Marius Mules: Prelude to War by SJA Turney

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In this 3 story gap filler, the author is setting the stage for the big confrontation between Caesar and Vercingetorix.  It is a very nice appetite whetting segue and includes some (to be expected) twists as well as tying up a loose end in the Milo/Clodius situation.  I read this in one sitting and while that points to the author’s ability to grab my attention, it also means I have to wait longer for the next full volume in this most excellent series.  Next up – Winner Takes Gaul.

 

 

 

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A Love Most Dangerous by Martin Lake

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Having read and enjoyed Martin’s series on The Lost King I was more than happy when he asked me to take on A Love Most Dangerous.  This despite the fact that most of the historical fiction I read involves the clash of arms and armies.  This one is quite different from my usual fare not only from the standpoint of action but also from the time and place.  I have never paid much attention to the court of Henry VIII other than the bits I learned in history.  In fact my knowledge of him has always been compromised by Herman and the Hermits.  In this telling of the life of a Maid of Honor in the court of Henry VIII I was drawn in like a moth to a flame.  The story is of Alice Petherton and how she becomes the King’s favorite.

The book is well researched and this shows in the exquisite detail the author uses time and time again to bring to life not only life in the court but life in London….e.g. his description of the Thames and one particular street, Offal Pudding Lane…yikes, makes me wonder how they coped In that environment.    The plot centers mainly on Alice and her rise and subsequent fall from grace and shows how frail life could be under the rule of a man like Henry VIII.

It is a tense, exciting, page turning experience as you follow Alice, a woman with the ability to beguile every man she meets and how she learns to deal with that.  I highly recommend this and gladly give it 5 stars.

P.S. for those of you too young to remember 1965, Herman’s Hermits did a song called “ I’m Henry the VIII, I am”.

The Wolf and the Raven by Steven McKay

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The Lancastrian revolt is over.  Those who opposed the King are now outlaws and are being pursued with a vengeance.  This is especially true for Robin Hood and his men as they are once more wolf’s heads high on the list of the King’s main huntsman, Sir Guy Gisbourne; The Raven.  In this, the second volume in Steven McKay’s series on the famed outlaw, the author has crafted a tale of intrigue, bravery and betrayal.  He has also continued the development of his characters, the old and the new.  In particular his portrayals of Little John and Will Scarlet have gone up a notch as they help Robin overcome some very nasty treatment at the hands of Sir Guy; one of the new characters who the author has imbued with a streak of super-villain like viciousness.

The action is exciting, well thought out and is interspersed with many touching scenes…e.g. Sir Richard at Lee and his captor, a relative nobody from the village.  The detailed descriptions of the forest scenes lend a nice touch to this exciting sequel.  I heartily recommend this series and look forward to the third book.  My rating for this is 4.7.

Steven A McKay: The Wolf and the Raven (Review)

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Author

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Biography

My second book, The Wolf and the Raven will be released on April 7th, get your pre-order in now and come meet me at the London Book Fair between April 8-10!I was born in 1977, near Glasgow in Scotland. I live in Old Kilpatrick with my wife and two young children. After obtaining my Bachelor of Arts degree I decided to follow my life-long ambition and write a novel.

Historical fiction is my favourite genre, but I also enjoy old science-fiction and some fantasy.

Bernard Cornwell’s King Arthur series was my biggest influence in writing “Wolf’s Head”, but I’ve also really enjoyed recent books by guys like Ben Kane, Glyn Iliffe, Douglas Jackson and Simon Scarrow.

I play lead/acoustic guitars (and occasional bass) in a heavy metal band when we can find the time to meet up.

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Book Description

In the aftermath of a violent rebellion Robin Hood…

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A Love Most Dangerous

Another wonderful story from Martin.

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Early in April 2013 I sat at the computer wondering what to write. I had just finished the first draft of ‘Blood of Ironside’ and put it away for a rest before I started on the second draft.

I thought I might write a short story. I put my fingers on the keyboard and wrote this:

To be a servant at the court of King Henry is to live with your heart in your mouth. This is so whether you are young or old, male or female. I am young and I am female. So the danger to me is considerable. The danger is the more acute because I am pretty and the Queen is in the last month of her confinement.

I sat back bemused. Who was talking? I knew when the period was, more or less. But I was writing from the point of view of a girl…

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