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The First Song of Amhar Collection is now available on Amazon and other book stores. You can get this collection of three books FREE right now. Download a review copy by clicking Here. Hurry, there’s not many left.

What people are saying about the highly rated Song of Amhar Series

“Brilliantly written.”

“Top Notch”

“Excellent read”

“I felt at times that I was walking old school through Middlearth with Strider…”

“A sprightly tale…totally enchanted me”

“So action packed I literally couldn’t put it down!”

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Book Review – The Hidden Face by S.C.Flynn

I was asked if I would review this book, and received an ebook copy from the author.

The Hidden Face is an interesting book. In summary, it’s like fantasy meets Dan Brown, so if you like both genres then you will probably enjoy The Hidden Face. I actually do like both, although I think with Dan Brown you need a hefty amount of suspension of disbelief.

One of the great things about this book is the mythology. In this world The Face of Ahken , a prophet of God, appears every 500 years or so, each time in a different country. When The Face appears he or she brings great power and wealth to that country which becomes an empire, so spreading the worship of Ahken. The appearance of The Face is called the Unmasking. This story takes place between the Fourth and Fifth Unmaskings and the name The Hidden Face refers to a secret which will lead to the identity of The Face for the Fifth Unmasking. That sounds complicated but it works really well in the book. As well as that, the world the characters inhabit is very well realised. One of those books where you can easily imagine the settings and you really feel like you are travelling along with the characters.

Speaking of characters, there are some good ones. The protagonists are Dayraven, a suitably heroic warrior returned from exile, and Sunniva, a women searching for her missing father. Sunniva is my favourite of the two, she’s a strong and intelligent woman on an equal level with Dayraven, which is nice to see, plus she’s good in a fight! There is a good cast of villains as well, with my favourite being The Twister, who loops around the story as well as in and out of his own sanity.

If I have a criticism it is that I felt that too much of the characters own internal dialogue was described. There are lots of points of view, which is not necessarily a problem, but sometimes the thoughts and feelings of the characters were made explicit when they could have been implied by the descriptions of or actions of the characters. I felt this impeded the story at some points.

Overall this is worth a read and I’m interested to see how the next one in the series turns out.

The Arena of Lost Souls is out now!

I am delighted to tell you that The Arena of Lost Souls is released at last. Which sounds like its been freed from prison after a long campaign of sit-ins, protests, t-shirts and charity singles. Maybe that’s the case! Maybe this book was too dangerous to society to be set free!

Actually it isn’t free at all, its 99c or 99p or maybe even 99 leaves if you are a Golgafrinchan settler on a prehistoric Earth, whatever.

Still a bargain though. Click on the link and take a look.

The Arena of Lost Souls

So that is the first three books in The Song of Amhar series released. Together they make a mini trilogy with this book drawing the events of the first two to a conclusion, but that is not the end of the series. I’ve already started working in book 4.

I’ve recently reduced the ebook price of The Path of Swords to FREE, which, you know, is lots of peoples’ favourite price. Plus it’s available all over, on ibooks, Nook and Kobo as well as Amazon. I’m doing this because I want people to read my books. I’m someone who has always escaped into reading and when I write I’m trying to provide that escape for other people. Personally, I think the real world is over-rated, which is why I spend so much time inventing new ones.

So the state of play is:

Book 1 – FREE on amazon etc.

Book 2 – 99p (etc.) but you get it FREE if you sign up for my mailing list.

Book 3 – Just the 99p (etc.)

Which is a pretty good deal, so why not share it. Tell a friend, or a relative, put it on Facebook, shout it from a mountaintop so that it echoes throughout the kingdom.

Cheers and enjoy your reading.

Martin

Book Review – Gods of the Mountain by Christopher Keene

I was actually requested to review this book, and the author sent me a copy for that purpose. I wasn’t really sure what to expect, and it took me a while to get into, but in the end I really enjoyed it. This review may have some unintended spoilers, so apologies in advance.

Gods of the Mountain is the first in a fantasy series. The intro deals with the final moments of a war between the city state of Tyria and the Avaani Empire, and the story proper starts with Tyria under Avaani rule and ex-soldier Faulk down on his luck. Meanwhile, Inquisitor Mullen is called to investigate an unusual murder in one of the city’s brothels, a murder apparently committed by magical means.

The story unfolds with a range of characters, a complex plot, an unusual magic system and slice of romance for good measure. Faulk makes a good protagonist, with a suitable mix of flaws and strengths, and I really liked some of the supporting characters as well, particularly Bard, a viking-esque warrior with a heart of gold and a philosophical viewpoint. There are also some great set pieces, particularly an early fight between two combatants using the symbol based magic system.

The only flaw is that sometimes I felt that the writing didn’t quite live up to the strengths of the book. I read very quickly, and there were times when a sentence threw me out of the story because the meaning wasn’t quite clear. There were also times when I felt the author over elaborated, when I would have preferred a sparser narrative, but that’s a personal thing. Other readers may not even notice.

All in all I enjoyed it, particularly the last third when things really got going. If you’re a fan of Fantasy this is definitely worth a look.

if you’d like to find out more about the author then you can elk out his blog here:

http://Www.Fantasyandanime.wordpress.com

Book Review – Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny

“His followers called him Mahasamatman and said he was a god. He preferred to drop the Maha- and the -atman, and called himself Sam. He never claimed to be a god. But then, he never claimed not to be a god.”

Thirty years ago I was at Uni and I lived in a room next to Mad Johnny. Looking back it’s surprising how many of my friends had adjectives: Mad Johnny, Outrageous Dave, Disgusting Steve to name just three. Anyway, one day Mad Johnny handed me Lord of Light and said “This is the best Science Fiction book. Ever.” That’s a big statement, but I read the book and agreed.

By the way, Johnny never claimed to be Mad. But then, he never claimed not to be Mad.

I’ve written about Lord of Light on this blog before, and I will probably do it again. It has had a big effect on me, even though I haven’t read it many times (unlike LOTR which I must have read at least twenty times). In fact, I think I’ve read it three times: that first time, somewhere around ten to fifteen years ago, and then this week. I finished it this morning and it’s blown me away again.

It’s a hard book to describe. It’s a SF novel that mostly reads like Fantasy. It’s full of religion but also technology. It is incredibly poetic with beautiful imagery, yet has brutal battle scenes. It is non- linear in its construction and the first time I read it I got about 100 pages in before I really worked out what was going on.

It’s simply a wonderful book, except there is nothing simple about it. G.R.R. Martin agrees with me. He thinks it’s one of the best five SF books ever written. Not that he told me that himself, it says so on the front of the book. If you haven’t read it then you should. As soon as possible. Like now.

Book Review – The 39 Steps

Sometimes context is everything. In his own introduction Buchan explained that he was trying to write a ‘shocker’, a book that pushes the readers suspension of disbelief to its furthest extreme. The Thirty Nine Steps is meant to be a cheap thriller, but it is so much more than that.

The book is set in Britain just before the start of WW1 and is entirely told from the point of view of Richard Hannay, a gentleman adventurer who has returned after ‘making his pile’ abroad. At the start of the book he is bored and dissatisfied with his leisurely life in London, but a chance meeting with an American leads Hannay into a web of intrigue.

I’m not saying it is a literary masterpiece, but I thought it was a great read. I wanted to read it as Buchan described it, so I read it quickly, without over-thinking it and as a result I was plunged into Hannay’s world and shared his adventures. And a fine set of adventures they are too. Hannah makes a great protagonist, a very British stranger in a strange land. He is the outsider who is driven by a thirst for action and a desire to save his country.

You could argue that The Thirty Nine Steps is the first modern spy novel. Certainly as you read it there are many recognisable features of classic spy thrillers, but in The Thirty Nine Steps they appeared for the first time. I could recommend you read this book for historical reasons, or for the fact that it was so influential, but actually you should just read it for the pure enjoyment.