The Reaper’s Breath by Robert Southworth

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Stepping outside my usual reading habits I decided to take on a mystery-thriller story.  I was pretty confident that the author would have penned an entertaining piece as I have read his Spartacus series and enjoyed that.  Not only a different genre, but also a quite different subject awaited me as I read The Reaper’s Breath, as I know next to nothing about the nightmarish exploits of Jack the Ripper.  What I found was a nerve-wrangling, page turning tale that was not only entertaining but a delight to read.  The author shows his creative side as he takes the reader on a roller coaster ride through the teeming underbelly of London.  Wonderfully crafted with great characters, plot twists, and descriptive enough to have the sights and smells of an industrial city come oozing out of the pages.  I enjoyed the way the author took a well known tale and was able to concoct a different telling; one that kept me guessing throughout.  4.7 stars

 

I was able to sit down and with and interview the author – well sort of as he’s on one side of The Pond and I’m on  the other.  Thanks Robert for taking the time for a few questions.

Interview with Robert Southworth

  1. Reaper’s Breath is a bit of a departure from your series on Spartacus. Was it difficult to make such a drastic switch in time and place?

Answer =Not really I have always had an interest in the Ripper murders, and the impact the crimes had on the populace of London.  I am fortunate that when it comes to things historical I am not restricted to one or two eras. The important thing for me was to be able to take the story in another direction. I didn’t want to produce another standard Ripper novel.

  1. What drew you to write about “The Ripper”?

Answer = I love to find subjects that are well known but actual facts are scarce. I believe it allows the author to be wonderfully creative and gives the readers something a little different.

  1. How is book two of The Ripper Legacies coming along?

Answer = The first draft is complete and is currently with the editor, after that I will make changes and it will go for its final edit.

  1. What does Robert Southworth do when he’s not writing?

Answer = I have a young family and I also care for a disabled parent. That aside, I market my books where possible but that is a part of the business that I do not enjoy. It is also very expensive in terms of money and time.

  1. Who does Robert Southworth enjoy reading?

Answer = Traditional authors such as Terry Pratchett, Simon Scarrow and James McGee but recently my tastes buds have feasted on delicious indy authors such as Paula Lofting, Robert Bayliss, Jeanette Taylor Ford, Kevin Ashman and many more…

  1. We’ve heard rumors of an exciting new project…care to let us in on it?

Answer = In keeping with taking legend, myth or factual personalities clouded in mist, from the past. I am going to be taking the Homeric poems and giving them a gritty update. I will attempt to show the politics of the time and offer differing reasons for war and the consequences of the fall of Troy. Im hoping that this book will show a different side to my writing…but I suppose only the reader will testify to my success.

 

 

Spartacus III The Pharoah’s Blade by Robert Southworth

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The third and final volume of Robert Southworth’s Spartacus series finds the gang involved in an adventure to retrieve an Egyptian artifact, a dagger that is reputed to grant victory to whoever has it and there are many who seek it.  Among the seekers are the power brokers of Rome and inveterate foes, Pompey and Crassus.  Spartacus is tabbed to lead a coalition army of Commagene, Spartan, Parthian and a smattering of Armenians under Tigranes the younger.  Arrayed against them is the might of Mithridates and Tigranes the elder.  The battle scenes are well done and are filled with imaginative tactics, heroic struggles and tragic deaths.  The plot takes many turns as the duplicitousness of certain characters plays out over the course of the book.  All in all The Pharaoh’s Blade is an interesting look at that period in history when Mithridates, Tigranes and The Parthians all vied for control of the region and had Rome’s attention; so much so that Crassus arrives in Parthia with intent to conquer but an ignominious end is what he finds.  Spartacus, Cassian, Plinius and the others in their search for a peaceful place to live must first survive the tumult.  4 stars

 

Spartacus II The Gods Demand Sacrifice by Robert Southworth

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In this, the second volume in the Spartacus series, Rome is controlled by two powerful men, Pompey, the patron and boss of Cassian and Crassus who wants Cassian dead for what transpired in volume one.  Thus, Crassus sets his most ruthless killer upon Cassian and anyone who is part of his family or who works for him.  What the author does with that as the main story line is provide you, dear reader, with a non-stop, vivid story of action and dramatic turns of events.  Flabinius, the hired assassin, has his own army of followers who carry out his every command without hesitation or remorse as Flabinius commands them in an atmosphere of fear.  Cassian and his family and those who choose to join him, are forced to flee their homes in hopes of out pacing the relentless pursuit.  That is a good plan but their assailant is not easy to shake.

What unfolds is an exciting tale of suffering and loss, revenge and retribution against the backdrop of the power politics in Rome.  The author  has done a splendid job in allowing his characters to grow in this episode and he brings you into the depths of their sufferings and to the heights of their triumphs.  The ending is a nice teaser for book three and am looking forward to continuing in this story of Spartacus.  5 stars

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Spartacus: Talons of an Empire by Robert Southworth

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I’m sure that for anyone who grew up when I did, Kirk Douglas was Spartacus, a brilliant but historically incorrect movie.  In Spartacus: Talons of an Empire, Mr. Southworth presents to us a character and a scenario vastly different than the one Jean Simmons fell in love with.  In this version, Spartacus does not die after his defeat by Crassus but rather, he is forcefully employed by a Roman aristocrat to take part in an assignment designed to lessen the power of Crassus in Rome.  I won’t say more about the plot except to say that it is a good one, full of action, deceit, friendships forged and bloody combat.  It is the characters who inhabit this tale that I found to be very well done…from the gladiator/warrior/leader, Spartacus…Cassian, the servant of the Roman aristocrat…Plinius, the young, inexperienced warrior…and of course a couple thoroughly evil specimens in Apelios and Dido. Emotions run high as the contingent under the command of Cassian and Spartacus deal with loss, fear, regrets, love and pure hatred.  All in all this is a very entertaining book and I will be taking on the rest of the trilogy.  After all who can resist stories about Spartacus, the gladiator slave who almost brought Rome to it’s knees.  4 stars.

About the Author:

I’m Robert Southworth an author from Warwickshire in England. I suppose the best way describe myself is a lover of all books. Although my first three novels are based in ancient Rome, i wouldnt tie myself down to the era or genre. I love history through the ages, but i am also just as happy picking up a sci-fi or fantasy novel. My favourite authors are Scarrow, Cornwell, McGee which i know are all masters at historical fiction, but i also love Pratchett(absolute genius) and Robert Rankin (absolute bonkers). I am a traditionally published author but have decided to self publish my next couple of novels, which means hopefully i will be able to place my work before my readers a little more quickly.
Me as a writer: I have no wish to make my readers think deeply on the social issues of the world. There are plenty of authors and other types of media which do that. I consider myself a story teller and i attempt to entertain, i would much rather draw a contented smile than a political debate.
I hope that you all enjoy my books.