Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Review "The Extinguished Flame: Olympians Killed in The Great War"

Do not expect a juicy read this book is an list of men whose bodies were so well trained they took part in the Olympic games. Men who maybe were awarded medals of a total different type but whose fit bodies were reaped down in the carnage of the first World War.

Maybe just because it is such a somewhat dry list it brings home the tragic of such an era. You see pictures of mothers cheering their sons as winners and at the same time you realise that not long after that woman will have been devastated by losing her child.

I offered to read it and write a review via the NetGalley site because as the administrator of the Facebook group of the Victoria Cross Trust I was familiar with the fact that one of the three people who was ever awarded that highest medal for bravery twice was a former Olympic athlete and a doctor. The chapter about Noel Chavasse VC was interesting and I learned some new things about him.

Badly wounded, they did manage to get Chavasse back to a medical station where he
was operated on but alas he died two days later.
Remarkably another double VC winner Lt-Col Martin-Leake VC and bar was
involved after Chavasse had been badly wounded. He notes in his diary on 2 August
An ambulance came up tonight and in it was Captain Noel Chavasse VC RAMC of the
Kings Liverpool battalion of 55 Division. His face was unrecognizable, all blacked from
a shell burst very near and he seemed to be unconscious. As he had an abdominal wound
besides, I did not take him out of the ambulance, which was sent on direct to 32 CCS
(Casualty Clearing Station), where he will probably die.

He is buried in Brandhoek New Military Cemetery, grave reference III. B. 15. His grave
has the unique feature of having two VCs carved into it.

I can recommend the book for people who like a book with background material on either the Olympics or the first World War. It lists men from all different countries in short chapters of one to a few pages each.

I think the price the Kindle version is sold for is a bit high.


In August 2016 the world will be spellbound by the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro as 10,500 athletes from 206 countries compete in 306 events. Tracing their origins back to the Greeks in 776 BC, the history of the Olympics is a glorious one but it has had its darker moments.

During the First World War no fewer than 135 Olympians perished. Many had won Gold, Silver and Bronze medals. They came not just from the UK, Germany, France, USA but from all over the globe.

Wyndham Halswelle, killed in action on 31 March 1915, won a Gold, Silver and Bronze medals in both field and track events. The Frenchman Leon Flameng, the fastest cyclist ever, died on 2 January 1917, having won Gold, Silver and Bronze medals in the 1896 Olympics. The German Fritz Bartholomae, killed in action 12 September 1915, won a Bronze in the rowing eights during the 1912 Olympics. The list of these heroes goes on and on.

Each Olympian, who made the supreme sacrifice, is honored in this magnificent book by a summary of their life, sporting achievement and manner of their death.

Friday, 26 August 2016

Old fashioned naval adventure story with a lot of humour - review of "Mountain of Gold" by J.D. Davies -

The main character is a young naval captain, the second son of an earl, during the reign of King Charles the Second.

By shear luck he is able to capture a corsair galley. The captain turns out to be an Irishman who had turned Turk. This pirate is telling about a huge mountain of gold that is rumoured to be located somewhere sub Saharan and he offers to help find it. Of course hoping it will prevent him from being hanged.

Captain Quinton and his ship are dispatched back to England to inform the king but there is trouble at home.

As the captain and his Dutch wife have no children after being married for five years his mum has decided his gay older brother has to marry. But that lady is rumoured to be a black widow.

The story is a bit a mix of adventure tale and the more romance novel subjects. But it is written is such a way that it brings a grin on your face many times. The Dutch spouse who swears in very colourful Dutch (what I can understand), discriptions like compairing his mother bending over her walking sticks in her mourning cloths to a black spider (she is quite nasty). What is also good about the book that it drops a lot of historical facts as a background for the story.

I can really recommend it.

 But the publisher should make some effort and edit it. As it is full with words slurred together.

(On Amazon)

“Great naval fiction…Hornblower, Aubrey and Quinton – a pantheon of the best adventures at sea” – Conn Iggulden

1663, the Mediterranean Sea…

Captain Mathew Quinton, heir to Ravensden and his Dutch wife Cornelia tragically struggle to have children of their own. The Ravensden line is under increasing strain, as his older Brother, the tenth earl of Ravensden doesn’t have a son either.

The earl is forced into marrying the Countess Louise, and with vicious rumours circulating that she murdered her previous husbands, Captain Matthew is deeply concerned for his brother’s wellbeing.

What is the truth surrounding the beauty?

How can he stop the marriage before it is too late?

Whilst on-board his majesty’s ship The Wessex, Quinton captures a corsair pirate, who goes by the name of Omar Ibrahim of Oran right from under the nose of the ferocious Montnoir, a Maltese Knight.

Omar Ibrahim of Oran is a false identity for the notorious adventurer O’Dwyer who tells the King about ‘a mountain of gold’ to save himself from the noose.

Quinton is ordered by King Charles II to accompany the prisoner O’Dwyer to the mountain in Gambia and retrieve his riches.

The journey is anything but smooth, filled with terror, murder and betrayal…
and the question in everyone’s minds: ‘Does this mountain even exist?’




Praise for J D Davies

‘Exciting, emotive and utterly convincing, the Quinton Journals lead the field in naval historical fiction” – Sam Willis, TV presenter and bestselling author of The Glorious First of June

“Finely shaded characters, excellent plotting, gut-clenching action and immaculate attention to period naval detail…these are superb books” – Angus Donald, author of The Outlaw Chronicles

“A splendid addition to nautical adventure, and a grand story, to boot!” — Dewey Lambdin, author of the Alan Lewrie series.

“J D Davies’s depiction of Restoration England and the British navy is impeccable, his characters truly live and breathe, and the plot kept me in suspense. I could not recommend it more” — Edward Chupack

Born in Wales in 1957, J D Davies was educated at Llanelli Grammar School and Jesus College, Oxford, where he completed a doctorate in 17th century naval history. He taught History for thirty years, chiefly at Bedford Modern School, where he also served as a Deputy Headmaster. He won the Samuel Pepys prize in 2009 for his book, Pepys's Navy: Ships, Men and Warfare 1649-89, and is also a previous winner of the Julian Corbett prize for naval history. His acclaimed series of naval historical fiction, The Journals of Matthew Quinton, has been published in the UK, North America and Germany. David is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, and a former Chairman of the Naval Dockyards Society and Vice-President of the Society for Nautical Research.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

A thriller set in the Gulf region: "Candleburn" by Jack Hayes

Candleburn is an intriguing read. It is a thriller set in Dubai and as the writer used to live there the novel provides us with a view on day to day life there. Somehow it remembered me of the old film noir detective stories of the nineteenfifties: dark but with a lot of humour. The journalist with troubles at work, the tough security guy. You keep reading and reading.

As it is quite some time ago that I read it myself I will point you guys to this good review on Amazon: 

 (AMAZON review by a fellow reader)

"Candleburn by Jack Hayes is one of the best spy / thriller novels I've read.
Jack Hayes knows how to build a story and supplies plenty of surprise twists.
Blake Hellier, a journalist with 18 months left on a three year contract, seemingly a paranoid whiner unable to handle a female boss, or is he right to think he is being sabotaged by Alice Thorne? And is Alice a misunderstood female boss or she running a manipulative controlling campaign to destroy Blake and reinforce her position as editor of The Journal's Gulf office? Then there is Nate Aspinal, manager for Chrome, a company specializing in industrial espionage.
Nate comes home from vacation to find two of his employees tortured and killed in a way that is reminiscent of the methods of the legendary terrorist organization "The Candle". But does The Candle exist, or is someone exploiting the myth to create more fear and terror? And what is their endgame?
Jack Hayes does a great job of making readers familiar with Dubai and the intricate written and unwritten rules of the emirate.
Dubai is one of the safest cities in the world where organized crime can only exist with the support of one of the leading families.
So who sponsors "The Candle" and what are they looking for?
When Blake receives a puzzlebox and Nate's family is kidnapped, bodies are dropping all over the city and a e begin to see that The Candle's endgame is beyond what we can imagine. An international conspiracy that goes far beyond UAE borders. What's in the box that it is worth torturing and killing so many? Who can Blake and Nate trust? How can they convince the government about the crisis that is to happen, before it is too late?
Candleburn is very well written, with an exciting and convincing plot.
If you like novels by Jack Higgins, Frederick Forsyth and Jan Guillou, you will enjoy Candleburn by Jack Hayes"

Found here:

BOOK REVIEW: "Savage Continent: Europe in the Aftermath of World War II" by Keith Lowe

Savage Continent: Europe in the Aftermath of World War II Kindle Edition

"The Second World War might have officially ended in May 1945, but in reality it rumbled on for another ten years...
The end of the Second World War in Europe is one of the twentieth century's most iconic moments. It is fondly remembered as a time when cheering crowds filled the streets, danced, drank and made love until the small hours. These images of victory and celebration are so strong in our minds that the period of anarchy and civil war that followed has been forgotten. Across Europe, landscapes had been ravaged, entire cities razed and more than thirty million people had been killed in the war. The institutions that we now take for granted - such as the police, the media, transport, local and national government - were either entirely absent or hopelessly compromised. Crime rates were soaring, economies collapsing, and the European population was hovering on the brink of starvation. In Savage Continent, Keith Lowe describes a continent still racked by violence, where large sections of the population had yet to accept that the war was over. Individuals, communities and sometimes whole nations sought vengeance for the wrongs that had been done to them during the war. Germans and collaborators everywhere were rounded up, tormented and summarily executed. Concentration camps were reopened and filled with new victims who were tortured and starved. Violent anti-Semitism was reborn, sparking murders and new pogroms across Europe. Massacres were an integral part of the chaos and in some places – particularly Greece, Yugoslavia and Poland, as well as parts of Italy and France – they led to brutal civil wars. In some of the greatest acts of ethnic cleansing the world has ever seen, tens of millions were expelled from their ancestral homelands, often with the implicit blessing of the Allied authorities. Savage Continent is the story of post WWII Europe, in all its ugly detail, from the end of the war right up until the establishment of an uneasy stability across Europe towards the end of the 1940s. Based principally on primary sources from a dozen countries, Savage Continent is a frightening and thrilling chronicle of a world gone mad, the standard history of post WWII Europe for years to come."

A very dark read about psychological warfare and attraction: review of "Comfort Food" by Kitty Thomas (Free book)

Comfort Food Kindle Edition

I read a very dark book that is available for free on Amazon.

A young woman is a psychologist who wrote self help books and gives speeches on women empowerment. But one day - the beginning of the book - she wakes up and realises she is kidnapped. The kidnapper is a man who never speaks to her. She tries to find out why he kidnapped her and she hopes to be able to escape. Soon she realises that if she at least tries to do what he orders her she will be safe and have a good life while when she resists he will punish her by isolation in a bare cell with only the comfort food her mother used to give her: chicken soup.

She tells us a lot about her past and one of those stories may be the key to her behaviour. As a young girl a friend forced her into sex but somehow that was such a turn on to her that she kept masturbating to the memory of that event. So apparently she has something with being bossed.

Yes take a deep breath: there is a lot of sexual activity in this book but it is not something like Fifty Shades of Grey or that kind of apeshit.

I think the writer does a good job in trying to explain Stockholm Syndrome and a lot of other psychological things like the effects of always being regarded with pity due to a handicap, an emotional desert to grow up in, dealing with trauma, playing with people's minds etc.

But the end has me wondering so I plan to reread the last couple of chapters as people react there in a way alien to what I would do. And I wonder if she put herself in great danger there.

WARNING: Very explicit sex-scenes that certainly would not be everybody's cup of tea and if you have psychological problems I would stay clear of this book.

Nevertheless I thought it a very interesting read.

 "Emily Vargas has been taken captive. As part of his conditioning methods, her captor refuses to speak to her, knowing how much she craves human contact. He's far too beautiful to be a monster. Combined with his lack of violence toward her, this has her walking a fine line at the edge of sanity. Told in the first person from Emily's perspective, Comfort Food is a tale of erotic surrender that explores what happens when all expectations of pleasure and pain are turned upside down, as whips become comfort and chicken soup becomes punishment.


" . . . dark, provocative, and glaringly honest . . ." H. Turley, Reader

" . . . beautifully written and exquisitely detailed . . . a brilliantly written book and I highly suggest it, if you’re up for the challenge." -

" . . . the most twisted form of psychological conditioning, I've ever read . . . will stick in your brain for days after you read it." - Kathleen Gresham, Reader"

A too kinky vampire story: review of "The last girl" by Kitty Thomas

The Last Girl Kindle Edition

by Kitty Thomas

A vampire story inspired by Romeo and Juliet (name of the female hero and an explanation later on that she and Christian are like the Montaques and Capulets. As I was intrigued by the novel by the same author that I had been reading yesterday I even paid 5 dollars for this (short) novel. However the author unfortunately was also inspired for this book by the mountain of novels inspired by "50 shades of grey" it seems. Not only is the name of the vampire Christian but also BDSM clubscenes. And that just makes me puke. The lady can write and without that filth the idea of a vampire sparing a girls life because he is intrigued by her way to resist them and her lack of fear and then following her for years and falling in love with her when she is grown up could have been a nice story if she had made it into a romance instead.

"Six years ago strangers broke into Juliette’s house; she was home alone. She kept her eyes closed, praying that if she didn’t see anything, she wouldn’t be killed. No one harmed her. In fact, one of the thieves protected her. Now Juliette’s dreams are haunted by him.

Christian has waited to take her, resisting the urge each night. It always ends badly with human pets. They’re too fragile. The longer he can wait, the better, because the moment he takes her, the clock on her life starts ticking down.

Then she’ll be gone forever.

Publisher's Note:

This is a work of fiction, and contains content meant for a mature audience"

Sunday, 21 August 2016

So good I read the four sequels too - Still Life With Murder (Nell Sweeney Mystery Series Book 1) by P.B. Ryan

Years after the Civil War the son of a wealthy family who was supposed to be dead shows up arrested for murder. His mum sends out the governess to find him legal representation and safe his life while his dad rather would see the problem of an addicted son just disappear.

(On Amazon)
"Long thought to have died during the Civil War, opium-smoking former battle surgeon Will Hewitt is arrested for murder, and it's up to governess Nell Sweeney to prove his innocence.

"A beautiful combination of entertaining characters, minute historical research, and a powerful evocation of time and place. I'm very glad there will be more to come." New York Times bestselling author Barbara Hambly

"P.B. Ryan makes a stunning debut with Still Life With Murder...I can't wait for the next installment." Bestselling author Victoria Thompson

"If you like fast moving, accurately drawn, historical mysteries, you won't go wrong by trying Still Life With Murder." Reviewing the Evidence

"Still Life With Murder is sheer perfection... gripping... powerful... unforgettable...You'll know you've read one hell of a story after you turn the last page!" Reader to Reader Reviews

A full-length novel of 91,000 words
Setting: Post-Civil War Boston
Originally published by Berkley Prime Crime as Book One of the Gilded Age mysteries"

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A knight during the days of William the Conqueror - Review of The Paladin by George Shipway

A book set in the era just after William the Conqueror has invaded England when the two sons of William oppose each other. The hero of the story is Walter and we follow him from a young age and see him become a knight. For people interested in history a very interesting novel. But be aware you might need a dictionary as many items of those days are mentioned and you might not know at first what that is. Really recommend reading it.

"Bestselling novel telling fictionalized account of the early part of the life of Walter Tirel, supposed killer of King William Rufus of England. From the author of Imperial Governor.

Normandy: 11th century: Young Walter has grown up at the abbey of Evreux, believing himself the son of the abbey’s superintendent Dean Fulk, and earns the nickname Tirel for his skill at archery. An unfortunate incident leads to him being sent away to endure the rigorous training of a squire in William the Conqueror’s household. At the same time he learns his true lineage, and how he has been deprived of his inheritance. He finds a friend in the Conqueror’s second son William Rufus, but is disgusted by certain aspects of his behaviour. He must also attach himself to Rufus’s feckless elder brother Robert Curthose in the hope of making his fortune and regaining his inheritance, but this leads him to make new enemies, and brings him together with his childhood sweetheart, the warrior-lady Isabel of Conches.

‘George Shipway’s progress as an historical novelist has established him in the enviable position of matching such masters of the genre as Harrison Ainsworth. No sloppy romantic make-believe; instead, Mr Shipway creates a vivid, definitive adventure story of the period.’ Sunday Telegraph

‘You could easily vaunt George Shipway’s latest novel as a saga of nymphomania, homosexuality, torture, witchcraft and bloodshed. But that would be to do it a great deal less than justice, for THE PALADIN blends its … ingredients into a very civilized novel. Mr Shipway promises a sequel, which softens the blow of reaching the final pages of this story.’ Daily Mail
‘Here is a rattling good yarn in the form of a historical novel. .. the details of life in castle and countryside are animated and evocative.’ Evening Standard

‘Vivid reconstruction of violent period of history probably nearer the truth than conventional notions of romantic chivalry.’ The Evening News

‘As delectable a piece of historical collage as you could wish for.’ Liverpool Daily Post

‘Power passion rather than rosy romance is the preoccupation of the giant Norman knights who stalk the pages of THE PALADIN by George Shipway . . . Its earthy often horrific images have a great physical presence...His sheer professionalism is a joy.’ Eastern Daily Press

‘This “account” of the young Norman lord’s (Tirel’s) earlier life is so vividly told that one waits eagerly the culmination in a second novel.’ Western Mail

‘George Shipway’s new book.… should make you late for dinner….In diamond-hard style he tells a meaty tale of bad barons, sadistic soldiery and persecuted peasants in post-Conquest Normandy. A disturbing picture of the so-called Age of Chivalry.’ Coventry Evening Telegraph

This book was first published in the 1970s and has since been out of print. Contains passages which may be offensive to LGBT readers.

George Frederick Morgan Shipway was born in 1908 in India and was educated at Clifton. He then attended the Royal Military College, Sandhurst and was commissioned into the Indian Army in 1928. He was attached the 2nd Battalion The Prince of Wales's Volunteers (South Lancashire), for one. After his year Shipway was posted to the 13th Duke of Connaught's Own Lancers. He spent two years (1936-1938) as Adjutant of the Mekran Levy Corps. In 1940-41 he became a General Staff Officer, at General Headquarters, India. He remained on the staff until 1944 when he was posted to serve with the Hyderabad Lancers.
Shipway retired as a Major and honorary Lieutenant-Colonel in 1948, following Indian independence. After retiring he became a teacher at Cheam School in Berkshire before becoming a novelist at the age of 60."

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Her only friend there: an Arab tribal leader - review of The Bride Price by Karen Jones Delk

VERY good book. Sold as a romance novel but is in fact an old fashioned adventure story. Some reviews complain there is not enough "love" in it The author did some extensive research (Thesinger and such).

It is the story of an American girl who is sold as a slave in Tanger Morocco and then transported over land and sea to Arabia where she and her British friend are sold as "wives to be" to some nasty brad. She befriends a girl of 9 who is that husband-to-be's niece. As a result of that friendship she also becomes more or less the friend of the girls father a twice as old tribal leader who tries to help her with the nasty brad but honour and culture prevent him to openly interfere. iIs two wives however are nasty old crones. 

So the main character tries to make sure she and her friend survive. In the meantime her father tries to find his daughter to rescue her. Following her to Arabia posing as a Muslim from Morocco.

The good thing about this book is that through the eyes of the main character you discover the culture there. For instance that a big tent in the desert can be erected in 5 minutes what is done by the wives of the owner and not his servants.


( "Sheltered Creole beauty Bryna O’Toole was raised in a convent in Louisiana, until the day her father sends for her to join him in Morocco. She's just arrived at his Tangier mansion when his enemies kidnap her and sell her to a "marriage broker." Against her will, she is now bound for the glaring white sands of Arabia and the harem of lecherous wastrel Nassar bin Hamza.

Bryna’s only hope of escape lies with the powerful uncle of Nassar bin Hamza, Sheik Sharif Al Selim, noble lion of the desert. But Sharif’s honor keeps him far away from Bryna, his nephew’s woman, despite their incredible attraction. As the caravan journeys on, love clashes with honor, ecstasy with terror, as the handsome Sheik and the Creole beauty will discover if they're meant to be together, forever."

Jane Eyre in Morocco - review of Enchantment in Morocco by Madeleine McDonald

Great story. A young woman comes to Morocco to be the nanny for some kids but when she arrives she finds out that her boss had to leave the country. So her brother offers her instead the job of companion to his daughter. Her employer turns out to be a good man who takes care of all people around him. The heroine of the story who had been quite alone and adrift till now realises that she is feeling more and more at home in his household and in the village. Somehow the story reads a bit like Jane Eyre. And things like mobile phones are the only reason how you know it is set in modern times, A very nice book that warms your heart. And the good news is it only costs 99 cents.

Enchantment in Morocco by Madeleine McDonald

A 100 year old book about the love of an English girl for a Muslim warlord in Africa - review of A Son of the Sahara by Louise Gerard (free download)

Almost 100 years ago maybe due to the movie and the book it was based on, The Sheikh, this kind of adventure stories were popular. Old book, 1922, and totally free to download A Son of the Sahara by Louise Gerard…/B0…/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_efVtxb3RX2MH5
This one is in my opinion way better. It is the story of two people who befriend each other not knowing who the other really is. The girl is young and has inherited from a godfather a huge fortune and is unwilling to give that up and her independence, the man is in his early thirties and equally rich and posing as a French trader from Africa but only his mother was French his assumed father was a warlord deep in the Sahara. That warlord is executed by the father of the girl and the son had then sworn to kill the English officer and sell his family into slavery. 

So these people fall in love with each other and then make decisions that sound weird for our 21st century ears. Why not marry? Because is those days as a woman married her fortune went to the husband and she had no right to decide for herself anymore.

What is also astonishing is that marrying someone who is half Arab/ half French is considered a shame and going native. Called "black blood" / the "black barrier" . People even talking about him as "that nigger". The fact that he is a king and has his own kingdom does not make any difference. Just not done.

Also colonization was not considered bad. Just snatching someone's kingdom from under him is done without any regret. (But hey we did that in Iraq as well with Saddam when he acted criminally - or so people thought).

What is surprising however is the stance against Islam. Nowadays you read a lot bad things about that but when the heroine scolds her lover of having a mistress while he is courting him she goes to apologize when she finds out he is a Muslim saying that it was not her right to condemn him as according to his culture and religion he had not done something bad and it was not her place to judge him. Maybe a result of living in an empire where the sun never set.

But even when the heroine decides she really loves this guy and rules of race can drop dead, it seems - just like in that Sheikh book - that it still was not something someone could write or think in the 1920 ties because here as well the guy turns out to be pure white.

Great book to read. Just keep in mind the time it was written in.
(And I did not spoil it for you writing all this as it is quite a complicated story but the writing is very modern)

Shogun Japan - review of the novel "Lady on the bridge" by Laura Kitchell

For those who have read the book Shogun or seen the series the time frame of this novel might sound familiar as the story takes place just a few years after that book. In 17the century Japan the Shogun is now the one in charge with the emperor just a ceremonial figurehead. The peace though is frail so the Shogun decides his youngest daughter will be send to court and be one of the concubines of the emperor and with a bit of luck a child born of that union will cement the peace.

The daughter princess Saiko is no withering willow but a girl who secretly trained in martial arts at her brother's court and who likes poetry and nature. One of her favourite hideouts in her father's castle is a covered bridge. One day, just a few weeks before her departure to the imperial court, she meets a samurai on that bridge. They start talking and from that day onwards meet each other every day at that bridge. She does not tell him who she is as she is afraid he will shy away from seeing her. That is why he calls her "The lady of the bridge."

Before they know it they are in mortal danger.

The book is a bit slow at first with a lot of talk about the art of poetry and painting and when you are not familiar with Japan that does not ring that many bells. But the moment things spring into action you want to keep reading and reading.

What I like about the book is the solid cultural background. Unlike in many romance stories where the heroines choose a destiny that is complete alien to the time they lived in or their culture in this book I had never the feeling something was not correct.

It is a good book to read. I can recommend it. What might be helpful is a dictionary at the beginning of the book for those like me who do not know that much of Japan. Having read Shogun 20 years ago though helped.

Thursday, 18 August 2016

FREE for Kindlereaders: The Good Knight (A Gareth and Gwen Medieval Mystery Book 1) by Sarah Woodbury

A detective novel set in Wales during the Middle Ages. The daughter of a bard stumbles upon a party slain in an ambush. Who was behind this killing? If you like brother Cadfael you will like this one too. And it describes a period (Middle Ages) and place (Wales) I did not know so much about. I liked the complicated plot and all the background.

"The year is 1143 and King Owain seeks to unite his daughter in marriage with an allied king. But when the groom is murdered on the way to his wedding, the bride's brother tasks his two best detectives--Gareth, a knight, and Gwen, the daughter of the court bard--with bringing the killer to justice.

And once blame for the murder falls on Gareth himself, Gwen must continue her search for the truth alone, finding unlikely allies in foreign lands, and ultimately uncovering a conspiracy that will shake the political foundations of Wales." (Amazon)

For a free ebook click here:

For a paper version:

A detective in Moorish Spain: Book review of The Sin Eater

The book I have been reading all Sunday. An English surgeon lives in Moorish Granada and has to solve 2 murders. A time and a place I hardly know anything about so that alone was interesting in itself. I had suspicion about the murderer and the weapon but hey my neighbour always calls me Sherlock Holmes :)
Really a recommended read.

Moorish Spain, 1484, and no-one is innocent.
Thomas Berrington, emigre Englishman who has made the doomed city of Garnatah his home, is once again attempting to solve a series of mysterious deaths. Accompanied by his companion, the palace eunuch Jorge, Thomas struggles to discover the truth while those in power seek to distract him. As his investigation continues, his personal life splinters into chaos and he finds the Spanish once more demanding his presence.

As Thomas and Jorge draw closer to their quarry, the killer’s attention turns on them and those they love. The pair must race to unmask the Sin Eater before the lives of those close to them become forfeit.

The Sin Eater is the follow up to The Red Hill and Breaker of Bones, stunning historical mysteries set in a time and place coloured by intrigue and battle.

Monday, 15 August 2016

Enslaved by the Barbary Pirates - Review: The Selling of Kaelyn Sullivan by Marie Hunter

When on a family holiday in Tunesia the writer of this book and her niece are at a local market. The niece has a special kind of very dark blue eyes and a seller at the market runs home to get his familymember who has the same unique eye colour. Because of this event the writer hears about the Christian slaves who were raided from Ireland by the Barbary Pirates and sold as slaves in Northern Africa. She then wrote this book based in actual accounts of slaves.

1629. When Barbary pirates raid an Irish fishing village, Kaelyn Sullivan and her entire family are taken and sold off at the Tunisian slave market. Stranded in a strange land, despondent without her family, Kaelyn wants only to escape and return home.

Then she is sold by her owner to someone who is quite nice. In the meantime in glimpses we learn about what happened to her family members upon arrival. Some met nice people, some ended up in hardship.

The nice man, Zafar, appears to have given Kaelyn her freedom but hopes she will stay with him. She however insists she wants to go back to Ireland. At first that sounded strange to me as it is clear her whole family is in Tunesia somewhere and Zafar tries to find them and buy their freedom. Why would you want to return to a country none of your family lives anymore, where you were dead poor while you are ln love with someone, who has a lot of money and who is trying to find your kin? That had me doubting the story at first. Then realising due to all her prayers that for a Catholic girl in those days marrying a non-Catholic was a deadly sin.

What also sounded a bit like as if not fitting in the time period is the fact that Zafar feels terribly lonely as he is considered cursed so none of the local families will marry their daughters to him. Ehhh hello, I have stood in the slavemarket in Tunis. In those days a guy could buy himself a girl and that was regarded as quite normal. While here his mother badmouthes him that he can only get himself a slave.

Nevertheless a nice book. Even more because I have been on the locations it is set in. And unlike the books in this genre. Like their discussions about religion.

I could not stop reading so fell sleep at 5 am.

You can buy the book for $0,99 here:

Review: The Accidental Slave (Aya's story) by Elin Peer

Free book I was very impressed with. Aya works in a refugee camp as a nurse and meets a guy at the local market. Both like each other on the spot. A few weeks later she is abducted by rebels and kept a prisoner. She finds out the guy she met is one of them.

The first part of the book is more or less an adventure story with some steamy moments. But you are only 1 third in the book when she manages to escape.

Then in my opinion the interesting part starts. Both leave for home in different countries. People react like she has Stockholm syndrome, is damaged good and a victim. While she regards herself as a survivor.

And what is he? A warcriminal? But the more you get to know about his background the more complex that turns out to be.

I was impressed by this part of the novel that deals with how to deal with traumatic events. Especially because just at the same moment I read an interview with the girl who was abducted for years in Austria and who said that even 10 years later people still blame her.

You can buy the book (now for free) here: