‘Prince of York’ offers a fascinating glimpse into the life of Reginald Pole, Catholic cardinal who also happened to be the nephew of English kings Edward IV and Richard III. As such, Pole found himself at odds with Henry VIII over more than his Church of England’s split from the Roman Church.
In the turbulent world of Renaissance, political intrigue and religious Reformation, Wilcoxson brings Pole to life, networks him with both prominent and humble people, places him in vividly drawn settings, and animates the conflicts and issues that confronted him in a highly realistic and compelling way. The reader has the sensation of looking on as the events of the story unfold, developing considerable empathy for Pole in the dilemmas and challenges he faces.
The story definitely presents history from a perspective that is not often explored through fiction. Unlike his more famous relatives, Pole’s responses to the world around him are characterised by his faith and humility. Wilcoxson’s Pole reminds the reader, as the man himself would have done, that there is always a bigger picture to consider and that the greatest success is not always found in personal gain.
The book is very well written and most enjoyable to read. Even though it is historical fiction, it feels authentic. Surely, for a work of fiction, there can be no higher praise than that.
In this sequel to ‘13Ways To Midnight’, Echo’s story continues as she tries to realign her priorities and build her life in Port Royal.
Readers will find Echo to be realistically flawed and conflicted, but also admirable in the way she seeks to maintain her personal ethics and integrity. She is a character who challenges readers to consider right from wrong, and to understand that ones actions, even the ones considered to be minor, can have unexpected consequences that still need to be reconciled.
The story is original and unpredictable, keeping the reader guessing and building a sense of anticipation. The story is very appealing for Young Adult readers, with sufficient complexity and interest to engage wider audiences, too.
’13 Ways to Midnight’ is proving to be an excellent series.
‘Capturing Joy’ is a suspenseful zombie apocalypse romance with plenty of action and danger to keep the storyline going, and some lovely macabre scenes and imagery to balance the romance.
The characters are interesting and varied, and the author does a good job of keeping the reader guessing about who really can be trusted right up to the end of the book. This, and the fact that very few of the characters are completely likeable, makes the story mysterious and engaging as the reader tries to distinguish truth from deception as the story twists and turns.
While the central conflicts are resolved by the end of the book, there is still some intrigue remaining, serving to tantalise readers with the hope of another book to follow.
This is an enjoyable read that will appeal to readers of mystery and action novels as well as contemporary romance readers.
‘Slick Filth: A Story of Robert Walpole and Henry Giffard, to Which is Appended the Farce of The Golden Rump’ by Erato is a story of satire, assassination attempts, politics and censorship in 18th century England.
“Sir Robert had composed the most seditious, disgusting, obscene, shameful thing I had ever seen.”
It’s 1737 and England is on edge: someone has tried to assassinate the king at the theatre, and every stageplay is a satire of the royal family. Enter Prime Minister Robert Walpole with a cunning scheme that will grant him power to censor anything that goes on stage — by writing the filthiest play ever conceived. All he needs to pull it off is a patsy, which he finds in Henry Giffard, the proprietor of the theatre at Goodman’s Fields. But will Giffard cooperate with the Prime Minister’s plan, or will obscenity and satire be allowed to overrun the British stage?
Based on true events, Slick Filth includes a recreation of the notorious play The Golden Rump, which so offended Parliament that new censorship laws were enacted for the first time in England’s history. The book is typeset in historical fonts, making you feel like you’ve been pulled back in time to watch the drama unfold first-hand.
Available in hardcover only, this book is more than just a book but an art project of itself, set in 18th century type with added “errors” for the sake of both authenticity and humour.
Dark, sinister and brooding, this is a horror story that unfolds powerfully, despite the resistance of both the reader and the characters. Foreboding and suspense combine to intensify the darkness of the imagery and the anticipation of the next twist.
The story is skilfully crafted, using characters who are relatable in their absolute normality, which heightens the tension by emphasising the understanding that the events of the story could happen to anyone.
This is an outstanding horror mystery story. Read it if you dare.
The second novel in DalRae’s Fallen Cross Legion Series is an excellent blend of paranormal romance, tragedy and thriller.
‘Fallen Captive’ explores the backstory of Nox and his experiences before coming to Fallen Cross, providing both compelling reading and a powerful contrast to the future Nox has begun to build for himself. All of this takes place in the context of the development of the narrative of the Fallen Cross Legion and the stories of its individual members.
The end result is a complex and well-crafted story that immerses the reader in the world of these Vampires and causes them to invest deeply in the survival and the futures of the central characters.
The first in the Bentwhistle the Dragon series of urban fantasy novels, this book is a wonderful blend of fantasy, mystery, adventure and suspense thriller. Dragons and magic abound in a parallel world that is complex and fascinating, and which remains full of surprises even for those who live there.
Suitable for young adult and older audiences, the story explores important themes of friendship, ethics and personal integrity through the experiences of Peter Bentwhistle and his best friends, Richie and Tank.
The characters are delightful, each with quirks and qualities that make them both likeable and relatable for human and dragon readers alike. The more sinister characters are similarly relatable, because we all know someone who is selfish or a bully. As the action rolls and the story develops, the reader is drawn deeper into the story and finds themselves very definitely on the side of the protagonists. The twists and surprises keep coming, right to the end of the book.
Well-written and expertly constructed, this is a brilliant read.
‘Cookies and Scream’ is the second book in the Baker Street Cozy Mysteries Series by CeeCee James, which features amateur sleuth Georgie Tanner, her Aunt Cecelia and the fictional historical town of Gainesville, Virginia.
A visit to a local historical re-enactment places Georgie at the heart of a murder mystery that has many roots in both local history and her own past. What ensues is an intriguing and often dangerous chain of events that nudge Georgie closer to the truth.
The story is well-written and the mystery is challenging and interesting. This is shaping up to be a series I am keen to follow.
Third in the KingFountain series, this book continues the story of Owen Kiskaddon and his life as A duke and advisor to King Severn of Ceredigion. Once again, there is good continuity in the storyline and the central characters, with new complications and personalities entering the narrative as the plot develops.
The story is beautifully told. The world building and characterisation are rich and complex, bringing the kingdoms and settings to life and populating them with engaging, relatable characters who the reader comes to know intimately. Even those who belong to the upper echelons of society are shown to have very real concerns and inner conflicts with which they must wrestle. The ways in which different characters resolve those issues reflect the best and the worst of human nature, pitting good and evil against one another in a very personal way.
As with the previous books in the series, there are connections between this story and the popularised version of the life and personality of Richard III which are clearly discernible, although this story focuses far more on Owen than it does on King Severn. The story maintains an original and unique plot that sets it apart from those events and distinguishes it as as an outstanding work of fantasy rather than historical fiction.
This book and the series to which it belongs are most excellent, and will please all lovers of epic sword and sorcery fantasy books.