His Last Witch Hunt by Deborah C. Foulkes

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An intriguing tale that takes place during the English Civil War about The Witch Finder General, Matthew Hopkins.  The village of Hopton is shaken by a death and witchcraft is suspected as the cause.  Matthew and his crew find themselves embroiled in a very confusing situation compounded by many factors that make this case very difficult for all involved.  The author does a fine job in rendering the hysteria, the fear and the hatred that the villagers feel towards the accused.  The characters are portrayed in a way that takes the reader into the mindset of this unfortunate time period of inquisition and religious fanaticism.  The story starts out to be a straight forward example of a superstitious accusation but the author entwines other human frailties and emotions  into the mix making for entertaining plot twists.  This is certainly a page turning delight to read.  4.3 stars

Scars from the Past by Derek Birks

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Having enjoyed the author’s previous series about the Elder family, I was happy to find out that a new set of books featuring the Elders was being written.  I knew it would involve many new names and faces but was sure that the circumstances would be full of drama and intrigue and I was not mistaken or disappointed.  An imaginative tale with a relentless stream of action culminating in…well let’s just say the ending is full of surprises.  One of the characters who was an instrumental figure in the Feud books, and one of my favorite fictional characters, makes her presence known.  I am speaking of Eleanor Elder, a woman of many talents and one who will not be vanquished no matter how much is thrown at her, though her meddling does meet with some unexpected and most dire results.  A very satisfying new entry for Mr. Birks and a worthy successor to his Feud series, as he leads the reader into the lives of Ned Elder’s family; a family that just can’t seem to stay out of trouble.  4.3 stars and a hearty shout, “Long Live Eleanor”  🙂

Kin of Cain by Matthew Harffy

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First let me say thanks to the author and the fine folks at Aria for including this poor, humble scribe with the illustrious group of reviewers on this Blog Tour.  Since I am leading off this tour, I reckon it’s appropriate for me to announce, “Welcome, and now, on with the show.”

More Dark Age tale telling from the author of The Serpent Sword.  This time he weaves a story that is well known but puts his own twist on it, and in a manner that is both entertaining and foreshadowing.  The main character in this tale is the older brother of Beobrand, the hero of Matthew Harffy’s excellent Bernicia Chronicles series.  Octa becomes part of the group of warriors chosen to ferret out and kill a night stalking monster wreaking havoc among the common folk.  As he has done in the full length  tales, Mr. Harffy brings to vivid life the ethos of a dark age warrior; the fealty owed when oathsworn, the bonding between fellow sword brothers, the ale hall boasting.  The quest to find the monster is emotion and action packed.  A boggy, misty, fen land can play with a man’s mind, so too can facing the limits of one’s endurance in a very trying situation.  Unrelenting drama unfolds as the warriors close in on their quarry and not a few surprises make their task that much more interesting.  I enjoyed learning a little about Beobrand’s big brother and the sword that plays such a large part in his tale. 4.7 stars and a Hoover Book Review’s coveted “Job well done” acclamation.  🙂

 

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Blurb:

AD 630. Anglo-Saxon Britain. A gripping, action-packed historical tale set in the world of The Bernicia Chronicles. Perfect for fans of Bernard Cornwell.

Winter grips the land in its icy fist. Terror stalks the hills, moors and marshes of Bernicia. Livestock and men have been found ripped asunder, their bones gnawed, flesh gorged upon. People cower in their halls in fear of the monster that prowls the night.

King Edwin sends his champions, Bassus, Octa and band of trusted thegns, to hunt down the beast and to rid his people of this evil.

Bassus leads the warriors into the chill wastes of the northern winter, and they soon question whether they are the hunters or the prey. Death follows them as they head deeper into the ice-rimed marshes, and there is ever only one ending for the mission: a welter of blood that will sow the seeds of a tale that will echo down through the ages.

 

Author info:

 

Matthew grew up in Northumberland where the rugged terrain, ruined castles and rocky coastline had a huge impact on him He now lives in Wiltshire, England, with his wife and their two daughters.

 

 

Pre-order links

 

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2lqNXhW

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2lr4mTa

iBooks: http://apple.co/2kRcU2r

Google Play: http://bit.ly/2kxbbDm

 

 

Follow Matthew

 

Website: www.matthewharffy.com

Twitter: @MatthewHarffy

Facebook: MatthewHarffyAuthor

 

 

Follow Aria

 

Website: www.ariafiction.com

Facebook: @ariafiction

Twitter: @aria_fiction

Instagram: @ariafiction

NetGalley: http://bit.ly/2lkKB0e

Sign up to the Aria newsletter: http://bit.ly/2jQxVtV

 

 

Rosa by Jeanette Taylor Ford

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Every once in a while I am drawn out of my cocoon, the comfort zone of my favorite reading genres.  In this case I was asked by the author to give Rosa a try despite it being a modern day mystery/romance tale…far from the ancient times, places and subject matter I usually frequent.  Rosa certainly got my attention right away as the story sort of begins at the end giving the reader a kind of heads up that there may be opportunities to try and guess what’s going to happen next.  However, the author doesn’t make it easy to guess correctly as she provides many clues, twists and turns to keep the reader turning the pages.  The characters are well thought out as are the descriptive portions of the narrative as the reader follows Rosa around the estate and surrounding countryside.  I won’t go into spoiler mode about the eventual solving of the mysterious goings on at the manor…suffice to say that it caught me by surprise having formed a different outcome in my own mind as I read the tale.  I guess it is okay to step outside one’s normal habits and try something different on occasion.  4 stars

The Ides by Peter Tonkin

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The Ides of Mars is fast approaching and there are evil portents aplenty warning Gaius Julius Caesar to beware of the day.  As is well known, Caesar did not heed the warnings; his violent death ushering in another period of Roman civil war and the rise of emperors.  In The Ides the reader experiences a different take on this history shaking event as we follow the story through the eyes and actions of a cadre of agents who seek to protect Caesar from those who would do him harm.  The tale is replete with wonderful characters, a story line that is filled with surprises, and a detailed view of the city of Rome and it’s varied citizenry from lowly plebs and former soldiers to the aristocrats who vie for power during the unsettling aftermath.  I read a lot of Roman historical fiction and this rendering of those climatic days rates up there with then best of them and I’m looking forward to the sequel.  4.3 stars

Vita Brevis by Ruth Downie

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When I was asked if I would read – review Vita Brevis, the latest in Ruth Downie’s Medicus series, I was more than happy to comply.  When it was mentioned that I would be part of a Blog Tour to promote Vita Brevis, I thought, great, more exposure for this humble but enlightening book review blog.  When I found out who was also on this tour, I almost fainted.  I am in the company of the elite.  To use baseball terminology, it’s like I’m a September call-up to a team of the Major League’s heaviest hitters.  Well, no matter, I’ll put on my big boy pants and do my best….perhaps I’ll offer sacrifices to my Muse for extra guidance.  🙂

I’ve read my share of Roman whodunit books; Lindsey Davis (Falco) -Steven Saylor (Gordianus) – David Wishart (Corvinus) – JM Roberts (Decius) and of course Ruth Downie and her medical sleuth, Ruso.  What I like about these various characters is that while there are many similarities among them, foremost is the fact that they are doing detective work, there are enough differences in time, place and social station for the authors to compose unique mystery situations.  Thus we find Ruso and Tilla in Rome.  What’s so unique about that you may ask?  Well, having spent the last few years in Britannia as a Medical Officer in the 20th Legion and used to managing hospitals, clinics and dealing with the aftermath of battles, Ruso now faces a private practice that is anything but manageable.  A missing doctor, an unlooked for delivery, nosy and mean neighbors, overbearing landlords, an outlaw religious sect holding prayer meetings in the apartment above you and the general hustle and bustle that is Rome; these are just some of the things that Ruso and Tilla have to deal with.  Setting up a new practice is hard enough without being tasked with locating the missing doctor, nor does the mysterious death of an important person make it any easier. In a thoroughly entertaining way the author spreads clues and subtle hints and leads the reader down many trails to the truth.  Witty, poignant, charming, hopeful and riddled with doubt are some of the traits that permeate the narrative.  Through it all, the city of Rome is in the background; street corner charlatans, irritable crowds, bakery smells, slave auctions; all providing the perfect touches to a page turning delight.    5 stars and the highly sought after Hoover Book Reviews highest recommendation.  🙂

 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Vita-Brevis-Crime-Empire-Medicus/dp/1620409585/ref=tmm_hrd_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr

 

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 Vita BREVIS
A Gaius Ruso Mystery
By Ruth Downie
22nd September 2016
hardback – £16.99
Bringing both the majesty and depravity of ancient Rome to life, Ruth Downie concocts
a delicious mix of crime novel, mystery, and history lesson in the latest novel in her
bestselling Medicus series, VITA BREVIS.
“Downie writes with her usual humor and depth . . . Perfect for fans
of the Falco novels by Lindsey Davis, this entertaining New York
Times best-selling series and its endearing characters deserve as
long a run” —Booklist
“A deftly crafted and consistently compelling read from beginning
to end, ‘Vita Brevis’ clearly establishes author Ruth Downie as a
consummate and accomplished master of historical crime fiction” —
Midwest Book Review
Ruso and Tilla’s excitement at arriving in Rome with their baby daughter is soon dulled by
their discovery that the grand facades of polished marble mask an underworld of corrupt
landlords and vermin-infested tenements.
Ruso finds that his predecessor Doctor Kleitos has fled, leaving a dead man in a barrel on
the doorstep with the warning, ‘Be careful who you trust’. Distracted, Ruso makes a grave
mistake, causing him to question his own competence and integrity.
With Ruso’s reputation under threat, he and Tilla must protect their small family by tracking
down the vanished doctor – and discovering the truth behind the man in the barrel.
VITA BREVIS is brimming with humor, clever plot twists, and evocative historical details, as
Ruth Downie follows her beloved characters in their next adventure.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ruth Downie is the author of the New York Times bestselling Medicus, as well as Terra
Incognita, Persona Non Grata, Caveat Emptor, Semper Fidelis, and Tabula Rasa. She is
married with two sons and lives in Devon.
Follow her at ruthdownie.com and on Twitter @ruthsdownie.
Praise for VITA BREVIS
“Masterfully draws out its suspense, painting a vivid portrait of ancient Rome that
feels persuasive and authentic”
—Kirkus Reviews
“Downie’s plotting is as engaging as ever… much more than a mystery novel”
—Historical Novel Society
“Reading ‘Vita Brevis’ felt like catching up with old friends”
—Italophile Book Reviews
Praise for ruth downie and the medicus series
“Attention to day-in-the-life period details, judiciously doled-out twists, and dry
British humor . . . One hell of a toga party” —Entertainment Weekly
“Wonderfully entertaining” —Newsweek
“Places Downie alongside such established masters of the Roman historical as
Steven Saylor and Rosemary Rowe” —Publishers Weekly
“Ruso rocks. Let’s hear it for those Romans” —Kirkus Reviews
“Downie’s attention to detail—both historical detail and human detail—makes this
series a joy to read for the mystery lover, the classics fan, or anyone seeking more
character-driven genre fiction” — Historical Novel Society
Ruth Downie is available for interview and feature writing.
For more information please contact:
Joseph Thomas
joseph.thomas@bloomsbury.com – 020 7631 5863

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Enterprise of England by Ann Swinfen

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Against the backdrop of Spain’s designs to conquer England, Kit Alvarez is once again called upon to assist Queen Elizabeth’s spymaster, Sir Francis Walsingham.  The Spanish are building an enormous navy and are positioning troops across the channel in The Netherlands.  A mission to Amsterdam to gather intelligence for Sir Francis finds Kit becoming ever more resourceful in this rather new and dangerous occupation.  Kit’s main occupation as a healer is also wonderfully depicted, from the everyday ills to the horrors of war made injuries, the author’s research shines through.  What I find so intriguing is the ability of the author to reel me into the story in such a way that any interruption of my reading is met with much wailing and gnashing of teeth on my part.  Another intriguing facet is that Kit’s two life secrets remain intact, although one of them may be known to someone…someone with a lot of power.  4.7 stars   Oh yeah, I see a pattern developing as this second book in the series ends like the first; with a tantalizing last sentence.  🙂