Tag Archives: Historical fiction

Review: King’s Man


King's Man
King’s Man by Angus Donald
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Authors/Publishers Book Description/Synopsis

The third crusade is over Richard the Lionheart is bound for England. But with all the princes of Europe united against him . . . can the greatest warrior in Christendom make it safely home?
The lion is chained Captured. Bound. Imprisoned. King Richard’s slim hope of salvation rests on one man – a former outlaw, a vengeful earl, a man who scoffs at holy mother church:
Robin Hood For king and country robin and his loyal lieutenant Alan Dale will risk all – from blood-soaked battlefields to deadly assassins – to see the Lionheart restored to his rightful throne.

What Do I Think?

All I need to do now is read the first book in the series and I will know everything?
This story-weaver is fast becoming one of my all time favourites, what is more important I think I have found the successor to Bernard Cornwell’s crown as master story-weaver.

With this the third book in the Outlaw Chronicles, Angus Donald throws you headlong into his medieval world using the formidable account of Alan Dale to escort you through a kingdom of injustice, ardent sex, bloodthirsty battles fought by factual heroes legends and, murderous outlaws.

A true adventure story from a master story-weaver, it took me a couple of days to read this book its a real page turner and the way in which Angus Donald portrays Robin Hood is nothing short of genius he has made him what I always believed a real Robin Hood would have been; a merciless, hard-hearted SOB who will do almost anything for his King. We in reality shouldn’t like him; however his steadfastness and love for each one inside his gang leaves you feeling nothing but admiration for him and his followers from start to end.
I am looking forward to the next book hopefully one in which we see and hear more from Alan Dale’s memories.

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A Review of The Third Secret by Steve Berry


The Third Secret
The Third Secret by Steve Berry
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Authors/Publishers Book Description/Synopsis

Explosive in both its pace and its revelations, The Third Secret is a remarkable international thriller. Bestselling author Steve Berry tackles some of the most controversial ideas of our time in a breakneck journey through the history of the Church and the future of religion.
Fatima, Portugal, 1917: The Virgin Mary appears to three peasant children, sharing with them three secrets, two of which are soon revealed to the world. The third secret is sealed away in the Vatican, read only by popes, and not disclosed until the year 2000. When revealed, its quizzical tone and anticlimactic nature leave many faithful wondering if the Church has truly unveiled all of the Virgin Mary’s words–or if a message far more important has been left in the shadows.
Vatican City, present day: Papal secretary Father Colin Michener is concerned for the Pope. Night after restless night, Pope Clement XV enters the Vatican’s Riserva, the special archive open only to popes, where the Church’s most clandestine and controversial documents are stored. Though unsure of the details, Michener knows that the Pope’s distress stems from the revelations of Fatima.
Equally concerned, but not out of any sense of compassion, is Alberto Cardinal Valendrea, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, Valendrea desperately covets the papacy, having narrowly lost out to Clement at the last conclave. Now the Pope’s interest in Fatima threatens to uncover a shocking ancient truth that Valendrea has kept to himself for many years.
When Pope Clement sends Michener to the Romanian highlands, then to a Bosnian holy site, in search of a priest–possibly one of the last people on Earth who knows Mary’s true message–a perilous set of events unfolds. Michener finds himself embroiled in murder, suspicion, suicide, deceit, and his forbidden passion for a beloved woman. In a desperate search for answers, he travels to Pope Clement’s birthplace in Germany, where he learns that the third secret of Fatima may dictate the very fate of the Church–a fate now lying in Michener’s own hands.

What Do I Think?

I think Steve Berry is a remarkable writer and having read nearly all of his books I think I can say with all honesty that they continue to take me to a world of adventure and mystery a world filled with wonderful characters, plots, twists and turns, and world famous locations.

An out-and-out story weaver who weaves stories and plots of all you could want in a genre that is so difficult to write.
Everybody appears to be writing books on the subject of the Catholic Church ever since the Da Vinci Code was written, I liked the Da Vinci Code unlike a few others but then again I am a catholic and I do like conspiracy theories.

Steve Berry can weave a story which includes some of the best conspiracies you could ever want and the Third Secret is one of his best examples, yes it’s a work of fiction but there’s nowt like a bit of truth to make you question exactly where the fiction ends and fact begins, a real testament to his research.

This was an extremely compelling thriller that involves the story of the third secret of Fatima, in addition to the political machinations in the Vatican; it is a high-speed plot focused detective story
I found myself compulsively turning the pages as the story evolved just to see what happened next, the story may upset some readers this is owing to the portrayal of some of the priests who are shown to be as corrupt and able of murder as the worst of criminals but, one should consider that in the past we have had some quite nasty popes, cardinals etc in the church more to the point, priests are people, and, as such they like us are subject to temptation.

The focal point of the story is the third secret of Fatima, and even though the third secret of Fatima was released to the world by Pope John Paul II this secret was so unlike the other two secrets as well as being so enigmatic that loads of people believe there was more to the secret than was published.

This master story-weaver has taken advantage of this and has woven a story that is interwoven with historical facts, world events, along with his very own plots, twists, and turns.
I believe this is a story that will be enjoyed by fans of “The Da VInci Code” and “Angels and Demons”, as well as by those who enjoy well written thrillers.

In conclusion “The Third Secret” has it all, travelling in Europe, homicide, deception, and excitement, it is compelling and provocative read it and enjoy.

 

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A Review of Wideacre by Philippa Gregory


Wideacre (Wideacre, #1)Wideacre by Philippa Gregory

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

THURSDAY, 01 SEPTEMBER 2011

I started to read the books of Philippa Gregory, probably like many others after watching “The Other Boleyn Girl” in 2008, I liked the book and so “The Boleyn Inheritance” quickly followed and by then I was putting her books on my To Read List.

Book Description/Synopsis

Beatrice Lacey, as strong-minded as she is beautiful, refuses to conform to the social customs of her time. Destined to lose her family name and beloved Wideacre estate once she is wed, Beatrice will use any means necessary to protect her ancestral heritage. Seduction, betrayal, even murder #151; Beatrice’s passion is without apology or conscience. “She is a Lacey of Wideacre,” her father warns, “and whatever she does, however she behaves, will always be fitting.” Yet even as Beatrice’s scheming seems about to yield her dream, she is haunted by the one living person who knows the extent of her plans…and her capacity for evil. Sumptuously set in Georgian England; Wideacre is intensely gripping, rich in texture, and full of colour and authenticity. It is a saga as irresistible in its singular magic as its heroine.

What Do I Think?

If truth be told I did question what Philippa Gregory was doing in this novel, as she didn’t create a friendly heroine not at all like in her other stories.

Beatrice Lacey must be one of the nastiest central characters I’ve read about, some reviewers and critics had led me to believe that the character of Beatrice was in some ways similar to Scarlet O’Hara in “Gone with the Wind”, poppycock she is nothing like her! Beatrice is more genuine.

Having said that, I to some extent took pleasure in her outrageous activities she was conceivably one of the most cunning, scheming, depraved characters I have come upon in quite some time, she had no scruples and looked to destroy each and every person that stood in her way.

Overall, I found it a tantalizing read, and even though I have enjoyed many of Philippa Gregory novels I am not sure what to think of “Wideacre”, it was at times uneasy for me to read because at times the story of Beatrice’s actions are quite repugnant and the lengths she will go to are somewhat incredible even though we know that actions like this really did take place in Georgian England.

I took note of the low star ratings this story got in Book-Reads and one of the main reasons were that readers stopped reading for the reason that “Beatrice became nasty”.

In truth, this story-weaver developed Beatrice into such an immoral woman because the era in which she lived allowed no other way for the character of Beatrice to get what she wanted, what she thought was hers by right and if we actually look into the history of those times we may discover one or two real women who did what Beatrice did!

I will read the other 2 stories in this trilogy why? Because I guess that Beatrice’s deeds and lack of morality will be significant for what will become of her children.

Wideacre will not be for everybody, and if subject matter like incest disturb you, then do not read this story, on the other hand if you do, you might miss a trilogy of books that are a good read and don’t forget it was the intention of this talented weaver of historical stories to make you dislike Beatrice and possibly to make you just a little uncomfortable writers of horror and crime do it all the time.

To conclude I have given this book 4 stars as it really does shine a light on a very important part of English history, the 18th Century.

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Review of: Four Days in June by Iain Gale


Battle of Waterloo, painted by William Sadler ...

Image via Wikipedia

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: Funeral Games by Christian Cameron


Funeral Games
Funeral Games by Christian Cameron
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Funeral Games, Book 3 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 one of the top writers in this specific genre and the ancient era, up there with Conn Iggulden, Bernard Cornwell, and Simon Scarrow.
My one gripe is that it is so hard to get hold of his books in the libraries I think they should be made much more available.

Anyway let’s get to the tale;
“Funeral Games”, Satyrus and Melitta, twin heirs to a rich kingdom on the Black Sea, become desperate fugitives when their mother, the Scythian warrior-princess Srayanka, is cut down in a savage act of betrayal. Accompanied by their tutor, the Spartan Philokles, they must make a perilous journey west, pursued by ruthless assassins, to find sanctuary with the army of their father’s closest friend, Diodorus. But Diodorus is caught up in the tangled web of alliances, betrayals and intrigue that followed Alexander the Great’s death, as his generals fought over the huge empire he had created – and soon the twins will have their first taste of real battle as two Macedonian warlords clash. In this violent and unstable world, they must chose sides carefully, as Antigonus One-Eye, and his brilliant son Demetrius, prepare to take on the might of Ptolemy’s Egypt, and the forces gather for the biggest and most spectacular battle the world had ever seen

This is the third in the series and they simply get more exciting, in this tale we learn more about the characters who are as I have come to expect from this story-weaver very colourful, the story moves along at such a pace that I felt I needed a seatbelt and a crash-helmet just to get to the end.
The research that has gone into this story is clearly seen and so is Christian’s passion for an era long gone but not forgotten,

This is a brilliant example of story-weaving it is full of action and at times poignant and beyond all doubt compelling, read the book, take pleasure in the journey, live through times gone by, It really bloody fantastic.

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