I find it more and more difficult to write a review of Christians books, it’s so expected to write how wonderful they are. This book is no exception. T...moreI find it more and more difficult to write a review of Christians books, it’s so expected to write how wonderful they are. This book is no exception. The characters as ever are some of the most rounded and real that you will read in any historical fiction novel, the action is probably the most realistic and authentic (all driven by his passion for Re-enactment and trying to live the parts, to write about them). What sets these tales apart is that while i get the cut and thrust of battle that i love in these ancient tales, i also get so much more.
The Hero Arimenestos isn’t perfect, he is very flawed, he can be vain, arrogant, passionate, impulsive, heroic. But more than that, he is a family man, his family being more than just relations, his ship mates, his friends, Plataea and his fellow hero’s. So often he finds himself on opposing sides to people he cares about while fighting with of for those he is indifferent to, but country wins over personal loyalty. The tug of war for his soul played out on the page. It’s this emotional tug of war that Christian Cameron excels at in his writing, drawing on what i can only assume is personal experience in the armed forces, and his own innate kindness as a human being.
I can’t go into the history behind the novel in anywhere close to the depth of the author or even JPS (review on here) what i can say is that i felt the history, it felt real. I felt i was there for every battle, for every race, for every tear and every heartbreak and betrayal. The ending and the inevitable death of the Spartan king is heart-breaking and crushing for the reader, portraying a fraction of what the men of the time must have felt. all again showing the skill of the writing.
This truly ranks up there as my all-time favourite series.
Historical fiction is a genre I really enjoy reading But… Im really not a fan of the Tudor period, its one of the few parts of English history...moreReview:
Historical fiction is a genre I really enjoy reading But… Im really not a fan of the Tudor period, its one of the few parts of English history we covered at school. The trouble is my history teacher was terrible, she like to sneak off for a cigarette in the supply room rather than teach, we were educated in most of our subject matter direct from dry dusty text books. Recently though several authors have managed to bring to life periods of history i considered “potentially boring” so how could i not give C.W. Gortner the benefit of the doubt.
I’m bloody glad i did, the book was incredible; the whole period brought to life, given colour and passion, intrigue , violence, action and the tension of well constructed conspiracies. The characters especially Brendan Prescott are life like and more importantly believable. Its very easy to make a hero larger than life in a book, but Prescott is just a clever real young man, someone thrust into the middle of big conspiracies, hiding his own secrets like the rest of the people he deals with. Princess Elizabeth is cool, calm and enigmatic as expected, but also scared, troubled, frightened and doing all she can and all she thinks is right for her country, and to survive her sisters papal leanings and advisers. This really is a wonderful book that flys along at such a pace its over before you know it or want it to be.
Review Imperial Fire takes up the tale of Vallon, Hero and Wayland, this time a mission (some might say suicide mission) to China to gain the “fire dru...moreReview Imperial Fire takes up the tale of Vallon, Hero and Wayland, this time a mission (some might say suicide mission) to China to gain the “fire drug” of the east, a fabulous powder that explodes when lit, Vallon is ordered to lead his small force to China following the rumours to gain this amazing substance. Having read Hawk quest gives you an intimate knowledge and compassion for the main characters, which means you have more of a stake in the fate of the characters, but it isn’t by any means imperative to have read it to read Imperial Fire. As in any new book we get to meet new characters (every mission needs its star trek like men with the red jackets… fodder for the writer to …bump off) As usual they have they flair and depth that the author brings to all his characters, even bit part players seem to be fully formed before they leave the play. The Journey facing our heroes is huge, they will face almost every danger imaginable, pirates, Vikings, hostile tribesmen, bandits and robbers and the ever present threat or betrayal and for men such as these the most dangerous foe of all…women of power and influence. Once again the authors attention to details is second to none, Hawk Quest being one of the most complete and accomplished tales in recent years in this genre, Imperial Fire was always going to be an uphill battle to meet expectations. Happily for me they are met fully, although I have to say that Imperial Fire is a darker tale, and the writers style that really involves the reader and makes them part of the tale means that the journey is not always pleasant (understatement) . It is however hugely entertaining, brilliantly absorbing and wonderfully told, painting vivid images of the past, the horrors and the highs.
When i first picked up Wounds of Honour in 2009 i had no idea i would be starting a journey of so much danger, excitement and action. Also when...moreReview
When i first picked up Wounds of Honour in 2009 i had no idea i would be starting a journey of so much danger, excitement and action. Also when starting with a debut writer i had no idea i would be enjoying these books more and more every year, watching the skill of the writer grow and the depth of the plot increase with every tome.
Book 7 the Emperors Knives goes so much further than its predecessors, it truly is a book crammed with Machiavellian schemes, plots within plots, as our group of heroes try to help Marcus survive his honour and the machinations of the various schemers set against him within the walls of Rome. As with any Anthony Riches book the reader is left with that ever present feeling of the norns / fates, sat there spinning away the destinies of those in the book, Tony Riches joining them at the loom of life ready to snip an unsuspecting characters life thread at a moments notice either in a spectacular or blasé fashion. I shall not spoil the book by saying if anyone interesting dies…. but blood will be spilled and as writers go Tony is a bit of a swine to his men.
This book comes with a warning to readers, it is one that sucks away your time, you will sit down to read and find that the day has passed while you are marching with legions and uncovering plots. As ever i doff my cap to Tony Riches as he exceeds the plot and power of the previous book, something very very hard to keep doing, but the constant hard work and effort, the striving for more, the digging for detail in dusty research books, and the re-enactment that gives first hand experience, really pays off in the pages of this wonderful book.
I highly recommend this book, and if you have not read any of the Empire series (Why?) then please do start it now, you will not be disappointed. Seven books in and its just getting better and better.
if you want to see a great Q&A from the author go visit parmenionbooks.wordpress (.com) always good to peek behind the author curtain.(less)
I had high hopes for this book and it didn’t let me down. When I first read the authors debut book Origin I found myself initially a little incr...moreReview
I had high hopes for this book and it didn’t let me down. When I first read the authors debut book Origin I found myself initially a little incredulous at the scope of the book. But then I re-read the book and found myself marvelling at the brass balls of the author, his ambition, drive and imagination to cover so many of the unanswered questions in the world, so many conspiracies under one book cover.
That however gave me a set of expectations for book 2, and initially my first read didn’t deliver that same ballsy scope, but then instead it delivered a quality thriller, and built to a world defining action packed book. One with great characters, ambitious global implications, high octane action and some very tight sparse fast paced writing.
As per book one JT Brannan keeps the reader guessing throughout the book, the edge of the seat action means that the book can easily be a single sitting read, 400 pages goes so fast. Its a real testament to the writing style, skill and the plot of the book.
I’m not going to explore the plot its self, the product description gives enough flavour, anymore is too open to spoilers. Suffice to say, nothing is as it seems, big brother is watching you, and nothing is to crazy and idea, it may just be true.
Its very easy for a lot of historical fiction to get classed as swords and sandals. Most peoples who dont read the genre have the impression th...moreReview:
Its very easy for a lot of historical fiction to get classed as swords and sandals. Most peoples who dont read the genre have the impression thats its a bit of a dry, wordy style book with a lot of stabby stabby blood, war death maybe some sex and then the end. Firstly Swords and Sandals is so much more than that, there is humor, comradeship, tactics, fighting skills, characters and more, so never judge a book by its label.
That said Clouds of War is not swords and sandals in my opinion, so if you read the genre or not this book is something different, something much more personal, its a history lesson, its a life lesson, its a story of love, life, grief, both personal and national and romance. Its a book filled on a very personal level, it has an energy, a pace and a deep love of history you don’t find in many books, and not many authors have the skill to carry off.
As usual with my look at a book, i’m not going to risk spoilers, or try and pull apart the plot, too much chance of spoiling the book for others. The book blurb tells you all about this stage of the story of Hanno, Quintus and Aurelia. What i will talk about is once again is Ben’s amazing writing. There are a few authors who can leave me thinking about a book for more than an hour or so after i finish the review, There are even fewer who can elicit a real emotional response. Maybe i’m a sentimental old Granddad these days, but some of the familia led plot was just heartrending. I guarantee that this book will reduce some readers to absolute tears. Where with Anthony Riches you know that at some point someone is going to get a yard of steel through the guts, its almost part of the boys own action of it. With Ben it again is no surprise to see death, but it could be murder, famine, thirst, disease or war and it might not be just a family member it could be a whole village, a legion anyone. The man is so much more brutal when it comes to mortality, but only in terms of relaying the brutality of life and war in the ancient world.
Ben probably more than any writer shows you life in the ancient world, warts and all. And none of that should put a reader off, just the opposite, you MUST buy this book. This is the culmination of years of writing lessons learned, adding all the feedback, adding every nuance and experience to his writing skill.