Sunday, 31 January 2016

'Without Trace' Blog Tour Stop: An Interview with the Author Simon Booker.

Simon Booker is a screenwriter of prime time TV drama for the BBC, ITV and US TV. His credits include BBC1’s Inspector Lynley Mysteries, Holby City and The Mrs Bradley Mysteries starring Diana Rigg; ITV1 thrillers The Stepfather and The Blind Date; and Perfect Strangers, the CBS romantic comedy starring Rob Lowe and Anna Friel. He has written many plays for BBC Radio 4. He has worked extensively as a producer in television and radio and as a journalist. Simon lives in London and Deal. He is a volunteer facilitator in Restorative Justice, working with offenders at HMP Brixton. Without Trace is his debut novel. The second Morgan Vine novel is due to be published in 2017. He lives in Kent and London with his partner fellow crime writer M.J McGrath

A very warm welcome to you Simon, and can I thank you, for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk to us today.
Thank-you for hosting me on your site.
For the benefit of our International readers can you tell us a bit about the part of the world that you are currently resident in and why do you like living there?
I live in Stoke Newington in north London and am lucky enough to have a writing bolt-hole in a Kentish seaside town called Deal. The former has all the benefits of a small town - friendly, everything within walking distance - but is within easy reach of the centre of the best city in the world. And Deal is also friendly but more restful - an ideal place to hide out while writing.
Can I ask what sort of books did you like reading as a child?
I was an only child and spent a lot of time reading. I often searched my wardrobe, trying to find the door to CS Lewis’s Narnia. Enid Blyton’s Famous Five series was a favourite. In my teens I became obsessed with George Orwell, Roald Dahl and Sherlock Holmes.
Do you think the books that you read as a child have influenced your writing in any way?
I was fascinated by Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes books and loved the ‘twist in the tale’ in Roald Dahl’s ‘Kiss Kiss’ short stories. A satisfying twist is still a great pleasure, both as a writer and a reader. I hope I've managed to pull off a great twist in Without Trace, my psychological thriller about a woman trying to discover if her old flame is a wronged innocent or a ruthless, manipulative killer.
Do you have a set routine when you are working on a novel?
I try to keep ‘office hours’. I generally work best in the mornings, writing until one pm. then taking a couple of hours to eat lunch, read and have a siesta. (NB: not a ‘nap’; much too elderly!) I then I work again until the early evening.
Where do you do your writing best?
The seaside house in Deal is especially conducive to writing. I work at the dining table, overlooking our small courtyard garden, watching sparrows and collared doves peck at the feeder and listening to the sound of the waves.
What helped you decide to actually write a crime thriller?
I've written TV drama for many years - including murder mysteries for the BBC and ITV - so the decision to write a crime novel seemed like a natural progression.
When you are writing a novel, how do you place yourself into the time period that you are actually writing about?

Without Trace is a contemporary novel, set mainly in Kent and London. I know both well and am particularly intrigued by the eerie landscape of the coast at Dungeness where my heroine, Morgan Vine, lives in a converted railway carriage.

How do you go about imagining, developing and give real lives and personalities to the characters that we read about within in your book?

Characters never appear fully formed; they develop as I write. Names are important. I’ll often change a character’s name several times during the writing process until I arrive at the one that feels ‘right’.

Did you encounter any difficulties in getting you book accepted and published?
Initially, Bonnier were keen on another crime novel I’d written but we decided that Without Trace would make a particularly striking début. That first book is still ‘in the bank’ and will, I hope, appear soon but not until after the second Morgan Vine Investigation, which I'm currently writing.
Did you have to undertake any research for your novel?

Some of Without Trace is set in a (fictitious) UK prison and I was able to draw on my background of running reading groups in prison, as well as my experience as a facilitator in restorative justice, working with offenders at HMP Brixton.

What is your favourite book and why?
I have great affection for Graham Greene’s ‘Travels With My Aunt’ and ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ by Truman Capote. Both feature wonderful female characters, the kind of people I would invite to my ideal dinner party.
Are you currently reading a book at the moment, and if so what is it?

I always have too many books ‘on the go’. Current favourites include Savage Lane by Jason Starr (a brilliantly dark domestic thriller), Diana Athill’s memoir ‘Alive, Alive Oh!’ and ‘One Minute to Ten’, Dan Hodges’s book about the 2015 general election. I guess you could say I have eclectic tastes.

Do you have any other hobbies or interests that you enjoy in order to give you a break from your normal routine and your writing?

My partner is also a writer. She and I take long walks, watch a lot of movies and spend as much time as possible with our lovely friends. But as someone said, ‘being a writer is like having homework every day of your life’, so whatever we’re doing, our ‘writing brain’ is still ticking over in the background. It can be exhausting!

Can you give us a hint about any other books that you may have in the making at the moment?
I'm currently writing the second book in the Morgan Vine series. She’s an investigative journalist who specialises in miscarriages of justice. In Without Trace, she has to find out if the love of her life is a good man who has been wrongly convicted of murder or a devious killer who has manipulated her into helping to secure his release on appeal. Her adversary in the second book is a ruthless socio-path who loves playing mind games. ‘Baddies’ are often the most enjoyable characters to create.

Simon, I have been absolutely delighted and very honoured that you agreed to be interviewed for my literary site. I would like to thank-you again for taking the time to speak to us today.

My pleasure. Thank you for the questions.

Just released:
e-book edition: 28th January 2016
Paperback edition: 16th June 2016

Book Synopsis:

For four long years, journalist Morgan Vine has campaigned for the release of her childhood sweetheart Danny Kilcannon - convicted, on dubious evidence, of murdering his 14 year-old stepdaughter.

When a key witness recants, Danny is released from prison. With nowhere else to go, he relies on single mum Morgan and her teenage daughter, Lissa.

But then Lissa goes missing.

With her own child now at risk, Morgan must re-think all she knows about her old flame - 'the one that got away'. As the media storm around the mysterious disappearance intensifies and shocking revelations emerge, she is forced to confront the ultimate question: who can we trust...?

If you would like to find out more about Simon and his writing, the link to his website is given below:

Twitter: @simonbooker

Saturday, 30 January 2016

'The Hidden Twin' by Adi Rule

Release date: 22nd March 2016
Published by: St. Martin's Griffin
ISBN No: 978 1250036322

For eighteen years a girl with no name, a Redwing, has been hidden away in a small attic room within a city of hissing pipes and curving temples perched on the side of the great volcano, Mol, while her sister, Jey-identical except for her eyes-has lived her life in public as an only child. Their father had hoped the hidden girl would one day grow up to be a normal human girl and not the wicked creature mythology has promised, so he secretly spared her life as an infant. But when she switches places with her sister, striking up a flirtation with the son of the Empress while working in the royal gardens and gets attacks by two suspicious priests on her journey home, she is forced to call forth fire to protect herself, unleashing her previously dormant powers and letting her secret out. She soon catches the attention of a cult with a thousand year old grudge as well as a group of underground rebels, both seeking her for their own gain. But when her sister goes missing and the Redwing uncovers a great plot to awaken Mol and bring fiery destruction upon them all, she is forced to embrace her powers. In Adi Rule's stunning new novel, "The Hidden Twin," the girl with no name, must finally choose a name and a path for herself, drawing a line between myth and history to prove herself more than a monster if she is to save both her sister and her home.

Copyright: The Book Depository Synopsis

'The Forgotten Summer' by Carol Drinkwater

Release date: 11th February 2016
Published by: Michael Joseph
ISBN No:978 0718183080

Secrets ripen and fester over a long sweltering summer in France . . .
The annual grape harvest at the Cambon family's magnificent vineyard is always a cause for celebration. But not this year. When an accident destroys the crop, leaving the estate facing ruin, Clarisse Cambon knows exactly who to blame - her daughter-in-law Jane.
It's just the latest incident in a decades-long feud whose origin both women have concealed from Luc, who struggles to keep his wife and mother on speaking terms. But is Luc the saint he appears to be? When tragedy strikes, Jane is thrown into doubt. What secrets has her husband been keeping?
Forced to take charge of the ailing vineyard, Jane uncovers further proof that Luc may not be the man she fell in love with twenty years ago. And, worse still, she knows that her old enemy Clarisse is the only one who knows the truth . . 

Copyright: Amazon Synopsis

'Evie's War' by Kitty Danton

Release date: 21st April 2016
Published by: Orion
ISBN No:978 1409164807

The first in a trilogy of World War Two sagas featuring Evie, a new teacher in a Devon primary school, and introducing a supporting cast of characters destined to become as familiar as old friends.
After discovering that her fiancé, Timmy, has been less than faithful, Evie is faced with a dilemma of the heart - she must try to mend their relationship or otherwise cut all ties and move on. Moving on from a first love is never easy though and it's further complicated by the fact that Timmy's mother is the headmistress at Evie's school and can't hear a bad word said against him.
Luckily, Evie has two sisters and a close circle of friends to help her through the tough times and as the war brings British RAF officers and American GIs to the once quiet and calm village - as well as evacuees, Land Girls and wounded servicemen - life is going to be anything but dull.

Copyright: Amazon Synopsis

'Lilac Girls' by Martha Hall Kelly

Release date: 5th April 2016
Published by: Ballantine Books Inc.
ISBN No: 978 1101883075

Inspired by the life of a real World War II heroine, this powerful debut novel reveals an incredible story of love, redemption, and terrible secrets that were hidden for decades.
New York socialite Caroline Ferriday has her hands full with her post at the French consulate and a new love on the horizon. But Caroline’s world is forever changed when Hitler’s army invades Poland in September 1939—and then sets its sights on France.
An ocean away from Caroline, Kasia Kuzmerick, a Polish teenager, senses her carefree youth disappearing as she is drawn deeper into her role as courier for the underground resistance movement. In a tense atmosphere of watchful eyes and suspecting neighbors, one false move can have dire consequences.
For the ambitious young German doctor, Herta Oberheuser, an ad for a government medical position seems her ticket out of a desolate life. Once hired, though, she finds herself trapped in a male-dominated realm of Nazi secrets and power.
The lives of these three women are set on a collision course when the unthinkable happens and Kasia is sent to Ravensbrück, the notorious Nazi concentration camp for women. Their stories cross continents—from New York to Paris, Germany, and Poland—as Caroline and Kasia strive to bring justice to those whom history has forgotten.
In Lilac Girls, Martha Hall Kelly has crafted a remarkable novel of unsung women and their quest for love, freedom, and second chances. It is a story that will keep readers bonded with the characters, searching for the truth, until the final pages.

Copyright: Amazon Synopsis

'Urban Craftsmen and Traders in the Roman World' by Andrew Wilson (Editor) and Miko Flohr (Editor)

Release date: 1st February 2016
Published by: OUP Oxford
ISBN No: 978 0198748489

This volume, featuring sixteen contributions from leading Roman historians and archaeologists, sheds new light on approaches to the economic history of urban craftsmen and traders in the Roman world, with a particular emphasis on the imperial period. Combining a wide range of research traditions from all over Europe and utilizing evidence from Italy, the western provinces, and the Greek-speaking east, this edited collection is divided into four sections. It first considers the scholarly history of Roman crafts and trade in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, focusing on Germany and the Anglo-Saxon world, and on Italy and France. Chapters discuss how scholarly thinking about Roman craftsmen and traders was influenced by historical and intellectual developments in the modern world, and how different (national) research traditions followed different trajectories throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The second section highlights the economic strategies of craftsmen and traders, examining strategies of long-distance traders and the phenomenon of specialization, and presenting case studies of leather-working and bread-baking. In the third section, the human factor in urban crafts and trade―including the role of apprenticeship, gender, freedmen, and professional associations―is analysed, and the volume ends by exploring the position of crafts in urban space, considering the evidence for artisanal clustering in the archaeological and papyrological record, and providing case studies of the development of commercial landscapes at Aquincum on the Danube and at Sagalassos in Pisidia.

Copyright: Amazon Synopsis

'Rebecca Newton and the War of the Gods' by Mario Routi

Release date: 26th January 2016
Published by: Oak Tree Press
ISBN No:978 1785383038

The Final Instalment in the Critically Acclaimed Trilogy.

The Forces of Evil are poised to invade not only the Land of the White Sun, but also the Elysian Fields, home of the Gods - and now they have the power to throw human civilisation back into the Dark Ages. Princess Rebecca and her family face monumental battles in their attempts to defeat the massed forces of Evil, and the only way she can save mankind is by revealing herself to them.Her daughter, the young Oracle Leylah, is in love with Prince Alexander, grandson of Hercules, but soon things are going very wrong between them. The fate of the entire universe rests on the confused Leylah's shoulders as she travels to planet Earth to learn to control her powers.While the forces of Evil prepare to invade from Tartarus, Zeus gathers the Gods and ancient Heroes to defend the Sacred Flame. Reeling from their last battle in the Land of the White Sun, King Turgoth, Princess Rebecca and the Orizons are still repairing the damage to the Fortress of Utopia when they discover they are going to have to enter an even greater struggle against the forces of Evil.Good must prevail this time, or it will be the end of everything.What could be more terrifying than the Clash of the Titans?The War of the Gods! It's the final countdown...A romantic, mythical fantasy of epic battles, adventure and the ultimate collision between Good and Evil. It all ends here!

Copyright: Amazon Synopsis

Winner Announcement: 'Dreaming of Books' Giveaway Hop 2016

Just a quick post to announce the winner of my 'Dreaming of Books' Giveaway Hop 2016 Draw for the $30 (US) / £20 (sterling) Amazon Gift Voucher/Certificate.

The winner selected by the Rafflecopter random draw selector was:

Krysta B.

Congratulations to Krysta!! 

I will be shortly be in contact with the winner in order to arrange delivery of their prize.

Thank you to everyone who visits my blog, follows my blog and enters my draws. It is very much appreciated. Please keep visiting regularly as I hold quite a few prize draws each year. You never know you might just be the next winner! As the number of my blog followers grow, better opportunities do seem to arise that I can then pass on directly to my blog followers. Thank you once again for all your continued support of 'The Secret Writer Blog' :-)

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

'The Cosy Teashop in the Castle' by Caroline Roberts

Release date: 25th February 2016
Published by: Harper Impulse
ISBN No:978 0008125417

When Ellie Hall lands her dream job running the little teashop in the beautiful but crumbling Claverham Castle, it’s the perfect escape from her humdrum job in the city. Life is definitely on the rise as Ellie replaces spreadsheets for scones, and continues her Nanna’s brilliant baking legacy.
When Lord Henry, the stick-in-the-mud owner, threatens to burst her baking bubble with his old-fashioned ways, Ellie wonders if she might have bitten off more than she can chew. But cupcake by cupcake she wins the locals over, including teashop stalwart, Doris, and Ellie’s show stopping bakes look set to go down in castle history!
Now all that’s missing in Ellie’s life is a slice of romance – can Joe, the brooding estate manager, be the one to put the cherry on the top of Ellie’s dream?

Copyright: Amazon Synopsis

'The Power' by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Release date: 25th February 2016
Published by: Hodder Paperbacks
ISBN No:978 1473625983

The Covenant University has become the front-line for the escalating violence between pure-bloods and half-bloods. War between the races seems inevitable, and it couldn't come at a worse time. Seth must prepare Josie for battle, which means teaching her how to control her new-found demigod abilities...and they need to find and rescue the other demigods before their enemies - the Titans - find them first.
Only one thing is more dangerous than a bunch of starved Titans, and that's an out-of-control Apollyon in the form of Seth. The aether in Josie is drawing Seth in deeper, and when lust mixes with love and gives way to power, he knows being close to her is becoming explosively dangerous. But letting her go requires a level of selflessness that just isn't Seth's style.
When the danger from the Titans erupts with devastating consequences, the dark allure of power calls to Seth again - but this time, Josie may not be able to pull him back from the brink...

Copyright: Amazon Synopsis

'Two Evils' by Mark Sennen

Release date: 24th March 2016
Published by: Avon
ISBN No:978 0007587889

A missing boy. A brutal killer. D.I. Charlotte Savage is ready . . .
DI Charlotte Savage has been warned to lay low. After a string of high profile cases, her infamous reputation precedes her.
But when a vulnerable child goes missing, for Savage, it’s too close to home. She’s not the kind of detective who can sit back and watch events unfold.
Then a second child is snatched – echoing a terrifying incident that happened over two decades before. It soon becomes apparent that there is a more chilling motive behind the disappearances.
History looks set to repeat itself. It’s down to Savage to seek out the cold blooded killer. Before it’s third time unlucky. Before it’s too late . . .

Copyright: Amazon Synopsis

'The Little Runaways' by Cathy Sharp

Release date: 10th March 2016
Published by: Harper
ISBN No:978 0008118471

When little Terry and Nancy arrive at the door of St Saviour’s Children’s Home, they seem shellshocked after being orphaned in the fire that killed their parents. Terry is terribly damaged by his experiences, though the concerned staff, especially Angela Morton, suspect that there is something more sinister behind his disturbing behaviour.
Angela shares her anxieties with Mark Adderbury, a psychiatrist volunteering at the home. They’ve grown closer recently but Angela, still grieving the loss of her husband, feels that Mark needs more from her than she can give. Then why does she feel so jealous at the arrival of Staff Nurse Carole, who seems to have captured Mark’s attention?
They must all pull together to get to the bottom of what really happened to Terry and Nancy, but the truth may be harder to take than they realise . . .

Copyright: Amazon Synopsis

'Wild Lavender' by Belinda Alexandra

Release date: 11th February 2016
Published by:Simon and Schuster UK
ISBN No:978 1471138768

At fourteen, Simone Fleurier is wrenched from her home on a Provençal lavender farm and sent to work in Marseille. Her life there is hard and impoverished, but Simone discovers the music hall and a dream: to one day be a famous dancer and singer. But when war threatens, Simone makes a decision that will lead to great danger - yet ultimately prove that love, just like wild lavender, can grow in the least likely of places ... 

Belinda Alexandra has created a tale of passion and courage that moves from the backstreets of Marseille to the grand music theatres of Paris, from the countryside of Provence to decadent pre-war Berlin and jazz-age New York. 

Wild Lavender is a feast for the senses that will live on in the imagination forever...

Copyright: Amazon Synopsis

'The Amazons: Lives and Legends of Warrior Women across the Ancient World' by Adrienne Mayor

Release date: 22nd March 2016
Published by: Princeton University Press
ISBN No:978 0691170275

Amazons--fierce warrior women dwelling on the fringes of the known world--were the mythic archenemies of the ancient Greeks. Heracles and Achilles displayed their valor in duels with Amazon queens, and the Athenians reveled in their victory over a powerful Amazon army. In historical times, Cyrus of Persia, Alexander the Great, and the Roman general Pompey tangled with Amazons.

But just who were these bold barbarian archers on horseback who gloried in fighting, hunting, and sexual freedom? Were Amazons real? In this deeply researched, wide-ranging, and lavishly illustrated book, National Book Award finalist Adrienne Mayor presents the Amazons as they have never been seen before. This is the first comprehensive account of warrior women in myth and history across the ancient world, from the Mediterranean Sea to the Great Wall of China.

Mayor tells how amazing new archaeological discoveries of battle-scarred female skeletons buried with their weapons prove that women warriors were not merely figments of the Greek imagination. Combining classical myth and art, nomad traditions, and scientific archaeology, she reveals intimate, surprising details and original insights about the lives and legends of the women known as Amazons. Provocatively arguing that a timeless search for a balance between the sexes explains the allure of the Amazons, Mayor reminds us that there were as many Amazon love stories as there were war stories. The Greeks were not the only people enchanted by Amazons--Mayor shows that warlike women of nomadic cultures inspired exciting tales in ancient Egypt, Persia, India, Central Asia, and China.

Driven by a detective's curiosity, Mayor unearths long-buried evidence and sifts fact from fiction to show how flesh-and-blood women of the Eurasian steppes were mythologized as Amazons, the equals of men. The result is likely to become a classic.

Copyright: Amazon Synopsis

Friday, 22 January 2016

'The Forbidden Orchid' by Sharon Biggs Waller

Release date: 8th March 2016
Published by: Viking Books for Young Readers
ISBN No:978 0451474117

The adventures of a British girl in China, hunting for the orchid that will save her family. Staid, responsible Elodie Buchanan is the eldest of ten sisters growing up in a small English market town in 1861. The girls barely know their father, a plant hunter usually off adventuring through China, more myth than man. Then disaster strikes: Mr. Buchanan reneges on his contract to collect an extremely rare and valuable orchid. He will be thrown into debtors prison while his daughters are sent to the orphanage and the workhouse. Elodie can t stand by and see her family destroyed, so she persuades her father to return to China once more to try to hunt down the flower only this time, despite everything she knows about her place in society, Elodie goes with him. She has never before left her village, but what starts as fear turns to wonder as she adapts to seafaring life aboard the tea clipper"The Osprey," and later to the new sights, dangers, and romance of China. She comes to find that both the world and her place in it are so much bigger than she d ever dreamed. But now, even if she "can" find the orchid, how can she ever go back to being the staid, responsible Elodie that everybody needs?"

Copyright: The Book Depository Synopsis

'Nice Work (If You Can Get It)' by Celia Imrie

Release date: 1st March 2016
Published by: Bloomsbury Publishing
ISBN No:978 1408876909

Somewhere on the French Riviera, tucked between glitzy Monte Carlo and Cannes' red-carpets, lies the sleepy town of Bellevue-Sur-Mer. Sheltered from the glittering melee, it is home to many an expat - although it
hasn't proved as peaceful as expected. Now an enterprising band of retirees has resolved to show it's never too late to start afresh, and open a restaurant.
Snapping up a local property and throwing themselves into preparations, Theresa, Carol, William and Benjamin's plans are proceeding unnervingly well. But when Theresa encounters a mysterious intruder, she begins to wonder what secrets the building is concealing.
Meanwhile Sally, an actress who fled the stage to live in quiet anonymity, has decided not to be involved. She's far too busy anyway, shepherding around a gaggle of A-listers including a suave Russian with a super-yacht and a penchant for her company.
As the razzmatazz of Cannes Film Festival penetrates Bellevue-Sur-Mer, its inhabitants become entangled in a complex pattern of love triangles and conflicting business interests, and something starts to feel distinctly oeuf. Finding themselves knee-deep in suspicion and skulduggery, the restaurateurs realise they can no longer tell who's nasty . and who's nice.

Copyright: Amazon Synopsis

'Eligible' by Curtis Sittenfeld

Release date: 21st April 2016
Published by: The Borough Press
ISBN No:978 0007486298

From the bestselling author of Prep, American Wife and Sisterland comes this brilliant retelling of Austen’s classic set in modern day Cincinnati.
The Bennet sisters have been summoned from New York City.
Liz and Jane are good daughters. They’ve come home to suburban Cincinnati to get their mother to stop feeding their father steak as he recovers from heart surgery, to tidy up the crumbling Tudor-style family home, and to wrench their three sisters from their various states of arrested development.
Once they are under the same roof, old patterns return fast. Soon enough they are being berated for their single status, their only respite the early morning runs they escape on together. For two successful women in their late thirties, it really is too much to bear. That is, until the Lucas family’s BBQ throws them in the way of some eligible single men . . .
Chip Bingley is not only a charming doctor, he’s a reality TV star too. But Chip's friend, haughty neurosurgeon Fitzwilliam Darcy, can barely stomach Cincinnati or its inhabitants. Jane is entranced by Chip; Liz, sceptical of Darcy. As Liz is consumed by her father’s mounting medical bills, her wayward sisters and Cousin Willie trying to stick his tongue down her throat, it isn’t only the local chilli that will leave a bad aftertaste.
But where there are hearts that beat and mothers that push, the mysterious course of love will resolve itself in the most entertaining and unlikely of ways. And from the hand of Curtis Sittenfeld, Pride & Prejudice is catapulted into our modern world singing out with hilarity and truth.

Copyright: Amazon Synopsis

'In a Land of Paper Gods' by Rebecca Mackenzie

Release date: 28th January 2016
Published by: Tinder Press
ISBN No:978 1472224194

Jiangxi Province, China, 1941
Atop the fabled mountain of Lushan, celebrated for its temples, capricious mists and plunging ravines, perches a boarding school for the children of British missionaries. As her parents pursue their calling to bring the gospel to China's most remote provinces, ten-year-old Henrietta S. Robertson discovers that she has been singled out for a divine calling of her own.
Etta is quick to share the news with her dorm mates, and soon even Big Bum Eileen is enlisted in the Prophetess Club, which busies itself looking for signs of the Lord's intent. (Hark.) As rumours of war grow more insistent, so the girls' quest takes on a new urgency - and in such a mystical landscape, the prophetesses find that lines between make believe and reality, good and bad, become dangerously blurred. So Etta's pilgrimage begins.

Copyright: Amazon Synopsis

'The Constant Queen' by Joanna Courtney

Release date: 21st April 2016
Published by: Macmillan
ISBN No:978 1447281962

Elizaveta is princess of Kiev, but that doesn't stop her chasing adventure. Defying conventions, she rides the rapids of the Dneiper alongside her royal brothers and longs to rule in her own right as a queen.
Elizaveta meets her match when the fearsome Viking warrior Harald Hardrada arrives at her father's court seeking fame and fortune. He entrusts Elizaveta to be his treasure keeper, holding the keys to his ever-growing wealth - and eventually to his heart.
Theirs is a fierce romance and the strength of their love binds them together as they travel across the vast seas to Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Iceland. In 1066, their ambition carries them to Orkney as they plan to invade England and claim the crown . . .

Copyright: Amazon Synopsis

'Outlaws of Medieval Scotland: Challenges to the Canmore Kings 1058 - 1266' by R. Andrew McDonald

Release date: 14th April 2016
Published by:John Donald Publishers Ltd
ISBN No:978 1910900000

The history of the so-called Canmore kings in Scotland, from the reign of Malcolm lll (1058-1093) down to that of Alexander lll (1249-1286), is marked by an array of insurrections led by discontented dynasts and native warlords with grievances against these kings. Although none of the challenges ultimately proved successful, they nevertheless form a much-neglected theme across a formative era of Scottish history, which they in part define. This book demonstrates that the Canmore kings maintained their grip on power in large measure through crushing rivals and quashing numerous insurrections; their claim to be the founders of the medieval kingdom is valid, but the roles of violence and military confrontations in the consolidation of their power and the formation of the medieval kingdom are given new emphasis here. From well-known events like the invasion of Somerled of Argyll in 1164 to lesser-known challenges like that from Donald MacWillliam in the 1180s, the book offers a systematic exploration of the leaders of insurrection, their aims and motivations, their military capabilities, and the reasons behind their failure as well as the overall impact of insurrection upon the Scottish kingdom.

Copyright: Amazon Synopsis

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

'Siren's Song' by Mary Weber

Release date: 14th April 2016
Published by: Thomas Nelson
ISBN No:978 1401690403

"The realization hits: We're not going to win. It's why I couldn't defeat Draewulf in Bron-because this power was never mine anyway. I drop my arms and let the energy die off. And turn around to face Eogan." After a fierce battle with Draewulf, Nym barely escaped with her life. Now, fleeing the scorched landscape of Tulla, her storm-summoning abilities are returning; only ...the dark power is still inside her. Broken and bloodied, Nym needs time to recover, but when the full scope of the shapeshifter's horrific plot is revealed, the strong-willed Elemental must race across the Hidden Lands and warn the other kingdoms before Draewulf's final attack. From the crystalline palaces of Cashlin to the legendary Valley of Origin, Nym scrambles to gather an army. But even if she can, will she be able to uncover the secret to defeating Draewulf that has eluded her people for generations? With a legion of monsters approaching, and the Hidden Lands standing on the brink of destruction, the stage is set for a battle that will decide the fate of the world. This time, will the Siren's Song have the power to save it?

Copyright: Amazon Synopsis

'Dilly's Hope' by Rosie Goodwin

Release date: 7th April 2016
Published by: Corsair
ISBN No:978 1472117564

Hardworking widow Dilly Carey has struggled out of poverty to make a successful life for herself. Surrounded by her children and grandchildren, Dilly should be content, but she is still troubled by the one secret she must never share. Olivia, the daughter Dilly gave away at birth, cannot find out the real truth about her parentage.
It's time for Dilly to make her peace with the choice that she was forced to make. As Dilly finds the strength and courage to visit her son's grave on the battlefields of the Great War, will she also find a way to a new happiness - and a new love?

Copyright: Amazon Synopsis

'The Immortal Throne' by Stella Gemmell

Release date: 24th March 2016
Published by:Bantam Press
ISBN No:978 0593071489

The emperor is dead…long live the emperor! 

The fervent hope of the victorious rebels and the survivors of the uprising that liberated the City from tyranny is that the accession of Archange to the imperial throne will usher in a new era of freedom, peace and stability. If only that were so... 

As the the City struggles to return to something resembling normal life after the devastation brought on by the rebellion, word arises of a massive army gathering to the north. No one knows where it has come from or who leads it, but it soon becomes apparent that its sole purpose is to destroy the City and annihilate all - man, woman and child - who live within its battered walls. And while warriors go forth to fight and die on the battlefield in defence of their homeland and all that they believe in, bitter family feuds and ancient rivalries, political and personal betrayals, and mindless murder surface within the palaces and corridors of power: it seems the City is under siege - from both without and within . . . 

With this new novel, Stella Gemmell brings the astonishing story of the City to a spectacular climax and confirms her place as a master of the genre.

Copyright: Amazon Synopsis