Lion of the Sun (Warrior of Rome #3) by Harry Sidebottom

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It’s Mesopotamia, AD 260. Betrayed by his most trusted adviser, the Roman Emperor Valerian has been captured by the Sassanid barbarians. The shame of the vanquished beats down mercilessly like the white sun, as the frail old emperor prostrates himself before Shapur, King of Kings. Ballista looks on helplessly, but vows under his breath to avenge those who have brought the empire to the brink of destruction with their treachery. One day, maybe not soon, but one day, I will kill you …But first he must decide what price he will pay for his own freedom. Only the fearless and only those whom the gods will spare from hell can now save the empire from a catastrophic ending. Ballista, the Warrior of Rome, faces his greatest challenge yet.

REVIEW

Another exhilarating episode … another drama packed tale … another seamless melding together of history and fiction … another reason to read the Warrior of Rome series.

5 Stars  ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Katharina Fortitude by Margaret Skea

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Eagerly-awaited conclusion to Katharina Deliverance – Runner-up in the Historical Novel Society New Novel Award 2018.

‘Beautifully written and meticulously researched – historical fiction at its best.’ BooksPlease
Fans of Hilary Mantel, C J Sansom and Winston Graham will love this book.

‘We are none of us perfect, and a streak of stubbornness is what is needed in dealing with a household such as yours, Kat… and with Martin.’

Wittenberg 1525. The unexpected marriage of Martin Luther to Katharina von Bora has no fairytale ending.

A sign of apostasy to their enemies, and a source of consternation to their friends, it sends shock waves throughout Europe.

Yet, as they face persecution, poverty, war, plague and family tragedy, Katharina’s resilience and strength of character shines through.

While this book can be read as a standalone, it is also the powerful conclusion to her story, begun in Katharina: Deliverance.

If you like your historical Fiction to be authentic, immersive and packed with drama, this book is for you.

REVIEW

One of the aspects of historical fiction that I look for in my reading is authenticity where the history is concerned coupled with fiction that could very well be part of the actual history being told.  In Katharina Fortitude, the author has created just such a narrative. The struggles to keep hearth and home together are daunting enough given the obstacles and the emotional toil that Kat faces, and on top of all of that she is married to an unrelenting, firebrand reformation theologian who is prone to irascible outbursts at any perceived deviation to his reformed beliefs. That is the Martin Luther she married, but what I really love about this story is the way Martin is portrayed when not dealing with his ‘calling’. His tenderness, the joy he exhibits with his children, the way he gradually succumbs to Kat’s industriousness, and sharpness of mind. It is a captivating tale that reaches into your heart; an emotional journey of love and loss.  5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Marius’ Mules XII: Sands of Egypt by S.J.A. Turney

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Winter, 48 BC. Caesar and his small force are trapped in the Egyptian city of Alexandria. Caught up in the dynastic struggles of the House of Ptolemy, the consul has sided with the clever and ruthless Queen Cleopatra. Her brother and fellow monarch Ptolemy XIII languishes in the palace, a hostage of Caesar’s, while a huge army under the command of the Egyptian general Achillas closes on the city to free him.

With both the future of this ancient land and the safety of Caesar and his men at stake, Fronto and his friends face the terrible task of holding an unfamiliar city under siege, in the desperate hope that reinforcements will reach them before the enemy break in.

But Egyptian reinforcements gather too, and with the interference of the youngest princess, Arsinoë, the future is far from written. Trapped, besieged and outnumbered, time is running out for the Romans, as shadows loom across the sands of Egypt

REVIEW

As this is the 12th episode in this magnificent saga, I am going to presume that anyone reading this review is familiar with Marius Mules, and will gloss over the salient points usually covered in my reviews…such as character development, plot, etc etc, mind you all of the usual salient points are done in the usual excellent SJA manner. 😊 Instead, I will state only that Marius Mules would be a must see TV event on par with I, Claudius or ROME.

I will say this about #12…the building tension between Caesar and Cassius and the looming decisions Fronto will be faced with…man oh man, 13-15…I can’t wait.  😎

5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Passage by Prue Batten

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Meeting Alex Tremayne changed Annie’s life.
Losing him through a shocking farm accident shattered her.

Passage is the story of one woman, Annie Tremayne, and her journey through grief.
After Annie loses Alex, her husband and soulmate, she withdraws into the state of solitude that has always been her refuge.

Unsure how to move forward, she leans on Blighty, her bizarre little Jack Russell terrier for comfort, wishfully encountering the spirit of her late husband and craving the dry wit and understanding of her French friend, Lisette.

Amongst the raw beauty of Tasmania’s east coast, Annie discovers stalwart friends where she thought she had none and, ever so occasionally, there are glimmers of what could be.
With the help of feisty Blighty, her husband’s earthy wisdom, and the glaring honesty and wit of Lisette, Annie begins the journey back from sorrow.

Will she reach the other side?
Maybe only her diverse companions know…

REVIEW

I know that in every review I’ve written about the books by Prue Batten, I have waxed effusively on the beauty of her prose; the eloquence, the spot on emotions, narrative descriptions that linger, like the smell and sound of the sea, and so on. So it might seem ironic that my favorite sentence in Passage is this:

‘You know what, Blighty?’ she mumbled into his coarse fur. ‘Life is such shit sometimes.’

Then again, maybe not so ironic when taken in context. Passage is a one the most poignant stories I have read in a long time. The coming to terms with grief for Annie is a grueling passage, and the author has given her an eloquent, heartrending tale to tell. A highlight feature, for me, is Annie’s conversations with her recently deceased husband, Alex. The give and take between them is priceless and helps set the tone for dealing with the other people in her life…a new way of understanding the events..a new way of understanding herself.

So, my peeps and fellow readers, Hoover Book Reviews gives it 5⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐, and it’s highest recommendation…

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Editor’s note:

Yeah, I know it says historical fiction on the Paulitzer, but hey, like I said I don’t read contemporary fiction very often, and this is the only Paulitzer currently in stock. 😁

The Quest for the Crown of Thorns (The Long-Hair Saga #2) by Cynthia Ripley Miller

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Twitter tags: @CRipleyMiller @hfvbt  
 

Facebook tags: @cynthiaripleymiller @hfvbt

 

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AD 454. Three years after the Roman victory over Attila the Hun at Catalaunum, Arria Felix and Garic the Frank are married and enjoying life on Garic’s farm in northern Gaul (France). Their happy life is interrupted, when a cryptic message arrives from Rome, calling Arria home to her father, the esteemed Senator Felix. At Arria’s insistence, but against Garic’s better judgment, they leave at once.

Upon their arrival at Villa Solis, they are confronted with a brutal murder and the dangerous mission that awaits them. The fate of a profound and sacred object–Christ’s Crown of Thorns–rests in their hands. They must carry the holy relic to the safety of Constantinople, away from a corrupt emperor and old enemies determined to steal it for their own gain.

But an even greater force arises to derail their quest–a secret cult willing to commit any atrocity to capture the Crown of Thorns. And all the while, the gruesome murder and the conspiracy behind it haunt Arria’s thoughts.

Arria and Garic’s marital bonds are tested but forged as they partner together to fulfill one of history’s most challenging missions, The Quest for the Crown of Thorns.

REVIEW

A tantalizing adventure awaits you my fellow fiction aficionados as Arria and Garic take on the perilous mission to deliver a relic so precious that people will kill to possess it. A story line with many strands, believable characters, intense drama, and engaging love story. As the journey progresses, it becomes harder to put the book down as the Crown gets closer to Constantinople. Excitement at every turn of the page including an intriguing teaser at the end. Settle back with your beverage of choice and enjoy an exciting look at the Roman world of the 5th century.  4 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

 

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About the Author

Cynthia Ripley Miller is a first generation Italian-American writer with a love for history, languages and books. She has lived, worked, and travelled in Europe, Africa, North America and the Caribbean. As a girl, she often wondered what it would be like to journey through time (she still does), yet knew, it could only be through the imagination and words of writers and their stories. Today, she writes to bring the past to life.

She holds two degrees and has taught history and teaches English. Her short fiction has appeared in the anthology Summer Tapestry, at Orchard Press Mysteries.com and The Scriptor. A Chanticleer International Chatelaine Award finalist for her novel, On the Edge of Sunrise, she has reviewed for UNRV Roman History, and blogs at Historical Happenings and Oddities: A Distant Focus

Cynthia has four children and lives with her husband, twin cats, Romulus and Remus, and Jessie, a German Shepherd, in a suburb of Chicago.

On the Edge of Sunrise is the first in the Long-Hair Saga; a series set in late ancient Rome and France and published by Knox Robinson Publishing. The second book in the series, The Quest for the Crown of Thorns, was released in June 2017.

For more information please visit Cynthia Ripley Miller’s website. You can also connect with her on FacebookTwitter, and Goodreads.

 

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Empires of Bronze: Son of Ishtar (Empires of Bronze #1) by Gordon Doherty

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Four sons. One throne. A world on the precipice. 

1315 BC: Tensions soar between the great powers of the Late Bronze Age. The Hittites stand toe-to-toe with Egypt, Assyria and Mycenaean Ahhiyawa, and war seems inevitable. More, the fierce Kaskan tribes – age-old enemies of the Hittites – amass at the northern borders.

When Prince Hattu is born, it should be a rare joyous moment for all the Hittite people. But when the Goddess Ishtar comes to King Mursili in a dream, she warns that the boy is no blessing, telling of a dark future where he will stain Mursili’s throne with blood and bring destruction upon the world.

Thus, Hattu endures a solitary boyhood in the shadow of his siblings, spurned by his father and shunned by the Hittite people. But when the Kaskans invade, Hattu is drawn into the fray. It is a savage journey in which he strives to show his worth and valour. Yet with his every step, the shadow of Ishtar’s prophecy darkens…

REVIEW

Okay, my peeps and fellow readers of Mr. Doherty, we already know the dude can write, but this is the start of a new series…has his heretofore exemplary writing skills carried over? Let’s have a look at the Hoover Book Review checklist – intriguing subject matter/check – characters the reader can embrace/check – a story line with twists and turns/check – obstacles overcome/check – engaging dialogue/check – tense drama/check – descriptions that invite the reader to the very walls of Hattusa…that leave the scent of battle on the pages/check. It’s apparent that the author has ticked all of the boxes which I guess isn’t too much of a surprise. He’s taken on a period, area, and a people not well known, but who were certainly the boss of Asia Minor, and has crafted a wonderful tale of the Hittite world, a tale of overcoming the odds stacked high against success, a tale of two brothers and the growing divide between them…a tale of an empire being tested to the brink of destruction. A well done story that has me looking expectantly for the next one. 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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A Conspiracy of Wolves (Owen Archer #11) by Candace Robb

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#AConspiracyofWolves #CandaceRobb #HFVBTBlogTours
 
Twitter tags: @CandaceMRobb @severnhouse @hfvbt  
 
Facebook tags: @CandaceRobb @severnhouse @hfvbt

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1374. When a member of one of York’s most prominent families is found dead in the woods, his throat torn out, rumours spread like wildfire that wolves are running loose throughout the city. Persuaded to investigate by the victim’s father, Owen Archer is convinced that a human killer is responsible. But before he can gather sufficient evidence to prove his case, a second body is discovered, stabbed to death. Is there a connection? What secrets are contained within the victim’s household? And what does apprentice healer Alisoun know that she’s not telling? Teaming up with Geoffrey Chaucer, who is in York on a secret mission on behalf of Prince Edward, Owen’s enquiries will draw him headlong into a deadly conspiracy.

REVIEW

My first foray into the author’s Owen Archer mystery series, A Conspiracy of Wolves is a very satisfying, and entertaining whodunit. I enjoyed the camaraderie between Owen and the crew enlisted to solve the grisly murders. The plot kept me intrigued as each new chapter revealed some new information or twist to the case, shedding light on the complex revenge taking place (I can say no more about that). As this is the first of the series that I have read, I was pleased that the author left enough hints in the narrative to give me some of the back story to Owen’s life and adventures. Another aspect of the tale is the doings of the village and the folk who live there, a creative way to help the readers immerse themselves in the story. The characters are a joy to read…the author has left nothing out in their development. My only problem (and it’s a good one to have) is that I have so many books to read…now I have another series to delve into.  4 Stars  ⭐⭐⭐⭐

 

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About the Author

I’m Candace Robb, a writer/historian engaged in creating fiction about the late middle ages with a large cast of characters with whom I enjoy spending my days. Two series, the Owen Archer mysteries and the Kate Clifford mysteries, are set in late medieval York. The Margaret Kerr trilogy is set in early 14th century Scotland, at the beginning of the Wars of Independence. Two standalone novels (published under pseudonym Emma Campion) expand on the lives of two women in the court of King Edward III who have fascinated me ever since I first encountered them in history and fiction.

I am a dreamer. Writing, gardening, walking, dancing, reading, being with friends—there’s always a dreaming element.

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER  | BOOKBUB

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