The King’s Beast: A Mystery of the American Revolution (Duncan McCallum #6) by Eliot Pattison

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When Duncan McCallum is asked by Benjamin Franklin to retrieve an astonishing cache of fossils from the Kentucky wilderness, his excitement as a naturalist blinds him to his treacherous path. But as murderers stalk him Duncan discovers that the fossils of this American incognitum are not nearly as mysterious as the political intrigue driving his mission. The Sons of Liberty insist, without explaining why, that the only way to keep the king from pursuing a bloody war with America is for Duncan to secretly deliver the fossils to Franklin in London.  His journey becomes a nightmare of deceit and violence as he seeks the cryptic link between the bones and the king. Every layer that Duncan peels away invites new treachery by those obsessed with crushing American dissent. With each attempt on his life, Duncan
questions the meaning of the liberty he and the Sons seek. His last desperate hope for survival, and the rescue of his aged native friend Conawago—imprisoned in Bedlam—requires the help of freed slaves, an aristocratic maiden, a band of street urchins, and the gods of his tribal allies.

REVIEW

A rousing tale of that politically turbulent period between The French & Indian War, and The Revolutionary War. Replete with characters who draw the reader into the drama; finely honed to reflect the time and place, full of the respective cultures they portray. The temerity of the British aristocracy; their seeming never ending condescending attitude to any colonial, even transplanted Englishmen, is on full display in this quest for dominance over anything that happens in the colonies. A secret mission for Ben Franklin sets Duncan on a emotionally charged road to unravel the mysteries thrust at him in often violent fashion. Loaded with the spiritual beliefs of the Native tribes, The King’s Beast is also a detailed and well researched lesson on the cultures which had survived centuries before being “discovered”, and the insurmountable odds against their continued existence.  Among the historical characters given life by the author, Franklin shines as a somewhat absent-minded, eccentric genius. His naivete is a refreshing look at a complicated man, though it does create more problems for Duncan to sort out. One of the main plots is the locating and rescuing the aged Nipmuc elder, Conawago. The difference in spiritual beliefs is highlighted in this quote from a young frontiersman, Daniel Boone, “”The tribes talk about the spirits in the trees and the gods in the forest.” Boone looked upward as he spoke, into the limbs of the aged tree. “I heard a preacher once tell a warrior friend of mine that such talk is sacrilege, that there’s no room in the Bible for such things. My friend said that’s because the men who wrote his Bible lived in the desert” It is this spiritual void that Conawago has become entrapped and provides a most thrilling escape – a fitting example of the page turning effect this book has on the reader. This was my first venture into the Duncan McCallum tales, it won’t be my last.

5⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Hunting Ground by Meghan Holloway

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Fifteen years ago, Hector Lewis’s wife and young daughter vanished without a trace. People have long thought he was responsible, but the man he knows is behind their disappearance still walks free. As a police officer, he is sworn to uphold the law. But he has seen how little justice there is in the world. And when a newcomer’s arrival sparks a harrowing series of crimes, Hector finds himself in a race to catch a man he is convinced is a killer.

Evelyn Hutto knows what it is to be prey. She moved west to start over. But the remote town of Raven’s Gap, Montana, is not as quiet and picturesque as it appears. The wild borderlands of Yellowstone National Park are home to more than one kind of predator. Women are going missing, and Evelyn’s position at the local museum unearths a collection of Native American art steeped in secrets. As she traces the threads of the past and the present, she finds them tied to one man.

Hector is a man obsessed with finding answers. Evelyn is a woman with secrets of her own. As winter whittles the land to bone and ice, the body count rises, and both become locked in a deadly game of cat and mouse with a dangerous man. A man who is as cunning as he is charismatic. A man whose new hunting season is only just beginning.

REVIEW

Psychological thrillers are not my usual choice for reading. Heck, that goes for movies as well…I remember a time when I was in my teens going to a double feature of Premature Burial and The Pit and the Pendulum. I didn’t even make it through the first film before I left the theater. 😱 However, based on how much I loved the author’s previous book, Once More Unto the Breach, I decided to dispense with my idiosyncratic character flaw and read Hunting Ground. It is, as the author mentioned to me, quite different from Breach, but there are similarities nonetheless. The characters are well crafted, realism in their demeanor’s, their responses to events, the motives behind their actions, all lead the reader into an intense, taut drama. Meticulously detailed descriptions, whether it is of a small Montana town, or the sprawling, winter bound wilderness of Yellowstone immerses the readers in the surroundings, in the chilling events. As the story unfolded, and more secrets emerged, more details came to light, the twists and turns of this page turning thriller had this reader/reviewer pausing to remember to breathe. Oh, yes my  peeps and fellow travelers on the reading road, this is a good one for sure. A psychological thriller that even the idiosyncratic flawed, like me, can enjoy.

5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Brothers and Kings: Episodes 1 – 3 (Conquistadors #1-3) by Dennis Santaniello

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Sardina, a young and idealistic Spanish soldier, accounts his violent and vicious past and his role in the Conquest of the Inca Empire. But when he meets a reluctant Inca King named Manco, he slowly realizes the truth of his hellish reality; a reality of power, greed, and madness.

Set in the dense jungles of 1530’s Peru, this story is about man’s struggle to find his place in a brutal yet mysterious world.

“CONQUISTADORS” is a book trilogy that explores the Spanish conquest of the New World from the years of 1527-1542. The genre is Historical Epic, and the storytelling is wide in scope with various characters and events unfolding within spans of years. The story is told from a truly dualistic point of view, from both perspectives of the Spanish and the Natives.

Each story in the trilogy depicts a different Spanish expedition, but in the end, this is Sardina’s story. We follow Sardina through the jungles of Peru, to the vast Arizona deserts, to the Mississippi River; seeing his transformation from a young idealistic soldier to harden veteran, and later to a self-realized individual.

Thematically, all stories are about the sacred vs. the profane, and each story follows a certain pattern: conquest, obsession, and madness. Other aspects are also explored: including religion, (of both the natives and the Spaniards), the realms of power, violence, cruelty, and the angst of those trying to find meaning.

REVIEW

While the depiction of the Pizzaro/Almagro expedition to enrich the Crown, and themselves, at the expense, and fate, of the Inca Empire in Peru provides the impetus to this fascinating tale, it is the introspection of the characters, especially Sardina, that glues the reader to the pages. The human frailty of power seeking greed is powerfully portrayed leaving open the very hearts and souls of the victims of that most hideous human frailty. The jungle, however, is loath to give up it’s secrets – the mythical/magical El Dorado – the price for the gold they crave is a high one indeed. A page turner awaits, my fellow readers.  4 ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Primitive Passions (The Boschloper Saga #1) by John M. Cahill

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When Sean O’Cathail deserted in New York Harbor in 1681, it was not to become a boschloper. He jumped ship to save his own skin. Getting into the fur trading business was just where he landed. As an Irish refuge hiding out in a Dutch colony now controlled by the English, Sean found he had a knack for diplomacy as he negotiated between the colonists and their Iroquois neighbors. This skill also helped with his love life, torn between courting a servant in town, while sleeping with an Indian lass when in the wilderness.

As the French and their Indian allies encroach ever farther into their territory. Sean’s diplomatric skills will be put to the test. Then, he learns more than a few pelts are at stake!

REVIEW

As an author who writes historical fiction of early America, I was fascinated with this truly enjoyable tale. Leading my interest is the author’s descriptions of the lives of the Iroquois tribes that made up The Five Nations. It is evident that Mr. Cahill has done his homework regarding the ‘savages’, but also in the telling of the nature of the fur trade and its impact on the colonies as well as England and France. A strong mix of history and historical characters with a plot line with surprises and believable fictional characters make Primitive Passions a definite pleasure to read. So, dear readers, take a journey to America’s beginnings, to a time when the beaver pelt trade made or broke men, and drove nations to war. 4 ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Prairie Grass by Joan Soggie

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Gabby Mackenzie knows little and cares less about prairie people or their history. She sees her assignment to interview a hundred-year-old settler as nothing more than a bump in her hazy career path.

But as she gets to know old Mr. Tollerud and the land that has been his home, she finds herself drawn into the interwoven stories of the settlers, the Metis, and the First Nations who came before them. And her own life changes.

Review: Residential school survivor and life-long educator Dr. Cecil King says of Prairie Grass “a dynamic piece of work … Yes, it is a good read.”

REVIEW

I read a lot of historical fiction most of which I seek out from a favorite cadre of authors. Sometimes, however, I get requests out of the blue from authors who have somehow stumbled upon my humble review blog. Joan Soggie is one of those, and her book Prairie Grass was a stunning surprise. It’s one of those books that not only entertained and educated me, it also touched my heart. I was intrigued by the subject matter – a look at the vast western prairies and how they have changed over the thousands of years they’ve been inhabited by a variety of flora, fauna, and men. It coincides to a good degree with my own writing about America’s past in terms of the treatment of the native tribes affected by an expanding nation. I particularly enjoyed the development of the protagonist, Gabby, as she is introduced to subject matter that reaches far beyond the mandate of her research project. The going back and forth between the stories of Eric and of Jean-Jacques captures the readers imagination; draws them into the ever changing landscape, the ever changing values. This was indeed time well spent – I will end with a quote from Gabby (one that mirrors my own thoughts) “I was angry. Angry at an educational system that taught us while maintaining our comfortable ignorance. Angry at my country that touted itself as being fair, open-minded and welcoming while denying most of us its true history. ”  I highly recommend Prairie Grass. 5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

About the author

Joan has lived in rural Saskatchewan most of her life. Politics and noisy machines and interruptions annoy her. And although her intentions are good, she gets sidetracked easily. She spends hours just watching swallows swoop or the clouds billow.
The prairie and all its creatures are her inspiration. Her family is her joy.
She and her husband Dennis enjoy travelling and treasure days with their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Prairie Grass is her second full length book. The first, Looking for Aiktow, tells stories of life along the Saskatchewan River over the past hundreds of years. Non-fiction or fiction, history and the land are recurring themes in her writing.

Kado: Lost Treasure of the Kadohadacho by E. Russell Braziel

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Eighteen-year-old Tom Murrell could never understand his father’s dreams of carving a new life out of the wilderness. He wanted to do something else with his life besides spend it behind a plow, but with the family moving to the Red River in Arkansaw Territory, he was stuck.
Everything changes for Tom when he witnesses the death of Tiatesun, spiritual leader of the Kadohadacho tribe, and is drawn into a raging conflict between the Kado and their arch enemies, a renegade band of Osage.
His new friends Mattie and James say there is no alternative. They must use a cryptic map, drawn in a bible by Tiatesun in his own blood before he died, to find this place called Na-Da-cah-ah. Only then can Tom be sure that his family and friends will be safe.
But it is a race against time—a race against Wey Chutta’s Osage. Dangers are everywhere. The only chance to save his family is for Tom, Mattie, and James to join with six Kado warriors, make sense from the many clues they uncover on their quest, and discover the real Na-Da-cah-ah.

REVIEW

When I was asked to review this book I was intrigued by a couple of things; namely the locale/time frame, and the native inhabitants of that locale/time frame. Both items were new reading territory for me; the Red River area of Arkansas and the Caddo Indians. The author has geared this exciting tale towards the Young Adult age group, a genre I don’t usually read, but I found it to be well written, well researched, and certainly a book that will not only entertain, but also educate. The characters are strong; they have to be given the uncertainty, and almost constant danger that comes with a frontier existence. Kado also gives the reader a glimpse of a centuries old culture coming to grips with the reality of a new age disruption of their traditions, and their very existence as a people. A page turning adventure awaits you.

4 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Wanders Far-An Unlikely Hero’s Journey by David Fitz-Gerald

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Wanders Far lived in dangerous times and was faced with one difficult challenge after another. He was a skinny, quiet boy who was raised on the banks of a tributary of New York State’s Mohawk River, hundreds of years before colonists arrived. One lifetime was not enough for Wanders Far’s old soul.

From a very young age, his wanderlust compelled him down one path after another. No village could contain him.

He was happy living a simple life in the physical world during challenging times. The spirit world had other plans.

A wise, enigmatic shaman mentored Wanders Far and helped him cultivate the supernatural visions that haunted him. His guide could only help him so far.

He set out to become a runner, carrying important messages across the lands of his people and their enemies. He ended up fulfilling a much greater destiny than he ever imagined.

REVIEW

The Iroquois Confederacy – comprised of the Mohawk, Onondaga, Oneida, Cayuga, and Seneca tribes was just one example of the sophisticated governments and societies practiced by these so-called savage peoples who had called the “New World” home for thousands of years. In Wanders Far the author has created an intriguing look at a time and place prior to the European ‘discovery’, and settlement. A coming of age tale of an enigmatic, and precocious boy, who plays an important role in the founding of the confederacy of the tribes, Wanders Far is also a well researched look at the cultures and history of the tribes living in what is now upstate New York. An enjoyable page turner, Wanders Far (the young man) takes the reader on his spiritual journey to discover the Path he must follow to fulfill his destiny.  4 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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About the Author

After a chaotic day as a business person, Dave enjoys getting lost in the settings he imagines and spending time with the characters he creates. Writing historical fiction is like making paintings of the past. He loves to weave fact and fiction together, stirring in action, adventure, romance, and a heavy dose of the supernatural with the hope of transporting the reader to another time and place. He is an Adirondack 46-er, which means he has hiked all of the highest peaks in New York State, so it should not be surprising when Dave attempts to glorify hikers as swashbuckling superheroes in his writing.

Wanders Far—An Unlikely Hero’s Journey is the first in a series of books in the Adirondack Spirit Series.

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Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, September 2
Review at Historical Fiction Reviews

Thursday, September 5
Review at Locks, Hooks and Books

Monday, September 9
Review at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Tuesday, September 10
Interview at Jathan & Heather

Monday, September 16
Review & Interview at Jorie Loves A Story

Friday, September 20
Feature at Coffee and Ink

Monday, September 23
Review at Nursebookie

Wednesday, September 25
Review & Excerpt at Just Another Reader

Friday, September 27
Review at Red Headed Book Lady

Monday, September 30
Excerpt at The Book Junkie Reads

Friday, October 4
Review at Gwendalyn’s Books

Wednesday, October 9
Excerpt at Maiden of the Pages

Monday, October 14
Guest Post at Passages to the Past

Thursday, October 17
Review at Chicks, Rogues and Scandals

Monday, October 21
Review at Jessica Belmont
Excerpt at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Saturday, October 26
Review at Reading is My Remedy

Monday, October 28
Feature at CelticLady’s Reviews

The Turncoat by T.J. London

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Twitter tags: @TJLondonauthor @hfvbt
Facebook tags: @ TJLondonauthor @hfvbt

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After Captain John Carlisle’s dance with death, he’s retreated to the serenity of the Oneida village with his beloved Dellis McKesson, trying to hide from the inevitable truth: war is coming. But when duty calls, and John’s expertise is needed to negotiate a treaty between the Six Nations of the Iroquois and the Crown, he’ll once again be faced with a decision: his King or his conscience.

Many truths that have yet to be revealed, and a deal with the Devil made in desperation, threatens to ruin Dellis and John’s hard-won love. As ghosts of the past resurface, and bitter family rivalry exposes betrayal from those closest to her, Dellis is dragged down a devastating path to the truth of her parents’ murders.

Now, the die is cast as war comes to the Mohawk River Valley in the Summer of 1777. St. Leger and his native allies siege Fort Stanwix. They’re also plotting a secret attack that will force the Rebels and the Oneida to face off against the Crown and their allies, further dividing John’s loyalties, leaving him on the precipice of another decision: Rebel or Redcoat?

AVAILABLE IN EBOOK AND PAPERBACK

REVIEW

As with the first two books in the series, The Turncoat grabs you by the uniform lapels, pulls you in, and like a Dellis & John embrace, you never want to let go. An intense tale with an abundance of intriguing plot strands, woven together in an intricate pattern culminating in an attention grabbing tapestry. I cannot begin to tell you, my peeps and fellow travelers, how impressive a tale this is. The drama is unrelenting…the characters are an amazing collection of warts and foibles…the history is presented in a way that subtly educates as it entertains. The entire series kindled an array of feelings…some loathing of the exquisite nastiness displayed…and an abundance of respect and admiration for Dellis and John, despite their warts and foibles.

5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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About the Author

T.J. London is a rebel, liberal, lover, fighter, diehard punk, and pharmacist-turned-author who loves history. As an author her goal is to fill in the gaps, writing stories about missing history, those little places that are so interesting yet sadly forgotten. Her favorite time periods to write in are first and foremost the American Revolutionary War, the French Revolution, the French and Indian War, the Russian Revolution and the Victorian Era. Her passions are traveling, writing, reading, barre, and sharing a glass of wine with her friends, while she collects experiences in this drama called life. She is a native of Metropolitan Detroit (but secretly dreams of being a Londoner) and resides there with her husband Fred and her beloved cat and writing partner Mickey.

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | GOODREADS

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away some fabulous prizes! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

1. A Signed copy of each of my Revolutionary books
2. A bag with my Revolutionary Author Logo
3. A Sterling Silver Tricorn hat charm, so you’re always in style
4. My favorite T-Shirt to wear when I write my Revolutionary tales, that says: The original New England Patriots, from 1630 in Boston
5. A stuffed founding father doll by Little Thinkers to inspire the Rebel in you
6. And a Founding Father book of quotes. Seditious banter from our brash Rebels!
Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on July 19th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.

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The Traitor: Book #2 The Rebels and Redcoats Saga by T.J. London

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Spy. Liar. Scoundrel. Redcoat.

Provocateur and spy for His Majesty, Captain John Carlisle returns to Fort Niagara with the secrets he stole in the arms of the beautiful Oneida innkeeper, Dellis McKesson. Determined to complete his mission and clear his name, he’ll see justice done—and damn the consequences. Now, he finds himself drawn into political intrigue as the British prepare to launch a three-pronged attack that will bring the Rebels and the Mohawk River Valley to its knees.

A dangerous revelation finds Dellis as whispers of intrigue insinuate her beloved is not all that he seems. Unwilling to wait for her lover’s return, she sets out in search of the truth as the Onieda begin negotiations with the Rebels, breaking the neutrality agreement with the crown. A bold move that will stoke a fire between the brother tribes and lead to a bloody inter-confederacy war—one Dellis predicted, and one John incited.

While war between the colonies and the King smolders, the punishing winter of 1777 allows the perfect opportunity for old enemies to settle scores, lying in wait, ready to exploit John’s one weakness—his heart. John is not an innocent man. The truth he’s long tried to hide from can no longer be ignored, the ghosts of the past seeking justice, and karma wanting payment for sins so dark they cannot be forgiven.

REVIEW

Well now, that was certainly an exciting read. There’s a song by the band Nightwish that includes the lyrics ‘weaving my wings with many colored yarns’. That sort of describes The Traitor as the author has woven a web of intrigue with many different strands; so many ways in which the story could go; so many times I had to pause and admire the creativity and chops to keep it all together; so many times I wanted to punch out a few of the characters (that, by the way, is a good thing – it means the author has me involved). 😊 An emotionally taut tale replete with strong characters (of varied temperaments and agendas), and a incisive look at the historical aspect of the story. The eventual breakup of the Iroquois Confederacy was fueled by the impossible choices the natives had before them as the British and the Colonists raced towards war. The author does a fine job in bringing that to light amid the turmoil and confusion; the heartbreak and loss; the truth and redemption. I am certainly looking forward to book 3, The Turncoat. 5 Stars

Belle o’ the Waters by Raima Larter

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Belle Waters is about to celebrate her fourteenth birthday, and she is terrified. The fear of marriage looms large for her, and every other girl who was born into the Mormon settlement of Salt Lake in the 1850s. She knows it is her duty to marry and bring Heavenly Father’s children into the world, but she’s not interested in tying the knot with anyone—especially not the Prophet, an old man with a number of wives and counting. But when the US Army invades Salt Lake intent on arresting the Prophet, Belle soon realizes that the possibility of becoming a child bride is only the beginning in a series of disastrous threats.

 

Belle o’ the Waters is a work of fiction, but is loosely based on a true historical event: the Mountain Meadows Massacre of September 11, 1857, which sparked a short-lived Mormon War. Although set over a century ago, the themes and issues explored in this novel are extremely relevant to the modern age: religious freedom and extremism, the role and status of women in society, and the contemporary impact of homegrown terrorism. Belle o’ the Waters is a searing exploration of those living within an oppressed community, and an ultimately revelatory novel about what it means to lead a courageous life, despite one’s circumstances.

 REVIEW

A fascinating tale of the courage of a young Mormon girl in the face of some pretty daunting circumstances. The author has crafted a tale of survival in a landscape filled with a natural world both beautiful and dangerous, and a religious calling even more dangerous. Strong, believable characters, a creatively imaginative story line, and a look at a time and place in American history imbued with an iconoclastic mystery, Belle o’ the Waters had me hooked from page one. I especially enjoyed the use of Belle’s journal entries during the tale as they bring into focus the intense situations that arise during her life, and without spoiling anything, she faces much that would break many fourteen year old girls on the verge of womanhood. A page turning delight, with requisite pauses to catch one’s breath, awaits you dear reader. Prepare to be entertained, and perhaps maybe even educated a little about an oft overlooked piece of American History. 4 Stars