Welcome to the next post in my Anticipated Books series for the second half of 2014. YA books have become a big part of my reading diet. Some of my favourite authors are writing for this age group and there are just so many great titles out there. Consequently, I’ve had to spread my YA picks over three posts. This is the first one. For some of these I already have an (e)ARC or review copy, so they’ll definitely be read and reviewed. And for the rest, I’ll have to see whether I get the chance to get my hands on them! Continue reading
Tag archives for Transworld
Welcome to the next post in my Anticipated Books series for the second half of 2014. Like fantasy, there were too many historical fiction books that caught my fancy for one post, so they’ve been split in two. For some of these I already have an (e)ARC or review copy, so they’ll definitely be read and reviewed. And for the rest, I’ll have to see whether I get the chance to get my hands on them! Continue reading
Welcome to the next post in my Anticipated Books series for the second half of 2014. Today it’s time for crime and historical crime fiction books. For some of these I already have an (e)ARC or review copy, so they’ll definitely be read and reviewed. And for the rest, I’ll have to see whether I get the chance to get my hands on them! Continue reading
Welcome to the third post in my Anticipated Books series for the second half of 2014. Today I bring you both my science fiction and my horror picks. For some of these I already have an (e)ARC or review copy, so they’ll definitely be read and reviewed. And for the rest, I’ll have to see whether I get the chance to get my hands on them! Continue reading
Spring, 1648. When Thomas Hill, a bookseller living in rural Hampshire, publishes a political pamphlet he has little idea of the trouble that will follow. He is quickly arrested, forced on a boat to Barbados and condemned to life as a slave to two of the island’s most notoriously violent brothers.
In England war has erupted again, with London under threat of attack. When news of the king’s execution reaches the island, political stability is threatened and a fleet commanded by Sir George Ayscue arrives to take control of the island for Cromwell. The threat of violence increases. Thomas finds himself witness to abuse, poison, rape and savage brutality.
When a coded message from Ayscue to a sympathiser on the island is intercepted, Thomas is asked to decipher it. A disastrous battle seems inevitable.
But nothing turns out as planned. And as the death toll mounts, the escape Thomas has been relying on seems ever more unlikely…
The first book in the Thomas Hill series, The King’s Spy, was one of the first books set during the English Civil War I read and it was certainly one that opened my eyes to this fascinating era of British history. It also had a rather intriguing protagonist, a bookseller who was also a cryptographer. I really enjoyed that first book, especially since Andrew Swanston gave the reader the opportunity to try her own hand at decrypting the messages, though to be honest, I am not made for these sorts of exercises, yet I still found it captivating. The King’s Exile, the second book in the series has languished on my TBR-pile for a while, but when I finally opened it up it was very easy to get back into Thomas’ world. The narrative was very different from last time, with far less puzzles and decrypting and more surviving and action, yet all the same very entertaining. Continue reading
Driven by the desire to repay the treachery of his former patron, the Emperor Galba, and to keep his rival Valens in check, Severus leads his army against barbarian rebellions and against the mountains themselves in his race to reach Italy first. With the vast Po valley almost in sight, news reaches the army that Galba has been killed in a coup, and that Otho has been declared Emperor by the Praetorians who he had bribed to murder their own emperor.
But there is no turning back for Severus, even if he wanted to. The Rhine legions want their man on the throne, and they won’t stop until they reach Rome itself. Even once Otho is defeated, the battle for supremacy between Severus and Valens is far from over. The politics of the court and the mob is the new battleground, and Severus needs the help of his wife Salonina and his freedman Totavalas in this constant game of thrones. When stories spread of a new power in the east, Severus has to decide where his real loyalty lies: to his Emperor, to his city or to himself?
In 2012 I read Henry Venmore-Rowland’s debut The Last Caesar, the first book about Aulus Caecina Severus, and enjoyed it very much. Its sequel The Sword and the Throne languished somewhat on my TBR-pile even though I did truly want to know what happened next, so it was one of the first titles I put on the list for my Historical Fiction Month. And it was certainly good to return to Severus’ story, though it is a very different one from The Last Caesar. Where that book was about Romans but not Rome, this book is still about Romans, but Rome is very much part of the narrative. It is also a far bleaker story than Venmore-Rowland’s debut with its protagonist growing older, wiser, and increasingly bitter. Continue reading
But when King Gorm puts Jarl Harald’s family to the sword, he makes one terrible mistake – he fails to kill Harald’s youngest son, Sigurd.
On the run, unsure who to trust and hunted by powerful men, Sigurd wonders if the gods have forsaken him: his kin are slain or prisoners, his village attacked, its people taken as slaves. Honour is lost.
And yet he has a small band of loyal men at his side and with them he plans his revenge. All know that Ódin – whose name means frenzy – is drawn to chaos and bloodshed, just as a raven is to slaughter. In the hope of catching the All-Father’s eye, the young Viking endures a ritual ordeal and is shown a vision. Wolf, bear, serpent and eagle come to him. Sigurd will need their help if he is to make a king pay in blood for his treachery.
Using cunning and war-craft, he gathers together a band of warriors – including Olaf, his father’s right hand man, Bram who men call Bear, Black Floki who wields death with a blade, and the shield maiden Valgerd, who fears no man – and convinces them to follow him. For, whether Ódin is with him or not, Sigurd will have his vengeance. And neither men nor gods had best stand in his way . . .
Vikings! While Giles Kristian first reached my radar with his Viking novels, the first of his works I actually read was his Civil War novel The Bleeding Land. This book, chronicling the fate of the Rivers family during the Civil War completely blew me away, as did its sequel Brothers’ Fury–in fact, I’m still hoping for a third instalment. However, when God of Vengeance was announced as a new Viking novel and a prequel to Kristian’s Raven series I was equally stoked, because I’d finally get to read one of his Viking tales. And it was every bit as good as I’d hoped. It combined everything I loved about his Civil War books – his sense of language, character development, and gut-punching action scenes – with Vikings. What more could I have asked for? Well, a glossary actually, but it turned out there was supposed to be one in the book, but due to a printing error it got omitted and will be added to later printings. So, well-fixed before I mentioned it really. But what about the actual story? Continue reading
Dublin, 1841. On a cold December morning, a small boy is enticed away from his mother and his throat savagely cut. This could be just one more small, sad death in a city riven by poverty, inequality and political unrest, but this killing causes a public outcry. For it appears the culprit – a feckless student named John Delahunt – is also an informant and in the pay of the authorities at Dublin Castle. And strangely, this young man seems neither to regret what he did nor fear his punishment. Indeed, as he awaits the hangman in his cell in Kilmainham Gaol, John Delahunt decides to tell his story in this, his final, deeply unsettling statement . . .
Based on true events that convulsed Victorian Ireland, The Convictions of John Delahunt is the tragic tale of a man who betrays his family, his friends, his society and, ultimately, himself. Set amidst Dublin’s taverns, tenements, courtrooms and alleyways and with a rich, Dickensian cast of characters, this compelling, at times darkly humorous, novel brilliantly evokes a time and a place, and introduces a remarkable new literary voice.
Dark, gloomy, and oppressive, the Victorian Dublin we’re presented with in The Convictions of John Delahunt is eerily like Dickensian London and yet quite different. In his debut novel Andrew Hughes takes us to this harsh, but beautiful city to tell us the tale of the murderer John Delahunt. A figure of historical record with documented crimes, Delahunt is the beating heart of this tale, yet it’s not just his tale. It’s also a look at how the Dublin police force functioned at the time and it’s a love story and an unexpected one at that. Continue reading
In the past two and a half weeks I’ve brought you my Anticipated Books for Winter/Spring 2014 and today I bring you the fifteen books I anticipate reading the most in the coming six months. As usual it’s a list of fifteen, as there are just too many good books to choose from and I always have a hard time getting the list down to the more usual ten books. Also as per usual, I’ve excluded many books I’m really looking forward to reading right out of the gate, for example all the new instalments in series I’ve been reading. If I loved the previous book in the series, it’s a good bet I’ll want to read the next one. Some examples of these are Tom Pollock’s final book in The Skyscraper Throne trilogy, Our Lady of the Streets, Douglas Hulick’s long-awaited second book Sworn in Steel and Stephanie Saulter’s Binary, the second book in her ®Evolution series. I also left off repeat offenders who also made the list last time, such as Mark Alder’s Son of the Morning. So below in alphabetical order by author is my list, with a little explanation of why I really can’t wait to read these books. Do you agree or would you have chosen differently from the lists I posted recently? Continue reading