Customer Reviews


116 Reviews
5 star:
 (72)
4 star:
 (34)
3 star:
 (7)
2 star:
 (3)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gordon breaks his own record
I'll state for the record that Gordon emerged from the same writing-feedback site as I (and a few others), and have since come to know him through Twitter too. But this fact in no way influences the following review, as nepotism does not float my boat. Feel free to simply disregard it if you must, but you do so at your peril.

I gave Gordon's first book 5 stars...
Published on 22 May 2012 by SJATurney

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Not a bad read
I chose this book as the subject matter ie 11th century Byzantium is not one covered by many authors. Whilst i know the story has been done before ie young boy brought up by another family, soothsayer predicts great things etc etc etc, i still found the book an interesting read. However, the prose is littered with bad grammar. The author mixes the past tense with the...
Published 3 months ago by Kenneth Wilson


‹ Previous | 1 212 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gordon breaks his own record, 22 May 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I'll state for the record that Gordon emerged from the same writing-feedback site as I (and a few others), and have since come to know him through Twitter too. But this fact in no way influences the following review, as nepotism does not float my boat. Feel free to simply disregard it if you must, but you do so at your peril.

I gave Gordon's first book 5 stars. I honestly thought it was that good. Reading it just made me jealous over the relative quality of my own work. Now that I've read Strategos, I wish I'd given it 4 stars, as this book is significantly better and I can't reflect that in the ratings, so there you go. Both fab books, but this is better.

Strategos seems to be the work where Gordon's writing has matured into a solid style that is easily the challenge of most established Histfic authors. I feel you will find it hard to tell that this is not a traditionally published novel. Even the shaky editing and typos that are a regrettable feature of self-published work are suspiciously absent. I think I found three or four typos in the whole book, which is a number I expect to find in any work. And the editing? Well it's tight and on-track all the way through.

The story is complex and deep, involving a twisting tale of intrigue and revenge that entwines the protagonist's path all against the background of a great and tumultuous time of desperate military actions to preserve a dying empire. What impressed me particularly is that there is no Good guy/Bad guy black-and-white attitude in Strategos. It is hard not to find likeable and appreciable traits in the bad guys. Not all the good guys are that good. Indeed the main antagonists are ostensibly on the same side as the hero.

The story had a plausible tale of personal growth and overcoming the most outrageous obstacles, the unit cameraderie a reader tends to seek in any military histfic, scenes of horror and glory, but pulls no punches and at times leaves the reader feeling a little hollow and angered at events.

For those of you who like the Byzantine era, I'm sure you'll like this. Gordon's done a great deal of research and it shows (I'm not knowledgable enough on the subject to find any errors if there are any, so I can't tell if it's mistake free. You'll have to do that yourself and comment appropriately). What I CAN say is that if, like me, you have a deep love of the Roman era or the Medieval/Crusading era, you should find this fascinating, as it is an era that is a definite crossover. To have a man who is the descendant of the Roman legionary, armoured in a late-Roman fashion, facing an enemy that would not seem out of place fighting the crusaders in Outremer is a fascinating thing.

There is also an overtone of spirituality and strangeness that threads throughout the story, pointing at a greater destiny that must become apparent in a future book.

If I have a criticism (and it's really hard to find one) it was that the ending was a little abrupt. I was expecting a sort of wind-down epilogue, but the plot wrapped up and the story ended with a sharp stop. In the grand scheme of things I hardly think this is a reason to put anyone off, so go ahead and read the book and see for yourself. And, since indie authors are oft accused of promoting one another blindly, please do comment on this review if you think I've been fair and on-the-ball.

Happy reading.

Vale, Haga.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great read, 7 Jan. 2012
This review is from: Strategos: Born in the Borderlands (Strategos 1) (Kindle Edition)
Another great read from the author of Legionary. As an avid reader I read a wide variety of books - probably 100+ over a year and I always welcome a new author and look forward to reading more of Gordon Docherty's work in the future. Strategos offered a well woven blend of the brutalities of war and the lives of those waging it. For me the strength of the relationships that the main character, Apion, has with those he encounters is a key factor in making the book such a riveting read. Even characters of little importance have been well considered so that each contributes to the clarity of the story as a whole. I look forward to reading more by this author in the near future. A great book!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Strategos: Born in the Borderlands, 3 Jan. 2012
This review is from: Strategos: Born in the Borderlands (Strategos 1) (Kindle Edition)
After reading Legionary I was hoping for another brilliant book and boy I was not disappointed, this book brings you deeper into the scenarios and characters than any book I have ever read. Gordon brings the characters of Apion, Mansur, Vadim, Bracchus and many many mpre to life and you get to feel an emotional tie with Apion. The build up to the final battle is awesome with the haunting noise of the moaning of the Seljuk battle horns coursing through my head. Bravo to Gordon for writing one of the best books I have read for years and I cannot wait for thenext episodes of Legionary and Strategos, many more happy hours of reading to come.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tale of Apion, 19 April 2013
By 
Kara L. Eager - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Strategos: Born in the Borderlands (Strategos 1) (Kindle Edition)
I would thoroughly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical drama. It is well written with interesting twists & sub-plots. As well written as some of the best genre writers. Well done!! I look forward to the next book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well worth reading, 26 Jan. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Strategos: Born in the Borderlands (Strategos 1) (Kindle Edition)
I enjoyed this book immensely.

The author does seem to choose periods of Imperial history which are not obvious choices for the setting of heroic fiction. Similarly his heroes tend to be disadvantaged, almost fatally flawed, when we first encounter them, but they come through in the end.
There are things that a reader might criticise, for example I am not a great fan of flashbacks or the repeated phrases/voices in his head, that appeared all too frequently at times of crisis, but this is a personal thing. I disliked it in Bernard Cornwell's Agincourt as well, so he is in good company.

If you want an absorbing plot driven read, that will keep you turning the pages, then you could do far worse than this book.

As I said in the title of this review, it is indeed well worth reading and I look forward to his next book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you want your Byzantium enriched with some fictional flavour, this is the place to go, 21 Aug. 2014
By 
AK (London) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Strategos: Born in the Borderlands (Strategos 1) (Kindle Edition)
The book is the first part of the author's trilogy (Strategos: Rise of the Golden Heart (Strategos 2) and Strategos: Island in the Storm (Strategos 3) being the follow-ons) covering Byzantium in the 11th century AD (until the arrival of the Komnenos dynasty). While Apion - an orphaned boy and the book's protagonist - is a product of the author's imagination, there is surprisingly little other deviation from historical fact (and what there is the author duly mentions at the end of the book).

As such the uthor does a very good job of bringing the borderlands of the early 11th century Byzantine Empire to life - with the frequent Seljuk raiding, the declining military power of the once great Eastern Roman empire, the intermingling of the peoples in Asia Minor... As the title suggests, there is a military path the protagonist eventually embarks upon in the second half of the book and just like the times, it is brutal and bloody.

In this section the author adds the understanding of the then contemporary warfare to his description of civilian life more heavily covered in the first half of the book. The pace is certainly well judged throughout and there is a good mix of action sequences and reflective passages, there to help explore the main characters more in-depth.

The book could be read as a self contained unit but I can only imagine that the majority of the readers will crave to continue on to Strategos: Rise of the Golden Heart (Strategos 2), which picks up some years after the story of the first book tails off. Even if you are more interested in the history proper than the fictional elements the book can be recommended. The limited artistic licence the author took in writing it is uncovered at the end of the volume, and anyone who has read The Alexiad (Penguin Classics), will know how much more work it is to read authors from the time covered by the book here than Gordon Doherty's work.

If the period is of interest more generally and one wants to quickly broaden one's understanding of historical circumstances leading to it and following, Cross and Crescent in the Balkans: The Ottoman Conquest of Southeastern Europe (14th - 15th centuries) is an excellent companion (in spite of the title focusing on a later period, the 11th century is covered, too), and the more dedicated reader will do well with the aforementioned The Alexiad (Penguin Classics) as well.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Historical Action Adventure, 11 Sept. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Yes this is a tale of revenge, yes it's a `zero to hero' story, no it's not without grammatical errors, but yes it still deserves five stars. Here are the reasons why:

Firstly, I found Gordon's writing style flowed beautifully making this is a very fast read.

Secondly, what made this tale interesting from the start: this is a novel of the end of the Byzantine Empire - a period of history I was very ignorant of. It was wonderful to be plunged into this unfamiliar set. This is strongly in the novel's favour. Are we not all tired of the same old Napoleonic era? The Roman Empire? The Dark Ages? Here is something new...

Thirdly, we have the usual band of brothers forced into dangerous bloody situations with looming threats both foreign and domestic; bloody pitched battles; a complicated love-triangle; a man on a quest of vengeance, and plenty of twists to keep us interested. It's a set of ingredients that work well together, and Gordon gives us a liberal sprinkling of each.

Fourthly, and for me the most important of all the reasons that this book receives five stars instead of four, is that the author did all of this independently. He did it without an agent who knows the market, without the team of professional editors, without the demands of the major publishers, which is probably why we have a novel of Byzantium, and not of the other settings mentioned above. This is all Gordon Doherty, and Historical Fiction at its best.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars offers him a second chance of happiness. Yet a hunger for revenge burns in Apion's ..., 14 Feb. 2015
By 
K. Nixon (Kent) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Strategos: Born in the Borderlands (Strategos 1) (Kindle Edition)
1046 AD. The Byzantine Empire teeters on full-blown war with the Seljuk Sultanate. In the borderlands of Eastern Anatolia, a land riven with bloodshed and doubt, young Apion's life is shattered in one swift and brutal Seljuk night raid. Only the benevolence of Mansur, a Seljuk farmer, offers him a second chance of happiness.

Yet a hunger for revenge burns in Apion's soul, and he is drawn down a dark path that leads him right into the heart of a conflict that will echo through the ages.

This is a classy historical fiction, well researched and very well written, so much so it is hard to understand why Doherty isn’t published by a major house.

The Byzantium period is one I know virtually nothing about, however in part one of this series Doherty immerses the reader in the lives and times of the people who lived it. The characterization is a particularly strong suit of Doherty’s.

The narrative is absorbing and I found it hard to put down once I’d started. Apion, the protagonist, is a boy at the outset. He’s orphaned in circumstances that set out his path. Initially the tale is one of life in the ages, later it develops into a military plot, building towards an extremely well-constructed battle scene at the climax. Bernard Cornwell too finishes his books with a big fight and Doherty’s is at least as strong as Cornwell’s.

**Originally reviewed for Books and Pals blog. May have received free review copy.**
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Start of something new and very different, 11 Jan. 2012
By 
Peter Wintle (Solihull, West Midlands United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Strategos: Born in the Borderlands (Strategos 1) (Kindle Edition)
Being an avid reader of Roman novels I came accross this book. It has the air of something nasty is brewing from the East and it's only going to be a matter of time before it hits. This novel is a great page turner bringing the Byzantium empire to the fore against a ever growing and menacing Seljuk empire wanting to spread it's wings. An early Christian vs Muslim struggle. I do hope this book is the first of many. I can highly recommend it . More please! By the way if you like playing chess this book will be of interest to you....
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars genius, 30 Sept. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
i only discovered this writers novels this year when browsing through historical fiction novels on amazon and boy am i glad i did. both books are absolutely riveting from start to finish and almost impossible to close and put down. i love these kinds of novels and there are some excellent practioners out there at the moment as the genre seems to be making a welcome comeback and these rank alongside if not above the best. believable characters,fast paced action and the authors obvious feel for the stories and periods described make these first two novels outstanding. i cant wait for the next two books in each series. looks like more sleepless but entertaining nights reading the further adventures of our two heroes. superb reading for anyone with an interest in these periods of history especially the roman/byzantine sides. keep them coming gordon!! awesome
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 212 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Only search this product's reviews