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J. Chippindale (England)
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5.0 out of 5 stars My Kind of Book, 4 May 2014
After a brief sojourn into the eighteenth century with the Duke of Wellington and Napoleon, Young Bloods (Book 1, 2006) Simon Scarrow is back to sorting out the problems of the Roman Empire with his two lead characters Cato and Macro. Cato was once optio, (or chosen man, second in command of a legion) to the centurion Macro, but Cato has now achieved the rank of centurion and the pair have been through many encounters together. This has made them not only battle hardened, but the closest of friends. A friendship moulded by standing side by side in battle. Each would happily die for the other, though neither would admit it.

Both men have been sent on a mission to the Roman frontier, where trouble is brewing and for once the troops seem to be in disarray. When the pair arrive a local revolt is beginning to grow in scale, with a local tribesman preaching violence and death against Rome

Macro and Cato must use their knowledge and expertise as centurions to stamp out the corruption in the cohort and get the men back to being a unified fighting force before the Eastern Provinces are lost forever

I will read anything and everything about the Roman legions, be it fact or fiction so these books are like manna from heaven for me. Simon Scarrow's books are very authentic and all of them are extremely enjoyable reading.


No Title Available

5.0 out of 5 stars Well Researched and a Cracking Read, 4 May 2014
As I live reasonably close to York where most of these books are set, and I am in the city fairly regularly, I can perhaps visualise better than many the area of Yorkshire that many of the Owen Archer books take place in. Apothecary Rose: The First Owen Archer Mystery (1993) York has changed surprisingly little over the centuries and many of the streets of York mentioned in the books are still there and of course so is the imposing Minster.

Owen Archer the lead character in the book is a Welsh longbow man who works for a high church dignitary and spends some of his spare time helping in his wife's apothecary shop. He is called upon by William of Wykeham, the Bishop of Winchester, to help him with a serious problem. I am interested in this period of English history and the author's authenticity cannot be questioned, plus her excellent story telling is spellbinding. I love these books and can recommend them to new readers. Unfortunately there has not been a new one in the Owen Archer series for some time.


The Tournament
The Tournament
by Matthew Reilly
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £13.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Big Direction Change for the Author, 3 May 2014
This review is from: The Tournament (Hardcover)
This on the face of it is a big change of direction for the author and not one that sits easily with me. I think that writing a novel with a historical background was a brave move, particularly as there are many accomplished writers already flooding the market with this genre and to be fair it is far removed from the type of book he normally writes.

When I found out the book was about the girl who was to become Elizabeth I, albeit in her formative years I could not wait to read it, but overall I was disappointed with it. The storyline was quite interesting revolving around a series of chess matches organised by the Sultan of Constantinople. Roger Ascham, Elizabeth's teacher thinks taking her with him to the tournament along with the English chess champion, sent to the tournament by Henry VIII, will not only improve her education but also take her away from the clutches of those who may see her as a threat, although at the time she is not currently in line to the throne.

I am in no way a prude, far from it, but I thought the sex, violence and lewd innuendo were not needed in a book such as this. It was I believe an attempt by the writer to show the reader how Elizabeth's later life was moulded by this adventure, putting the future Queen at odds with the attentions of the opposite sex. I found it superfluous to the story and it spoiled the book to a degree for me.


The Venus Throw (Roma Sub Rosa) by Steven Saylor Published by Robinson Publishing (2005)
The Venus Throw (Roma Sub Rosa) by Steven Saylor Published by Robinson Publishing (2005)

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sorry When It Ended, Wanted More, 1 May 2014
Steven Saylor's series of books about Ancient Rome and featuring Gordianus the Finder are extremely popular both here in England and also in America. Anyone who is a fan of Lindsey Davis will love these books too. Roman Blood (Gordianus the Finder Book 1, 1991) Steven Saylor brings Ancient Rome to life, so much so that the reader can lose himself in the sights and sounds of the ancient city.

Gordianus the Finder, the investigator of crimes, a man whose skill and integrity have made him much sought after by some of the most important men in Rome. Men who may need a secret to be kept, men who need to know that when Gordianus is working for them he will be discreet and not susceptible to bribery.

The Sub Rosa series is very quickly growing in popularity and it is easy to see why. The main character Gordianus the Finder is both a likeable and believable character and the author's descriptive talents bring the sights and sounds of Ancient Rome leaping off the pages. In this novel set in the period 50 BC Gordianus is hired to investigate a murder and he must follow a trail of intrigue to places that no one in their right mind would go, into the realms of political power. Nobody is more devious than the men who rule Rome. Men who, on the surface are the height of respectability, but rub the surface .

As always with these books I was sorry when it ended.


The Queen of the Night (Ancient Rome Mysteries) by Doherty, Paul Published by Headline (2006)
The Queen of the Night (Ancient Rome Mysteries) by Doherty, Paul Published by Headline (2006)

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Very Enjoyable Read, 1 May 2014
Paul Doherty really is the master storyteller. It seem to matter not to Mr. Doherty whether the background to the book is Medieval England, The Devil's Domain (Sorrowful Mysteries of Brother Athelstan, Book 1, 1998) Ancient Egypt, The Mask of Ra (Amerotke Book 1, 1998), or in this book the eternal city of Rome in the 4th century AD.

I don't think it could possibly be Ancient Rome without the murder and mayhem that almost always seem to accompany any book that uses the city as its background.

The children of the rich and famous are being abducted and held for ransom. At the same time veteran legionaries who have served in Britannia with Constantine, particularly along Great Wall, in the more northern reaches of the island are being brutally murdered. There bodies are mutilated, a practice that was prevalent among the Picts, the people they were fighting against, so many years ago.

The Empress employs her secret agent Claudia to try to resolve these terrible happenings. However Claudia has her own problems. Her uncles garden has recently had the body of a young girl disinterred and she has the task of trying to solve both mysteries at the same time. The young girl was a Christian and her corpse was perfectly preserved.

Claudia must claw her way through a mist of politics, religion and violence. One false move could cost her much more than her job as a spy .

The book was as enjoyable as all the other offerings from the author. Anyone who has read other Paul Doherty books will like this one.


The Stallions of Woodstock (Domesday Books)
The Stallions of Woodstock (Domesday Books)
by A E Marston
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sixth in a Terrific Series of Books, 1 May 2014
Edward Marston is the pseudonym of Keith Miles, a fairly prolific and in my own opinion an extremely good writer of mainly Elizabethan and medieval mysteries. He has also written mysteries under his own name with both sporting and golf backgrounds. However it is primarily the books that take place earlier in history that I am interested in. He read modern history at Oxford and has had many jobs, including university lecturer, but fortunately for all his readers, he turned to the writing profession.

After reading the first book in the series, The Wolves of Savernake (Domesday Book 1) I avidly sought out all the other books by Edward Marston and not a single one has ever disappointed me. They are about a period of history that I love. His Elizabethan theatre series of books were wonderful and he has continued them through from 1988 to 2006. The Domesday series is also a great series and this is the second book in the series.

The Domesday series is about a period in England's history shortly after the Norman conquest , during the reign of William the Conqueror. It was King William himself who called for an `inventory' to assess taxes and survey landholdings. This inventory was called the Domesday book and was a tremendous undertaking, but one that brought stability to England. Edward Marston's Domesday novels are based upon actual entries in the Domesday Book.


[The Dragons of Archenfield * *] [by: Edward Marston]
[The Dragons of Archenfield * *] [by: Edward Marston]
by Edward Marston
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Third in the Domesday Series, 1 May 2014
Edward Marston is the pseudonym of Keith Miles, a fairly prolific and extremely good writer of mainly Elizabethan and medieval mysteries. He has also written mysteries under his own name with both sporting and golf backgrounds. However it is primarily the books that take place earlier in history that I am interested in. He read modern history at Oxford and has had many jobs, including university lecturer, but fortunately for all his readers, he turned to the writing profession.

Winter is approaching and the troupe of actors known as Westfield's men are one again out of work, but not for long. Their patron Lord Westfield has decided to marry again and has chosen a Danish bride with tenuous attachment to the Danish Royal family. The troupe is invited to perform as guests of the King, Christian IV and fittingly or so they believe they choose to perform as one of their offerings, The Princess of Denmark. They little know when making the decision that it will prove to be a disastrous choice.

Westfield's men soon find themselves embroiled in political mayhem and religious dissension. Lord Westfield who has never seen his future bride in the flesh and made his proposal after seeing a painted miniature of the lady, is less than enthusiastic when he actually meets the lady. But he can hardly withdraw his offer of marriage. As usual murder and intrigue follow the company wherever they go, and eventually they realise that there is a traitor in their ranks. Once again it falls to Nicholas Bracewell to solve the murder, unmask the villain and extricate Lord Westfield from his unsuitable match.

The author's love for the Elizabethan theatre comes shining through this series of books. The Queen's Head,(Nicholas Bracewell, Book 1, 1988). Plus his knowledge of the period fills the pages with authenticity and the sights and sounds of the streets and inns of Elizabethan London. A very enjoyable read.


The Queen of the Night {{ THE QUEEN OF THE NIGHT }} By Doherty, Paul ( AUTHOR) Dec-04-2006
The Queen of the Night {{ THE QUEEN OF THE NIGHT }} By Doherty, Paul ( AUTHOR) Dec-04-2006
by Paul Doherty
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars The Author Always Provides Enjoyment for the Reader, 1 May 2014
Paul Doherty really is the master storyteller. It seem to matter not to Mr. Doherty whether the background to the book is Medieval England, Satan in St.Mary's (Hugh Corbett Mysteries, Book 1) Ancient Egypt, The Mask of Ra (Amerotke, Book 1), or in the case the eternal city of Rome in the 4th century AD.

I don't think it could possibly be Ancient Rome without the murder and mayhem that almost always seem to accompany any book that uses the city as its background.

The children of the rich and famous are being abducted and held for ransom. At the same time veteran legionaries who have served in Britannia with Constantine, particularly along Great Wall, in the more northern reaches of the island are being brutally murdered. There bodies are mutilated, a practice that was prevalent among the Picts, the people they were fighting against, so many years ago.

The Empress employs her secret agent Claudia to try to resolve these terrible happenings. However Claudia has her own problems. Her uncles garden has recently had the body of a young girl disinterred and she has the task of trying to solve both mysteries at the same time. The young girl was a Christian and her corpse was perfectly preserved.

Claudia must claw her way through a mist of politics, religion and violence. One false move could cost her much more than her job as a spy.

The book was as enjoyable as all the other offerings from the author. Anyone who has read other Paul Doherty books will love this one too.


[The Eight] [by: Katherine Neville]
[The Eight] [by: Katherine Neville]
by Katherine Neville
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars A Fascinating Read, 1 May 2014
Over the centuries a secret has been hidden away from anyone who would seek to abuse its power. One brave woman gives her life in an attempt to protect the course of the world’s history from changing for ever.

The secret revolves around a chess set given to Charlemagne by a group of Moors who across the world taking the chess pieces with them. Embedded in each chess piece is a code. During the revolution in France a group of nuns are forced to unearth the secret buried for a thousand years. The women scatter the chess pieces across the land. Whoever can reassemble all of the pieces will have unlimited power.

Centuries later a woman is chosen to join those who are protecting the chess pieces. Will one of the greatest riddle of all time give up its secret?

I found this book an irresistible read and had difficulty putting it down.


No Title Available

3.0 out of 5 stars A New Twist on the Holy Grail, 1 May 2014
I approached this book with mixed emotions. I am not an advocate of the format this book takes, i.e. switching between the present day and then back several hundred years. This style for me has a tendency to make the story disjointed. However having said that, in this particular book it seemed to work quite well and there would have been no other way of writing the book.

The book begins on July 4, 2005 at an archaeological dig in the mountains in South Western France. Alice a volunteer at the dig has decided to do a little work away from the other members of the dig. She finds something (either by chance or destiny) that will change her life and the lives of many of the people around her. She has unearthed a time bomb that has been ticking away for centuries. . .

This book is a unique twist on the much told tale of the Grail and to go too deeply into the plot would be to spoil the book for the reader. As I have said the plot twists and turns, backwards and forwards through the centuries. It involves a family in the early 13th century, who have been given the task of helping to protect ancient books and symbols that will allow the grail to be used, for good or evil.

I thought overall the book was quite enjoyable, but the storyline verged on boring in places.


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