The Canterbury Murders

(Stanton & Barling #3)

by E.M. Powell

55824201. sy475

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BLURB

A fire-ravaged cathedral. An ungodly murder.

Easter, 1177. Canterbury Cathedral, home to the tomb of martyr Saint Thomas Becket, bears the wounds of a terrible fire. Benedict, prior of the great church, leads its rebuilding. But horror interrupts the work. One of the stonemasons is found viciously murdered, the dead man’s face disfigured by a shocking wound.

When King’s clerk Aelred Barling and his assistant, Hugo Stanton, arrive on pilgrimage to the tomb, the prior orders them to investigate the unholy crime.

But the killer soon claims another victim–and another. As turmoil embroils the congregation, the pair of sleuths face urgent pressure to find a connection between the killings.

With panic on the rise, can Barling and Stanton catch the culprit before evil prevails again—and stop it before it comes for them?

THE CANTERBURY MURDERS is the third book in E.M. Powell’s Stanton and Barling medieval murder mystery series. Combining intricate plots, shocking twists and a winning–if unlikely–pair of investigators, this series is perfect for fans of Ellis Peters’ Brother Cadfael or C. J. Sansom’s Shardlake.

REVIEW

Part of the charm of reading murder mysteries is the exhilaration the reader feels when they know who the culprit is…and then to have that feeling replaced by another bout of exhilaration when they realize they were wrong, but now they know for sure who the culprit is. Repeat this cycle until the very end and then exclaim, ‘I knew it‘. A thoroughly enjoyable tale as Barling and Stanton tackle a series of brutal murders – a formidable task in and of itself. Let’s add a few impediments to the investigation…an incompetent Prior, the rebuilding of the Canterbury Cathedral, an ambitious recorder of the miracles at the tomb of St. Thomas Becket, and just a tad of pressure with the imminent arrival of King Henry. Oh, let’s add some more drama – a serious rift in the relationship between Aelred and Hugo. Yes my fellow readers, the author has created a masterful whodunit; a page turning race to resolve another seemingly impossible set of crimes. Suspects – many…mistakes made – many…tormented souls – many…a shocking discovery – one. Stars – ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

About the Author

E.M. Powell’s historical thriller and medieval mystery Fifth Knight and Stanton & Barling novels have been #1 Amazon and Bild bestsellers.

The third Stanton & Barling mystery, THE CANTERBURY MURDERS, will be released in November 2020.

Born and raised in the Republic of Ireland into the family of Michael Collins (the legendary revolutionary and founder of the Irish Free State), she lives in northwest England with her husband, daughter and a Facebook-friendly dog.

E.M. Powell is represented by Josh Getzler at HG Literary.

Giveaway

Enter to win a paperback copy of The Canterbury Murders by E.M. Powell! Two copies are up for grabs!

The giveaway is open to the US only and ends on February 5th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

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The Danish King’s Enemy – by MJ Porter BookBlast

Book Title: The Danish King’s Enemy

Series: (The Earls of Mercia, Book 2)

Author: MJ Porter

Publication Date: 20th December 2020 (please note this is a rerelease of Viking Enemy, which was a rerelease of Ealdormen)

Publisher: Independently Published

Page Length: 211 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

Twitter Handles: @coloursofunison @maryanneyarde

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(Blurb)

Every story has a beginning.

Leofwine has convinced his king to finally face his enemies in battle and won a great victory, but in the meantime, events have spiralled out of control elsewhere.

With the death of Olaf Tryggvason of Norway, England has lost an ally, and Leofwine has gained an enemy. And not just any enemy. Swein is the king of Denmark, and he has powerful resources at his fingertips.

In a unique position with the king, Leofwine is either honoured or disrespected. Yet, it is to Leofwine that the king turns to when an audacious attack is launched against the king’s mother and his children. But Leofwine’s successes only bring him more under the scrutiny of King Swein of Denmark, and his own enemies at the king’s court.

With an increase in Raider attacks, it is to Leofwine that the king turns once more. However, the king has grown impatient with his ealdorman, blaming him for Swein’s close scrutiny of the whole of England. Can Leofwine win another victory for his king, or does he risk losing all that he’s gained?

The Danish King’s Enemy is the second book in the epic Earls of Mercia series charting the last century of Early England, as seen through the eyes of Ealdorman Leofwine, the father of Earl Leofric, later the Earl of Mercia, and ally of Lady Elfrida, England’s first queen.

Buy Links:

The Danish King’s Enemy is only 0.99 for a Limited Time Only.

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The Danish King’s Enemy is free to read with #KindleUnlimited subscription.

If the encrypted links fall off, please use the following:

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Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Danish-Kings-Enemy-England-Second-ebook/dp/B08R2XPPGY

Author Bio:

M J Porter 

I’m an author of fantasy (Viking age/dragon-themed) and historical fiction (Early English, Vikings and the British Isles as a whole before the Norman Conquest), born in the old Mercian kingdom at some point since AD1066. 

I write A LOT. You’ve been warned!

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If the encrypted links fall off:

Website: https://www.mjporterauthor.com/

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The Mules of Monte Cassino

by Jim DeFilippi

18999812

BLURB

The ground level truth of the most massive and brutal battle of World War II. It begins with: “Sacrifice. Slaughter Stupidity.”

REVIEW

I’ve been a student of history all of my life. From the kitchen table talks with my Dad about WW2 & Korea to majoring in ancient history in college, I’ve always been keen on reading books that buck the trend of the whitewashed, text book, winners write the history ilk. The Mules of Monte Cassino certainly qualifies as trend bucking as the author presents a sardonic look at an unfathomable set of military decisions in southern Italy. Decisions based on ego and distrust of one’s allies resulting in thousands of needless deaths and the destruction of the famous Benedictine monastery. Powerfully descriptive, the author leaves nothing to the imagination as he follows the ‘mules’ across impassable rivers, boot sucking mud, precision artillery & sniper fire from the defenders; not once, but four times. While I don’t enjoy reading about the repeated stupidity of the human race throughout history, it is after all rather hard to avoid, I do enjoy reading creative narratives. Mules certainly has that. Written in a Vonnegut-like fashion, the tongue in cheek attitudes of the narrator and two participants in the battles are an absolutely delightful breath of fresh air. It’s books like this that should be taught; a little irreverent, but certainly more honest than typical text books or the recently released (and subsequently shutdown by a new administration) 1776 Commission Report. So, my fellow seekers of historical truth, The Mules of Monte Cassino is the non-fiction version of Slaughterhouse Five and Catch-22, and is well worth your reading time. 5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Lucia

by Steven A. McKay

Lucia

BLURB

What makes life worth living for a slave of Rome? The promise of vengeance, no matter how long it takes…
At eight years old, Lucia is torn from the life she knew. Her village burned to the ground and parents murdered by Romans, she is kidnapped, sold and shipped abroad to the Villa Tempestatis in Britannia to serve the young Roman army officer Castus.
Faced with a bleak future of decades of servitude to her master, as well as sadistic brutality at the hands of his manageress, Paltucca, she finds herself fixated by one thought alone: vengeance.
Yet Villa Tempestatis, with its picturesque surroundings in Britannia’s green countryside, offers a life that’s a little easier than elsewhere in the Roman empire. The slaves form strong bonds of love and friendship, enjoy feasts and holiday celebrations together, and are even allowed, sometimes, to start a family. Many of them are happy enough with their lot.
Despite that, every moment of Lucia’s life is blighted by her hatred for Castus and Paltucca, and only seeing them both destroyed will bring her a measure of peace, even if it takes decades of work and planning…
This standalone novel from the bestselling author of The Druid tells the tale of one woman’s life against a richly woven backdrop of love and hate, revenge and redemption, and is quite unique in modern fiction.

REVIEW

A tale that brings out all that is evil about slavery. A tale that highlights the range of emotions; the defeated acquiescence, the fear of reprisal for any mistake, for some the never relenting urge for revenge. The author presents what life was like on a large Roman estate. One that was totally dependent on slave labor; the need for harsh discipline, and for absolute obedience was a slaves daily existence. It is an emotional journey in the life of Lucia; a journey that twists, a journey with surprises, and setbacks; yet one that she follows with one goal in mind no matter the changes in the pathway. Lucia is a departure from the author’s usual subject matter of Druids and Forest Lords, but he has maintained his story weaving skills producing another page turning tale. 4⭐⭐⭐⭐

A Rooster for Asklepios: A Slave’s Story, Book 1 (A Slave’s Story Trilogy)

by Christopher D. Stanley

Name of Book: A Rooster for Asklepios 

Series: A Slave’s Story Trilogy (Book 1)

Author: Christopher D. Stanley

Publication Date:  May 23rd 2020

Publisher: Amelia Books

Page Length: 522 pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

Name of Book: A Bull for Pluto

Series: A Slave’s Story Trilogy (Book 2)

Author: Christopher D. Stanley

Publication Date: June 17th 2020

Publisher: Amelia Books

Page Length: 325 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

Twitter Handles: @aslavesstory @maryanneyarde

Instagram Handles: @aslavesstory @coffeepotbookclub

Hashtags: #HistoricalFiction #ARoosterforAsklepios #BlogTour #CoffeePotBookClub

Book Title

A Rooster for Asklepios 

(A Slave’s Story Trilogy, Book 1)

By Christopher D. Stanley

(Blurb)

Marcus, a slave in the household of Lucius Coelius Felix, enjoys a better life than most slaves (and many free citizens) as the secretary and accountant of a wealthy aristocrat.  His master is rising in the civic life of the Roman colony of Antioch-near-Pisidia (central Turkey), and his responsibilities and income are growing as well. If this continues, he could soon earn enough to buy his freedom, set up a small business, and even marry.  

Then misfortune strikes, and his master falls into a deep depression that is exacerbated by a nagging illness that his physician is unable to cure.  The future looks bleak until the physician receives a dream from the healing god Asklepios calling Lucius to travel hundreds of miles across western Asia Minor to his sanctuary at Pergamon for treatment and, he hopes, a cure.

Accompanied by Marcus and his new wife Selena, Lucius embarks on a long and eventful journey in which both master and slave encounter people and ideas that challenge long-held beliefs about themselves, their society, and the world around them.  Values are questioned, loyalties tested, and identities transformed in a story that brings to life a corner of the Roman empire that has been neglected by previous storytellers.

Buy Links:

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon CAAmazon AU

If the encrypted links fall off:

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Rooster-Asklepios-Slaves-Story-Trilogy/dp/B08978G39W

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08978G39W

Amazon CA: https://www.amazon.ca/Rooster-Asklepios-Slaves-Story-Trilogy/dp/B08978G39W

Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/Rooster-Asklepios-Slaves-Story-Trilogy/dp/B08978G39W

Book Title

A Bull For Pluto

(A Slave’s Story Trilogy, Book 2)

By Christopher D. Stanley

(Blurb)

After a lengthy and eventful stay at the sanctuary of Asklepios in Pergamon, the time has come for Lucius and Marcus to return to Antioch.  Selena had been sent home earlier when Lucius learned that she was pregnant, and the impending arrival of the winter snows could soon make it impossible for them to reach their destination before the child is born.

To Marcus’s surprise, Lucius announces that he plans to stop for a while in Hierapolis to bask in the healing waters of the city’s renowned hot springs.  Here Marcus meets a young woman named Miriam who challenges him to embrace his long-hidden Jewish ancestry.  Marcus is torn between his budding love for Miriam and the cost of heeding her advice.

A tragic decision by Lucius seals their fate, as their full attention must now be devoted to preserving Lucius’s life.  They reach Antioch in time to learn that Lucius’s son Gaius has failed miserably in his management of the household while his father was away.  If Lucius should die, Marcus, Selena, and her unborn child will be at the mercy of this tyrant.  To fend off this danger, Lucius must tell Marcus the full truth about his past, a truth that will ensure Marcus’s future at the cost of his master’s honor.  Can he bring himself to act before his inevitable end?

Buy Links:

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon CAAmazon AU

If the encrypted links fall off:

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Bull-Pluto-Slaves-Story-Trilogy/dp/1732698139

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1732698139

Amazon CA: https://www.amazon.ca/Bull-Pluto-Slaves-Story-Book/dp/1732698139

Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/Bull-Pluto-Slaves-Story-Book/dp/1732698139

Praise for A Rooster for Asklepios and A Bull For Pluto

This compelling and enjoyable story offers the reader a superb ‘insider’ view of life in the first-century Greco-Roman world. I enjoyed traipsing around Anatolia with Lucius and Marcus!”
-Dr. Terence Donaldson, Academic Dean and Professor of New Testament, Wycliffe College, Canada

“The realism of this story reflects the author’s deep first-hand knowledge of the landscape and culture where the narrative takes place.”
-Dr. Mark Wilson, Director, Asia Minor Research Center, Antalya, Turkey

“This well-researched book really brings the Roman world to life!”
-Dr. Alanna Nobbs, Professor of Ancient History, Macquarie University, Australia


“The amount of research, imagination, and effort involved in crafting this story earned my admiration, and stirred my curiosity, too.”
Dr. Mark Nanos, Lecturer, University of Kansas, USA

Author Bio:

Christopher D. Stanley

CHRISTOPHER D. STANLEY is a professor at St. Bonaventure University who studies the social and religious history of the Greco-Roman world, with special attention to early Christianity and Judaism.  He has written or edited six books and dozens of professional articles on the subject and presents papers regularly at conferences around the world.  The trilogy A Slave’s Story, which grew out of his historical research on first-century Asia Minor, is his first work of fiction.  He is currently working on an academic book that explores healing practices in the Greco-Roman world, a subject that plays a vital role in this series. 

Connect with Christopher:

WebsiteFacebookTwitterInstagramGoodreads

If the encrypted links fall off:

Website: https://www.aslavesstory.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aslavesstory

Twitter: https://twitter.com/aslavesstory

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/aslavesstory

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/christopherdstanley

The Last King

(The Ninth Century #1)

by M.J. Porter

52291123. sy475

#TheLastKing #MJPorter #HFVBTBlogTours
Twitter tags: @coloursofunison @hfvbt  
Facebook tags: @hfvbt 

BLURB

They sent three hundred warriors to kill one man. It wasn’t enough.

Mercia lies broken but not beaten, her alliance with Wessex in tatters.

Coelwulf, a fierce and bloody warrior, hears whispers that Mercia has been betrayed from his home in the west. He fears no man, especially not the Vikings sent to hunt him down.

To discover the truth of the rumours he hears, Coelwulf must travel to the heart of Mercia, and what he finds there will determine the fate of Mercia, as well as his own.

REVIEW

When I got the request to read and review The Last King, I accepted immediately. I’ve read a few of this author’s prodigious portfolio of early Britain prose, and she has found my weakness, or perhaps my longing, for tales of this time period. The immediacy of my response, however, did have the side effect of being given January 11 as my posting date for the tour, which as it turns out, is the kickoff date. No pressure whatsoever for this humble scribbler of reviews and novels. So, without further ado, or prattling, I welcome one and all to The Last King Historical Fiction Virtual Blog Tour.

Well now, that is one badass group of warriors. The raiders sent 300 to get him, hah, even Leonidas and his 300 Spartans would have succumbed to Coelwulf and his warband. An intense series of encounters with Raider bands are the highlights of this action packed saga. A warrior without equal, a man with fierce loyalties to his men, a leader reluctant to assume the title king; Coelwulf is dedicated to one thing – protecting Mercia, no matter the overwhelming odds against his success. The Raiders, no longer content with hit and run tactics are, under the leadership of Halfdan and Guthrum, looking to stay, and only Coelwulf stands in their way. The process of Coelwulf coming to terms with this savior role, and the prospect of being chosen King of Mercia, is deftly portrayed by the author, as are the men of his warband. All of them deadly killers, but each with their own personalities, though it will become apparent that they all share the same all purpose expletive. If you are familiar with The Big Lebowski, there is a scene where The Stranger asks The Dude, “Do you have to use so many cuss words?” The Dude’s response is undoubtedly the same one that would be uttered by Coelwulf, or any of his men for that matter, “What the fuck are you talking about?” 😊 Yes, my fellow readers, this is a tale of cunning, bravery, loyalty, and of a man finding his destiny, however reluctantly. A page turning, thrilling delight awaits. 5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

About the Author

I’m an author of fantasy (Viking age/dragon-themed) and historical fiction (Early English, Vikings and the British Isles as a whole before the Norman Conquest). I was born in the old Mercian kingdom at some point since 1066. Raised in the shadow of a strange little building, told from a very young age that it housed the bones of long-dead Kings of Mercia and that our garden was littered with old pieces of pottery from a long-ago battle, it’s little wonder that my curiosity in Early England ran riot. I can only blame my parents!

I write A LOT. You’ve been warned!

Not sure where to start your journey through Early England? Here are some pointers.

If you like action-adventure, with a heavy dose of violence, foul language and good old camaraderie – The Ninth Century series is for you, starting with The Last King, or The Seventh Century, starting with Pagan Warrior, has a little more politics to go with the set-piece battles.

If you like stories about the forgotten women of history, then the Tenth Century series, starting with The Lady of Mercia’s Daughter, is a good place to begin. Or, The First Queen of England, with a little more romance.

If you’re interested in the last century of Early England (before 1066) then The Earls of Mercia series is for you.

If you want to read it all, then you can read in chronological order, or mix it up. The series weren’t written in chronological order.

WEBSITE | TWITTER | GOODREADS

Giveaway

Enter to win a copy of The Last King by M.J. Porter! Two paperbacks are up for grabs!

The giveaway is open to the US only and ends on January 22nd. You must be 18 or older to enter.

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The Furies of Rome

(Vespasian #7)

by Robert Fabbri

27219837

BLURB

AD 58: Rome is in turmoil once more. Emperor Nero has set his heart on a new wife but to clear a path for her, he must first assassinate his Empress, Claudia Octavia. Vespasian needs to tread carefully here—Nero’s new lover, Poppaea Sabina, is no friend of his and her ascent to power spells danger. Meanwhile, Nero’s extravagance has reached new heights, triggering a growing financial crisis in Britannia. Vespasian is sent to Londinium to rescue the situation, only to become embroiled in a deadly rebellion, one that threatens to destroy Britannia and de-stabilize the empire.

REVIEW

As this book has been out for a while, and has garnered enough reviews that it’s safe to assume all angles have been covered. Thus I will keep this short…damnation, what a tale. 5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐