Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Author’s Inspiration ~ Henry (Book #3 Of The Tudor Trilogy) #HistFic #Tudors @tonyriches

It is with the greatest of pleasures that I welcome the International Bestselling author, Tony Riches, back onto the blog to tell us all about the inspiration behind his latest book…

 Henry

(Book Three of The Tudor Trilogy)
 


The final book in the best-selling historical fiction Tudor Trilogy, this is the story, based on actual events, of Henry Tudor, who changes the history of England forever.

Bosworth 1485:

After victory against King Richard III, Henry Tudor becomes King of England. Rebels and pretenders plot to seize his throne. The barons resent his plans to curb their power and he wonders who he can trust. He hopes to unite Lancaster and York through marriage to the beautiful Elizabeth of York.

With help from his mother, Lady Margaret Beaufort, he learns to keep a fragile peace. He chooses a Spanish Princess, Catherine of Aragon, as a wife for his son Prince Arthur. His daughters will marry the King of Scotland and the son of the Emperor of Rome. It seems his prayers are answered, then disaster strikes and Henry must ensure the future of the Tudors.




Author’s Inspirations 


I was born in the sleepy Welsh town of Pembroke and have always been fascinated with the life of King Henry VII, the first Tudor king, who was born in Pembroke Castle in 1457.

There were plenty of non-fiction books about Henry but I realised there were no novels offering a full account of his life – and I began what became over four years of detailed research.

My travels took me down the ‘secret’ tunnels deep under the streets of Tenby, from where Henry escaped the Yorkists. I also followed him to Vannes and found the chateau deep in the wilds of Brittany where he spent many years in exile.

Château de Largoët

 I visited the desolate cove of Mill Bay, where Henry landed with his surprisingly small army to take on the might of King Richard III – and the impressive re-enactment of the Battle of Bosworth Field.

 
Mill Bay

Bosworth 2016

I’d soon collected far too much material for one book, and decided to write it as a trilogy, with Henry being born in the first book, ‘coming of age’ I the second and becoming King of England in the third.

I’m pleased to say the trilogy has become an international best seller, topping the Amazon charts in the US and Australia, as well as the UK. I’m now looking forward to June 10th, when a life-sized bronze statue of Henry is being unveiled outside Pembroke Castle, to ensure he will never be forgotten.



Although the Tudor Trilogy is now complete, I’m continuing to write about the next generation - Henry’s youngest daughter Mary Tudor. Other authors have not always taken the trouble to ensure accuracy regarding Mary’s life (in the TV series The Tudors she is called Margaret and married to the wrong king!) so I’m determined to make this new book the definitive account.

Tony Riches
Pembrokeshire Wales.


Links for Purchase
Amazon UK  
Amazon US 


About the author 


Tony Riches is a full time author of best-selling historical fiction. He lives in Pembrokeshire, West Wales and is a specialist in the fifteenth century, with a particular interest in the Wars of the Roses and the lives of the early Tudors. For more information about Tony’s other books please visit his website tonyriches.com and his popular blog, The Writing Desk and find him on Facebook and Twitter @tonyriches.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

#bookreview~ The Shadow Queen #Historical #histfic @anne_obrien

The Shadow Queen

by

Anne O'Brien
 
The Shadow Queen is the story of Joan of Kent, a tale of treachery, power-hungry families and legal subterfuges, in which Joan, a woman of considerable charm and beauty, played a central role at the Plantagenet Court.
‘What would enhance the pattern of my life further? One word slid into my
mind. A seductive word. A dangerous word, perhaps, for a woman. Power.’
From her first clandestine marriage Joan of Kent’s reputation was one of scandal and rumour.  Her royal blood made her a desirable bride, but her ambition and passion could become a threat to the stability of the Plantagenet dynasty.
Joan knew what she must do to survive, the political games to play, the alliances she must make, even if one man will always own her heart.  But would her ambitions bring her happiness?
A dramatic story of love and loyalty and of the cost of personal ambition, this is the story  of the woman who would ultimately seek power as the mother to the ten year old King Richard II, from the shadows of the throne.


The Shadow Queen breathes life back into this remarkable medieval woman, Joan, the Fair Maid of Kent of Kent.



What did I think of the Book?



From the opulence and grandeur of court life to the damp and crumbling manor of the Holand estate, journey back in time to the reign of Edward III and see things through the fresh and young eyes of Joan, The Fair Maid of Kent.

Joan of Kent can want for nothing. With a proud lineage, this Plantagenet princess can look forward to a bright future. Wealth, respectability, jewels, land, power, and position, are all hers for the taking. Joan knows what is expected of her. She is to marry well.

Joan's mother, Margaret Wake, 3rd Baroness Wake of Liddell, brings her the most wonderful news. Joan is to be given in matrimony to her childhood friend, William Montacute, the son of the first Earl of Salisbury. This marriage has every advantage and comes with the King's approval. But there is a problem, for Joan is already married to someone who did not look at her and count how much money she would bring to the wedding bed. Instead, she married a man who loved her. She just didn't tell anyone about the wedding! Her husband, Thomas Holland, is away fighting for the King and Joan finds herself in a precarious position. She has no allies to turn to in the face of her mother's ambition. Joan will marry William Montacute, even if it is the last thing she ever does.

Anne O' Brien brings us another captivating story of seduction, scandal, and the most heart-breaking tale of a woman who dared to go against convention and instead, followed her heart. The Shadow Queen was so vivid in its detail that I found myself completely immersed in the story. Time ticked on and yet I didn't notice as each turn of the page brought more drama, more heartache, and a desperate hope that this protagonist, this brave and courageous young woman, would find happiness.

The Shadow Queen is told in the first person, from Joan's perspective. Joan really struggles with who she is, and it was a joy to watch her mature. Her relationship with Ned was portrayed as the pinnacle moment of her life, not just because Ned was who he was, but because this was a real grown-up relationship for her. It came with problems, but they loved each other. Joan sometimes came across as incredibly self-serving, but she really blossomed as a character when she married Ned.

I have to say I was deeply moved by the portrayal of Edward, 'Ned,' The Black Prince of Wales.  He was so real in the telling that despite knowing beforehand how his life was to be cut cruelly short, this story, the way O’Brien portrayed him, made me wish for an alternative ending. I didn’t want him to die.

The Shadow Queen is not just a great work of literature; it is more than that, it shows the courage that these remarkable women had. We have all heard about how brave these noblemen were, but the stories of their wives are even more compelling. They all lost so many loved ones in a time where plague and war were rampant. How terrible it must have been for these women who waited patiently at home, hoping never to hear that their husband had died in battle. Such thoughts bring tears to my eyes even now. Life was precarious; there was simply not the time for wasted moments. Their stories—Joan's story—certainly deserves to be told. The Shadow Queen has left a lasting impression on me.

I Highly Recommend.
 
 
  I received an ARC of this book from the Publishers, via NetGalley, for review consideration.

 Links for Purchase
Publication date: 4th May 2017
Pre-order
 Amazon UK

About the author



Anne O’Brien was born in West  Yorkshire. After gaining a BA Honours degree in History at Manchester University and a Master’s in Education at Hull, she lived in East Yorkshire for many years as a teacher of history.
She now lives with her husband in an eighteenth-century timber-framed cottage in the depths of the Welsh Marches in Herefordshire, on the borders between England and Wales, where she writes historical novels.  The perfect place in which to bring medieval women back to life.

Visit me.
Website: https://www.anneobrien.co.uk
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/anneobrienbooks/
Twitter: @anne_obrien





Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Author’s Inspiration #BlogTour #giveaway ~ The Varangian #HistFic



Blog Tour ~ Historical Fiction Virtual Blog Tour Presents...

 

The Varangian

By
 Bruce MacBain



The third volume of Odd Tangle-Hair’s Saga finds our hero in Golden Miklagard (Constantinople), posing as an ambassador from the Grand Prince of Rus. But his real mission is to assassinate his former master, Harald the Ruthless, who has now risen high in the Emperor’s Varangian Guard. Odd is dazzled by the brilliance of the Byzantine capital and its beating heart–the Great Palace, with the astonishing Throne of Solomon that levitates above the heads of kneeling courtiers.

Here, Odd will meet Constantine Psellus, an ambitious young bureaucrat who mentors him in the ways of the court. He will be drawn into an intrigue that involves the Empress Zoe, who spends her days brewing vats of perfume, and John the Guardian of Orphans, the powerful and sinister eunuch who schemes to advance his family. And Odd will fall in love with Selene, an alchemist’s daughter, who supports herself by gambling in the waterfront taverns.

Finally, after a hard-fought campaign against the Saracens in Sicily and the overthrow of an Emperor, Odd reaches the pinnacle of power and believes he has vanquished his enemy Harald once and for all.
Then disaster overwhelms him.

                                                                

Praise for The Varangian

“Thoroughly effective at explaining the intriguing and highly complex circumstances of the time period, Macbain’s (The Ice Queen, 2015, etc.) book shines in a way that only historical fiction can. Who needs King Jon Snow in Game of Thrones when one can get a glimpse of the historically real and undeniably sinister John the Guardian of Orphans? Even the most terrifying dragon pales in comparison to the sheer horror of a society so comfortable with castration. As the story ventures outside of Constantinople, the reader is treated to a plot that can only be described as epic … a highly entertaining Viking adventure.” – Kirkus Reviews

“This is the third and final of Macbain’s Odd Tangle-Hair novels. All three have been spellbinding in their storytelling, though this one may be the best. Odd’s journey takes us around the Mediterranean and eastern European world, and all the way north back to Iceland. The characters are wonderful, the story intriguing, the combat real but never superfluous, and Odd makes for the perfect protagonist. Highly recommended.” – Historical Novel Society

“Written by a historian with deep understanding of the cultures, peoples, and languages of this world, The Varangian speaks with an authoritative and compelling voice that can equally present naval battles decided by Greek Fire and court intrigue culminating in advancement to lucrative rank or in mutilation and blinding. This is a masterfully written and suspenseful tale that weaves fictional characters into the dramatic story of eleventh-century Byzantium and ambitious women and men, some home grown and some drawn from afar, who aimed to profit from an empire of legendary wealth and splendor.” – Emily Albu, Professor of Medieval and Byzantine Studies, UC, Davis

“The Varangian is the third and final volume of Bruce Macbain’s Odd Tangle-Hair’s Saga, and like the first two entries, it is as compelling and wild a ride as historical fiction offers. Macbain brilliantly weaves in his vast knowledge of 11th century Viking and Byzantine life with a great storyteller’s ability to drive the plot forward, a plot filled with intrigue, violence, betrayal, and lust.”Barton Kunstler, author of The Hothouse Effect

“Detailed and vivid writing.” -Albert Noyer, author of the Getorius and Arcadia Mysteries



Author’s Inspiration
 
I was trained as a Classicist, my first two novels are set in ancient Rome, I love the Mediterranean, I hate ice and snow and suffer through Boston winters with gritted teeth. How then do I happen to be writing about Viking Age Scandinavia?

It all goes back to Prince Valiant in the Days of King Arthur, that wonderful comic strip written and drawn by Hal Foster from 1937 until the mid-1970’s.

On any Sunday morning of my youth you would have found me lying on the living room rug with the comic section of the New York Journal American spread open before me. It must have been a dozen pages thick, or so it seems to me now. Those of you too young to remember the golden age of comics have no idea what you’re missing. Let me just recite the names. Flash Gordon, Tarzan, The Phantom, Terry and the Pirates, Blondie, Lil’ Abner, Dick Tracy, Joe Palooka, Barney Google, Smokey Stover…and I could go on, but a tear is coming to my eye. What a loss that we don’t have these anymore, or anything to compare with them!

Above them all, though, was Prince Valiant. He had a page boy haircut, smooth cheeks, an ageless face; he lived in Ultima Thule with his blond wife, Queen Aleta, and a whole cast of Vikings and Arthurian knights. He fought barbarians, and occasionally dragons (though these appeared less often as the strip aged). Yes, it was all silly—but the art work! Foster was an amazing draughtsman. No one could render castles or misty vistas or storms at sea or swirling battle scenes the way he could in those big panel illustrations. You could (and I did) spend long minutes studying every small detail of them, drawn into the world he created.




I never met him but my father once did and got from him an autographed drawing, which I reproduce here. I’ve had it for sixty-some years and it now hangs on the wall above my computer monitor. I look at it often as I create my own Vikings, my own Ultima Thule.






Links for Purchase

B&N
 
IndieBound


Giveaway


To win a copy of The Varangian by Bruce Macbain, please enter via the Gleam form below. Three copies are up for grabs!

Rules

 Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on April 27th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to residents in the US & Canada only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
 Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.
 

enter Giveaway here...Good Luck!
 
About the author

Bruce Macbain holds degrees in Classics and Ancient History and was formerly an Assistant Professor of Classics at Boston University. He decided to stop writing scholarly articles (which almost no one read) and turn his expertise to fiction—a much more congenial medium. His previous novels include two mysteries set in ancient Rome (Roman Games, The Bull Slayer) and the first two novels in the Odd Tangle-Hair series (Odin’s Child, The Ice Queen).
For more information, please visit Bruce MacBain’s website. You can also find him on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Goodreads.




The Varangian by Bruce MacBain
Publication Date: November 29,2016

Blank Slate Press
eBook & Print; 341 Pages
Series: Odd Tangle-Hair Saga, Book Three

Genre: Historical Fiction







Saturday, 15 April 2017

The Du Lac Devil is #free on #Kindle for a Limited Time! #historicalfantasy

Hey, I've got great news, The Du Lac Devil is FREE on Kindle, and if that is not enough, you can pick up a Kindle Copy of The Du Lac Chronicles for only 0.99. But be quick, this offer won't last long!!

(15th-18th April)



The Du Lac Chronicles

 


The Du Lac Devil