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Introductions! / hi my name is Mrs Pas
« Last post by mrspas on Saturday 16, 2018, 04: am »
I came to discuss books. I love to read and read a few books a week. I mostly read 'Fluff' books, romance novels, occasionally other fiction, mysteries (but not the scary or deep psychological ones), memoirs, and historic fiction.

I like to write also, but I usually just write for myself, not to share.
I am sorry that I missed last month and a large part of this month but better late than never! Here are the new and upcoming releases for this month!

The Rising Sea by Clive Cussler, Graham Brown

Synopsis -

An alarming rise in the world's sea levels--much larger than could be accounted for by glacier melt--sends Kurt Austin, Joe Zavala, and the rest of the NUMA scientific team rocketing around the globe in search of answers. What they find at the bottom of the East China Sea, however, is even worse than they imagined: a diabolical plan to upset the Pacific balance of power--and in the process displace as many as a billion people.

Release Date -  March 13th 2018


Let Me Lie by Clare Mackintosh

Synopsis -

The police say it was suicide.
Anna says it was murder.
They're both wrong.

One year ago, Caroline Johnson chose to end her life brutally: a shocking suicide planned to match that of her husband just months before. Their daughter, Anna, has struggled to come to terms with their loss ever since.

Now with a young baby of her own, Anna misses her mother more than ever and starts to question her parents’ deaths. But by digging up their past, she’ll put her future in danger. Sometimes it’s safer to let things lie…

Release Date - March 8th 2018


Caribbean Rim by Randy Wayne White

Sysnopsis -

Murder, sunken treasure, and pirates both ancient and modern send Doc Ford on a nightmare quest in the thrilling new novel in the New York Times -bestselling series.

Marine biologist Doc Ford has been known to help his friends out of jams occasionally, but he's never faced a situation like this.

His old pal Carl Fitzpatrick has been chasing sunken wrecks most of his life, but now he's run afoul of the Florida Division of Historical Resources. Its director, Clive Nickelby, despises amateur archaeologists, which is bad enough, but now he and his young "assistant" have disappeared--along with Fitzpatrick's impounded cache of rare Spanish coins and the list of uncharted wreck sites Fitz spent decades putting together. Some of Fitz's own explorations have been a little...dicey, so he can't go to the authorities. Doc is his only hope.

But greed makes people do terrible things: rob, cheat, even kill. With stakes this high, there's no way the thieves will go quietly--and Doc's just put himself in their crosshairs.

Release Date -  13th 2018


Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff by Sean Penn

Synopsis -

From legendary actor and activist Sean Penn comes a scorching, darkly funny novella about Bob Honey—a modern American man, entrepreneur, and part-time assassin. He’s just a guy trying to make it through each day while grappling with loneliness, alienation, violence—uncertain of his place in a culture that considers branding more important than being.

Bob Honey has a hard time connecting with other people. He dreams he is sleeping with his ex-wife every night, and imagines waking up unhappy next to her every morning. Advertising, entertainment, and commerce rule his days; he’s sick of being marketed to every moment, but is unable to pry himself away from the constant feed. A paragon of American entrepreneurialism, Bob sells septic tanks to Jehovah’s Witnesses and arranges colorful pyrotechnic displays for foreign dictators. He’s also a part-time assassin for an off-the-books program run by the CIA that targets the elderly, the infirm, and others who drain this consumption-driven society of its resources.

When a nosy journalist starts asking questions, Bob can’t decide if it’s a chance to form some sort of new friendship or if it’s the beginning of the end for him. With treason on everyone’s lips, terrorism in everyone’s sights, and American political life racing to ever-lower standards, Bob decides it’s time to make a change. If he doesn’t get killed by his mysterious controllers or exposed in the rapacious media first.

Release Date -  March 27th 2018


Bone Music by  Christopher Rice

Synopsis -

Charlotte Rowe spent the first seven years of her life in the hands of the only parents she knew—a pair of serial killers who murdered her mother and tried to shape Charlotte in their own twisted image. If only the nightmare had ended when she was rescued. Instead, her real father exploited her tabloid-ready story for fame and profit—until Charlotte finally broke free from her ghoulish past and fled. Just when she thinks she has buried her personal hell forever, Charlotte is swept into a frightening new ordeal. Secretly dosed with an experimental drug, she’s endowed with a shocking new power—but pursued by a treacherous corporation desperate to control her.

Except from now on, if anybody is going to control Charlotte, it’s going to be Charlotte herself. She’s determined to use the extraordinary ability she now possesses to fight the kind of evil that shattered her life—by drawing a serial killer out from the shadows to face the righteous fury of a victim turned avenger.

Release Date - March 1st 2018


The Punishment She Deserves by Elizabeth George

Sysnopsis -

Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers and Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley are forced to confront the past as they try to solve a crime that threatens to tear apart the very fabric of a quiet, historic medieval town in England

The cozy, bucolic town of Ludlow is stunned when one of its most revered and respected citizens–Ian Druitt, the local deacon–is accused of a serious crime. Then, while in police custody, Ian is found dead. Did he kill himself? Or was he murdered?

When Barbara Havers is sent to Ludlow to investigate the chain of events that led to Ian’s death, all the evidence points to suicide. But Barbara can’t shake the feeling that she’s missing something. She decides to take a closer look at the seemingly ordinary inhabitants of Ludlow–mainly elderly retirees and college students–and discovers that almost everyone in town has something to hide.

Release Date - March 20th 2018


I was Anastasia by Ariel Lawhon

Synopsis -

Russia, July 17, 1918 Under direct orders from Vladimir Lenin, Bolshevik secret police force Anastasia Romanov, along with the entire imperial family, into a damp basement in Siberia where they face a merciless firing squad. None survive. At least that is what the executioners have always claimed.

Germany, February 17, 1920 A young woman bearing an uncanny resemblance to Anastasia Romanov is pulled shivering and senseless from a canal in Berlin. Refusing to explain her presence in the freezing water, she is taken to the hospital where an examination reveals that her body is riddled with countless, horrific scars. When she finally does speak, this frightened, mysterious woman claims to be the Russian Grand Duchess Anastasia.

Her detractors, convinced that the young woman is only after the immense Romanov fortune, insist on calling her by a different name: Anna Anderson.

As rumors begin to circulate through European society that the youngest Romanov daughter has survived the massacre, old enemies and new threats are awakened.

Release Date - March 27 2018


Non-Fiction Discussions / Upcoming Non-Fiction Releases March 2018
« Last post by The Fantastical on Wednesday 21, 2018, 06: pm »

Soon: What Science, Philosophy, Religion and History Teach Us about the Surprising Power of Procrastination by Andrew Santella

Synopsis -

An entertaining, fact-filled defense of the nearly universal tendency to procrastinate, drawing on the stories of history’s greatest delayers, and on the work of psychologists, philosophers, and behavioral economists to explain why we put off what we’re supposed to be doing and why we shouldn’t feel so bad about it.

Like so many of us, including most of America’s workforce, and nearly two-thirds of all university students, Andrew Santella procrastinates. Concerned about his habit, but not quite ready to give it up, he set out to learn all he could about the human tendency to delay. He studied history’s greatest procrastinators to gain insights into human behavior, and also, he writes, to kill time, “research being the best way to avoid real work.”

He talked with psychologists, philosophers, and priests. He visited New Orleans’ French Quarter, home to a shrine to the patron saint of procrastinators.  And at the home of Charles Darwin outside London, he learned why the great naturalist delayed writing his masterwork for more than two decades.

Drawing on an eclectic mix of historical case studies in procrastination—from Leonardo da Vinci to Frank Lloyd Wright, and from Old Testament prophets to Civil War generals—Santella offers a sympathetic take on habitual postponement. He questions our devotion to “the cult of efficiency” and suggests that delay and deferral can help us understand what truly matters to us. Being attentive to our procrastination, Santella writes, means asking, “whether the things the world wants us to do are really worth doing.”

Release Date -  March, 13, 2018


Agatha Christie: A Mysterious life by Laura Thompson

Synopsis -

It has been one hundred years since Agatha Christie wrote her first novel and created the formidable Hercule Poirot.  A brilliant and award winning biographer, Laura Thompson now turns her sharp eye to Agatha Christie. Arguably the greatest crime writer in the world, Christie's books still sell over four million copies each year—more than thirty years after her death—and it shows no signs of slowing.

But who was the woman behind these mystifying, yet eternally pleasing, puzzlers? Thompson reveals the Edwardian world in which Christie grew up, explores her relationships, including those with her two husbands and daughter, and investigates the many mysteries still surrounding Christie's life, most notably, her eleven-day disappearance in 1926.

Agatha Christie is as mysterious as the stories she penned, and writing about her is a detection job in itself. With unprecedented access to all of Christie's letters, papers, and notebooks, as well as fresh and insightful interviews with her grandson, daughter, son-in-law and their living relations, Thompson is able to unravel not only the detailed workings of Christie's detective fiction, but the truth behind this mysterious woman.

Release Date - March 6th 2018

Science-Fiction / Upcoming Science Fiction Releases March 2018
« Last post by The Fantastical on Wednesday 21, 2018, 05: pm »
Sorry that there are so few titles this month. Seems to be a slow time for Sci-fi.

Zero Limit by Jeremy K. Brown

Synopsis -

For war hero Caitlin Taggart, mining work on the Moon is dirty, low pay, and high risk. But no risk seems too extreme if it helps her return to Earth and the daughter she loves more than life itself. Offered a dangerous, long-shot chance to realize that dream, Caitlin will gamble with more than just her life.By leading a ragtag crew of miners on a perilous assignment to harvest an asteroid, Caitlin could earn a small fortune. More importantly, it would give her clearance to return to Earth.
But when an unexpected disaster strikes the mission, Caitlin is plunged into a race to save not only herself, but every human being on Earth.

Release Date - March 6th 2018


If Tomorrow Comes by Nancy Kress

Sysnopsis -

Nancy Kress returns with the sequel of Tomorrow's Kin, part of an all-new hard SF trilogy based on a Nebula Award-winning novella

Ten years after the Aliens left Earth, humanity has succeeded in building a ship, Friendship, in which to follow them home to Kindred. Aboard are a crew of scientists, diplomats, and a squad of Rangers to protect them. But when the Friendship arrives, they find nothing they expected. No interplanetary culture, no industrial base--and no cure for the spore disease.

A timeslip in the apparently instantaneous travel between worlds has occurred and far more than ten years have passed.

Once again scientists find themselves in a race against time to save humanity and their kind from a deadly virus while a clock of a different sort runs down on a military solution no less deadly to all. Amid devastation and plague come stories of heroism and sacrifice and of genetic destiny and free choice, with its implicit promise of conscious change.

Release Date - March 6th 2018


Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach by Kelly Robson

Synopsis -

In 2267, Earth has just begun to recover from worldwide ecological disasters. Minh is part of the generation that first moved back up to the surface of the Earth from the underground hells, to reclaim humanity's ancestral habitat. She's spent her entire life restoring river ecosystems, but lately the kind of long-term restoration projects Minh works on have been stalled due to the invention of time travel. When she gets the opportunity take a team to 2000 BC to survey the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, she jumps at the chance to uncover the secrets of the shadowy think tank that controls time travel technology.

Release Date - March 13 2018


Writing Articles and Links / The Power Of Fiction
« Last post by Althulas on Saturday 27, 2018, 02: pm »

“We read books to find out who we are. What other people, real or imaginary, do and think and feel – or have done and thought and felt; or might do and think and feel – is an essential guide to our understanding of what we ourselves are and may become… A person who had never listened to nor read a tale or myth or parable or story, would remain ignorant of his own emotional and spiritual heights and depths, would not know quite fully what it is to be human. For the story – from Rumpelstiltskin to War and Peace – is one of the basic tools invented by the mind of man, for the purpose of gaining understanding. There have been great societies that did not use the wheel, but there have been no societies that did not tell stories.”Ursula K. Le Guin, The Language of the Night: Essays on Fantasy and Science Fiction

This comment made by Le Guin in Language of the Night tells of a truth that I think many authors don’t think about. Oh, all admit to the power of words, but they never seem to see the power of their words. The effect that they can and do have upon another's life. And I want to talk about it because I feel, not only as a writer but as an aware reader, that it is important for authors new and experienced alike to know, to understand the words they put out there.

In many ways it goes beyond just being politically correct or even responsible, but instead goes into a place most writers I think fear - a place of understanding that as a writer you have a power that is as great as any world leader - you in your comfy chair, high on coffee and dreams are and can change a life not your own with a single paragraph. Now that is power and a power that needs to be used wisely.

Now you may think that I am being a little pedantic, trust me I am not. What Le Guin spoke of in the quote above has been scientifically proven by more than one set of people so I am personally inclined to think that they are at least onto something...

The Power of Fiction

To fully understand the power of fiction I am going to go way back, back to the very start of it all (as far as we can tell).

As Fantasy writer by heart, I have spent some time looking back and finding out how the genre started because it is by far the oldest form of fiction. As long as well have been, we (humans) have been telling tales of monsters and the heroes that fight them.

It all starts with Mythology, from the Greek ‘mythos’ meaning story-of-the-people, and ‘logos’ for word or speech, the spoken story of a people, is a collection of often sacred tales or fables of a culture that deal with being human. Good, evil, our origins, life, death, the afterlife, the underworld, and the gods. Whatever the subject, myths have been used to warn of dangerous we did not yet understand, to speak of morality and to help us remember our histories and the beliefs and values held by a culture or a people.

We have since the dawn of time passed down information about our lives and cultures through tales and fables (you have to admit they are more interesting than boring old history) and it has left a mark upon us as a race. We are now hardwired to learn information better when shown it in a story like form -

“The "human mind is a story processor, not a logic processor," says Jonathan Haidt. Certainly, we use logic inside stories better than we do outside. Leda Cosmides and John Tooby have shown that the Wason Selection Test can be solved by fewer than 10% as a logic puzzle, but by 70-90% when presented as a story involving detection of social-rule cheating. “
- It Is in Our Nature to Need Stories

“Nature shaped us to be ultra-social, and hence to be sharply attentive to character and plot. We are adapted to physiologically interact with stories. They are a key way in which our ruly culture configures our nature.”
- It Is in Our Nature to Need Stories

“So powerful is our impulse to detect story patterns that we see them even when they're not there.

In a landmark 1944 study, 34 humans – Massachusetts college students actually, though subsequent research suggests they could have been just about anyone – were shown a short film and asked what was happening in it. The film showed two triangles and a circle moving across a two-dimensional surface. The only other object on screen was a stationary rectangle, partially open on one side.

Only one of the test subjects saw this scene for what it was: geometric shapes moving across a plane. Everyone else came up with elaborate narratives to explain what the movements were about.”
- The Art of Immersion: Why Do We Tell Stories?

The above extracts show that as humans we need stories to understand the world around us; to the point where we create our own narrative if one is not supplied. Stories are what we use to decode our society, our cultures and our religions. They are as important to the fabric of our world as economics, technology or anything else that you might think of.

Now you might think that this only works when used in terms of age-old tales or ones that are connected to your specific culture and it certainly doesn’t have anything to do with your current WIP. Well... no. It is a function of our brains to connect with and internalize the events of a story -

“It is quiet and dark. The theatre is hushed. James Bond skirts along the edge of a building as his enemy takes aim. Here in the audience, heart rates increase and palms sweat.  I know this to be true because instead of enjoying the movie myself, I am measuring the brain activity of a dozen viewers. For me, excitement has a different source: I am watching an amazing neural ballet in which a storyline changes the activity of people’s brains... As social creatures, we depend on others for our survival and happiness. A decade ago, my lab discovered that a neurochemical called oxytocin is a key “it’s safe to approach others” signal in the brain... More recently my lab wondered if we could “hack” the oxytocin system to motivate people to engage in cooperative behaviours.

To do this, we tested if narratives shot on video, rather than face-to-face interactions, would cause the brain to make oxytocin. By taking blood draws before and after the narrative, we found that character-driven stories do consistently cause oxytocin synthesis. “
- Why Your Brian Loves Good Storytelling

So when you write that likeable character and your readers report back to you a “connection” they are literally feeling an emotional connection to that character. Not only that but due to the nature of oxytonic we feel a level of trust with that character and in turn that trust goes to the author because when engaged with a story we are placing ourselves in your hands. Quite literally in many ways because what we read stays with us. We are allowing you to change us with every page we read -

“...a story must first sustain attention – a scarce resource in the brain – by developing tension during the narrative. If the story is able to create that tension then it is likely that attentive viewers/listeners will come to share the emotions of the characters in it, and after it ends, likely to continue mimicking the feelings and behaviours of those characters.”
- Why Your Brain Loves Good Storytelling

The chemicals involved in our feelings towards stories goes further still when talking about a certain alcoholic drinks ad this was said about the effects of a well-developed story has on a person -

“Storytelling evokes a strong neurological response. Neuroeconomist Paul Zak‘s research indicates that our brains produce the stress hormone cortisol during the tense moments in a story, which allows us to focus, while the cute factor of the animals releases oxytocin, the feel-good chemical that promotes connection and empathy. Other neurological research tells us that a happy ending to a story triggers the limbic system, our brain’s reward centre, to release dopamine which makes us feel more hopeful and optimistic.”
- The Irresistible Power of Storytelling as a Strategic Business Tool

In effect, you are drugging us (admittedly with our permission) but still... we are hooked, people who say they can’t put a book down quite possibly can’t. I know that I am in many ways addicted to the feeling that comes with reading a really well-told story. It is why I read... I always want to experience that feeling again and again and yet again. But when see beyond just as a reasoning for how we feel about books and movies or any sort of storytelling medium we realise that our very systems are causing us to be open, receptive, trustful and then pleased by what you are saying and it doesn’t matter much what form it is in. It can be a non-fiction story or the most ridiculous of fantasies.

On we go further down the rabbit hole, not only do we react on a chemical level to the stories we are told we react on all levels to the story that we are being told. What the character feels, we feel (in a way) -

“When we tell stories to others that have helped us shape our thinking and way of life, we can have the same effect on them too. The brains of the person telling a story and listening to it, can synchronize, says Uri Hasson from Princeton:

“... the volunteers understood her story, and their brains synchronized.  When she had activity in her insula, an emotional brain region, the listeners did too.  When her frontal cortex lit up, so did theirs. By simply telling a story, the woman could plant ideas, thoughts and emotions into the listeners’ brains. Anything you’ve experienced, you can get others to experience the same. Or at least, get their brain areas active, too:

” - The Science of Storytelling: What Listening to a Story Does to Our Brains

Beyond that, if deep enough into a story we become a part of that story -

“A story is immersive when it effectively induces a deictic shift, which is the moment when you assume a viewpoint of one of the characters of the story, and you forget yourself. They’ve done MRI scans on the brains of people watching movies and they say cinema is the closest we get to dreaming with our eyes open. The lateral prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain responsible for self-awareness, it goes dim. You forget your body, the theatre, your chair. The mind is free from the confines of the body, and that is when you enter the liminal trance state.”
- Curating Awe In A World Of Endless Miracles

Or... -

“...But it’s also worth pointing out which brain areas didn’t “tick together” in the movie theatre. The most notable of these “non-synchronous” regions in the prefrontal cortex, an area associated with logic, deliberative analysis, and self-awareness. (It carries a hefty computational burden.) Subsequent work by Malach and colleagues has found that when we’re engaged in intense “sensorimotor processing” – and nothing is more intense than staring at a massive screen with Dolby surround sound – we actually inhibit these prefrontal areas. The scientists argue that such “inactivation” allows us to lose ourself in the movie:

Our results show a clear segregation between regions engaged during self-related introspective processes and cortical regions involved in sensorimotor processing. Furthermore, self-related regions were inhibited during sensorimotor processing. Thus, the common idiom ”losing yourself in the act” receives here a clear neurophysiological underpinnings.”
- The Frontal Cortex, Watching Movies, Science Blogs.

To summarise my point - we are designed, created, have become wired to be open and receptive to the emotive moments and habits of the characters within the stories we read, see or hear. Not only that but when we become engaged we are assuming a role within the story. We are, in the moment of reading, actively open to the idea, ideals, thoughts, feelings and emotions presented in the work we are reading.

This means, that as writers we need to keep that in mind. We can’t say that the effects will fade, or that it doesn’t matter because what we read today, what we grow up reading effects us and stays with us. Who reading this hasn’t read at least one book they know was life-changing?

But the truth is that every book is live changing whether it consciously stays with you or not. So there is no escape from the reality of the power that Fiction holds.

Our words will affect the future of the world as each person takes the effects of what they read out into the world. And that is both a very scary thought and one that gives me hope for the future because storytelling can be used to allow a more loving, generous, kind and empathetic side of people to show. It lowers our guards and allows us to let others in, to see and understand their lives.

As writers we have a responsibility, no, a moral right, to make sure that what we put into our work is something that can make this world better and the future brighter. Anything else will be an abuse of the power that we have chosen to take up. We are storytellers... let us be great ones that have left this world in a better shape than how we found it, one reader, at a time.

Now I leave you with a single question :

How will what you say affect the world?
Reviews and Interviews / Review: Interview With The Vamipre by Anne Rice
« Last post by Althulas on Tuesday 23, 2018, 07: pm »

So a little while ago I got over my hesitation about reading a book about vampires... It was worth it! This novel swept me off my feet with it's deep questions about what makes us good, what drives us and how do we live when we have lost our faith. I say faith so simply but the book tackles so many kinds of faith, faith in a people, ourselves, good bad, society, law, god and religion and I am sure that I am still missing a few! But for the purpose of easy of writing I will just say faith.

In fact I think this book is less about vampires and more about philosophical ideas about what makes us tick and are those that lose faith (whatever manner that they lose it in) really just the vampires of the world? Always taking but having nothing to give in return.

This, I think is the main idea. All the characters have lost their faith, this seems to be the defining thing that all vampires have in common. A lack of belief, or rather a loss of belief which leads to them being taken or falling for a vampire and ultimately being turned into a vampire themselves. This leads, after a period of freedom from those ideals and worldly limitations that had held them before, to them questioning themselves and in the end searching for an answer to the age old question of what is life really all about and am I evil or good?

Their lives end up being an eternal search for meaning and purpose. Something that they were robbed or when they lost their faith. 

The characters are now just as bound in their lack of faith, their lack of meaning and purpose as well as a lack of a way to know if they are good or evil, as they ever were by their human limitations. By the end of the novel a lot had happened and it sort of feels like it has defeated Louis. But isn’t that ever life? Those moments when you are brought low by the event beyond our control and the hands of others.

I feel like these novels are less, simply a good read about the secret dark places of the world but rather about life. For all the fact that they are now no longer human, the characters are everything that we are.

The moral questions that lurk in their thoughts are ones that humans have been asking since the first one had a moment to sit and have a good long think. Their reactions, there wants, love, knowledge, purpose, a reason why the things that happen, happen. Even though they are often the thing that happens!

This is not to say (for those that want a good adventure with vampires) that Interview does not have this in spades either. There is a surprising amount of action, emotional ups and downs and close calls for all involved. There are also plots, plans an politics!

All in all it is a book that I would highly recommend to anyone, even people who don't like vampires because these vampires are... different. Also the questions explored in this novel are well worth reading. It is a fascinating take on... well faith and a lack there of, make this more than just an early version of the vampire books you get today.

This is what those books wish they could be, like mortal men who wish they were superheros.

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Reviews and Interviews / Review: Duncton Wood series by William Horwood
« Last post by Althulas on Saturday 20, 2018, 04: pm »
Duncton Wood is in my opinion one of the best and most under read fantasy series in the world. Mostly because all the characters are moles. Yes moles, as in those wonderful creatures that leave little dirt mountains on your lawns. Although anthropomorphized and given their own history and a written form of communication as well as social order. The moles of Duncton wood are still moles and as such have no clothes, technology or weapons and are very moleish.

Duncton Wood is a  true epic fantasy series in the most classic way. It is set in the fictional Duncton Wood in Great Britain where the moles of Duncton are under the rule of the rather evil Mandrake and Rune who are actively squishing the old traditions, namely those surrounding the Duncton Stone; the center of their religion.

Then comes the hero, a young mole named Bracken who leaves Duncton Wood and all that is safe to find himself and a way to win his fight against the evil of Rune and Mandrake while winning the paw of his love, Rebecca, Mandrakes daughter.

The second and third books follow Rebecca’s and Bracken’s son Tryfan during a religious war with another order of moles. These are in a way more action packed then the first in the series (which was originally a stand alone novel then years later Horwood wrote two more out of no-where) some think they are not as good as the original Duncton Wood novel but I think they are different rather than worse of bad.

It is a new story with new characters and a new struggle. It has all one could hope for in a battle filled fantasy, great battles, blood, lightning and a showdown at the end with two unlikely heros who save the day.

This series has a great depth of detail and grandness like that found in such epics as Sword of Truth and Recluse. William Horwood has created a world that is filled with those events that while familiar are renewed from the point of view that they are being told from. Classic arc's brought back to life with the one simple change - the race of the characters.

I read this series when I was in my early teens and it really struck me as one of those amazing fantasy series where the writing itself was part of the story, like with David Eddings, J.R.R Tolkien or even Terry Pratchett. Half the enjoyment is the language used. The way it flows and how the world is shaped but just the most simple of things like a adjective here instead of there.

And I am happy to say that it has held up. It has stood the test of time and childhood memories. The tale is just as thrilling and Bracken just as heroic as the first time I read them. His son is still a little and odd and I still love them and enjoy them as one of those series that I turn to too reread now and again just like a comfy old pair of jeans.

The series consists of three novels -

It was followed a few years later by the Book of Silence a follow on trilogy set far into the future of the moles of Duncton Wood. (I have not read it having just learned of it’s existence! But I will be as soon as I find copies)

The trilogy consists of -
This is a great idea!

Let us start with the two main characters, Royce Melborn and Hadrian Blackwater. Both are the most out right badass characters that one might ever wish to come across in a fantasy series.

Royce a former member of the Black Diamond and Assassin is an enigma wrapped in a puzzle surrounded by dead people who looked like they might one day be in the way. Or because they breathed, looked like they were up to something or for any reason really. Royce has issues about not killing people.

Hadrian on the other hand is a open book who just might kill you. But unlike Royce he will feel bad about it afterwards and maybe even say sorry. The son of a small town's Blacksmith, Hadrian is a Swordsman of great skill and in certain parts of Calis a rather famous one. He and Royce somehow manage to not kill each other and on some days could even be called friends and while the back and forth banter and, I just have to say this, some of the best lines I have read in a series for a long time is major part of why this series works it is not the best part.

The best part is the plot. Now most of the time with fantasy series you know what is going to happen… We all know the chosen one will save the day! Or in some cases when the author feels like thinking out of the box, dies.
But Sullivan did something with this series that was different. He managed to surprise me with the ending. This is harder to do than you might know, but he did it. Right until the last chapter I thought the story was going in one direction in just like that out of the blue there was a plot twist that I just did not see coming. And it was not like some last minute plot twists you sometimes see that doesn’t make sense, no as soon as the last chapter came around the whole series just clicked into place.
It was like that moment when you are doing a puzzle and suddenly you can see what the picture is.
It was the moment that took a great series into the halls of Fantasy Fame. If you love a good series that has some great banter between characters as well as just some really kickass fight scenes then this is the series for you!

The Revelations series consists of -

There is now three prequels as well and surprisingly they are are just as good as the original series!

Sullivan has now also started a new series that takes place in the far past of the same world during the time of the Empire. The series is called Legends of the First Empire -

Only the first two books of Legends of teh First Empire have been published. The rest are due during 2018 and 2019.

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