I remember reading my first stunning piece of Steppe nomad based historical fiction as if it were yesterday; RFA Brilliant piece of Historical Fiction
I remember reading my first stunning piece of Steppe nomad based historical fiction as if it were yesterday; RF Tapsell’s The Year of the Horsetails , I must have borrowed it from the library and read it a dozen times when in my early teens. Eventually in the 1980’s I found a much battered copy in a second hand book shop in Adelaide, though broken dog eared and missing a few pages it still sits in in library amongst my treasures of historical fiction. Though recently, due to its fragile condition I haven’t dared to read it. So why did it make such an impression and helped shape my love of historical fiction? To give you an idea here is the prologue from this promo site . At a period in historical fiction writing ,when the best craftsmen/women were struggling to convince editors that Victorian style language and prose was definitely in the past and their readers were intelligent enough to understand complex plots and ‘real historical accuracy’ was being presented not Hollywood fantasy RF Tapsell launched his deceptively simple take on the impact of the Steppe cultures on the sedentary societies of the early Dark Ages. What was completely new in this style of story was his depth of historical research and its casual presentation in the tale of one man, Bardiya a refugee Saka noble fleeing the vengeful Tugars, lords of the wide Steppes. What’s more the two opposing societies in this tale the Tugars and the Vedich are presented without the usual stupid bare chested fur clad grunting barbarian stereotypes. While the Tugars of the Steppe are similar to the Avars of history, they lack the usual evil slavering Mongol horde Scourge of God portrayal. They are what they are, the environment of the Steppe and the wars of the Kagan have moulded them into superb warriors not mindless savages. Thankfully we are completely without the Christian/Pagan clash or the Defence of Civilisation so frequently trotted out by writers of the time, though Byzantium the bastion of the Eastern Roman Empire is alluded to in the story, it is as only a passing mention. Without giving away the plot I can say that it is a very good story and well written. I also suspect that contemporary history fiction writers such as Harry Sidebottom and Christian Cameron have had a copy of this fine work tucked away on their shelves at some time. If you’re into Dark Age period fiction or any good stories about the Steppes similar to those two fine writers then I cannot recommend this highly enough. My fondest hope is that mine own Steppe series The Tears of the Goddess when it comes out later this year will be considered worthy of comparison with this gem of historical fiction.
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Short Story June 15, 2012 By Matthew S. Jacobs Format:Kindle Edition|Amazon Verified PurchaseI have really enjoyed all of the5.0 out of 5 stars Great Short Story June 15, 2012 By Matthew S. Jacobs Format:Kindle Edition|Amazon Verified PurchaseI have really enjoyed all of the Red Ned mysteries. The characters are fun, the writing is well-done, and the mysteries are none-too-easy to figure out. I tend to be a reader who simply likes to be entertained. I'm a lawyer who spends all day long reading court papers and cases. When I have relaxation time, I just like to fall into a book and live in the story for a few hours. Greg House's books have been great. Before I know it, I've had a nice, little vacation in Tudor London and I'm ready for the next day at the office. ...more
As a writer it is always difficult and risky giving a review about a novel in your chosen era and genre of writing, for one if it is disparaging it caAs a writer it is always difficult and risky giving a review about a novel in your chosen era and genre of writing, for one if it is disparaging it can be seen as either sour grapes at a successful author or an effort to climb up on the success of another by tearing them down. Either interpretation loses you potential readers and can make you look petty. Hopefully this review of CJ Sansom’s Heartstone avoids those treacherous shoals. Firstly as you are no doubt aware this is the latest instalment in Sansom’s very successful Shardlake series this time set in the year 1544 where England teeters on the brink of French invasion. Under the leadership of an aging King Henry and his divided Privy Council the people of the kingdom rally to its defence, sometimes willing, or resigned but more often reluctant and grudging. In the midst of this Shardlake is asked by his patron Queen Katherine to act on a matter on behalf of one of her old servants in the Court of Wards. As per usual Shadlake reluctantly accepts and while on that commission takes the opportunity to investigate the strange circumstance of Ellen Fettiplace a character he developed some sympathy and affection for in the previous story Revelation. Here endth the précis, on to the meat of the review, Sansom has spent a lot of time and effort building up the character and setting of Shardlake and on the whole it has been good quality work, particularly in Sovereign and Revelation. However in this mammoth book it falls down. The twin plots of the novel do not in my opinion work very well together, in fact they seem to diverge far too frequently with too many tenuous and dubious connections. I suspect that each one on its own would merit a very fine separate novel and been more engaging as a story. As for its inclusion in the 1544 campaign, both plot lines hint at deep importance to the defence of the realm which they were, but the leads go nowhere. Then we come to the use of the principal villain Sir..., whom makes fleeting appearance through out the book only to really emerge in the concluding chapters with a sudden full confession. Oh dear, I found that terribly disappointing and so carboardy cut out and ridiculous that it essentially ruined what pleasure I’d gain in the story. I think for this Sansom’s obvious talents have been squandered by the editor’s poor advice. I’m still after a fashion looking forward to the next instalment of Shardlake but I do hope it is more like Sansom’s previous excellence. Regards Greg ...more
After the excellent reception from readers of historical mysteries to my Red Ned Tudor Mystery series of novels, The Liberties of London, The Queen’sAfter the excellent reception from readers of historical mysteries to my Red Ned Tudor Mystery series of novels, The Liberties of London, The Queen’s Oranges and The Cardinal's Angels, I’m am pleased to announce the release of the first of a new collection of stories—Darkness Divined In this series the Royal Court of Henry VIII is at the heart of the action, the scheming the intrigue, the magic…Ah yes magic, the modern philosophy of alchemy and astrology along with all the inhabitants of the Dark world of Tudor Arcanum, such as the unquiet dead, vampires and practitioners of the darkest sourcery. Francis Bryan a former companion of the King languishes at the edge of the Court stripped of titles and influence, however that is the least of his concerns, when he is order by the Lord Chancellor to investigate the gruesome murder of a royal servant. Francis knows the circumstances of Gwen’s death all too well, his problem is keep her in the grave. For this task of bring a final rest to the unquiet dead, Francis can only rely his worthless servant Bottoph, the dubious alliance of Dr Agryppa, a master of devices with his own dark plans. And finally a reluctant minion with a taste for blood…and revenge.
A new piece of period Historical fantasy, blending the arcane and unnatural with the politics and machinations of Henry VIII’s Tudor England. Murder, mystery and magickal inspired devices give this novel a Renaissance steampunk feel with a twist.
Excellent story The English Civil War is an evocative period in English history, it possesses all the high drama rancorous politics and family divisioExcellent story The English Civil War is an evocative period in English history, it possesses all the high drama rancorous politics and family divisions beloved by writers and filmmakers for plot and characters. Due to this we’ve had a truck loads of the usual romances where in a dashing cavalier rescues a threatened (beautiful) heiress from a menacing and dour roundhead. Ho hum tedious predictable and boring. But not so with this novel Gillian Bradshaw has opted for the more interesting a realistic portrayal of a common English girl who suffers from the dread deeds and degradations of war and isn’t dashingly rescued. However Lucy does take her life and future in her own hands and forges her own unique position in the ferment of Parliamentary London. I was extremely impressed with this story as it concentrates on the actions of common people after the First Civil War to gain a government in Parliament that will serve them and not its own interests. Lucy is an excellent witness to the tumult and division as she is caught up in the push to free John Lilburne arrested by Parliament for advocating suffrage for the common man. I commend this story to anyone looking for a good historical novel or who wants to gain an exceptional view of an exciting period. I can’t wait to reading the second in this series. Regards Gregory House The Liberties of London...more
I have just read it and enjoyed every bit of it. Your insight into the university system is profound. Our profession.... what can I say. Just loved yoI have just read it and enjoyed every bit of it. Your insight into the university system is profound. Our profession.... what can I say. Just loved your presentation of it. I sincerely hope our two heroes make it over the ditch in the third novel. I would be happy to fill you in with details from here - I'll message soon. Hans-Dieter Bader, archaeologist New Zealand
Care for a rollicking adventure with a hefty splash of humour as well as a scenic tour of the Outback of Australia amongst savage ‘Salties’, deadly scorpions and wild wombats? Well here it is. I am proud to announce the released the first book in a new series set in the sun drenched shores of the Antipodes. So found a pyramid in the bush, hieroglyphs in a cave or a galleon buried in the sands? Well without a doubt Peter Wilks, a misplaced medieval scholar, and his cynical Aussie offsider Lampie will be given the task to 'resolve the archaeological conundrum'...or else! Take a stroll to Amazon and download a sample or read on line I'm sure you'll be entertained, amused and maybe even learn how to avoid the lurking crocodiles and other overly friendly denizens of the Kimberleys. Please note I’ve rated this at four stars. My beta readers wanted five, but I must retain some modesty, since it is up to you the reader to judge its true value. Regards Greg http://prognosticationsandpouting.blogspot.com/2011/10/terra-australis-templar.html
As the author of this splendid work I naturally think its pretty good, as does my superbly talented editor (Jocelyn), and I could burble on for pages As the author of this splendid work I naturally think its pretty good, as does my superbly talented editor (Jocelyn), and I could burble on for pages on how this is the equal to PF Chisholm in wit and dry humour or has the sense of thrilling adventure of Rory Clements. I could even say it that it surpasses the literary style of gasp…Barbara Cartland, the doyen of Pink Prose. But I won’t, I will be strong and refrain from the tempting indulgence. For it is up to you the actual reader to make a valued judgement on this novel and leave a note to others on whether it was entertaining and amusing. Please don’t leave it to a publicist or kind old aunt Flo keen to help out a beloved nephew. Leave a review and help Indie writers.
From Amazon 4.0 out of 5 stars Meeting Red Ned for the first time or Red Ned's first pickle March 24, 2012 By Ozmango Format:Kindle Edition|Amazon Verified Purchase Finally had time to finish the first book in the Red Ned series (although the 3rd released). Liberties of London and The Queen's Oranges wet my appetite for this book, alluding as they did to various situations from this adventure. Was it worth the wait? In many ways yes! It was like a prequel, filling in the blank spots left by too big a night in a tavern. You get to meet Red Ned (young student of law), and he gets to meet the Blacks and retinue. All of which are part of the following books. Again, but really for the first time, Ned is embroiled in court intrigue after one such night in a tavern. Waking up in gaol, charged with a murder he can't remember. A murder of one of Cardinal Worsley's trusted lackeys. His good Uncle pays for his extraction and gives him scant time to prove his innocence or be shipped off to France. And so the games begin... ...more
I must admit to coming to Sansom’s historical mystery stories only very recently, although I had been aware of the series forA very sound first novel
I must admit to coming to Sansom’s historical mystery stories only very recently, although I had been aware of the series for a couple of years. Since at the time I was writing my own collection set during the reign of Henry VIII and while my main character like Sansom’s Shardlake is a lawyer in London, Ned is but a lowly apprentice. So rather than be accused of plagiarism I stuck well clear until I’d finished my first quintal of stories. In fact I finally read my first Shardlake novel over Christmas- Dissolution. Put off by the publicity write up and a little wary of the use of a hunchback hero in Tudor times, I hesitated then daring all I took the plunge and dove in. On the whole I’m glad it did. It is true that at the conclusion I found that I had to think seriously about my reaction to the story. As a first novel it was a little rough around the edges with a few flaws in the characters, plot and historical interpretation which I personally found annoying and distracting. But I am admittedly a tad picky. Now for the positive, the overall quality was reasonable, interesting plot, a good attempt at fitting the characters to a ‘living time period’ good quality research for the story background, credible characters and a decent and engaging storyline. I feel that I can recommend it to anyone with a taste for historical fiction. I’d certainly recommend continuing through the series, his later work picks up dramatically in quality and suspense, stunningly so! As the budget allows I will be buying all of the Shardlake series.
How to categorize this book well that isn't so simple, there are almost books without number claiming all manner of attributes and origins to that mosHow to categorize this book well that isn't so simple, there are almost books without number claiming all manner of attributes and origins to that most famous and mysterious of British heroes Arthur-Dux Bellorum or High King of Britain. He has been presented in so many different forms a Celtic King reasserting a lost independence, the last of the Romans in an isolated outpost of a crumbled Empire or even Mallory's and Geoffrey of Monmouth's great chivalric hero. Through all this fiction it is very difficult to tell. As a historian and reconstruction archaeologist I know that you have to look hard for evidence to base your work on and I must say that August Hunt has certainly done that. His research cutting through mythology and ignoring pet theories is based on original place names, reasonable translations and interpretations of the earliest records is to be commended. He presents a very compelling argument to place Arthur and his great battles in the north where the remnant of the old Roman field army most probably still held sway. He examines each phrase of the account of battles and give I feel a very reasoned suggestion as to their validity and location based on the textual and where possible archaeological evidence. Having studied the Arthurian conundrum for decades and been weaned as a teen on Morris' The Age of Arthur, I appreciate fine scholarship and this is it. I have no hesitation in recommending this book to any serious student of Sub Roman Britain as a valuable addition to the Arthurian discussion. Now considering this book a few days after I went through it I found that August's studies opened up a lot more questions. I can only hope that he will find the time to explore them.August Hunt...more
Now as the author I could gush wonderfully about this, saying the novel was the equal of Patricia Finney’s Firedrakes Eye or a better view of the TudoNow as the author I could gush wonderfully about this, saying the novel was the equal of Patricia Finney’s Firedrakes Eye or a better view of the Tudor turmoil than Phillipa Gregory or even a tour de force like CJ Sansom’s Shardlake series. I won’t. That is for you, the reader, to make your own judgement. All I can give you are the opinions of my beta readers. They’ve said it is a great piece of period mystery, blending a hefty splash of humour with the politics and machinations of Tudor England and so forth. Since I don’t pay them, they aren’t relatives and they’ve all expressed an eager willingness to vet my future stories, then just maybe it could be…true? So why don’t you cruise on by download a sample and see what you think. It gives me great pleasure to announce the release on Amazon Kindle of my first full length novel The Queen’s Oranges. Red Ned Bedwell Apprentice lawyer and aspiring rogue having recovered from his ordeals in The Liberties of London and several other difficult tasks from his lords and masters, is once more plunged into the labyrinthine complexities of Tudor politics. This story involves an unnatural double murder, smuggling and the strange hint of a devious plot circling the King’s annulment. For Ned life would be so much easier if he also didn’t have to rescue Meg Black from the suspicion of heresy or find a vanished royal official. Oh yes and of course there are always these damned oranges!
From Amazon 5.0 out of 5 stars Fasinating Insight July 28, 2011 By The Pres Format:Kindle Edition|Amazon Verified PurchaseI thoroughly enjoyed this book. The intricate detail and they many twists and turns had me rivetted to the very end. A wonderful insight into the many intricate dealings between royalty and their followers and the many woven relationships of those held in high regard.
4.0 out of 5 stars Damn you Red Ned Bedwell! November 23, 2011 By Ozmango Format:Kindle Edition|Amazon Verified PurchaseDamn you Red Ned Bedwell and your bevy of cohorts! You kept me up at night. I lost sleep. I even had to download Kindle reader to my smart phone to make reading in bed more comfortable ( the thought of falling asleep with a 10" tablet crashing off the edge was not pretty).
The plots, sub plots and counter plots were well woven through the historic intrigue of the court of Henry VIII in the time leading up his appeal to the Pope to annul his marriage to Katherine. To this backdrop Red Ned and his friends are caught up in the solving of murder, unraveling treasonable plots, finding missing persons and trying to stay alive....all by a Sunday deadline set in a writ from his patron Cromwell.
Mainly free flowing and easy to read, my eyes gobbled up the pages. Sadly, I cannot give full marks to this new author as occasional grammatical errors had my reading come to a grinding halt whilst trying to fathom the meaning of a sentence. More thorough editorial review would have improved the overall impact.
Apart from that, well worth the read. Looking forward to reading the much hinted at (by Red Ned) Cardinal's Angels in the near future. ...more
Red Ned Tudor Mysteries, Apprentice Lawyer and Aspiring Rogue
A series of stories following the life and mis adventures of Edward (Red Ned) Bedwell, aRed Ned Tudor Mysteries, Apprentice Lawyer and Aspiring Rogue
A series of stories following the life and mis adventures of Edward (Red Ned) Bedwell, a young apprentice lawyer at Gray’s Inn and reluctant investigator who experiences first hand the tumult and intrigue during the reigns of the Tudor monarchs from Henry VIII to Queen Elizabeth I. A foot slogger’s view of the dangerous and deadly rivalries, ambitions and human foibles of the Tudor Court. His Sovereign Majesty the King may command and Councillor Cromwell will instruct, but it is poor Ned who has to deal with the inevitable consequences that lead to treachery and murder. In this Ned is mostly aided by the solid friendship of Rob Black, an artificer in iron and bronze. However it also includes the not necessarily appreciated but usually correct hectoring of his sister Mistress Meg Black, an apprentice Apothecary and suspected heretic. With this ill sorted team Ned has to balance solving his master’s instructions with retaining his honour, keeping secrets and somehow climb up the greasy pole of advancement in the Tudor Age.
Since I’m the author of this novella I naturally think its pretty good, however it is for you the reader to make you own judgement. Download a sample, see what you think, if you like it or have a comment please let me know.