The Scarlet Thief – Paul Fraser Collard

The Scarlet Thief
Title – The Scarlet Thief

Series – Jack Lark #1

Author – Paul Fraser Collard

Genre – Historical fiction

Length – 352 pages

Published – 21 November 2013

My Rating – ★★★★

 

 

 

 


As you might have guessed already from the historical fiction books I have talked about so far, I have a very strong focus on Ancient Rome and this only recently changed to include more recent history. It started with a deep fascination for the Napoleonic era and consequently its downfall mainly brought about by Wellington (I will talk about Simon Scarrow’s books covering this period of time as soon as possible!). When I started reviewing books, I also created a Netgalley account and looked through the books available for ARC (advanced reading copy) reviews. I stumbled across the latest and sixth book of the Jack Lark series and the plot sounded super interesting. At the time, I did not realise that it was the sixth book that I was requesting and there I am – receiving the latest book of a series without knowing anything about the others. As I was about to go on holiday for 10 days this seemed the best time to set myself a challenge to read the whole series in one go and review the lot (if it should proof good enough that is!). I am reading book number 4 now and I love it so far and I just want to start reviewing them, so here we go.

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The Boat of Fate – Keith Roberts

The Boat of Fate
Title – The Boat of Fate

Author – Keith Roberts

Genre – Historical fiction

Length – 356 pages

Published – 1 March 2001

My Rating – ★★★★★

 

 

 

 

 


I must admit, never to have picked this book up in a book shop if it had not come highly recommended by Ben Kane. The reason is just all too clear… I mean look at that cover! It just looks weird and personally, I think it does not attract a lot of attention (at least none that is positive). As I was forewarned that “one of the best roman historical fiction novels” comes with the “worst cover ever” I chose to take the book anyway (stoically keeping the book face-down!). As you surely have guessed from my rating, I loved the story and I should thank Kane for pushing his support for it.

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Son of York

Son of York Cover
Title – Son of York

Author – Amy Licence

Genre – Historical fiction

Length – 328 pages

Published – 1 May 2017

My Rating – ★★★

 

 

 

 


I have been really excited to talk about this book since I received it about 2 weeks ago. It is the first book I received via Netgalley (a platform where authors and publishers can get feedback for books prior to publication or in their early stages). When I was looking for books on Netgalley, I was hunting for interesting ones from the historical fiction and fantasy genre (*surprise surprise*). I found Son of York written by Amy Licence and was thrilled. I already read the Waringam series from Rebecca Gablé, which covers the Wars of the Roses between the “white rose” associated with the House of York and the “red rose” related to the House of Lancaster, from the Lancaster perspective. Naturally, I was over-excited to get my hands on a book covering the time around 1455 from the opposing-angle. The two factions were both branches of the royal House of Plantagenet and therefore rivaled for the control of the throne of England for many years.

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His Majesty’s Dragon – Temeraire Series by Naomi Novik

His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik first book of the Temeraire series my rating: ★★★★

Title – His Majesty’s Dragon

Series –  Temeraire #1

Author – Naomi Novik, Marianne Schmidt (translation into German)

Genre – Fantasy, speculative fiction, historical fiction

Length – 352 pages

Published – 6 Aug. 2007

My Rating – ★★★★


I stumbled upon His Majesty’s Dragon, the first book of the Temeraire Series by Naomi Novik some time ago. As you may know by now I am a huge fan of the Inheritance Cycle and also love historical fiction. The Temeraire Series Novik offers both – the perfect material for someone like me! I picked up the book in the bookshop back in my hometown in Germany and read the full series in the translated version (translated by Marianne Schmidt). The cool thing about German is, that we build as long words as we like and actually get away with it. This was exploited deftly for the translated title of the books. Each book title consists of two words, and the first one is always “Drachen” (German word for dragon as you might have guessed) followed by another word describing the key aspect of the book – the first book is called “Drachenbrut” (dragon offspring). The different variations of dragon-something makes a quite cool title and is the first aspect about the book that I instantly liked. The other was the intriguing cover of the book (I used the English one as the feature image but check out the German one below). I love how the typical scuttle (or bull’s-eye or just ships window) has been combined with the dragon theme in both covers.

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Hannibal: Enemy of Rome

Hannibal Enemy of Rome

Title – Hannibal: Enemy of Rome

Series – Hannibal #1

Author – Ben Kane

Genre – Roman historical fiction

Length – 576 pages

Published – 19 Jan. 2012

My Rating – ★★★★

 

 

 

 


I bought Hannibal: Enemy of Rome about two years ago. I went to my favourite bookshop looking for something new (like I always do when I finish a series and need new inspiration). While I have always been a massive fan of ancient Rome, I was also interested in those nations or leaders, that made Rome tremble, such as Pyrrhus of Epirus, the gladiator Spartacus and Attila the Hun – but above all I have been fascinated by Hannibal Barca of Carthage. So, when I reached my preferred bookshelf about historical fiction and saw the title “Hannibal” in big capital letters, I was instantly thrilled. Until that time, I had not read anything else written by Ben Kane, but heard of his great reputation with respect to his historical accuracy and good writing style – referring to his famous The lost Legion trilogy, so I had to buy it and started reading it as soon as I was back home.

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Wounds of Honour – Empire Series

Wounds of Honour cover
Title – Wounds of Honour

Series –  Empire #1

Author – Anthony Riches

Genre – Roman historical fiction

Length – 416 pages

Published – 4 Mar. 2010

My Rating – ★★★★★

 

 

 

 


I have to admit that I have not heard of Anthony Riches until he visited Bath together with Ben Kane for a book discussion to promote their new books Betrayal and Eagles in the Storm. I am fascinated by everything about ancient Rome – from books to documentaries, movies and games – I simply cannot get enough of it. As I have read a lot from Ben Kane already (and to be honest, it is quite hard not to come across Ben Kane in the genre of roman historical fiction!), I definitely wanted to go and see them live. To prevent the shame of not knowing one of the two authors present and especially since this was my first book event I went to so far, I quickly bought the first three books from the Empire Series.

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Eragon – Christopher Paolini

Eragon cover
Title – Eragon

Series – The Inheritance Cycle #1

Author – Christopher Paolini

Genre – Fantasy

Length – 528 pages

Published – 6 Jan. 2005

My Rating – ★★★★★

 

 

 

 


Originally intended as a trilogy, the four books of the Inheritance Cycle have become quite controversial in the fantasy community. While it is certainly true that there are numerous similarities to The Lord of the Rings (LOTR) and even Star Wars (and quite possibly others as well) I still feel this Cycle is overall quite fascinating; the depth of the relationship between Saphira and Eragon and how they get to grow into their role as the legendary dragon riders captivated me.  It definitely kept me locked up in the student halls and away from the occasional lecture that’s for sure. Written by Christopher Paolini who was only 18 years old when the first book Eragon was published, the Inheritance Cycle had sold more than 25 million copies even before the last book was on the market (see here).

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