Breaking the Foals by Maximilian Hawker

 

 

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Breaking The Foals by Maximilian Hawker

  • Paperback:272 pages
  • Publisher:Unbound Digital (26 April 2018)
  • Language:English
  • ISBN-10:1911586726
  • ISBN-13:978-1911586722 

Amazon UK : https://www.amazon.co.uk/Breaking-Foals-Maximilian-Hawker/dp/1911586726/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1523387592&sr=1-1  

BLURB: The Troy of myth was a real city and it was called Wilusa. This is its story… Hektor’s life of privilege is forever changed when a man, allegedly possessed by the sun god, inspires revolution among the oppressed people of Wilusa. For Hektor, son of the city’s despotic ruler, social equality contradicts every principle he has been taught. And his obsession with duty is alienating him from his own young son, Hapi, with whom he has a fractured relationship. But when Hapi’s life is threatened, Hektor is compelled to question his every belief as he rebuilds his relationship with his child through the breaking of a foal. As Wilusa collapses into political violence and the commoners rise up, Hektor must finally decide whether to defend the people and lose his identity, or remain loyal to his irrational, dangerous father.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Maximilian Hawker is a 30-year-old writer who lives in Croydon, South London, with his wife and two daughters. He is author of the novel Breaking the Foals, due to be published with Unbound in March 2018. An alumnus of Kingston University, he has a postgraduate degree in English Literature and has worked in education, editorial and design. Currently, he works in frontline children’s social care for Croydon Council, providing a service for care leavers and also runs a YouTube channel for looked after children and care leavers called formeR Relevant, which he aims to eventually promote at a national level. He has had poetry and short stories – occasionally nominated for awards – appear in publications run by Dog Horn Publishing, Kingston University Press, Arachne Press and Rebel Poetry, among others. He also aims to see the word ‘asparagi’ added to the English Dictionary, as its absence troubles him

 

Twitter @MaxHawker

Website:  http://www.maximilianhawker.com/

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My Review:

I don’t remember exactly what triggered my interest as a teenager about Troy, but I do remember checking Schliemann’s book on his Trojan excavations out of the Monteith Branch of the Detroit Public Library.  Thus began my lifelong affair with ancient times. When I entered Wayne State University a few years later, I chose Classical Civilization as my area of study and immersed myself in the mythologies and histories of ancient Greece and Rome, including Homer’s Iliad. Since then I’ve read more than a few historical fiction tales of The Trojan War, e.g. Hand of Fire by Judith Starkson, the Odysseus series by Glyn Iliffe, the Ilium and Olympos duo by Dan Simmons. The one common factor in all of them is that they all see the tale from different perspectives; a trait they share with Breaking the Foals.  This tale brings to life a Troy that existed prior to the city of Homer. Indeed it is one school of thought that Homer’s Iliad was based on a series of events that happened in this corner of Asia. Wilusa was a Bronze Age vassal to the Hittite Empire at the time of this Priam and Hektor; albeit the more powerful of the various cities in the region. The author has pieced together a marvelous tale integrating the time and tenor of Bronze Age Asia Minor with elements of Homer; elements that are presented in a manner to make them less mythological and more historical.  The plot develops around Hektor, the dutiful son and right hand man of Priam, the representative of the Sun God on Earth, and the growing discontent of the populace of the lower town with the “deserving” in the upper town.  Hektor finds himself torn about his duties especially as his son, Hapi, is not one of the “deserving” being born to a prostitute mother. The tense atmosphere with the lower town subjects, plus a rather unfortunate set of events; earthquake, a rather unhappy neighboring city, and the general feeling that Priam has lost the favor of the gods lead to an exciting climatic conclusion.  The reader is presented with believable characters, wonderful descriptions, and an entertaining telling of a story that is at once familiar yet different enough to rouse the historically curious.

5 stars.

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A Sea of Sorrow by by David Blixt, Amalia Carosella, Libbie Hawker, Scott Oden, Vicky Alvear Shecter, Russell Whitfield, Gary Corby (Introduction)

 

 

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One might ask, ‘why another book about Troy; another book about Odysseus?’  Well, in answer to that question, I would say, ‘because of the variety of ways the story can be told.’  In A Sea of Sorrow we have that variety – here are told the tales of Odysseus without the elements of mythical monsters or capricious gods and goddesses; not that the monsters and gods are missing from the stories but are only in the minds and beliefs of the participants of the tale.  So, we find Polyphemus, not as a man eating ogre, but as a wronged shepherd; someone we can find pity for.  The same holds true for Circe, the Sirens and Calypso; their stories too, shed the supernatural causes and bring the reader into the depths of the suffering experienced at the hands of the Hero of Troy. The authors present the events of Homer in a manner that not only renders them more believable; more human, but they also wondrously elicit the emotions and anguish of each tale, breathing even more life into the well known mythic version.  In each of the stories, I found something new, a tidbit of information; an idea or thought, enhancing the entertainment. Another well done collaboration by the H-Team.  4.3 stars

 

About the Authors

Amalia Carosella graduated from the University of North Dakota with a bachelors degree in Classical Studies and English. An avid reader and former bookseller, she writes about old heroes and older gods. She lives with her husband in upstate New York and dreams of the day she will own goats (and maybe even a horse, too). Amalia’s novels include Tamer of Horses, Helen of Sparta, By Helen’s Hand, and Daughter of a Thousand Years.

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David Blixt‘s work is consistently described as “intricate,” “taut,” and “breathtaking.” A writer of Historical Fiction, his novels span the early Roman Empire (the COLOSSUS series, his play EVE OF IDES) to early Renaissance Italy (the STAR-CROSS’D series) up through the Elizabethan era (his delightful espionage comedy HER MAJESTY’S WILL, starring Will Shakespeare and Kit Marlowe as inept spies). His novels combine a love of the theatre with a deep respect for the quirks and passions of history.

Living in Chicago with his wife and two children, he describes himself as “actor, author, father, husband. In reverse order.”

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Libbie Hawker writes historical and literary fiction featuring complex characters and rich details of time and place. Libbie’s recent novels include Daughter of Sand and Stone, Mercer Girls, A Song of War, White Lotus and Persian Rose.

She lives in the San Juan Islands of Washington State.

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Russell Whitfield was born in Shepherds Bush in 1971. An only child, he was raised in Hounslow, West London, but has since escaped to Ham in Surrey.

Gladiatrix was Russ’s first novel, published in 2008 by Myrmidon Books. The sequel, Roma Victrix, continues the adventures Lysandra, the Spartan gladiatrix, and a third book, Imperatrix, sees Lysandra stepping out of the arena and onto the field of battle.

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Scott Oden was born in Indiana, but has spent most of his life shuffling between his home in rural North Alabama, a Hobbit hole in Middle-earth, and some sketchy tavern in the Hyborian Age. He is an avid reader of fantasy and ancient history, a collector of swords, and a player of tabletop role-playing games. When not writing, he can be found walking his two dogs or doting over his lovely wife, Shannon.

Oden’s previous works include the historical fantasy, The Lion of Cairo, and two historical novels, Men of Bronze and Memnon. He is currently working on his next novel.

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Vicky Alvear Shecter is the author of multiple books set in the ancient world, including the YA novels, CLEOPATRA’S MOON, based on the life of Cleopatra’s only daughter, and CURSES AND SMOKE: A NOVEL OF POMPEII and the adult historical collaborations, A SONG OF WAR, A YEAR OF RAVENS, and A DAY OF FIRE. She has written a mid-grade series on mythology (ANUBIS SPEAKS, HADES SPEAKS, and THOR SPEAKS) as well as two award-winning biographies for kids. She a She is a docent at the Michael C. Carlos Museum of Antiquities at Emory University in Atlanta.

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Buy Links

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble | Chapters

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour we will be giving away a paperback copy of A Sea of Sorrow: A Novel of Odysseus! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on November 17th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to residents in the US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

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Return to Ithaca by Glyn Iliffe

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It is with a great sadness that I say goodbye to Odysseus and company (for the time being).  This epic series, so brilliantly conceived and written, has come to it’s conclusion.  Throughout my life of reading I have periodically gone back and reread a book or a series of books.  This practice has been decidedly put on hold the last few years as my humble book reviewing blog has garnered the attention of many authors who now ask me to read and review their work.  That coupled with my own novel writing has put a crimp in going back to reread any of my favorites.  The Adventures of Odysseus series may change that.  Whether it is because ancient Greek history was my first love or because the author has written some damned good books, I will be rereading this series.

The story of Odysseus comes to a close as he returns to Ithaca to reclaim his home, his throne and his family.  The emotional roller coaster ride the main characters experience is the highlight of this volume.  Odysseus, Eperitus, Telemachus and Penelope go through the gamut of doubt and fear; hope and happiness as they battle the scheming suitors for the right to rule.  The story is well known and it is a credit to the author for taking it and making it his own, giving the reader a fresh look at this ancient tale.  5 stars

A Song of War by Christian Cameron,Libbie Hawker,Kate Quinn,Vicky Alvear Shecter,Stephanie Thorton,SJA Turney&Russell Whitfield

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Sing to me oh Muse of black hulled ships full of prideful, hubristic, greedy Achaean’s and the prideful, hubristic, ill-fated Trojans.  In this collaborative novel of the Trojan War, the authors have produced a most entertaining version of the well known tale; giving voice to not only the principles involved (Helen, Paris, Hector, Achilles, etc, etc) but to some of the lesser known but still important characters (Hellenus, Cassandra, Philoctetes, etc, etc).  The authors also give some refreshing insight into the mindsets of the protagonists they were responsible for.  I had to laugh as I read Russell Whitfield’s author’s note as he hoped that some would find his Agamemnon to be pitied rather than reviled.  I laughed because after I read his chapter, I made a note stating that Whitfield almost had me feeling sorry for the bastard.  🙂   The H Team, as they call themselves, have combined their talents once again to produce a story that is imaginative, entertaining and just plain good.  Everything ties together as the story unfolds from the “abduction” of Helen to the heart rending sack of Troy and the escape of Aeneas.  Seven songs from seven authors; seven songs that would make Homer and Virgil proud.  4.8 stars and the highly acclaimed Hoover Book Reviews “When will the next collaboration be written?” award.

Salamis by Christian Cameron

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The big, bad bully of the East is back and he has most of the world coming with him.  Not a good situation for the Greeks as Arimnestos continues the narrative of his life.  With Leonidas dead, Xerxes has an open road to Athens so most of the population abandon their homes and converge on Salamis to await their doom.  Xerxes has hundreds more ships than what the Greeks can muster, not to mention the size of his ground force.  The Greeks are riven with strife as to how to defeat The Great King or even to survive the onslaught to come.  The author has given us a treat in the manner he portrays the important figures in this drama, the prim and proper Aristides, Cimon, Artemesia, Themistocles, etc, etc.  And being an avid re-enactor, Mr. Cameron knows what it’s like to stand in a shield wall and I suspect that if his group had the funds, they would fit out enough warships to fight the battle at Salamis.  However, we’ll have to make do with the author’s seaworthy, descriptive powers  as he puts on a dazzling display of sea-battle prowess.  Another given is that Arimnestos will have a huge role in that battle but he will also have other things on his mind besides Xerxes.  Masterful story telling awaits you, dear reader.  Hoover Book Reviews says, “Bring on the finale!”  5 Stars

 

 

World on Fire – Spoils of Olympus II by Christian Kachel

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The Hand, a shadowy, secretive group of Alexander’s most loyal followers, are tasked with protecting and promoting Alexander’s son by Rhoxane.  A task that takes Andrikos across the breadth of the Great one’s crumbling empire.  Crumbling at the hands of Alexander’s generals, each of whom want the most territory, and who do not want Alexander IV to claim his father’s throne.  Filled with cunning plans, intrigue, danger and even love, the author has done a splendid job in book 2 of this series.  Andrikos has come a long way since he was recruited by Vettias and Mr. Kachel has developed his character nicely from the young man in search of himself to an accomplished practitioner of the ‘Dark Arts’ of spy-craft.  A thoroughly enjoyable read that leaves room for more in this story of an unsettled and dangerous time.  4 stars

The Great King by Christian Cameron

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In this volume of The Killer of Men series, Arimnestos continues the telling of his story to his thugater (daughter) and her friends; a story that has seen Arimnestos return to his beloved Plataea to rebuild his home and his life.  But, the killer of men was called upon to convey  Spartan envoys to Persia to meet and try to placate Xerxes, the mercurial King Of Kings.  Of course, as we all know from history, Xerxes was not placated, mollified, or deflected from his goal to annihilate the Greek mainland.   Once again, the author has taken the historical record and created a stunning account of the Greek resistance to the Persian juggernaut.  Exquisitely detailed, elegant use of language, and an intriguing glimpse at the political and cultural climate of the times make this tale a very enjoyable read.  Make no mistake, The Persians are coming even after the great battles of Artemesium.  Salamis is next.  4.7 stars