Oathbreaker: One man’s stand against the tyranny of empire by Adam Lofthouse

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“It’s not the shadows you should fear, but what hides within.”
Alaric is an enemy of Rome.
For too long he has thwarted the empires attempts to gain control over the land that has long resisted them: Germania.
To the Romans he is a scourge, always evading their carefully laid traps. But to the tribes he is much worse: Outlaw, chief killer, battle turner, Oathbreaker.
All men know him, all men fear him. At his back is a war host, on his shoulder sits Loki, the Trickster.
A deal has been struck between the legions and the tribes: lifelong enemies agree to become friends, for a time. The eagles march with the wolves, together they hunt the raven.
Isolated and lacking in allies, will Alaric be able to break free from the noose that slowly encircles him? Or will the Sly One once more come to his rescue.
OATHBREAKER: One man’s stand against the tyranny of empire.

PRAISE FOR ADAM LOFTHOUSE

“The characters are full of the life of the period, their flaws, their doubts, their abilities all on display; a feast for the readers” – HOOVER BOOK REVIEW

“No holds barred, vivid Roman entertainment, probably the next best thing to actually being there” – SPEESH READS

“A great mix of legion camaraderie mixed with a personal plot you can get invested in, add in a couple of big twists along the way and you’ve got a smashing read” – DAVID’S BOOK BLURG

REVIEW

A tightly woven tale of a tightly wound man. Alaric faces many challenges in this fast paced, page turning story, though as daunting and exciting as they are, the most challenging is Alaric himself. Convinced of his ties to the gods, of his own reputation as a warlord, he becomes blind to the pain caused by his actions. A deeply complex character combined with a plot replete with twists, turns, and surprises. Come along for the ride, my fellow readers, Rome doesn’t play nice with stubborn foes, Alaric doesn’t care too much about Rome period… ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Spear Havoc: 1066 – Alternative Histories by C.R. May

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The year 1066 is arguably the most famous in English history. Assailed on all sides, King Harold and his doughty army finally fall to a last gasp Norman assault.

It is perhaps the very first of those fights against the odds which have entered the national psyche, of which Agincourt, Rorke’s Drift and Dunkirk are but a few.

But what if Harold Godwinson had prevailed on that blood soaked ridge? Or the invasions of Harald of Norway and William of Normandy had never taken place at all?

Here, bestselling author C.R.May presents twelve short stories, each outlining widely differing ways which could easily — and in some cases should have — produced an entirely different timeline, alternative futures which would have had a dramatic effect on the world in which we live today.

REVIEW

What ifs in history are fascinating topics to bandy about; the sheer magnitude of possible change to the course of human history is mind blowing. What if Lee had listened to Longstreet at Gettysburg, what if the 300 never made it to Thermopylae, etc, etc. In Spear Havoc 1066, the author has crafted a series of what if tales relating to that monumental year of William the Conqueror (or Bastard if you prefer 😁), 1066. Each one has that element that, yeah, this could have happened this way…and oh my what a difference that would have made. What I really enjoyed was the way the author included subtle history lessons in the stories…always a plus in my astute, yet humble opinion. So, my fellow readers, a thought provoking, page turning read awaits you.

5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Eagles in the Wilderness SHORT story (Eagles of Rome series): A Tullus ‘long’ short story by Ben Kane

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ABOUT THE SHORT STORY’S PRICE: Hello, you lovely people. Odd to talk about money straight up, but I know that some of you might be thinking, £1.99 is a lot for a short story. Let me explain how it works. A rate of 20% VAT (Value Added Tax) applies to eBooks in the UK. This doesn’t apply to ‘real’ paper books. That means 33p of the £1.99 goes straight to the British government. Amazon takes around 2p to deliver the story to your Kindle, then takes another 48p as its cut. The remainder, £1.16, goes to me. That’s not a great deal, I hope you agree.

In these times of falling sales, and authors losing their contracts, and only one in seven traditionally published authors being able to write fulltime, stories like this are a vital way of YOU supporting the authors whose books you enjoy. So THANK YOU for your support!

Think of it in terms of a pint of beer or a cup of coffee: they cost £2-4, depending on where you live. This story will give you more enjoyment (I think!) than either of those things, and last for a longer time, and cost you less money.

This is only the second time I have self-published a short story. (Massive thanks here to Pete Simpson, who designed the cover for me!) It’s been an exciting project since the day I did the poll on Facebook, asking you lovely people which of my characters you wanted me to write about. Centurion Tullus won out, narrowly, and this is the result. The one hundred and something people who backed the Kickstarter campaign got to read this story almost 7 months ago, but now you can too.

Enjoy the story, and please email me if you have any questions about it or anything else – ben@benkane.net

REVIEW

Whatever you want to call it; short story, novella, or a grand extended snippet, the author has created an enjoyable tale. In a scenario where “you can take the man out of The Legion, but you can’t take The Legion out of the man”, a former centurion and his mates join together in a business venture that reacquaints them with the rigors and dangers of soldiering. An interesting mix of characters, action that pulls the reader in, and a story line of a time and place not usually written about makes Eagles in the Wilderness a solid 4 star page turner. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Cry of the Heart: A World War II Novel by Martin Lake

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She gave away her child to save his life. Another woman took him in, at risk to herself.

Viviane Renaud is a young mother living on the French Riviera in the Second World War. Times are hard but she is not the sort to be dismayed by circumstances. One day her life changes forever. A young Jewish woman, fleeing from the authorities, begs her to take care of her four year old boy, David. Almost without thinking, Viviane agrees.

Viviane’s life is never the same again. She fabricates a story to explain how David came to be with her and must tip-toe around the suspicions of her neighbours, her friends and most of all her mother and sister. She and her husband, Alain, find allies in unlikely places, particularly an American woman, Dorothy Pine.

But then, the world crashes around them. Threatened by Allied military success, Hitler sends the German army to occupy the south of France. With them come the SS and the Gestapo. The peril for Jews and for those, like Viviane, who hide them, appears overwhelming. The challenge for them now is to survive.

REVIEW 

A war torn country where reality changes frequently, and never for the better. A thrilling and very poignant tale of the struggle to survive oppression, economic chaos, food shortages, and the fear produced when you don’t know who to trust, even in your own family. I was grabbed from page one; the absolute horror of the opening chapter sets the stage for an emotional saga that gives one pause to wonder about the strength and resilience of the amazing characters the author has created. A story that highlights the immense problems faced by the civilian population in occupied France. I was entranced by the daily struggles, the black market dealings, the guts and will to find a way to just remain alive; all components of a well told tale. Cry of the Heart draws you in, tugs at your heartstrings, and instills a sense of incredulity that this story has been told so many times over the millennia, and we never learn.   5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Written in their Stars (The Lydiard Chronicles #3) by Elizabeth St.John

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London, 1649. Horrified eyewitnesses to King Charles’s bloody execution, Royalists Nan Wilmot and Frances Apsley plot to return the king’s exiled son to England’s throne, while their radical cousin Luce, the wife of king-killer John Hutchinson, rejoices in the new republic’s triumph. Nan exploits her high-ranking position as Countess of Rochester to manipulate England’s great divide, flouting Cromwell and establishing a Royalist spy network; while Frances and her husband Allen join the destitute prince in Paris’s Louvre Palace to support his restoration. As the women work from the shadows to topple Cromwell’s regime, their husbands fight openly for the throne on England’s bloody battlefields.
But will the return of the king be a victory, or destroy them all? Separated by loyalty and bound by love, Luce, Nan and Frances hold the fate of England—and their family—in their hands.
A true story based on surviving memoirs of Elizabeth St.John’s family, Written in their Stars is the third novel in the Lydiard Chronicles series.

REVIEW

Another triumph, another fascinating read. The author has retained that emotional tug at her reader’s hearts throughout the series, while at the same time providing a powerful tale of shattered dreams, hopes, and survival in a country torn by civil war, and rife with divisive politics that tear families apart. The trials and tribulations of the family, overwhelming at times, are rendered beautifully through the strength of the characters; characters who pull the reader into the turmoil, the chaos, the victories in an ever changing reality.  Let the pages turn, my fellow readers – Luce, Nan and Frances are calling you.   5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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About the Author

Elizabeth St.John spends her time between California, England, and the past. An award-winning author, historian and genealogist, she has tracked down family papers and residences from Nottingham Castle, Lydiard Park, to the Tower of London. Although the family sold a few castles and country homes along the way (it’s hard to keep a good castle going these days), Elizabeth’s family still occupy them – in the form of portraits, memoirs, and gardens that carry their imprint. And the occasional ghost. But that’s a different story…

For more information, please visit Elizabeth St. John’s website. You can also find her on FacebookTwitter, and Goodreads.

 

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away two signed copies of Written in their Stars! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on January 10th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Paperback giveaway is open to US residents only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.

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Song of the Centurion (Warrior Druid of Britain #2) by Steven A. McKay

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Blurb

It is AD 430. Against all odds Princess Catia has been rescued from her brutal Saxon captors and Bellicus is taking her home at last.

As the giant warrior-druid knows, however, the gods rarely make things easy and, even if he can escort the girl back to the North safely, their troubles will be far from over…
In a land beset by the rivalries of petty warlords, Dun Breatann has stood solid and secure for untold generations. Trouble brews though as King Coroticus has cracked under the pressure and, as well as starting a war with the neighbouring kings, he has become jealous, suspicious, and often blind drunk. When the king’s paranoia finally boils over during a winter feast, Bel finds himself with two choices – accept exile, or complete another seemingly impossible undertaking.
So much for the returning hero…

Accompanied by his massive war-dog, Cai, and the ever-loyal former centurion, Duro – who has his own painful issues to contend with – Bellicus must somehow survive a journey east into enemy-held lands. There, he will need to use his gods-given talents to the full if they are to survive the winter frosts and carry out the mad king’s orders without being captured or killed by the men of Dalriada.

Folklore, superstition, the healing power of song, and even a wondrous white stag will all play a part in the companions’ continuing adventures, but, no matter the outcome of their mission, it will take a miracle to untangle the mess they’ve left behind in Alt Clota. Armies are gathering and, when spring returns, the people of Dun Breatann will be under siege once again.

Will their legendary warrior-druid be there to defend them, or will the new ways sweep away the old once and for all? Find out in Song of the Centurion, the action-packed sequel to 2018’s The Druid!

Review

Well now, my fellow readers, prepare yourself for an exciting, page turning sequel to The Druid. The author has created a suspense filled tale that finds Bellicus, Duro, and Cai in some pretty hairy situations….situations that don’t always turn out the way they expected.  Plot twists, surprises, plus a damn good story, make Song of The Centurion a more than worthy successor to The Druid…now we wait for results of all those twists and surprises. Book 3 can’t get here soon enough.  5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

 

 

Mallory Saga Newsletter

The Mallory Saga team is exploring the idea of producing a newsletter, either monthly or quarterly, to keep all of our peeps and fellow travelers up to date on all things Mallory Saga. While all of the details are still to be worked out as far as content is concerned, the newsletter will have a historical tidbit, information on the current work in progress, book reviews and recommendations, etc. If you are interested, drop me a line in the comments or via email to mallorysaga@gmail.com. Thanks for your interest and support. 😎

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The Lords of the Wind (The Saga of Hasting the Avenger #1) by C.J. Adrien

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“For indeed the Frankish nation, which was crushed by the avenger Hasting, was full of filthy uncleanness. Treasonous and oath-breaking, they were deservedly condemned; unbelievers and faithless, they were justly punished.”Orphaned as a child by a blood-feud, and sold as a slave to an exiled chieftain in Ireland, the boy Hasting had little hope of surviving to adulthood. The gods had other plans. A ship arrived at his master’s longphort carrying a man who would alter the course of his destiny, and take him under his wing to teach him the ways of the Vikings. His is a story of a boy who was a slave, who became a warlord, and who helped topple an empire.A supposed son of Ragnar Lodbrok, and referred to in the Gesta Normanorum as the Scourge of the Somme and Loire, his life exemplified the qualities of the ideal Viking. Join author and historian C.J. Adrien on an adventure that explores the coming of age of the Viking Hasting, his first love, his first great trials, and his first betrayal.

REVIEW

An engaging tale of adventure, survival, and the making of a reputation. Hasting’s life is one of turmoil and discovery. From a chieftain’s son, to enslavement, to a leader of Viking raiders, Hasting is a complex character – one of many throughout the story. They say that variety is the spice of life, in Lords of the Wind the characters are indeed varied, and well written. Dane, Celt, Frank, along with the influence of old and new religions, work in seamless harmony to make this tale a page turning event. Anyone who struggles with the god/wolf Fenrir and survives is certainly a formidable character. Looking forward to continuing his reputation building quest.  4 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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About the Author

C.J. Adrien is a French-American author of Viking historical fiction with a passion for Viking history. His Kindred of the Sea series was inspired by research conducted in preparation for a doctoral program in early medieval history as well as his admiration for historical fiction writers such as Bernard Cornwell and Ken Follett.

C.J. Adrien’s novels and expertise have earned him invitations to speak at several international events, including the International Medieval Congress at the University of Leeds.

For more information, please visit C.J. Adrien’s website and blog. You can also find him on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and Goodreads.

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a copy of The Lords of the Wind! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on December 13th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Paperback giveaway is open to US residents only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.

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Commodus (The Damned Emperors #2) by Simon Turney

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Rome is enjoying a period of stability and prosperity. The Empire’s borders are growing, and there are two sons in the imperial succession for the first time in Rome’s history.

But all is not as it appears. Cracks are beginning to show. Two decades of war have taken their toll, and there are whispers of a sickness in the East. The Empire stands on the brink of true disaster, an age of gold giving way to one of iron and rust, a time of reason and strength sliding into hunger and pain.

The decline may yet be halted, though. One man tries to hold the fracturing empire together. To Rome, he is their emperor, their Hercules, their Commodus.

But Commodus is breaking up himself, and when the darkness grips, only one woman can hold him together. To Rome she was nothing. The plaything of the emperor. To Commodus, she was everything. She was Marcia.

REVIEW

Well now, that was certainly not the Commodus from Gladiator. Once again, Mr. Turney has taken on myth and misconception, and has brought forth a fascinating look at one of the more enigmatic of the Roman emperors. As in his other novels, the author relies on his ability to glean from contemporary sources those facts or myths, and turn them into a page turning (and to this burgeoning author), mind boggling tale that grabs the reader’s attention from page one, word one, and does not relent in it’s grip. Written from the perspective of Marcia, the narrative is rich in detail, poignant in its telling, and once again left this reader amazed at the creative talent of the author. 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Uncovering by Lorelei Brush

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Shahnaz is a liberal but observant Pakistani Muslim, a nurse with a dream that all pregnant women will deliver healthy babies. At her parents’ command she weds Naseer, a gentle man who encourages her work. But marrying Naseer means she must live with his extended family, including his fundamentalist older brother, Raja Haider. When their father dies, Raja Haider becomes head of the family. With this new power, he orders Shahnaz to quit her job and stay at home. Mild Naseer respects his brother’s authority, but Shahnaz rebels with the strength of a courageous warrior.

Brush explores a Muslim society threatened by extremism. The story churns with the struggles of obedience versus self-determination, piety versus zealotry, and tradition versus progress. Some seek peace, and others pursue violence to achieve what’s holy.

REVIEW

This, my fellow readers, is one intense story. A culture driven by centuries old traditions forms the basis for this tale of an amazing woman caught between the restrictions of her religion and the very real need for her work with pregnant Pakistani women. The characters jump off of the page with the reality of the time and place. Uncovering is one of those books that is so emotionally charged that it tugs at the reader’s heart. Repressive, insular, power over the less fortunate is something that we all need to face up to. Despite the obstacles, we can, like Shahnaz, dare to hope, dare to change.  5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐