Britannia World’s End

(The Last of the Romans #2)

by Derek Birks

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454 AD.

Even after years of Roman rule, Britannia is a conflicted and largely untamed land.

Disgraced Imperial Officer, Dux Ambrosius Aurelianus, flees to its shores seeking sanctuary in the land of his deceased mother. His years of loyal service to the emperor count for nothing now. He must carve out a new life beyond the empire.

Accompanying Ambrosius is a disparate group of fellow refugees: Inga, a freed Saxon slave, his bucellarii – warriors sworn to him – and the surviving members of his estranged family.

The burden of command weighs heavy on his shoulders, for when he lands in the country, winter is fast approaching.

But the weather is not the only thing inhospitable towards the newcomers.

Plagued by troubles, Ambrosius faces opponents among both the native Britons and Saxon settlers. He discovers that no-one in Britannia – least of all, the High King, Vortigern – still fears the soldiers of the decaying empire.

When those he loves are savagely abducted and betrayal divides his company, Ambrosius is left with only a handful of his bucellarii. Though heavily outnumbered and unfamiliar with the land, Ambrosius remains undaunted.

Pitted against powerful opponents, the Roman will need new allies if he is to free the hostages and make Britannia his home.

There will be blood.

REVIEW

Well now, that was as exciting as it gets, my fellow readers. But, then again, the author does seem to relish in getting his characters into a boatload (or in this case a Roman villa-load) of trouble. Not that I’m complaining, mind you, he does such an excellent job at keeping me turning those digital pages. A plan to live in peace as far from Rome’s faltering empire as possible is an admirable one, though I’m sure Ambrosius and company would rather have found it without all the stress, turmoil, and blood. Fast paced action, surprising twists of fate, formidable foes, and a nice docile puppy make this tale hard to put down. Oh, and the betrayal of a family member still needs to be sorted out, so my guess is that the author will be putting Ambrosius through another boatload of trouble in the next episode. 5⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Northern Throne (Warrior Druid of Britain Chronicles, #3)

by Steven A. McKay

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AD431, Spring
Bellicus the Druid and his friend Duro, a former Roman centurion, have suffered a great deal in recent years but, for them, things are about to get much worse.

Britain is changing. The Romans have gone and warriors from many different places seek to fill the void the legions left behind. In the south, the Saxons’ expansion seems unstoppable despite the efforts of the warlord Arthur, while north of Hadrian’s Wall various kings and chieftains are always looking to extend their borders.
In Dun Breatann, capital of Alt Clota, Bellicus believes the disparate tribes must put aside their differences, become allies, and face the Saxon threat together, under one High King. Or High Queen…
Small-minded men do not always look at the bigger picture though, and when Bellicus and Duro seek to form a pact with an old enemy events take a shocking and terrible turn that will leave the companions changed forever.
This third volume in the Warrior Druid of Britain Chronicles is packed with adventure, battles, triumph, and tears, and at the end of it a new course will be set for Bellicus.
But at what cost?

REVIEW

One thing you can say for certain about post-Roman Britain – there’s a whole lot of conflict, and a choice of enemies to face. The Picts, the Dalriadans, the Saxons, they all want control – Bellicus and Duro have their hands full in this emotionally charged tale. Amidst the turmoil of those conflicts, the author has also included some mental challenges – even the imposing Bellicus is not immune to doubts – his vulnerabilities are a nice touch, makes the giant Druid a bit more human. Trust, loyalty, friendship, failure…all of these things plus physical pain are some of the issues confronting him and Duro.

Another thing you can say for certain is that the author has produced another page turning episode. Plenty of action, believable characters, and a story line full of surprises, this series just keeps getting better…. and there’s more on the horizon. 5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Day of the Wolf (Erik Haraldsson Book 3)

by C.R. May

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York – Spring 952

After four years in exile Erik Bloodaxe retakes the city, and while his enemies regroup beyond the borders of the kingdom he marshals his army and waits.

As summer wanes the storm breaks. An alliance of Scots, Britons and English sweep down from the North, but Erik moves faster. Seizing the day, his armies outmanoeuvre the invaders and crush them utterly.

With the ancient borders of Northumbria restored Erik strikes again, ravaging the land of Alba and hounding its king to the grave.

But Erik’s triumphs are an opportunity for others too, and as Bloodaxe plans a kingdom of the North and begins to dream of an empire of all Britain they are laying plans of their own.

In an epic tale of war and betrayal, The Day of the Wolf concludes the story of Erik Haraldsson, the last king of Northumbria and most renowned Viking of his age.

REVIEW

By this time, my fellow readers, you will have noticed that Erik Haraldsson (Bloodaxe) is a certifiable force of nature. Determined to see the prophecy of his 5 crowns come true, as well as perhaps going beyond the seer’s words, Erik marches to the sounds of steel and shields, a modern sailor’s “damn the torpedoes-full speed ahead” mentality. His character, indeed the whole cast of the tale, are fully immersed in this period…the author gleaning and reaping what facts are available from the time, applying his creative ability to carve out a plausible rendition of Erik’s saga. While I’ve enjoyed the first two books of the trilogy, the third one raised the bar a tad…evidence of an author who is growing in their craft. I am looking forward to what he creates next. 5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Pagan Curse

(Tribes of Britain #2)

by Sam Taw

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Three lucrative trade deals. Two noble Phoenicians. One lethal curse.
Wise woman, Meliora, is afraid for her life. Revealing what she knows will get her killed. Her only chance is to leave camp and join her nephew on a crucial mission across the Channel.

Prince Suliaman from Tyre is in urgent need of a cure. The healing stones at the top of the world could provide relief if Meliora and her nephew can lead them safely across tribal lands.

Are these genteel foreigners all they seem or are more sinister forces at play?

Has Meliora swapped one perilous situation for something far worse?

Join her in the quest of a lifetime, as she navigates cultural clashes and ritual slaughter in book two of the Tribes of Britain series.

REVIEW

A fascinating adventure following hard on the ending of book 1, Meliora finds herself and companions in the company of a cursed nobleman and his fearsome god of the East. It’s one of those tales that barely allows the reader time to take a breath before the next in a page turning series of troublesome events occurs, all of which are leading up to a most traumatic experience for all involved. What you’ll find, my fellow reader, is a twisted path of surprises along the way in this bronze-age journey. An age of superstitions, and yet surprisingly tolerant of the beliefs of others. The author continues to build the drama; as one problem is solved another arises, to the point where things are looking up…and then the last page… Book 3 already has its hooks in me and I haven’t even started reading it.😊

5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Blood Feud (Legend of the Cid Book 2)

by Stuart Rudge

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The clouds of war gather over Hispania, and Antonio Perez continues on his path to knighthood, under the watchful eye of his lord, Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar. A peculiar invitation sees Antonio and Arias in the den of their nemesis, Azarola, where they discover the truth of his marriage to Beatriz, Arias’s sister, and the years of suffering he has inflicted upon her. Arias vows to deliver Beatriz from the clutches of Azarola and restore his family’s honour – even if it means betraying Rodrigo, defying his king and threatening the future of his country.

Fresh from his victory over Navarre and Aragon, King Sancho of Castile sends his champion Rodrigo to Saraqusta, to treat with amir al-Muqtadir. His mission is to secure an increase to the parias tribute from the Moors and hasten preparations for a war with Leon. But an unknown evil stirs in the shadows of the city which, if allowed to fester, not only threatens Saraqusta itself, but the entire political harmony of Northern Hispania. It is up to Rodrigo and Antonio to root out the conspiracy before it is too late.

Blood Feud is the stunning second instalment of Legend of the Cid. 

REVIEW

Well now, I enjoyed the first book, Rise of a Champion. I really enjoyed Blood Feud…the tale is a mesmerizing page turner. The coming of age for Antonio and the rising star of Rodrigo are the backbone of the story, but the sheer amount of anguish, forlorn hopes, devastating defeats, foiled attempts at revenge drive the tale, and pull the reader along this emotional roller coaster. The author has once again presented the 11th Century conflicts between brother Christians, and the looming clash with encroaching Muslim armies in a most entertaining fashion. Yes, my fellow readers, this is a most enjoyable tale. 5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Origins: Song of the King’s Heart

(Song of the King’s Heart #1)

by Nicole Sallak Anderson

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#Origins #NicoleSallakAnderson #HFVBTBlogTours
Twitter tags: @NSallakAnderson @hfvbt  
Facebook tags: @NSallakAnderson @hfvbt 

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This is the lost story of Lord Ankhwenefer, known to the Greeks as Chaonnophris the Rebel, the last native Egyptian Pharaoh. The brilliance and heartache of his rebellion weave a tale that history has forgotten.
Until now.
In the year 205 B.C., after centuries of Persian and Macedonian occupation, a rebel king rises from the south to take ancient Egypt back unto native hands. He will battle the Ptolemy line for twenty years, and rule almost eighty percent of Egypt, yet in the end, history will never mention his name.
Born Prince Ankhmakis, the last in a line of native Egyptian kings, he is raised with one purpose—to help his father reclaim Egypt from the Macedonian occupiers and return their country to dynastic greatness. Fate, however, has its own plans. For lies and deceit live in the hearts of all involved, from his family to the priesthood, and the Greeks aren’t the only ones who seek to destroy him.
Natasa is in training to become the High Priestess of the temple of Isis. Her task is to strengthen the royal family with the magic of the goddess through love and pleasure. She never thought the connection between her and Ankhmakis could be so strong, or carry a power coveted by those lurking in the shadows. Nor did she know that the child they would create would have her own great destiny to fulfill.
Together, Ankhmakis and Natasa must defend the potential of their love from those who would seek to use it for their own gain. Theirs is a world of magic, power, riches, and lust, and there are those within the court who would do anything to keep Ankhmakis and Natasa apart. Between mystical forces, murder, and illicit schemes–only the gods know if they’ll survive.

REVIEW

A tantalizing beginning to what portends to be a must read series. Steeped in Ancient Egyptian mysticism, the reader is drawn into a scenario of magic; both enlightening, and dark. Mystical attachments of body, mind and spirit that are portrayed in a most entertaining fashion.

Couple that element with the intense drama and tension surrounding the main characters … a rebellion against the Greek Pharaoh … lustful jealousies … brother against brother in the royal succession… I found myself transported to the Nile as the story moves up and down that life giving force from the southern border of Egypt to the city that would come to rival Rome, Alexandria. Descriptive and informative throughout, Origins is a page turning delight to read…and the story has just begun. 5⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

About the Author

Nicole Sallak Anderson is a Computer Science graduate from Purdue University, and former CTO for a small Silicon Valley startup, turned novelist and blogger, focusing on the intersection of technology and consciousness. She currently lives in the beautiful Santa Cruz Mountains in California with her husband, where she raises goats and bees. She enjoys spinning, knitting, playing the bass, and dancing, particularly the tango.

You can keep up with all her latest writing by following @NSallakAnderson on FacebookTwitter and Medium or her website www.nicolesallakanderson.com. Feel free to contact her, she almost always answers to any query or comment!

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a paperback copy of Origins! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

The giveaway is open to US residents only and ends on September 18th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

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The Queen’s Devil: (William Constable Spy Thriller series Book 3) by Paul Walker

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Publication date: 27 July 2020

Genre: Historical Fiction / Historical Thriller

Publisher: Sharpe’s Books

Print Length: 274 pages

Twitter Handles: @PWalkerauthor @maryanneyarde

Hashtags: #TheQueensDevil #HistoricalFiction #CoffeePotBookClub

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1583.

William Constable, recently married astrologer and mathematician, has settled into routine work as a physician when he is requested to attend two prisoners in the Tower of London. Both are accused of separate acts treason, but their backgrounds suggest there may be a connection.

Sir Francis Walsingham and Lord Burghley urge William to discover further intelligence from the prisoners while tending their injuries from torture.

The agent’s investigations lead him to the French Embassy, which lies at the heart of a conspiracy which threatens the nation.

Through his enquiries, an unsuspecting William becomes entangled in a perilous web of politicking and religious fervour.

The threat comes from one the most powerful men in the English court – one referred to as the Queen’s Devil.

William faces a race against time to unpick these ties, climaxing in a daring raid on the Embassy.

REVIEW

Let me start by saying that now that I have read The Queen’s Devil, the third William Constable book, I will certainly be reading the first two. The Queen’s Devil is a thrill ride of a mystery, full of interesting, well thought out characters, set in the period involving Elizabeth’s issues with Mary Queen of Scots. Issues that threaten her reign, and which drag the protagonist back into the clutches of the kingdom’s spymaster, Walsingham. The tale moves at a very satisfying page turning pace; deepening the plot as it progresses to an edge of the seat climax. One of the fascinating story lines involves the discussion of the nature of the universe; a discussion that has dire consequences for Constable, It may seem strange to us in the modern era, that there were segments of society in the 16th century who still subscribed to a Biblical model for the Solar System, i.e. the Sun revolves around the Earth, etc, etc. and that you could be tortured and executed for promoting a scientific explanation, i.e. the Copernican model. Then again, given the response to the current COVID-19 pandemic by some governments, maybe we’re not so much more advanced than the clerics making martyrs out of Gio Bruno, et. al. 

As I said above, I will be adding the first two books to my ever growing ‘To Be Read’ pile, though they are all readable as stand alone novels, and I have a hunch that there may be more forthcoming. Good for us. 5⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Author Bio:

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Paul Walker

Paul is married and lives in a village 30 miles north of London. Having worked in universities and run his own business, he is now a full-time writer of fiction and part-time director of an education trust. His writing in a garden shed is regularly disrupted by children and a growing number of grandchildren and dogs.

Paul writes historical fiction. He inherited his love of British history and historical fiction from his mother, who was an avid member of Richard III Society. The William Constable series of historical thrillers is based around real characters and events in the late sixteenth century. The first two books in the series – State of Treason and A Necessary Killing – were published in 2019. The third book, titled The Queen’s Devil, was published in the summer of 2020.

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Social Media

Connect with Paul:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/PWalkerauthor

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/paul.walker.923171

Amazon Author Page: http://author.to/PaulWalkerbooks

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Civil War

(Marius’ Mules #13)

by S.J.A. Turney

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46 BC. Pompey is dead, Egypt is settled, and Rome is controlled by the loyal Marcus Antonius. As the new year looms, Rome’s greatest general and dictator Julius Caesar moves precipitously to take on the last stronghold of the rebel faction: Africa.

Crossing against all advice in the middle of winter, with minimal forces and little forward planning, the campaign almost dies before it begins, legions scattered across the sea by vicious storms, the general putting ashore with just a single legion and his most trusted veteran commander: Marcus Falerius Fronto.

But the war in Africa is no easy task. Scipio, Cato and Caesar’s one-time lieutenant Labienus have gathered an enormous force to counter him, and are prepared to fight to the death. With few troops, no supplies, little foreknowledge, and all the problems of a winter campaign, Fronto and Caesar face a monumental struggle, yet they know they must win for the prize in this campaign is nothing less than control of the republic itself. Rome hangs in the balance.

REVIEW

“Scipio, you cowardly (insert various and sundry defamatory remarks on Scipio’s parentage), come out and fight!” That could be considered the Caesarian battle cry in this rollicking edition of Marius Mules. Though it must be told that Caesar is not at the top of his usual tactical/strategic genius level, and that causes doubts among his officer corps. In looking for the reason behind this bout of ineptitude, the common blame is cast upon a woman. It’s always the woman’s fault…Adam & Eve – John & Yoko – Gaius Julius & Cleopatra… In his usual commendable fashion, the author has taken the sparse, often contradictory historical record, and infused it with life, vitality, and the clinching ingredient of unputdownableness…(yes, I know – I made up a word). Plus even after 13 volumes, it is always nice and refreshing to get reacquainted with that irascible curmudgeon, Fronto. 5 Stars

The Du Lac Prophecy

(The Du Lac Chronicles #4)

by Mary Anne Yarde

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Two Prophesies. Two Noble Households. One Throne.

Distrust and greed threaten to destroy the House of du Lac. Mordred Pendragon strengthens his hold on Brittany and the surrounding kingdoms while Alan, Mordred’s cousin, embarks on a desperate quest to find Arthur’s lost knights. Without the knights and the relics they hold in trust, they cannot defeat Arthur’s only son – but finding the knights is only half of the battle. Convincing them to fight on the side of the Du Lac’s, their sworn enemy, will not be easy.

If Alden, King of Cerniw, cannot bring unity there will be no need for Arthur’s knights. With Budic threatening to invade Alden’s Kingdom, Merton putting love before duty, and Garren disappearing to goodness knows where, what hope does Alden have? If Alden cannot get his House in order, Mordred will destroy them all.

The Du Lac Prophecy has a recommended reading age of 16+.

REVIEW

Oh the evil mankind will adopt to justify their greed for power. From the opening scene of a brutal reprisal to the shocking ending, Mordred, with the backing of the Church, continues to build an impressive resume of evil deeds done…and the author continues to build a remarkable tale. Time is drawing near for the inevitable confrontation between Mordred and Alden Du Lac…the build up is a nerve wracking stroll down a path strewn with surprises…the sort of plot that keeps the reader guessing, and turning the pages. The fates of Merton/Galahad/The Devil, Amandine, Alden, Alan and Bernice, et al hang in the balance. A cliff hanger of an ending to this episode has me chomping at the bit to get to the next installment. 5⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Amber Road

(Warrior of Rome #6)

by Harry Sidebottom

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AD 264 – The Roman Empire is torn in two.

The western provinces – Gaul, Spain and Britain – have been seized by the pretender Postumus. To the east, on the plains of northern Italy, the armies of the emperor Gallienus muster.

War is coming.

Everyone must choose a side.

On a mission shrouded in secrecy and suspicion, Ballista must journey The Amber Road to the far north to Hyperborea, back to his original home and the people of his birth.

A fearsome, masked warlord attacks, bringing fire and sword against the Angles. Yet not all welcome Ballista`s return.

Does treachery pose the greatest danger?

REVIEW

All of the curses endured, all of the enemies made, all of the oaths reneged on, all of his failures, all of his fears for his family, all of the brooding sadness over the loss of Calgacus – all of these things have left their mark on Ballista/Dernhelm. All of that makes for another page turning episode in this remarkable series. It seems fitting that the last episode finds Ballista in his homeland…though his homecoming is not a joyous one…an impossible mission, but a damn fine bit of storytelling. 4⭐⭐⭐⭐