Sunday, 29 January 2012

Becky Bookworm Book Review: Sworn Sword by James Aitcheson

Sworn Sword: The Bloody Aftermath Of 1066   England's Fate Hangs In The BalanceSworn Sword by James Aitcheson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


The author James Aitcheson has not only written something pretty remarkable and captivating for his young age and in a difficult genre to crack which is often filled with middle-aged to old men/women, he has awakened and created a whole other aspect and slant on history and historical figures.
Most of the popular historical fiction is centred around Anglo-Saxons or Vikings or Civil Wars (in America and England) or royal courts from the sixteenth century onwards but yet I do believe James is the first writer to pick a part of history and not write it from the key event, and not write it from the point of view of those who's history it is; BUT He writes it in the first initial years AFTER the fateful year of 1066 where William, Duke of Normandy defeats the last Anglo-Saxon King, Harold Godwinson; James writes it also from the point of view of the invading NORMAN KNIGHTS - NOT - the defeated Anglo-Saxon people/nobles.
What James has written is a new, refreshing and original stance on a very significant point of history - now some readers may think that what on earth could be interesting enough about the bullyish Normans conquering England? Well I won't say a lot apart from the secret that is riddled cunningly throughout the story is as original and as powerful as the entire story view point itself. Involving a little known part of the aftermath of 1066 which could indeed shake the foundations of the new Norman rulers.
The plot isn't just gripping but the characters too are powerful enough for any reader to come to care, admire and like them regardless of their Norman identity. As a reader you are put on a rollercoaster of a learning curve to come to terms and understand that the Norman knights and nobles who invaded England with Duke William had lives, loves and losses of their own too. They fight with as much courgae, skill, honour and loyalty to friends and Lords as much as the Anglo-Saxons do to their Thegns and the Vikings (distant ancestors of the Normans) to their Jarls.
So if you are perhaps getting bored of reading of the Vikings killing Anglo-Saxons or The Red Coats fighting the Blue Coats or of courtly affairs in royal bed chambers but still want a great tale with strong and influential characters, packed with historical action then Sworn Sword is definitely a great book to revive anyone's love in history, beit fictional or not.

View all my reviews

Monday, 16 January 2012

Becky Bookworm Book Review: The Ship in the Hill by William L Sullivan

Read the latest edition to adorn my shelves of favourite viking historical fiction and norse fantasy!
Last week I finished a thrilling blend of both genres and historical eras in a viking version of Sepulcher by Kate Mosse.
The Ship In The Hill by William L Sullivan

The Ship in the Hill

Click on the cover to be taken to Fantasyguide.com where you can find this review and all others my favourite vikingy books!

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Angels? Lawyers? Supernatural intrigue? York? - Could only be the arrival of 'Eternal Law' on ITV

I was genuinely suprsied when my own MOTHER rang up saying there seems to be a programme on TV soon involving angels, saving peoples souls and based in none other than my city of birth, York.
I thought BUGGER ME! Someone's beaten me to it before I have even finished a first draft of Soul Chaser - although my kick-ass valkyries are a lot more exciting than behaving like boring lawyers.
She said the writer and actor from this new series was on BBC Breakfast Wednesday morning (of course when I was at work damn it) but thanks to BBC iPlayer I could catch up. 
Please follow this link http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/12550706 and scroll the timer to 8.40 to jump straight in.
Not only did the writer turn out to be the mad supernatural genius behind 'Life on Mars' which was an AWESOME series of many layers and levels but that SAMUEL WEST stars in this series (he features in my favourite norse film Sword of Xanten - look it up it's all about the tale of Sigurd and Fafnir the dragon and cursed gold) so I was delighted to see him star in a british supernatural drama series (albeit on ITV which means I have to grind my teeth through the irritating breaks). 
BUT of course the amazing and unusual coincidental feature of this new series is ITS SET IN YORK! JORVIK I MEAN! OF ALL THE WONDERFUL HISTORICAL CITIES THEY COULD HAVE PICKED TO INVOLVE COURTS AND LAWYERS LET ALONE ANGELS THEY PICEKD THIS ONE!
In a way I'm in two halves about it - I'm glad they've picked my favourite city in the world, this will at least allow viewers and who knows potential readers to get accustomed to the idea of supernatural beings and mystery and secrets in this world heritage (should have been given the damned title it jolly well deserves curse you European Union!) city for Soul Chaser WHEN it reaches the masses (See I'm trying to be optimistic this year) but it also means I won't be the one to highlight the magical beauty of the place.
Anyway I hope you will join me to watch the first episode tomorrow night, it will certainly prove interesting as these are no typical angels of course and certainly not the type to fall in awful love triangles - but I'm sure a few angelic rules will get broken - as hinted in the BBC interview. If I find it interesting or at least enjoyable enough despite the irritating adverts I might well run a running blog commentary of each episode and what I think of each character and the way the plot goes etc.
See below for date, channel, time and a brief intro into the world of 'Eternal Law':
 
Eternal Law
(To the left Samuel West (from Sword of Xanten) and Ukweli Roach - Angels in the disguise of Lawyers)
Series 1, Episode 1
New six-part drama series from Ashley Pharoah and Matthew Graham about two angels who are sent to Earth in the guise of lawyers in order to help humankind. Moments after Zak and Tom's arrival in York, the peace of the city is shattered by a shocking act of violence. The pair are then plunged into a court case involving an estranged family and a newlywed. Zak is alarmed to discover that his past has come back to haunt him in the form of old flame Hannah English - much to the delight of his nemesis, Richard Pembroke. With Samuel West, Ukweli Roach, Orla Brady, Tobias Menzies, and Hattie Morahan. 

Becky Bookworm Book Review - New Year Bonanza! - Joanne Harris, Katherine Langrish and Michael Burr!

Christmas 2012 didn't see me read just 1 FAB vikingy book, not just 2 vikingy books but
3 AWESOME Vikingy books!
2 from the Norse Fantasy genre

West of the Moon 
by Katherine Langrish
+
 Runelight (Sequel to Runemarks) 
by Joanne Harris (*who is to me the mother of Norse Fantasy) 
 
and 1 extra special Viking Historical novel 

Harald Hardrada: The Last Viking 
by Michael Burr 

My reviews for each are now up on the Viking section of FantasyGuide.com so simply
pick a cover and enjoy!

Runelight (Runemarks, #2) West of the Moon Harald Hardrada: The Last Viking

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