Ancient & Medieval Historical Fiction discussion

Blood Forest (Blood Forest #1)
This topic is about Blood Forest
75 views
Monthly Group Reads > JUNE 2018: BLOOD FOREST by Geraint Jones

Comments Showing 1-50 of 83 (83 new)    post a comment »
« previous 1

message 1: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new) - rated it 2 stars

Terri | 19573 comments June Group Read thread for the book Blood Forest by Geraint Jones.

All welcome in the discussion. Even if you have already read it. And even if you haven't, but are simply interested in the discussion.


message 2: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (last edited May 15, 2018 02:54PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Terri | 19573 comments I'll be reading this one with any other members who wish to join in.
I've already bought it and it will arrive in time to start it on the 1st of June.


Jane | 3470 comments I'll be doing a reread.


message 4: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new) - rated it 2 stars

Terri | 19573 comments Great. It must be a decent read then, if you can stomach a reread. :)


message 5: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (last edited May 15, 2018 07:12PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Terri | 19573 comments Here is an interview with the author on Forces.net.

Soldier Turned Author Debuts War Story Blood Forest
https://www.forces.net/radio/soldier-...

(Thanks Marilyn for passing it on :)..)


message 6: by Marilyn (new)

Marilyn (mbk1857) | 390 comments My pleasure. I found it very interesting. 😊


message 7: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new) - rated it 2 stars

Terri | 19573 comments Do you think you'll get to the book eventually, Marilyn? Even though you wore yourself out on Ben Kane's version of the same massacre?


message 8: by Marilyn (new)

Marilyn (mbk1857) | 390 comments The thought is intriguing given that the story is told from the “grunt’s” (common soldier) point of view. One cannot escape that point of view has remained the same down thru the eons of war. So, yes, I shall probably read it after all. Eventually.


message 9: by Marilyn (new)

Marilyn (mbk1857) | 390 comments Yes. Eventually.


message 10: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (last edited Jun 03, 2018 03:25PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Terri | 19573 comments My copy came in the mail yesterday. So I'll be ready to go on the 1st of June.

I hope it isn't too 'grunt' in the dialogue. I expect some ie Gates of Fire: An Epic Novel of the Battle of Thermopylae (when done well like Gates, it isn't too corny), but there are those authors who get drunk on attempts to appeal to the 'man's man' reader. And they forget that man's man shouldn't mean that their characters are loud, obnoxious and annoying. A man's man on steroids. :)


message 11: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new) - rated it 2 stars

Terri | 19573 comments Righto. I am away. Kicking off tonight.

After a lot of early medieval, this will be quite a jump. To go back to Roman. Crossing fingers I enjoy it.


message 12: by Jane (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jane | 3470 comments Terri wrote: "Righto. I am away. Kicking off tonight.

After a lot of early medieval, this will be quite a jump. To go back to Roman. Crossing fingers I enjoy it."


I hope you do, too! It should be much better than your and my "favorite" Roman group read of awhile back. :)


message 13: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new) - rated it 2 stars

Terri | 19573 comments It is definitely better! :) So far I am finding the writing good and smart and the dialogue mature. What a relief!

Looks like this book has promise - 20 pages in right now.


message 14: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new) - rated it 2 stars

Terri | 19573 comments 80 pages in. With my small paperback that puts it at Chapter 10.

It is a bit up and down right now. I know sooner or later something will happen, but i'm getting a little bored waiting for it. Mostly it is a book about A Squadies Life up to this point. Any action is brief and the one glimmer of something more was over before it started.

This character has a story to tell and he's not telling it. And I don't mean his back story, because that will obviously come. I mean the story between now and finding out his back story.
I don't want to read another Squadies Life Roman hist fic, so I am looking forward to Felix doing something other than that.

Only 80 pages in though! A few hundred to go! I am sure it is pure scene setting and more will happen soon.


message 15: by Jane (last edited Jun 03, 2018 11:03AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jane | 3470 comments Terri wrote: "80 pages in. With my small paperback that puts it at Chapter 10.

It is a bit up and down right now. I know sooner or later something will happen, but i'm getting a little bored waiting for it. Mos..."



Yes, this is an introduction to the setting and characters, with emphasis on a small group of infantrymen: their personalities, how they interact, and even camaraderie. The "action" [which will be pretty gory and intense] and Felix's backstory [ including motivation] from Pannonia to Germania will come later. Did you read the Author's note at the back? Mr. Jones states he feels soldiers of all eras are the same in reactions to war and his object was to portray the devastating toll war can take on the psyche. As I believe I said in my review, I thought he could have used any setting, and I suggested maybe WWII. I was thinking particularly of the jungles of say, Burma or the Philippines. Please don't abandon this story, Terri, it could be called a "slow burner"!


message 16: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (last edited Jun 03, 2018 05:10PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Terri | 19573 comments Okay, Jane. If you think I should keep going then I will. I am at page 170 now and I am starting to skim read. Barely hanging in there.

Up to now the story is the mundane day to day army life and emphasis on camaraderie. But this is a novel, and it needs to have more going on than hanging out in the tent, on watch, scouting, latrine digging etc etc.
The story is hiding so faintly ie Felix's back story, his relationship with Arminius, is barely there.
I am worried about how much more of this mundane/camaraderie story telling is still to come.

As I read military non fiction, the camaraderie and mundane life is better told in autobiographies and the like. I've never been a fan of it in historical fiction, unless it is contemporaneous.

Like Matterhorn and ones like it, where you have veterans telling fiction stories in wars they fought in.

I don't like criticising it because there is a market for these kinds of Roman hist fic. And there are so few debut authors getting published in the genre these days. I feel bad for not liking it.
I am happy for the author. Share in his joy at being published. But unfortunately we have a compatibility issue here. I didn't realise this book was one of those Roman hist fics where the focus is on squadie camaraderie.
No disrespect meant. It is just not my thing. I don't like hist fic about Kings and Queens either. For different reasons of course, :) We all have sub genres of hist fic that we don't go in for.


message 17: by Jane (last edited Jun 03, 2018 02:30PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jane | 3470 comments Terri wrote: "Okay, Jane. If you think I should keep going then I will. I am at page 170 now and I am starting to skim read. Barely hanging in there. If I hadn't paid for it, if it was a library book, I would ha..."

I guess like Titus you're saying to yourself: "Give us a battle!" :) It's coming, and will be pretty violent! The guys will be right in the most dangerous part of it. Think of the proverbial snowball rolling downhill; it's still still near the top but it's picking up speed....


message 18: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (last edited Jun 03, 2018 03:18PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Terri | 19573 comments Haha. I like Titus. Titus, Pavo and Arminius. Good characters. The only ones with colour to them. :)

I want to agree, but, alas, I'm not really into battles, believe it or not! Or, at least, long-winded ones that go on and on and on.
If they are well done, then I forget I don't like long-winded battle. Hopefully this is one of those.

I should clarify. It isn't the squadie life and dialogue that is alienating me as a reader, it is simply that there is far too much of it! All the yapping and mundane. The mundane is a part of real military life, the crappest part of being in the armed forces. Why would I want to read a whole book on it? Haha!


message 19: by Jane (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jane | 3470 comments Terri wrote: "Haha. I like Titus. Titus, Pavo and Arminius. Good characters. The only ones with colour to them. :)

I want to agree, but, alas, I'm not really into battles, believe it or not! Or, at least, long-..."


I was just making a joke--about battles. What I liked was the psychological aspect and the group dynamics. And, although I've read several novels [and some nonfiction] on Teutoberg and know what happens, I enjoy each author's different slant on it. As I remember, Mr. Jones states in his notes that Arminius is his favorite character in that whole episode. I felt that the tentmates are really stereotypes, which I felt you imply. Am I right?


message 20: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new) - rated it 2 stars

Terri | 19573 comments Ah..hmm..um...yes. :] I was indeed implying that.
Give me Titus, Pavos and Arminius characters any day. Felix and the rest...meh, they sound like boring blokes to be stuck in a tent with. lol


message 21: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new) - rated it 2 stars

Terri | 19573 comments P.S I try not to read author's notes or historical notes until close to the end, or the end. Sometimes I can't help myself, but I like to fight off the urge.


message 22: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (last edited Jun 03, 2018 05:21PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Terri | 19573 comments 220 pages. I am already thinking about how the heck I am going to review this novel.

I don't think it is bad... just not compatible with it, for the same reason I am not compatible with a lot of Roman hist fic.
Those novels where it isn't a bad book and it is only a matter of taste are hard to review and rate.


message 23: by Jane (last edited Jun 03, 2018 06:33PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jane | 3470 comments Terri wrote: "220 pages. I am already thinking about how the heck I am going to review this novel.

I don't think it is bad... just not compatible with it, for the same reason I am not compatible with a lot of R..."



I know what you mean. I've felt that way about others on occasion. And, there are certain historical periods I'm not that interested in.

It sounds like you're leaning towards a 3: middle-of-the-road....


message 24: by Jane (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jane | 3470 comments Terri wrote: "P.S I try not to read author's notes or historical notes until close to the end, or the end. Sometimes I can't help myself, but I like to fight off the urge."

I like to read them after I'm into a book a little ways, if possible, but everyone's different.


message 25: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new) - rated it 2 stars

Terri | 19573 comments Yeah, I'm thinking a three. I had a stage there where I was thinking two!! But then I realised that isn't the book, that is because the subject matter isn't compatible, which isn't a flaw with the book.


message 26: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new) - rated it 2 stars

Terri | 19573 comments I thought there may be others reading this book too. Anybody else out there? Or am I alone?

Jane are you doing a reread?


message 27: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (last edited Jun 04, 2018 03:57PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Terri | 19573 comments I really hate to say it, but I am leaning back towards 2 stars. Now it is really starting to bug me that there is no plot.
Just walking, talking, camping, arguing, talking all the time. killing them, getting killed. Romans strung up in trees. Romans strung up in more trees. Tortured Romans, tortured Germans. All well and good, but it is not deviating from these themes into a plot.
Where is the plot?
I used to think my problem with the book was me not it, but now I feel it is the book.

I feel bad for not liking it. :(

Page 300.


message 28: by Margaret, Sherlockian Sheila (new)

Margaret (margyw) | 3330 comments I'm trying to get hold of a copy. My library doesn't have it, but reading your last post, I don't think I'll bother.


message 29: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (last edited Jun 04, 2018 05:07PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Terri | 19573 comments I can't remember, have you read any of this type Roman stuff before? Where it is predominately about squaddie life with not much else going on?


message 30: by Jane (last edited Jun 04, 2018 06:14PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jane | 3470 comments Offhand, the Roman military stuff I read concern some form of officer, from optio through centurion on up. The squaddies were mostly tangential. I just went through my list of Roman stuff, and I saw nothing exactly like Blood Forest. There are others on Teutoberg but only one in ANY year, concentrating on a bunch of squaddies. Teutoberg WAS a slog and it probably happened pretty much as you describe.
In The Man With Two Names: A Novel of Ancient Rome, the hero rises from legionary [after giving up a position as tribune] to centurion. Most of the book is him and his tentmates. I think this story will be a trilogy, following the career of the hero, who WAS historical, in the Roman Republic.


message 31: by Jane (last edited Jun 04, 2018 06:01PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jane | 3470 comments Terri wrote: "I thought there may be others reading this book too. Anybody else out there? Or am I alone?

Jane are you doing a reread?"



Yes, I did reread. I concentrated more on the psychological aspect and dynamics this time and made my comments from my rereading.
Plot? The whole Teutoberg Disaster and how it messed up the minds of a group of common soldiers.
I've been curious too; is anyone else reading the book?


message 32: by Margaret, Sherlockian Sheila (new)

Margaret (margyw) | 3330 comments Terri wrote: "I can't remember, have you read any of this type Roman stuff before? Where it is predominately about squaddie life with not much else going on?"

I've read the first two of Ben Kane's Teutoberger series. Waiting on the third.


message 33: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (last edited Jun 04, 2018 06:50PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Terri | 19573 comments In my opinion, and this is just my opinion. I mean no disrespect to your own opinion... Teutoberg and it's effect on soldiers is not a plot. That is just the setting and characterisation. The plot and sub plotting gets laid over that.

Doesn't matter if it is Teutoberg, British tribes/Boudicca., or Azincourt, or WWI Gallipoli or the Somme, it is just another slaughter fest messing up a guy (or girl's) head. No different to a soldier psychologically than any other slaughter fest. The author said this himself in the author's note. About him believing soldiering experience is the same for soldiers throughout history. So his representation of the soldiering is not new.

For me the psychological effect is a given with all battles, Teutoberg is not unique. This is just soldiering.

For hist fic, it is the plot woven through the soldiering that will make a story uniquely different from all those other Roman Hist Fics that are mostly about the human condition in war.

I noticed there were other reviews who pointed out the lack of plot until right at the end. And plenty of reviews who don't care.
Maybe it just depends on what you are looking for in Roman hist fic.

If you enjoy an author retelling events in history from the perspective of the soldier, with the plot and sub plot taking a backseat, then Blood Forest is for you. That's not a bad thing. Or a flaw of the book.
My issue is not that there is a lot of soldiering. It is that after 300 pages, that is all I am getting with sub plot and plot gone as soon as it appears. I think the soldiering is taking up too much real estate in this story.

But, it is all personal taste. :)


message 34: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new) - rated it 2 stars

Terri | 19573 comments Have you read any Scarrow, Riches, Fabbri, Margaret?


message 35: by happy (last edited Jun 04, 2018 07:08PM) (new) - added it

happy (happyone) | 2743 comments I haven't gotten my copy yet - ordered it last weekend

Like I said before, I'm interested in comparing it to Ben Kane's take on the same battle.


message 36: by Margaret, Sherlockian Sheila (new)

Margaret (margyw) | 3330 comments Terri wrote: "Have you read any Scarrow, Riches, Fabbri, Margaret?"

Scarrow, but not the others. I read quite a few before I got bored with Cato and Macro.


message 37: by Jane (last edited Jun 04, 2018 09:22PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jane | 3470 comments Terri wrote: "In my opinion, and this is just my opinion. I mean no disrespect to your own opinion... Teutoberg and it's effect on soldiers is not a plot. That is just the setting and characterisation. The plot ..."

I see where you're coming from.


message 38: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new) - rated it 2 stars

Terri | 19573 comments And I see where you are coming from. :)

We're just looking for different things from the story.


message 39: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (last edited Jun 04, 2018 09:58PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Terri | 19573 comments And I must say, I can't wait for the Romans to get their arse kicked. I am fully on the side of the Germans. (view spoiler) ... to bring those Romans to their knees.

Just sad that the Romans eventually come back and, while never conquering them, still destroy them in large numbers in later battles. Breaks my heart.


message 40: by Jane (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jane | 3470 comments Terri wrote: "And I must say, I can't wait for the Romans to get their arse kicked. I am fully on the side of the Germans. [spoilers removed] ... to bring those Romans to their knees.

Just sad that the Romans e..."



It's coming! (view spoiler)


message 41: by Jane (last edited Jun 05, 2018 08:07AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jane | 3470 comments happy wrote: "I haven't gotten my copy yet - ordered it last weekend

Like I said before, I'm interested in comparing it to Ben Kane's take on the same battle."



I've read several by different authors [including Kane] and each is interesting in its own way and comes at it from a different angle and emphasis.


Megan (oreodont) | 27 comments I'm looking forward to reading this, the above comments notwithstanding. I asked my library to purchase it but the last time I did this (for Cathar), the process took weeks.


message 43: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (last edited Jun 05, 2018 02:14PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Terri | 19573 comments Definitely don't be put off by my reaction to it, Megan. If the star ratngs on the book's page are anything to go, I am in the minority. :)

Which is perfectly okay, but is a sign that most people are okay with it being predominately soldiering.

This type of Roman hist fic has a lot of fans.


message 44: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new) - rated it 2 stars

Terri | 19573 comments Finished. 2 stars. I wanted to give it 3, but 3 means I Liked It, and unfortunately, I didn't like it, no matter how much I wanted to.

For me the best parts were the first three Chaps and the last couple. The rest was a blur of just a lot of talking and walking. :(

I have no doubt this was made worse by my dislike of Romans. But lack of plot was a huge deal to me.


message 45: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (last edited Jun 05, 2018 02:14PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Terri | 19573 comments Jane,
(view spoiler)

Above spoiler should only be viewed if you have finished the book.


message 46: by Linda (new) - added it

Linda (ladylawyer8650) | 1696 comments I am looking for an ebook copy and cannot find it. I think there is a new Conn Iggulden book that I cannot find. Can I pitch Thomas Fleming's LOYALTIES: A BOOK OF WWII? I got it for two dollars on Amazon last week. The sale price may still be available.


message 47: by Jane (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jane | 3470 comments Terri wrote: "Finished. 2 stars. I wanted to give it 3, but 3 means I Liked It, and unfortunately, I didn't like it, no matter how much I wanted to.

For me the best parts were the first three Chaps and the last..."


Too bad they don't have a 2.5.


message 48: by Jane (last edited Jun 05, 2018 06:26PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jane | 3470 comments Terri wrote: "Jane,
Thank goodness for Arminius and Corvus. Punishing those Roman scum for their genocide. A real shame that Corvus returned to his men. But I guess that scenario helps the writer with the plann..."


Terri, I had to chuckle at your spoiler. :)


message 49: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new) - rated it 2 stars

Terri | 19573 comments I really don't like those Romans, Jane. Love seeing them get what they deserve. haha. :-D


message 50: by Jane (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jane | 3470 comments Terri wrote: "I really don't like those Romans, Jane. Love seeing them get what they deserve. haha. :-D"

Terri, I bet you were chortling with glee!!! I'd guess you feel about Romans how I feel about Uhtred? :)


« previous 1
back to top