Plot: Recently retired policeman Tom Kettle is settling into the quiet of his new home, a lean-to annexed to a Victorian castle overlooking the Irish Sea. For months he has barely seen a soul, catching only glimpses of his eccentric landlord and a nervous young mother who has moved in next door. Occasionally, fond memories return, of his family, his beloved wife June and their two children, Winnie and Joe.
But when two former colleagues turn up at his door with questions about a decades-old case, one which Tom never quite came to terms with, he finds himself pulled into the darkest currents of his past.
A beautiful, haunting novel, in which nothing is quite as it seems, Old God’s Time is about what we live through, what we live with, and what may survive of us.
Publisher: Faber and Faber | Date: 2023 | Genre: General Fiction
Plot: As Bella drops her son off at university, she’s devastated. It’s been the two of them ever since Asher was born. The only thing helping her through is the upcoming week-long wilderness retreat in Sweden. It’ll be her chance to reconnect and recharge.
At the retreat, Bella basks in the beauty of the modern lodge, with its luxury rooms and picture-perfect views, the glistening lake and lush forest. For the full detox effect, everyone must surrender their phones.
The holiday seems idyllic until the person who ruined Bella’s life years ago arrives, threatening everything she’s worked hard for and will do anything to protect. Suddenly, a terrified Bella is trapped in the wild, knowing someone wants her dead…
Publisher: HQ Digital | Date: 2023 | Genre: Thriller
Plot: In the battle for power, there can be only one ruler. AD925: Athelstan is the king of the English, uniting the petty kingdoms of Wessex, Mercia, the Danish-held Five Boroughs and York following the sudden death of his father, King Edward.
His vision is to unite the realms of the Scots and the Welsh in a peace accord that will protect their borders from the marauding threat of the Norse Vikings.
Whilst seemingly craving peace and demanding loyalty with an imperium over every kingdom, Athelstan could dream of a much bigger prize.
But danger and betrayal surround his best intentions, namely from his overlooked stepbrother, Edwin, who conspires and vies for what he deems is his rightful place as England’s king.
As ever, powerful men who wish to rule do not wish to be ruled, and Constantin of the Scots, Owain of Strathclyde, and Ealdred of Bamburgh plot their revenge against the upstart English king, using any means necessary.
An epic story of kingsmanship that will set in motion the pivotal, bloody Battle of Brunanburh where allies have to be chosen wisely…
Earth is failing. In a desperate bid to escape, the spaceship Enkidu and its captain, Heorest Holt, carry its precious human cargo to a potential new Eden. Generations later, this fragile colony has managed to survive, eking out a hardy existence. Yet life is tough, and much technological knowledge has been lost.
Then Liff, Holt’s granddaughter, hears whispers that the strangers in town aren’t from neighbouring farmland. That they possess unparalleled technology – and that they’ve arrived from another world. But not all questions are so easily answered, and their price may be the colony itself.
Publisher: Tor | Date: 2022 | Genre: Science Fiction
Kadou, the shy prince of Arasht, finds himself at odds with one of the most powerful ambassadors at court—the body-father of the queen’s new child—in an altercation which results in his humiliation.
To prove his loyalty to the queen, his sister, Kadou takes responsibility for the investigation of a break-in at one of their guilds, with the help of his newly appointed bodyguard, the coldly handsome Evemer, who seems to tolerate him at best. In Arasht, where princes can touch-taste precious metals with their fingers and myth runs side by side with history, counterfeiting is heresy, and the conspiracy they discover could cripple the kingdom’s financial standing and bring about its ruin.
I’ve been a fan of Conn Iggulden’s writing for some time now, both his fantasy and historical fiction works. While Lion is technically a new series, it is also a continuation of The Athenian, with a lot of references to past events and inclusion of main characters. It can be read as a stand-alone, but I’m seeing it as an addition to that series. Read my full review on Lion and see what you think.
Publisher: Michael Joseph | Date: 2022 | Genre: Historical Fiction
Plot: Ancient Greece, 5th century BC
The age of myths and legends has given way to the world of men. In the front rank stands Pericles, Lion of Athens.
Behind Pericles lies the greatest city of the ancient world. Before him, on land and at sea, stands the merciless Persian army. Both sides are spoiling for war.
Though still a young man, Pericles knows one thing: to fight a war you must first win the peace.
It’s time for a hero to rise.
For his enemies to tremble.
And for Athens, a city of wisdom and warriors, to shine with glory . . .
You know when you see the sequel for a much-loved book, and you have to drop everything to get straight to it? That was me when I received a copy of Eyes of the Void by Adrian Tchaikovsky. I adored the first in The Final Architects series and couldn’t wait to get back to the Vulture God and it’s crew. Here’s my full review.
Publisher: Tor | Date: 2022 | Genre: Science Fiction
Plot: After eighty years of fragile peace, the Architects are back, wreaking havoc as they consume entire planets. In the past, Originator artefacts – vestiges of a long-vanished civilization – could save a world from annihilation. This time, the Architects have discovered a way to circumvent these protective relics. Suddenly, no planet is safe.
Facing impending extinction, the Human Colonies are in turmoil. While some believe a unified front is the only way to stop the Architects, others insist humanity should fight alone. And there are those who would seek to benefit from the fractured politics of war – even as the Architects loom ever closer.
Idris, who has spent decades running from the horrors of his past, finds himself thrust back onto the battlefront. As an Intermediary, he could be one of the few to turn the tide of war. With a handful of allies, he searches for a weapon that could push back the Architects and save the galaxy. But to do so, he must return to the nightmarish unspace, where his mind was broken and remade.
What Idris discovers there will change everything.
It’s been a while since I posted a review. In all honesty, it may be a while before my next one as well. Due to changing personal circumstances, I’ve stepped back from the blogging sphere entirely. But I actually managed to both read and review a book in time for its publication date, so figured that was a good one to get up online. Here’s my review on The Hunger of the Gods by John Gwynne.
The synopsis for this made it sound a gritty and compelling read. While the latter is true, it didn’t have the grimdark vibes I anticipated. Instead, it was a softer tale pivoting around how far someone would go for love and duty. Here’s my review on The Wolf of Oren-Yaro.
Publisher: Little Brown, Book Group | Date: 2020 | Genre: Fantasy
Plot: ‘They called me the Bitch Queen, the she-wolf, because I murdered a man and exiled my king the night before they crowned me.’
Born under the towers of Oren-yaro, Queen Talyien inherited a deeply divided kingdom, devastated by years of war. Her marriage to the son of a rival clan was meant to herald peace, yet her fiancé disappeared before their reign could even begin.
Now, years later, Talyien receives a message that will send her across on the sea. Yet what was meant as an effort to reconcile the past leaves her stranded in a land she doesn’t know, with assassins at her back and no idea who she can trust.
If Talyien is to survive, she must embrace her namesake.
I know, I know, I’m late again with this. I kept trying to schedule it and then was doing this crazy thing called being on top of reviews and getting them out on time. So, this kept getting pushed back. But better late than never, right? I’m sharing my top books of 2021 – Q3 edition.
For this wrap-up, I’m just focusing on those I read between July-September. These are books from any genre, ARCs or backlist, reviewed or not, that I gave a 5* rating for.