Tag Archives: History

Dissolution (Matthew Shardlake #1) by C.J. Sansom – Review

Next up for review on David’s Book Blurg is Dissolution, book 1 in the Matthew Shardlake series by C.J. Sansom. Here’s the blurb :-

Genre – Historical/Crime
Pages – 464 Pages
My Rating 5/5 Stars

Henry VIII has proclaimed himself Supreme Head of the Church and the country is waking up to savage new laws, rigged trials and the greatest network of informers ever seen. Under the order of Thomas Cromwell, a team of commissioners is sent through the country to investigate the monasteries. There can only be one outcome: the monasteries are to be dissolved. But on the Sussex coast, at the monastery of Scarnsea, events have spiralled out of control. Cromwell’s Commissioner Robin Singleton, has been found dead, his head severed from his body. His horrific murder is accompanied by equally sinister acts of sacrilege – a black cockerel sacrificed on the alter, and the disappearance of Scarnsea’s Great Relic. Dr Matthew Shardlake, lawyer and long-time supporter of Reform, has been sent by Cromwell into this atmosphere of treachery and death. But Shardlake’s investigation soon forces him to question everything he hears, and everything that he intrinsically believes . . .

Review

My wife picked this up for my birthday based on the cover alone..she thought it looked like a book I would like, and boy was she right!

Matthew Shardlake a lawyer by trade has been sent by Thomas Cromwell to investigate the death of Robin Singleton. Singleton was also under the employ of Cromwell and it’s Shardlake’s job to find out what happened to the man.

Shardlake was a great character, flawed but smart with it. He’s the Columbo/Quincy, M.E. of his day (Side note..I loved those shows, they don’t make them like that any more!) sent out to talk to witnesses and to dig out the truth no matter what.

The pieces slowly come together to bring you the full picture but there’s a few twists along the way to keep you guessing until the final reveal.

The book is set during the reign of Henry VIII and the Dissolution of the Monasteries so you get a bit of a history lesson too. You might think you would get overwhelmed with the era but not so, there’s a perfect mix of historical reference mixed with plot.

Shardlake has his health issues which actually works in his favour sometimes as people dismiss him as no one worth bothering about but he’s as sharp as they come.

Great pace and a brilliant plot to match. This is a series I want on my bookshelf for sure!

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon.

 

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Blog Tour – Vitellius’ Feast by L. J. Trafford (@TraffordLj) #VitelliusFeast

Vitellius' Feast - Blog Tour Poster.png

Today I’m taking part in the blog tour for Vitellius’ Feast by L. J. Trafford the final book in the Four Emperors series.

I’ve been a big fan of the authors work since reading the first book in the series and I’ve eagerly been awaiting this installment.

Here’s the blurb

Genre – Historical Fiction
Pages- 464
My Rating – 5/5 Stars

AD 69. As this most dramatic year draws to a close, now is the time to choose a definitive side. Whilst Vitellius enjoys the trappings of power around him, machinations are afoot. In the East, Vespasian has his eye on the throne, but he needs help preparing Rome for his plans and, for his teenage son Domitian, protection from Vitellius’ agents. With her characteristic flair, and lashings of skulduggery, sex, brutality, and humour, L. J. Trafford brings her Roman quartet, tracing the Year of the Four Emperors, to a spectacular conclusion.

Now reading the first 3 books in the series is a must! check out my reviews here for more details :-

Book 1 – Palatine

Book 2 – Galba’s Men

Book 3 Otho’s Regret

Review

Vitellius’ Feast is the final installment of the Four Emperors series by L. J. Trafford. 69AD in Rome must have been a tough time with four emperors holding power within the same year after the suicide of the emperor Nero.

After the tragic demise of emperor Otho we now have Vitellius on his way to Rome to take his place of power, but little do the people know how utterly useless this man will be and within a few sort months will find himself in deep trouble.

During 69AD it seemed like anyone with a few men could try to make claim to the throne and after some questionable movements of troops Vitellius quickly loses any support he might have been able to get from the legions in the east who proclaim Vespasian their emperor.

With this in mind you know there will be a plot to remove Vitellius as quickly as possible with minimal bloodshed but planning takes time and it never goes smoothly. During this period we see who Vitellius really is, quite a vile man who is more interested in abusing his workforce than seeing the paperwork done to keep Rome running. He parties the nights away without concern until it’s too late.

What the author manages to do so well is weave a tale of known facts with her own input with the characters based right in the middle of the action. This serves to give you not only a cracking read but also helps you learn something about history that I for one never knew about until I starting reading this series.

My favorite character Philo is back and is caught right in the middle of a plot that could see him hanged for treason. He’s got a family to worry about now but Philo knows what he has to do.

Now if you follow my reviews you’ll know I love Philo the most but Vitellius’s Feast is a tale that belongs to another. Sporus…I’m not going to lie..I  never really took a liking to Sporus until now..but in this book he shines through as you learn more about him and the reason behind his attitude in life. His part in this tale is a tough read and I find myself with a new-found respect for the man, the pain he endures must have been unbearable.

Trafford manages to breathe life to history and gives a voice to those who no longer have one. As much as events in the previous books have been quite brutal I think this one is the darkest and most vivid of all and it really shows you the dark time Rome was facing.

It’s been one hell of a journey which I’m sad has come to an end but this is definitely a series to keep on the book shelf to read again and to rave about to friends and family. Trafford’s style of writing makes the book so easy to read and 400 plus pages goes by in a flash.

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon.

My thanks go to the publishers, The Book Publicist and the author for having me on the blog tour and for the advanced copy of the book for review! 

The Blood Road (Legionary #7) by Gordon Doherty (@GordonDoherty) – Review #HistFic

Today I’m reviewing The Blood Road (Legionary #7) by Gordon Doherty, here’s the blurb

Genre – Historical Fiction 
Pages – 345 pages
My Rating – 5/5 Stars

381 AD: The Gothic War draws to a brutal climax, and the victor’s name will be written in blood…

The great struggle between the Eastern Roman Empire and the Gothic Horde rumbles into its fifth year. It seems that there can be no end to the conflict, for although the Goths are masters of the land, they cannot topple the last of the imperial cities. But heralds bring news that might change it all: Emperor Gratian readies to lead his Western legions into the fray, to turn matters on their head, to crush the horde and save the East!

The men of the XI Claudia legion long for their homeland’s salvation, but Tribunus Pavo knows these hopes drip with danger. For he and his soldiers are Gratian’s quarry as much as any Goth. The road ahead will be fraught with broken oaths, enemy blades… and tides of blood.

Review

Usually when I read a book I make a few key notes to help when writing the review. I just wasn’t able to with this book.. because I couldn’t put it down long enough to write even one word. The only way to describe this book is simply tremendous!

It says something about the writer when they are able to keep a series going..and to keep it fresh and interesting.. It just never feels like the end for Pavo will ever come, even though I know one day this great series will draw to an end. That will be a sad day indeed!

But for now at least we have a new book in the series! The Blood Road, book 7 in the series. The situation with the goths is turbulent to say the least but it’s time to draw an end to the war as the western and eastern armies clash with the goths with heavy losses felt on both sides. Emperor Gratian wants to be the saviour but just how much is he willing to sacrifice to ensure glory?

I really enjoyed the warfare in the tale which was easy to immerse myself in and get lost. I’m no historian but I loved the detail of the places, weapons, clothes the author put into the tale. All of which make the story feel real as you can imagine it in your mind’s eye.

Fans of a good battle will love this tale as there’s plenty of detailed battles, and when I say detailed I mean both factual and down right engrossing man vs man to the end type of fights when your heart pumps so hard your chest will burst.

Caught in the middle of everything is Pavo who has made himself quite the enemy in Emperor Gratian and Pavo has to do his very best to stay out of harms way…in doing so he puts everyone he cares about in danger but the only way to stop things is to help end the war! but if you know the author then you’ll already know not everyone will come out of this unscathed.

There’s twists as usual from the author that really do keep you hooked and that ending had me fuming! how could you leave us like that Mr Doherty! ha.

Overall a smash hit of a book that continues to add to an already riveting series! Detailed enough to please fans who enjoy historical details but not so much as to alienate those who prefer the thrill of the plot and warfare. Gordon Doherty always has that knack of writing things exactly how I like it and long may it continue.

Hats off to the author, simply wondrous.

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon.

The Centurion’s Son by Adam Lofthouse – Review

Today I’m reviewing The Centurion’s Son by Adam Lofthouse.

Here’s the blurb –

Genre – Historical Fiction/Romance.

Amazon Verified Purchase.

My Rating – 4/5 Stars.

Albinus, the son of a revered Roman veteran Silus, has always longed to be a farmer, not a soldier, and live his days ploughing and reaping the harvests, with his bride-to-be, Licina. But Silus’ has darker ambitions, for Albinus to follow in his footsteps in the army.

But, as the conflicts between father and son come to a head, a growing threat comes down from the vengeful Germanic tribes to the north. Just as Albinus and Licina are about to marry, their settlement is raided by barbarians and Silus and his veteran comrades are brutally killed, while Licina is kidnapped by the raiders and taken to their king as a gift.

Believing her to be alive, Albinus sets out on a quest to find Licina, finally fulfilling his father’s wishes as training as a soldier, even as he is spurred to avenge his father’s death. As the barbarian hordes gather and plan major rebellion against the Romans, Albinus finds a new fighting spirit within him and grows in stature among the legionaries.

Licina meanwhile has a fight of her own, to escape from slavery and find Albinus. Time is running out, as the northern tribes head for Rome, decimating everything in their path…

Review

Albinus is the son of a famous Centurion but he’s nothing like his father..he’s just not cut out to be a solider and because of this the tension between them could be cut with a knife.

Silus, Albinus’s father, is retired and has set up a nice little place for his son and former colleagues to live out the rest of their days. During an outing to secure supplies for the community we get our first glimpse of the differences between the two. Albinus wants to make his dad proud but he just can’t see any way to do it.

The plot moves quickly as two Romans are captured as slaves.. will Silus help free them? The choice made haunts Albinus for a time and I’m sure he will never come to terms with it.

We next see a few really good plot developments as a strange figure appears, he’s got an agenda and is willing to do anything to make sure events play out the way he wants. At the same time we also see an enemy of Silus plot revenge for what he sees as a past wrong to be put right. These events lead Albinus and Silus down very different paths and is the making of Albinus.

Silus is now dead with Licina, Albinus’s love interest, taken. Albinus sets out to be the man his father would have always wanted. It’s time to join up and become a solider.

The story is told from different perspectives and this made for a fun read and you can see things developing quickly. You’d get engrossed and just at the right point the author would switch focus building the excitement and ramping up the suspense.

I really enjoyed the book. At times the soldiers were a bit too lovey dovey for my tastes, I prefer my soldiers to be rocks and simple nod or grunt to show affection ha.

The plot certainly has promise and I’d like to see where Albinus ends up. The development of this plot really made it what it is..and to top it off it’s a very easy-going read so someone of a younger age wouldn’t struggle with the language or word count.

A good read and an author who shows promise in the areas I like.. keep switching perspective to build on that strong plot that’s developing and you’ll have me back for the rest of the series when published 🙂

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon

The Cold Light Of Dawn by Anna Belfrage – Review

Title – The Cold Light Of Dawn (The King’s Greatest Enemy #4)
Author – Anna Belfrage
Genre – Historical Fiction/Romance
My Rating – 5/5 Stars

Synopsis

After Henry of Lancaster’s rebellion has been crushed early in 1329, a restless peace settles over England. However, the young Edward III is no longer content with being his regents’ puppet, no matter that neither Queen Isabella nor Roger Mortimer show any inclination to give up their power. Caught in between is Adam de Guirande, torn between his loyalty to the young king and that to his former lord, Roger Mortimer.

Edward III is growing up fast. No longer a boy to be manipulated, he resents the power of his mother, Queen Isabella, and Mortimer. His regents show little inclination of handing over their power to him, the rightful king, and Edward suspects they never will unless he forces their hand.

Adam de Guirande is first and foremost Edward’s man, and he too is of the opinion that the young king is capable of ruling on his own. But for Adam siding with his king causes heartache, as he still loves Roger Mortimer, the man who shaped him into who he is.

Inevitably, Edward and his regents march towards a final confrontation. And there is nothing Adam can do but pray and hope that somehow things will work out. Unfortunately, prayers don’t always help.

Review

The Cold Light of Dawn is book four in the highly enjoyable The King’s Greatest Enemy series by Anna Belfrage.

You can read my reviews for the rest of the series by clicking the links below.

In the Shadow of the Storm

Days of Sun and Glory

Under the Approaching Dark

I had high hopes for book 4 of this series. I’m invested in Kit and Adam’s future and I just hope one day they get the peace they deserve..will they get this in book 4??? Not bloody likely ha.

King Edward is growing up fast and he’s starting to resent his mother’s control and Lord Rogers more so. Lord Roger may have become regent with the best of intentions but power has a way of changing a person and Lord Roger is no exception.

The this tale Adam is torn even more in two and both the King and Lord Roger questioning his loyalty..the trouble is he’s loyal to both but that’s not going to be acceptable by either of them..it’s time he picks a side one way or another and without giving the game away something rather personal for Adam happens that really tests loyalty to both.

The plot is strong but also balanced well with the personal aspect of Kit and Adams relationship. I’ve said it every time but I’m no fan of romance in novels but the romance in the Cold Light of Dawn builds on the story for me rather than distract from it.

We see more of Queen Phillipa in this tale and Kit has her own issues when she finds herself a pawn being controlled by two Queens.. how can she please them both while not betraying either?

The ending of the story does give the reader a little closure as the tension that has been brewing finally plays out but at the same time leaves the door open for more tales from our favourite knight.

This series is exactly what I love about historical fiction. A tale of the authors imagination written around facts. While the life of King Edward and Lord Roger have already been written in history but Kit and Adam’s story belongs to the author and her alone and what a wonderful, heart wrenching tale of love and loyalty we’ve been given.

I challenge anyone to read this series and not enjoy it..it would be impossible not to love it.

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon.

Empire of Shades (Legionary #6) by Gordon Doherty – Review

To celebrate the release of book 7 of the Legionary series I’ve got right up to date with the adventures of Pavo and the XI Claudia so here’s the blurb and my review for book 6 of the series Empire of Shades!

The blurb –

379 AD: Thracia has fallen to the Gothic horde…

With the ashes of Adrianople still swirling in the air, the Eastern Roman Empire is in turmoil. The emperor is dead, the throne lies empty and the remaining fragments of the army are few and scattered. Numerius Vitellius Pavo, now Tribunus of the XI Claudia, tries to hold his patchwork ranks together amidst the storm. One of the few legions to have survived the disaster at Adrianople, the Claudia do what they can to keep alive the dying flame of hope.

When word spreads of a new Eastern Emperor, those hopes rise. But the coming of this leader will stir the Gothic War to new heights. And it will cast Pavo headlong into the sights of the one responsible for the East’s plight – a man mighty and seemingly untouchable, and one who will surely crush any who dares to challenge him.

From the ashes of Adrianople, new heroes will rise… with dark ghosts in close pursuit.

Review

After the events in the last book I wondered if the series had any life left in it.. I’m so glad to say YES IT DOES!

Shades torment Pavo during this tale. The faces from the past now walking by his side always. We see occasions when Pavo is urged on by these shades.

With Emperor Valens dead a new emperor must be crowned. Will this man be another puppet of Emperor Gratian?

Pavo is now Tribunus of the XI Claudia and while the faces from the past might be gone they are not forgotten. While I loved the old characters some of the new ones are just wonderful! Libo and Rectus I just loved! Stichus was by far the best addition to this tale. Pavo can see himself in Stichus and learns a lot about how to be a leader from guiding the young lad just like Gallus did with him many years back.

The war with the Goth’s intensifies as the horde splits its forces, each force might be separate but they have enough manpower to make the men of Rome shake and now Gratian is calling support to the West! this means one thing..a showdown between Pavo and Emperor Gratian. Pavo is on a mission of vengeance for Tribunus Gallus whose family were slayed on the orders of Gratian may years ago.

Now here’s an interesting thing..we’ve met Speculatores before..they are assassins loyal to only Emperor Gratian.. we hate them right? nah I’m starting to like them..well one of them at least! Scapula is his name and the relationships he forms in the story really ramped up the excitement level.

Overall another cracking plot and a storyline that just keeps getting stronger and more bloody.

The ending smashed the ball out of the park leaving me wondering just how much longer Pavo can last.. lets find out in book 7!

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon

 

New Gordon Doherty novel – Legionary: The Blood Road OUT NOW!

So you’ll know I’ve been catching up lately on the Legionary series by Gordon Doherty. Well today marks the release of book 7 – The Blood Road.

I’ve started reading myself today so I’d love to hear if you have plans to read it too. If you don’t why not??

If you follow my blog you’ll know I don’t do a lot of promo. It’s just not me. I only promo what I really want to..authours have no input..it’s just me sharing what I enjoy hoping to convince at least one of you to go out there and buy that book so an author I love keeps writing.

Here’s the blurb –

381 AD: The Gothic War draws to a brutal climax, and the victor’s name will be written in blood…
The great struggle between the Eastern Roman Empire and the Gothic Horde rumbles into its fifth year. It seems that there can be no end to the conflict, for although the Goths are masters of the land, they cannot topple the last of the imperial cities. But heralds bring news that might change it all: Emperor Gratian readies to lead his Western legions into the fray, to turn matters on their head, to crush the horde and save the East!
The men of the XI Claudia legion long for their homeland’s salvation, but Tribunus Pavo knows these hopes drip with danger. For he and his soldiers are Gratian’s quarry as much as any Goth. The road ahead will be fraught with broken oaths, enemy blades… and tides of blood.
You can pick up a copy of ‘The Blood Road’ here: http://getbook.at/Legionary7
Need your appetite whetted a little more? Here’s a short video trailer –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-404BZ59uN8
Do let me know what you think of the series, for me it’s been one the best developed stories I’ve read so I’m excited to get stuck into the latest book!