Tag Archives: History

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 –

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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

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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 – 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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Twitter: @AriesFiction

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Website: http://www.headofzeus.com

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!

 

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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Twitter: @AriesFiction

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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.

Rise of a Champion (Legend of the Cid Book 1) by Stuart Rudge – Review

Today I’m reviewing Rise of a Champion by Stuart Rudge, Book 1 in the Legend of the Cid series.

I stumbled upon Stuart Rudge by chance while on Twitter, promoting his 1st book. I had a lot on my TBR list but I liked the sound of the plot so I thought what the hell.. I’ll buy a copy. Now I’m the first to admit word of mouth tempts me in…and I started to notice others tweeting about this book..every day, 2 or 3 mentions…then when I heard book 2 was just about to be released I thought it high time I find out what the fuss is about.

Here is the blurb –

Antonio Perez is the son of a knight and a returning war hero, yet he loathes the idea of following in his father’s footsteps. But when his father is executed for alleged treason against Fernando, King of Leon-Castile, he launches a desperate bid to save his life and clear his name. Antonio soon learns that the world is much crueller and darker than he ever could have imagined.

Bereft of hope and condemned to slavery for his sins, he finds himself in the household of a young knight named Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar, a man destined for greatness. Together, they must face their demons and put an end to the man responsible for the downfall of the fathers; known as Azarola, renowned for his fox like cunning and malice, and one of the most powerful lords of Leon.

Rise of a Champion is the epic beginning to the Legend of the Cid.

Review

Antonio is book smart.. he’s not like his father, a war hero, and he’s got very little common with his brother too. Little does he know his life is soon to change and his strengths and weaknesses will be put to the test.

For Antonio life is simple.. he loves to learn and only has eyes for 2 things.. books and Jimena, the daughter of a local count.

Things are not meant to be easy for Antonio and he is to be separated from the girl he yearns for.. he’s going to learn to be a fighter one way or another if his dad has anything to say about it!

Things don’t quite go to plan.

Tragedy soon strikes a heavy blow when Antonio’s father is executed for treason! A crime he did not commit.. but what can Antonio do about it? He’s got to save his own neck first as the men charged with the execution want him too!

From there his life hits a downward spiral. He survives with this brother and cousin at his side but they are very much chalk and cheese.. Inigo his brother is mean and controlling and they are soon involved in events Antonio will live to regret.

I’m not going to spoil what happens but as the synopsis suggests Antonio soon ends in the household of Rodrigo, a fair but harsh man when needed. This relationship sees Antonio grow from a boy into a man.. a man Antonio never thought he would be.. A man his father would be proud to see.

War is brewing and with this comes the chance to exact revenge on the person Antonio believes is responsible for his fathers death.. Azarola.. it’s not going to be easy though.

What I really enjoyed with this tale more than anything was the mix of detail and plot.. the fight scenes were immense and heart stoppingly gripping..not only did you get an overall picture of events of the period the tale is set but you get to see it from Antonio’s eyes, blinkered at times.. with sight only for Azarola.. but can that hatred and lust be tamed? It’s a great balance of history and the authors creative skills allowing him to stamp his mark on the world.

I also really enjoyed that we get to meet Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar, who will become known as El Cid, through the eyes of Antonio. I’ll be the first to admit I’ve heard the name.. and heard of the movie from the 60s but that’s as far as my knowledge goes. I love when an author can help introduce me to real history while writing their tale..Not only do a get a wonderful book to read but afterwards I find myself doing my own research.. reading more..and now I can’t wait to get to grips with book 2 in the series!

I love history but largely my knowledge is what I learned at school… so very little since there’s so much out there to learn.. teachers can’t possibly share it all. I really do believe tales this this have a big part to play in keeping history alive. Loved it!

4/5 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.

 

 

 

 

The Last King (The Ninth Century #1) by M J Porter – Review

Today I’m reviewing The Last King (The Ninth Century #1) by M J Porter

Here’s the blurb –

Genre – Historical Fiction

They sent three hundred warriors to kill one man. It wasn’t enough.

Mercia lies broken but not beaten, her alliance with Wessex in tatters.

Coelwulf, a fierce and bloody warrior, hears whispers that Mercia has been betrayed from his home in the west. He fears no man, especially not the Vikings sent to hunt him down.

To discover the truth of the rumours he hears, Coelwulf must travel to the heart of Mercia, and what he finds there will determine the fate of Mercia, as well as his own.

Review

The book starts with a brilliant scene that details Lord Coelwulf’s capture as he’s brought before the Raiders. It sets the tone of the book perfectly. Coelwulf isn’t afraid to use a bit of bad language and blood will be spilt.

Chapter one goes back to the past to detail the events that led up to his capture as he’s quickly swept up in battle. Coelwulf is used to protecting Mercia from the Welsh but this new threat has come from nowhere.. and at first he hasn’t a clue why.

We soon learn that King Burhred of Mercia ha fled leaving it to the whim of the Raiders.. There’s one hope.. Coelwulf!

Coelwulf has ties back to the throne but doesn’t see himself as a King..but he does like to kill people.. the battle fame.. the thrill of being the best.. and that’s just what Mercia needs right now to survive.

It’s a hard journey for him and his men.. and they don’t come out of this unscathed. I really thought the detail into the battles and injuries was fascinating. I particularly liked the recovery with the constant risk of infection. We are lucky with have antibiotics and such to fight infections.. back then not so much..

The Raiders are numerous..Coelwulf doesn’t stand a chance given the numbers but he knows just how to tip things in his favour.. He has home court advantage so to speak. He’s not alone in this though.. if only the men of Merica could come together to fight.

The final few chapters were pure magic for me as we relive Coelwulf’s capture and learn of his fate. I found myself reading that chapter the 2nd time with different eyes.. a different outlook and that is credit to the author that they were able to mould how I felt and imagined events playing out so easily.

To say this book is excellent would be a understatement.. it’s a blood and gore fest for any fan of the period or this type of novel. You would be forgiven to think a tale with so many battles might get repetitive but no..each are unique and exhilarating.

Overall I loved it, the detail, the use of language, the characters, damn.. I could go on and on.

5/5 Stars!

To find out more head to Goodreadsor Amazon.

If you love it why not pre-order – The Last Warrior: England: The First Viking Age (The Ninth Century Book 2).. I have

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.