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 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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⭐⭐⭐⭐

Shield of the Rising Sun

(Path of Nemesis #3)

by Adam Lofthouse

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War still rages at the edge of empire while centurion Albinus Silus fights at its beating heart.

Gone is the boy who joined the legions. What remains is a man torn apart by the savagery of battle, the heartache of lost love.

He does not know what became of his wife, and now he must balance being both a soldier and a father.

And yet, for all his pain, he shall have to endure more than he ever thought he could. His valour in the northern wars has not gone unnoticed, and now he is to be given a special mission.

Marcus Aurelius’ star falls with his health. One day the sun will rise on his successor and son, Commodus. But he must be ready, must know what it is to lead. Centurion Albinus has been chosen to educate him.

From Pannonia to Rome, to the far reaches of the east, Albinus must protect Commodus from enemies both inside the empire and out.

Can he keep the Caesar safe? Can he nurture him, teach him what it is to be a man? Can he be The Shield of the Rising Sun?

REVIEW

Just as the we’ve seen the main character grow from a boy in The Centurion’s Son, into a man in War in the Wilderness, and into the mature leader of men in this the third book, Shield of the Rising Sun, now we are also witnessing the growth of an author. This tale is a veritable thrill ride interspersed with the angst, frustration, and emotional toll of a father and son seeking to be at peace with themselves while their world shatters with rebellion, forcing some difficult decisions for all involved.

One aspect of the story that I really enjoyed was the character of Calvus – both as a boon companion to Albinus, and as mentor/protector of Faustus. It is through his eyes that we see the tale unfold as he tells Faustus about his father. It is his voice that compels the reader to turn the page, that draws the reader in, leading us to the inevitable climax – to the end of a remarkable series. Of that I will say naught – you, my fellow readers will have to discover that on your own time. 5⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Emperor’s Axe

(Imperial Assassin #3)

by Alex Gough

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The fate of Rome, and thousands of lives, rests on the shoulders of one man.

After murdering his brother, and taking the position of Emperor for himself, Caracalla orders a brutal purge of the supporters of Geta.

Meanwhile, Caracalla’s ally Marcellus, along with his family, is captured by Syrian warriors. They wish to use his son, Avitus, as a puppet emperor to affirm a new Eastern Empire.

Caracalla orders Silus to track down and rescue Avitus, rumoured to be Caracalla’s child. As Rome buckles beneath the weight of internal slaughter and external threat, only Silus stands in the way of death and destruction on an incomparable scale.

REVIEW

Another gritty tale … more unpleasant duties … though with some increased soul searching. Indeed, the character development in this edition has been taken to a new level. Silus is still a brutal killer when tasked to do the Emperor’s bidding, but he is now a bit more lenient when the duty goes beyond what he considers unnecessary cruelty. Couple this with Atius’ growing faith in Christos, and you have a drama filled tale full of irony, and religious fervor.

Yes, my fellow readers, the third installment is an entertaining, page turning entry into a very well done series. 5⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

About the author:

Vet living in the southwest of England. Avid reader of multiple genres, including thriller, sci-fi and fantasy, but particularly interested in historical fiction. Author of Roman historical fiction, and owner of the romanfiction.com blog.

Pagan Warrior – Gods and Kings Book 1 by MJ Porter

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Before England, Scotland and Wales formed, a disparate set of kingdoms stretched their way across the British Isles, expanding and compressing with the personalities and successes of their warrior kings, more war-leaders, and more often than not, owing allegiance to one overlord, one over mighty king exacting tribute from whomever he could, punishing those who failed to tithe with bloody means.
The year is 632 and the great Edwin of Northumbria, bretwalda over England, must battle against an alliance of the old Britons under his foster-brother Cadwallon of Gwynedd, aided by Penda of Mercia, a brutal young war leader gaining in strength and reputation.
Who will ally with whom? Who will play false to their Lord? Who will turn their back on their own family? The ebb and flow of battle will once more redraw the lines of the petty kingdoms stretching across the British Isles.
There will be a victor and a bloody loser and kings will rise from the ashes of a great battle.

REVIEW

Oh bollocks and damnation! I knew going in that if I read Pagan Warrior and enjoyed it, that I’d have to read the rest of the series. Oh by the glare of one-eyed Odin, just what I need; more books added to my ‘to be read’ pile. 🤷‍♂️ Yes, my fellow readers, I did enjoy it. How could I not? The author has crafted the kind of tale that is not only an entertaining yarn, but also one that enlightens as well. This period of Britain’s long history is ripe with potential material. There is enough fodder for the creative writer to enhance the sparse historical record; something the author has done very well indeed. The main characters are written in first person – a great way to get each one’s thoughts and emotions about the same event or meeting. Throughout the build up to the climatic battle, the author weaves a tortuous path of switching allegiances, and surprising twists, making for some tense moments that compel the reader to keep turning the pages. A fictional feast fit for serving in Edwin’s hall. Come on in and enjoy the telling.

So, it appears that I have no choice but to add the next volumes to my TBR. Please check in with me occasionally to make sure I haven’t been buried by an avalanche.😊 5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Crescent and the Cross (Knights Templar #5) by S.J.A. Turney

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An epic battle of the Reconquista; a personal struggle to survive; a fight for glory.

War is brewing, and the Pope has summoned a crusade. The nations of Christendom are rallying to fight the Almohad caliphate, but they are a formidable foe.

Meanwhile, behind Moorish lines, a fortress held by Castile is under siege. As the siege falls, a knight is lost. Arnau leaves on a dangerous, near-suicidal quest to save him, a new squire in tow.

In the heat of the sierras though, things are not as they seem. War is coming to Iberia and all will be tested. Arnau’s sword arm will need practice, as will his mind.

REVIEW

You would think that after the number of books that I have read by SJA Turney, that I would have an idea of what to expect; that it would be unusual for me to be surprised by what transpires on his written pages. That does hold true for The Crescent and the Cross, for the most part – the trademark Turney touches of placing the reader in the footsteps of his characters traversing terra incognito painstakingly described – action that delivers sights, sounds and the smells of the brutality of battle – inducing audible gasps at surprise twists in the plot…and so on. However, I cannot shirk my duty as a humble, yet perceptive, scribbler of reviews. I am filing a complaint with the TEToFC (The Ethical Treatment of Fictional Characters) for the sheer scope of  physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual agony imposed upon Brother Arnau de Valbona throughout the narrative which in turn drags the poor reader into the trauma, causing accelerated heart rates, shrieking, and lack of sleep. Yes, my fellow readers, Mr. Turney has done it again. Oh, by the way, he leaves us hanging at the end…a not so subtle ploy to pull us into the next volume in the series. Hah…it won’t work on me, I would buy it anyway.😊 Five ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐