After the Ides by Peter Tonkin

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Ahh, that tumultuous period after Gaius Julius Caesar’s assassination.  A power vacuum now exists in Rome providing the drama as the contestants for that power vie for and against each other.  Lots of work for the agents who used to work for the now divine Julius and who are now firmly in Antony’s camp carrying out his wishes and commands throughout Italy and beyond.   Given that the historical events are pretty well known it would take a creative  imagination to render the fictional bits believable and intriguing.  The author has done that through the actions of the elite group of agents conjured up to bring the story to life.  They mesh seamlessly with the likes of Antony, Octavian, Cicero etc, as they interact with friends and foes.  The story flows nicely as it heads to the tension filled collision of Antony and a Cicero provoked Senate.  As well as providing an intriguing tale, the author has splendidly described the geographical locations; an example of that is Antony’s retreat from Mutina into the Alps following Hannibal’s route. My only real complaint is that book 3 isn’t out yet.  4.7 stars

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The Earthly Gods by Nick Brown

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Indavara held captive by unknown persons for nefarious purposes.  Cassius Corbulo gone off the “Service” grid to help an old friend while he awaits any word on the whereabouts of Indavara.  The Agent of Rome series by Nick Brown is a must read for anyone interested, not only in the doings of the Roman world, but also those who like a good mystery/detective/action/thriller.   As the series has progressed, so too, have the main characters…to the point where Corbulo/Indavara/Simo have become fictional favorites of mine.  As in the previous volumes, the author gives the reader an excellent tale filled with surprises and an imagination filling description of the places and people involved.  The main difference in this episode as opposed to the earlier ones is that this one does not follow a particular historical event, but rather is more personal in it’s context giving the author a chance to explore in more detail the things that make Corbulo and company tick, exposing more of the emotions and feelings of the crew.  I eagerly await the next volume.  4.7 stars

God’s Hammer – Hakon’s Saga Book 1 by Eric Schumacher

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An interesting tale of the first Christian King in Norway, Hakon, a son of King Harald.  Sent to England as a young boy to be fostered by King Aethelstan, he is weened off the old gods and when he returns to claim his kingdom, he comes as a baptized and committed Christian.  As you can well imagine that presents some challenges as Hakon strives to garner support for his rise to power.  The author’s depiction of the young, naive and certainly impetuous Hakon, who is thrust into the mayhem of war and the strictures of the old gods, is well done.  The story flows nicely and gives the reader a chance to experience life in a time and place that is full of conflict; not only for the throne but also the clash between Odin and the White Christ.  Old ways die hard and that is certainly the case in this intriguing story; one that will continue in book 2, Raven’s Feast.  4.3 stars

The Lone Warrior by Paul Fraser Collard

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Even as a civilian Jack Lark finds himself enmeshed in mayhem.  Caught up in a large scale mutiny by native contingents of the British Army in the city of Delhi, Jack is thrust once more into the gaping maw of bloody warfare.  As in the other books in this enthralling series, the author doesn’t stint when it comes to the brutality on a battlefield, nor in Jack’s battle lust inspired prowess at killing.  The author also continues to refine Jack’s character to a point where the reader can really begin to feel the anguish he suffers; the joy of having someone to live for and the pain that results from it, the conflicting emotional results of his place in the army.  Does he belong there?  Does he belong anywhere?  Many were the times I had to put the book down (okay, close my Kindle), and take a breath.  This series started out great; it has only gotten better. I, for one, can’t wait to read the next one.  5 stars

8 years of suffering under Barack Obama

Teri Carter's Library

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3C54DC7D00000578-4140672-Barack_Obama_waves_as_he_boards_Marine_One_and_departs_the_Capit-a-77_1484945371469 Photo credit: The Associated Press

The sentence I hear most from well-meaning, conservative friends since President Trump’s election is this: “We suffered 8 years under Barack Obama.”

Fair enough. Let’s take a look.

The day Obama took office, the Dow closed at 7,949 points. Eight years later, the Dow had almost tripled, closing at 21,414.

General Motors and Chrysler were on the brink of bankruptcy, with Ford not far behind, and their failure, along with their supply chains, would have meant the loss of millions of jobs. Obama pushed through a controversial, $8o billion bailout to save the car industry. The U.S. car industry survived, started making money again, and the entire $80 billion was paid back, with interest.

While we remain vulnerable to lone-wolf attacks, no foreign terrorist organization has successfully executed a mass attack here since 9/11.

Obama ordered the raid that killed Osama Bin Laden.

He…

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A Land Divided by K.M. Ashman

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A compelling tale of the Welsh struggle to unify in the wake of William’s takeover of England.  Gruffydd ap Cynan having been defeated and in exile in Ireland, raises an army and returns to Wales; joins forces with another Welsh King, Rhys ap Tewdwr, and undertakes the simple task of defeating three newly allied Kings to reclaim their lands and thrones – newly allied and in cahoots with William the Bastard.  The story goes back and forth between the battling armies and the two Queens(of Gruffydd and Tewdwr) who are facing their own battles to survive, not only physical hardships, but the mental anguish of not knowing the fate of their husbands.

As in any well told tale, there are ample plot surprises, well developed characters, efficiently researched history and the ability to take the reader into the very land and actions described.  The ending is especially intriguing and the best part of that scenario is that it paves the way for a sequel; which I ordered within moments of finishing A Land Divided.  It took a while for me to get around to reading this book/author, but I’m glad I finally did.  4.3 stars

The Bloody Black Flag by Steve Goble

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The life of a pirate is a hazardous one, fraught with many dangers.  How much more so when you are sailing with a captain who is a bit maniacal.  Spider John Rush and his best mate Ezra join the crew of Plymouth Dream and find themselves at odds with many of their shipmates, a situation that thrusts Spider John into a mystery to be solved and revenge to be meted out.  The tale is engaging and certainly exciting.  Life aboard a pirate vessel is presented in fine detail; the characters are believable; the plot lines are nicely filled with surprises.  All in all it is a page turning read that keeps the reader on the edge of their seats as mysteries are unraveled as Spider John seeks answers and revenge.  4.2 stars