Wednesday, 5 April 2017


Present day, alternate reality. Captain Carina Mitela of the Praetorian Guard Special Forces is in trouble – one colleague has tried to kill her and another has set a trap to incriminate her in a conspiracy to topple the government of Roma Nova. Founded sixteen hundred years ago by Roman dissidents and ruled by women, Roma Nova barely survived a devastating coup d’├ętat thirty years ago. Carina swears to prevent a repeat and not merely for love of country. 
Seeking help from a not quite legal old friend could wreck her marriage to the enigmatic Conrad. Once proscribed and operating illegally, she risks being terminated by both security services and conspirators. As she struggles to overcome the desperate odds and save her beloved Roma Nova and her own life, she faces the ultimate betrayal…

Well, if the above blurb doesn't hook you in, then nothing will. This is a thriller that at least matches, excels even, all expectations you might have of similar books. More realistic than the James Bond movies, PERFIDITAS goes way beyond anything that has been done before. Set in an alternative, but similar to the world of today, Roma Nova is a fascinating concept, created by the incredibly intelligent mind of the author, and drawn from her love of all things Roman. 

Before I began reading, I was under the impression that you didn't need to read the first in the series, (INCEPTIO), before you read PERFIDITAS, and although there is an intro describing the alternate historical background of the whole world, plus a list of characters placed in their contexts, I felt that due to the fast pace of the book, and the amount of characters Ms Morton juggles, a new reader would find it hard going to know what, who, when and why. So, I felt that I was at an advantage, having read INCEPTIO, and was glad that I had, for it enabled me to understand the wonderful intriguing world I was immersing myself in

I loved the idea of Rome continuing after its fall in the 5thc and beginning again in a new state, with the name of Roma Nova: New Rome. And the fact that it was ruled by women, because hey, the guys did a terrible job, didn't they; adds a whole new dynamic to the concept. Ms Morton has formulated this new Rome using the most prominent elements from their past, such as the language, Latin of course, the Praetorian Guard, which still exists, Domus, the name used for home, and amusingly, the old Roman gods as a way of swearing. "Juno!", is one example. All this serves to create a believable, fascinating world, that is not only modern, it is leading the world with its advanced technology and systems; one such example is the el-pad; got an idea what that is? What is even more extraordinary, is that Morton devises new customs for the Roma Novans, some of which have been part of this new world's traditions going back over 1500 years. I particularly liked the Twelve Family code which, under this, a noble family has the right to question a delinquent member of their family whom they believe has committed some criminal offence. You see, when Rome collapsed 1500 years (or there abouts) earlier, amongst those who made the exodus to what was to become Roma Nova, were 12 of the noblest families. These families were the most powerful ruling clans, and in the 21stc, their status as such is still preserved, with women always at the head of the clan. To balance this power, members of the twelve families have a greater responsibility of service to the state and are expected to behave better than the average citizen.

This book is definitely plot driven, and told through the eyes  of Countess Carina, therefore this, and the  fast pace, has to be taken into consideration when examining the characterisation of all the players. There were many characters of which I would have liked to know more about their emotions and their inner machinations. This is probably more difficult to do when writing in the first person, as Ms Morton does. That is one of my pet annoyances of books written in the first person, because I like to get right into the minds of the characters and feel that I am within them. All that aside, I can still read, and enjoy books written in this method, though they are few and far between, and this second book in the Roma Nova series I have selected as being one of them. as it is so unique in its presentation.

 I enjoyed Carina's character, she is not the shy, retiring type, she gets things done, and often her maverick -style way of doing things, gets her in all sorts of trouble. Her husband, the hunky Conrad, who has taken her family name as his own in the new Roman tradition, finds this aspect of her, less endearing than perhaps he should, but he is not only her husband but her work superior, and this can be conflicting for the couple. With such strong personalities, there are bound to be the usual disagreements and as well as the trouble on the home front, the couple are faced with difficulties aplenty as the plot unfolds. And it does so, very quickly, I might add, for soon it is obvious that someone is out to get both Carina and her husband. And when I say 'get' I mean, totally destroy in the most horrible, nasty way achievable. 

Roma Nova, as you may have probably guessed by now, had only survived because of their social structure. Women no longer were assigned to the confines of their homes, playing  good little wives, they had become the heads of their families, whilst the men were constantly at war in those early days of their colonies' survival. The women's take over of their governing systems, meant that both  men, and women, now, would have to perform 'service' to their country and that ethos seems to have continued right into the 21st century. A tiny country hidden away between New Austria and Italy, Roma Nova had become one of the most powerful, rich states in the world, surrounded by bigger boys who possibly want to take over. They had to be tough in order to survive, following a male dominated brutal consulship and civil war And there are strains of modern day Israel's kick ass attitude, in the way they run their regime:

...with characteristic resilience, the families' structures fought back and reconstructed their society, re-learning the basic principles of Republican virtue, while subtly changing it to a more representational model for modern times.
But what has this book got to offer? For one, Ms Morton has a snappy, concise style of writing that flows beautifully. The pace and atmosphere are just at the right speed and mood. The characters, are many, and sometimes when a new name popped up, I had trouble remembering who they were, despite having read the first book. Thank goodness there is a cast list in the form of a Dramatis Personae of all the characters and from which section of society they belong. Please readers remember to look in the back of the book for this. However, that aside, my enjoyment of reading this book was not hampered by this little niggle.

It is quite clear that Ms Morton is an excellent writer and story-teller. She has her own unique voice when conjuring up her plot lines. The world she has built is done so with integrity. It is formulated and constructed with faithful authenticity and is representational of a true society with its origins in Rome. I am sure that most readers will enjoy jumping into the arena of 21st century Rome, and will wholly accept the offer of a ride into the dark, almost invisible world of intelligence and criminality in this exciting, cleverly manufactured tale.

This is a book I would highly recommend to those who enjoy alternative fiction, where events from the past have different endings, pushing the future into different pathways to produce a new, fresh world with which to play in. Also, if you enjoy thrillers, with espionage and intelligence as its background, you will love this book. Highly recommended.


A ‘Roman nut’ since age 11, Alison Morton continues to be fascinated by that complex, power and value driven civilisation. Armed with a masters’ in history, six years’ military service and the love of a good thriller, she explores via her award winning Roma Nova adventure thrillers the ‘what if’ idea of a modern Roman society run by strong women.
The sixth book, RETALIO, will be published on 27 April. In the meantime, Alison lives in France with her husband, tends her Roman herb garden and drinks wine.

Watch a trailer  

Links for Alison
Social media links
Connect with Alison on her Roma Nova site:
Twitter: @alison-morton

Buying link for PERFIDITAS (multiple retailers/formats):

Tuesday, 14 March 2017


I've worked on The Review blog with Anna when she was one of our readers, but more recently I have got to know her a lot better. She has written an 8 book series, The Graham Saga , and a new series has been started called The King's Greatest Enemy of which there are two, and the new one coming out next month and a new series too! Also, we might see her contributions to other collaborate efforts, such as 1066: Turned Upside Down and the famous EHFA collaboration, Castles Customs and Kings. Apart from admiring her ability to work hard and achieve so much, I totally love the way she writes and is probably one of the only historical romance authors I will enjoy reading.

So please may I welcome you all to PAULA'S PEOPLE, as I relay the transcript of our conversation as it happened live. (Just so you know I am in Black and Anna is in Blue)

Hi Anna, welcome to PAULA'S PEOPLE. Its great to be talking to you like this. I'll start with:

Question number one : it's been a while since Days of Sun and Glory, what have you been up to since then and when are we going to see the next instalment of Kit and Adam's adventures?

I've been working on a new series - I hope to publish the first book this year. I have also almost completed a ninth book in The Graham Saga - but I'm still in two minds re whether to publish it or not. If not, that's a LOT of words and hours down the drain...And then I've done teh final edits & all that on the next Kit and Adam book, which is scheduled for April this year

Oh wow, a new series, am I allowed to ask what it's about? I'd love to see a sneak peak of the cover!

In the long lost ancient past, two men fought over the girl with the golden hair and eyes like the Bosporus under a summer sky. It ended badly. She died. They died. Since then, they have all tumbled through time, reborn over and over again. Now they are all here, reborn in the same place, the same time. It is time to end that which began 3 000 years ago. Time to lay old ghosts to rest, time to finish what began in distant fogs of time.

That's an awesome cover !

It is, isn't it?

Beautiful! And very different from your usual
Who is the artist?

My usual cover artist, Olly Bennett at More Visual

Ah, so he did your other covers?


What made you go for such a different look?

Different story, different genre

It certainly is stunning. I've loved you're other covers too, obviously, but this one is somehow very intriguing. And I just read the blurb and I can see it's going to be another nail biting roller coaster ride! Do you realise how your books make my heart race?

Oh, yes!
And it has some very steamy sex scenes.

Cripes! I have to admit, you do those so well

Question twoI'm very much looking forward to Kit and Adam in April, I'm longing to know what happens next. With Despenser out of the way, will there be another antagonist to torment the poor beleaguered couple?


Noooooo!!! *Paula faints
Who is it? Will it be a fictional character or a real historical one?

A fictional character. Although Isabella is always a borderline bitch...

Yes she turned out to be a bit of a surprise, I had thought she was going to be nice all the way through, but...

Question threeSo with all this writing you've been doing, have you had any time for reading?
if so, what great books have you read recently

I always find the time to read - it is a fundamental part of honing my own writing skills. So yes, I have been reading a lot. Some of the more recent fab reads are, Behind Every door by Cynthia Graham, To be a Queen by Annie Whitehead, and the rather harrowing, An Untamed State by Roxane Gay,

That last one sounds intriguing.

It was very harrowing - but impossible to put down. Let's just say I won't be going to Haiti any time soon...

Oh, even more intriguing. I love stuff about voodoo and so on. I'm a little strange like that I guess

It's pretty violent.

Im ok with violence as long as it doesn't go on and on. After awhile it just hurts too much ;)
I remember watching The Passion of Christ and I was eating chocolate and felt somewhat ill.
*Note to self, do not eat chocolate when watching a violent film

Speaking of films, are you a movie buff?

Not really. I like watching movies, but I don't go to the cinema all that much. I am planning on seeing La-La land, though.

Time for a break! See you soon folks!


Question fourBack again, now, where were we? Ah yes, we finished with movies so on that note i want to ask you, if The Graham Saga was to become a film, who would you like to see play Alex, Matthew, Luke, and Alex' mother.

Oh, dear, what a difficult question. I envision Matthew as looking something like Michael Fassbinder, while Alex is a bit like Scarlett Johansson or Jennifer Lawrence. And as to Luke, I think Rufus Sewell - especially when Luke grows older
Alex's mother - well, Mercedes is a difficult woman with a lot of darkness inside. She is not so much beautiful as striking, and I can't quite think of an actress who'd fill those shoes.

Michael Fassbender
could he play Matthew in the Graham Saga?
Anyone know if he's free?

I was going to suggest Olivia Hussey but i think she might well be too old now.
But i think Michael Fassbender and Jennifer Lawrence are good choices. Now, in  future, I will imagine them as the characters.

Question five: I've always known that you are a prolific reader and I just wanted to ask you if any of the authors you have read have influenced your style in anyway and if so was that deliberate because you admired their work, or it has been subconsciously?

I suppose reading a lot per definition means you have been influenced subconsciously, as there are writing mechanisms you enjoy and some that you don't. For me, it is important to develop my own voice, and as such I endeavour to have "my" style, a way of writing that is recognisable to the reader. For it to be "my" style, I cannot go cherry-picking from others - at least not intentionally  However, there are authors I want to emulate - not so as to plagiarise their style, but rather to achieve the same effect, principally that of dragging the reader into the past. Two such authors are Edith Pargetter and Sharon K Penman.

Oh yes I agree, Ms Penman is on my list of great authors and influences and Edith Pargetter too.
I know what you mean about finding your own voice. And I  definitely think you have The Belfrage style of writing.

Sharon K Penman,
one of Anna's early inspiring auhors

Thank you!

You're welcome. I'll have that piece of chocolate cake now, if you don't mind

Sorry: only carrot cake on offer today - but it's a GOOD carrot cake.
Ok! Carrot cake it is! lol

Question six: Having started a new job recently, fultime,  how do you find time to do all this writing and blogging etc? Not to mention reading for Discovering Diamonds as well.

Well, I read for more than Discovering Diamonds - but then, I read a lot anyway, so as to continuously improve my own writing. Yes, a new - and exciting job - naturally eats into large chunks of my time, thereby reducing the hours I can invest in my writing, but to me, writing is a bit like breathing, and it is quite inconceivable to pass an entire day without writing something. So when others relax by watching TV, I achieve the same result by string words together.

Yes, I also work pretty much fultime and the only time I get to write is my leisure time. Wouldn't it be nice to do this for a living?

Question seven: So recently you have created your own imprint, Time Light Press, I believe its called, where are you with this now, and have all your books been transferred to this imprint? What made you take the plunge to go it alone and how are you finding the process?

I'm not so sure I would want to do it for a living. I've recently had a long sabbatical, and when writing became the thing I did, rather the thing I stole moments to enjoy, some of the magic sort of disappeared. Besides, writing is a lonely occupation and I personally require the interaction with other people to fuel my imagination.
So far, I've published the e-books of my 14th century series through this imprint, and the new series I am presently working on (contemporary with a dash of darkness & a timeslip angle) will be published through the imprint. We'll see what happens next.

I'm afraid that all the carrot cake has gone now, so we will have to call it a day.
Anna, thank you for chatting with me, and for being one of PAULA'S PEOPLE today.

You're welcome, Paula, thank you for having me.

Here's to you, Anna. All the best for the future!

Anna in the middle, with me on the left
and my great friend Louise Rule

PS, all of Anna's Graham Saga and her recent The King's Greatest Enemies, are indieBRAG medallion winners.

Anna can be found on Twitter and at her website

Paula is the author of
Sons of the Wolf
The Wolf Banner
You can also find her at Twitter
and her Blog: 1066: The Road to Hastings and Other Stories

Saturday, 18 February 2017


When you should stop judging a book by its genre...

The author is kindly giving away an ebook to one lucky reader, so leave a comment on the blog to win
Winner will be drawn Saturday the 26th February

Although I have read time slips before, such as Labyrinth by Kate Mosse, and Philippa Pearce's, Tom's Midnight Garden, I've never knowingly gone on the hunt for books in this genre and in my ignorance, probably wouldn't have deliberately chosen those books if I'd been aware that they were part of a genre that I would usually put back on the shelf. To me, time slipping or time travelling, usually evokes thoughts of someone slipping through a time tunnel from the modern day age to a time gone by and changes history, and because my favourite genre is historical fiction, I tend to prefer my HF pure without any interference from the future. It's strange how putting a label on something can make it seem unattractive, and yet when I picked those books up off a shelf, I must have had no preconceived ideas in my head because they were simply labelled  as fiction, and nothing else. Which really shows that if I listen to my brain talking, it could really spoil my reading experiences, because my brain doesn't  know what's good for me.

Having worked on The Review blog for sometime, I got to learn about Ms Belfrage's Graham Saga through my co-admins' reviews. I loved them and each time, I kept wondering why I couldn't bring myself to read the book, just because they were about a time traveller who ends up in another century and creates a whole new life for herself. Because of my prideful ruminations about what I thought was not for me, I was also put off reading or watching the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldan. Too long, too unbelievable and too 'time slip/travel.' The change happened for me when I caved in to watch the first series of Outlander. Surprise, surprise, my head didn't fall off after all. I wasn't turned into some strange time-travelling creature, and I really loved it. And the friend who urged me to watch Outlander, happens to also be a big fan of Ms Belfrage's and so it didn't take much for me by now, to pick up the first in the Graham Saga series. For the first time I am feeling humble, because I have now discovered, that a book should never be judged by it's genre, and a genre should never be judged until you've read one. After all, had I not enjoyed Labyrinth?

So, having taking the plunge, I opened the first page, and my brain was still wondering what a book like this would have to offer someone who  prefers her history as it was, and not tampered with by people falling through Time or arriving in another era in time travelling machine, or falling through a hole in the sky. But the more I read, the more I became interested in knowing what the 21st Century woman would be thinking, what would go through her mind before she was able to believe that she was now in another time and place, and had somehow found an opening through time. When would she stop believing it was all a dream?

I was soon to discover that this book is not just a 'woman falls through time, meets 17thc man, and falls in love', book; this book has many layers. Despite its romantic theme, it is also a psychological study in how a woman and a man from different periods in time would interact given their cultural differences and their diverse mindsets. Because it has a historical setting, it means that there are lessons to be learned about what was going on in Scotland at the time of Cromwell's takeover of parliament, though the story has more to do with Alex and Matthew's relationship and the trials that come to plague them than Cromwell and the English Civil War.

In A Rip in the Veil, Alex Lind, a very modern, 21st century woman falls, literally, through a 'time node' and lands back in the 17thc. A gorgeous hunk of a man, Matthew Graham, a fugitive from the law, finds her injured and knocked out, and wearing very strange clothes. Matthew is the first person Alex sees as she wakes up and her first impression is that he must be doing some sort of reenactment or something, wearing those strange old fashioned clothes. Matthew, on the other hand is just as confused to see a woman wearing strange blue breeches, and with short hair. As Alex and Matthew get used to each other, they soon find out that they are both in danger, he because he is on the run from the law, and she because she is a vulnerable woman, wearing peculiar attire. Eventually they both find out that Alex has fallen back into time, and of course, this just complicates things even more.

Ms Belfrage's interesting style of showing one main character's point of view and then swapping to the other's gives the reader a greater perspective from both sides of the coin. I found it a useful tool for comparing myself with Alex, as she behaves as a modern woman in an olde worlde time period, and wondering what I would do in the situations she finds herself. I loved the way that Matthew copes when his misogynistic ideas go head to head with Alex' modern sensibilities and behaviour. It is comparable to a psychological study, as we get to see how Matthew becomes less and less like a chauvinistic 17thc man and more like 'new man', in this strange relationship of  two lovers who come from different worlds. Equally, we see the vulnerable Alex casting off her independent woman thing to give in to her husband's old fashioned demands, in times when she is at her most distressed. It really does give the reader food for thought and it made me value what I have in this modern world.
Along the way, the road to happiness is not easy, there are many falling outs and many falling back ins, and many romantic interludes which, well lets face it, its a Romance isn't it? And Ms Belfrage love scenes are so well done, like a true romantic.

But its not all love and sex in this book, there is brotherly rivalry which cause the bloodiest of fights between siblings you might ever see; close shaves, when Alex and Matthew both get on the wrong side of the law, and there are some hairy scenes that will have you hanging on to your armchair, or in my case my pillow. Well written, beautifully at times, A Rip in the Veil is the first in a series I just know I am going to enjoy more of.

You can purchase the Graham Saga books on Amazon here and they can be read in any order, but if you're anything like me, you'll want to start at the beginning. Plus, you will not be disappointed.

Friday, 15 July 2016


Please welcome the lovely Karen Aminadra to Paula's People's Author Spotlight. Karen has just launched her latest book The Most Suitable Bride - and she is giving away some wonderful prizes, so listen in! Go do your stuff Karen!

Today I am celebrating the launch of my eighth novel! Yes, eighth!
I cannot even believe I am here already! It has been such an exciting journey and wonderful four years since I published my first novel.

The Suitable Bride is book 2 in The Emberton Brothers series and is a clean Regency romance novel.
In the first novel, we followed the story of Richard, the eldest of the three brothers. In this book, we follow Edward the middle one.
Edward is the driven one out of the three. He has spent years working hard at achieving his dream. He’s a politician and dreams of being Prime Minister of Britain one day. He knows the advantages there are to be had in marrying and is eager to find a bride from amongst the set who will help advance his career.
Frances Davenport is the daughter of a lord. She is privileged and has led a life that has had its ups and downs…literally speaking ;-) She’s a little naughty. She doesn’t believe there is one single man out there who can please her as a husband and is resigned to that fact. Until she meets Edward, that is…

To celebrate the release of The Suitable Bride I am having a bumper giveaway with a big list of goodies! Please visit my BLOG to enter! And good luck!

Edward Emberton wants to be Prime Minister. He has a passionate vision for the future of England, which includes the abolition of slavery. As the son of a tradesman, his journey to Parliament has been a difficult one, but there is only one thing left to cement this foothold on the steps to Parliament – a suitable bride. She must be of noble birth, reasonable intelligence, mild temperament, and extraordinary beauty.
Frances Davenport is most of those things. And a suitable marriage to Edward isn’t only the answer to her prayers; it’s a way to keep her secrets. Edward is handsome, driven, and better still, enchanted by her beauty. It’s more than a suitable match; it couldn’t be more perfect.
But appearances are often deceiving, and Frances’ beguiling beauty comes with its own set of problems. Edward and Frances are about to discover that there’s more to marriage than suitability because neither is as suitable as they seem…


Author bio -
Karen is a multi-genre author who writes novels within many different genres; Historical Romance, Historical Crime, and modern Chick-Lit.
She can usually be found sat at the computer either writing a novel, writing down new ideas or on social media chatting!
Her love of reading, writing short stories, and her childhood imaginary world led quite naturally to writing novels. Encouraged to read by her bookworm father and grandmother and by winning a writing competition in just her first year of secondary school, she was spurred on, and she has been writing stories ever since. Her love of mystery and plot twists that she put into that first story continues today.
She has travelled to and lived in many countries, not just in her imagination, and has gained an insight into people’s characters that shines through in her work. Today, with her feet firmly back in the United Kingdom, she travels the world, the universe and in time through her imagination and her novels.
She is now the author of eight novels;
Charlotte – Pride & Prejudice Continues,
Rosings – Pride & Prejudice Continues book 2,
Relative Deceit – Death in the Family,
The Uncanny Life of Polly,
It’s a Man’s World – Lettie Jenkins Investigates,
Wickham – Pride & Prejudice Continues book 3,
The Spice Bride – The Emberton Brothers Series book 1.
The Suitable Bride – The Emberton Brothers Series book 2.
In 2012 she received a B.R.A.G Medallion ™ for her debut novel Charlotte – Pride & Prejudice Continues.
In 2013 she was once again honoured with a B.R.A.G Medallion ™ for Rosings – Pride & Prejudice Continues book 2.
In 2016 she received another prized B.R.A.G Medallion™ for Wickham -Pride & Prejudice Continues book 3.
For more information and to download a free book visit

Tuesday, 31 May 2016


Please note that the author is offering a signed copy! Please leave a comment below
if you would like to win. To be drawn on Wednesday 8th June

Mary Kelly lies dead upon her bed... Her sorrowful eyes still hold captive, the agony of her fate. Anger, and fear walk side by side as the populace of London demand justice for the slain. Is it a single mad man or is there a bloody political game being played out in the grime filled streets of the old City? The authorities are powerless to stop the bloodletting and call for a new kind of law. William Harkness, former officer of the 66th Regiment of Foot will join the hunt. His task is not to bring an insane killer to court, his hands are not tied by the laws of the day. 
William Harkness is the killer of killers, the assassin of evil...

I have long held a fascination for the Jack the Ripper tale; gruesome as it is, its the mystery that surrounds the deaths of at least five women, that grip me, and the fact that the identity of the killer is still unknown. Its a tale that has spawned many a theory as to who the killer was and why these women were killed. Conspiracy theories abound, but the fact remains, no one has ever been able to prove beyond a doubt who and why these women were killed. The dark, dirty streets and alleys of Victorian East London, are conjured whenever anyone speaks Jack the Ripper's name, keeping the macabre interest in these murders alive, even more than a hundred years after they happened. 

When I heard that Mr Southworth was writing a thriller, based on the Ripper, I was excited to download my copy, expecting dark alleys, foggy black nights, dirty streets filled with urchins, and carriages with mysterious gentlemen lurking inside, ready to lure a woman into its evil interior. And happily, I am pleased to report, that's pretty much what I got. 

The author starts off by describing the depravity of London and the origins of the Robert Peel's Metropolitan Police, and then we view the first murder through the eyes of a little stray dog, who stumbles upon the murder taking place. The author cleverly shows the reader what the dog sees. He doesn't understand it, but through his senses, it smells blood - and danger - and flees, terrified, into the night.
The dog watched as the blade went to work. What was once an attractive woman was turned into mere lumps of flesh. Then at last the shadowy figure ceased its butchery and after carefully wrapping each bloodied remnants of its victim, walked towards the door. The dog shook violently and whimpered with fear. The figure stopped and looked at the wretched beast and then stretched out a hand. Two tender pats to the head were delivered.
"Good dog," whispered the figure, and then the shadow walked away. 

Southworth's central character is a war hero, Captain Harkness, a young soldier who was injured in Afghanistan, saving the life of a young private. He returns to England to recoup and some years later, he is sought out by Inspector Abberline, mainly for his reputation, and Harkness is given full licence to seek out the Ripper and exterminate him. William Harkness, turns out to be a regular customer of poor Mary Kelly, whom we know received the most horrific treatment from the Ripper, in her own home. Shocked and horrified by Mary's horrendous death, Harkness agrees to Abberline's  proposal. He wants to get the man who killed her, and was killing all the others.

Harkness is a brooding hero. He has seen and experienced terrible things as a soldier, which makes him a good candidate for the man to lead the task force against the Ripper, and if there are more in league with the Ripper, his gang. Southworth's hero is a deep character, with a dark side as most broody heroes have, and he soon forms his own force, with men from both the police force and his past as a soldier. We get to know the characters and we are interested in them. One gets the feeling that we will get to know more about them in the second and third books.

Mr Southworth is not afraid to write bloody scenes, however he cleverly crafts his words to create a picture of the event without using graphic images of gore and blood. He is able, with great subtlety, create the brutality of murder, with little words needed, but still managing to conjure an appropriate atmosphere, that clings to the pages like a dark mist. Less is more, in this case, and its perfect.

Also interwoven into the story of this hunt for the killer Ripper, is the story of Harkness' lost love, and the difficult relationship he has with his father. There was one particular scene where I was close to tears, urging William on in my head to do take the olive branch. The beauty of this book is that it is has a great plot, even if the author has taken liberties with the facts, its appropriate and fits in nicely with the events of the time. It also has a nice little subplot, with William's father and an old girlfriend of his, adding depth to William's persona. I also enjoy the other characters, especially Obadiah, who has known William, been in his father's service, for years.

Mr Southworth has done an excellent job crafting this book. It has an authentic feel and he uses the language of the time so that the dialogue feels authentic too. The book starts a little higgledy-piggledy with the time line, but once into the meat of the story, it develops fast, leaving this reader wanting more as I finally force myself to close my kindle for bedtime. The ending is a crescendo, with a plot twist that makes you bite your nails. Some people are not always who one might think they are and the ending finishes in such a way that paves the road for the next book, which i can't wait to read. This book compares favourable to that excellent Ripper Street series, and would also make a brilliant TV series too.
I would recommend this book to those who love late Victorian thrillers and crime stories and also to anyone who likes a great yarn. Its mighty good!


Robert Southworth comes from a sleepy little town in the centre of England, called Nuneaton. I have spent most of his life there apart from  a few years. Essentially a family man at heart, writing gives him the opportunity to spend quality time with his wife and children. Before he became an author he had tried his hands at many professions. For a brief time he was in the army, serving in the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers. Then he tried his hand at engineering and finally retail management. Eventually, redundancy called and he decided to devote his time to writing, which was soon to become his new occupation, thanks to his wife who encouraged him to take up the mantle of an author. Currently he has five novels completed, the last of which is 'The Reaper's Breath', which is the first novel in a series of three.  The series is set in Victorian London, and centres on the infamous Jack the Ripper. 

To read more about Robert and his projects, go to 
his Website ,
follow him on Twitter 
and join him on Facebook

Wednesday, 4 May 2016


War clouds are gathering. After the last year’s defeat of the invasion of their Northern Holdings, the Taleeli Empire now has the justification to once again carry the flame of war south to their shadowed rival, the realm of Acaross. To her subject peoples, who endured both the invasion and the treacherous misrule of the ousted Dominar Sligo, the strength of Taleel no longer looks as sure as once it was. Questions regarding the fate of Commander Kaziviere and the nature of the dark god of Acaross remain. Seeking answers the Sun Shard wielder Tuan Blackstone, his comrade Bronic, the Flinter Klesh and Kaziviere’s lover Tamzine, journey eastward to find the missing Taleeli commander Kaziviere, who, after encountering the dark god of Acaross, finds himself transported into the heart of that shadowy realm. 
   As war between Acaross and Taleel draws ever nearer Kaziviere discovers the horrific nature of the Messiah of Shadows and his monstrous children, The Dead Gods. Meanwhile, northward across the Hailthorn Mountains, with the knowledge of black powder alchemy now at their disposal, do the Flint Folk seek to end their exile and take back the lands that once were theirs?

***** Please note the author is kindly giving away a signed copy *****
To enter leave a comment below
winner to be drawn 11th May

Commander Kaziviere

Well, as you can see by the above, this book has many threads woven into its pages. The Dead Gods is book 2 in the Flint and Steel, Fire and Shadow series, and follows on from the first book, The Sun Shard, and starting where it left off. This book is based on the cyberpunk subgenre, clockpunk, which portrays a sort of renaissance era technology, which we see throughout the novel. However there are other elements in there, such as the Anglo-Saxon-style society which is ruled by a  Khan, and holds sway in the Cheama lands and refers to ‘thegns’ and 'huscarles'. So we have a mixture of muskets, spears and axes and also the stoneage  Neanderthal flint folk, wary of the ‘flat-faces’, and the guardians of the sun shards. All these different cultures are thrown into what is this huge melting pot, and each have their own roles to play in the war that threatens to destroy them all.

   What I loved most about this series is the way the characters are developing and the world Bayliss is building. There are many characters who play in the story of The Dead Gods, and the reader gets to know each of them. their strengths, weaknesses, their foibles and their desires. Bayliss' talent for showing depth to his characters by transporting their thoughts, albeit in the third person, to the reader, helps this process and by the end of the second book, I felt that I had more of a handle on them than the first. The world in which they inhabit is as rich in its diversity, as it is in its terrain, and physical characteristics, with vivid descriptions of the lands in the narrative.
   The narrative is cleverly written and although the author sometimes swings from one point of view to another, his technique in using thought in the third person, written in Italics, makes those switches readable, though there is one particular chapter where the head-hopping is really jarring; but, because Bayliss is capable of writing such wonderful prose, so poetic and lyrical in its form, and he creates such vivid scenes, I can forgive him anything.   
The Tower had looked impressive from a distance, but it had merged with the rock of surrounding cliffs, but now its scale was apparent to the travelling companions. Its dizzying heights caused their heads to swim as they looked up, its uppermost reaches lost in the realm of birds and clouds.

   When I read, I like to feel that I can get into the mind of the characters. The main protagonist is Kaziviere, and in the first book, The Sun Shard, he is a hard-hearted, racist commander; devoid of compassion for the Turanesci warriors, who are forced, as second class citizens, to fight under his command, for an evil Dominar. He even cuts out the tongue of one of them, so cruel is his nature. By the end of the book, he has been affected by his experiences, and the humanity that has been obviously lurking beneath his harsh exterior, is brought to the surface, helped in this metamorphosis by his love for the 'Razoress', Turanesci tribeswoman, Tamzine. He is a much changed man, and i have gone from disliking this cruel man, to rooting for him. In The Dead Gods, he has no time to enjoy his new found tender nature with his lover, Tamzine, for he has been thrust into another world, by the Dark Magic of the Accarossian God and has to find a way to escape his fate, to forever be told that he is no longer who he was, but the gladiator, Gutspiller, forced to fight disgusting monsters in a blood soaked arena. 
   As I've mentioned, there are many characters to enjoy in this book and another favourite is Tamzine. . She’s feisty, and she fights with two scimitars. I can hear them whizz, every time she uses them. And, she isn’t afraid to stand her ground and takes no BS from anyone – man or beast. 
“My company is with whom I choose it to be, Taleeli. Sit back down now. I would not wish to bloody my sword so soon after cleaning it, or abuse your captain’s hospitality with your life, “ Tamzine replied, still whetting her sword and keeping her back to the man. 
   She is known as the 'Razoress'.  If I had to be anyone in this book, I would want to be her. 
   I have followed Mr Bayliss' career over the last few years, apart from his fantasy novels, he has written a book of short stories and has had his work published in a book called Felinity and also a book of poems. Over these years, I've watched his talent grow and some of his shining moments have been his work on his blog, Rob's Ramblings, utter, utter brilliance. In The Dead Gods, Mr Bayliss has come into his own. His words leap off the page in a fanfare of description, so that a picture is spread before you as his prose plucks at your imagination like a virtuoso.
The Grand Mage stepped forward to join the inquisitor, speaking in a commanding voice, “Neshaduk Grematadi! Silence!” The torches blazed back to life, driving back the shadows that had crept across the walls of the chamber, like the tentacles of some foul beast of the deepest abyss. The screaming ceased but the head, now dry as a mummified relic, still showed jet black eyes. Its mouth opened and closed, cracking at the corners, the blackening tongue lolling.“Enough! Fire consume you!” the Grand Mage exclaimed. The head flared into flames behind the glass. The fire quickly consumed what was once flesh and bone. It disintegrated like paper, falling in on itself. 
   If you like fantasy with historical elements, in this book, Bayliss has created an amazing world, with monsters, ghoulies, giant spiders and magician - not to mention the dark world of the Dead Gods; a plague that swallows anything in its path and warriors who fight to restore sanity to a world seeped in chaos and malevolence. I wholly recommend this book, for those who simply love reading and like their prose to blow you away in a poetic, lyrical musical stylee, this is definitely for you.

    About the Author

Rob Bayliss has always read and enjoyed an eclectic mix of fantasy, historical fiction and sci-fi. Growing up in the West Country countryside the worlds of Tolkien and others came alive during long walks in the woods; a hobby which he still enjoys! After having a vivid dream, and eager to know what happened next, he felt the need to write it down. The world of Flint & Steel, Fire & Shadow was born. As well as writing Rob is also a reviewer, contributor and admin of The Review.
You can purchase Rob's book, The Dead Gods here
and you can learn more about his ramblings on his blog Rob's Ramblings.

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Exciting new venture and a re-launch of Sons of the Wolf

Recently, two exciting things have happened! I have just republished a new edition of Sons of the Wolf and I have embarked on a new venture. Since taking a less active role as blog coordinator for The Review, I have joined forces with some like-minded people to create a supportive virtual environment called Longship Publishing. We are a small group of 5 authors and an editor learning her craft, who have come together to support one another in the creations and marketing of their books. So far, we have not moved the earth, but we hope one day that our little company of friends will be doing some great things.

How did this all start?

I have always wanted to write for a living, although that ambition was always like a pie in the sky for me. I had trouble with my self-confidence and before the new millennium,I would never have learned to sit a type writer. Typewriters baffled me, and I had this fixed belief that no one would accept a handwritten copy. I think that's not necessarily true now, but at the time I thought it was. Anyway, I also developed some mental health issues which also prevented me from realising my dream, along with bringing up my gorgeous family and then when my life reached a turning point, I chose to sort myself out once and for all, and embarked on a journey that saw me at college and then at university where I trained to be a nurse. During that time, I rediscovered my love of reading and wondered if I could write a book - the thing that I had always wanted to do and had been pushed to memory. With me learning to use a computer, I suddenly realised, I can do this! And so it all began.

I had to, of course, find the right subject, and there was never any question that it would be anything other than historical. So I read various books for inspiration and stumbled across Helen Hollick's superb book, Harold the King, a re-enactment at Battle abbey.. I had been interested in the dark age period before, when I was much younger, and had read about the tragedy of Harold and the events of 1066 with great enthusiasm. As time went by, I became immersed in the later medieval period and had almost forgotten about this lesser known, but extremely passionate, period in our history. Helen's book relit the the '1066' candle inside my brain and I found another book, David Howarth's wonderful, easy to read, book 1066: The Year of the Conquest. His book was my biggest inspiration. Hollick's book had ignited the spark, but Howarth's fanned the flame into a hot burning fire! For it was in this book by Howarth, that I discovered my two protagonists, Wulfhere and Helghi. Men of 1066, whose lives could only have been imagined that year, for their only legacy to history was what they owned and where they lived s according to the Domesday Book.

And so my first novel was born, Sons of the Wolf, it has become the first in a series of novels about the events before and after the Battle of Hastings. I had first published with SilverWood books in 2012, an assisted publishing company, and it was a very costly experience. As time went by, I became increasingly unhappy with the edit and the cover, and the return I was getting on each book. There were other things that I was dissatisfied with being an author of an assisted publishers, and so, I decided I would remove my book from their list and decided to go it alone. I had been working on the sequel since before Sons was published, as it had been one long book. I'd had to cut it in half because 250,000 words was considered a tad long for a first book and would have been very expensive. Well I had been very naive back then and should have looked into the various ways of producing a book and shopped around. I am ashamed to say now, that I had been quite snooty about selfpublshed books and had wanted to produce a book that looked like it belonged to mainstream, and my book certainly had that appeal, thanks to SilverWood. But it cost a fortune, and in my naivety, I thought I could get my money back to fund The Wolf Banner with them. As I said, I was very naive, and thought I could make it. But I didn't. I soon realised that in order to make my money back to fund Wolf Banner, I was going to have to sell thousands just to make a few hundred quid, and for someone who did not have a fan base,and was largely unknown, it wasn't possible. I had a full-time job, I couldn't find the time to work on The Wolf Banner and market. So Sons of the Wolf and  The Wolf Banner had to be published by myself, with me only out-laying the edits and the cover designs.

Where I'm at now

So, Sons of the Wolf is republished now and The Wolf Banner is in the final editing stage. At last I have a book out to be proud of , with a better edit and a new design. The sequel The Wolf Banner is due out for May. I'm still active in our Facebook group The Review and still a reviewer for it. It's been a great project to be part of and always will be my baby, after all, I created it :), but the real thing in my life is writing. I want to write and have the time to write, and although I love my job as a nurse, I would dearly love my full-time occupation to have something to do with books and hopefully with Longship, there will be many seas sailed!


Sons of the Wolf can be purchased here