Sunday, 21 August 2016

Becky Bookworm Book Review: The Death of Robin Hood by Angus Donald (Outlaw Chronicles Book 8)

What can I say about this final heroic adventure with a legendary man so many have come to love? I will do my best to give away no spoilers here...

Firstly there is a strong theme of Division running through this last adventure. England has become fractured by civil war over the Magna Carter and King John's lack of acknowledgement of it. So the Royalists and the Rebels once again start fighting over lands & castles. But into this mix steps King Louis and his invading French army to support the Rebels in exchange for the throne. Thus the civil war is now a war of conquest and through siege and battle Robin & Alan & Co find themselves changing sides to match their loyalty to the English Kingdom rather than the King.
There are of course many superb nail-biting, heart-stopping and dramatic and dangerous experiences of the war both as victors and losers through these turbulent years.
Yet as mentioned before Division can exist at any and all levels - not just loyalty - division can be caused by love & hate, oaths sworn and lies told, anger & jealousy, rank and by blood.
So it is amongst a world fractured and shattered both within the band of brothers & companions through to the very fate of the English Throne that creates the turmoil that leads to a shocking last turn of the page for our brave heroes.
It was a true joy to read word for word paragraph and page. It made me laugh, cheer, boo, hiss, gasp, and cry out the words "oh god no". It made me happy, disgusted, proud, sad and by the end heartbroken.
The tag line on the end of the book sums it all up really - and if you have read all of the adventures and this one you will understand - "Heroes fall. Legends live forever."
Angus Donald has indeed re-forged this legend and character into a burning brand that will be burnt into the minds and souls of many readers. A mark of loyalty to his stories that will never fade. A mark that all readers of this series will proudly bare.

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Becky Bookworm Book Review: Winter's Fire by Giles Kristian (Sigurd's Saga Book 2)


God of Vengeance was all about - Vengeance. And family and honour and betrayal.
Winter's Fire is about Reputation and Patience and Survival.
Sigurd and the company had some serious big adventures and that did earn Sigurd a reputation and even a nick-name - Odin-Favoured. But Sigurd knows it will take more than this new reputation and the head of a Jarl to have any battle luck against King Gorm. Who will now be even more determined to squash the threat from Sigurd before it becomes serious. So Sigurd and Co head south, away from Gorms reach to earn more war-fame, silver and loyal sword-norse.... but danger stalks them at every turn.
The adventures that happen in this sequel are more frequent albeit more small in scale compared to previous book. But each twist in the weft and warp of this growing saga shows Giles is still a Master of Kennings and a skillful Skald for keeping the pages turning. We grow even more on the current cast and equally learn to love or hate new characters that enter the tapestry of the tale. I particularly love a brilliant plot line that Giles has dedicated to Sigurd's sister Runa as it matches my favourite aspect of the Vikings. I won't reveal any further details so I don't spoil it.
I would best describe this as a simmering and bubbling sequel that is as enjoyable as the first with gripping beats of drama and tension all the way through.
It is building a great expectation for an epic dramatic finale in Wings of the Storm where the heat of the drama is turned to boiling point. I for one can not wait to see blood spill over the edge of this literary vessel and watch with baited breath to see who survives.

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