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Parm (A bookshop near you)
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Praetorian: The Great Game
Praetorian: The Great Game
Price: £1.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great book, 16 Mar. 2015
Review

When Simon said he was writing a new Roman series i worried that it would be Fronto by another name, something so easy to do when you have a series as successful as Marius Mules. Simon very generously involved me in his writing process, sending me the book in very early stages for comment and feedback (he knows i love that sort of thing, and pretends i add value). This allowed me to See Rufinus evolve, and soon dispelled any concerns about a carbon copy of Marius Mules, this was something new, something sharp and intelligent, full of intrigue, but still laden with Simon’s sharp wit and mischievous humour.

Rufinus takes the reader from the Legion to the Guard, from battles to the deep intrigue of court, Praetorian: The Great Game is packed with great characters, wonderfully researched locations and a powerful plot that fans have come to associate with Simon Turney.

This truly is the start of something new and special i highly recommend it

(Parm)

Series
Marius’ Mules
1. The Conquest of Gaul (2009)
aka The Invasion of Gaul
2. The Belgae (2010)
3. Gallia Invicta (2011)
4. Conspiracy of Eagles (2012)
5. Hades’ Gate (2013)
6. Caesar’s Vow (2014)
7. The Great Revolt (2014)
Prelude to War (2014)

Tales of the Empire
1. Interregnum (2009)
2. Ironroot (2010)
3. Dark Empress (2011)

Ottoman Cycle
1. The Thief’s Tale (2013)
2. The Priest’s Tale (2013)
3. The Assassin’s Tale (2014)

Novels
Praetorian: The Great Game (2015)


Dodger of the Dials
Dodger of the Dials
by James Benmore
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dickensian England and characters with a modern humour, 10 Mar. 2015
This review is from: Dodger of the Dials (Paperback)
Review

2013 saw in my (humble) opinion a very daring debut novel, in the form of James Benmore and Dodger . To take on writing the continuing saga of characters originally penned by Charles Dickens had a confidence that bordered either a deep love of the subject or insanity. Thankfully it was the former and for me the book was a real triumph.

2014 see's the next step and probably the hardest one, i have heard from a fair few writers that the second book is the hardest, you need to make sure book one isn't a flash in the pan, you need to grow as a writer, add everything you have learned and come up with a new interesting, credible second idea/ plot. Did he succeed?

Well given i don't review books i don't like, damn right he did! But more than that, he did it in style. Dodger of the Dials blows its predecessor away, it retains the audacity of characters and brings even more of the original cast of Dickens Oliver Twist back to life. More importantly it brings growth to the cast, a development of Jack Dawkins (The artful Dodger) it brings Oliver twist himself back, an older grown up more mature Oliver Twist, the meeting of these two old acquaintances is something to behold, emotive, cathartic and inspired.

There are many parts to this book, the crimes, the underworld, the gangs and their Sawyers (leaders), but the real triumph for me was the time spent in Newgate Prison. You could feel the age of the stone, the despair of the men due to hang, the desperation of the inmates. That tempered with the ever present devil may care always optimistic outlook of Jack give's conflicting yet perfect synchronicity to the time spent there. I was taken from truly humorous moments to cuffing away a tear for the loss of a brave man (that's me not giving away the plot) .

How James Benmore has managed to mix Dickensian England and characters with a modern humour and outlook on the world and retain that feeling of the original is a marvel. I wish him all speed to his pen for book three because i'm already desperate to get my hands on it.

Highly recommended

(Parm)


Knight's Shadow (The Greatcoats)
Knight's Shadow (The Greatcoats)
by Sebastien de Castell
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £11.89

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Modern day Dumas, 6 Mar. 2015
Review

In 1844 Alexandre Dumas wrote the Three Musketeers, in 2014 / 2015 Sebastien de Castell wrote Traitors Blade and Knights Shadow. Never have I wanted to compare any book to The Three Musketeers, one of the stories I attribute to my love of history and my love of heroic fiction too, where I gained that love of seeing flawed heroes win over extreme odds. I’m not sure even after all these years of reviewing I can adequately express how much I enjoy this series new series. But I will Start with something at the end of the book, the author acknowledges the boost provided to him from his publisher at a time when book two was holding all the terror a second book does, but I personally think also coupled with the success of book one, it must have been a daunting prospect.

I’m a firm believer in talent coming through no matter what it is your skill/ Talent is. In the case of Knights Shadow it comes through in spades, extra spades in the case of this second book, Traitors Blade (in my best of 2014 Blog) was a comfortable and splendid 384 pages, a tidy book for a debut, but book two Knights Shadow is an epic 624 pages, and it needs each and every one, by the end you are exhausted but still wanting more, and whatever Jo Fletcher said, well it worked a treat.

Our group of intrepid, very real and down to earth Greatcoats are once again in it up to their necks, book two continues directly from book one, the relentless pace is still there, but what comes to the fore in book two is the more of the soul of the great coats and what the Kings plan might have been. We have learned so much about Falcio, Kest and Brasti and we will learn more about the depths and drivers of the new arrivals but most of all we get to feel why our key characters are who they are.

Most especially Falcio, his journey in this book is chronicled covering every possible emotion. The author really puts this character to the test, yet as a reviewer who just hates spoilers I cannot give any insight except to say that coupled with the writers talent for writing dialogue, his situational and emotional awareness means that when reading this book you are right there experiencing all the pain , emotion and exhaustion that Falcio does. I was a wreck at the end of this book, and not just because I could not put the book down until the early hours. Sebastien De Castell manages to wring every heart wrenching moment and ounce of anticipation from every scene, his fight scenes contain dark humour, explosive action and a great awareness of the art of sword fighting, all of which has you hanging on the edge of every page. (there are also some truly laugh out loud moments in this book).

This really is an exceptional book and series, and I apologise for any additional pressure added to the author for book three and the very high expectation I have. This is going to be a very very hard book to topple from my number one spot for this year, whatever comes out this year this book is clearly going to be a stand out title.

Buy the book, buy the series… you will not regret it.

(Parm)

Series
Greatcoats
1. Traitor’s Blade (2014)
2. Knight’s Shadow (2015)


Knight's Shadow (The Greatcoats)
Knight's Shadow (The Greatcoats)
Price: £5.69

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Modern day Dumas, 6 Mar. 2015
Review

In 1844 Alexandre Dumas wrote the Three Musketeers, in 2014 / 2015 Sebastien de Castell wrote Traitors Blade and Knights Shadow. Never have I wanted to compare any book to The Three Musketeers, one of the stories I attribute to my love of history and my love of heroic fiction too, where I gained that love of seeing flawed heroes win over extreme odds. I’m not sure even after all these years of reviewing I can adequately express how much I enjoy this series new series. But I will Start with something at the end of the book, the author acknowledges the boost provided to him from his publisher at a time when book two was holding all the terror a second book does, but I personally think also coupled with the success of book one, it must have been a daunting prospect.

I’m a firm believer in talent coming through no matter what it is your skill/ Talent is. In the case of Knights Shadow it comes through in spades, extra spades in the case of this second book, Traitors Blade (in my best of 2014 Blog) was a comfortable and splendid 384 pages, a tidy book for a debut, but book two Knights Shadow is an epic 624 pages, and it needs each and every one, by the end you are exhausted but still wanting more, and whatever Jo Fletcher said, well it worked a treat.

Our group of intrepid, very real and down to earth Greatcoats are once again in it up to their necks, book two continues directly from book one, the relentless pace is still there, but what comes to the fore in book two is the more of the soul of the great coats and what the Kings plan might have been. We have learned so much about Falcio, Kest and Brasti and we will learn more about the depths and drivers of the new arrivals but most of all we get to feel why our key characters are who they are.

Most especially Falcio, his journey in this book is chronicled covering every possible emotion. The author really puts this character to the test, yet as a reviewer who just hates spoilers I cannot give any insight except to say that coupled with the writers talent for writing dialogue, his situational and emotional awareness means that when reading this book you are right there experiencing all the pain , emotion and exhaustion that Falcio does. I was a wreck at the end of this book, and not just because I could not put the book down until the early hours. Sebastien De Castell manages to wring every heart wrenching moment and ounce of anticipation from every scene, his fight scenes contain dark humour, explosive action and a great awareness of the art of sword fighting, all of which has you hanging on the edge of every page. (there are also some truly laugh out loud moments in this book).

This really is an exceptional book and series, and I apologise for any additional pressure added to the author for book three and the very high expectation I have. This is going to be a very very hard book to topple from my number one spot for this year, whatever comes out this year this book is clearly going to be a stand out title.

Buy the book, buy the series… you will not regret it.

(Parm)

Series
Greatcoats
1. Traitor’s Blade (2014)
2. Knight’s Shadow (2015)


Rome's Lost Son: Vespasian VI
Rome's Lost Son: Vespasian VI
by Robert Fabbri
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £7.00

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Political intrigue coupled with explosive action, 5 Mar. 2015
Review

Somehow i missed reviewing and reading Vespasian 5 Masters of Rome, so when Rome’s Lost Son arrived i made the decision to re-read the entire series. I’m so glad i did, not only did it allow me to totally immerse myself in Robert Fabbri’s version of Vespasian s Rome, it also allowed me to watch the masterful and methodical way that Robert Fabbri grows his characters, melding the facts we have with the fiction that could have been. Giving a potential insight into the mid of the future emperor.

Master of Rome sees a huge leap in Vespasian’s thinking, where he learns to put his morality to one side in favour of finding preferment for his family, to put them in a safer position, to enrich them. He basically reaches the point of if you cant beat them join them… then plan to beat them. Each book bring the history of those that have gone before, the things that have been learned, in the same way a person would become the collective sum of their parts. Masters dispelled any thoughts Vespasian might have had about gods not impinging on his world and life. Making him take notice of the story of his auspicious birth. it brought Caratacus to Rome, someone i feel who will be important in book VII.

Rome’s Lost Son sees a change in power, political machinations on a massive scale, a new emperor and Vespasian taken to hell and back, The stage is laid further for the year of the four emperors, there is a lot of ground still to cover, and surviving Nero will be no mean feat, but this series has some splendid tales ahead.. I think both books V & VI are stunning stand out Historical and Political Thrillers, made more so by reading the series back to back.

Highly recommend reading both Masters of Rome and Rome’s Lost Son..and if you have not read the series, the books are listed below… read them, you will love them

(Parm)

Series

Vespasian
1. Tribune of Rome (2011)
2. Rome’s Executioner (2012)
3. False God of Rome (2013)
4. Rome’s Fallen Eagle (2013)
5. Masters of Rome (2014)
6. Rome’s Lost Son (2015)
Vespasian Vol 1-3 (omnibus) (2014)

Crossroads Brotherhood Trilogy
1.5. The Crossroads Brotherhood (2011)
2.5. The Racing Factions (2013)
3.5. The Dreams of Morpheus (2014)
The Crossroads Brotherhood Trilogy (omnibus) (2015)


The Fire Sermon
The Fire Sermon
by Francesca Haig
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £9.09

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a heart warming tale of two people thrust into an impossible race for survival, 26 Feb. 2015
This review is from: The Fire Sermon (Hardcover)
Review Debut novels are something i love to get my hands on, and the hype around this book made my desire to read it double… then i saw the cover art, im a sucker for a good cover and this one is crack(l)ing. As i started the book i have to admit to a small struggle, but world building take a little time, if done well it can draw in the reader, suck them into the mind and wonder of the writer. This book is no different, before i had hit chapter three i was hooked, drawn into the compelling concept of linked twins, with an unjust un-equal relationship. A relationship that breeds division and different classes. I was very much reminded during the reading of this book and its treatment of the omegas, of the way humanity treats those they feel inferior, the nazis and the jews, black and white, make and female. The human inability to just live as one. The book had the potential to be very dark, but i felt that the author brought a lightness, a ray of hope, that in amongst the darkness and the struggle there is the potential for redemption, for some one to shout out and topple the crazy leadership that we seem to so easily fall in behind and serve. There are for me subtle parallels in that the council have a dark agenda, one that they pursue without mandate from those who may have put them in power, some may say in a similar way to our own modern politicians who seem to promise anything to get power and then deliver nothing but pursue their own ends.

Fire Sermon as well gives us a heart warming tale of two people thrust into an impossible race for survival, pursued by odds too great to survive, chasing a dream, and ideal, and really just wanting to find peace and time to live quietly. Its a truly original tale, with a compelling and addictive plot and deep rich characters.

Highly recommended (Parm)


Obsession in Death
Obsession in Death
by J. D. Robb
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £12.91

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars strong and clever,, 20 Feb. 2015
This review is from: Obsession in Death (Hardcover)
Review

I have never read this author before, so i have to say i was astounded that this is book 40 in the series, and not the authors only series.

That fast alone meant that i was fairly sure the book would be credible, no one gets away with 40 books of average or below. So my first concern, how on earth does a newbie step into a series so late on? Not a moment of concern, not a beat missed, there is nothing in the story that made me stop and think i was missing out, not seeing a hidden reference or joke, the author has very cleverly woven the plot to keep fans happy and suck in new fans.

Her characterization is complex, strong and clever, and woven so carefully into a future setting that i was sucked straight into the authors world. Add in some great twists turns and plot devices and any reader can see why the Name J D Robb is a regular feature in book shop crime sections.

I recommend these… well worth a read.

(Parm)


The World Beneath: 1 (A Joe Tesla Novel)
The World Beneath: 1 (A Joe Tesla Novel)
by Rebecca Cantrell
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Its not like the author hasn't proven herself with the simply impeccable ..., 17 Feb. 2015
Review

No messing around on this one, straight into a simple question, please read these two books and someone please tell me how on earth these are being self published and are not coming out via a major publishing house?

Its not like the author hasn't proven herself with the simply impeccable Order of the Sanguines series, she and James Rollins have created one of my favorite supernatural series of all time, each author seemingly bringing something better, deeper out of the others writing.

The Tesla series is an excellent, original and addictive series. Book 2 the Tesla Legacy shows some of the skills that i think consciously or unconsciously that she has drawn from writing with James Rollins, im going to be very intrigued to read his next stand alone, i feel he will also have picked up something.

I find that the series is very brave with its lead character, trapped as he is by his agoraphobia, any resolving of a crime or running from authorities, criminal, anyone at all is hindered, restricted to the tunnels. But those tunnels are vast, bigger than you can imagine. They go everywhere and give access to so much. Rebecca Cantrell brings those tunnels to life, makes them living arteries to the world of Joe Tesla. Unlike many authors she also knows the power of the supporting cast, who are drawn in, filled out and made fully fledged members of the plot, so you care what happens to them.

I rocketed through both of these books in a couple of days, and really want to get my hands on book three. Rebecca Cantrell is firmly ensconced as one of my go to Thriller writers now, bring on book 3

Highly recommended

(Parm)


The Tesla Legacy
The Tesla Legacy
by Rebecca Cantrell
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Electric thriller, 16 Feb. 2015
This review is from: The Tesla Legacy (Paperback)
Review

No messing around on this one, straight into a simple question, please read these two books and someone please tell me how on earth these are being self published and are not coming out via a major publishing house?

Its not like the author hasn't proven herself with the simply impeccable Order of the Sanguines series, she and James Rollins have created one of my favorite supernatural series of all time, each author seemingly bringing something better, deeper out of the others writing.

The Tesla series is an excellent, original and addictive series. Book 2 the Tesla Legacy shows some of the skills that i think consciously or unconsciously that she has drawn from writing with James Rollins, im going to be very intrigued to read his next stand alone, i feel he will also have picked up something.

I find that the series is very brave with its lead character, trapped as he is by his agoraphobia, any resolving of a crime or running from authorities, criminal, anyone at all is hindered, restricted to the tunnels. But those tunnels are vast, bigger than you can imagine. They go everywhere and give access to so much. Rebecca Cantrell brings those tunnels to life, makes them living arteries to the world of Joe Tesla. Unlike many authors she also knows the power of the supporting cast, who are drawn in, filled out and made fully fledged members of the plot, so you care what happens to them.

I rocketed through both of these books in a couple of days, and really want to get my hands on book three. Rebecca Cantrell is firmly ensconced as one of my go to Thriller writers now, bring on book 3

Highly recommended

(Parm)


Half the World (Shattered Sea, Book 2)
Half the World (Shattered Sea, Book 2)
by Joe Abercrombie
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £5.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great series, 12 Feb. 2015
Review

Book Two in Joe Abercrombie’s Half a World series, set not long after book one, Yarvi is Minister and is trying to work his deep cunning to keep the kingdom of Gettland safe. Yarvi isn’t the main focus of this book. Book two follows the plight of Thorn a female warrior, derided by her peers, daughter of a dead hero and determined to follow in his footsteps, that determination see’s her fall foul of her training master and pulled by oath into the orbit of Minister Yarvi and his cunning plots.

Hard as it seems i think Joe has out done Half a King with this latest book, book two is a similar story type, coming of age, the sudden growth from youth to adulthood, thrust into the forefront of politics and battle. The similarity is even there with the ship voyage providing the ever-changing backdrop for the growth. But it comes into its own with the growth of Thorn as a fighter, with Brand and his struggle with the morality of war. and all of it mixed up in the deep cunning shenanigans of Yarvi. Because of the authors skillful handling of author growth and creativity the similarities are all blended into something unique and mind-blowing. There is always the thought that you know where the plot is leading but not always why, and that there is so much more tantalizing at the edge of the plot, particularly regarding the elves and who they might have been wand what they left behind.

The book leads us half way across the world and back again, it leads to the High kings and his minister trying to destroy Gettland, and it leads to old enemies meeting on the battle field.

Once again its a surprise this is a young adult novel, but when you think back you can see that it is toned done , not overt in the death and violence, but the implication more than enough to make this a tense and dramatic tale, the characterisation and world building realistic enough to suck you in from page one and have you rowing at the oars with every page.

I highly recommend this series, and cannot wait for book three

(Parm)

Series

First Law
1. The Blade Itself (2006)
2. Before They Are Hanged (2007)
3. Last Argument Of Kings (2008)
The First Law Trilogy Boxed Set: The Blade Itself / Before They Are Hanged / Last Argument of Kings(omnibus) (2012)
The First Law Trilogy (omnibus) (2015)
The Blade ItselfBefore They Are HangedLast Argument Of KingsThe First Law Trilogy Boxed Set: The Blade Itself / Before They Are Hanged / Last Argument of Kings

First Law World
1. Best Served Cold (2009)
2. The Heroes (2011)
3. Red Country (2012)
The Great Leveller: Best Served Cold, The Heroes and Red Country, together in one omnibus volume (omnibus)(2015)
Best Served ColdThe HeroesRed Country

Half a King
1. Half a King (2014)
2. Half a World (2015)
3. Half a War (2015)
Half a KingHalf a World


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