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Greg House (Australia)

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Ancient Germanic Warriors
Ancient Germanic Warriors
by Michael P. Speidel
Edition: Paperback
Price: £28.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not Grunting Barbarians, 12 July 2013
For me a reading of this work has opened up many vistas of thought and explanation via the clarity and expanse of Speidel's research. He has managed via both solid literary and archaeological sources to recast the image of the Germanic warrior and give this previously grubby fur clad grunting barbarian the boot. In its place we have bands of proven warriors, so skilled and renowned that Roman emperors recruited them for body guards and elite units from the days of the early empire. For anyone wanting a more realistic view of the Germanic warrior culture this is a definitive work, for historians or re-enactors.
Regards Greg House
Author, The Red Ned Tudor Mysteries


The Year of the Horsetails
The Year of the Horsetails
Price: £2.23

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Brillant Piece of Historical Fiction, 31 May 2013
A lost Masterpiece!
I remember reading my first stunning piece of Steppe nomad based historical fiction as if it were yesterday; RF Tapsell's The Year of the Horsetails , I must have borrowed it from the library and read it a dozen times when in my early teens. Eventually in the 1980's I found a much battered copy in a second hand book shop in Adelaide, though broken dog eared and missing a few pages it still sits in in library amongst my treasures of historical fiction. Though recently, due to its fragile condition I haven't dared to read it.
So why did it make such an impression and helped shape my love of historical fiction?
At a period in historical fiction writing ,when the best craftsmen/women were struggling to convince editors that Victorian style language and prose was definitely in the past and their readers were intelligent enough to understand complex plots and `real historical accuracy' was being presented not Hollywood fantasy RF Tapsell launched his deceptively simple take on the impact of the Steppe cultures on the sedentary societies of the early Dark Ages.
What was completely new in this style of story was his depth of historical research and its casual presentation in the tale of one man, Bardiya a refugee Saka noble fleeing the vengeful Tugars, lords of the wide Steppes. What's more the two opposing societies in this tale the Tugars and the Vedich are presented without the usual stupid bare chested fur clad grunting barbarian stereotypes. While the Tugars of the Steppe are similar to the Avars of history, they lack the usual evil slavering Mongol horde Scourge of God portrayal. They are what they are, the environment of the Steppe and the wars of the Kagan have molded them into superb warriors not mindless savages. Thankfully we are completely without the Christian/Pagan clash or the Defence of Civilisation so frequently trotted out by writers of the time, though Byzantium the bastion of the Eastern Roman Empire is alluded to in the story, it is as only a passing mention. Without giving away the plot I can say that it is a very good story and well written. I also suspect that contemporary history fiction writers such as Harry Sidebottom and Christian Cameron have had a copy of this fine work tucked away on their shelves at some time. If you're into Dark Age period fiction or any good stories about the Steppes similar to those two fine writers then I cannot recommend this highly enough.
Regards Greg House author of The Liberties of London


Sons of the Wolf
Sons of the Wolf

4.0 out of 5 stars A good first novel, 29 Nov. 2012
This review is from: Sons of the Wolf (Kindle Edition)
Since I have a passion for the Norse and Anglo-Saxon period a friend suggest that I might like this novel by Paula Lofting and so intrigued by the book description I bought a copy. To be honest I'm glad I did, as a first novel it is quite well done and unlike a lot of stories in this period the focus of this is on the interactions of the lower level of thanes. Their small rivalries and family dramas fuel the story just was well as any great saga. I most certainly must commend Paula on her high level of research, it is very refreshing and helped provide a good background to the tale. Especially so after groaning all the way through an unnamed Roman novel that seemed to lacking any form of editing or serious research. So well done I look forward to reading the next in this series!
Wasshael Greg


The Challenge: Britain Against America in the Naval War of 1812
The Challenge: Britain Against America in the Naval War of 1812
Price: £6.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Review of a Misunderstood War, 11 Oct. 2012
Andrew Lambert is a British naval historian of the highest calibre, his many presentations on all manner of naval subjects ahd always been informative and well researched. It is so in this excellent piece where he explores a number of the reasons behind the mythology of the War of 1812. In short he cuts through the waffle and evasions and presents a more realistic version of the events. While this may not please some across the Pond, it is still both essential and neccessary to debunk myths built upon political desperation, propaganda and slanted views of history. To any serious student of naval history I can heartily recommend this fine work.
Regards Gregory House


Folville's Law (The John Swale Chronicles Book 1)
Folville's Law (The John Swale Chronicles Book 1)

4.0 out of 5 stars A good tale well told, 31 Jan. 2012
The dramatic tale of Queen Isabella and lover Roger Mortimer's revolt against her distracted husband King Edward II is rich in betray, lust and trampled honour. It was such a passionate story that measured the full turn of Fortunes' wheel beloved of Elizabethans like Christopher Marlowe, who wrote a stirring play with Edward represented as a tragically flawed hero. David Pilling in this starkly rendered medieval story, has endeavoured to give us a view from both sides of the conflict. From the cockpit of power, where ambition, insult and lust serve as motivations for rebellion and war. Then down to the common struggle of knights and lower gentry like Sir John Swale as he tried to reconcile sworn oaths, a need for vengeance and a chance of land and security. For anyone interested in good quality medieval novels placed in a realistic setting with a well crafted storyline I can recommend Folville's Law. I must say this is very credible first effort and greatly look forward to reading more of this writers work. David Pilling can feel justifiably proud of this effort and I cheerfully award it four stars. I fear I tend to reserve five stars for sheer genius like RF Tapsell, Rosemary Sutcliffe or Dorothy Dunnett.

Regards Gregory House author of The Liberties of London


Weapons of Warre: The Armaments of the Mary Rose (Archaeology of the Mary Rose)
Weapons of Warre: The Armaments of the Mary Rose (Archaeology of the Mary Rose)
by Alexzandra Hildred
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £49.95

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Splendid piece of group Research, 21 Dec. 2011
Apart from academics three sets of readers tend to hunger for a work of this quality re-enactors, Historical period or archaeological devotees and of course Historical fiction writers. Commonly each has a slightly different slant to their desire for historical knowledge and sources, whether balancing scientific reports with in-depth descriptions and a discussion of possibilities from the evidence. In this case Alexzandra Hildred and the Mary Rose Trust team have delivered what could be the ultimate work for all those allied spheres of interest. This two volume set is meticulous in detail, but also concise in explanation, the drawings and photos are clear and the reasoning for the reconstructions and trials easy to understand without being simplistic. It is a joy and wonder to browse through the pages or go straight to a single discovery. Either way what comes through is a richness and thoroughness that brings the items of the Royal Tudor Warship and its crew to life as real objects and people rather than the dry dust of history. To the Research crew, contributors and the Mary Rose Trust Organisation you have my deepest thanks for giving us this excellent record of your decades of work.

Regards Gregory House: Writer and Reconstruction Archaeologist.
Author of The Liberties of London


Doomsday Book
Doomsday Book
by Connie Willis
Edition: School & Library Binding
Price: £12.56

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Stunning Piece of Writing and Great Read, 18 Dec. 2011
Even now several years after I first read Connie Willis' novel Doomsday Book it is difficult to describe its effect upon me, I have always been interested in both Sci Fi and historical fiction so I took this offering with modestly keen anticipation. Now in the Sci Fi and fantasy sphere the time travel concept has been frequently employed by a number of celebrated authors such as Mark Twain and Robert Heinlein to offer an intriguing compassion of cultures via their hero. Others however use it to revel in the cultural and technological superiority of their contemporary culture compared to the ridiculous, ignorant and primitive ancestors. The result is nearly always tacky, abusively condescending and turgid. With the Doomsday Book there is much comparison with the former and no concerns about the later, Connie Willis has given us a very moving story of time travelling investigative historians, whom both in the distant past and their contemporary time find that dispassionate academic observation is a useless abstraction in the face of human peril and disaster. To me the characters in this, both Kivrin transported to the past and Professor Dunworthy in the present have all the human strengths and frustrations that the impact of Plague and Pandemic bring forth throughout history. In the end I found it a moving story about ordinary people caught up in their time, with an excellent regard for historical research and misconception. I would recommend it to anyone interested in historical fiction, Sci Fi or gripping writing that takes you back to 1348 and only a pace into the future.
Regards Gregory House Author of The Liberties of London


Strange, Inhuman Deaths: Murder in Tudor England
Strange, Inhuman Deaths: Murder in Tudor England
by John G Bellamy
Edition: Paperback
Price: £20.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Scholarly Research Well Written, 17 Dec. 2011
During a period awash with second rate `pop' histories of the Tudors Professor Bellamy must be commended for giving us this superbly scholarly work on murder during the Tudor era. I found it concise, clearly written and extremely well referenced. For any Tudor writer and scholar wishing to delve into this area of research I can heartily recommend it.
Regards Gregory House
Author of The Liberties of London


A Plague On Both Your Houses: 1 (Matthew Bartholomew)
A Plague On Both Your Houses: 1 (Matthew Bartholomew)
Price: £6.99

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good story set in a Dark time, 16 Dec. 2011
I must admit to come to this series of books only recently, in part due to frequent placement of my novel The Liberties of London between a whole host of Susanna Gregory novels in the UK top 100 for its genre. Okay putting my personal plug aside, I found this novel delightfully refreshing even though it dealt with the deadly and devastating impact of the Black Death on the town and colleges of Cambridge. This was her first story of the physician Matthew Bartholomew and as in all the best historical mysteries it had me questioning the evidence and motives of a goodly selection of the plot characters, in a story that maintained its pace even if it spanned months. I would have to say this was both a well researched and well written story, I just wish I'd come across this series sooner. As to this tale I will not give out any hints or spoilers, but simply suggest reading it and see what you think, for myself I've purchased the next five books and look forward meeting the good master physician again.
The dramatic price increase for Australian purchasers of ebooks by Hatchette though doesn't impress me and I will be looking to expand my collection of Susanna Gregory's books in a more traditional fashion.

Regards Gregory House
Author of The Liberties of London


London in Chains (An English Civil War Novel)
London in Chains (An English Civil War Novel)
Price: £5.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent story, great setting, 16 Dec. 2011
The English Civil War is an evocative period in English history, it possesses all the high drama rancorous politics and family divisions beloved by writers and filmmakers for plot and characters. Due to this we've had a truck loads of the usual romances where in a dashing cavalier rescues a threatened (beautiful) heiress from a menacing and dour roundhead. Ho hum tedious predictable and boring. But not so with this novel Gillian Bradshaw has opted for the more interesting a realistic portrayal of a common English girl who suffers from the dread deeds and degradations of war and isn't dashingly rescued. However Lucy does take her life and future in her own hands and forges her own unique position in the ferment of Parliamentary London. I was extremely impressed with this story as it concentrates on the actions of common people after the First Civil War to gain a government in Parliament that will serve them and not its own interests. Lucy is an excellent witness to the tumult and division as she is caught up in the push to free John Lilburne arrested by Parliament for advocating suffrage for the common man. I commend this story to anyone looking for a good historical novel or who wants to gain an exceptional view of an exciting period. I can't wait to reading the second in this series.
Regards Gregory House
Author of The Liberties of London


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