Insurgency – Tales of the Empire IV by S.J.A.Turney

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The fourth installment of this historical fantasy of a Roman like world finds the Empire flourishing under the guiding hands of the Emperor Kiva and his brother Quintillian who is his principle adviser and military strategist. However, there are others who have designs on this empire and will go to great lengths to see it come under new ownership.  Thus, we the readers are treated to a story replete with intricate plots and machinations as the Empire is threatened from numerous enemies, some of whom were thought to be friends and allies.  The author has done a superb job in fleshing out this insurgency with some remarkable characters and exciting story lines.  The atmosphere is tense, the action is page turning and the world created by the author is recognizable to a student of Roman history yet different enough to make the readers use their imaginations as the action flits back and forth between regions.  To summarize (without spoilers), the dude can spin a yarn and I hope he spins more in this highly entertaining series.  5 stars

World on Fire – Spoils of Olympus II by Christian Kachel

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The Hand, a shadowy, secretive group of Alexander’s most loyal followers, are tasked with protecting and promoting Alexander’s son by Rhoxane.  A task that takes Andrikos across the breadth of the Great one’s crumbling empire.  Crumbling at the hands of Alexander’s generals, each of whom want the most territory, and who do not want Alexander IV to claim his father’s throne.  Filled with cunning plans, intrigue, danger and even love, the author has done a splendid job in book 2 of this series.  Andrikos has come a long way since he was recruited by Vettias and Mr. Kachel has developed his character nicely from the young man in search of himself to an accomplished practitioner of the ‘Dark Arts’ of spy-craft.  A thoroughly enjoyable read that leaves room for more in this story of an unsettled and dangerous time.  4 stars

The Last Shroud by Derek Birks

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This quote is from my review of book 3 in the series: “When I read book 1, Feud, I enjoyed it and felt that the Elder clan was nothing if not resilient in the face of turmoil and trouble,  When I read book 2, A Traitor’s Fate, I enjoyed it even more and felt that the Elder clan couldn’t possibly stand much more in the way of turmoil and trouble. I have finished book 3, Kingdom of Rebels, and really enjoyed it and am convinced that the Elder clan has reached the limit of human endurance and could use a little peace and quiet”    From the first few pages of The Last Shroud, it was apparent that peace and quiet were not in the cards.  The author has delivered another tension filled entry into this entertaining series.  The characters have been fully developed by now; Ned especially has changed from his younger ‘headlong into the fray’ into one who has seen, and done enough violence and death but is still a formidable part in the struggle to keep his King on the throne and to protect his family; a family of some amazing women, particularly his sister Eleanor.  I know I said that Ned protects his family but in Eleanor’s case, it seems that sometimes she needs protecting from herself.  Willful, headstrong, stubborn; these do not begin to describe this most remarkable woman, one of my favorite fictional characters and that says a lot given how much I read.  🙂  This is also one of my favorite series; one of those that merits my having to put the book down for a bit, take a deep breath and mutter “Holy Crap” or some such utterance.  Now that the series is finished I look forward to not only reading it again sometime in the future but am chomping at the bit for Mr. Birks’ next project.  Phew, the finale of book 4 is intense just like the total package.  5 stars and a Hoover Book Review “You all gotta read this!”

 

Better Corporate Back Office Leadership and Management by Charles E. LeFurge

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Replete with sound, practical advice derived from many years in leadership roles, both as an officer in the U.S. Army and in the corporate world.  Written in an easy to read style, this is one of the business management tutorials that makes sense. Mr. LeFurge provides ample examples of situations and processes throughout the book. both of the kind that succeed, and those that are doomed to fail.  If you’re looking for a way to polish your skills or to bring some fresh ideas to your career, then this book is for you.  3.8 stars

The Day The World Ended at Little Bighorn by Joseph Marshall III

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A fascinating, yet sad, Lakota history.  Most of you already know the events, Washita River, Wounded Knee, Little Bighorn and the main characters; Custer, Crazy Horse, Sitting Bull.  But I’m willing to bet that most of what you know was generated by the winners of the war.  The spin doctors of the day did a bang up job reporting the “massacre” of Custer and his command and the resulting hue and cry from the public set in motion the events that finally brought to an end the Lakota (and other tribes) way of life.  Mr. Marshall has brought forth the other side of the story, the story of the Lakota.  Far from being the marauding, hostile savages portrayed by the press, and continuing to this day, what we see is a nation trying desperately and against staggering odds, to protect their freedom, their culture, their ability to roam on land they had used for hundreds of years.  Those are noble pursuits.  Pursuits that even we of the 21st century would deem necessary if we were faced with the same circumstances.  So, dear readers, take a few moments and cherish the freedoms you have and remember the plight of not only the Lakota but of the innumerable peoples and cultures destroyed in the name of progress and greed.  4.4 stars.