Grudgebearer – The Grudgebearer Trilogy #1 – J.F. Lewis

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Release date: September 2nd, 2014
Publisher: Pyr
Age Group: Adult
Pages: 415
Format: Paperback
Source: Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Kholster is the first born of the practically immortal Aern, a race created by the Eldrennai as warrior-slaves to defend them from the magic-resistant reptilian Zaur.  Unable to break an oath without breaking their connection with each other, the Aern served the Eldrennai faithfully for thousands of years until the Sundering. Now, the Aern, Vael, and Eldrennai meet every hundred years for a Grand Conjunction to renew their tenuous peace.  

While the tortures of slavery remain fresh in Kholster’s mind, most of the rest of the world has moved on. Almost six hundred years after the Sundering, an Eldrennai prince carelessly breaks the truce by setting up a surprise museum exhibit containing sentient suits of Aernese armor left behind, never to be touched, lest Kholster kill every last Eldrennai. Through their still-existing connection with their ancient armor, the Aern know instantly, and Kholster must find a way to keep his oaths, even those made in haste and anger. While Kholster travels to the Grand Conjunction with his Freeborn daughter and chosen successor Rae’en, his troops travel by sea, heading for war. 

Review:

‘Grudgebearer’ is a layered and complex story with multifaceted characters that is perfect when you want to immerse yourself in a whole new world and its rich history. I wasn’t sure how to feel about the book when I first started it, but after finishing it I can’t help but really love it.

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The Pyre – The Return of Ravana #1 – David Hair

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Release date: June 4th, 2015
Publisher: Jo Fletcher Books
Age Group: (Young) Adult
Pages: 325
Format: Paperback
Source: Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Mandore, Rajasthan, 769 AD: Ravindra-Raj, the evil sorcerer-king, devises a deadly secret ritual, where he and his seven queens will burn on his pyre, and he will rise again with the powers of Ravana, demon-king of the epic Ramayana. But things go wrong when one queen, the beautiful, spirited Darya, escapes with the help of Aram Dhoop, the court poet.

Jodhpur, Rajasthan, 2010: At the site of ancient Mandore, teenagers Vikram, Amanjit, Deepika and Rasita meet and realize that the deathless king and his ghostly brides are hunting them down. As vicious forces from the past come alive, they need to unlock truths that have been hidden for centuries, and fight an ancient battle . . . one more time.

 

Review:

Set in India, the present as well as the past, and exploring the culture, mythology and history of the country ‘The Pyre’ seemed the perfect book to continue my list of books with diverse settings. No surprise then that I was very excited to start this book when it came in the mail and I’m glad to say I wasn’t disappointed at all! Once you start this book it’s very hard to put down. Both the events set in the present and those in the past kept me flipping the pages, wondering what would happen next.

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Spotlight: ‘Oathkeeper’ by J.F. Lewis

Oathkeeper is the second book in the Grudgebearer Trilogy. The first book, Grudgebearer, is an exciting fantasy novel that I’m very much enjoying at the moment. Oathkeeper will be published on the 9th of June by Pyr in the US.

About The Book:

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Rae’en has taken her father’s place as First of the practically immortal Aern, a race created by the Eldrennai as warrior-slaves to defend them from the magic-resistant reptilian Zaur. Freed from all Oaths by Kholster’s death, Rae’en decides to wage war on the Eldrennai anyway out of rage and grief.

The war between the Eldrennai and Zaur has begun. Bloodmane, leader of the now independent mystic-warsuits, has underestimated both the sheer numbers of the Zaur and their field leader General Tsan. As the warsuits  prepare to assist the Eldrennai  in the  defense of their Watch cities, the Zaur warlord, Xastix, launches the bulk of his forces at the Vael in an attempt to cut off all outside help.

Prince Rivvek, having been accepted as an Aiannai (Oathkeeper) before Kholster’s death must claim the Eldrennai throne by completing the Test of Four so that he can enact his plan to save as much of his kingdom as possible.  Meanwhile, his brother Prince Dolvek hatches a plot to enlist the aid of the plant-like Vael to defeat the Zaur horde who are in league with the decapitated head of a dethroned deity.

 

About The Author:

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J.F. Lewis lives in Birmingham, Alabama with his patient wife, two growing sons, and a fairly hyper Labrador-mix mutt.  J spent eight wonderful years working in comic and game stores and is currently employed by a major telecom as a manager in a cubicle. He’s always been a writer and was thrilled when the Void City series was published in multiple languages.

An avid reader, J also enjoys pho, flavored iced teas, and old black and white movies. He’s currently obsessed with fountain pens, and sometimes uses them for drafting the current work in progress.  He’s been signing copies of Grudgebearer with a Pilot Cosmopolitan filled with Noodler’s La Reine Mauve ink.

J is a member of SFWA, where he volunteers as editor for their Pressbook pages. He is also a Codexian and a member of the League of Reluctant AdultsLike J on Facebook and follow him on Twitter… he does all his own Facebook and Twitter posts, so it’s really him on there.

Clash of Eagles – Clash of Eagles #1 – Alan Smale

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Release date: March 17th, 2015
Publisher: Del Rey
Age Group: Adult
Pages: 416
Format: e-book
Source: Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

It’s The Last of the Mohicans meets HBO’s Rome in this exciting and inventive debut novel from Sidewise Award-winner Alan Smale that will thrill fans of alternate history, historical fiction, and military fiction.

In a world where the Roman Empire never fell, a legion under the command of general Gaius Marcellinus invades the newly-discovered North American continent. But Marcellinus and his troops have woefully underestimated the fighting prowess of the Native American inhabitants. When Gaius is caught behind enemy lines and spared, he must reevaluate his allegiances and find a new place in this strange land. 

Review:

The first thing that caught my eye when I scrolled through the available books on NetGalley was the cover. It is a fierce, very sharp cover that hints at an action-filled story centered on the Roman Empire. Historical Fiction is my second favourite genre next to SFF and I simply couldn’t resist. The story wasn’t anything like I had expected it to be, though it was action-packed and had something to do with the Romans. ‘Clash of Eagles’ was an interesting spin on Roman conquest and puts the spotlight on a lesser known civilisation on the American continent.

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Interview – Sebastien de Castell

Following up on the review I posted yesterday of ‘Knight’s Shadow’, I had a little chat with the author, Sebastien de Castell.

 

DK: Who is Sebastien de Castell?

SdC: I’m a Canadian writer of swashbuckling fantasy novels, though if you’d asked me that question two years ago you’d have received a different answer and two years from now you might get a different one still. I love to travel—both literally and figuratively—and that’s led to frequent changes in my career. Aside from writing novels, I still perform as a musician and take on the odd speaking gig.

DK: What books made you fall in love with the SFF genre?

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SdC: The first one had to be The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, read to my brother and I by our older sister when we were very young. I spent the rest of my childhood looking for Narnia and most of my adulthood looking for things in our own world that would feel equally wondrous. That’s the power of speculative fiction: to inspire us to go out and find things that give us those same feelings of excitement and possibility that we experience reading our favourite books.

 

 

DK: That sounds very familiar indeed! Now about your own books: how many books are planned in the Greatcoats series?

SdC: The first series is intended to be four books but I’m deep into the third right now and I feel like I might need one extra to tell the full story of poor Falcio and his band of struggling heroes. One of the characteristics of the books that makes it difficult to be precise about the total is that I’m committed to making sure each one stands on its own as a complete story (which was the case with both Traitor’s Blade and Knight’s Shadow.)

Once the first series is complete there are definitely some other stories and characters in this strange world of wandering judges and desperate duellists that I plan to explore.

 

DK: Can you tell us a bit more about how the Greatcoats came to exist? How was the ‘journey’ to get to that first book?

SdC: I go running a lot and tend to tell myself stories to pass the time. Over the course of several years a certain disgraced trio of swordsmen kept interrupting my thoughts with their swashbuckling adventures and in 2006 I sat down and wrote the first draft of Traitor’s Blade (then called “Three of Traitors.”) Writing that novel was one of the most positive and powerful experiences of my life and one of the reason why I try to encourage everyone to write a book regardless of whether they want to publish.

In terms of the Greatcoats, part of their origin came from 12th Century English justices itinerant – the judges who were sent by the King to hear cases across the country while also keeping an eye on what the local nobility was up to. I wanted to explore what would happen if those wandering judges lived in a somewhat later, more developed time period closer to our 16th Century, and what it would be like if they lived in a culture where duels and trial by combat were the predominant way of resolving legal disputes.

The idea for the coats themselves came from an actual greatcoat my brother gave me that always made me feel a little invulnerable to heat, cold, and the occasional blade of a sword. I wanted my wandering heroes to have something to counter a Knight’s armour and thus was born the Greatcoats!

 

DK: That is very interesting! I absolutely love the idea of giving them greatcoats instead of armour. It sets them apart, but the greatcoat is also so much more to them. It has real emotional value.

A question that is always interesting for aspiring authors amongst my readers: how was your road to publication?

SdC: I think I’m a bit unrepresentative of the current publishing climate in that I got very lucky and had a relatively easy time of it. But something I did learn that might be helpful to my fellow writers is the importance of voice and premise.

When I first signed my book deal I asked my editors on both continents (Quercus and Penguin) why they’d decided to buy Traitor’s Blade. Both talked about loving ‘the voice’ of the book. I mention this because it’s not something that comes up very often in books on craft or even at writing conferences. Usually the conversations are all about characters and plot, and yet, I get the sense that publishers and readers alike are really looking for fresh voices—narrative styles that are resonant but feel distinct from the rest of the pack. I, of course, had no clue about ‘voice’ at the time, but I notice now as a reader how I’m drawn to some voices and not to others.

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A second point to consider is that for a publisher (including yourself when you self-publish) to be able to get readers’ attention, there needs to be something clear and strong in the premise. For example, think of a book like The Martian by Andy Weir. The premise is absolutely fabulous—a mission to Mars goes wrong and one astronaut is accidentally left behind. You instantly want to know what’s going to happen to him, how he’ll survive and whether he’ll ever get home. Note that I haven’t said anything about the character or even the plot—just the premise.

So while almost every craft book I encounter is talking about plot and character, a strong voice and an engaging premise seem to be  two things that are vital to grab people’s attention right now.

 

DK: I think every author is secretly thinking about what would happen if his or her work got adapted for the big screen. Any favourite actors that you’d like to play the characters in the Greatcoats series?

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SdC: I’m a big fan of Timothy Oliphant (from the TV series Justified), though I’m not sure if fans of the books would appreciate him as Falcio. I think Tom Burke (who plays Athos in the BBC series The Musketeers) is terrific in the role but, alas, probably wouldn’t want to jump to another swashbuckling adventure series. Finally, although it’s casting against type a bit, I think Martin Freeman (from BBC’s Sherlock) would be terrific as Falcio.

My friends disagree about this, but I think Benedict Cumberbatch would make a fabulous Kest. It needs to be someone who, at first glance, you wouldn’t think was especially muscular or athletic but whom, once you saw them in action, you would realize had perfectly shaped themselves to wield the sword.

Brasti’s always a tough one for me. He’s roguish and cheerful on the surface but there’s a fragility underneath that is vital to his character. This is especially true for Knight’s Shadow (since, if we’re imagining a movie based on Traitor’s Blade, why not have a sequel, too?)

That said, I’m much more interested in hearing other people’s ideas on this subject! Who would you cast to play Falcio, Kest, and Brasti?

 

DK: I’m personally quite bad a making casting decisions! Though I have been watching Suits recently, and I think Garbiel Macht (who plays Harvey Specter in Suits) would make a good Brasti. I’m curious to see who others might choose though! 

Do you have any ambition to write in a totally different genre than Fantasy?

SdC: I love weird detectives—the ones that are defective to the core but somehow use their flaws to make themselves brilliant investigators. I’m working on a mystery novel with a character I really enjoy and I’m hoping will come to life sometime in the next two years. I wrote a thriller/horror with a friend of mine a couple of years ago and we’re debating whether to give it another draft. Alas, both our writing schedules are pretty full right now.

 

DK: Which SFF books would you recommend to the Draumr Kopa readers?

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SdC: I mentioned The Martian by Andy Weir which was the first book I’d read in a long time that I just ploughed through at light speed. Peter Roman’s Mona Lisa Sacrifice is a cool book for fans of Roger Zelazny who like their fantasy on the edge. For years some of my favourite books were from Steven Brust’s Vlad Taltos series (the first of which is Jhereg.)

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Truth be told, though, my biggest recommendations these days are for books outside the genre. Sometimes it’s nice to give something else a try and see how other types of authors fashion their worlds, wether fantastical or mundane. In that spirit, City of Thieves by David Benioff, The Demonologist by Andrew Pyper, and The Magician’s Assistant by Ann Patchett are all books with an element of the fantastical but their heroes have to work their way through life without the benefit of swords or magic.

 

DK: What can you tell us about ‘Tyrant’s Throne’?

SdC: I’ve been unintentionally working on both book 3 and 4 at the same time and so I’m not sure yet whether in fact Tyrant’s Throne will be the name of the next book in the series. What I can tell you is that it’s a story in which Falcio will come to learn that not everything he believed about his beloved Greatcoats is true and he’ll be forced to decide how far he’s willing to go to enforce the King’s Laws.

 

DK: I can’t wait! Where can fans meet you this year? Any conventions or singings coming up?

SdC: I’m going to be in The Netherlands for the next year so I’m positive I’ll be doing something in the UK this summer. I love meeting readers who enjoy the Greatcoats so, you know, if you’ve got a convention going on, give me a shout!

 

DK: Thank you very much for this interview!

Now it’s time to hear some suggestions! Who would you cast if the Greatcoats made it to the big screen? 

 

About the author

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Sebastien de Castell had just finished a degree in Archaeology when he started work on his first dig. Four hours later he realized how much he actually hated archaeology and left to pursue a very focused career as a musician, ombudsman, interaction designer, fight choreographer, teacher, project manager, actor, and product strategist. His only defence against the charge of unbridled dilettantism is that he genuinely likes doing these things and that, in one way or another, each of these fields plays a role in his writing. He sternly resists the accusation of being a Renaissance Man in the hopes that more people will label him that way.

Sebastien lives in Vancouver, Canada with his lovely wife and two belligerent cats.

Twitter: @decastell

Website: http://decastell.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SebastienDeCastell

‘Traitor’s Blade’ is also nominated for the Gemmell Awards, so if you liked the book you can vote for it via this link!

Knight’s Shadow – Greatcoats #2 – Sebastien de Castell

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Release date: March 5th, 2015
Publisher: Jo Fletcher Books
Age Group: Adult
Pages: 606
Format: Hardcover
Source: Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Tristia is a nation overcome by intrigue and corruption. The idealistic young King Paelis is dead and the Greatcoats – legendary travelling magistrates who brought justice to the Kingdom – have been branded as traitors. But just before his head was impaled on a spike, the King swore each of his hundred and forty-four Greatcoats to a different mission.

Falcio Val Mond, First Cantor, with the help of fellow Greatcoats Kest and Brasti, has completed his King’s final task: he has found his Charoites – well, one at least, and she was not quite what they expected. Now they must protect the girl from the many who would see her dead, and place her on the throne of a lawless kingdom. That would be simple enough, if it weren’t for the Daishini, an equally legendary band of assassins, getting in their way, not to forget the Dukes who are determined to hold on to their fractured Kingdoms, or the fact that the heir to the throne is only thirteen years old. Oh, and the poison that is slowly killing Falcio.

That’s not even mentioning the Greatcoat’s Lament…

Review:

The first thing I thought when I received the review copy of ‘Knight’s Shadow’ was something along the lines of “OH YES!” followed immediately by “What a tome!”. Knight’s Shadow is a lot longer than the first book, ‘Traitor’s Blade’. I don’t mind big tomes and was very enthusiastic when I saw that this one was more than 600 pages long. More of Falcio and his Greatcoats is never a bad thing.

A lot is happening in this second book in the Greatcoats series and it gave the story some more depth. Quite some time was invested in character development for all the main characters. Brasti’s more sensitive side and his surprising decision nearing the end of the book, Kest’s struggle with the Sainthood and all that it entails, Valiana wanting to prove herself as a Greatcoat and Falcio, who is facing certain death.

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Guest Post: “Plausible Fictions and Strange Realities” by Stephanie Saulter

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Readers of this blog will know that I absolutely love the (R)evolution trilogy written by Stephanie Saulter. Not only is it excellently written and tells an emotional, action-packed, intelligent tale, it also hits relatively close to home in my case. As a bioscientist I was not only fascinated by the science fiction, but also by the plausibility of the science Stephanie used in her books. It is great to read a book that uses my area of expertise as a scaffold to build a whole story around. When I talked to Stephanie at LonCon last year, I mentioned that for me, as a scientist, I thought it was incredible that she wrote a fictional story that I could see happening one day. To my surprise, she told me that most people who are not scientists don’t think the story is plausible, while scientists do.
To celebrate the release of the second (R)evolution book, Binary (read my review here), in paperback Stephanie stops by the blog to talk about the science in her books and the contradiction between what the scientists and the non-scientists think about it.


 

Plausible Fictions and Strange Realities

One of the things I imagine every author of science fiction dreads – especially if the science on which their fiction is based is one in which they are not personally an expert – is that someone who is expert will read it, snort derisively, and declare that it is completely off base, a million miles from reality, never ever happen. That their speculation has been wildly unrealistic, fundamentally implausible, and that the entire work is fatally flawed as a result.

There are a number of strategies to ward off this deadly possibility. They all pretty much begin with do your research: you should try to know at least as much as any reasonably well-read layperson. From that point, paths diverge. One option is to set the story so far into the future you can hand-wave away any objections to the technology; not my choice, personally, but a very popular one. Another is to be deeply descriptive and desperately specific about every last theorem, gizmo and widget, ensuring they are well within the known laws of whatever field you’re playing in; possible if you are the aforementioned expert, dangerous for anyone else, and tedious (in my opinion) for most readers. Or there’s the route I take: be specific enough to be plausible, but not enough to be wrong. Indulge in no more technical detail than that well-read layperson is likely to encounter within the pages of their intelligent, but mass-market, news or lifestyle journal. Speak in informed generalities.

Know that you might still be caught out, whichever route you take; that one way or another the passage of time will date the presumptions on which your work is based. Resign yourself to the possibility that, sooner or later, someone who knows what they’re talking about will declare that you don’t.

It might happen one day. But so far, I’ve had the opposite experience.

Oh, there’ve been comments that the radical genetic engineering that is the base ‘science’ of the ®Evolution books seems a bit farfetched and implausible, a bit over the top in novels which are largely social-realist in their core concerns. To my great relief, none of the people who think this have, so far, been geneticists.

The feedback from the people who do know what they’re talking about – people who actually work in the biosciences – is that my witterings about epigenetic triggers and suppressants, chromosomal modifications and mutations, inter-species splicing and the like, have in general been entirely plausible (and that, in a genre where the dominant science for speculation is still physics, they’re rather pleased to see their own discipline taken out and played with).

So. What are we to make of this?

It speaks, I think, to a general lack of appreciation for actual, ongoing developments in the biosciences. Given how radically those developments have changed the lives of virtually every person on the planet in less than a century – think vaccines and antibiotics, anaesthesia and antiseptics, painkillers, antidepressants, cloning, GM crops, organ replacements, genetic screening, artificial insulin, IVF, antivirals, and on and on and on – this strikes me as a massive cultural oversight. And I have a theory: fiction is partly to blame.

For a very long time now, speculative fiction has been primarily rooted in the ‘hard’ sciences of Newtonian physics, cosmology and more recently quantum mechanics, and the notions of expansion and exploration that they can so easily be made to imply. Extra-terrestrial imaginings abound. Thanks to Hollywood, just about everyone can conjure up a mental picture of what manned, faster-than-light space travel might be like – though we still don’t know whether such a thing could ever be possible.

Thanks to medicine, it is a certainty that no one anywhere in the world will get smallpox ever again. That is a real-life, honest-to-god miracle, accomplished during my lifetime; but there is no glamour attached to it. The fairy dust of fictional extrapolation has somehow passed it by.

The result is an impoverished imaginative space, which finds it easier to accept a space-operatic vision of today’s humans in a far future setting than a biologically altered humanity living in the world we know within the next century. In a way, the hand-waviness wins: a very long time from now we’ll be able to do all sorts of things! Never mind how! But, a fundamentally altered species in twenty, fifty, a hundred years? Within the lifetime of your children and grandchildren, people you might actually live to see and know? For some reason, the collective cultural imagination balks at that.

It shouldn’t.

I’ve got news for you, folks. I, Stephanie Saulter, born and raised in one of the world’s ‘undeveloped’ countries, am immune to polio, smallpox, measles, mumps, rubella, chicken pox, and probably a bunch of other things I don’t even know about. (There was no anti-vaccine nonsense when I was growing up. People remembered what disfigurement, disability and early death were like.) I’ve recovered completely from an injury that in another age would have at the very least crippled me, and from an illness – several, actually – that in all likelihood would have killed me. I am already altered.

So, I suspect, are you.

We need fictions that engage with that reality, and with the potential it implies. It’s through our stories that we – individually, collectively, culturally – codify our attitudes and our ethics, our aspirations and our taboos. It’s how we work out what we think about the unthinkable.

We’ve done a lot of speculating about what might happen if and when we encounter intelligent life elsewhere in the universe. I enjoy those books; I don’t want people to stop writing them. But we’ve spent comparatively little storytime considering the impact that we, the only fully intelligent beings we are certain exist, are having on our own evolution, right here, right now. I don’t want us to stop doing that either, but I do want us to start thinking about it. I want us to start speculating about that reality. It is immediate and pressing, and we need a body of literature that addresses it.


 

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About the author

Stephanie Saulter writes what she likes to think is literary science fiction. She is the author of the ®Evolution trilogy: the first novel, Gemsigns, is available everywhere and the second, Binary, is out in paperback in the UK and Europe on 2nd April (and in hardback in the US on 5th May). The final book, Regeneration, will be released in the UK in July. Stephanie lives in London, blogs unpredictably at stephaniesaulter.com and tweets only slightly more reliably as @scriptopus.

 

 

 

Update: March

Read and Currently Reading

When I received the big tome that is ‘Knight’s Shadow’ by Sebastien de Castell, I couldn’t wait to read it. This month I’ve been working pretty long days, so there wasn’t that much time for reading. Combine that with a 600-page book that I wanted to read at my own leisure and the conclusion is that I haven’t read that many books this month.

I have finished ‘Knight’s Shadow’ which, in my opinion, was just as great as the first book in the Greatcoats saga, ‘Traitor’s Blade’. I’m very curious to see what the third book will bring and where it will lead our band of characters.

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I’m currently re-reading ‘Astra’ by Naomi Foyle, so I get a better idea of the world she created again before I start the second book in the series, ‘Rooksong’. I remember ‘Astra’ being a very interesting and thought-provoking book and I’m really happy to revisit it again.

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Another book that I’m reading is ‘Grudgebearer’ of which I received the sequel ‘Oathkeeper’ a week or two ago. So far it’s been an really fascinating book that explores an interesting culture of beings living by the oaths they swear. A strongly magical world serves as the background for this story and somehow I had a definite ‘click’ with it. Curious how that will progress throughout the book.

Movies and Series

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A few days ago I decided to pick up on a series I’d left some time ago: ‘Once Upon a Time’. I used to love it but lost interest due to the million other series I wanted to follow. Now that I’ve started watching it again, I have to say I’m hooked. I’ve just started season 3 and I have this itch to keep watching ‘just one more episode’ every single moment of the day.

I also couldn’t resist the urge to buy the ‘Mockingjay’ DVD the minute it came out. I’ve watched it again at home this time and it’s still as good as I remember. Part II can’t be released fast enough for me.

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Another series I started just last night is ‘The Tomorrow People’. I was very reluctant to start it because it got cancelled after just one season. But it kept popping up on Netflix and because I wanted something new to watch I decided to try it. Though the concept isn’t entirely new, I kinda liked it. I’m quickly becoming a Robbie Amell fan (but with a cousin like Stephen, that isn’t really a surprise) and the storyline has just enough mystery and promise to keep me watching. It’s also quite action-packed, so let’s see what I think about this first season and if it was rightfully cancelled or not.

Posts in March

The King’s Hand – The Knight of Eldaran #2 – Anna Thayer

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Release date: June 11th, 2014
Publisher: Lion Fiction
Age Group: Adult
Pages: 523
Format: Paperback
Source: Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Like many from his village, young Eamon Goodhand dreamed of joining the Gauntlet, the army of the overlord Eldered. Now he is about to complete his training and swear his loyalty to Eldered and his commanders, the Hands, who uphold Eldered’s tight control of the land. Entering into the service of the Gauntlet, Eamon’s gifts, particularly his potent Sight, quickly become valuable to his superiors and he advances to the command rank at a speed that arouses the suspicions of fellow officers.

However, Eldered’s bloody rule, and Eamon’s personal friendships, start to challenge the young soldier’s assumptions about what might be true, and worthy of service. And soon Eamon must conceal a fatal secret: he is sworn to both Eldered and to Hughan, the rightful king of the land. Yet he may not forswear the vows he has uttered in all good faith so however he serves, his name will be traitor.

As tensions and military skirmishes increase, Eamon finds himself trusted by both his masters. How can he possibly maintain his integrity, act justly to his fellow officers of the Gauntlet, and act on behalf of all the warring people of the land?

Review:

Following her debut ‚The Traitor’s Heir’, Anna Thayer continues her story about the brewing war between King and Master in the second book in the ‚The Knight of Eldaran’ series. The King is gathering his forces and threatening to take over the land from the usurper, the Master. Eamon Goodman, who infiltrated the Master’s seat, Dunthruik in the first book had a hard time coping with his double life, but seems to have finally made a decision in ‚The King’s Hand’.

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Blood Will Follow – Valhalla Saga #2 – Snorri Kristjansson

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Release date: June 5th, 2014
Publisher: Jo Fletcher Books
Age Group: Adult
Pages: 308
Format: Paperback
Source: Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Ulfar Thormodsson and Audun Arngrimsson have won the battle for Stenvik, although at huge cost, for they have suffered much worse than heartbreak. They have lost the very thing that made them human: their mortality.

While Ulfar heads home, looking for the place where he thinks he will be safe, Audun runs south. But both men are about to discover that they can not run away from themselves.

King Olav might have been defeated outside the walls of Stenvik, but now Valgard leads him north, in search of the source of the Vikings’ power.

All the while there are those who watch and wait, biding their time, for there are secrets yet to be discovered…

Review

 

He’s done it again! ‘Blood Will Follow’ is the second book in the Valhalla Saga, following the fascinating ‘Swords of Good Men’. The story of Ulfar, Audun and Valgard continues after the battle at Stenvik and all the mysterious and baffling things that happened there.

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