Tag Archives: Reviews

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

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

Let’s ger started!

Here is the blurb –

He’s back and better than ever.

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

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

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

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

Genre – Spy Thriller

Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5/5 Stars!

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon!

The Forbidden Zone by Tom Trott

Today I’m going to be reviewing The Forbidden Zone by Tom Trott.

Here is the blurb –

Genre – Supernatural/Paranormal Suspense

Every summer camp has its campfire stories, and that’s all they are: stories. But not here.

On the surface, Boys Club Camp is just like every other British summer camp: strict officers, woodland games, and night-time pranks. But Tommy remembers that summer in ’97, the year he turned thirteen, when he was the only one plagued with those little niggling questions: Why does the sound of howling cut through the cold night air? Why are the officers so obsessed with the legacy of Boys Club’s long-dead founder? Why aren’t boys allowed in the east woods?

A scream heard in the night led Tommy and his friends on a journey of discovery, to solve a mystery a hundred years in the making: what is the real purpose of Boys Club? The answer could only be found in the dark heart of the woods: the Forbidden Zone. Now an adult, Tommy needs to understand what they found there. It is his last hope of saving their lives.

Review

The Forbidden Zoneis the retelling of events that transpired when Tommy attended Boys Club Camp in 97.

Things start as you’d expect as the boy’s setup camp, dig trenches and such. We get to know the boys and the officers a little better.

Tommy been coming to camp for a while now and he’s kind of outgrown it. I actually quite liked Tommy. He knows where his strengths and weaknesses are and from my own experience as a boy scout the author showed how difficult it can be for a young boy in an environment when you need to show physical skill when your talents lay elsewhere. It’s hard to feel like one of the group at times.

Side note, I still remember my first day at camp.. slipping on a cow pat as soon as I got off the bus…not my finest moment I must say.

I loved how the author described the different camp events such as tent inspection which I recall myself very well and the frustration your tent mates would have if you let the side down. All  these little events add some depth to the character of Tommy, you like him and things progress fairly ok for him, at times it actually seems like this year is going to be his best yet, but that vibe never leaves you.. it’s the suspense as you know at any moment something has to happen right?

Well the title says it all. The Forbidden Zone is an area near camp out of bounds to the boys but there’s some troubling events connected to the area that are quite unexplainable at first.

It’s all about the build-up here as Tommy discusses his worries with his friends at camp and they agree to keep an eye on things. Things start to get creepy to say the least, officers are taken ill, friends start to act strange, and this is where things really get interesting as the author adds the supernatural edge to the tale.

Character development and plot flowed nicely together. When you look back you can see just how much time is given to the character development and it pays off as you feel a kind of personal connection with the boys. Tommy wants you to learn how he became the man he is.

I really don’t want to spoil the ending at all but its rather good I must admit. The history of Boys Club merges with the present and causes one hell of a headache for Tommy that he will never forget…Well he might forget..as the supernatural events progress there’s every chance Tommy may loose himself..it’s a rather confusing mad dash for the Tommy at the end, and you feel this confusion with him..who can be trusted? And what can he do to stop this evil from ever hurting anyone else?

I very much recommend the book, but maybe not if you are planning to go camping..

4/5 Stars!

To find out more head to Goodreads or on Amazon!

My thanks go to the author for supplying a review copy, I’m glad to say I purchased my own also. I pride myself on doing fair honest reviews and I put my money where my mouth is 🙂

Blog Tour – Family by Owen Mullen

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

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

Here is the blurb –

Family – might be the death of you…

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

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

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

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

Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5/5 Stars!

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon!

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


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


Author Bio –

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

Twitter https://twitter.com/OwenMullen6

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

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

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

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

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 –

pKMsry4Q

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

tnYRphGA

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

The Wreckage by Robin Morgan-Bentley

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

Here is the blurb –

Genre – Psychological Thrillers

Things will never be the same again….

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

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

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

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

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

Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Very much enjoyed this one.

4/5 Stars!

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon!

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!

4Xx_C90w

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.

su2yM9ag

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.

tbI4uwqQ

Follow Gordon

Twitter: @GordonDoherty

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

 

Follow Aries

Twitter: @AriesFiction

Facebook: Aries Fiction

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.

Bloodaxe (Erik Haraldsson #1) by C.R. May – Review

Today I’m reviewing Bloodaxe, Book 1 in the Erik Haraldsson series by C.R. May.

Here is the blurb –

Under the iron rule of Harald Fairhair, Norway has been a land at peace for half a century.

Groomed for the succession, the king’s eldest surviving son has lived the life of a Viking prince; harrying wherever his longships can reach, from the frozen forests of Bjarmaland to the rocky shores of Brittany and beyond.

But none expected Harald to live so long, and as the king enters his ninth decade his powers begin to wane.

Seizing their chance other Haraldssons move to snatch the crown for themselves, and a brother war sweeps the land as Erik fights to defend his birthright…

Bloodaxe is the first volume in a trilogy which will tell the story of one of the Viking Age’s legendary kings.

Review

Bloodaxe is the story of Eric Haraldsson, son of  Harald Fairhair, King of Norway.

You’d always imagine in the modern day that being heir to a throne would be an easy, sheltered life. Not so in times past! It just leads to bloodshed.

I loved Eric from the start, the guy just oozes confidence and strength, he’s got something about him.

As a young boy Eric was sent away to live with one of Harald’s most trusted, he learns the ways of a warrior and soon starts to build a relationship of sorts with his father.

It’s the real brutal Viking tale you’d expect as Eric leave a path of red behind as he makes a name for himself and earns the respect of the men who fight at his side.. he’s going to need those men.

Eric isn’t one to shy away from a fight, he’s got wits and knows when to use them. I think he proves early on that he has the qualities needed to become King when Harald eventually dies.. but the old king has been rather promiscuous to say the least and there is many with a claim to the throne.

What we see then is a rather brutally vivid and well actioned series of events to see Eric claim power… there’s no time for niceties.. he’s going to seize power one way or another. It’s not an easy ride for Eric but you see him prove time and time again he’s got the qualities needed to rule.. yes he’s still up for a good slaughter but he’s learned to pick his battles well.

C.R. May effortlessly transported me back to the age of Vikings and showed how rough life would have been for them.. It’s a fight from day 1..You have to prove yourself and if you aren’t a warrior you might as well be dead already.

The plot was very enticing to say the least and while history can be a little incomplete at times I loved that C. R. May offers up a plausible storyline but at the same time hits the high notes with the use of descriptiveness to an awe inspiring level. Bloodaxe isnt a book you can just skim read.. it’s not the kind of book you read a chapter here and there..No, Bloodaxe instantly sucks you in.. immerses you in Viking world.. It’s vivid and packs a punch and the turmoil/fear is real.

Take your time to enjoy Bloodaxe, there’s a lot to get to grips with.. so many names…why did Harald have so many sons? Ha.. It’s worth savouring.. sit down in your favourite chair and watch the hours fly by.

I don’t think you’ll find a better example of an Historical Fiction novel as the author perfectly demonstrates his knowledge of the subject expertly woven with his imagination and storytelling skills.

The only word to describe C. R. Mays’ work is “detail” he knows his stuff and these detail shines through to give us the most beautifully brutal book I’ve read in a long time!

Bloodaxe is the 1st in what can only be an epic saga!

5/5 Stars!

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon.

Legionary: Eagles in the Desert by Gordon Doherty

Today I’m reviewing Legionary: Eagles in the Desert by Gordon Doherty.

Eagles in the Desert is a short story and prequel to the Legionary series.

By trying this book you’ll also be making a difference – 100% of the proceeds from this short story will go to the blood cancer charity Myeloma UK https://www.myeloma.org.uk/

Here is the blurb –

360 AD: A Roman legion is trapped and surrounded in the blistering Persian desert… and a great saga begins.

Review

So we thought we had seen the last of Pavo but we were wrong.. Well he doesn’t play a big part in this short story but he’s never far from your thoughts as we follow Falco! Pavo’s Father.

The Persians are on the offensive and the legionaries must hold Bezabde.. they know they hold little chance of doing so.. but they must have hope.. courage!

For a fan of the series it’s quite a thrilling tale and it was great to see the similarities between father and son. In the main series Pavo dreams of his father daily… in Eagles in the Desert we see Falco thinking of his son often. The connection between the too has been there all along even though fate does not treat them kindly.

I love the Legionary series and this offering just cements my love of the authors work.. how can anyone make such a good story in 34 pages? Oh and it was bloody nice to seethe withered old crone appear.. A must for any book in the Legionary series!

I think this book works well as a little standalone to introduce you to the series but for anyone like me it just reminds me how good this series really is. There is a tonne of detail for those who love an author setting the scene but also plenty of action driven moments for the adrenaline junkies. What’s not to enjoy?

5/5 Stars!

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon.

Do look out for more from the author soon! 

Empires of Bronze: Thunder at Kadesh (Empires of Bronze 3) due for release 24th September 

Sons of Rome (Rise of Emperors Book 1) a joint effort with the awesome Simon Turney due for release 15th October.