The Lords of the Wind – Guest Post for Coffee Pot Book Club

(The Saga of Hasting the Avenger, Book 1)

By C.J. Adrien

Book Title: The Lords of the Wind

Series: The Saga of Hasting the Avenger

Author: C.J. Adrien

Publication Date: 4th July 2019

Publisher: Runestone Books

Audiobook Publisher: Tantor Media

Narrator: Gildart Jackson

Page Length: 337 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

Twitter Handle: @authorcjadrien @maryanneyarde

Instagram Handles: @authorcjadrien @coffeepotbookclub

Hashtags: #HistoricalFiction #Vikings #BlogTour #CoffeePotBookClub Tour Schedule:


Orphaned as a child by a blood-feud, and sold as a slave to an exiled chieftain in Ireland, the boy Hasting had little hope of surviving to adulthood. The gods had other plans. A ship arrived at his master’s longphort carrying a man who would alter the course of his destiny, and take him under his wing to teach him the ways of the Vikings. His is a story of a boy who was a slave, who became a warlord, and who helped topple an empire.

A supposed son of Ragnar Lodbrok, and referred to in the Gesta Normannorum as the Scourge of the Somme and Loire, his life exemplified the qualities of the ideal Viking. Join author and historian C.J. Adrien on an adventure that explores the coming of age of the Viking Hasting, his first love, his first great trials, and his first betrayal.

“The Lords of the Wind” by C.J. Adrien is a gold medal winner in the 2020 Reader’s Favorite annual international book award.contest.


There are many famed warriors from the Viking Age who successfully lived up to the reputation of their people, but perhaps none so much as Hasting. Referred to in the Gesta Normanorum as the scourge of the Somme and Loire, his life was lived for adventure. Although he did not carve out large swaths of territory for himself as many others had done, he built an enduring reputation as a man of great prowess, largesse, and cunning.

Hasting’s story begins as many in the Viking Age did: ambiguously. We do not know for certain who his parents were, although it is suggested in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle that he was a son of Ragnar Lodbrok. The Chronicle also suggests that he was a Dane, but that too is difficult to verify. His first raid of notoriety was that of the sack of Nantes in 843 A.D. in which he is named in the Annales D’Angoulême as being among the Vestfaldingi, or men of Vestfold. The sack of Nantes was a cataclysmic event that sent ripples throughout the Frankish Empire and marked the beginning of more aggressive Norse incursions in the region.

Hasting is thought to have spent a great deal of time in the Bay of Biscay during his early life, but mentions of him in the sources are sparse. The Chronicle of Nantes mentions he forged an alliance with the usurper Lambert to take Nantes, but the Chronicle is generally considered as having fabricated many of the details of the event. The Vie and Miracles de Saint Martin de Vertou suggests the Vikings were invited into the city for the festival of Saint John, which indicates that prior to the sack of Nantes there may have been semi-amicable relations between the locals and the Scandinavians.

With so much ambiguity in the sources, it is difficult to piece together Hasting’s life, despite his notoriety in the Gesta Normanorum and the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. My novel is an attempt to give life to a character who has seldom been the focus of the main narrative despite having been the living embodiment of what it was to be a Viking. I attempt to recreate his early life, follow his journey from slave to sea captain, and set the stage for the famous events he orchestrated in his later life, which I will cover in later novels.

Primary sources attesting to Hasting’s life:

  • Gesta Normanorum, by Dudo of St. Quentin
  • Gesta Danorum, by Saxo Grammaticus
  • Histoire des Normands, by William of Jumièges
  • Annals of St. Bertin
  • Chronicon, by Regino Prum
  • Annales D’Angoulème
  • The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle
  • Chronique de Nantes
  • Historiarum Libri Quinque, by Raoul Glaber

Author Bio:

C.J. Adrien

C.J. Adrien is a bestselling and award-winning author of Viking historical fiction novels with a passion for Viking history. His Saga of Hasting the Avenger series was inspired by research conducted in preparation for a doctoral program in early medieval history as well as his admiration for historical fiction writers such as Ken Follett and Bernard Cornwell. He is also a published historian on the subject of Vikings, with articles featured in historical journals such as LAssociation des Amis de Noirmoutier, in France. His novels and expertise have earned him invitations to speak at several international events, including the International Medieval Congress at the University of Leeds, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI), conferences on Viking history in France, among others.

Social Media Links:







Amazon Author Page:


Buy Links:

This series is available on #KindleUnlimited

The Lords of the Wind (Book 1) –

In the Shadow of the Beast (Book 2) – The Kings of the Sea (Book 3) –

LINK to Hoover Book Reviews review:

Pagan King

(Of Gods and Kings #2)

by M.J. Porter

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The year is 641 and the great Oswald of Northumbria, bretwalda (wide-ruler) over England, must battle against an alliance of the old Britons and the Saxons led by Penda of the Hwicce, the victor of Hæ∂feld nine years before, the only Saxon leader seemingly immune to his beguiling talk of the new Christianity spreading through England from both the north and the south.
Alliances will be made and broken, and the victory will go to the man most skilled in war craft and statecraft.
The ebb and flow of battle will once more redraw the lines of the petty kingdoms stretching across the British Isles.
There will be another victor and another bloody loser. 


When I read Pagan Warrior, the first book in the series, I was convinced that I would certainly read the rest. What I’m most disappointed in is that it took me so long to read Pagan King. Regardless of the reasons for the delay, it took only a page for me to rekindle my liking of that irascible, ambition driven, Woden in the flesh, Penda. As befits the tenor of that age, this is a complex story and is told in first person chapters which highlights all that emotion, all of those ambitions, all of that religious fervor… Indeed it allows the reader to walk alongside of Penda, Eowa, and Oswald as they turn things over in their minds. It is a complex story, a lot of treachery, a lot of uncertainty, a lot of pragmatic decisions. The buildup to the climatic battle is page turning at its finest, there be some excellent storytelling in these pages.

5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


by Kevin Bayton-Wood

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ALL THE AUTHOR’S ROYALTIES FROM THIS BOOK SERIES WILL BE DONATED TO PARKINSON’S DISEASE RESEARCH. The Blue Book of Viroconium is the second novel in the Pendragons book series. Following on from the Pendragon’s victory over the Saxons at Badon, Prince Owain again finds himself fighting a major battle with the Saxons, though this time he must also fight a two-pronged attack from within his own lands. Gwen, with her family threatened by an unseen assassin, sets off alone into the Middleland Forest to find the killer she knows she is unlikely to defeat, and yet she has no choice but to search out and confront the most wicked of creatures. Gal, now a Red Cloak, is set to marry Seren but, lurking in the forest stalks the most dangerous of men, who will stop at nothing to make Seren his own. A less martial novel than The Black Book of Badon, The Blue Book of Viroconium introduces the reader to the most shocking of sorrows, tragedy follows almost all of the major characters but there is hope for the Pendragon and his friends: the arrival in Viroconium of a golden child will change the lives of all who meet her; a cousin of Owain returns to take his rightful place in the heart of Celtic Briton; on the Isle of Mona a man takes the mushroom drink and makes a realization only the Merlin can understand. This book might well be the most turbulent of the five novels in this series, but it is the most compelling, more so because one of the main characters meets the saddest and most horrific of deaths. A love story, a tale of murder and magic and mystery, a tragedy intertwined with triumph, this book plays with the emotions of those willing to read it.


As with the first volume in the Pendragons series, The Blue Book continues the imaginative telling of the Arthurian legend. Overcoming overwhelming odds, and a multitude of problems, this episode is one of perseverance and faith. It is also, as becomes the violent nature of the age, a tale replete with the sadness and grief associated with that violence. Yes my fellow peeps and travelers along this journey, there is much sadness. I will say no more about that other than to highlight one of the many interesting characters in this tale, Rohanna. A more vile, wicked creature, and yet still a somewhat enticing one, is hard to imagine. On the opposite end of the spectrum is the Christian priest/warrior Illtud, an immediately likeable sort, a more pure rendition of a Christ follower than many of the ‘my way or it’s hell for you’ priests. The Pendragon has a lot on his plate, most of it not too appetizing. It will take all his courage, fortitude, and a trust in his abilities to survive everything coming at him. And of course, his Red Cloaks.

5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Reliquary – Review & Interview

Book One Of The Peregrinus Trilogy

by Prue Batten

Reliquary: Book One of The Peregrinus Series by [Prue Batten]




Relics can move mountains, so history relays. They cure the sick, promise success, enable whole kingdoms to win wars.

A fragment of byssus lies in a small chest and its very existence underlines the life of Christ and the meaning behind the Holy Church. Its power can only be wondered at.

It is the kind of relic which inspires heroic deeds and . . . murder.

An elderly nun and a returned crusader are all that stands between the world’s most sanctified relic and a Templar knight who craves it for his own purpose.

From Constantinople to Caen, from Venice to Viviers, from Rome to Rouen, relics are traded like pepper and frankincense, silk and silver, lapis and alum. Sold to the highest bidder.

Who then should pay the highest price of all for a fragment of aged cloth?

Is the highest price surely . . . and inevitably . . . death?

If you enjoyed The Kingmaker Series or The Knights’ Templar MysteriesReliquary will enthral you.

Reliquary is Book One of The Peregrinus Series


One indication that you’re having a good day is when a favorite author personally requests a review of their new book. An even better indication is that despite the fact that I have a decades long dislike of the historical abuse of power fomented by ‘Holy Mother Church’, Reliquary is a certified page turning tale. The emotional trauma of a nun completely out of her comfort zone – a cloistered existence in a small convent in the middle of nowhere – is deftly and beautifully written. Not that she is the only character suffering pangs of doubt, hatred, unfulfilled love and the like. It is a dangerous mission for all involved in this latest foray into the author’s Gisborne legacy. Another chapter in an amazing series of books, one that had me riveted, and that has me anticipating the next one. There are questions still to be answered, hearts that still need mending. 5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The author takes the time to answer some questions:

Interview with Prue Batten

What is it that prompted you to start writing?

I love creating stories in the same way that others create art, poetry or music. I’ve been writing prose since I was first able to write words when I would apparently tell myself little stories. That feeling of ‘writing’ is indescribable, and I can’t find the words without sounding precious.

But that’s the other thing, you see; I love words!

Why this particular genre?

I read my first hist.fict in Grade 6. A Rosemary Sutcliff, The Eagle of the Ninth. And from that moment, hist.fict and indeed history, became my genre of choice. But I will qualify that just a little by saying that myth and legend dominated my early childhood reading and so fantasy is a very close second.

But in terms of his.fict, I also had the most wonderful lecturer in medieval history at university. He was a Roman Catholic priest and a history-maker in his own right. He came to the faith after his marriage and was one of the only modern Roman Catholic priests I have heard of who did in fact have a legitimate wife and children. He had a way of kindling sparks of interest in we students. He talked of folk like Peter Abelard, Heloise of Argenteuil, Hildegarde von Bingen, Bernard of Clairvaux, the Venerable Bede and so many more, bringing them to life before my eyes. The names were like beacons. Before long, I had a deeply rooted love of the medieval era. He spent very little time talking of kings and dynastic wars and hours talking about the development of philosophies and I think that’s why I write fiction that is so far removed from bloody battles and so rooted in the common man’s traditions.

Were there any influences that helped you create the Gisborne legacy?

Now that is a huge question.

Firstly, Dorothy Dunnett who established the House of Niccolo, set in the European Renaissance. She is an iconic hist.fict writer – the doyen of all good hist.fict. in my opinion.

Because I have a lifelong fascination with the medieval era, I idly began to read on trade in the 12th century, reasoning that someone didn’t just begin to trade as the Renaissance took off. And of course, I was right. The medieval era was filled with extraordinary beauty and that beauty came from rare and exotic goods that were the result of travel and trade from beyond the flat edge of the world. Such trading encouraged the best and complete worst of humankind and thus I had my Gisborne trading house.

The man Gisborne is quite another thing and in many ways, quite trite. Originally the first Gisborne book began life as a blog fan-fiction – what Guy of Gisborne’s life would have been if he had turned away from the Sheriff of Nottingham and chosen an untrodden pathway. It had an enormous following because Guy was based on Richard Armitage’s interpretation in the TV series Robin Hood, and any woman who was a fan of Robin Hood knows of the thousands-strong Armitage Army.

But ¾’s of the way through the telling of that first story, I could feel myself moving into more serious historical fiction. My research on the era went deeper and the narrative began to change dramatically. In time, I had a publishable book. The story continued for two more books to make a trilogy and in that time, I met characters I grew to love and who had their own story to tell. Thus, I ended up with another series and am now on my way to a third series. The members of the household are many and varied…

What books, genres, authors does Prue read when she’s not writing?

I read most genres except sci fi and romance, and I’m not a great fan of time-travel. My favourite genres are hist.fict and fantasy but I also enjoy good contemporary fiction. My favourite time frames are Roman, Dark Age, medieval and Renaissance, but I’m very flexible if it’s a good story The names Simon Turney, Anna Belfrage, Gordon Doherty, Matthew Harffy, Theodore Brun, Robert Low, Bernard Cornwell, Paul Collard and Paul Bennett, all spring to mind. But there are many others. Actually, looking at that list above, I realise Anna is the only woman. She must work extra hard to keep her name amongst the collective Illuminati! I shall have to try harder to join her!

My favourite fantasy stories are those based on myth and folklore. I have a Number One favourite – internationally renowned Juliet Marillier who was, in fact, the person who challenged me to write a contemporary fiction about a woman of a certain age. In addition, and although nothing has come from this writer’s pen for many years, I do love Cecilia Dart Thornton’s work.

I also enjoy biographies on people I admire or who create an interest by the way they have lived their lives: certain members of the Royal Family, some American presidents, Katherine Hepburn, Audrey Hepburn, Joanna Lumley, David McAllister and so forth.

Who do you turn to for advice or encouragement when the Muse is a bit reticent in supplying inspiration?

Would you believe I don’t turn to anyone? I either write through it or take a complete break and do something else. I love the outdoors, I walk a lot with my dog, I’m a gardener and embroiderer, I love ballet, ocean swimming, kayaking – boating of any sort. I suppose if anything stirs the Muse, it’s Nature. I’m also a believer that things happen when they’re meant to.

Circling back a little to Passage, one of the more poignant stories I’ve read, was it difficult to take on a tale outside of your normal comfort zone?

Thank you for the compliment and yes, it was. When dealing with the contemporary world, one knows one’s readers will be very familiar with so much more than one’s 12th century. In addition, one knows one’s readers will automatically assume that one is writing one’s own life into the narrative. Thus it was important to establish that the work was fictional, BUT that it was based on an actual event in my own life.

That was the other difficulty. The accident my husband suffered on the farm caused some PTSD. Mostly for him, but a little for me as well, and writing Passage allowed me to process that dreadful day and be glad that our outcome was so different to Annie’s.

A further difficulty was that I have reached the time in life when some of my friends are passing away or losing their lifelong partners. By necessity, Passage became a lesson in grief – one of the hardest lessons we all have to learn.

It seems bizarre to say I enjoyed writing Passage, but I actually did. To be able to set the story on my own coastline, the one I love so much, was beyond special and I’ve always believed that a setting can be a character in its own right. Maria Island dominates Annie’s landscape and in fact was transformative for her. Every day I look at that island now, I see it in a different light.

What is next for Prue Batten?

Reliquary is Book One of a 3 book series – The Peregrinus Series. I’m a quarter of the way through the second book, tentatively titled Oak Gall and Gold. Each book is a standalone but they all involve members of the Gisborne ben Simon trading house with whom, it might be said, I’m in a long-lasting relationship.

Thank you, so much Paul, for these insightful questions. I’ve commented elsewhere that such questioning keeps one’s feet on the ground and makes one realise why one is indeed a writer. That’s very important! Cheers.

Gods of Rome (Rise of Emperors Book 3)

by Simon TurneyGordon Doherty

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For one to rule, the other must die.

312 AD is a year of horrific and brutal warfare. Constantine’s northern army is a small force, plagued by religious rivalries, but seemingly unstoppable as they invade Maxentius’ Italian heartlands. These relentless clashes, incidents of treachery and twists of fortune see Maxentius’ armies driven back to Rome.

Constantine has his prize in sight, yet his army is diminished and on the verge of revolt. Maxentius meanwhile works to calm a restive and dissenting Roman populace. When the two forces clash in the Battle of the Milvian Bridge, there are factors at work beyond their control and soon they are left with carnage.

There is only one way Constantine and Maxentius’ rivalry will end. With one on a bloodied sword and the other the sole ruler of Rome…


Well my fellow peeps and fellow travelers along this road to Rome, we have reached the conclusion of this masterpiece of a trilogy. I am simply in awe of how this duo meshed together in such a way as to not only have the reader read the agonies and torments, but to feel them as well. In the first two books we watched a lifelong relationship bloom and then fracture apart like the petals of a rose after a hard frost. The angst and frustration of those first two, so real, so visceral, crescendos in Gods of Rome. The events that transpire in this volume takes that fractured relationship, bringing it to a head: an explosive like roar of a rushing river bursting through a dam. I am simply in awe at how Simon and Gordon intertwined the events between the two implacable enemies with the opposing religious forces that threaten both sides in the conflict. I tell you my fellow peeps and fellow travelers, the climatic battle is a thing of page turning wonder. The treachery, the diabolic goings on…I will say no more. 🙂

I knew a long time ago, when Simon and Gordon started planning this trilogy, that it was going to be a joy to read. I was right.

5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

About the authors

Simon Turney is the author of the Marius’ Mules and Praetorian series, as well as The Damned Emperor series for Orion and Tales of the Empire series for Canelo. He is based in Yorkshire.

Gordon Doherty is the author of the Legionary and Strategos series, and wrote the Assassin’s Creed tie-in novel Odyssey. He is based in Scotland.

Pre-order link


Follow Simon

Twitter: @SJATurney

Instagram: @simonturney_aka_sjaturney


Follow Gordon

Twitter: @GordonDoherty

Instagram: @gordon.doherty


Follow Aries

Twitter: @AriesFiction

Facebook: Aries Fiction


An Extract

The Cottian Alpes, 27th January 312 ad
We moved through the mountains like winter wolves. The ferocious blizzard sped southwards
with us, carried on the famous bora winds, singing a dire song. For days we marched through
that driving snow, seeing nothing but great white-clad peaks either side of us; rugged,
inhospitable highlands which in these frozen months soldiers were not meant to cross. All
around me the gale screamed, boots crunched endlessly through the successively deeper drifts
of white, men’s teeth chattered violently, mules brayed, exhausted. It felt at times as if we were
wandering, snow-blind, to our deaths, but I knew what lay ahead… so close now.
I called upon my chosen men and a handful of their best soldiers – a group of thirty – and we
roved ahead of the army like advance scouts. The blizzard raked through my bear cloak, the
snow rattling like slingshot against my gemmed ridge helm and bronze scales as I scoured the
valley route. Yet I refused to blink. When the speeding hail of white slowed and the murky
grey ahead thinned a little, I saw them: a pair of stone and timber watchtowers, northern faces
plastered in snow. Gateposts watching this passage between two realms. I dropped to my
haunches behind the brow of a snowdrift and my chosen men hunkered down with me. I gazed
over the drift’s brow, regarding the narrow gap between the towers and the valley route beyond,
on through the winter-veined mountains. Thinking of the land that lay beyond these heights,
my frozen lips moved soundlessly.
Land of Roman forefathers. Home of the man I had once considered my friend… but that
territory was rightfully mine. Mine! My surging anger scattered when I spotted movement atop
one of the two towers: a freezing Maxentian scout blowing into his hands, oblivious to our
presence. Then the blizzard fell treacherously slack, and the speeding veil of white cleared for
a trice. I saw his ice-crusted eyebrows rise as he leaned forward, peering into the momentary
clarity, right at us. His eyes bulged, mouth agog.
‘He is here!’ he screamed to be heard over the sudden return of the storm’s wrath. ‘Constantine
is h—’
With a wet punch, an arrow whacked into the man’s chest and shuddered there. He spasmed
then folded over the edge of the timber parapet and fell like a sack of gravel, crunching into a
pillowy snowdrift at the turret’s foot. I glanced to my right, seeing my archer nock and draw
again, shifting his bow to the heights of the other tower, his eyes narrowing within the shadow
of his helm brow. He loosed, but the dark-skinned sentry up there ducked behind the parapet,
screaming and tolling a warning bell. At once, three more Maxentians spilled from the door at
the base of that rightmost tower, rushing south towards a simple, snow-topped stable twenty
paces away, in the lee of a rocky overhang. This was one of the few gateways through the
mountains – albeit the least favoured and most treacherous – and it was guarded by just five
men? Instantly, suspicion and elation clashed like swords in my mind. We had no time to rake
over the facts. These watchmen could not be allowed to ride south and warn the legions of
Italia. They had to die.

To the Death

(Viking Chronicles #2)

by Martin Lake

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The Viking army is about to face its greatest challenge, the Kingdom of Wessex. King Æthelred and his brother Alfred are determined to wage war to the death.

The Great Viking Army has conquered Northumbria and East Anglia. Two English kingdoms remain independent, Mercia and Wessex. The sons of Ragnar, leaders of the army, must decide which to attack next.

Leif Ormson, once Skald to Ivar the Boneless, has now been made a jarl. He is a reluctant warrior and is grateful and relieved when he is given rich lands in which to live in peace and prosperity.

But the Vikings’ relentless lust for conquest sweeps him and his family into peril and war. As the army marches towards Wessex he wonders if he will again have dealings with Prince Alfred and his dangerous friends.

He wonders if he will even survive.

An epic tale of the great war for England.


A captivating tale of the Saxon versus Dane battle for control of Wessex. Intriguing characters drive this page turning episode, the action is relentless and brutal, the landscape is described in such a way that the reader is drawn into the tale. I especially enjoyed the portrayal of a young Alfred, so unsure of his abilities, yet becomes a force to contend with. Looking forward to the next book in this…Alfred isn’t quite The Great yet. 5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Savage Wilderness (The Boschloper Saga #2)

by John M. Cahill

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The Boschloper Saga, Book 2
In 1687, the English Colony of New York is in dire financial straits. The flow of beaver pelts, the life’s blood of the colony, has slowed to a trickle. In response, New York’s governor grants licenses to Albany traders to enter French territory and divert the furs of the Far Indians from Montreal to Albany. Although only recently married to Laurentje, Sean O’Cathail joins the small group of adventurers who have the courage to face the savage wilderness. However, the governor of New France learns of their plans, and the traders must avoid capture by the French and their savage allies. Optimistic that they can avoid detection, Sean and his fellow boschlopers begin to cross the Great Lakes. But, when they are surrounded and captured, Sean finds that his adventure is only just beginning. He will need all his wits and the help of Kai, the beautiful Mohawk woman who was once his lover, to survive and return home.


An engaging tale of the growing tension between the French and the British concerning the lucrative fur trade in colonial America. The rugged terrain and dangerous waterways provide the backdrop to Sean’s journey to French held territory seeking to make a fortune under the nose of the French and their Indian allies. All of the elements that lead to The French & Indian War in 1756 are forming in this account of early America. A tension filled narrative along with the lovely descriptions of the wilderness, and characters who invite the reader to hearken back to a time when the future of this land was uncertain. A definite page turner, this man enjoyed it and is looking forward to the next episode. 4 ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Shadow of Troy

(Empires of Bronze #5)

by Gordon Doherty

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The war at Troy has raged for ten years. Its final throes will echo through eternity…

1258 BC: Surrounded and outnumbered by the army of Agamemnon, King Priam and his Trojan forces fight desperately to defend their city. In the lulls between battle, all talk inevitably turns to the mighty ally that has not yet arrived to their aid. Agamemnon will weep for mercy, the Trojans say, when the eastern horizons darken with the endless ranks of the Hittite Empire.

King Hattu has endured a miserable time since claiming the Hittite throne. Vassals distance themselves while rival empires circle, mocking him as an illegitimate king. Worst of all, the army of the Hittites is but a memory, destroyed in the civil war that won him the throne. Knowing that he must honour his empire’s oath to protect Troy, he sets off for Priam’s city with almost nothing, praying that the dreams he has endured since his youth – of Troy in ruins – can be thwarted. All the way, an ancient mantra rings in his head: Hittites should always heed their dreams


Now that, my fellow mavens of Hittite tales, is one sprawling, exquisite telling of the last part of the Trojan War. Like Mardukal the Assyrian is a master craftsman of terrifyingly destructive city breaking weapons, Gordon Doherty is a master craftsman bringing the Homeric tale to a deliciously satisfying Hittite point of view. The characters jump off the page as befits these Bronze Age heroes. All the warts and foibles are exposed, all of the internal squabbles are portrayed, all of the frustrations and anger, the agonizing despair of both sides make this story a page turning delight. I’ve been enthralled by this series, the incredible ability to bring the Hittites to life in such a realistic fashion has been eye-opening as well as entertaining. For those of you who might be reading this, but have not read the books in this series, do your heart and mind a big favor, read The Empires of Bronze tales. 5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


by Robert Southworth


The darkness is spreading. A malevolent presence invades the hearts and minds of both gods and men. Whispers of power and wealth will turn brother against brother, friend into foe.

Agamemnon and Menelaus stepped through the burning remnants that was once their home. They wanted to fight, stand in defiance against the usurper, Thyestes. But Pallas, trusted friend of the king, had been given orders. He must take the princes beyond the reach of Thyestes. A dangerous journey will be undertaken. They must flee, but do they leave the misfortune within the scorched remains of Mycenae, or do they carry that torment to other lands?

And so, it begins…


When I was in college, lo those many decades ago, I pursued a major in Classical Civilization; i.e. Ancient Greece and Rome. One of the classes was on Greek Mythology, and I was entranced by the antics of the gods, but with this tale of the god’s, the author has more than renewed my interest. Not only do we get the the whole Atreus family feud – three very well developed, interesting fellows are Menelaus, Agamemnon, and their usurper uncle Thyestes. But we are also spectators to a feud between the gods. Nothing like a bunch of minor deities, being led by a god called Thanatos (that’s death in Greek btw), who has among his many gifts and powers, the power to persuade, hoping to overthrow the Olympian tyrants. But wait, there’s more…Centaurs waging war…Centaurs falling in love… This is a tale within a tale as we watch the Mycenae/Sparta connection grow, while the Olympians strive to discern the trouble brewing in their ranks. I am looking forward to seeing the battles commence as the series progresses. Hot-headed Agamemnon dares you to read this story…Level-headed Menelaus agrees but with a little more peaceful attitude. 5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Black Bottom: The Measure Of Man

by Theo Czuk

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 The Black Bottom: The Black Bottom was a neighborhood that served as ground zero for Detroit’s contribution to jazz. Every major industrialized city had them. The speakeasies, the blind pigs, the honky-tonks that were the testing grounds and launching pad of America’s greatest of art form; jazz. It was in these back-alley, late night gathering holes that musicians banded for the voyaging of jazz while it was vaudeville that dispersed the craze across America. This was jazz in its adolescence. The raw, untamed, devil-may-care youth of jazz. The title, The Black Bottom, harkens back to an earlier time in Detroit’s history when the city was an agricultural community and this low basin was legendary for its rich, black soil. There is poetic beauty to this area transitioning from the cultivation of agriculture to the cultivation of music-culture. Today the neighborhood of The Black Bottom is buried under thousands of tons I 375 freeway. But the voices of the people entombed there, and the music they generated, call out from beneath the stone. THE BLACK BOTTOM: The Measure Of Man is what they have to say.About the novel: THE BLACK BOTTOM, The Measure of Man, is a Novel Noir psychological thriller set in the roar of a 1927 Detroit. In the America of the 1920’s, jazz was smack dab in its formative years, distending the edges of the musical landscape. Kaleb Kierka is a man without memory. Locked in the grip of amnesia as a result of a violent beating, he must quickly learn his history or become a victim to it. Kaleb’s narration unfolds of a young man who is at once an owner of an underground speakeasy, a Purple Gang affiliate, and a piano player in the seedier speakeasies of Detroit. Kaleb will need to recover his history quickly if he is to have any hope of avoiding his demise. The narration follows Kaleb as he negotiates the roar of the 20s. But time is short for Kaleb to recover his memory as violence follows him like a dark shadow; a silhouetted memory of a violent chronicle. Jazz, amnesia, the Roaring Twenties, prohibition, gang wars, union wars and 1927 Detroit are all explored in this psychological thriller.


I grew up in Detroit, though in the 50’s & 60’s, so was very interested in this book because of the history of my hometown. I was also drawn to it by the simple fact that I know the author. I haven’t seen him in 40+ years, since the time we shared a flat with another friend on the east side of Detroit. I knew Theo as Ted, and we shared a lot of good times, including watching him grow as a musician. He has since expanded upon his creativity to include authoring this fabulous look at 1927 Detroit, a Detroit that is dynamic, a Detroit that is on the cutting edge of industry, a Detroit that is the conduit for much of the illegal alcohol brought into the States during Prohibition. Not only does the author paint a picture of that city and that time, he has sculpted a portrait of a man lost to himself struggling to find who he is. The use of Blue the psychoanalyzing feline, rhapsodizing the plight of mankind to the tune of a mournful, deep throated Sax, as Kaleb pieces his life together, is a highlight of the tale. However, the search for identity is dovetailed nicely into a page turning thrilling crime/mystery. It was also very easy to fall in love with the characters, even the heavies of The Rubble. For some it was an agonizing hope that life would improve, for others it was a sort of identification with the young boys and their bonding together.

While I never had the chance to trod the Black Bottom streets, as it was during my time that it was plowed under for I-375….though I once got a jaywalking ticket as me and some friends crossed over the, as yet unopened, freeway on our way to Tiger Stadium. So, perhaps I did walk over the spot where Kaleb’s speakeasy lived and breathed the sounds of jazz. 5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐