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Alt Hist Issue 7: The Magazine of Historical Fiction and Alternate History
Alt Hist Issue 7: The Magazine of Historical Fiction and Alternate History
Price: £4.99

5.0 out of 5 stars For the 7th time quality short fiction with a historical setting, 23 Feb. 2015
The Delivery
Alt Hist Issue 7 features seven stories by six authors and editorial by Mark Lord.

At the end of each story you get basic information about the author and a link to a website or a blog which I appreciate.
I could not detect any obvious mistakes which means the proof-reading has been done well. I mention this because it seems no matter of course when it comes to digital publishing. Also the formatting worked well on my reader.

Before I go into detail I would like to talk about the cover image. Mark Lord mentioned the name of the painting and the name of the artist. Surrender of General Burgoyne has been painted by John Trumbull (June 6, 1756 – November 10, 1843) who was notable for his historical painting. I'm no adept which means I can't deliver an in depth review of the painting. If you would like to know more please follow the previous two links.

Editorial by Mark Lord

Mark explained that he is happy with the development of Alt Hist followed by additional information about the authors of the stories and the stories itself. He emphasized that the main purpose of Alt Hist is to provide a home for quality short fiction with a historical setting.
Anyway you get enough input to raise your nosiness.

It is always a balancing act not to give away too much of a short story. I decided to give you a short information of the content of each story based on the information you get in the editorial.

The first story of Alt Hist Issue 7 is The Vivisectionist's Daughter by Jason Kahn. He delivered an alternate view of the last days of the famous physician and anatomist Andreas Vesalius through the eyes of the construction worker Qadri.

My thoughts
What is the secret of the soul? The story give a hint and is a perfect trigger to think about the soul. well written in a prose which hooks you on soft feet.

Cold Flesh by Andrew Knighton take the reader back into Medieval England. It is a story of sow and reap. It has been a harsh life and one should not kick people who are already on the ground.
Mark Lord mentioned that this was not the first story by Andrew Knighton in Alt Hist.

My thoughts
Medieval England was not the land of milk and honey. This dark story let you think about moral and superstition.

The third story has been delivered by Pavel Nikiforovitch and the title Independence Day give the first hint what the story is about. The 4th July set in an alternate version of present day America looks really different. How patriotic must an American be?

My thoughts
I really liked the story because the end was completely different to what I expected. Patriotism can be a burden or a lighthouse in the dark. I assume that my perception of the story will differ from an American reader.

Heff in Dearborn by Michael Fertikis set in early 20th century America. What happens when a Greek god in disguise (Hephaistos) meets the synonym for modern factory assembly lines Henry T. Ford?

My thoughts
The story give a possible explanation how Henry T. Ford While became the the synonym for modern factory assembly lines. For me it was like reading a fable. Finding: Take care when you deal with goods.

Regularly readers of Alt Hist Issue will know Battalion 202 which is the what-if tale of British resistance to a Nazi Invasion in WW2. he following two stories belong
Author Johnathan Doering contributed two new Battalion 202 stories.

In Battalion 202: The Sheep and the Goats Jonathan Doering returns to the local policeman Harold Storey who is forced to work together with the occupying Gestapo.

My thoughts
This is a heartbreaking story because it is about the decision on consequences for Harold Story: Should he risk his own life to aid the British resistance or not.

In Battalion 202: Set Ablaze Jonathan Doering delivers back story information in form of personal records from figures like Winston Churchill. Each record contain possible answers of these person in their own words.

My thoughts
I think this is more interesting for readers who read previous Battalion 202 stories. But it can also be of interest for people with historical interest.

The Red Vortex by Priya Sharma is the final story of Alt Hist Issue 7. She contributed a number of stories to previous Alt Hist Issues. This time Priya Sharma explore the psychology of a great figure in history.

My thoughts
Unbelievable! At the end of the story you know the name of the person described in this story which gave me the creeps.

And what do I think about Alt Hist Issue 7?

I think Mark Lord delivered what he promised: To provide a home for quality short fiction with a historical setting.
Furthermore it is the biggest issue of Alt Hist so far.
It is a good mix of different stories and again a great opportunity to discover not only so well known but promising alternate history authors. It is also good opportunity for fans of Priya Sharma and Jonathan Doering to read more from these authors.

I should not forget to mention that you can read
The Vivisectionist's Daughter by Jason Kahn
FOR FREE!!
http://althistfiction.com/2015/02/13/the-vivisectionists-daughter-by-jason-kahn-free-story-from-alt-hist-issue-7/

If this is something after your taste then let me tell you that the previous four issues of Alt Hist are still available. You want to know how to get those ones? Just follow the link: How to get Alt Hist http://althistfiction.com/how-to-get-your-alt-hist/

If you want more information about the current and the previous issues of alt hist I highly recommend to visit Alt Hist: Historical Fiction and Alternate History at http://althistfiction.com/


The Immortality Game
The Immortality Game
Price: £2.45

5.0 out of 5 stars Scifi Thriller: The content of The Immortality Game lives up to its cover and more!!, 22 Feb. 2015
The Delivery
The 278 pages are divided into 35 named chapters followed by an epilogue.

The cover serve the main purpose - to raise attention - perfectly!
It seems a futuristic big city plays a certain role which the book description confirm.

Take place and fasten seat belt in Ted Cross' virtual time machine. The date display in front of you shows 2138 and a scarcely audible voice in your head murmurs "Welcome to Moscow".
A shiver cross your body when you see a young woman working with a corpse and your nose recognise the smell of embalming fluid and decay ......

The young woman is Zoya and her job is not the average eight to five office job. The world has changed and in order to survive one can't be picky ....

A package containing two data cards and the death of her brother Georgy set the story in motion which will keep you captivated until the unexpected end which is an end and an option for a sequel.

But there is much more between the beginning and the end which deserve to be mentioned.
As you assume right, Zoya is one of the main characters. She is strong and vulnerable at the same time. She does not hide her emotions and she always believe in the good in mankind which take her quite often into trouble.

There are a lot of other people who have an impact on Zoya's live on different levels and direct and indirect. Even Ted Cross does not tend to write extended description of beings and places, he deliver in a few words characterisations which blossom based on your skill of imagination or to use other words, the more imagination the better.

There are at least to more characters which must be mentioned. There is Javier Saenz who is a well known computer scientist. Unfortunately you can't meet him in person because he died years ago. But he still exist in the digital world.He is a virtual person and highly interested in the data cards. His "body" in the real world is his only son Marcus who is a former mesh addicted. He is a kind and intelligent person. In order to get the data cards Javier Saenz send his son to Moscow where most of the action takes place.

Beside that a lot more persons and fractions each with their own agenda are involved in the action paced and emotional race to get the two data cards.

The world is not a pleasant one. It does not matter if you look at it world wide. Russia, China and America West work on different strategies to go to space in order to inhabit other planets. It is difficult because there is still no FLT drive available.

Millions of people are mesh addicted. Mesh is an all-consuming virtual reality place. There are people who live more or less constantly in the Mesh.

Russia. There is no democracy. Instead Army, Russian Mafia, Politicians and others like the group of people living in the underground fight for power. Not to forget a group of Russian scientists in the hand of the Army.

In the end more or less everything is related to the two unusual data cards which reminded me in a way of a small piece of jewelry well known as "my precious" .....
Is Zoya the female counterpart to someone with big naked feet?
Belong the Russian scientists to the fellowship of .... ?

Who will get the data cards and for what purpose they will be used?
The title of the book is the shortest description of what you can expect.
It is The Immortality Game - a game which is more like a war with a lot of violence and breakneck action, heartbreaking moments, thoughtful passages and a pinch of science.
Nevertheless it is the humanity in form of Zoya supported by Marcus and many more which shows that mankind is not lost as long as there are human beings like them.

Dear Ted Cross,

thank you very much for investing 2000 USD for the cover!
Without I would have missed your excellent story!

The content of The Immortality Game lives up to its cover and more!!

Please write more such excellent books.
I will definitely have a look at your boosk even the covers would be totally black....


The Martian
The Martian
Price: £1.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect symbiosis of entertainment and science in this science fiction survival thriller, 26 Jan. 2015
This review is from: The Martian (Kindle Edition)
On 1st of December 2014 I bought a copy of The Martian (digital, February 2014) [Kindle ASIN: B00FAXJHCY] by Andy Weir and

NON, JE NE REGRETTE RIEN!

The Martian aroused a lot of interest. Stellar reviews popped up and finally it won the GOODREADS CHOICE AWARDS 2014 in the category science fiction. In the meantime there are nearly 61000 ratings with an average of 4.36 stars and nearly 11000 reviews over at GOODREADS.

Today I add my two cents.

The Delivery

The 334 pages are divided into five main parts which are subdivided into 34 consecutively numbered chapters followed by an epilogue.

Does this book deserve all the praises? I can answer the question with one word: YES!

In a case you expect criticism I must disappoint you. Instead I will try to explain why The Martian is one of the best books I read in 2014.

Mars also known as the "Red Planet" is the second smallest planet in the Solar System and it is the fourth planet from the Sun.

After the Moon the "Red Planet" is the next goal in the history of manned spaceflight.

That means so far (January 2015) no human being left his traces on Mars. The travel to Mars is still science fiction.

But thanks to several unmanned exploration missions we know a lot about the planet. Add to this the known knowledge of botany, the experience of manned spaceflight to the Moon and orbital mechanics. Based on that it should be possible to write a realistic book about a manned Mars mission.

That is what author Andy Weir delivered with The Martian. But he delivered so much more.

He gave the mission a "face" in form of astronaut Mark Watney. This strong, intelligent, humorous, flexible, smart, reflective, persistent and articulately individual is such a believable, lovable and adorable character. It is nearly impossible to deny to follow Mark Watney through thick and thin.

The cherry on the cake is to combine the realistic mission with the extraordinary character in a cast away situation.

To be the only human being on Mars with limited resources, no communication with Earth and no hope to be rescued - Only a person with the personality of Mark Watney is able to avoid the state of shock and to face fate in a most positive way.

So please visualise the situation mentally - He is alone, nobody to communicate with except himself, in matter of life and death.

In order not to go mad you need to talk to yourself and put every thought and every idea and every plan to a diary. That is the reason why the first chapters deal with a lot of explanations. I admit that I did not understand every detail but the descriptions - for example how to produce soil on Mars - made the scenery so true-to-life.

I know that there are readers who did not really like this passages. But from my point of view the story would not work without. The inventiveness of Mark Watney is impressive. That also shows why it takes a long time and endless tests to find the right persons for such a mission.

Of course Apollo 13 and Cast Away and MacGyver popped up in my mind because you each mission/person is in one way or the other included in the story. Bur these are three different stories and The Martian is just one.

It is amazing to read how Mark Watney extents and change his plans after he found a way to get oxygen, food and water on a more or less regularly base.

I admit I dropped the book and applauded when Mark found a way to communicate with Earth.

That means there are more Persons involved than in Robinson Crusoe.

With the start of communication the story continues at three different places: Mars, Earth and the spaceship on the way back to Earth.

Of course one can say that a few characters on Earth look a bit stereotype. But that did not disturb my reading pleasure.

The whole story is full of dramatic events and the final ... No, no ... you have to read the book on your in order to know what happens with Mark Watney ....

This is the best science fiction novel I read in 2014. No other book delivered a better symbiosis of entertainment and science on such a high level.

The Inevitable

You want science fiction with a lot of science presented in an entertaining way?

You look for a This strong, intelligent, humorous, flexible, smart, reflective, persistent, articulately and believable character?

You want to know how it is possible to survive on Mars for a certain time?

Then I recommend to read The Martian (digital, February 2014) [Kindle ASIN: B00FAXJHCY] by Andy Weir


Deeds of Darkness (Home Front Detective series Book 4)
Deeds of Darkness (Home Front Detective series Book 4)
Price: £8.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Top notch World War I crime mystery!, 7 Jan. 2015
It is really unusual that I do not start to read a series with the first book. But happened with The Home Front Detective Series.

There has been an extraordinary good offer for a digital copy of Deeds of Darkness (digital, 23rd October 2014) Kindle Edition ASIN: B00N01TI36] by Edward Marston which is the fourth book in the series. I paid 1,89 EUR for my copy. Today (2015-01-07) I would have to pay 12,67 EUR for a copy!!!!

The Delivery
The 268 pages are divided into 20 consecutively numbered chapters.

War, the war we know as World War I, covers the whole country of England, it inhabitants from the new born child to the old people on their deathbed, from the banker to the priest, from the policeman to the murderer. From the doctor to the soldier.
It is the war which has an impact on every aspect of daily life.
It is the war which dominates the story in a way which creeps slowly but surely under your skin.
It makes the whole story and especially the action and thoughts of several characters understandable and comprehensible.
The whole story would not work without the impact of World War I.
To explain it to the very detail on a microscopical level would lengthen this review to a short story.

On the surface we have the Marmion family. Harvey and his daughter Alice work for the police. Son Paul is a soldier located near the rive Somme in France. Harvey's wife Ellen stays at home.
Inspector Harvey build team with Sergeant Joe Keedy who is the fiancé of Alice. They both have to cope with their boss Claude Chatfield who is a more stereotype character.

People want to escape the stranglehold of war and cinema with the amazing films starring the unforgettable Charlie Chaplin are perfect for this purpose.

As a consequence of war women get more liberty. It is nearly unbearable for Reverends that women go to cinema unchaperoned.
And it is in a cinema where the murder of a young women took place.
It is up to Inspector Marmion and Sergeant Keedy to hunt the murderer. It is a depressing task and it needs the strong characters of Marmion and Keedy to follow all the leads pressurised by Claude Chatfield, annoyed by partly aggressive or snooty or craving for attention witness and suppressive news from the front in France. Furthermore not to forget the impact of the Zeppelin bombings, angered neighbours and provocative women.

The twisted story keeps you guessing until near the end of the story. The depiction of a country and its inhabitants under the pressure of war is remarkable. The characters except the a bit stereotype Claude Chatfield are well described and show development within the story.
This case keeps you captivated until the end and makes it not easy to stop for some hours of sleep.

The Inevitable

For me this is definitely one of the best detective stories set in the time of World War I which I read so far.It is a great mix of war impact and crime mystery which are completely interwoven.


Death by Disputation (A Francis Bacon Mystery Book 2)
Death by Disputation (A Francis Bacon Mystery Book 2)
Price: £3.83

5.0 out of 5 stars From religious zealots over murder to onion juice and tar. Overwhelming Elizabethan Mystery. Nothing for tickle-brained pignuts!, 4 Jan. 2015
The Delivery
The 303 pages are divided into 48 consecutively numbered chapters followed by Historical Notes.

With the second book in a series you have two different kind of readers. There are the ones who know the first book and there are the ones who do not know the first book.
In case you missed "Murder by Misrule" let met tell you that it is possible to read and enjoy Death by Disputation without knowing the first book. But you will definitely miss the character development and other impacts.

With Death by Disputation Thomas "Tom" Clarady, the young man who does the legwork for Francis Bacon change from Gray’s Inn to Cambridge University in order to work undercover. But the story takes an unforeseen turn with the death of the chief informant. Suddenly Tom's official tasks are doubled.
Not to forget all the impacts of social interaction including ladies who want to bed Tom - you will learn something about the use of onion juice and tar - young women he admires and more.
His only connection to the "normal" world are the letters he exchange with Francis Bacon on a daily base. He is clearly missing his companions Allen Trumpington, Ben Whitt and Stephen Delabere.

It is most impressive to read how the world of religious zealots takes it toll. Does Tom Clarady remain the a good-hearted mischief-maker as we got to know him from his adventures described in "Murder by Misrule"?

All persons, places, sounds, smells clearly show the effort of a well done research. This is an extraordinary depiction of the Elizabethan England.
One of the many highlights is the appearance of Christopher Marlowe who plays a not unimportant role.

The whole story is carried by an unerring use of the English language which sounds to me very Elizabethan. Do you know a "tickle-brained pignut" is?

The plot keeps the pages turning. I promise you will keep guessing until near the end.Even at times where the action is not fast paced you will be highly entertained with ongoing misunderstandings, misadventures, absorbing and accurate historical details and witty humor. Sometimes laugh and cry follow each other.
And even I, who is definitely not a fan of romance appreciated the romantic dash which complements this gorgeous piece of historical mystery.

Finally there is something which is not directly part of the story but part of the book.
Do not unterestimate the Historical Notes which are on the one hand enlightening and helpful and on the other hand are like a bait to discover Elizabethan England

The Inevitable
This highly entertaining opus is a gorgeous piece of historical mystery.
Accurate historical details, page turning plot, bodacious, lovable and believable characters, gorgeous depictions and bewitching use of language will transfer you through time and space back to Elizabethan England and does not bring you back before you read

....... "I am ready to serve, my lord, as always."

THE END

Author Anna Castle has been so kind to provide me a digital copy of Death by Disputation (digital 2014) [ Kindle Edition ASIN: B00RC56VCW] which is the second book in her new Francis Bacon Murder Mystery Series.


The Furnace (The Tanner Sequence)
The Furnace (The Tanner Sequence)
Price: £1.91

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent combination of science fiction, thriller and horror, 13 Sept. 2014
UPDATE 2014-11-23
I wrote an extended review which I added. The original one is still available at the end.

The Delivery
The 334 pages are divided into five main parts which are subdivided into 34 consecutively numbered chapters followed by an epilogue. Narration is in first person via main character Lieutenant Kyle Tanner, CCF investigator.

The book description delivers a good summary of what to expect from The Furnace. I wrote a first impression over at GOODREADS but I thought this book deserve an extended praise to raise the interest in a book which delivers hours of excellent entertainment. Or as I said:
The Furnace .... took me by storm.

As explained in the description the story starts nearly at the end of the story. In the supposed to be last hours in his life, investigator Lieutenant Kyle Tanner records the events of the past days.

Immediately I felt the heat from the sun, my pulse raised in fear of radiation and I lost contact to my surrounding.
Kyle Tanner is an experienced investigator with a lot of success. He is also analytical and has the right gut feeling. The way Kyle Tanner works reminded my of a famous detective from Victorian era ...... The energy harvester SOLEX One is the crime scene and all crew members are under suspicion. It is like an over dimensional locked room.

During the investigation Timothy S. Johnston delivers scientific stuff. He does it in an entertaining and believable way. Instead of bombarding the reader with tons of scientific terms, he let the scientists on board explain things to Kyle Tanner
and these explanations are the proof that the author definitely spent time for research.

The investigation itself is intricate due to the number of suspects, their relationship within the group, the opinions of the suspects about the government and society and the technological aspect of the crime.

Interrogation can be very boring and exhausting. Fortunately The Furnace shows the contrary. It does not take long and the reader starts guessing fuelled by new information on all areas.
I should not forget to tell you that Kyle Tanner's past which is revealed slowly has a certain impact especially on his private live.

The murder of more crew members boil and speed up the story and a love affair complicates Kyle Tanner's work. It is also the time we learn something new about him. For me it was like Kyle Tanner turns into a kind of John McClane, well-known from the Die Hard movies. It is the time when the detective story turns into a breathtaking, emotional and irresistible space action thriller. Sometimes I nearly forgot to breathe.

I was quite happy that the end was different compared to the one I expected. Even the case is solved by then, there are several questions left unanswered which means stuff for more books to come.

The Inevitable
A crime has been committed.
A famous investigator gets the order to find the killer.
Sounds like a description I read one thousand times before.
That is true.

But that is also the point where the similarities to these stories end. The Furnace takes place in 2401 AD. The crime scene is SOLEX ONE, a research station orbiting the sun. The investigator is Lieutenant Kyle Tanner from CCF (= Confederated Combined Forces).

What starts as an usual investigation at an unusual place turns into much more.
Revenge, treason, conspiracy, scientific invention, a pinch of love, action, fleshed characters which develop and whom you will eagerly follow are the ingredients of The Furnace which took me by storm.

I have had a great and entertaining time with Kyle Tanner and other characters and all my guesses went wrong.

Looking for a scifi crime which is more than a scifi crime then give The Furnace a try. I would like to see this story on a big screen. The good thing is there will be at least two more books starring Kyle Tanner. For more information about The Tanner Sequence series I recommend to visit the official site.

END OF FULL REVIEW
--------------------

A crime has been committed. A famous investigator gets the order to find the killer. Sounds like a description I read one thousand times before.
That is true. But that is also the point where the similarites to these stories end.

The Furnace takes place in 2401 AD. The crime scene is SOLEX ONE, a research station orbiting the sun. The investigator is Lieutnant Kyle Tanner from CCF (= Confederated Combined Forces).

What starts as an usual investigation at an unusual place turns into much more. Revenge, treason, conspiracy, scientific invention, a pinch of love, action, fleshed characters which develop and whom you will eagerly follow are the ingredients of The Furnace which took me by storm.
I have had a great and entertaining time with Kyle Tanner and other characters and all my guesses went wrong.

Looking for a scifi crime which is more than a scifi crime then give The Furnace a try.

I would like to see this story on a big screen.

The good thing is there will be at least two more books starring Kyle Tanner.
For more information about The Tanner Sequence series I recommend to visit the official site which is http://timothysjohnston.com/


Red Axe, Black Sun: Sword and Sorcery
Red Axe, Black Sun: Sword and Sorcery
Price: £0.00

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars THIS IS NOT A RUN_OF_THE_MILL fantasy debut - Well done Mr. Karner, 8 Feb. 2014
This is a reading impression and not a fully detailed review. It is important to read the book description above because I refer to it.

I got a free copy through a promo campaign and decided spontaneously to read it.

I must say after I finished the book I was not sure how to rate it. There have been a lot of things I liked and also a few things I did not like. I finished the book on 7th of February 2014 and waited until the 8th of February to rate it.

Firs of all I must admit that the author delivered everything promised in the book description. He did even more with the delivery of more interesting characters.
I liked to follow each of the characters because they all have their own story and they all play a part in the events which have a great impact on the fate of the world. That may let you imagine that the story is more complex as one think at first sight.
Partially I found the pacing a bit uneven. Beside that it is a good fantasy debut novel which shows potential for hopefully following books because this one ends with a cliffhanger. But this cliffhanger should not hinder you to enjoy the book.


Darkwalker: A Nicolas Lenoir Novel
Darkwalker: A Nicolas Lenoir Novel
by E. L. Tettensor
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: £5.19

5.0 out of 5 stars Dark mystery crime with Victorian flair, intriguing main character, thoroughly world building, 5 Jan. 2014
My Expectations
What more shall I expect as a most entertaining book with a Victorian setting and an antihero after reading following statement:
" E L Tettensor likes her stories the way she likes her chocolate: dark, exotic, and with a hint of bitterness." [Source]

The Delivery
The 360 pages are divided into 26 consecutively numbered chapters and an epilogue. Narration is in the third person via several different point-of-views, whereupon the most parts are told from Nicolas Lenoir's point of view.

I As I mentioned above, I saw the cover, read the blurb and ordered a copy immediately. The paperback arrived a few days later and I had a closer look.
Nicolas Lenoir ,that sounds French in my ears. The clothing of the man on the cover is in Victorian style. I know this because I sewed something similar last year. But neither the cover nor the blurb offer any information where and when the story takes place. It is charming to see how I have been convinced that Darkwalker takes place in Victorian era. This raised my curiosity to a new level.
I belong to the kind of readers who can't resist to get more information about towns, rivers, countries, dishes, drinks and more used in a book. English is not my first language which is the reason why I need a dictionary from time to time.
That said I sunk into the first chapters.

Nicolas Lenoir is the broken man as described in the blurb. He works in Kennion. Together with Brackensvale - with around 200 inhabitants a real backwater hamlet, Denouth, North Haven and Berryvine they are known as the five villages. To my surprise none of these villages exist in England. So my assumption to get a story set in England has been wrong. Several years ago Nicolas Lenoir has been a legendary police inspector in Serles. A town in France? No. The only Serles I found is an Austrian mountain. Nicolas Lenoir likes to eat steak serlois. Does that ring a bell? It sounds really similar to serloin steak. He has a marked preference for absinthe. Bingo!! Absinthe has been a famous drink in the 19th century. The people use horses and carriages for transport. They know flintlock and crossbows. horses,

Conclusion: E L Tettensor created her very own and unique world. She did it in a way that the reader feels familiar and smoothly peregrine at the same time. This is excellent because it intensifies the mesmerising effect of Darkwalker. Such a basement - which is sophisticated and down-to-earth at the same time - is the nearly consummate stage for an intensive, dark and emotional story and striking characters.

Darkwalker is not a one-man show. Based on all information delivered by the cover and the story, Nicolas Lenoir and a lot of other people are similar to us. In other words they are human beings. But there is also another, ancient race named Adali. If would play in our world it would be gypsy to act as Adali. They are a poor race as they are constantly faced with the prejudice to be vagabonds and thieves. Little is known about their culture and as we all know missing knowledge lead to distrust and hate. And when adjectives like magical and supernatural comes into play, it heatens animosity. It is a culture clash.
The Adali are he exotic touch in Darkwalker beside Darkwalker. Darkwalker? Yes, there is ......... It is up to you to discover Darkwalker in Darkwalker.

Before I add a few words to Nicolas Lenoir, it is worth to talk about two three other characters. The young boy Zach reminded me of the Artful Dodger, a character from Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens. Mark my words. I said reminded and not copy. It is a talent to create a unique character in such a way that you as a reader get the impression that you know something about this character. Zach is a trigger for some events and has his own story.
I talked about the Adali. On of them is Lady Zera. She tries to establish a position in human society. She is intelligent, eloquent and witty. But she is also afraid that any Adali rumor will have a negative impact on her way into society.

Nicolas Lenoiris a police inspector. He works together with Sergeant Bran Kody. The young man is in many ways like an image of the young Nicolas Lenoir when yonder entered the police. You may imagine what it means to work together with a broken man whom you constantly remind of the past.

Nicolas Lenoir who is heavily laden with events of his past which he tries to drown with a lot of green fairy which is another expression for absinthe. He does not treat Sergeant Bran Kody well. To be honest this is an understatement. Nicolas Lenoir is no friend of the police routines he has to follow and he makes no secret of it. I know another brilliant detective who used drugs and doubted police methods. No, I will not name the detective I have in mind, If you can't guess then follow THIS LINK. I admit that I did not like the inspector in the beginning. I even thought I would not like him until the end of the story. But that changed .........

Again as she exercised her world building, E L Tettensor did a great job with her characters. They are sophisticated and down-to-earth at the same time. I have been impressed by the character development especially of Nicolas Lenoir.

Now it is time to speak about the plot. At first sight there is a "whodunit" crime novel blended with dark magic. But there is so much more. There are people who either try to find their place in society or to find their place at the job or to find a home ..... Furthermore there is Nicolas Lenoir with the burden of his past, the current events and an unknown future. And there is the Darkwalker ....

It is a real joy to read how E L Tettensor cope with the cornucopia of themes, topics and emotions . Believe it or not all the stuff mentioned is interwoven and delivered with a Victorian and slightly gothic touch. Not one thing works without another. Dialogue, inner dialogue, action, descriptions are wonderfully composed and delivered in a prose which fits perfectly.

I do not beat about the bush. E L Tettensor pulls no punches. The story itself is a dark one. People are hurt physically and mentally. Nevertheless the use of violence is not exaggerated.

Finally you should know that Darkwalker has a real end which let you leave the story satisfied BUT with the urgent need to read more about the past and future of Nicolas Lenoir ,,,,,,, and .... Darkwalker .... and .... the history of the world E L Tettensor has created ... and ....,,

The Inevitable
I did not like the story! I LOVED IT!!

E L Tettensor delivered a strong debut with Darkwalker. Plot, characters and world are sophisticated and down-to-earth at the same time.

You want to read a dark crime mystery with Victorian flair, an intriguing main character, thoroughly world building and an satisfying end which leaves you with the urge for more
THEN
Darkwalker is your book of choice.

These are my totally subjective closing words

I can't wait to read the sequel. Do I have to bother the author in order to get a date for the next book? NO!
E L Tettensor has been so kind to deliver this information in her GOODREADS profile:

"The sequel to Darkwalker is due December 2014." [Source]


Hounds of Autumn
Hounds of Autumn
Price: £3.16

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Steampunk novel with bittersweet end, 3 Jan. 2014
This review is from: Hounds of Autumn (Kindle Edition)
My Expectations
I read a lot of Steampunk novels in the past years and based on that I have common expectations. Steampunk elements should be part of the story and no decorative parts. I like either a Victorian background or an alternate history setting. Romance is not really my cup of tea. Therefore I hoped that romance would not play an important and extended role.

The Delivery
The 270 pages are divided into 20 consecutively numbered chapters. This is quite short compared to the books I normally read. I know that quantity does not say anything about quality.

When I read the words hounds and moor, The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle came immediately up in my mind. But beside hound and moor there are no further similarities. Hounds of Autumn is a unique story.
The title of the book can be interpreted either as the shortest possible summary or as a synonym for Chloe and Ambrose Sullivan who both play important roles. In fact Chloe is the main character. She is young, at least 20 years younger as her husband. I will come back to that fact later.
Chloe is an extraordinary person for her time. England in 1890 means Victorian England.

"When a Victorian man and woman married, the rights of the woman were legally given over to her spouse. Under the law the married couple became one entity where the husband would represent this entity, placing him in control of all property, earnings and money. In addition to losing money and material goods to their husbands, Victorian wives became property to their husbands," [Source]

One could say women have been the slaves of her husbands.

How did middle and upper class women spent their time?

"Women's leisure activities included in large part traditional pastimes such as reading, embroidery, music, and traditional handicrafts." [Source]

Author Heather Blackwood shows her talent in many ways. Her vivid presentation of the Victorian society is excellent and matches superb with the unique and fresh main characters in in form of Chloe and Ambrose Sullivan.
Ambrose has been a good friend of Chloe's family and the marriage - including a contract - gave Chloe the opportunity to do something outrageous for a Victorian woman: to read what she wants and to invent and build mechanicals. Her latest invention is the mechanical cat name Giles which is always good for a surprise.
Ambrose admires Chloe's intelligence, straightforwardness and endurance. He defends/saves her whenever necessary. Chloe enjoys a freedom which stands in conflict with society rules. They respect and also love each other which is shown in small gestures, something your recognise when you keep an eye on long term married couples who are still in love.
Without this unorthodox marriage the story would miss a lot.

While reading this charming story - don't get me wrong, there are scenes where Heather Blackwood pulls no punches - I enjoyed the balanced delivery of information which always light your imagination and avoids information overload.
I do not want to draw the curtain over the fact that humor, superstition, sense of responsibility and fog found their appropriate place within the book.

Finally I must admit that all my educated guesses to identify the murderer before the final revelation failed. I highly appreciated that the reader most of the time does not know more than Chloe.

The Inevitable

It was exactly my cup of tea. An intelligent heroine, a most entertaining story with twist and turns, a mystical touch, an excellent description of Victorian society and a bittersweet end,

The writing style supports the story at all points. Within seconds I forgot my surroundings and followed Chloe and Ambrose Sullivan on her way to the story.

If you look for a good Steampunk book which
- delivers suitable action beyond airship battles
- denies the endless ostentation of Steampunk gadgets
- present you an extraordinary woman her tries to hold her ground in Victorian society
- ends bittersweet
- bewitch with emotion and eerily-beautiful moments

then you should give Hounds of Autumn a try.

These are my totally subjective closing words
For me Hounds of Autumn cries for a sequel starring the extraordinary and inimitable Chloe Sullivan written by the talented and convincing Heather Blackwood !!!


CassaStorm
CassaStorm
Price: £2.20

5.0 out of 5 stars A touching and mesmerising space opera full of action and emotion, 22 Sept. 2013
This review is from: CassaStorm (Kindle Edition)
This is te third and final book in the CASSA series.
I wrote about the first book - CassaStaR -

"Conclusion:
For me CassaStaR is a well executed, character driven, easy to follow debut novel about friendship, I mean real friendship, set in space including battles.

I look forward to the next Alex J. Cavanaugh story - the groundwork is done and now I wait for the cherry ...."

Of course I read the second book -CassaFirE - and this was my final comment:

"For me CassaFirE is definitely the cherry I expected. [...]
CassaStaR is the cake. CassaFirE is the cherry. And CassaXxxX will be the cream on the cherry.
There is no way out for you Alex J. Cavanaugh. An author who pampers his readers with excellent books is doomed to write one more. The end of CassaFirE is a clear end. It is that clear that it screams for a third Cassa novel. I'm sure Athee and Mevine will agree."

And now I will answer the question if CassaStorM s the cream on the cherry on the cake or not.

All of you who have second thoughts to read the third book in a trilogy without knowing the two previous books should drop their doubts.

It is possible to read CassaStorM without knowing CassaStaR and CassaFirE.
B U T
you will definitely miss a lot regarding character development and you will miss entertaining hours with two excellent books.

Leap in time
Twenty years after the events described in CassaFirE Byron is still on planet Tgren. He is now the Commander of the Cassan Base. Also his private life changed a lot. Byron and his beloved wife Athee are the proud parents of ten years old Bassan.
The whole story is told from the point of views from these characters. If you meet them for the first time, you should know that they use an additional form of communication: telepathy.

Wheels
There are two wheels set into motion. The first one is the declaration of war between the ten known races of the galaxy whereas the Tegren try to be neutral at all cost. The second one is the signal sent by the alien ship on Tgren in the same direction as twenty years ago. People are afraid that the mysterious and powerful probe will return ......

Thoughts
Welcome back Byron. After twenty years you are still the character we know from CassaFirE. You are still the honest, stubborn, undiplomatic, trustworthy and loyal officer. Even it seems that the time with your beloved wife Athee softened you little bit. Your son Bassan is proud of you. Did you spend enough time with him?
No time to think about it because it comes thick and fast - not only for Byron, the linchpin of the trilogy.

There are many, many relationships within the story. The more I think about them the more I discover. I'm not sure if I discovered them all. For me these relationships are like invisible elastics who keep the story together.

There is the most obvious triangle Byron, Athee and Bassan. At first sight they are just a family. A father, a mother and a son. But at the same time Byron and Athee are lovers, parents, working team mates, example for the mix of races and more. Bassan is a half-breed, the son of the commander, mother's darling and more.

The events are mentally and physically exhausting for all three. The war demands Byron's full concentration and "rob" the time he needs for his son and his wife. Athee support Byron at work as liaison officer to calm down unreasonable politicians and at home as the "anchor" of the family. And Bassan does what most young boys do. Discover the world and touch things you should not touch .... As a half-breed he has to cope challenges which should have disappeared in future ...
The description of the impact of outer events on the inner events (actions and emotions) of the Byron family and vice versa is one of the highlights of CassaStorM. And it gets really intense due to the use of telepathy which means you follow the thoughts and communcation of the characters directly! A reader can't be more nearer to a character as in such moments.

The story of young Bassan is a kind a coming of age story within the story. But that does not mean it is separate, it is quite the contrary.

The characters put a heavy stamp on the story. Nevertheless the author delivers more. With the mystery of the alien ship transmission a strong plot driven element is added to the story. At this point science plays an important role and readers of CassaFirE will meet again Mevine who is now the leading science officer.
By interweaving character driven and plot driven elements raise to a new height.

Let me assure you that there are more characters which play important roles in the events described in CassaStorM.

A final book in a trilogy should deliver the answers to the open questions from all books. I promise you that you will not leave CassaStorM with unanswered questions.
That leads me to one of the many highlights of the book: The final revelation

I admit that the final revelation has been a big surprise to me and is a more than worthy end of the book and the trilogy.

Cream or not
Now the time has come to answer the question from the beginning.
YES, for me CassaStorM is the cream on the cherry CassaFirE on the cake CassaStaR, which I hoped to get, the readers deserved to get.

Congratulations Alex J. Cavanaugh. You crossed the high like the Himalaya hurdle to deliver a worthy end of your trilogy and excelled yourself.

WHY?

CassaStorM is the entertaining manifesto for trust, tolerance, respect, solidarity and love beyond space and time.
CassaStorM is a magnificent end of the Cassa trilogy, fat free for the body but rich in mental calories for the brain.
CassaStorM is a touching and mesmerising space opera full of action and emotion with strong characters and a cosmic mystery.
CassaStorM is the incredible end of a most entertaining trilogy packed with action, emotion, politics, science and mystery which does not leave you with unanswered questions


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