Origins: Song of the King’s Heart

(Song of the King’s Heart #1)

by Nicole Sallak Anderson

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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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Empires of Bronze: Dawn of War (Empires of Bronze #2) by Gordon Doherty

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A tale of far-flung desert adventure set in the distant Bronze Age

Two great empires on the brink of war, one last hope for peace…

1294 BC: The fragile accord between the Hittite and Egyptian empires is crumbling. The ancient world braces itself for war on an unprecedented scale. Prince Hattu, the greatest of the Hittite generals, suffers dreams of terrible consequences – conjured by the Goddess Ishtar. But Hattu refuses to accept her prophecies, adamant that there is one last chance for peace.

This fragile hope lies in the borderlands of the east, where the two rival empires touch. Hattu gathers a chosen band and sets out for this distant, blistering desert land, determined and defiant. Yet the further he ventures, the darker and more twisted his mission becomes. Old ghosts rise around him and Ishtar haunts his every move.

The Goddess’ divination’s cannot be avoided, men say. Hattu will walk through fire to prove them wrong.

REVIEW

All of the new research and discoveries regarding the early history of mankind’s penchant for building empires, and especially in the area of Anatolia, could provide a creative author enough fodder for an excellent series on a Bronze Age/pre-Trojan War empire – say maybe the Hittites. Wait, what’s that? Empires of Bronze by Gordon Doherty is just the ticket? By dream-inducing Ishtar, I do believe you are correct. A master at putting his protagonists through seven shades of suffering and turmoil, the author has once again crafted a tale that keeps the readers on the edge of their seats, as Prince Hattu must survive not only the cruel elements of geography and weather, but the immensely talented, long reaching evil of Pharaoh Seti’s pet villain, Volca.

Another thing I enjoy about Mr. Doherty’s creative prowess is his ability to transport me back to that ancient time and place- a time of tin and copper – a time of bronze tipped spears – a time of chariots – a place destined to be one of the most fought over throughout our history. Looking forward to the next episode – The Army of Ra is on the way.

5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Sorcery in Alpara by Judith Starkston

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A curse that consumes armies, a court full of traitors, a clutch of angry concubines and fantastical creatures who offer help but hate mankind.

Tesha’s about to become queen of a kingdom under assault from all sides, but she has powerful allies: her strategist husband, his crafty second-in-command, and her brilliant blind sister.

Then betrayal strips her of them all. To save her marriage and her world, she will have to grapple with the serpentine plot against her and unleash the goddess Ishana’s uncontrollable magic—without destroying herself.

“Based on historical events in the Bronze Age, Starkston wraps history and magic together in an unforgettable package.”

If you like unique world building, ancient sorcery, and mythical beasts, with richly portrayed characters and enthrallingly complex plots, then immerse yourself in Sorcery in Alpara, the second in this award-winning epic historical fantasy series. See why readers call the Tesha series “fast-paced,” “psychologically riveting” and “not to be missed.”

REVIEW

A startling sequel, Sorcery in Alpara, is one intense tale. Tesha, in a series of events becomes an outcast even in the eyes of Hattu. Time and again, situations are twisted to make her situation worse. Powerful magic, sorcery, and a coterie of people who want to see her fall make this story a joy to read.  Time and again, I would wonder how much Tesha could take. Masterful characters, a multi-faceted plot that keeps the reader in suspense…a good read indeed.  4 ⭐⭐⭐⭐

 

Priestess of Ishana (Tesha #1) by Judith Starkston

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A curse, a conspiracy and the clash of kingdoms. A defiant priestess confronts her foes, armed only with ingenuity and forbidden magic.

A malignant curse from the Underworld threatens Tesha’s city with fiery devastation. The young priestess of Ishana, goddess of love and war, must overcome this demonic darkness. Charred remains of an enemy of the Hitolian Empire reveal both treason and evil magic. Into this crisis, King Hattu, the younger brother of the Great King, arrives to make offerings to the goddess Ishana, but he conceals his true mission in the city. As a connection sparks between King Hattu and Tesha, the Grand Votary accuses Hattu of murderous sorcery and jails him under penalty of death. Isolated in prison, Hattu’s only hope lies in Tesha to uncover the conspiracy against him. Unfortunately, the Grand Votary is Tesha’s father, a rash, unyielding man, and now her worst enemy. To help Hattu, she must risk destroying her own father.

Step into this exotic world of historical fantasy, with its richly imagined details of the Bronze Age, evocative of the Near East. In a whirlpool of magic, politics, family crisis and love, Tesha pursues justice over the dark forces arrayed against her.

REVIEW

An entertaining tale – historical fiction mixed with magic and sorcery in an alternate Hittite world prior to the Achaean Invasion (Trojan War).  Priestess of Ishana is not only a captivating look at that ancient empire, it is also the story of a young woman and her struggle to serve her goddess while in the middle of an investigation that could see her father and family destroyed. It is a complex plot, a conspiracy of hate and revenge, that had me engaged from the start. Characters that fit the time and place, giving the tale a realism. Even the magical element feels right; the sorcery believable and real, the demons full of power, the invocations full of danger to the user, the goddess a demanding one. It is also a tale of intense emotions, stressful situations. One in which Tesha must find strength she never knew she had, steadfastly clinging to her faith in Ishana in order to come to the truth whatever the outcome. 4 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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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