Poseidon’s Spear by Christian Cameron

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After Marathon, Arimnestos goes out of his mind in grief over the loss of wife and child and thus begins a journey of extreme pain and degradation.  His struggle to survive the torments and the subsequent saga of returning home makes for an entertaining tale as the author fills in the historical gap between Marathon and Xerxes’ invasion at Thermopylae.  Meticulous research and well rounded characters are once again hallmarks of this author; it’s like reading  Patrick O’Brian, only for ancient mariners.  The seafaring portions are detailed; the navigation of those days is just plain scary and that my friends is what this book is, a scary and exciting story of survival and revenge.  Arimnestos, in the end is once again becoming a killer of men.  4.3 stars…bring it on, Xerxes   🙂

 

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Magnus – Triumphator by Robert Allen Johnson

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When one looks back at the history of Rome during this period that saw the ushering in of the end of the Roman Republic, one cannot help but be amazed at the number of so many pivotal characters; Marius, Sulla, Cicero,Crassus, Pompey and waiting in the wings, Gaius Julius.  No wonder that this period gets so much attention from authors, however, it takes a good author to take on a character that has been portrayed by many different authors, in many different ways.  Robert Allen Johnson has done just that in this series on Gnaeus Pompey Magnus.  He has given us a Pompey that is more human, more prone to doubt and yet more determined to succeed.  In the second installment, Triumphator, Pompey begins to grow, becomes less rash and more calculating and to some, more dangerous.  The author has created a work that rings true, a page turning delight that has one almost hoping that this version of Pompey will see through Caesar’s ambition and bests him in the end…almost.  4.8 stars and Hoover Book Review’s Seal of Approval.  Can’t wait for book three.

On the Edge of Sunrise by Cynthia Ripley Miller

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A completely out of the blue request from an author I’ve not read before to read and review their work is not a common occurrence, but one that proved to be a definite pleasure.  Not only is the book full of great characters, superb action and wonderfully descriptive narrative, it is also fairly new historical territory for me.  Attila is on the rampage and has Rome in his sight.  Arria, a Roman Senator’s daughter, is a recently widowed diplomatic envoy.  On a mission to The Franks her life is changed as well as the lives of all who she is involved with.  A forbidden love, a betrothal to a power mad Roman commander, a slave with many secrets and abilities…these and much more make for a very entertaining read.  Page turning excitement awaits.  Highly recommended.  4.3 stars

Sorrow Hill – Sword of Woden 1 by C.R. May

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An engaging tale of the legendary character of Beowulf.  The author has done an excellent job in bringing to life the early 6th Century with all the struggles inherent with all of the various groups, Geats, Jutes, Swedes, etc as they seek to further their prestige and power.  Beowulf grows to manhood in this, the first volume in the series, and becomes an accomplished warrior and leader, albeit one with still much to learn.  The  situation for Beowulf and his family gets complicated with the mysterious deaths of the heir to the Geat throne and his father, the King, and it is this plot line that makes for a page turning opening to this saga.  One of the more appealing aspects of the book is the camaraderie between the warriors and how the author propels the reader into the action, making it feel as if you are in the shield wall.  I eagerly look forward to continuing this series.  4.2 stars

Daughters of the Nile by Stephanie Dray

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The final volume of this marvelous series by Stephanie Dray has once again awakened in me a fierce envy of her ability to tell a tale.  Riveting, complex characters, their every emotion escaped through the pages and drew me into the fabric of their joys, sorrows, defeats and victories.  There is very little in the historical record about Cleopatra Selene, but what the author has done with that very little is just plain and simple good tale telling.  Her Selene is believable; from the frightened child being paraded in Octavian’s Triumph, to a Queen, mother and revered priestess of Isis, you get the sense that this could be her historical record or at least a reasonable facsimile.  Throw in the depiction of Augustus and his quest for more and more power, his manipulating of Selene and Juba, the tension between the contestants to be Augustus’ heir and you have an epic story that even a crusty old cynic might get a little misty over.  5 stars

For King and Country by Charlene Newcomb

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Oh what a tangled web Charlene Newcomb has weaved in the second installment of Battle Scars.  The Crusaders have returned home to England without King Richard who languishes as a ‘guest’ of his enemies on the continent.  For King and Country tells the tale of how Henry, Stephan and Robin deal with the turmoil being fomented by Prince John and his grab for the English throne.  Well, that’s the main plot and it is supported by a myriad of sub-plots and those are what make this book a real winner.  The relationships, those sought after, and those that are eventually realized bear witness to the author’s ability to reach into the human heart; to make the anguish, the joys, the sorrows, leap from the page while shes ties the threads of the web together.  Strong characters, vivid detail and an interesting take on the Robin Hood mythology make this page turning adventure a joy to read.  5 stars