When Hugh Mac Egan’s client is implicated in a murder…a murder that happened while the King, Henry VIII, was in residence at Cardinal Wolsey’s Hampton Court, he has to use all of his wiles to prove him innocent or watch him hang(or worse). The Cardinal’s Court is a wonderfully crafted whodunit, plenty of suspects to choose from, plenty of motives, and plenty of shenanigans designed to foil Hugh’s progress. The author has given the reader a fascinating look into the court intrigues, the political maneuverings, the nuances of Irish versus English law, and the daily routines that enable Hampton Court to function. An enjoyable read awaits you, my peeps and fellow travelers, along with a tantalizing mystery to solve. 4 stars
Astonishing, amazing, creative – fiction that stirs the heartstrings. When I first started writing reviews, and was on the hunt for authors who would feed my passion, Prue Batten came highly recommended – to paraphrase the recommendation – “Prue could write a phone book and make it compelling.” The depth of character that permeates her narratives is certainly on display in Michael. The mental anguish, the sheer trauma, the weight of responsibility, the relentless downward spiral of hatred and revenge – all that and a downright entertaining story to boot. A tale of merchants and the life and death competition for riches and power set against the political maneuverings of the unpopular ruling class in Byzantine Constantinople. Like an exquisite piece of fine needlework, the author has embroidered an intricate tale highlighted by the details of that vast city and the life within it. So, dear reader, if you have not read Prue Batten, then you are denying yourself a literary treat. 5 stars
BY ERIC SCHUMACHER
Publication Date: October 15, 2018
Series: Hakon’s Saga, Book 3
Genre: Historical Fiction/Vikings
It is 954 A.D. and a tempest is brewing in the North. Twenty summers before, Hakon Haraldsson wrested Norway’s throne from his murderous brother, Erik Bloodaxe, but he failed to rid himself of Erik’s family. Now the sons of Erik have come to reclaim Erik’s former throne and avenge the wrong done to their father and their kin. But they do not come alone. With them marches an army of sword-Danes sent by the Danish King, Harald Bluetooth, whose desire to expand his realm is as powerful as the lust for vengeance that pulses in the veins of Erik’s brood. Like storm-driven waves, the opposing forces collide in the thrilling finale of Hakon’s Saga, War King; and when they do, Hakon is left with no choice but to face the tempest and resist.
About the Author
Eric Schumacher was born in Los Angeles in 1968 and currently resides in Santa Barbara, CA with his wife, two children and dog. He is the author of two historical fiction novels, God’s Hammer and its sequel, Raven’s Feast. Both tell the story of the first Christian king of Viking Norway, Hakon Haraldsson, and his struggles to gain and hold the High Seat of his realm.
More information on Eric and his Hakon Sagas can be found on his website. You can also connect with Eric on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and AuthorsDB.
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A cracking follow up to The Bloody Black Flag, The Devil’s Wind is an entertaining mystery guaranteed to have you scratching your heads, along with Spider John as he tries to unravel a murder on board the merchant vessel, Redemption. Having given up the hazards of piracy, Spider John is heading home to Boston after joining a merchant convoy escorted by the British Navy. What should be a routine voyage turns out to be anything but as the Captain of Redemption is found dead in his cabin seemingly self-inflicted, but nagging circumstances have Spider John looking for a murderer.
The author has crafted an intriguing tale complete with a bevy of interesting characters, plentiful twists and turns, and page turning drama. The list of suspects is long; each with a plausible motive, and it takes all of Spider John’s abilities to finally piece the mystery together…all the while on constant alert for pirates. All in all, a cracking read – one that ends, or rather, doesn’t. Methinks there will be more of Spider John. 🙂 4 stars
A delightful tale of a rather unusual monk and his attempts to get rich while avoiding the Danish horde that is running roughshod over Britain. Conrad is a schemer, always ready with a plan; which is a good thing as his plans have a way of not going according to plan. His companion, Brother Odo, a very devout monk, unwavering in his faith in God and in Conrad’s plan(s), provides much of the mirth while also provoking sympathy from the reader. The author has crafted an entertaining version of the Danes – the sons of Ragnar; Ivarr, Ubba, and Halfdan – and the eventual clash with Aethelred and Alfred. I particularly enjoy historical-fiction when the historical events are written in such a way that the fictional aspect; the interaction of the fictional characters with the historical, the way that the story is tweaked to allow the reader to think, “Yeah, it could have happened that way.” Conrad Monk and The Great Heathen Army did just that while also sparking periodic chuckles and chortles from this amused reader. 4 stars
The author has done it again. Tides of War had my attention fully riveted from the start. This is book eleven in one of the more fascinating, entertaining, educating and creative series I have come across, and it has not diminished one iota; indeed it just gets better. When I start reading the newest episode of Marius’ Mules, I feel as though I am getting together with old friends, though even after so many adventures together, they still find ways to surprise me. I guess that’s a testament to the author’s creative ability in that he continually tweaks his characters as they grow older, a little more bone weary, but still forces to be reckoned with. This part of the Caesarian saga is the great chase across the sea to Dyrrachium and beyond, as the Gaius Julius Caesar/Pompey Magnus battle for supremacy comes to a head (literally). 🙂 I know that I am repeating myself, after all this is the 8th Marius’ Mules I have reviewed, but I will say it anyway; to wit, Mr. Turney is a master in describing where the action is taking place, and writes a hell of a battle scene. The most impressive feat, I think, is no matter that the historical events portrayed in Tides of War are well known, the author presents them in a manner that is fresh, detailed, and integrated with his own creative touch. Yes, my peeps and fellow travelers, I will have to repeat another phrase I have used before: 5 stars
When I was contacted by the author to see if I’d like to read and review his new book, I took a quick look at the backlog of books I have waiting, then I took a quick look at the blurb about My Lady Zane. My backlog quickly grew by one. What intrigued me most was the 1780’s settlement on the Ohio River, Zanesville (modern day Wheeling, West Virginia). It is an era and locale that I am extremely interested in given that I have written a novel about The French & Indian War. 🙂 , but that’s only half of the story. Leah Sullivan is a Marine Sergeant stationed in Iraq. Her grandmother writes to her about their ancestor Elizabeth Zane (Betty), and her life in the hostile environment in the new settlements southwest of Fort Pitt along the Ohio River. So, what we have, dear readers, is a well crafted story that takes place in two different eras of American history; two different women caught up in dangerous combat situations against the revenge filled furor of their respective foes.
Strong characters, from the indomitable spirit of Betty to the tough exterior of Leah to the frontiersmen making the wilderness into a home, this tale is replete with them. In addition to the intriguing story lines, the author has put the reader right smack dab in the middle of the action. The sound and smell of the woodlands, the fury of fired muskets; the inescapable heat and barrenness of the Iraqi desert suddenly filled with the fury of battle. It is a cracking read, hard to put down, and certainly one to be enjoyed.
Heracles, the natal result of a Zeusian dalliance, is the subject of Mr. Iliffe’s new series. Son of Zeus is a wonderful telling of the first part of the Heracles myth; the enmity and hatred of Hera toward him is the focal point as Heracles struggles mightily not only with the first three challenging labors but with his own peace of mind as he tries to understand why he murdered his children. Heracles, while known for his strength, is shown to be a man totally driven to find the redemption he is promised, and it is this aspect that drives the narrative. The three labors in this tale are marvelously written; the rank bestiality and cunning of the Nemean Lion; the absolute innocence of a young girl in the Ceryneian Hind; the seeming unstoppable Hydra, take the reader into the heart of the action and drama. While Heracles is up against impossible tasks, his wife Megara is also trying to come to grips with the horror she had gone through. This story line, her search for the answer as to why he did what he did, is crafted in a heart rending fashion, and is another example of the author’s skill in presenting believable characters. I am certainly looking forward to book 2, the author ends book 1 with a lovely nugget for us to chew on.