the years that follow, they share heartbreak and glory as that dream sours and the empire endures an era of tyranny and dread. Their lives are inextricably linked, their destinies ever-converging as they rise through Rome’s savage stations, to the zenith of empire. For Constantine and Maxentius, the purple robes beckon…

Review

Regular readers of my blog will no doubt recognise the names Simon Turney & Gordon Doherty, both have featured more than a few times and I must say they always know what I’m after as a reader. I’ve never read a jointly written book before but with these guys behind it I knew it would be a cracking read.

Sons of Rome follows the footsteps of Constantine and Maxentius as the grow from little boys into men fighting for the purple robe of the empire!

The prologue sets the scene for the series as we meet Constantine on the eve of battle against someone he once knew as friend.. how did they get here.. what happened to change those boys.

Power.. that’s what.. and paranoia.

As boys Maxentius and Constantine see Emperor Diocletian share his vision for the future, the empire is too big for one man to rule.. Diocletian wishes to create a new system to share power, A Tetrarchy, which will also inturn decide rightly who will rule when an Augustus dies.

The issue is both boys have fathers who are flawed and neither are really shown the love and affection a young boy needs.

As men both are overlooked and we see them navigate what can only be described as a nightmare of events for both of them..each always thinking of the other but never truly understanding the others motives..jealously and paranoia strike at every turn and while you hope for things to turn out ok nothing is going to stop the black events that are going to follow.

War and death stalk them…greed and the urge to show strength lead both men to do things they likely regret but can never admit.. to proud.. and scared to admit the truth…as they grow you see their hearts turn black, ever changed by the events that mould them into the men they are.

Knowing both authors styles I had no worries at all that the joint effort would be anything but a masterpiece, but they have surpassed all expectations and have given me a true highlight in what has been a pretty shitty year.. we’ve waited for this team up for sooooo long but it was worth the wait!

If you are a fan of the writers’ or just love the genre then I promise you will not be disappointed. It’s got the historic detail you won’t but mixed with a well woven and written plot that flowed almost effortlessly.

Oh, I loved it that much I pre-ordered a limtied editon signed copy from Parmenion Books (Parm was the 1st stop on the tour so do take a look and follow the tour)

5/5 Stars!

To find out more head to Goodreads or you can Pre-Order on Amazon!

My thanks go to both Simon and Gordon along with the publisher for the exciting opportunity to be one of the first to read the book but to also be part of the blog tour to celebrate the release!

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.

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Follow Simon

Twitter: @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.

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Follow Gordon

Twitter: @GordonDoherty

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

 

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Website: http://www.headofzeus.com

New Release! – Empires of Bronze: Thunder at Kadesh by Gordon Doherty – Review

Today I’m reviewing Empires of Bronze: Thunder at Kadesh by Gordon Doherty, book 3 in the Empires of Bronze series.

Here is the blurb –

1275 BC: Tensions between the Hittite and Egyptian Empires erupt and the two great superpowers mobilise for all-out war. Horns blare across the Hittite northlands and the dunes of Egypt rumble with the din of drums as each gathers an army of unprecedented size. Both set their eyes upon the border between their domains, and the first and most important target: a desert city whose name will toll through history. Kadesh!

Prince Hattu has lived in torment for years, plagued by the memory of his wife’s murder. Thoughts of her poisoner, Volca the Sherden – for so long safe and distant by Pharaoh Ramesses’ side – have sullied his dreams, blackened his waking hours and driven him to commit the darkest of deeds. Now that war is here, he at last has the chance to confront his nemesis and have his vengeance.

But as the ancient world goes to war, Hattu will learn that the cold, sweet kiss of revenge comes at a terrible price.

Review

To say I’ve eagerly been awaiting this release would be an understatement.. I just needed to know if Hattu would get his revenge on Volca for the murder of his wife.

Volca isn’t the only threat Hattu and the Hittite’s face after a failed attempt at peace with the Egyptian empire.

The Pharaoh is amassing an army.. he blames Hattu for the death of his brother and his only goal is to do what his father could not.. kill Hattu and every single Hittite if he has too!

The size of the armies is mind boggling, around 50 thousand on each side.. this really is the battle to end all battles..

Each side has their setbacks in the race to Kadesh, the staging point for the war. The first there holding the advantage.

We see some very interesting subplots going on with Volca worming is way in at any chance.. he really is vile but god he’s the perfect bad guy..his luck will run out one day but will it end there for Hattu? Not likely.. some people were born for battle.

Hattu himself is blind with vengeance.. King Muwa his brother can see this but Hattu doesn’t care… He just wants to see Volca die by his hand. For this reason Muwa nearly leaves him behind but the men of the Hittite army admire Hattu and the King needs them to be confident..strong..and he will take any help he can get.

The goddess Ishtar still plagues Hattu’s dreams but we do see a glimmer of hope arrive… I’m not going to spoil that one 😊 let’s just say things get interesting.

There are some brilliant twists and turns but eventually war will catch-up to Hattu.. and it’s brutal..each side use their wits to trick the other but at the cost of thousands of lives.

When all is said and done many friends will be dead.. but Ishtar has other plans for Hattu.. and more pain and bloodshed await.

What I love about Gordon’s work is that he never fails to offer up something epic.. something flawless and beautifully prefect… you can tell how much time he must put into these books.. there’s no way you could rattle a tale off like this without devoting yourself fully, no matter how good of a storyteller you are.. The author continues to put everything he has into his work and it pays off..you are right there with them in those destroyers alongside the men of Troy basking in the sun..what a sight those armies must have been.

I loved the detail given too when describing the different cultures, the vassal King’s and the way each group dressed.. the weapons they used.. that detail just sucked me in and had my own imagination firing.

The climax of the book reveals secrets you felt were coming.. but god it’s good.. there’s deception all around and it’s a good job Hattu has a goddess watching his back.

I know the day will come soon when we must say goodbye to Hattu.. history is already written.. but I can’t wait to see Gordon Doherty weave his magic with it. Just take my money now!

5/5 Stars!

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon.

Shield of the Rising Sun by Adam Lofthouse – Review

Today I’m reviewing Shield of the Rising Sun by Adam Lofthouse, the third book in the Path of Nemesis Series.

Here is the blurb :-

War still rages at the edge of empire while centurion Albinus Silus fights at its beating heart.

Gone is the boy who joined the legions. What remains is a man torn apart by the savagery of battle, the heartache of lost love.

He does not know what became of his wife, and now he must balance being both a soldier and a father.

And yet, for all his pain, he shall have to endure more than he ever thought he could. His valour in the northern wars has not gone unnoticed, and now he is to be given a special mission.

Marcus Aurelius’ star falls with his health. One day the sun will rise on his successor and son, Commodus. But he must be ready, must know what it is to lead. Centurion Albinus has been chosen to educate him.

From Pannonia to Rome, to the far reaches of the east, Albinus must protect Commodus from enemies both inside the empire and out.

Can he keep the Caesar safe? Can he nurture him, teach him what it is to be a man? Can he be The Shield of the Rising Sun?

Review

What a beautifully heart pulverising read! You’d be forgiven for assuming this tale followed on from the last instalment, same style, same pace.. wrong…it flows on but the style is different..It’s a thousand times better if that’s even possible since I’ve loved every book in the series.

I had high expectations based on previous offerings from the author but what a real treat they gave me this time… it’s not just the story of Albinus Silus.. It’s the story of Licina, Calvus, Habitus and so many more as we learn the fate of Albinus through the eyes of his son Faustus as told by the ever protective Calvus.

An air of melancholy surrounds Faustus and while we learn of a few events quickly.. some take more time to play out.. the wounds run deep.

Calvus has sworn to take care of Albinus’s boy no matter what.. it’s time he learned about the man his father was. As the plot progresses you really do see similarities between father and son.. they both struggle with being associated with their father..they feel as if they are in their shadow fighting to just be accepted as who they are.. but do they really know who they want to be?

What worked super well in the story is the historical setting…Young Commodus! Yes please. It was the perfect amount of historical detail weaved into a spectacular tale. It’s the kind of historical novel I like.. I love the historical detail, but I don’t always need reams of description. Sometime I just want action ha ha.

When I read the 1st book in the series I commented on the emotions Albinus and his solider brothers openly showed.. It wasn’t something I was used too.. I’m used to my soldiers farting, pissing and dying but in a bit of a turn of events it’s exactly what I needed in this instalment and the author got it spot on..I’ve been emotionally invested in these guys all along and I didn’t know it until it came to the end..the end hurt..like a sword thrust to the chest.. it hits hard.. and even through you knew all along something like this could happen you never thought the day would come.

I’ve read all of Adam Lofthouse’s books so far and every time I feel the same thing.. this is the best yet from him.. He always has me hooked… I never quite know where the plot will go and those twists give me the good old hand over mouth “oh sh*t” type moment.

What I want from a book.. what I need.. is that urge after reading it to tell everyone about it. If you get a knock at the door it will just be me selling Shield of the Rising Sun!

Buy a copy! 🙂

5/5 Stars!

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon.

 

 

 

 

RELEASE DAY!!!! The Northern Throne (Warrior Druid of Britain Book 3) by Steven A. McKay – Review

Today I’m reviewing The Northern Throne by Steven A. McKay, Book 3 in the Warrior Druid of Britain series! It’s just out today!!!

First things first.. that cover! I’m bloody well quoted on it!!! Now is that going to make me take it easy on McKay? No no no.. If my name is added to something it bloody better be a 5* read!

Here’s the blurb

Northern Britain, AD431, Spring.
Bellicus the Druid and his friend Duro, a former Roman centurion, have already suffered a great deal in recent years but, for them, things are about to get even worse.
Britain is changing. The Romans have gone and warriors from many different places seek to fill the void the legions left behind. In the south, the Saxons’ expansion seems unstoppable despite the efforts of the warlord Arthur, while north of Hadrian’s Wall various kings and chieftains are always looking to extend their borders.
In Dun Breatann, Bellicus believes the disparate northern tribes must put aside their differences, become allies, and face the Saxon threat together, under one High King. Or High Queen…
Small-minded men don’t always look at the bigger picture though, and, when Bellicus and Duro seek to form a pact with an old enemy, events take a shocking and terrible turn that will leave the companions changed forever.
This third volume in the Warrior Druid of Britain Chronicles is packed with adventure, battles, triumph, and tears, and at the end of it a new course will be set for Bellicus.
But at what cost?

Review

Times are changing for Bellicus.. the land is in turmoil, the Druid order’s reach is being curtailed by the growing Christian faith and there is a real threat being posed by the Saxon’s. The only way to save Alt Clota along with his ways is if everyone bands together to face the Saxon threat..but that’s easier said than done.

No one trusts each other and there is more than one person who feels they should be High King.. Or Queen.

Bellicus sets out to unite the people and face the threat head on and that means joining the warlord Arthur.. he is in great need of men and Bellicus and Duro are just the ones to help!

Clearly things aren’t going to just go their way..that’s the way of war.. and it wouldn’t be much of a story if it did..we see our heroes face probably their biggest challenge to date. I was torn as I read, I felt a wedge growing and was dreading either one not making it out alive.. or simply parting ways.

I’m going to skip Bellicus a little.. not that he isn’t a major part of book because he clearly is.. but Duro.. my god Duro.. what a guy.. this is his book for me. He has got to go through some of the worst trials in his life and that’s saying something after losing his wife.

Bellicus has his own challenges to face, mainly being human.. I think the power given to a Druid made Bellicus a little blind at times and he’s certainly knocked down a peg or two as he is shown his own weaknesses.

I’m a big fan of flow.. a book has to progress at the right speed but McKay did something I didn’t see coming. He’s used recent events of the global pandemic/lockdown to feed his plot..lets just say Duro has some hard times ahead.. our lockdown is nothing compared to his ordeal. Was I bored? Did I skim read.. NO! McKay managed to keep the story flowing even when I didn’t see/feel it.. I was just honestly hooked in.

I really don’t want to spoil the plot at all but I was very pleased to see Cai make his “mark”.. who doesn’t love a faithful hound?? I’m also already in love with Aife, A Pict who I’m sure we will be seeing more of… She is clearly one to watch.

As a fan of the author when he started this series I was torn a bit.. I loved the comfort of his Forest Lord series and Robin Hood but that only had so much life in it… The Druid series has given the author the time to showcase his skills more..it feels like anything is possible.

For the people of Alt Clota war is coming.. it’s going to be brutal for sure and the build-up has been immense and gripping. For the actions junkies there is definitely some heart stopping moments. (you know, those moments you stop reading, sit up and focus, take a breath before continuing) and a few good twists thrown in there.

One thing I really liked about the book was the detail.. the numbers given to the warbands. You imagine a fight scene with hundreds..thousands.. sometimes all it takes is 20!

Overall I think this book packed a punch, the author manged to give me exactly what I needed but at the same time through some curve balls to give me a little scare… remember no one lives forever.

The plot was superb and leaves me in little doubt more will follow..

I eagerly wait the next instalment!

5/5 Stars!

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon.

 

NEW RELEASE – Empires of Bronze – Dawn of War by Gordon Doherty – Review!

Today I’m wishing Gordon Doherty a very happy publication day as we see the release of Dawn of War, book2 in the Empires of Bronze series.

If you’re not familiar with the series, you can read my review of book 1 in the series – Son of Ishtar here 😊

Now..on to the new book 😊

Here’s the burb –

1294 BC: The fragile accord between the Hittite and Egyptian empires is crumbling. The ancient world braces itself for war on an unprecedented scale. Prince Hattu, the greatest of the Hittite generals, suffers dreams of terrible consequences – conjured by the Goddess Ishtar. But Hattu refuses to accept her prophecies, adamant that there is one last chance for peace.

This fragile hope lies in the borderlands of the east, where the two rival empires touch. Hattu gathers a chosen band and sets out for this distant, blistering desert land, determined and defiant. Yet the further he ventures, the darker and more twisted his mission becomes. Old ghosts rise around him and Ishtar haunts his every move.

The Goddess’ divinations cannot be avoided, men say. Hattu will walk through fire to prove them wrong.

Review

Wow! Now this is the kind of story I want as the author ramps up the odds against Prince Hattu.

Hattu is haunted by the Goddess Ishtar who saved his life when he was born… it came at a price.. a price that is still to be paid. He refuses to believe the prophecies put forth and will do anything to prove them wrong.

With the evil Volca out of the way there is a kind of peace for the Hittites but it’s not going to last long.

It soon becomes clear the Egyptians are on the war path and with Hattu now one of the Hittite’s best generals, he sets out to secure alliances but all he will find is hardship.

Along the way many will die… those trusted will show their true colours..and in the end it will leave Hattu broken.

Once again Gordon has provided the reader a real treat! Beautifully written and packed with detail..so much so I can’t believe it’s not an 800 page tome! Gordon just knows exactly the right mix of detail and plot to keep the tale flowing.

The detail of the differences between the armies, the structure, what they wear.. it all made for a fascinating immersive tale.

I highlighted lots of text while reading… why? Oh my god.. some of the things Hattu and other men are put through are horrendous and I paused quite often to share these events with my wife.. the details of torture were just brutal.. you just can’t imagine anyone doing these things to another.

The Sherdan Volca doesn’t stay quiet for long either and has a very big part to play. Will Hattu ever get the revenge he needs? I’m not sure he will if I’m honest.

During the journey Hattu forges new friendships and I loved the bond that was created between the Hittites and the Kaskan warriors. I also really enjoyed the addition of Iranzi who ends up being someone Hattu can really rely on.

War is still coming but after the events in this book I’m left wondering how will Hattu come back from the brink.. and will that bastard Volca ever die? He has more lives than a cat! Ha

Two of the main characters really came to life in my mind. Pharoah Seti.. at first blinded by greed…then vengeance. King Muwa also shines through. There’s a scene in the tin mines that really cements Muwa as being a great leader.. he’s not prefect.. no one is.. but he will do anything to show his people they can survive..that he can save them all.. even if it’s not true he knows just how to get the people on side.

Oh, side note for the author.. I think I’ll have nightmares about getting stuck in a small space now..cheers for that.. either that or spiders…urghhhh.. again cheers! Ha.

For me Gordon is simply a master with wordplay.. he knows how to write a tale in such a way it will never leave you. I think I’m going to need a better bookshelf at this rate to hold all his books!

The best and most brutal from Gordon to date.. loved it!

5/5 Stars!

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon.

 

 

Athour Spotlight – Steven. A. McKay plus review!

It’s been a while since I’ve done a little author spotlight..lets rectify that now as I welcome author Steven A. McKay to my blog. Keep reading for my lastest review as well!!

Steven is author of the brilliant Forest Lord series and now The Warrior Druid of Britain series. Not to forget if you are a fan of Audible you should check out his Roman slave tale Lucia!

Let’s get on with the Q&A.. Welcome!!

So I’ve a few questions I hope you won’t mind answering.

After the success of the Forest Lord series it must have been quite daunting starting a fresh new series. Did you worry at all and how has the new series been received?

Yes, it was a bit of a wrench to leave behind my Forest Lord series. Not just because I had really grown to know and love the characters, but because it had done so well for me in terms of sales and reviews. There’s always a chance any new series won’t garner as much interest so, yeah, I was a bit apprehensive of starting a new book with all new characters. But then I began writing The Druid and I realised I was enjoying it immensely – that’s always a good sign! If a book is fun to write, and the characters really entertain you as the author, well, readers might enjoy it too.

I’d say most of my readers like the druid books even more than they did the Forest Lord ones, although some, like you I believe, prefer the latter. As a writer you always want to improve, and create better stories, but it’s also nice to know your previous work has also really touched someone and given them a few hours of entertainment.

N.b – I love them both for very different reasons but without the Firest Lord series we may never have seen you develop and produce The Druid… 5* books every last one!

 

For those who don’t know about your latest series what would you say to entice them to pick up a copy?

I think it’s set in a period of history that isn’t really that well covered in fiction – post-Roman Britain. It was called the “dark ages” for a long time, but people are now beginning to realise that civilisation didn’t just completely collapse when the Romans left this island. Things changed, of course, and quite drastically, but everyone didn’t become a mad savage overnight – they still had culture and religion and so on and it’s interesting to explore all that. Then of course you add in my main characters like the giant warrior druid Bellicus, little princess Catia, the former centurion Duro, dangerous Saxons Horsa and Hengist, and all the various kings of the time (even Arthur makes a small appearance in the first book) and, well, they’re the perfect guides to Britain in the fifth century.

Apart from all that, the books are free on Kindle Unlimited so if you have a membership why not check them out? They are a great way to escape all the lockdown bleakness just now.

 

Now I can’t ignore the obvious going on around us. The dreaded COVID19. How are things for you? Many may think this is an ideal time for writing but I know you’ve an important day job.

Important day job? It depends on what you mean by important. It pays my mortgage, but even in these times when so-called “unskilled” workers are finally gaining recognition, I don’t know if a part-time gas and electric meter reader would be classed as that important, ha! But my company told us we weren’t to go out working about 5 weeks ago now, so me and the family have been staying home. Yeah, there’s lots of free time to write, but when there’s so much fear and uncertainty going around, it’s extremely hard to get into the right frame of mind to sit down and work on a novel.

Last week, I decided to write a new Warrior Druid of Britain short story to give away to my email list subscribers and, honestly, that was great. There was no real pressure, I just had to write something fun and entertaining with the specific idea of entertaining myself and my subscribers and the result was “Over The Wall”. My readers enjoyed it and I thought it was good too, so I’ve expanded and polished it and since it was set at Beltane, I’ve decided to make it available on Kindle this May 1st  – Beltane! Complete with a professional new cover.

It was really enjoyable to write and kinda focused my mind so I’ve been able to get back onto the novel writing again this week and book 3 in the druid series is coming along nicely.

N.b – All jobs are important if they pay the bills! Ha and look out for my review of Over The Wall… Keep scrolling!!!

over the wall medium

Giving the current situation I’ve seen authors have release dates pushed back by their publishers. What’s your take? Me personally I’ve been looking for more books than ever and really do see these luxuries a way to keep us indoors safe.. Ebooks even more so.

Yeah, I agree, it seems a bit strange NOT to publish a new book if it’s all ready to go. Personally, I’ve had a Kindle Unlimited subscription for a long time but I’ve only started to really use it in the last month. I’ve read lots of books on things like ghosts and the unexplained, purely to take my mind off all the scary stuff in real life just now. So, when everyone is stuck at home, looking to be entertained, why not give them new books to read? It seems like publishers are shooting themselves in the foot in that regard, but then hardly any of my sales come from actual print books. About 95% of my readers do it via Kindle so I’m thinking of it in that sense – maybe the big publishers would lose out on a lot of business if they couldn’t have a launch party for a hardback? I don’t know. I suppose, if there’s less books coming out, there’s more chance people will find my back catalog so…

Whats your plans for the next book.. Will we see Bellicus return? he’s got plenty fight left in him?

He’s still in his twenties, so I think he has many years left to kick ass. Duro is older, although, sadly, even though he’s the veteran centurion, he’s a few years younger than me! But yes, Bellicus and Duro are both back in the next book and they’re facing a very tough time. I don’t want to give away too much, but the plot so far has been influenced by what’s happening in the real world just now so it’s pretty bleak in places. But, as anyone who’s read my previous books will know, I always like my characters to live in hopes of prevailing, no matter how dark their circumstances. So, I’m about a third finished and I don’t know how it will end, but I’m sure the gods won’t abandon our heroes!

N.B – I’ve always felt Bellius as a little older… I guess it’s the respect he commands and his presence…certainly he’s far wiser than I was in my twenties! ha

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Any chance of any more Robin Hood themed short tales? You have quite a talent for the novella I must say?

Thank you! Yes, I like writing the shorter things as there’s not so much to keep track of, it can all be a bit more linear. My last one, Faces of Darkness was really well received – I think it has the highest average rating of any of my books on Amazon UK, so, although novellas and novelettes never sell as well as novels, it’s great to know that readers appreciate them. It spurs me on to create more in a similar vein so yes, there will be more Forest Lord novellas. I already have a basic outline for another Friar Tuck/Little John mystery, again, like Faces of Darkness based on a real criminal case which I heard about on a podcast. I would expect it to be published in the autumn or winter, all being well with the next druid novel coming out before it in the summer.

If you’re anything like me I’m sure you’ve not had much downtime since lockdown but what have you been doing to keep yourself and the family busy? I know you like your guitars? I’ve never learned to play… I really should.

Oh yes, my guitars have been a really good way for me to escape reality. There’s been a few times, particularly at the start of the lockdown, when I started to feel quite stressed and fearful, and I’d pick up one of my guitars and just start playing along to Metallica or some old death metal song and I’d completely lose myself in the music. Not for very long, but enough to let me relax and really chill out. I’d recommend you start learning an instrument given all this free time we have!
Other than that, my family keep me busy – there’s always another meal to cook, or clothes to be washed, or stories to be read, and there’s the home-schooling thing too just now. I’ve actually never been bored at all, which is pretty incredible. Any time I do feel like quiet time, like I say I’ve been reading stuff on Kindle or browsing the creepy  r/unresolvedmsyteries pages on Reddit.

This post is of course a way for me to highlight your awesome books but if you had to pick someone who you think is on fire at the moment in the book world who would it be?

Well, I don’t read much fiction anymore since I have to spend most of my reading time on research for my own books – even in lockdown I’ve been mostly reading non-fiction. I have been really impressed, and pleased, with Matthew Harffy’s rise though. His newest book, Wolf of Wessex, was a cracking read which I was happy to endorse and now he’s even got a TV series in the works which is probably every writer’s dream. I won’t deny I’m jealous of that success, but not in a bad way – he’s a good guy and supports other authors and he likes Iron Maiden so good luck to him!

 

Lastly, If Bellicus was here today.. would he have any words of wisdom?

I tend to think of Bellicus and Friar Tuck in a similar way, since they’re both hard, fighting men who represent a higher power. I think Tuck’s wise words to Robin in my second novel, The Wolf and the Raven are particularly appropriate for all of us in these frightening times. I wrote that book when I was going through a very tough period in my own life since our second child had just been stillborn, and this particular line of Tuck’s was as much for me as it was for Robin, who’d been beaten, imprisoned and was very close to breaking point:

His eyes welled up, but he angrily wiped them, not giving in to the self-pity that threatened to overwhelm him and he remembered Tuck’s words from not so long ago: “Never give up hope!”

He clenched his fists and forced a smile into the oppressive darkness. It would take more than this to break Robin Hood.

Never give up hope everyone, and stay safe.

If you’d like to sign up for my email list and receive a FREE Forest Lord short story, “The Rescue”, along with regular chances to win signed books, posters, mugs and Audible downloads click here: http://eepurl.com/bqatb5


 

I’d like to give a big thank you to Steven for appearing on my blog today and what better way can I do that then with a review for his lastest book Over The Wall..

Here’s the blurb

Beltane, AD425
Northern Britain

Midnight approaches and in Dun Breatann’s great hall the Beltane feasting continues, with stories and songs and as much meat and ale as anyone could wish for.
On the western side of the towering fortress however, ten small figures make their way up the shadowy rock. Armed to the teeth, and hand-picked for their particular, deadly skills, these warriors have travelled far across the sea from Dalriada and are utterly focused on their mission, despite the fact most – perhaps all – of them will die this night.
High above, guards patrol the fortress walls as usual, but they expect yet another quiet shift for, as everyone knows, Dun Breatann is impregnable.
Isn’t it?

Review

Over The Wall is a 31 page novella, part of the author’s Warrior Druid series. Written during the lockdown of 2020.

As night falls and drink is flowing King Coroticus’s enemies approach..

Will these dark assassins manage to carry out their plan? it’s almost certain death for them.

What they don’t know is that Bellicus and his trusty hound Eolas are in attendance in the great hall.

31 pages isn’t a lot to fit a story in to but McKay manged it perfectly leaving me eager for the next book in the series to come out.

The plot was fun and the story linking with the Trojan horse fit perfectly.

McKay always manages to give life to characters, even in such a short space of time and I loved the interactions with Gavo, the captain of the guard.. I love that guy.

A fun novella which any fan will be excited to read.. and if you are anything like me it will have you rereading the series.. I need another Bellicus fix and fast.

5* Novella!

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon