Tag Archives: Bernard Cornwell

A Review of : Holy Warrior by Angus Donald


Holy Warrior
Holy Warrior by Angus Donald
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

SATURDAY, 10 SEPTEMBER 2011

I know I have gone and done it again and read a book out of sequence, I don’t care this was a fantastic story told by a master story-weaver.

Authors/Publishers Book Description/Synopsis

Arrows will fly. Swords will swing. Heroes will fall. Legends will survive. And the Holy Land will never be the same. 1190 AD: Richard the Lionheart has launched his epic crusade to seize Jerusalem from the cruel Saracens. Marching with the vast royal army is Britain’s most famous, most feared, most ferocious warrior: the Outlaw of Nottingham, the Earl of Locksley — Robin Hood himself. With his band of loyal men at his side, Robin cuts a bloody swathe on the brutal journey east. Daring and dangerous, he can outwit and outlast any foe — but the crimson battlefields of the Holy Land are the ultimate proving ground. And within Robin’s camp lurks a traitor — a stealthy enemy determined to slay Christendom’s greatest outlaw before the trumpets fade. Blazingly paced and richly imagined, featuring a cast of unforgettable characters and packed with fast, furious action, Holy Warrior is adventure at its thrilling, white-knuckle best.

What Do I Think?

A story of a real historical figure and a legend what more could I ask for? A lot more and did I get it? Yes I got intrigue, battles, romance, murder, mystery, and a fast paced story that I could not put down and what is more important I think I have found the successor to Bernard Cornwell’s crown as master story-weaver.

Those of you who have read Bernard Cornwell’s Arthurian stories will recognise the set-up of the story being told by the main character who in this story is Alan Dale who in his declining years tells of his youth spent with the legendary bandit Robin Hood. It is a no holds barred account, with the normally portrayed gallant and wayward Robin depicted as a merciless robber baron.

Angus Donald blends in a small amount of subplots with the actual crusade itself so the story becomes a mystery/murder as well as a fast paced historical thriller this story will keep you turning the pages as you want/need to get to the bottom of these sub-plots all the while in your mind’s eye you are taking part in the great pilgrimage which is on the face of it is a correct account of “The Lionheart’s” expedition to free Jerusalem and the story-weaver makes it more real with some outstanding battle scenes.

Angus Donald’s story-weaving is outstanding, fast paced, evocative oh so evocative! you can almost smell the blood, the cities and towns you find yourself empathizing with the characters yes even some of the baddies and nothing detracts from the main plot, this story-weaver keeps you turning the pages so much so that you have finished the book before you know it.

In conclusion I can only say that this is a story I will want to read again and again it is a Boy’s Own Story for Grown-up Boys and Girls, I just can’t wait for the next instalment which is waiting on my bookshelf, the first in the series will just have to wait!

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Review of: Four Days in June by Iain Gale


Battle of Waterloo, painted by William Sadler ...

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Four Days in June
Four Days in June by Iain Gale
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Four days in June a Battle Lost, a Battle Won, June 1815 By Iain Gale

TUESDAY, 16 AUGUST 2011

I don’t remember who recommended this author and novel, but I am glad they did as I really enjoyed it, one of my favourite eras in the historical fiction drama is the peninsular wars, and have read all of the Sharpe stories by Bernard Cornwell and many others by various authors.

“Four days in June a Battle lost, a Battle won, June 1815” is up there with the best, Bernard Cornwell said ‘A powerful novel of men at war. A triumph.’
If that isn’t a recommendation I don’t know what is.

I will unquestionably give Iain Gale’s other stories a go, anyway let’s get to the book;

It is June 1815, and three armies have converged on the fields of Waterloo to fight a historic battle for honour, glory, and civilization.
Amidst the masses of soldiers, five men prepare to face one another: General De Lancey, Wellington‘s new Quartermaster-General, recently married and yearning for his beautiful wife; Colonel MacDonnell, a Scot who must hold his post to the last man; General Ziethen of the Prussian army, distrustful of the British but vital to their cause; Marshall Ney, mistrusted by Napoleon but revered by the French soldiers; and Napoleon himself, who must prove his worth as a great warrior for the glory of France.
As the conflict develops and draws to its bloody conclusion, each of the five men view the battle from a different perspective, and all experience defiance, desperation, and great courage.
A magnificent book. Even though the outcome, of course, is never in doubt this reads like a literary thriller. The author writes from the perspective of a number of officers from both sides and the story cuts back and forth between them and the battles they are engaged in as the armies struggle to group behind Wellington and Bonaparte and then finally, on the fourth day, the incredible battle at Waterloo.

Iain Gale is a gifted story-weaver and the reason I say this, is that this battle and the actions that lead up to it were incredibly convoluted and have been told and retold by many authors, fiction and non-fiction alike consequently the conclusion is under no circumstances open to question.
Now a story-weavers gift comes into the telling of the story, it should deliver exactly like a thoroughly good thriller, I think that Iain Gale has done just that with this story.

It was such an exhilarating story he brought his characters to life and what I especially like was the way he laid out the chapters concentrating on just one or two characters, he had obviously make sure of his research, and he has shown that he has a profusion of information about the battle, the military, and the combatants themselves. Most of all though it is story of unforgettable adventure a factual boys own adventure.

I have no misgivings about giving this book 5 stars I liked it and will no doubt read it again and again.

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Review: Prophecy: Clash of Kings by M K Hume


A welsh dragon. Found a very similar one on a ...

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Prophecy: Clash of Kings
Prophecy: Clash of Kings by M K Hume
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Prophecy, Clash of Kings by M. K. Hume

I have placed M. K. Hume on my favourite authors list; I find that her style of weaving a story is somewhat distinctive and brimming with detail and creativity. Her talent to place images of bloody battle scenes in your head and then to explain the subtle involvements in her characters interactions is simply inspirational, furthermore if you are searching for a story weaver who can give you images of bloody battles you won’t be let down.

An enthralling commencement to the legend of one of my favourite characters of ancient British myths and having read 2 books of the Arthurian trilogy, I am so pleased and excited that this trilogy returns back in time to the beginning of one of the most celebrated companionships in the chronicles of folklore.

Just what is this story all about?
The legend begins…The first book in a thrilling new trilogy from the author of the epic King Arthur series. In the kingdom of Dyfed, Vortigern, Celtic High King of Cymru and the North, rules in relative peace. Yet his choice of wife – a Saxon queen – fuels tension between the Saxon and Celtic tribes. In the town of Segontium, a boy is raised by his grandmother. The product of a brutal rape, he is spurned by his mother as a demon child. The boy is Myrddion – prince of the Deceangli and apprentice to a skilled healer. Far away, Vortigern oversees the resurrection of ancient Dinas Emrys. According to prophecy, the king will perish if the fort does not rise again. But the foundations refuse to hold and Vortigern needs the blood of a demon seed – a human sacrifice – to make the towers stand firm. Myrddion’s life is in danger. Yet the child has a prophecy of his own and a greater destiny to fulfil.

Battlefields, sorcerers, great kings, intrigue and the best characterisations of Merlin I have ever come across, M. K. Hume is just what this legend has been waiting for someone who can put flesh on the bare bones of the greatest British sorcerer in history.

This story-weaver can make you believe that such a man did live in Briton at this particular era in our history, in other words she has brought legend and myth to life.
I never thought that anybody could entice me away from the tales of Merlin from the likes of Bernard Cornwell on the contrary I was mistaken, M. K. Hume has done just that and, this first story about the life of Merlin is superb, the story moves at a fast pace along with a plot that is jam-packed with action and intrigue.
The story is relentless in keeping you trapped in the pages and giving you no respite from the exhilarating tale, Merlin and all the other characters come to life on the pages of this well woven tale of ancient Briton.

I urge you to read this book and the following 2 books of what I am sure will become the definitive work of the legend of Merlin.

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Review: Tyrant, Book 1 of the Tyrant Series by Christian Cameron


Tyrant
Tyrant by Christian Cameron
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Tyrant, Book 1 of the Tyrant Series by Christian Cameron
If you read my book reviews, you will have realised by now that one of my favourite genres is historical fiction especially good yarns about ancient world, Rome, Greece and Briton in particular then when I found the books from Christian Cameron he did disappoint me, I was thrilled by his style of story weaving he is an outstanding weaver of tales about the ancient world.
He is going to become one of the top writers in this specific genre and the ancient era, up there with Conn Iggulden, Bernard Cornwell, and Simon Scarrow.
Anyway let’s get to the story;
“Tyrant”; a well-born officer of Athenian cavalry, Kineas fought shoulder to shoulder with Alexander in his epic battles against the Persian hordes. But when he returns to his native city, he finds not glory but ignominy, as all veterans of the Boy King’s campaigns are sent into exile. With nothing to his name but his military skills, Kineas has no choice but to become a mercenary, and soon accepts a commission to soldier for the Tyrant of Olbia, a wealthy city on the Black Sea. But when he reaches Olbia he finds he and his tight-knit band of Athenians have stumbled into a deadly maze of intrigue and conspiracy as the Tyrant plots to use them as a pawn in the increasingly complex power games between his own citizens, the so-called barbarians of the encroaching Scythian plains, and the dread military might of Macedon. Caught between his duty to the Tyrant, his loyalty to his men and a forbidden love affair with a charismatic Scythian noblewoman, Kineas must call on all his Athenian guile, his flair on the battlefield, and even – he is convinced – the intervention of the gods, to survive.
This is the first story I have read from Christian Cameron and I knew straight away that I was reading a story from someone who has a passion for the ancient world and it is his debut book in a series that I firmly believe will become very popular.
Undoubtedly the backdrop of the story and the dramatis personae (cast) a mixture of Greeks, local tribesmen, and others are original and believable.
The historical facts are quite correct and there is an adequate amount of action to keep you going with a sensation of exhilaration.
You know, I don’t know about other readers but with a good story I picture it in my head, almost cinematically, in fact with some books I can even see which actors should play a certain character anyhow, this is what I got from this story so I believe we know have a story-weaver of the same calibre as Bernard Cornwell, Simon Scarrow, Conn Iggulden, and Harry Sidebottom.
It is, as a rule easier said than done to create a believable story of an actual well documented era and culture, to do it whilst trying to keep to established historical facts and also entertain a reader who might find real history uninteresting is the mark of a superb story-weaver and in Christian Cameron with his first outing as a weaver of tales I think we have found a real treasure.
What did I like about this story?
Well the persona are plausible and as I have said before the descriptions of the battles soar into your mind really well.
It’s an absorbing read one in which you rapidly lose track of time, I recommend this book to anyone who likes to read about intrigue, war, love, and the battle of good against evil.

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Review: Killer of Men, Book 1 of the Long War Series by Christian Cameron


Killer of Men
Killer of Men by Christian Cameron
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Killer of Men, Book 1 of the Long War Series by Christian Cameron
If you read my book reviews, you will have realised by now that one of my favourite genres is historical fiction especially good yarns about ancient world, Rome, Greece and Briton in particular then when I found the books from Christian Cameron he did disappoint me, I was thrilled by his style of story weaving he is an outstanding weaver of tales about the ancient world.
He is going to become one of the top writers in this specific genre and the ancient era, up there with Conn Iggulden, Bernard Cornwell, and Simon Scarrow.
Anyway this is the first book of a brand new heroic story from the Christian Cameron author of the ‘Tyrant’ series I have sort of written some reviews of the “Tyrant” stories I just have to publish them.
Anyhow to “Killer of Men”, Greeks and Persians are poised on the edge of conflict, Arimnestos has been betrayed by his cousin and found himself a slave, and this is his journey out of bondage to seek his revenge.
This story-weaver impressed me with the amount of historical detail, moody battle scenes, and believable characters along with a fast and furious story it’s the beginning of another fantastic series of yarns from the ancient world.
Totally gripping, and here is something a little different it is told in the first person as Arimnestos now an old man narrates his life to a daughter, and what a life story to tell, I’m still picturing it in my minds eye!
As I said It’s a fast book with lots intrigue and several of the characters have imperfections of character just like in real life, Christian Cameron makes many of Arimnestos’ enemies also his friends and some of his allies his enemies just as I would expect it would have been at that time in the ancient world of Greece and Asia, just think of the Spartans and the Greek city states.

For me “Killer of Men” stands out from the crowd and I cannot highly recommend this book enough, if you like historical novels read it, if you like war stories read it, if you like intrigue, romance and an outright rollicking good story then you must read it.

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