Tag Archives: Historical Fiction

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 Fort by Adrian Goldsworthy – REVIEW

Today I’m taking part in the blog tour for The Fort by Adrian Goldsworthy.

Why not follow the tour?

Let’s ger started!

Here is the blurb –

Genre – Historical Fiction

AD 105: DACIA

The Dacian kingdom and Rome are at peace, but no one thinks that it will last. Sent to command an isolated fort beyond the Danube, centurion Flavius Ferox can sense that war is coming, but also knows that enemies may be closer to home.

Many of the Brigantes under his command are former rebels and convicts, as likely to kill him as obey an order. And then there is Hadrian, the emperor’s cousin, and a man with plans of his own…

Gritty, gripping and profoundly authentic, The Fort is the first book in a brand new trilogy set in the Roman empire from bestselling historian Adrian Goldsworthy.

Review

Centurion Flavius Ferox is sent to an isolated fort beyond the Danube. From the moment he arrives he has a bad feeling about things. Many of the veteran soldiers are being recalled now Ferox has arrived, and the men he has brought with him are a ragtag bunch to say the least. Some even want to kill him!

Ferox is the main focus of the tale and I loved the man. He’s the kind of solider you know will make it through..but by the skin of his teeth.. it’s not going to be an easy ride for him. His relationship with his wife also gave extra depth to the man as we see a different side to him and this leads to some very humorous moments which I loved reading.

Hadrian was another fun character.. he’s very astute and ambitious, he’s not above using men’s lives to get what he wants.

Brasus is another character who stands out, he may be one of the enemy, his task to break into the fort and slaughter..but I feel he ends up being one of the most likable characters, there’s air of respect around him.

For me it’s all about the siege..it plays a big part in the tale but is paced so perfectly you are never bored. If anything you just feel the frustration Ferox must have felt, powerless, stuck and searching for an idea to get them out of this mess!

The approach of switching perspectives helped keep the storying flowing nicely too. The testing of the siege weapons is a particular favourite of mine and there was some wonderful detail added on what methods the defenders used to repel the attackers which really had the imagination firing. If you are a fan of siege craft you’ll enjoy this one for sure!

What I really enjoyed was the relationships, the character development and the fact the author held no love for anyone, with more than one meeting their end in a gruesome way which gave it the gritty realness of war.

The author showed a real talent being able to balance the plot with historic detail, it was perfectly mixed so the flow of the story was effortless and the chapter length just right. One night I even had to force myself to bed as it was after midnight and I had work in the morning but the story just sucks you in..its always “oh one more chapter”

Thoroughly enjoyable 5/5 Stars

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon

My thanks go to the author and the publisher Head of Zeus for the ARC and for allowing me to be part of the blog tour!


About the author

Adrian Goldsworthy , Author , Broadcaster , Historical consultant .Publicity photographs for general PR and bookcovers

Adrian Goldsworthy has a doctorate from Oxford University. His first book, THE ROMAN ARMY AT WAR was recognised by John Keegan as an exceptionally impressive work, original in treatment and impressive in style. He has gone on to write several other books, including THE FALL OF THE WEST, CAESAR, IN THE NAME OF ROME, CANNAE and ROMAN WARFARE, which have sold more than a quarter of a million copies and been translated into more than a dozen languages. A full-time author, he regularly contributes to TV documentaries on Roman themes.

Follow Head of Zeus:

Twitter: @HoZ_Books

Instagram: @headofzeus

Facebook: @headofzeus

Website: http://www.headofzeus.com

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!

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!

Blog Tour – A Time for Swords by Matthew Harffy

Today is my turn on the blog tour for A Time for Swords by Matthew Harffy!

Follow the tour –

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Here is the blurb –

Genre – Historical Fiction

Lindisfarne, AD793.

There had been portents – famine, whirlwinds, lightning from clear skies, serpents seen flying through the air. But when the raiders came, no one was prepared.

They came from the North, their dragon-prowed longships gliding out of the dawn mist as they descended on the kingdom’s most sacred site.

It is 8th June AD793, and with the pillage of the monastery on Lindisfarne, the Viking Age has begun.

While his fellow monks flee before the Norse onslaught, one young novice stands his ground. He has been taught to turn the other cheek, but faced with the slaughter of his brothers and the pagan desecration of his church, forgiveness is impossible.

Hunlaf soon learns that there is a time for faith and prayer . . . and there is a time for swords.

Review

Now we all know Matthew Harffy is a master wordsmith. The Bernicia Chronicles has to be one of my favourite sagas and The Wolf of Wessex packs a punch, so of course I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a copy of his latest work… A Time for Swords.

Word of warning, I don’t like spoilers but I can’t help but give little tit bits away on this one.  Otherwise, I can’t do the review justice. Do not worry, I’ll be sure to keep it to a minimum 😊

This is a fresh tale for the author who moves away from his well-established characters to bring us the tale of Hunlaf, a monk, forced to stand tall when the Norse attack!

Oh, you miss Beobrand and his Black Shields just as much as me? Don’t worry.. the author adds some really nice touches to the tale.. it might not be Beobrand’s tale but his legend lives on! It’s this gentle nod the author gives to his tales that really make you appreciate the effort he makes.. he’s writing these tales for you.. he knows exactly what you want to hear.

Hunlaf, where to start. God I loved his character. He loves nothing more than a good book (who doesn’t? 😊 ) and lives a life under the protection of God. Along with his mentor Leofstan he visits Lindisfarne after a exciting discovery is made… only to have his life turned on end.

The Norse attack.. and it’s brutal.. savage.. gut wrenching. This might be a work of fiction but it’s based on real facts..The Norse really did attack, rape, pillage and murder and while we can never really know how it would have felt at the time to see it through Hunlaf’s eyes was hard to swallow.

This battle is a turning point in Hunlaf’s life as he makes a stand in order to save his cousin..he’s not a warrior though.. or does he hold that fire within him to run towards danger rather than away from it?

An unlikely ally emerges from the smoke and fire.. a heathen devil called Runolf. Hunlaf is torn..does he truly believe this man was brought to him by God to help..or does he just not want to see other people die needlessly.

Either way the Norse will return, of that is there is no doubt… they know the riches the monks have. Can Runolf and Hunlaf really stand up against an onslaught?

Help isn’t easy to come by. No one knows when the Norse will return. There’s just not enough fighting men to go around.. It’s all on Hunlaf and a small band of men to turn the tide.

This little band of men really bloody excited me, each have their own talent and purpose for being and they are here to defend those who cannot defend themselves.

Hereward, a man I loathed at first.. his role is to lead and on his head be it if Runlof should disgrace his lord.

Drosten, a man of few words.. he prefers to let his fists do the talking.

Gwawrddur, whose skill with a blade cannot be matched.

Cormac, the cocky one with skill but who also needs to keep his temper in check.

When the battle comes it’s intense and there’s a beauty of a twist thrown in. It’s a twist I hoped for if I’m honest..Let’s see if you can spot which twist I’m referring to 😊

Now the ending! Come on! It’s killing me already.. I need more ha. What the author manages quite brilliantly to do is to leave a cliff-hanger so perfect..it’s designed so well for the author he can either write a sequel or leave it as a standalone… Although I do hope this isn’t the end.

Truthfully, I’ve read everything Matthew Harffy has published. I’ve been a fan from day one. A Time for Swords is the best yet from him and quite easily a top read of 2020! Harffy never fails to deliver, every offering is new and refreshing but you instantly feel at home with his writing and warm to the characters.

Flawless!

5/5 Stars!

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon!

My thanks as ever go to the author, the publisher and also NetGalley  for the chance of an advance copy of the book. As always I’ve purchased my own copy on the day of release.. there’s no free rides with me. I’ve even pre-ordered the hardback version for the collection 😊


About the author

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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

 

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Sworn to God by Steven A. McKay – Review

So David’s Book Blurg has been absent of late. 2020 has been a tough year for us all and like many I’ve had my own share of personal events to deal with. While real life takes priority I’ve still been reading and I’m excited to get back to reviewing and sharing my thoughts with everyone.

I’m coming back with a bang!

Today I’m going to be reviewing Sworn to God by Steven A. McKay.

Here is the blurb –

Genre – Historical Thriller

Yorkshire, AD 1329
A new religious group moves into an abandoned church just north of the village of Altofts, but when men start dying under strange and suspicious circumstances the local bailiff decides to investigate.

The Disciples of God and their charismatic leader, Lady Alice de Staynton, appear truly holy, but something sinister seems to be going on within the walls of the newly refurbished St Joseph’s. Certainly the bailiff, John Little, has his suspicions about some of the warrior-like male acolytes, but are his fears justified? Infiltrating the group seems to be the best course of action, although the volatile Will Scaflock is none too happy about being nominated for the job by Friar Tuck…
Following on from 2019’s Faces of Darkness, this standalone new story sees three legendary heroes battling invisible ‘Black Lords’ and far more dangerous earthly foes, but can they figure out what’s really going on in St Joseph’s before anyone else dies?

Review

Steven A. McKay is back and he’s revisiting some of our favourite characters from his Forest Lord Series.

Friar Tuck has been pulled into a couple of mysteries over the years along with Little John but in Sworn to God we see the lovely addition of Will “Scarlet” Scaflock.

It’s been a few years since the notorious group of men lead by Robin Hood gained their freedom and lives back. Little John has settled into the life of a bailiff, his stature and presence make it very unlikely he’s going to walk away without the money he’s owed but on one fateful day his job casts lights on the Disciples of God.. There is something strange going on.

The Disciples of God are a new order in the area and John wants to know what they are about.. even more so when one of their order takes their own life… John is soon introduced to the charismatic Lady Alice. She’s got this aura about her that draws people to her.

I won’t spoil all the details but lets just say things don’t smell right and when another suicide occurs John, along with Tuck know it’s time to dig deeper into the disciples.

Will is enlisted into the group as an unknown to Lady Alice, this way he’s able to infiltrate the group. What he learns is that for the most part the disciples are honest individuals and believe in the work they do.. but there is still something not sitting right…but what is it.

Things come to a head, and a few discoveries are made that shake the disciples to the core. For the most part you feel as our heroes do.. we know whose behind it all.. but we don’t know the motivations or how to prove anything… you can feel the frustration.

The author throws in a final twist and all becomes clear..

Wow. That ending..

I really enjoyed the plot from start to finish, it really explores the affect that individuals can have on those most in need…when times are tough..how you can be blind to what is going on all around you.

I love this series of books, there is simply no denying that. It’s the thrilling plot mixed with some characters we know and love, it puts a real twist on the normal style of mystery you’d read. It’s fresh and fun, thrilling and brutal all in one.

Overall a really fun way to develop the characters and it just bloody works brilliantly!

More of the same please!

5/5 Stars!

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon!