Tag Archives: fiction

Hit by P S Bridge

I have received a free e-copy of the book Hit by P S Bridge to review.

Hit by P S Bridge

Here is the book blurb.

A terrorist threat, a sinister organisation, and a threat to the security of the free world.
Renowned British lawyer and Sandhurst military academy dropout, Mark Lucas King is assigned the case of his career: to prosecute known terrorist Mohammed Al-Azidi.
All King wants is justice and to do his job successfully. But his peaceful life is shattered when a team of merciless hitmen targets him and his family and the court case collapses. Framed for assault and suspected of his wife’s murder, King must leave his legal career behind and go back to his old career as a British Army sniper in order to catch those responsible and hold them to account. Mark King’s brand of justice doesn’t involve a court room.
Forced to battle against highly trained hitmen to clear his name, King discovers that a sinister organisation known as Invictus Advoca is operating behind the scenes. What is their connection to him and the Al-Azidi case?
As the hunt for those responsible takes him far across Europe, can Mark unravel the mysteries that shroud this secretive organisation and peel back the layers to discover why he and his family have found themselves the target of professional hitmen?
Time is not on Mark King’s side as he races to prevent a global terror threat, discover who killed his wife, and find out who wants him dead, and why.

Mark King is presenting the case for the prosecution of terrorist Mohammed Al-Azidi for the murder of Richard Wilkinson, who sacrificed his life to prevent a mass terrorist atrocity. However Mark has received mysterious phone calls, threatening him if he doesn’t drop the case. Meanwhile Marie, his wife keeps seeing a strange car with smoked windows parked outside their home. Also Ian Hawking, one of the journalists, who has been heckling Mark for years, turns up at their house.

Mark asks the car driver, Roman Vose what he is doing there and instead finds himself framed for assault, by Roman and his accomplice, with Ian snapping photos. Mark’s boss, Hugo suspends him and he heads to the shooting range to cool down. But worse is to follow when he gets home and finds Marie has been murdered. Mark is a suspect.

After Marie’s funeral, Mark sets off on a personal mission to try to find the hitmen and whoever is paying them and to find out what is the link with the Al-Azidi case. Plenty of exciting twists and turns as the hunt leads him across Europe.

Hit is available on Amazon, currently priced at £9.99 in paperback and is also available in Kindle format. A great story that kept me on the edge of my seat which I highly recommend.


I’m participating in the blogtour. Do take time to browse round some of the other posts.

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Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

The Last Gods of Indochine by Samuel Ferrer

I have received a free e-copy of the book The Last Gods of Indochine by Samuel Ferrer to review.

The Last Gods of Indochine by Samuel Ferrer

Here is the book blurb.

Jacquie Mouhot and Paaku the Lotus-Born are divided by six centuries but linked by a common curse. In medieval Cambodia, Paaku is an orphan whose community believes he may be a reluctant incarnation of a god, causing sectarian turmoil for the kingdom’s leaders. Meanwhile, in 1921, Jacquie follows the footsteps of her grandfather, a famous explorer, to Indochina, where she becomes immersed in the tragedy of Paaku’s history: a story simultaneously unfolding in the intertwined present and past, a story in which she still has a vital role to play.

The book starts with Jacquie’s grandfather Henri, an explorer dying from malaria in Laos in 1861, deliriously talking about The Sea of Milk, before fast forwarding to introduce Jacquie in 1921, who is about to set off from France to follow her grandfather’s footsteps to Indochina by sea, via Singapore and Saigon to Cambodia. We then travel back to The Khmer Empire in 1294 where we meet Paaku and his best friend Jarisi. Paaku heals a monkey that had been bitten by a tiger. The story continues to alternate between 1921 and 1294, interspersed with entries from Henri’s journal. Jacquie experiences several nightmares, including flashbacks to when she was nursing at the Somme.

Back in 1294, the kingdom is ruled by King Jayavarman VIII and religion is divided between Buddha, Shiva, Vishnu and other gods. Paaku and Jarisi head to the festival where Paaku ends up being selected by Queen Devi for the test of bending Balarma’s Spear, which is made of gold. Amazingly he does it easily, a feat that hasn’t been achieved for over 100 years. It is declared a miracle, but fate follows a strange cursed path after that. And somehow Paaku’s story is already known to Jacquie. When present and past collide, what will happen?

The Last Gods of Indochine published by Signal 8 Press is available on Amazon, currently priced at £15 in paperback or £6.31 in Kindle format. A fascinating read of a civilisation I knew nothing about.


About the author

Samuel Ferrer is a double bassist and member of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as the songwriter and bassist for the acid jazz group Shaolin Fez. He holds degrees from Yale and the University of Southern California, and as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar, spent a year in between degrees studying in Paris. He is the only non-Asian to be nominated for Asia’s most prestigious literary award, The Man Asian Literary Prize (“The Booker of Asia”). This is his first novel.

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Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

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The Beta Mum, Adventures in Alpha Land by Isabella Davidson

When fellow blogger Isabella from Notting Hill Yummy Mummy contacted me to ask if I would like to review her debut novel featuring a mummy blogger, I immediately said yes.

The Beta Mum, Adventures in Alpha Land by Isabella Davidson

Here is the book blurb.

When Sophie Bennett moves from a quiet sleepy suburb of Toronto to glitzy west London, she doesn’t know where she has landed: Venus or Mars. Her three-year-old daughter Kaya attends Cherry Blossoms, the most exclusive nursery in London, where Sophie finds herself adrift in a sea of Alpha Mums. These mothers are glamorous, gorgeous, competitive and super rich, especially Kelly, the blonde, beautiful and bitchy class rep.

Struggling to fit in and feeling increasingly isolated, Sophie starts ‘The Beta Mum’, an anonymous blog describing her struggles with the Alpha Mums. But when her blog goes viral, she risks ruining everything for herself and her daughter. How long will it be until they discover her true identity? Is her marriage strong enough to survive one of her follower’s advances? And will she ever fit in with the Alpha Mums?

Sophie, Michael and 3 year old Kaya relocate from Canada to London when Michael is offered a new job. Nursery consultant Edward helps them secure a place for Kaya at exclusive Cherry Blossoms nursery. But shy Sophie feels very isolated away from family and best friend Emma.

So first day of term sees Sophie and Kaya encountering a crowd of beautiful stylish yummy mummies waiting at the nursery gate. Sophie even recognises faces from magazine covers. Sophie plucks up the courage to introduce herself to one of the mums, Kelly but she is totally ignored.

A few weeks on and still Sophie hasn’t managed more than a quick hello with any of the other mums. And Kaya isn’t settling in well either. The nursery assistant suggests that Sophie organise a playdate. When Sophie tells Emma how she is struggling to fit in, Emma suggests that Sophie write a blog about it. And that is how Sophie started her blog The Beta Mum, all about her adventures in Alpha Land. She gets 28 views and a comment on her first post and is hooked on blogging. She keeps all her posts anonymous, but one night accidentally mentions Cherry Blossoms in her post. Her blog goes viral. Will Sophie be able to keep her identity secret from all the Alpha Mums? And who is Cyberdad – a Cherry Blossoms father who read her blog and is now frequently emailing her?

The Beta Mum is available on Amazon, currently priced at £9.99 in paperback or £3.99 in Kindle format. I loved this book and could so relate to the storyline. I do hope that there will be a follow-up to The Beta Mum, but in the meantime, do check out some of the posts on Notting Hill Yummy Mummy.

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Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

Martha the Blue Sheep by Gabrielle Yetter plus giveaway

I have received a free e-copy of the children’s book Martha the Blue Sheep by Gabrielle Yetter to review. To find out more about the author you may visit her website.

Martha the Blue Sheep by Gabrielle Yetter

Here is the book blurb.

When an accident made Martha’s coat blue, her world turned upside down. She was no longer like the rest of the flock. She stood out and she didn’t like it. She wanted to fit in. But a series of surprising events and the help of an unexpected friend showed Martha that being different could be a blessing, not a curse. Martha, The Blue Sheep is a story about acceptance, tolerance and diversity. It’s a charming story to inspire children not to be just one of the flock, but to celebrate being an individual who brings richness and colour to the world.

My mum had a phrase she used to quote at me as a child when I just wanted to do what other children were doing. I was embarrassed about the idea of being different from the crowd. She would say “All we like sheep” and this story follows that theme.

Martha had been born a white sheep but an accident with a paint pot resulted in her becoming blue. Being shy, she was unhappy to stand out from the flock like this. So she often hid and got quite lonely. Whilst hiding, she heard whimpering and rescued a baby wolf from the path of a tractor. The father wolf was very grateful and uses Martha’s blue coat as a distinguishing feature to tell the other wolves to keep away from attacking Martha’s flock. Finally Martha was pleased with the individuality of her blue coat.

Martha the Blue Sheep is available on Amazon, currently priced at £6.95 in paperback and is also available in Kindle format. A beautifully illustrated picture book.

Plus I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway a paperback copy of Martha the Blue Sheep to 1 lucky winner. Open to UK and US only.
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a Rafflecopter giveaway – Please click on the link to enter.

And you may see my other giveaways here.

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Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

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Devil in the Countryside by Cory Barclay

I have received a free e-copy of the book Devil in the Countryside by Cory Barclay to review. To find out more about the author you may visit his website.

Devil in the Countryside by Cory Barclay

Here is the book blurb.

Devil in the Countryside is a story about the most famous werewolf investigation in history, brimming with intrigue and war, love and betrayal, and long-kept vendettas. It’s 1588, the height of the Reformation, and a killer is terrorizing the German countryside. There are reports that the legendary Werewolf of Bedburg has returned to a once-peaceful land. Heinrich Franz, a cold and calculating investigator, is tasked with finding whomever — or whatever — the killer might be. He’ll need all the help he can get, including that of a strange hunter who’s recently stumbled into town. Though they’re after the same thing, their reasons are worlds apart. And through it all, a priest tries to keep the peace among his frightened townsfolk, while a young woman threatens his most basic beliefs. In a time when life is cheap and secrets run rampant, these four divergent souls find themselves entwined in a treacherous mystery, navigating the volatile political and religious landscape of 16th century Germany, fighting to keep their sanity — and their lives.

This is a fictional story but based on an infamous historical event when a German was tortured, tried and sentenced as a werewolf back in 1589. Spoiler alert – you can read about it on Wikipedia.

The story is set in 1588/89 in Bedburg, Germany, at the height of the Reformation. It starts with Chief Investigator Heinrich Franz inspecting the victim and murder scene, who was discovered by farmer Karl Achterberg. Is it the work of the legendary Werewolf of Bedburg? Under torture, Karl accuses his neighbour Peter Griswold of creeping around at night and black magic and of being a Lutheran. Peter refutes these claims, implying Karl is being petty because he rejected Karl’s proposal for his son Martin to marry Peter’s daughter Sybil.

Catholic Georg Sieghart, a hunter and former soldier is also trying to find the werewolf, but with the sole aim of killing him. Meanwhile young priest Father Dieter Nicolaus finds himself struggling with his pure thoughts after meeting 16 year old Sybil, daughter of Peter Griswold. The victim is identified as Dorothea Gabler, best friend of Sybil and girlfriend of Martin. Another murder is discovered, this time a prostitute Josephine whom Georg was keen on.

More characters keep getting thrown into the mix. Different classes of society. Catholics and Protestants. Someone is arrested, but then there is another murder. There’s certainly lots going on in the town of Bedburg.

Devil in the Countryside is available on Amazon, currently priced at £10.21 in paperback or 99p in Kindle format. An interesting read with plenty of twists and turns which got me thinking. The author is currently writing a sequel, so I’m wondering which of the characters it will be following.

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Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

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The Kazak Contract by Paul Purnell

I have received a free e-copy of the book The Kazak Contract by Paul Purnell to review.

The Kazak Contract by Paul Purnell

Here is the book blurb.

James Ballantyne travels to Kazakhstan on a minor diplomatic assignment. A simple task, but he falls for the glamorous aide Ocksana Petrova, sent to guide him through the process. Fate leads him to the rescue of a US special agent who is the target of assassination by the Kazak authorities.

What should Ballantyne do? Should he be led by duty or compassion?

Events force his hand and he recruits smugglers to get the agent away from Kazakhstan. The escape route is dangerous and it becomes clear they are being monitored every inch of the way. Is his new love, Ocksana, behind the surveillance? Or has his own team been infiltrated?

Getting out of Kazakhstan alive will draw upon all of James’s military skills, and a lot of luck. With ambush and deception along the way, will he make it to the border and safety? How can he protect his lover? This journey through a wild country stretches every nerve.

James Ballantyne works for the British Foreign Office and is sent to Kazakhstan to secure a major energy deal. He is met at the airport by Ocksana Petrova, the Energy Minister’s personal assistant. Secretly, Ocksana is also working for the Bureau. At his hotel, James starts chatting with Bill Hammond, an American businessman , who hints that Ocksana’s role is to sweeten the deal. Bill invites James to join him in a card game, but he can see Bill is being set up to lose. He leaves and heads to bed, but is woken by a shot. He dashes down the corridor and finds that Hammond has been shot by one of the other gamblers. Hammond is taken to hospital and when James visits him the next day, Hammond begs him for help to flee, asking him to track down Gilda for assistance. Meanwhile James sleeps with Ocksana. Does she have true feelings for him? And will he help Hammond?

The Kazak Contract is available on Amazon, currently priced at £7.99 in paperback and is also available in Kindle format. A great story which I highly recommend.


Here is an extract from the book for you to read.

This is an excerpt from Chapter 14 where the fugitives (including Ballantyne and the smugglers) are confronting the pursuing Special Branch Team. One of the smugglers, a girl called Gilda distracts the enemy while Ballantyne takes on the group.

“Picking a spot about four hundred metres from the target, he waited for the shot which would set off the trap. She fired two shots, one after the other. Within a second, a burst of automatic fire lit up a man standing beside the first car in the ditch. He fired six single rounds into the flame, remembering to keep his aim down as the gun jerked in his hands. Then he dived to the right and watched the effect.

Someone shouted, but he could not catch the words. A second shadow moved towards the ditched car and he fired again. This time he thumbed the automatic lever and sprayed a long burst into the moving shadow. A cry from the dark outline told him he had hit someone and he moved to a new spot, awaiting Gilda’s next shot.

She fired again and sparks flew upwards like a small firework; some piece of car body had taken the hit. Again, a burst of firing replied to her shot, but this from the third car and from two weapons. The aim was wild, and he realised they were simply returning fire to saturate the area.

OK. Keep it up, more the merrier.’

They wasted at least two magazines that way. He took up another position and prepared to respond to Gilda’s lead when he felt a snick as something touched his elbow. Looking down, he realised a bullet had just passed him, catching his jacket. He knew at once what it was. It was a high velocity round, and it changed the game. Down there was a sniper with some sort of night lens, and he was on to him.”


About the author

Based in London, Paul Purnell has worked for over forty-years as a Criminal Law barrister. After serving five years stationed in Germany with the British Army, Purnell began his career as a trial lawyer prosecuting and defending in serious criminal cases across the country. Later he was appointed Queen’s Counsel, a role which has seen him engaged in court cases both across the country and to far flung destinations including the Cayman Islands and Kazakhstan. His extensive experience and understanding of the criminal world has provided the inspiration for his short stories and his latest Jack Ballantyne series. When not writing, or in court, he enjoys racing around the country on his motorbike and spending time with his three children and grandchildren.

Previous titles include a series of well-received short stories; The Hireling (2015), Scaramouche (2015) and The Storm (2016).

Website: http://paulpurnell.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/purnell14


I’m participating in the blogtour. Do take time to browse round some of the other posts.

The Kazak Contract by Paul Purnell

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MamaMummyMum

Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

Courting Chaos by Lynne Barron

I have received a free e-copy of the book Courting Chaos by Lynne Barron to review. To find out more about the author you may visit her website.

Courting Chaos by Lynne Barron

Here is the book blurb.

What happens when London’s longest reigning rake decides to make mischief?
Born of scandal and raised in squalor, Miss Harry O’Connell turned her back on her feckless, frivolous father and carved out a life for herself in the working-class neighborhood of Wellclose Square. She’s a creature of habit, a stickler for schedules, a keeper of secrets, and a woman adamantly opposed to wasting so much a single minute – let alone a spare shilling – on useless endeavors, sentimental nonsense or impossible expectations.
Opposites attract…
With three men standing between Phineas Griffith and the nearest title, he was perfectly content to float through life on a wave of mistakes, mishaps, coincidences and luck. Two unfortunate accidents and an apoplectic fit later, the new Viscount Knighton finds himself saddled with a decimated estate, a mountain of debt and two sisters in need of launching into Society in tandem. There’s really nothing for it but to woo and wed an heiress post haste.
Orbits align…
An unwelcome visit from the Earl of Dunaway sets in motion a convoluted chain of events that put Harry on a collision course with the handsome fortune-hunter. And wreak havoc with her meticulously managed, precisely timed and exactingly organized life.
Worlds collide…
Phineas cannot afford the luxury of falling in love with a prickly, pragmatic and penniless woman. Harry hasn’t the time or inclination to dally with a charming rake when all her considerable talents are aimed at laying waste to all the Earl of Dunaway holds dear.
And chaos ensues.
Some forces are greater than gravity and some chances worth taking. Can these two star crossed-lovers find the wherewithal to risk it all for a happily-ever-after that defies all odds?

This is book 2 in the Dunaway’s Daughters series set in 1821 London, featuring six sisters. Miss Harry O’Connell is the illegitimate daughter of the Earl of Dunaway, whom she shuns and puts about a tale of different parentage, whilst plotting his downfall. So the story begins with Harry escaping out her backdoor without money or bonnet when she sees the Earl’s carriage pulling up, and missing her weekly visit to the Montclaire Museum. She usually sticks to a rigid schedule of appointments. Instead she meets her sister Kate and the latest news sets her secrets in a spin. Kate persuades Harry to attend sister Madeline’s coming-out ball that evening, where she meets Phineas, Viscount Knighton.

Phineas is a rake who has just come into the title and now finds himself saddled with huge debt. At the same time, he needs to launch both his sisters into Society. The only answer seems to be to find an heiress to marry.

Predictably Harry and Phineas are attracted, but Harry doesn’t have time for a dalliance with all her scheming and busy schedule. And Phineas can’t afford to fall in love with penniless Harry. What will happen?

Courting Chaos is available on Amazon, currently priced at £3.09 in Kindle format. This is a nice Regency romance story and brought back happy memories of my teenage years when I used to read lots of historical romance from our local library, before moving onto other genres.

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Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

Outremer by D N Carter

I have received a free e-copy of the book Outremer by D N Carter to review.

Outremer by D N Carter

Here is the book blurb.

Who Controls The Past Controls The Future

 An epic love story must overcome religious divide and a plot to eradicate two blood lines, as the Crusades and the search for the ancient mysteries of the Holy Grail gather momentum.

Raised by his father in La Rochelle, France, Paul Plantavalu is known for his artistic nature, inquisitive mind and Christian faith. He also has an unshakable love for his Muslim childhood friend, Alisha al Komaty. Courageous and outspoken, she returns Paul’s love. But their path is paved with obstacles; religion, war, political chaos and a mysterious enemy determined to destroy their family lines.

Sometime between 1110 AD and 1120 AD in the aftermath of the first crusade, a small band of nine knights — the founding knights Templar — recover ancient precious artefacts left by a former, advanced civilisation, beneath the City of Jerusalem. Ruthlessly guarded, the secrets revealed by this discovery are highly prized by powerful and dangerous forces far and wide; the repercussions of their capture are inextricably linked to Paul and Alisha. As Paul starts to experience dark and vivid dreams and the fragile balance of peace starts to crumble, it will fall to an enigmatic man known as Kratos and his female warrior protégée Abi Shadana, to safeguard Paul and Alisha.

Paul and Alisha’s love story weaves between the threads of our reality and other realms — from the Druids to the Sufi mystics, the Magi of the East, the secret political arm of the Knights Templar and the Isma’ilis, the Assassins. Knights and pilgrims alike will witness some of the darkest battles ever fought. The discovery of a unique sword’s lethal power and whispered connections to King Arthur and the Holy Grail lead Paul and Alisha to question if their lives ever be the same again.

The first of a four-part series, Outremer is an historical epic, which sweeps across England, Scotland and France, to Syria, Jerusalem and Egypt. Discover the truth — and crack the ancient code — behind the great mysteries of the High Middle Ages for yourself.

This is an epic of a book and it is only part 1 of 4. The first few pages are set in 1109, but most of the book is set in two timelines 1178-79  and a storyteller recounting the tale in 1191. It is never revealed who the storyteller is, but I have my own theory. However I’m sure we have to wait until part 4 to find that out. The main timeline follows 15 year old Paul Plantavalu in La Rochelle, France, his father Philip and their close Muslim friends Firgany Al Komati, son Taqi, daughter Alisha and sister Raja. Paul along with Taqi enrages his elder brother Stewart by spying on his Templar initiation ceremony.

Paul and Alisha fall in love. Their fathers are against this. The old man Niccolas gives Paul and Taqi scrolls of their destinies and future path choices. Firgany and family are due to return home to Mawsil and then both families will move to Alexandria next year where Philip and Raja will marry. Paul writes a poem for Alisha before his father sends him to collect a horse from Rochefort-sur-Terre. There he makes an enemy of Templar Seneschal Gerard de Ridefort and a new friend Rick who gives him a gift. When he returns home the next day, Firgany and family have already left.

On the boat back, Raja gets ill. So she remains at Castle Blanc in the Levant whilst Firgany and Taqi continue. Alisha accompanies them part way to collect some medicinal hemp, but they are ambushed. All survive due to the intervention of Abi Shadana. But sadly Raja dies in Alisha’s arms before Firgany and Taqi return. This causes a change in plan and they all return to La Rochelle to break the bad news.

Paul doesn’t see how he can continue to pursue his love for Alisha when his father has lost Raja. By the time he resolves his confusion, Alisha is so hurt that she rejects him. We’re not even half way through the book at this point, but I shall stop now, leaving you to wonder how Paul and Alisha will sort out their differences.

I could certainly imagine a film based on this, but I have to say I skimmed through sections of Bible references, symbols and other philosophies which I just found too deep. I still enjoyed the story though and marvelled at how much of it is based on fact. I was particularly fascinated by the idea of secrets being carved into cathedrals as they were built.

Outremer is available on Amazon, currently priced at £14.99 in paperback and is also available in hardback or kindle format. A challenging read but enjoyable.


Here is an extract from the book for you to read.

This scene is set at the ancient Dolmen site in the South of France at ‘Draguignan Pierre des feé’. The convoy Alisha was in stopped there for the night on their way to Freju. This is where she discovers for the first time her ability to heal. It is also where Theodoric makes his first proper appearance. Paul and Taqi hearing a commotion of villagers outside their caravan rushed to check.

“Clear off you, whoever you are this has no business of your like,” one of the male villagers shouted back.

“Taqi, what happens here?” Paul asked as he stood next to him.

“Tis not your problem boys…now be away with you,” the overweight lady stated still holding the broom high above her head.

Paul rapidly studied the situation. The crowd were clearly angry and hostile, the man on the floor bloodied, his face swollen already and both his eyes closed from bruising. As the man rolled onto his back, Paul saw a worn patch where a cross had once been sewn.

“This man has leprosy yet he denies it and drank from our mead barrels…” a tall muscled man stated and moved to kick the man again.

“No!” Paul shouted and without hesitation ran forwards and pushed the muscled man back hard nearly causing him to stumble but his colleagues behind him steadied him.

“Oh…look…we have a young hero here,” the muscled man mocked.

Paul immediately knelt down next to the man, supported him and lifted him so he could look at his face. Blood was oozing from his split lip and several cuts to his face, his eyes closed due to swelling and his forehead and hands were covered in blisters and scabs. He coughed as he tried to speak.

“Are you mad boy…he has leprosy,” someone at the back shouted.

Paul looked at the subdued area where a badge was once sewn,

“Rick, tis me…Paul” Paul whispered.

“The boy knows this leper,” the overweight woman shouted as the muscled man leant forward to grab Paul from behind.

“Touch him and you will regret it,” Taqi stated sternly.

The muscled man paused briefly to look at Taqi, grinned and then grabbed Paul and lifted him up hard to his feet. Quickly Paul turned to face him as the muscled man pulled his fist back to punch him. Suddenly the man’s face contorted in pain and he started to go backwards and to his knees. Paul looked ahead. Tenno was standing behind the muscled man using just one hand to squeeze the man’s right hand, Tenno’s gaze staring hard at all the villagers who watched amazed. The muscled man squirmed in agony and tried to twist away from Tenno, but Tenno did not move.

“Please…Please…please I beg of you…let go,” the muscled man pleaded in agony, sweat beading across his forehead. Tenno continued his stare at the crowd. The overweight woman lowered her broom and they all began to back away slowly.

Alisha appeared beside Tenno carrying the large two edged sword in her right hand wearing a bright blue shawl around her shoulders. She placed her left hand upon Tenno’s that was crushing the muscled man’s hand. Gently she squeezed her hand over Tenno’s, his hand huge in comparison. Tenno broke his stare at the group and released his grip instantly, the muscled man falling to the floor holding his hand with his left still in agony. Alisha then stepped forwards and walked slowly in front of the crowd looking at them all in turn one by one. She said nothing as she looked into each of their eyes. Several of them looked away or down in shame. After she had walked past the last person, her left hand over her tummy, her right hand holding the sword, she moved to face Paul. She outstretched her right arm and offered him the sword. Despite its size, the sword was remarkably light due to its unique manufacture and material construction. Seeing this, one woman crossed her heart and knelt down and began asking for forgiveness. Taqi just starred bemused at what he was seeing as several Hospitaller’s came and stood behind them. Sister Lucy edged her way next to him shaking her head surprised at Alisha’s obvious affect upon all present. Two more villagers knelt down and crossed their hearts. The muscled man looked up at Alisha still in pain. Paul took the sword.

“You forgot this…do not ever enter into trouble again without it,” she said softly.

“Who…who are you?” the muscled man asked in pain nervously looking behind him at Tenno still towering over him.

Paul tied the sword around his waist quickly and looked at the crowd as they all stared at Alisha. Taqi moved to help the elderly injured man on the floor. Paul likewise knelt to help lift the man whom he knew to be Rick. As they both lifted him to his feet, the muscled man stood up holding his hand in pain. Alisha walked over toward him slowly looking directly into his eyes. He backed away hesitantly as she drew nearer. Paul looked on concerned as he struggled to hold the weight of Rick who could hardly stand, his head hung down.

“Wh…what are you going to do?” the muscled man asked nervously as he moved backwards, tripped on the edge of the track and fell to his knee. Alisha walked up and stood immediately in front of him and stared into his hazel green eyes. He stared back and all stood in silence as Paul watched. Taqi shook his head he had no idea what she was doing as Sister Lucy edged her way nearer to her. As Alisha stared into his eyes, hers wide and her pupils large, she did not blink. After what seemed an age, the muscled mans bottom lip started to quiver and tears began to well in his eyes as he was flooded with emotions. He was still holding his right hand up with his left when Alisha moved to place her hand upon his. He flinched momentarily, but then saw the slight smile start on her face. Very softly she placed her hand over his injured fist. She tilted her head slightly as she looked deeper into his eyes. Sister Lucy shot a look back at Paul bemused as Tenno watched, his face still fierce. The muscled man let out a nervous laugh as the pain simply left his hand. He blinked amazed and smiled as tears fell from his eyes totally unashamedly. Several in the crowd fell to their knees and crossed their hearts. Taqi looked at Paul totally confused. The muscled man knelt down in front of Alisha grasped her hand with both of his and kissed her hand softly and cried. Alisha looked at the crowd of people. One of the Hospitaller’s knelt down followed by another, then another until everyone was kneeling. Paul looked at them all in surprise and then at Alisha.

“Paul,” Rick coughed painfully as he tried to speak.

“This man knows you?” Taqi quizzed as he struggled to hold him up.

Alisha turned to look at Paul and Taqi holding Rick. She let go of the muscled man’s hands and walked across to them. She looked at Rick’s swollen and bruised face and gently placed her hand upon his cheek. Immediately he coughed, stood up straighter and shook his head and took his own weight on his legs. His eyes were still closed swollen as he placed his hand upon Alisha’s hand still on his face.

“Blessed are you mother of our Lord,” Rick coughed out.

Instantly several more in the crowd crossed their hearts and whispered prayers.

“No, I am just Alisha,” she replied softly and looked sadly at the state of Rick’s face. Sister Lucy approached and gently pulled Alisha’s hand away from Rick’s face. “Do not worry, ‘tis not leprosy.”

The muscled man stood to his feet looking at his hands still amazed. He looked at Tenno who narrowed his eyes. ‘Sorry’ the man mouthed to him.

“Come, child…with me,” Sister Lucy said aloud and began to usher Alisha away.

Paul looked on concerned as Alisha seemed to be in some kind of trance almost he thought. He had never seen her like this and Taqi shook his head also bemused.


About the author

After strange and vivid experiences whilst living in Cyprus as a child, author D N Carter has been fascinated by the history, myths and legends of the Middle Ages and mankind’s past. As he got older travels to Pyramids of Giza in Egypt, the Languedoc region of France and the deserts of Arabia fuelled his enthusiasm. While not decoding maps and mathematical codes D N Carter enjoys adventure sports from parachuting to microlight flying. Today he divides his time between East Anglia in the UK and the south of France with his family.


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Outremer by D N Carter

 

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Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

The Expansion by Christoph Martin

I have received a free e-copy of the book The Expansion by Christoph Martin to review.

The Expansion by Christoph Martin

Here is the book blurb.

In politics and big business, truth is a matter of opinion.

Straddling the storyworlds of Panama, Washington and London, The Expansion follows British-born geomatic engineer Max Burns, whose revolutionary water-saving system wins him the esteemed position of head engineer for one of the 21st century’s most politically contested megaprojects: the expansion of the Panama Canal.

For Max it is a dream come true: not only is he able to work closely with construction giant and old high-school friend Godfredo Roco in one of the most beautiful tropical environments, but it’s the kind of job Max has been working toward his entire career.

Yet in the arena of global trade and diplomacy, stakes are high, and when a senior official of the Panama Canal Administration is found dead, Max finds himself in the frame for sabotage and murder, and at the center of a web of political intrigue and betrayal that reaches far beyond the idyllic shores of Central America. The only person Max can trust is his new-found love, Karis Deen, a scientist with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. Except Karis herself holds a secret that could not only destroy Max, but could change the entire balance of world power.

The book begins with a prologue back in 1993 when 16 year old Max’s father deliberately crashes the plane he and Max’s mother are flying when they face arrest. Max leaves his Swiss boarding school and comes back to England to live with his Uncle Alan on a London housing estate. He gradually loses contact with his best school friend Godfredo.

We move to 2008 and Max, now a geomatic engineer gets a chance to work on a team bidding for the Panama Canal expansion tender. Coincidences abound as it is Godfredo’s father Paco’s construction firm who want Max on board. However there is a catch. He has just signed a contact for a new job, working for his future father-in-law.

Next we meet Karis, a scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, who are worried about the environmental impact of the expansion project. But why is Karis lying?

There appears to be various intrigues going on trying to discover about other teams bidding proposals. Who is informing on who? And why are the Chinese not bidding?

Fast forward a couple of years and construction is under way. Intelligence is still keeping an eye on the project. Karis is back on the scene when someone gets murdered. Max is framed. By whom and why?

The Expansion is available on Amazon, currently priced at £9.99 in paperback and is also available in Kindle format. A great story which I highly recommend.


Here is an extract from the book for you to read.
Alan is the person closest to Max’s heart, and hearing his uncle’s words in this scene gives Max the green light to start living his life the way he wants to, even if it involves taking a huge risk …

“Would you be alright … if I go to Panama?”
“Me? Gawd! Never you mind about me.” Alan eyed Max as he chewed on a rasher of bacon. After a moment, he hit ‘mute’ on the remote. “So what’s holding you back, lad?”
Max stopped chewing. “Sarah. And her father. I don’t know how I’d face him.”
Alan was quiet, his large fingers enveloping his beer can.
Max looked at him. “I don’t want to be the guy who screws up everyone else’s life because he can’t face up to his responsibilities.”
Immediately, Alan planted his beer on the arm rest.
“Lad, if you’re talking about your father …” He leaned forward. “You’d do well to remember that your mother was no angel, neither. God rest her.”
“What do you mean?”
Perhaps his expression belied his surprise at his uncle’s words, because Alan continued, hurriedly: “Oh, don’t get me wrong: I agree with you. It was bloody irresponsible. I could’ve spit chips when he topped himself with that ruddy helicopter.” Alan’s eyes were blazing. “He well knew what he was doin’. He knew it, and he took our Helen with him.” His fist clenched tighter around his beer. “She may’ve been ashamed of me; of where she come from. But she was still my sister!”
Max felt the familiar ache of sorrow surfacing as he saw the blotches of red on his uncle’s cheeks.
He looked at his beans and toast. He wasn’t hungry any more.
Alan drew a deep breath. “Well, I was ready to blame everyone, wasn’t I? Especially those rich folks your parents hobnobbed around with. Doing deals and buying up businesses, and what-have-you.” He shook his head. “But then I come home after my shift one mornin’ and I see you snoring your head off on the chair right there, and I think to myself, ‘Alan, that lad is the best thing to ever happen to your sorry carcass.’ So if you’re asking me about screwing up other people’s lives …?” Alan sat back in his chair. “Ain’t no such thing.”
Max knew better than to hug his uncle.
“Thanks,” he said, fighting back a grin. “You’re not so bad yourself.”
But Alan had already raised the volume on the television, nodding his silent acknowledgement.


About the author

Christoph Martin is the writing team of Christoph Martin Zollinger and Libby O’Loghlin. Christoph Zollinger is a Swiss entrepreneur whose career spans legal, military, corporate and private enterprise. Christoph graduated with a law degree from the University of Zürich, after which time he went on to live and work in Panama in corporate and private enterprise for more than a decade. In 2012 he returned to Switzerland with his wife and children. He divides his time between his home in Zürich and a tiny Alpine village in Graubünden. Libby O’Loghlin is an Australian novelist and prize-winning short story writer who has a career in narrative media production, including film and television, as well as print and digital publishing. She has lived in the UK, USA and Malaysia, and she now lives with her family in Switzerland.


I’m participating in the blogtour. Do take time to browse round some of the other posts.

The Expansion by Christoph Martin

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Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

Somewhere in San Diego by Dennis Macaraeg

Regular readers of my blog may remember that last year I read and loved the book “Somewhere in the Shallow Sea” by Dennis Macaraeg. So I was really excited when Dennis asked me to review the sequel “Somewhere in San Diego”.

Somewhere in San Diego by Dennis Macaraeg

Here is the book blurb.

A thriller about best friends, scientific data, hired guns and a harrowing race with a past lover to stay alive. Marine biologist Danny Maglaya must meet with his best friend and fellow scientist Blake Mason to upload the data demanded as ransom by the kidnappers of Blake’s fiancée. The task might have been simple, but every time the two scientists try to rendezvous, two contract assassins show up. With Danny and Blake’s phones hacked and each move they make monitored, the only way to survive is to outwit the men wanting to eliminate them. With an ingenious but risky solution, Danny teams up with his ex-lover to piece together secrets that only she, Danny and Blake know. A series of perilous events follows as Danny and his old flame, Valerie, race through San Diego County, solving clues about Blake’s whereabouts and about their possible future together. Will their love for each other be the catalyst for success or will the bitter pain of their breakup be a recipe for disaster?

Different location but plenty of similarities to the first book, this time with two sets of bad guys after Rx-18 data on Danny’s thumb drive. Danny needs to rendezvous with his best friend Blake in order to upload the data to send to the kidnappers who have Blake’s fiancée Elizabeth hostage. Meanwhile Igor and Yuri chasing Danny are doing their utmost to shoot Danny and prevent the data being uploaded. Time is of the essence, as Elizabeth is being held in a tank of water which is rising 2 inches every hour.

Their phones are being monitored, so Blake comes up with a plan to involve Danny’s ex-girlfriend Valerie by getting her to take Danny to the place where she first told Elizabeth that she and Danny were dating. A cryptic clue but first they have to try to shake off their pursuers. And then they interpret the clue differently to Blake, so they try a different tack of involving Dr Adamson. Bad mistake, as they discover that Igor and Yuri are working for Dr Adamson.

How do Danny and Valerie feel being thrown together again and will they succeed? Another gripping story from Dennis Macaraeg.

Somewhere in San Diego is available on Amazon, currently priced at £8.79 in paperback or £2.33 in Kindle format. A fantastic read combining both thriller and a romantic interest. I loved it and highly recommend it. I’m certainly hoping Dennis will be writing a third book. To find out more about the author you may visit his website.

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Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.