Gisborne III: Book of Kings

A wonderful review of a wonderful book.

S.J.A. Turney's Books & More


Those of you who follow my blog and reviews, or even just listen to me blather on Facebook or Twitter will already know of Prue Batten and how I regularly vaunt her writing. If you are new to these or need a reminder, I would say to you simply that of all the writers I know (and not just the independent ones) Prue’s writing style is the most mesmeric, flawless, silken and almost poetic. She could write up the minutes of a meeting of a county council’s session and make it sound like a ballad. So you already have an inkling of where I’m going with this review.

Prue became noted early on as a writer of fantasy – a rather unusual and intriguing fantasy world of her own creation that revolved around the mythical Faerie. These books were rather darker than many would assume when they hear the word

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The Assassin’s Tale by S.J.A.Turney


It’s a simple arrangement really, Mr. Turney writes and then I revel in the reading.  This is the third book in The Ottoman Cycle which takes place in the late 15th century and has taken the protagonist from his home of Istanbul in his quest to avenge the death of his brother.  At the end of book two, Skiouros in  a mad dash from certain death finds himself aboard The Pinta and winds up in The New World.  His time there, though brief, has imbued him with a strengthened resolve and a new sense of patience.  This is the main plot, can Skiouros see the deed through to completion, does he have the will and fortitude to assassinate the man responsible for his brother’s death?  Finding his enemy is the easy part as Cem has been the guest/hostage of The Pope, well that is until he becomes the guest/hostage of King Charles of France.  Getting to him is the challenge and proves to be an arduous one for Skiouros and his friends.  Through the expediency of forming a mercenary outfit, they gradually make their way into the Vatican only to have Cem traded away in peace negotiations and is now being guarded by the French army.  A daunting task filled with adventures and danger and death.  The author has never been shy about killing off strong/major characters but those deaths are part of the fabric of the story and as such can be forgiven despite the pain inflicted upon the poor reader when another favorite bites the dust.  A truly exceptional tale that was well researched and well developed.  5-stars




Interview with Derek Birks

Nice interview with Derek Birks…author of Feud.

Daniel F. Bowman

Today I’m interviewing Derek Birks, author of “Feud,” a novel of the War of Roses. “Feud” is the compelling story of Ned Elder, his sisters and the girl he loves. As the civil war rages across a snow-covered battlefield, they fight for survival and the bitter feud is played out to its bloody conclusion.

1.Why did you choose the Wars of Roses?

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Feud – Rebels and Brothers by Derek Birks



Feud is a masterpiece of fiction woven into the fabric of the history of The War of the Roses  in mid 15th century England.  Ned Elder, the main protagonist is thrust into the maelstrom of loss and sorrow right from the get go of the book and must find the strength and reserve to combat his doubts and fears as well as a host of really nasty enemies as he seeks to recover what is left of his family and the woman he loves.  The author treats us to an astounding array of characters from the grim and determined Ned, the repulsively villainous Radcliffe family, and a host of women whose strength under staggering cruelty is one of the highlights of this entertaining, page turning saga.  Many times throughout my reading I had to stop and collect my thoughts as plots unfolded in surprising developments.  Kudos to the author for producing a well researched and well written book.  I rate it at 5 stars and have already purchased the second book of the series in great anticipation.

About Derek Birks


I live in Berkshire in England. Apart from writing, I enjoy travelling  and I spend my spare time gardening, walking and reading. I’ve also discovered archaeology of late and I am currently taking part in a long term dig at a Roman villa site.
For many years I taught history in a secondary school and that experience has enabled me to gain some small insight into what people find interesting in historical material. I’ve read historical fiction for as long as I can remember but my own favourite has been Bernard Cornwell and I suppose his work has influenced my humble efforts more than any other. I started my first book when I was seventeen but somehow life took over and I never finished it. But the passion for writing lived on! I took early retirement several years ago to concentrate on writing again and Feud is my first book.