Man of War: Book #4 The Rebels and Redcoats Saga Prequel (The Rebels and Redcoats Saga #4) by T.J. London

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July 1755

War is brewing between England and France. Impressed into the Royal Navy, Lieutenant Merrick, against all odds, advanced through the ranks to become an officer–but he is not a gentleman. A man with a tainted past from a traitorous family, cast down by King George–a stain no man can remove.

Merrick’s thrust into the role of captain, when the HMS Boudica is attacked by pirates off the coast of Nova Scotia. On a captured enemy vessel he discovers a King’s ransom in treasure and a woman chained in the hold from passenger ship that mysteriously disappeared at sea.

Beautiful, defiant, and hell bent on revenge, India makes a deal with Merrick to uncover the pirates’ scheme, promising him everything he desires: fortune, glory, and the chance to bring honor back to the McKesson name.

Now, they race against time to uncover a plot that links those in the highest ranks of the British aristocracy, to a failed rebellion that is once again trying to topple the monarchy and place an old pretender on the throne. But all that glitters is not gold as passions stir and an impossible love blooms, threatening to undermine all Merrick and India have done to protect their King and a country on the brink of war.

***This book contains violence and graphic depictions of war***

REVIEW

What we have here, my fellow readers, is a shining example of what a prequel should be. All the bits mentioned in the first three books of the series that hinted at the recent past, are brought forth with all guns firing, striking a mizzen mast hit on the reader’s heart. If I were to describe the book in one word – passion. The passion of a crew’s loyalty to their ship and captain…the passion of a man’s political leanings…the passion of brothers torn asunder by hatred…the passion of brothers torn asunder by war…the passion of lust and love. Yes, my peeps and fellow travelers, the author has created some very passionate people and events, none more so than the mysterious India/Caroline. Headstrong, and determined, she had me, on the one hand, rooting for her cunning, while on the other hand, yelling at her to listen to Merrick for once. Enjoyable, entertaining, and enlightening on all things McKesson/Carlisle….and the emergence of the future evils of DeLancie, and Celeste….step aboard Merrick’s Queen, The HMS Boudica; adventure awaits.  5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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.

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Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, April 27
Guest Post at A Darn Good Read

Tuesday, April 28
Review at Gwendalyn’s Books

Wednesday, April 29
Excerpt at Donna’s Book Blog

Thursday, April 30
Interview at The Book Junkie Reads

Friday, May 1
Review at Books, Writings, and More

Saturday, May 2
Feature at Just One More Chapter

Monday, May 4
Review at History + Fiction + Adirondack Spirit

Tuesday, May 5
Feature at The Lit Bitch

Wednesday, May 6
Feature at I’m All About Books

Thursday, May 7
Guest Post at Curling up by the Fire

Friday, May 8
Review at Hoover Book Reviews

Saturday, May 9
Feature at Reading is My Remedy

Monday, May 11
Review at andreajanel_reads

Wednesday, May 13
Feature at What Is That Book About

Thursday, May 14
Excerpt at Books In Their Natural Habitat

Friday, May 15
Review at Passages to the Past

Giveaway

To enter to win an amazing prize pack from T.J. London, please complete the Gleam form below!

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on May 15th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Paperback giveaway is open to the US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be 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 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⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

River of Stars by Guy Gavriel Kay

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In his critically acclaimed novel Under Heaven, Guy Gavriel Kay told a vivid and powerful story inspired by China’s Tang Dynasty. Now, the international bestselling and multiple award-winning author revisits that invented setting four centuries later with an epic of prideful emperors, battling courtiers, bandits and soldiers, nomadic invasions, and a woman battling in her own way, to find a new place for women in the world – a world inspired this time by the glittering, decadent Song Dynasty.

Ren Daiyan was still just a boy when he took the lives of seven men while guarding an imperial magistrate of Kitai. That moment on a lonely road changed his life—in entirely unexpected ways, sending him into the forests of Kitai among the outlaws. From there he emerges years later—and his life changes again, dramatically, as he circles towards the court and emperor, while war approaches Kitai from the north.

Lin Shan is the daughter of a scholar, his beloved only child. Educated by him in ways young women never are, gifted as a songwriter and calligrapher, she finds herself living a life suspended between two worlds. Her intelligence captivates an emperor—and alienates women at the court. But when her father’s life is endangered by the savage politics of the day, Shan must act in ways no woman ever has.

In an empire divided by bitter factions circling an exquisitely cultured emperor who loves his gardens and his art far more than the burdens of governing, dramatic events on the northern steppe alter the balance of power in the world, leading to events no one could have foretold, under the river of stars.

REVIEW

I am once again in awe. I have waxed enthusiastic praise on each of the five books I have previously read by this author. River of Stars now makes six. It is a masterpiece of compelling fiction; a narrative that grabs hold and propels the reader along the meandering path of the multi-faceted plot. It is breathtaking in it’s scope; the world created by the author; the characters who fit perfectly into it; the endless tale of court (political) intrigue, a tale worthy to be called a classic.

I read a lot of historical fiction books, a good portion of them are by request as it seems my humble blog of reviews has garnered some interest among authors. I have a backlog of books to read and review, but I also like to read just for the pure pleasure of it. The backlog be damned – there are more Guy Gavriel Kay books yet to be read.

5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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 ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Cold Hearth (The Atheling Chronicles #3) by Garth Pettersen

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“The sons of Cnute are dead men.” The dying words of his brother’s assailant travel across the North Sea to the English Midlands.

Harald, the king’s second son, receives the warning while rebuilding a hall where he hopes to farm and lead a peaceful life with Selia, his Frisian wife. But as the hall nears completion, they learn the family who lived there before them all perished in a single night of bloodshed. Could the grounds be cursed?

Now the threat of unknown enemies casts a long shadow. Should they distrust the brooding Saxon neighbor or the two weapon-bearers they hired for protection? Should they suspect either of the two women they have taken on with the other hirelings? Only their Jewish warrior friend, Ravya ben Naaman, seems to be the only one above suspicion.

REVIEW

It’s not easy being the son of the King. While you might have started a new peaceful existence, and are the sort who gets along with the common folk, your family is another matter. Ever present in just about any monarchy is the issue of succession, and Harald Harefoot and his brothers aren’t the only contenders. The Cold Hearth is an engaging tale of an unsettled period in English history….the House of Wessex seeks to regain the throne from the House of Cnute, and one way to make that happen is to eliminate the Danish contenders to the throne. Wonderfully crafted characters fill the pages of this multi-threaded story; plot lines with twists and turns that leave the reader gasping at the turn of events. I was drawn into the emotional turmoil and stress resulting not only of the planned removal of Harald, but also from a brutal event in the past that threatens the tranquility of Harald’s friends and family. So, while Harald may have wanted a peaceful existence away from the turmoil, that isn’t what he gets in this rousing tale. Now I’m only guessing, but methinks that the turmoil will continue in the next episode of The Atheling Chronicles.   5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Sorcery in Alpara by Judith Starkston

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A curse that consumes armies, a court full of traitors, a clutch of angry concubines and fantastical creatures who offer help but hate mankind.

Tesha’s about to become queen of a kingdom under assault from all sides, but she has powerful allies: her strategist husband, his crafty second-in-command, and her brilliant blind sister.

Then betrayal strips her of them all. To save her marriage and her world, she will have to grapple with the serpentine plot against her and unleash the goddess Ishana’s uncontrollable magic—without destroying herself.

“Based on historical events in the Bronze Age, Starkston wraps history and magic together in an unforgettable package.”

If you like unique world building, ancient sorcery, and mythical beasts, with richly portrayed characters and enthrallingly complex plots, then immerse yourself in Sorcery in Alpara, the second in this award-winning epic historical fantasy series. See why readers call the Tesha series “fast-paced,” “psychologically riveting” and “not to be missed.”

REVIEW

A startling sequel, Sorcery in Alpara, is one intense tale. Tesha, in a series of events becomes an outcast even in the eyes of Hattu. Time and again, situations are twisted to make her situation worse. Powerful magic, sorcery, and a coterie of people who want to see her fall make this story a joy to read.  Time and again, I would wonder how much Tesha could take. Masterful characters, a multi-faceted plot that keeps the reader in suspense…a good read indeed.  4 ⭐⭐⭐⭐

 

Written in their Stars (The Lydiard Chronicles #3) by Elizabeth St.John

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London, 1649. Horrified eyewitnesses to King Charles’s bloody execution, Royalists Nan Wilmot and Frances Apsley plot to return the king’s exiled son to England’s throne, while their radical cousin Luce, the wife of king-killer John Hutchinson, rejoices in the new republic’s triumph. Nan exploits her high-ranking position as Countess of Rochester to manipulate England’s great divide, flouting Cromwell and establishing a Royalist spy network; while Frances and her husband Allen join the destitute prince in Paris’s Louvre Palace to support his restoration. As the women work from the shadows to topple Cromwell’s regime, their husbands fight openly for the throne on England’s bloody battlefields.
But will the return of the king be a victory, or destroy them all? Separated by loyalty and bound by love, Luce, Nan and Frances hold the fate of England—and their family—in their hands.
A true story based on surviving memoirs of Elizabeth St.John’s family, Written in their Stars is the third novel in the Lydiard Chronicles series.

REVIEW

Another triumph, another fascinating read. The author has retained that emotional tug at her reader’s hearts throughout the series, while at the same time providing a powerful tale of shattered dreams, hopes, and survival in a country torn by civil war, and rife with divisive politics that tear families apart. The trials and tribulations of the family, overwhelming at times, are rendered beautifully through the strength of the characters; characters who pull the reader into the turmoil, the chaos, the victories in an ever changing reality.  Let the pages turn, my fellow readers – Luce, Nan and Frances are calling you.   5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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About the Author

Elizabeth St.John spends her time between California, England, and the past. An award-winning author, historian and genealogist, she has tracked down family papers and residences from Nottingham Castle, Lydiard Park, to the Tower of London. Although the family sold a few castles and country homes along the way (it’s hard to keep a good castle going these days), Elizabeth’s family still occupy them – in the form of portraits, memoirs, and gardens that carry their imprint. And the occasional ghost. But that’s a different story…

For more information, please visit Elizabeth St. John’s website. You can also find her on FacebookTwitter, and Goodreads.

 

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away two signed copies of Written in their Stars! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on January 10th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Paperback giveaway is open to US residents only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be 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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Commodus (The Damned Emperors #2) by Simon Turney

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Rome is enjoying a period of stability and prosperity. The Empire’s borders are growing, and there are two sons in the imperial succession for the first time in Rome’s history.

But all is not as it appears. Cracks are beginning to show. Two decades of war have taken their toll, and there are whispers of a sickness in the East. The Empire stands on the brink of true disaster, an age of gold giving way to one of iron and rust, a time of reason and strength sliding into hunger and pain.

The decline may yet be halted, though. One man tries to hold the fracturing empire together. To Rome, he is their emperor, their Hercules, their Commodus.

But Commodus is breaking up himself, and when the darkness grips, only one woman can hold him together. To Rome she was nothing. The plaything of the emperor. To Commodus, she was everything. She was Marcia.

REVIEW

Well now, that was certainly not the Commodus from Gladiator. Once again, Mr. Turney has taken on myth and misconception, and has brought forth a fascinating look at one of the more enigmatic of the Roman emperors. As in his other novels, the author relies on his ability to glean from contemporary sources those facts or myths, and turn them into a page turning (and to this burgeoning author), mind boggling tale that grabs the reader’s attention from page one, word one, and does not relent in it’s grip. Written from the perspective of Marcia, the narrative is rich in detail, poignant in its telling, and once again left this reader amazed at the creative talent of the author. 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Across the Great Divide: Book 1 The Clouds of War by Michael Ross

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Lexington, Kentucky, 1859. After saving John Hunt Morgan from a puma attack, fifteen-year-old farm boy Will Crump joins Hunt’s militia, the Lexington Rifles. Morgan mentors Will and enrolls him in the local university, where he hopes to study law. As tensions rise between the North and South, Will is torn between his loyalty to Morgan and his love for his family. Will’s father, sisters, and sweetheart follow the Union, while Morgan and Will commit to the South. As part of Morgan’s band, Will participates in ambushes and unconventional warfare until his first real battle at Shiloh. He fights bravely, but increasingly questions what the war is accomplishing, and whether his devotion to honor has led him astray. And where is God in all this killing?

Will’s sister Albinia, friend of the Clay family, becomes increasingly aware of the plight of the slaves. When she finds Luther, a slave she knows, trying to escape, she must decide between her conscience, and her friends. She becomes involved in the Underground Railroad, helping slaves to freedom – but will it cost her love and her freedom?

Will’s other sister, Julia, is approaching spinster status and despairs of ever meeting a man who can give her more than life on a farm until she meets Hiram Johannsen, a son of immigrants who owns a steamship company. They marry and she makes a new life in the North. When Hiram answers the call to fight for the North, Julia runs the steamboat company in her husband’s absence and uses her boats to help Albinia ferry escaped slaves to freedom. Her business relations put her in the perfect position to spy for the North. When the Confederates capture her, will she survive?

Luther is one of the first slaves Albinia helps flee the South after his master cruelly abuses his mother and sister. He escapes with his family, and when war breaks out, he fights for the North as an auxiliary of the Third Ohio Cavalry, alongside Julia’s husband, Hiram, and against Morgan and Will. Luther has to confront the demons of his past, an abusive master, and a slave catcher that kills his little sister. Will the desire for revenge destroy him?

Throughout the war, Will is forced to examine and question everything he believes in—his faith in God, his love for his family, his loyalty to Morgan, and his worth as a human being.

Will and his family must somehow mend the torn fabric of relationships to find peace, and reach Across the Great Divide.

REVIEW

An emotionally charged tale reflecting the divisive times of The Civil War. With the ‘neutral’ state of Kentucky as the backdrop, the author paints a vivid picture of life and issues confronting his characters. The issues involved are meticulously described – slavery, states rights, the North as invaders, the Underground Railroad – a story told from the perspective of the people who are faced with impossible decisions and see their lives ripped apart by the storm of war.  Strong characters, a steady flowing narrative, and intriguing story lines following the Crump family and associates make this a definite page turning tale.

4 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

 

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Michael Ross is a lover of history and great stories. He’s a retired software engineer turned author, with three children, and five grandchildren, living in Newton, Kansas with his wife of 39 years. Michael graduated from Rice University and Portland State University. He was born in Lubbock, Texas, and still loves Texas. He’s written short stories and technical articles in the past. “Across the Great Divide: Book 1 The Clouds of War” is his first novel.

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SIGIRIYA: A Tale of Grandeur, Love and Tragedy by Senani Ponnamperuma

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Palace intrigue, passion, deceit, betrayal, and tragedy—this is the story of King Kasyapa and his beloved Sigiriya. Born of a village girl and a warrior king, he is denied the crown because of his inferior birth – but is forced to become king. Accused of murdering his father, he abandons his capital and builds a new city in the inhospitable forests of Sri Lanka. There, he lives in a spectacular sky palace atop a massive rock two hundred meters high.

It is also the story of Amira, a beautiful girl from Afghanistan who is only twelve years old when she is sold into slavery. At eighteen, she is traded for a hundred pearls from Sri Lanka. Arriving at her new home, she is trained as a concubine in Kasyapa’s harem and becomes his favorite consort.

Set fifteen hundred years ago, this spellbinding novel weaves historical facts into a remarkably entertaining story of fate, dangerous alliances, enduring friendships, and forbidden love.

REVIEW

An engaging tale of a place that I am not well versed in; an exotic, mysterious land, and a story that is timeless throughout the history of mankind. Born with the stigma of a commoner for a mother, and yet the son of a king, Kasyapa finds himself propelled into a position he was not born to, the kingship. The author has produced a story of love, ambition, and palace intrigue; one that flows easily and allows the reader to enjoy the beauty and splendor of the land, and to become immersed in Kasyapa’s struggles, triumphs, and dreams. Prepare yourselves, my fellow readers, to travel to an ancient land, to be entertained, and to wonder in awe at Sigiriya. 4 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐