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Daughter of a Thousand Years Gave Me My Thought-Provoking Viking Fix!

Out today (Feb. 21, 2017) is Daughter of a Thousand Years by Amalia Carosella! Check out the synopsis below and then stay to read my release day review! I really enjoyed this book!

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Daughter of a Thousand Years by Amalia Carosella

Publication Date: February 21, 2017
Lake Union Publishing
eBook & Paperback; 442 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction/Medieval Romance

Greenland, AD 1000

More than her fiery hair marks Freydís as the daughter of Erik the Red; her hot temper and fierce pride are as formidable as her Viking father’s. And so, too, is her devotion to the great god Thor, which puts her at odds with those in power—including her own brother, the zealous Leif Eriksson. Determined to forge her own path, she defies her family’s fury and clings to her dream of sailing away to live on her own terms, with or without the support of her husband.

New Hampshire, 2016

Like her Icelandic ancestors, history professor Emma Moretti is a passionate defender of Norse mythology. But in a small town steeped in traditional values, her cultural beliefs could jeopardize both her academic career and her congressman father’s reelection. Torn between public expectation and personal identity, family and faith, she must choose which to honor and which to abandon.

In a dramatic, sweeping dual narrative that spans a millennium, two women struggle against communities determined to silence them, but neither Freydís nor Emma intends to give up without a fight.

I loved Amalia’s former Helen of Sparta series and you’ll find reviews for those books and an inteview with Amalia on my site already. However, when I heard Amalia would be publishing a book featuring one of my top favorite topics, and I’m not shy about this one – VIKINGS – I was all in! I have to say that in looking forward to it so much when I actually found time to squeeze in reading it, I was captivated.

Amalia writes Daughter of a Thousand Years in dual time periods and with two female protagonists. Emma is in the modern age of 2016, the daughter of a politician and a Catholic, and Freydis, living a thousand years earlier, is a pagan, a Thor worshipper, and the daughter of the infamous Eric the Red.

I am not the type of editoral reviewer that rehashes plots, but in this book, Amalia explores religions of the different time periods and how the women, and their family structures, dealt with them. Emma has always been interested in Viking history, but as her family expects (in most ways) perfection, Emma finally finds the courage to be true to herself when she wishes to explore the pagan religion of Thor. As Catholics, of course, her parents aren’t pleased, so she’s brave to stand up for herself. Meanwhile, a thousand years earlier, Freydis struggles to stay true to her own pagan religion and family as the wave of Christianity and converstions begins in society. Of course, we’ve read or seen these themes before…well, I have since I seek out books like this out of interest, and of course, we’ve seen this juxtaposition in history between Viking pagans and English Christianity as the Vikings began their exploring (which is viewable even on the show “Vikings,” but for some reason, it’s not getting old yet. There are still stories to be told that speak to the bravery and courage of those who believe in their own spiritual depths, as well as those who choose to align with another. Isn’t this even a common theme in society today, that people need to understand each other, and religions, to make peace with each other? I think the dual storylines really showed the fact that this issue is still strong today.

I also thought that Amalia did a wonderful job of featuring two strong and fiesty women that have many similarities even if they lived so far removed. Of course, the history section was a favorite, as it’s my first love, and she has superb historical writing. There was more background and research, and as times were tougher, I think it only served that Freydis would be a bit more animated and have more to fight through in an actual action sort of way. But I thought she wrote Emma just as well for our time period, and growing up in the now, is quite different than then! She was strong in forging her own way, even if countries and treasures and survival didn’t depend on it. Possibly her family felt their careers depended on it, but really that is nothing to what they endured so long ago. Emma showed great fortitude in becoming her own original person and not fitting the mold, which does still take bravery, especially when it means stading up to one’s parents.

As always, Amalia’s writing is beautiful and captivating. Her dialogue and character development, which her books show she always has worked hard on, continue to improve. We can see the locations, feel the characters emotions, and cheer them on in our own ways. As I mentioned her settings and descriptions are wonderful to read. I do believe the historical lean that Amalia puts on her books, as opposed to strictly historical romance, make books like Daughter of a Thousand Years stand out.

If you like to be swept away in a good historical fiction read, and like memorable reads with strong female characters, this is a good book for you to dive into eyes first. Pick this up as one of your highlights of th first half of 2017. Fans of “Vikings” should like the themes in this book and get a more unique look at women of that time period. Contemporary readers may even find their foray into historical fiction. Highly recommend – I give it 4 stars in hopes that she keeps challenging her prose.

Purchase –

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About Amalia Carosella –

03_Amalia Carosella Author (1).jpgAmalia Carosella graduated from the University of North Dakota with a bachelors degree in Classical Studies and English. An avid reader and former bookseller, she writes about old heroes and older gods. She lives with her husband in upstate New York and dreams of the day she will own goats (and maybe even a horse, too). For more information, visit her blog at www.amaliacarosella.com.

She also writes myth-steeped fantasy and paranormal romance under the name Amalia Dillin. Learn more about her other works at www.amaliadillin.com.

You can connect with Amalia Carosella on FacebookTwitterGoodreads, and Google+. Sign up for her newsletter, The Amaliad, for news and updates.

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Review: The Loyalist Legacy by Elaine Cougler

Elaine Cougler has written a wonderful trilogy, The Loyalist Trilogy, and the third book, The Loyalist Legacy recently released just in time for the holidays. This trilogy follows the stories of a family over generations who are Ontario-area Canadian loyalists to the Crown during the time of the American Revolution. I’ve featured Elaine many times before: you can read a review of her first book, The Loyalist’s Wife, HERE, which beings the story of John and Lucy; you can read my review of her second book, The Loyalist’s Luck, HERE, which continues their war torn story in Niagara area; you can read an interview I did with Elaine after book two came out HERE. This can all give you a great idea about this exciting trilogy if you’d not yet read any of them. Here is the cover and synopsis for the third book, stay tuned below for my review!

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The Loyalist Legacy, Synopsis –

After the crushing end of the War of 1812, William and Catherine Garner find their allotted two hundred acres in Nissouri Township by following the Thames River into the wild heart of Upper Canada. On their valuable land straddling the river, dense forest, wild beasts, displaced Natives, and pesky neighbors daily challenge them. The political atmosphere laced with greed and corruption threatens to undermine all of the new settlers’ hopes and plans. William knows he cannot take his family back to Niagara but he longs to check on his parents from whom he has heard nothing for two years. Leaving Catherine and their children, he hurries back along the Governor’s Road toward the turn-off to Fort Erie, hoping to return home in time for spring planting. With spectacular scenes of settlers recovering from the wartime catastophes in early Ontario, Elaine Cougler shows a different kind of battle, one of ordinary people somehow finding the inner resources to shape new lives and a new country. The Loyalist Legacy delves further into the history of the Loyalists as they begin to disagree on how to deal with the injustices of the powerful “Family Compact” and on just how loyal to Britain they want to remain.

Review

The Loyalist Legacy, which as I noted is book three, continues on the story of the next generation – William, the son of John and Lucy Garner. William and Catherine Garner are the focus of this book (so you could conceivably start with this one and go back to book one for the back story). William and his family are living in Upper Canada after the brutality of the War of 1812. They haven’t heard from his family in two years and he’s grown increasingly concerned.

The story opens with Catherine in distress, much as A Loyalist’s Wife did many years ago with Lucy. William has left to head back to Niagara to check on his family. Catherine is left with their growing family, and work at home and in her husband’s absence, to attend to, while navigating the harsh wilds of the area and the strong political climate. It reminded me of Lucy in the first book as she was left straddling when John was away in the war. Elaine once again shines in giving the reader strong female characters and showing us the perils of many a woman at the time of such upheaval. Her women are always historical super heroes!

As well, on the other side of the coin, she constructs good male characters. I love her male characters, because though they always seem to need to leave their wives in her tales for certain reasons, they don’t like it. And when they are with their families, they are excellent family men. Life is hard and they do what they have to do, but overall, these men are compassionate, loving, and loyal to those they love. They are also fiercely wise. Those are important traits for men. I don’t think we often see men from this era being written with such empathy. They are usually pretty sterile or hated characters in history. I really love how Elaine gives us real people we can be connected to and be pulled toward – both male and female.

Once again, I love Elaine’s scenic details. I’ve learned so much about Niagara and Upper Canada during this time period from her work. I can easily visualize it from her descriptions and set a scene in my head. Being in the U.S., but just down from this area, it was really interesting to understand that much of what they were dealing with in regards to elements, war, Native Americans, etc. It’s so interesting from my perspective here in Ohio reading about how things were so similar for people in the part of the U.S. and Canada at this time, even if they had to fight for different sides. The ramifications of the war on families and cultures is evident no matter who’s side they identified on. I think Elaine’s book is so important as it’s one of few to really give us an inside glimpse at loyalists who lived Canada during the time they were made to fight in the war and the times following. I think we tend to skip over learning all of this here in America and just see all loyalists as British who came over from England to fight and then returned. Many were actually just normal pioneers and colonists as well. It’s a curious thing to actually be taught Canadian history and this series makes me want to delve into it even further.

I don’t like to give too much of the plot away in my reviews. If you’re a constant reader of my reviews you’ll notice that. I want you to enjoy the experience of all the plot points for yourself. But I will say that I do believe this is the BEST book by Elaine in this whole series. Her writing feels more free, and comfortable, in its own skin. It flows fuller and with more emotion. Her character development has more strength and her characters more complex – even John and Lucy as we’ve watched them grow over the years are more dimensional than ever. Her descriptions, as I stated previously, are nestled into all the right places and create such a visual dynamic that allow her characters to dance off the page.

After showing us the wages of war in book two, in The Loyalist’s Legacy she brings to us lives that are being pieced back together in a stymied and yet pivotal political climate that’s also ripe with change. The arrival of the “Family Compact” and this brotherhood’s opposition to democracy is explored in this book, as is the way it separated actual brothers and families in their loyalties and decisions. The meaning of the term loyalist comes into question as rebellion stirs just as new designations are being formed. Elaine explores the rebellion of 1837 which disseminated the Family Contract and the pursuit of establishing aristocracy but instead a mixed monarchy. Elaine shows how, in fact, families like those she portrays weren’t aristocracy, but people who lived off the land. We can better see through her portrayal, the alternate view of some of the situations. It was fascinating how such common people such as this family of farmers helped create such a lasting legacy on the futures of Canada, America, and Britain.

I applaud Elaine for putting together such a stellar set in The Loyalist Trilogy, and am so happy to report that The Loyalist Legacy does in fact end the trilogy in grand finale fashion. I am not ready for it to end though. As we learn so much about all of John and Lucy’s children, I wish for more stories of them as history unfolds. The Loyalist Legacy is a beacon in the historical world that shows us how common families can survive through not only the harsh climates they lived in and homesteading, but the political machinations too. I love that Elaine’s families remained first and foremost loyal and loving to each other, no matter if everything tried to tear them apart.

A beautifully written, immaculately researched, deeply descriptive novel full of heart and the true power of freedom – which only comes from within one’s own heart.  A great testament to Canadian history and to the life of the author’s ancestors.

I highly recommend!

the-loyalist-legacy_webPraise for Elaine Cougler and The Loyalist Trilogy of Books –

“….absolutely fascinating….Cougler doesn’t hold back on the gritty realities of what a couple might have gone through at this time, and gives a unique view of the Revolutionary War that many might never have considered.” – Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews.

“….an intriguing story” – A Bookish Affair

“I highly recommend this book for any student of history or anyone just looking for a wonderful story.” – Book Lovers Paradise

“Elaine’s storytelling is brave and bold.” – Oh, for the Hook of a Book

Purchase The Loyalist Legacy

BUY THE BOOK LINK –UK

BUY THE BOOK LINK –US

03_Elaine CouglerElaine Cougler, Biography

Elaine Cougler is the author of historical novels about the lives of settlers in the Thirteen Colonies who remained loyal to Britain during the American Revolution.

Cougler uses the backdrop of the conflict for page-turning fictional tales where the main characters face torn loyalties, danger and personal conflicts.

Her Loyalist trilogy: The Loyalist’s Wife, The Loyalist’s Luck and The Loyalist Legacy coming in 2016. The Inspire! Toronto International Book Fair selected The Loyalist’s Wife as a finalist in its Self-Publishing Awards. The Middlesex County Library selected the book as its choice for book club suggestions. The Writers Community of Durham Region presented Elaine with a Pay-It-Forward Award.

Elaine has led several writing workshops and has been called on to speak about the Loyalists to many groups. She writes the blog, On Becoming a Wordsmith, about the journey to publication and beyond. She lives in Woodstock with her husband. They have two grown children.

Elaine Cougler can be found on Twitter, Facebook Author Page, LinkedIn and on her blog.

VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR SCHEDULE for The Loyalist Legacy

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Interview: Seven Authors of A Song of War Raid My Home to Discuss Book

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Interview –

Yesterday, I reviewed A Song of War: A Novel of Troy, a continuity anthology by the H Team members of by Christian Cameron, Libbie Hawker, Kate Quinn, Vicky Alvear Shecter, Stephanie Thornton, SJA Turney, and Russell Whitfield. You can check out that review HERE. Each of these anthologies are penned by different acclaimed historical authors which makes up the H Team. The team members who collaborated on A Song of War did a fantastic job! I have the distinct pleasure of having an exclusive interview with all seven authors! I didn’t doubt they’d cause a raucous in my home either and I couldn’t have been more correct. A fun time had by all (but I promise they are professional writers NOT drunks). Enjoy!

Welcome members of the H Team authoring A Song of War! I don’t think I’ve ever had this many people invade my home and library before, but I’ve made sure to put out a spread of food as traditional as I could in honor of the book so we’ve got grapes and fruits, olives, cheese, and plenty of wine (I know at least that will make Kate and Stephanie happy!). How does that sound? Go ahead and pass the plates, I’ll pour the wine….

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Kate: Thanks! Much wine was drunk over the course of writing and editing this book, let me tell you. *passes krater of wine along to Libbie*

Simon: *Brandishes bottle of whisky* I always come prepared…

Vicky: I started a bit early. *hic* What are we talking about? 😉

Stephanie: It’s still afternoon where I am, but it’s always a good time for wine!

Christian: *reaches blearily for krater* Wine?  You guys were holding out on wine? What are we writing about, anyway?

We’ll have a party for the book and document our conversation and I’ll try to keep up since I’ve also never interviewed this many people at one time. The last time I did an H Team interview, you all came separately. Some of you have been here before and some of you know me pretty well, but a few of you’ve I’ve not met, and I’m sure my readers are as excited to hear from you as I am! I’m glad you’re all here to celebrate the release of your book. (We all cheer!!!!)

I’ll start out asking some broad questions and feel free to jump in on any questions you’d like to answer.

Erin: Troy is such an amazing piece of history that never ceases to ignite the imagination of readers to this day. Who chose the project theme? Why were each of you chosen for this particular continuational anthology?

Russ: Kate Quinn suggested Troy – I think her thinking was “we’ve done a day, then a year… what can we do for a decade?” She’s threatened us all with death if we suggest The Hundred Years War next, though! As to being chosen, I feel very honoured and privileged to have been invited to work with my literary heroes. I guess I was chosen to kind of lower the tone in the email chats?

Kate: Or was it Simon who first put Troy on the table? I remember he was dying to do something with Aeneas. As soon as the words “Trojan War” were spoken, we all pretty much caught fire. (I maintain my stance on the Hundred Years War, though. Anyone who suggests it gets a spatha in the kidneys.)

Simon: If I remember correctly half a dozen different ideas were bandied around in a single conversation following the release of “A Year of Ravens.” I seem to recall throwing out numerous suggestions, some of which were probably quite odd. I think Troy captured everyone’s imagination.

Stephanie: I loved both “A Day of Fire” and “A Year of Ravens” so I jumped at the chance to join the H Team this time around. I think I might have yelled in all caps at Kate when she asked me to join the group!

Christian:  I was brand new to the group and joined after the decision was made, but the idea of writing Troy is what got me into this mess.  Er, I mean book.

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Caption: Wiki/Triumphant Achilles dragging Hector’s lifeless body in front of the Gates of Troy. (From a panoramic fresco on the upper level of the main hall of the Achilleion)

Erin: Was it fun or challenging (or both) for each of you to write your own mini story while also tying it together with the rest of the stories? How did you best accomplish the flow?

Kate: After having done three of these things, the main trick to keeping things smooth has turned out to be lots of mapping in advance–we all knew exactly what section of the timeline we had to inhabit, and so the trick was just bringing our story to conclusion within that span. Interweaving our characters is the fun part. Sometimes we co-wrote scenes together–for the bit in my story where Odysseus chats up Hellenus, Vicky wrote her hero’s lines and I wrote mine, and the whole exchange turned out very differently than I expected!

Russ: Kate is a smart lady – the whole thing ran like clockwork. I had the following story (cos Chris Cameron writes like The Flash) and wrote around what Chris had set up. The funny thing was that the bits that I included were edited out: I was running with a scene from Agamemnon’s point of view that he had written from Briseis’s – but that never made it to the final edit. So the whole degradation of Achilles’s bride was actually Chris’s idea that I was riffing on. Full disclosure!

Libbie: It was very challenging for me, because this is the first time I’ve done a collaboration with any other authors. Collaborating with six others at the same time was not the way I expected to enter the world of co-writing, but I’m glad I did it! It was interesting to see how everybody exchanged ideas about our characters, and how all my co-authors interpreted the events. Fortunately, I feel like we all worked together really well.

Simon: Kate is so practised and skilled at binding it all together now that I am quite in awe. I just picked up a tale I loved and wrote it, then followed guidelines from cleverer people than me. Mind you, I wrote my tale last and had the benefit of having read several of the others first, so I could integrate bits and pieces into my story from others.

Vicky: We’re all professionals, so we can get pretty serious, but working on these projects ends up feeling like a raucous playdate–a fun, irreverent, energizing, creative play date! As always, I’m excited and honored to be invited to play with such masters!

Stephanie: I had so much fun including everyone’s characters in my section. I had the good fortune of being able to piggy-back off Kate’s story, so she’d already introduced many of the key players. It felt like a puzzle to me, trying to figure out how to give everyone’s narrators as much face time as possible.

Christian:  Kate is quite brilliant at this thing. And, luckily, I started writing with my father, years ago, and exactly in this format; write, polish, add, write, polish, add. So it wasn’t all that alien. And I have another side-project with Simon (tries to see what kline Simon is lying on) and so…

Erin: How do you feel you accurately presented this time period – one which is always up for all sorts of interpretations and many people feel might not have existed? How did you each do your research?

Russ: Chris is an expert on all things Ancient Greece – he was the go-to source and we all bought the same illustrated book (by Peter Connolly) at his suggestion. In this way, the costumes and kit were all consistent. Our other bible was “The Trojan War: A New History” by Barry Strauss (or Bazzer as he was known in our email chats… (“Bazzer has it that they stopped here for x-days.”).  And I’ll lay money that everyone had the “Troy” soundtrack on at some stage or another–

Kate: Yup.

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Russ: One of the fun things we did at the outset was stunt-cast the “movie of the book.” It really worked well, cos once we’d chosen what person to “play” our character, we then knew what they looked like so the descriptions of them were consistent. And because I had Chryseis in my story, I could look at loads of pictures of Kelly Brook and legitimately claim it was research. #winning!

Libbie: Chris was a life-saver for me. I knew almost nothing about ancient Greece going into this. Ancient Egypt is my area of specialty, and I’ve dabbled in some other ancient cultures, too, but so far not Greece. I would have made a total fool of myself without Chris’s guidance, and the suggestions and fact-checking of Kate Quinn and Stephanie Thornton, too!

Simon: As they said, Christian Cameron is the man to ask when you have a question on this era. I was quite stunned at some of the amazing little historical tidbits he came out with. I was able to follow my main source text (Virgil’s Aeneid) quite closely, complementing it with detail from some excellent scholarly works I was recommended.

Vicky: I tried not to panic about writing Odysseus, since so many people “know” him. Some of my research showed that Odysseus was sometimes reviled and belittled for his trickery, as it was less ennobling than being a champion with the sword. His wily ways eventually earned him respect but I was able to see some ambivalence about him in the Iliad. In almost all situations, he was paired with golden Diomedes, which also gave me some new ideas.

Stephanie: This was a new era for me too. I’ve written about Alexander’s Greece, but found very early on that things were quite different several centuries in. I will say that this story had me doing some of my strangest research to date, including finding the best way to preserve human eyeballs. I decided to skip the hands-on research for that tidbit, and restrict myself to Google.

Christian: Wow. All flattery gratefully appreciated. That said, I had been preparing for a whole set of novels on this period and then dropped the idea … complex reasons, never mind.  But it meant I had already done some good research. To me, the interesting part was working with the group to make the compromises–and that’s not a dirty word–the compromises between what (little) we know of Mycenaean Greece, and what we see in the Iliad (which is often about 8th and 7th c. BCE iron age Greece) and even our own small-r romantic expectations about the Iliad. We had to get all that right; it was world creation, like writing a fantasy novel, as well as research and authenticity. I think we all enjoyed it.

Kate: Yup.

Erin: What did each of you hope your characters would invoke in readers about the time period? Which were your favorites – in your own story or in other stories? Why?

Russ: Well – I can’t call anyone out because everyone did a brilliant job. I thought that Si’s characterisation of Aeneas was ace – I loved the idea of making him a bit of a prig, but each of the writers did an amazing job as I say. For my part I just hoped that people would understand why Agamemnon is the way he is. He’s never going to be a nice man, but I hoped readers would at least understand why he’s so horrid. It was hard at first but the more I wrote him the more I understood him. At the end of it, I wanted to assassinate Achilles myself! He’s a pain in the ass!

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Caption: Wiki / Aeneas tells Dido about the fall of Troy, by Pierre-Narcisse Guérin

Stephanie: I thought Russ’s take on Agamemnon was beyond impressive. I’ve always seen Agamemnon as a villain, but Russ actually made me feel bad for the guy!

Libbie: I loved Philoctetes in my own story. He’s gruff on the outside but he’s a big, melty, gooey guy in love on the inside. And I’ve always been a sucker for the tragic, unrequited love storyline. It’s just about impossible to pick a favorite in the other stories. I was blown away, reading the final stories, to see how beautifully each author rendered their characters. The surprise of sympathizing with Agamemnon was a big one for me. And some of the creepy twists Stephanie put into Cassandra’s scenes gave me literal chills, so my hat’s off to her!

Simon: I hoped (and still do) that Aeneas brought out a sense of sorrow in the reader, but also of hope. That is what his tale is. A mix of sorrow and hope.

Vicky: I’ve always loved Odysseus and writing him only helped deepen my affection for the trickster. However, I also ended up having a tremendous amount of empathy for Cassandra, Briseis, Philoctetes, and (to my amazement) even Agamemnon. Really, I thought every story’s main character was brilliant.

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Caption: Wiki / Head of Odysseus from a Roman period Hellenistic marble group representing Odysseus blinding Polyphemus, found at the villa of Tiberius at Sperlonga

Kate: I love Vicky’s Odysseus. He has more cameos throughout all the stories than any other character, and the page just comes to life every time he strolls onstage, I thought. And Chris’ Achilles was truly weird in the best sense of the word: part man, part god, petulant and heroic and cruel and kind. Sometimes all at the same time!

Christian: I loved Aeneas and I thought Russ’s Agamemnon was brilliant; I thought Cassandra was such a good character that I considered fudging my plot line to get her into my story. I loved Odysseus but I’m biased; to me he’s the best character anyway. As for my own stuff, I really wanted to emphasize, as an expert ‘battle and war writer,’ what a crappy life women would have had in the Iliad mythos. Too often, I think ‘Boy’s Own’ genre stuff absolutely ignores the sheer scale of refugees, ruined lives, and haunted, broken people that war leaves. I thought it would be … different to dwell on all that.  And still write a good fight scene!

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Caption: Representation of Trojan Horse / Original image by Tetraktyas
*See attribution terms at bottom of post*

Erin: What kinds of lessons can we call learn today as people, and/or our governments, from the stories of Troy and Greece? Do you believe myths can be reality or be examples for reality?

Russ: I’m nowhere near smart enough to answer that one and if I try I’m just going to show myself up because everyone else will be really erudite. I’m essentially the fart-joke guy of the H Team.

Libbie: Every team needs a fart-joke guy to keep the rest of its members from taking everything too seriously. We couldn’t have done it without you, Russ. Whenever I write ancient historical fiction, I just hope my readers pause and consider how similar the characters’ basic feelings and goals are to the way we think and feel today. We’ve been the same humans for all of our vast history. Our behavior hasn’t changed much, which can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on the context. I think we can learn from the story of the Trojan war that drawn-out conflicts have serious consequences for everybody involved. And every myth, every story, is built on some kind of truth…something that’s important to us as people.

Stephanie: There are definitely lessons to be found, but I certainly hope some of those Greek myths aren’t examples for reality! Otherwise we’ll have a lot of girls being turned into trees and such.

Simon: *Folds arms and grumbles in the corner, because he thought he was the Fart Joke guy*

Vicky: The fart joke guys are the best. But Kate’s “sex commando” asides are hysterical too.

Christian:  Clearly no one thinks I’m the fart joke guy. Whatever. Human conflict is incredibly messy, like all the other things humans do — love, art, farming, sieges… what little we know from recent scholarship about Troy suggest superpower politics between the Hittites and their Syrian and Egyptian rivals were influenced by upstart Mycenaean and that Troy may have been a focal point for a nasty little surrogate war with slave taking and roving criminal gangs aiming at destabilizing the governments of the Mediterranean littoral. Like, modern Syria. Or do we just see it that way? A little study of historiography suggests that we are almost unable to avoid projecting our own lives on the past…. Damn. A fart joke would have been funnier. And wait, didn’t I coin commando sex raid? Kate?

Kate: You did! Russ is the fart joke guy, Chris is the Commando Sex Raid guy, and Si is the guy flying a model TIE fighter past the camera during Skyped plotting sessions . . . As you see, Erin, we’re a very serious bunch.

Erin: How did you all accomplish writing this collection together so seamlessly? What was the process like?

Russ: Kate’s a brilliant editor and Steph was continuity checking – they’re epic and it’s down to them that the whole thing reads the way it does. I can’t thank them enough. Kate is especially brilliant when she suggests changing a word here or there that just elevates my writing. Basically, if you read the Agamemnon story and come to a turn of phrase and think “that’s really good” the Hand of Quinn will have touched it.

Libbie: Being new to all of this, I just kept my mouth shut, did what the more experienced authors needed me to do, and turned in my piece by the deadline!

Simon: With Kate at the helm it’s just a case of writing a good story and then listening to what she tells you to do. That’s my opinion, anyway. I would be utterly lost in how to tie it all together, but having seen her do it twice now, I’m fairly sure she could take any seven pieces of writing and integrate them seamlessly.

Vicky: Yes, Kate is a true genius and a brilliant writer. She wins the MVP award for pulling us all together to make this work. She certainly held my hand more than once (Libbie too) as I struggled with Odysseus’s arc. She made terrific suggestions throughout the writing process.

Stephanie: Yep, it’s all about Kate. She went in and worked her magic, plus everyone edited at least a couple stories, which was invaluable.

Kate: Aww, you’re all such sweet-talkers. But they’re being way too complimentary. Editing a collaboration like this is time-consuming (that’s always my job because I have zero skills to offer in terms of formatting or banking or online wizardry) but it’s not difficult when all the writers on the team are SO good. With a group like this, there was literally no problem we could not crowd-source a solution to. If one of us didn’t know whether pines were indigenous to Sparta or how to preserve a human eyeball in a jar, you can bet that among the other six of us, someone would have the answer.  

Christian: Kate’s brilliant.  

Erin: Some of you have written in these before, but do you all feel it’s something you’d love to do again? What other ideas have or can each of you come up that you think would make good collections?

Russ: I’m honoured to have been invited to do this again. If I’m asked next time, I’d do it in a shot.

Libbie: I’d love to do it again, now that I understand how it all comes together. We have kicked around a few ideas for some potential future H-Team projects, but I don’t think we’ve settled on anything yet.

Kate: The gods only know what we’ll do next, or who will be involved–the lineup of authors tends to rotate depending on who’s got room in the deadline schedule and who doesn’t–but this is too much fun to quit now!

Simon: I have a taut writing schedule, but if there’s space in it to work with the H team and they’ll have me, I will always take part. My ideas are almost entirely Roman-o-centric, but then, with two millennia of Roman history to play with, there’s plenty of stories to cover.

Vicky: Would I love to do this again? Ummm. YAS. Please.

Stephanie: I’d bribe each of these writers with all the ice cream cake they can eat for a year if they’d have me again!

Christian:  I have five books to write this year.  And I really only do periods I love and understand… but… really, I’d love to do it again. Of course, they have to ask me, too. Heck, maybe I’ll learn a fart joke.

Erin: If you all could travel to Greece together, what places would each one of you plot on the itinerary?

Libbie: I would love to see the caves at Delphi! That has always been on my “to visit someday” list.

Russ: The pub, because I have to think of things like that while the others are off doing the Parthenon and Thermopylae and all that authory historical stuff.

Kate: I’d like to see the actual ruins of Troy, after poring over so many archaeological sketches. Then probably join Russ in that pub for a cold one.

Simon: I’ve done much of what I’d want to see in Greece, but I would love to spend time everywhere again and again. In particular, Actium, Corinth, Mistra, and Thessalonica for me.

Vicky: I’ve never been to Greece so I would want to see EVERYTHING. Also, I’d be that annoying person that would go all “verklempt” at every site and museum.

Stephanie: I love Greece! I haven’t been to Delphi yet, so I’ll definitely tag along with Libbie for that one!

Christian: I take a tour to Greece almost every year, called Pen and Sword. We go to Delphi… hey, everyone, it’s a blast! We have a bus as nice as a land yacht and we’re in charge! Crusader castles, wineries, superb temples… seriously… y’all should come. Yes, I go to Greece almost every year and sometimes twice… I adore Greece, both past and present. This year we’ll go to the Macedonian royal tombs, which I haven’t seen yet…

ancient-greece-1

Caption: Delphi

Erin: Let’s eat, drink, and be merry. I won’t put each of you in the hot seat anymore. And besides there might be a giant wooden horse at the door I have to attend to…..

Thanks so much to all of you for writing an amazing anthology and for hanging out with me today to discuss it. Best wishes for you all on this book and all your own personal works as well. Come back anytime!

Russ: Thanks, Erin – you’re a wonderful host 🙂

Libbie: Thanks for having us!

Kate: *raises glass in salute of our hostess*

Simon: *Grins over shot glass*

Vicky: *downs shot and raises the glass in your honor* Thanks, Erin!

Stephanie: *passes a piece of ice cream cake* Thanks so much for having us!

Christian: *leans over to kiss Kate* Oh best of editors, let me sing your praises. *realizes he’s drunk too much.* Simon, can you drive?

02_a-song-of-warA Song of War: A Novel of Troy

by Christian Cameron, Libbie Hawker, Kate Quinn, Vicky Alvear Shecter, Stephanie Thornton, SJA Turney, and Russell Whitfield
Foreward by Glyn Iliffe

Publication Date: October 18, 2016
Knight Media, LLC
eBook & Paperback; 483 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction/Ancient History/Anthology

Troy: city of gold, gatekeeper of the east, haven of the god-born and the lucky, a city destined to last a thousand years. But the Fates have other plans—the Fates, and a woman named Helen. In the shadow of Troy’s gates, all must be reborn in the greatest war of the ancient world: slaves and queens, heroes and cowards, seers and kings . . . and these are their stories.

A young princess and an embittered prince join forces to prevent a fatal elopement.

A tormented seeress challenges the gods themselves to save her city from the impending disaster.

A tragedy-haunted king battles private demons and envious rivals as the siege grinds on.

A captured slave girl seizes the reins of her future as two mighty heroes meet in an epic duel.

A grizzled archer and a desperate Amazon risk their lives to avenge their dead.

A trickster conceives the greatest trick of all.

A goddess’ son battles to save the spirit of Troy even as the walls are breached in fire and blood.

Seven authors bring to life the epic tale of the Trojan War: its heroes, its villains, its survivors, its dead. Who will lie forgotten in the embers, and who will rise to shape the bloody dawn of a new age?

Amazon | Amazon UK | Kobo

About the Authors

CHRISTIAN CAMERON was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1962. He grew up in Rockport, Massachusetts, Iowa City, Iowa,Christian Cameron and Rochester, New York, where he attended McQuaid Jesuit High School and later graduated from the University of Rochester with a degree in history.

After the longest undergraduate degree on record (1980-87), he joined the United States Navy, where he served as an intelligence officer and as a backseater in S-3 Vikings in the First Gulf War, in Somalia, and elsewhere. After a dozen years of service, he became a full time writer in 2000. He lives in Toronto (that’s Ontario, in Canada) with his wife Sarah and their daughter Beatrice, currently age four. And a half.

LIBBIE HAWKER was born in Rexburg, Idaho and divided her childhood between Eastern Idaho’s rural environs and the greater Seattle area. She presently lives in Seattle, but has also been a resident of Salt Lake City, Utah; Bellingham, Washington; and Tacoma, Washington. She loves to write about character and place, and is inspired by the bleak natural beauty of the Rocky Mountain region and by the fascinating history of the Puget Sound.

After three years of trying to break into the publishing industry with her various books under two different pen names, Libbie finally turned her back on the mainstream publishing industry and embraced independent publishing. She now writes her self-published fiction full-time, and enjoys the fact that the writing career she always dreamed of having is fully under her own control.

KATE QUINN is a native of southern California. She attended Boston University, where she earned a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Classical Voice. A lifelong history buff, she has written four novels in the Empress of Rome Saga, and two books in the Italian Renaissance detailing the early years of the infamous Borgia clan. All have been translated into multiple languages.

Kate has succumbed to the blogging bug, and keeps a blog filled with trivia, pet peeves, and interesting facts about historical fiction. She and her husband now live in Maryland with two black dogs named Caesar and Calpurnia, and her interests include opera, action movies, cooking, and the Boston Red Sox.

VICKY ALVEAR SHECTER is the author of the young adult novel, Cleopatra’s Moon (Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic, 2011), based on the life of Cleopatra’s only daughter. She is also the author of two award-winning biographies for kids on Alexander the Great and Cleopatra. She is a docent at the Michael C. Carlos Museum of Antiquities at Emory University in Atlanta. The LA Times calls Cleopatra’s Moon, “magical” and “impressive.” Publisher’s Weekly said it was “fascinating” and “highly memorable.” The Wall Street Journal called it “absorbing.”

STEPHANIE THORNTON is a writer and history teacher who has been obsessed with infamous women from ancient history since she was twelve. She lives with her husband and daughter in Alaska, where she is at work on her next novel.

Her novels, The Secret History: A Novel of Empress Theodora, Daughter of the Gods: A Novel of Ancient Egypt, The Tiger Queens: The Women of Genghis Khan, and The Conqueror’s Wife: A Novel of Alexander the Great, tell the stories of history’s forgotten women.

SJA TURNEY lives with his wife, son and daughter, and two (close approximations of) dogs in rural North Yorkshire.

Marius’ Mules was his first full length novel. Being a fan of Roman history, SJA decided to combine his love of writing and love of the classical world. Marius’ Mules was followed two years later by Interregnum – an attempt to create a new fantasy story still with a heavy flavour of Rome.

These have been followed by numerous sequels, with three books in the fantasy ‘Tales of the Empire’ series and five in the bestselling ‘Marius’ Mules’ one. 2013 has seen the first book in a 15th century trilogy – ‘The Thief’s Tale’ – and will also witness several side projects seeing the light of day.

RUSSELL WHITFIELD was born in Shepherds Bush in 1971. An only child, he was raised in Hounslow, West London, but has since escaped to Ham in Surrey.

Gladiatrix was Russ’s first novel, published in 2008 by Myrmidon Books. The sequel, Roma Victrix, continues the adventures Lysandra, the Spartan gladiatrix, and a third book, Imperatrix, sees Lysandra stepping out of the arena and onto the field of battle.

Giveaway

To win a paperback copy of A Song of War: A Novel of Troy by the H Team, please enter below:

ENTER GIVEAWAY

Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on November 12th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US & Canada residents 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.

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Hashtags: # ASongofWarBlogTour #HTeam #Historical #Fiction #HistFic

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*Attribution for Trojan Horse art: Based on Wikipedia content that has been reviewed, edited, and republished. Original image by Tetraktyas. Uploaded by , published on 14 May 2013 under the following license: Creative Commons: Attribution-ShareAlike. This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work even for commercial reasons, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms.

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Review: A Song of War is Excellent Epic Collaboration of Troy

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Review –

One of my favorite historical and mythical places to read, watch, and learn about is Troy. Of course, I was quite pleased when the H Team collection of stellar historical authors, several of whom are already some of my favorite authors, decided to make it their focus for their next continuity anthology called A Song of War: A Novel of Troy! It’s quite a large book so I was happy I had the time to read and savor each section over a few months. Different than many anthologies, except the other great ones by the H Team, it takes a time period and place with each author identifying with a person and featuring them with similar supporting characters. The book as a whole then intertwines all the stories, even with the authors showcasing snippets of a previous author’s character in the interactions with their character, and creates a whole over arching view, which in this collection spans over a decade. To me, it’s clever and such an interesting way to read a story.

We generally know about the Trojan War and don’t always realize the entire story of the Iliad’s cast of characters. This book allowed them to be expanded on and shone in various ways that me, and maybe other readers, might not have ever thought of before.

I really enjoyed how when Kate Quinn started off the series, she was able to set it up to show us that many different types of cultures and people lived in Troy and interacted together. She showed us that there was some prejudices toward people based on skin color and I felt it was a good mirror for the current issues that lie today in the U.S., in which some don’t want to accept our melting pot.She also was able to write Helen of Troy as the strong willed, if not a little jilted, woman I had come to love myself, gaining some momentum in her section as far as character development by juxtaposing Helen’s personality and relationship situation against that of  Andromache, who is clever and witty. I did see Helen as somewhat more settled or resigned in her situation with her husband, King Menelaus, than I normally thought her to be, but it worked with Kate’s story. I loved her characterization of Andromache especially – I found her inquisitive, funny, and smart. The various discussions and thoughts between the other characters in each section of her portion were intriguing and made me very interested to read the rest of the stories. She has, as always, a knack for dialogue and humor.

Stephanie Thornton’s second song, or story, featured Cassandra, the biracial twin of Hellenus. Her careful display of Hellenus, and her frustrations, are touching and poignant. Exploring the dark regions of her character’s mind invoked me into the inner realm of Troy; the part that lies within these characters who are experiencing such turmoil and confusion. Her steady pace and intuitive prose was like a drum beat of war, pacing the tension as the book started to deeply unfold. As Kate introduced the concept that people in Troy where of all mingling races, Stephanie extends that as well into her story, allowing these two stories to complement each other so very well and get the book off to an outstanding start in its first 100 pages. Of course Stephanie is a beautiful writer, amazingly descriptive and she really sets the scenes before our eyes.

Each of the authors brought a specific need and voice to the body of work. Russell Whitfield is an author I didn’t really know previously, but he’s certainly caught my eye. His writing style is somewhat different, maybe it’s the sentence structure, but it created a flow for me while I read and a desire to know, to understand, and to empathize with his characters. It’s not easy being the author who has to write about a character like Agamemnon, that generally most people don’t like and that history has showcased as being a harsh commander of war (AKA King of Argos). But Russell writes with compassion, with feeling, and with a depth and talent. He gives to us the story of a man who really hasn’t been able to tell his story yet, and he accomplished it very well.

Christian Cameron is another author I had heard of, but never read. He writes in a more old-fashioned style, which is quite fine, it’s just that he gets to his point with precision and doesn’t embellish. I tend to like a little more breathing room within my sentences. He wrote the story of a female character, Briseis, which is actually one of my personal favorite characters. She was a slave to Agamenmon. I am not sure, since I haven’t read him previously, if he would normally write a woman with a more matter-of-fact personality, or this is just what he planned for Briseis, but either way, he gave her a different persona than what I had in my head previously. It took a minute to get used to it, but I can value his style and perceptions. He is excellent in terms of action writing and has a great style for war and military action. He presented Achilles rather well I’d say. I would have preferred he’d softened Briseis and his dialogue to a degree, but his story fit in nicely with all the rest and helped to complete the package and fit more pieces of the puzzle together.

Libbie Hawker is one of those authors that I know of her work but have not had the time yet to read so I didn’t know what  to expect. Her story focused mainly on Philoctetes, who comes to Troy without the war baggage of the rest of the stories. He pines for Achilles and feels this loss, just as he also carried the weight of the word “hero” on his shoulders. He possesses Heracles bow, and with it, to many, power. It was wonderful to see Libbie write this tale of a gay man with such emotion and delicacy, letting us see his inner strength of mind and purpose. I love the interaction between Achilles and Philoctetes once they meet up again – their friendship and understanding was touching. Achilles has war fatigue which was evident and the hope that Philoctetes reverberated, his intent to save him after receiving an omen, is striking. She seemed to hone home about them being ordinary men, which I suppose we could think historically they were, but as a person who really loves the mythology of it all, it did set me back a bit. However, I suppose that is what makes you think. The final battles between characters at the end of her story – I don’t want to give any spoilers – were tragic and swift and left me somewhat in tears. I enjoyed her story overall and we still get wonderful glimpses and nuggets of the other characters from throughout the book.

Vicky Alvear Shecter writes the second to the last story of Odysseus. It’s a short piece but one that’s needed as she shows a war torn Troy- a place in need of this war to end. Her ingenuity in her interpretation and re-telling of the legend of the Trojan Horse was astoundingly good and I would have never seen it coming. I’m already a huge fan of Vicky and as always her characterization is excellent and her writing good, but it’s her idea and take on this old myth that left me speechless. She’s stellar in the way that she can tell a story in less pages than most and have as much or more impact as the others. I loved how she tied up quickly lots of scenes within the other stories, as well as tightened the overall arc, before setting it up in priceless fashion and letting the reader head into the final story by SJA Turney.

SJA is another writer again that I’ve not read (even though I should as he writes Roman novels), but to be given the task of writing the last story in the book, I knew he had to be trusted enough to be able to pull it all together in a way that would give the book a lasting legacy. Now, after reading his story of Aeneas, I can see why he had to write this last song or story. To allow us a glimpse into this finale of Troy. In a quick lesson, Aeneas was a character of Homer (related to some of the other characters in  A Song of War) that migrates from there to Italy and ties in as an ancestor of Rome by the time Virgil takes over for Homer. It’s in this way that Aeneas is so important to the everything. SJA writes this last story so phenomenally well; with grace and emotion, with fortitude to write something so dire and sad, and with eloquence and emotion. I am a new fan of SJA and will be seeking out his other works. I really loved his writing style. In wrapping up A Song of War, he really did an amazing job of pulling all the strings together and leaving us with closure and hope.

Overall, this epic story of Troy was a huge undertaking by this group of authors that surpassed my expectations. I could tell not only did they each write a story, but they worked with each other on all the stories to make sure characters lined up as far as plot and personality, calling on each other’s strengths, and really made it all look rather seamless so that it appeared almost if they wrote a novel together instead of separate stories.

A Song of War is one of the best books you’ll ever find to read surrounding Troy, and if you love Homer’s Iliad, you’ll certainly want to take a closer look at all the characters you love and hate by reading this collection. Love, greed, war, myth, humanity, passion, sacrifice, jealously, intrigue – A Song of War has it all. College English and history classes won’t be teaching only the Iliad anymore, they’ll be reaching for A Song a War to accompany it. It was a pleasure to read and is the perfect book for any history or myth lover and well worth investing in this bookshelf keepsake. It’s one to be read more than once to really appreciate its depth.

02_a-song-of-warA Song of War: A Novel of Troy

by Christian Cameron, Libbie Hawker, Kate Quinn, Vicky Alvear Shecter, Stephanie Thornton, SJA Turney, and Russell Whitfield
Foreward by Glyn Iliffe

Publication Date: October 18, 2016
Knight Media, LLC
eBook & Paperback; 483 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction/Ancient History/Anthology

Troy: city of gold, gatekeeper of the east, haven of the god-born and the lucky, a city destined to last a thousand years. But the Fates have other plans—the Fates, and a woman named Helen. In the shadow of Troy’s gates, all must be reborn in the greatest war of the ancient world: slaves and queens, heroes and cowards, seers and kings . . . and these are their stories.

A young princess and an embittered prince join forces to prevent a fatal elopement.

A tormented seeress challenges the gods themselves to save her city from the impending disaster.

A tragedy-haunted king battles private demons and envious rivals as the siege grinds on.

A captured slave girl seizes the reins of her future as two mighty heroes meet in an epic duel.

A grizzled archer and a desperate Amazon risk their lives to avenge their dead.

A trickster conceives the greatest trick of all.

A goddess’ son battles to save the spirit of Troy even as the walls are breached in fire and blood.

Seven authors bring to life the epic tale of the Trojan War: its heroes, its villains, its survivors, its dead. Who will lie forgotten in the embers, and who will rise to shape the bloody dawn of a new age?

Amazon | Amazon UK | Kobo

About the Authors

CHRISTIAN CAMERON was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1962. He grew up in Rockport, Massachusetts, Iowa City, Iowa,Christian Cameron and Rochester, New York, where he attended McQuaid Jesuit High School and later graduated from the University of Rochester with a degree in history.

After the longest undergraduate degree on record (1980-87), he joined the United States Navy, where he served as an intelligence officer and as a backseater in S-3 Vikings in the First Gulf War, in Somalia, and elsewhere. After a dozen years of service, he became a full time writer in 2000. He lives in Toronto (that’s Ontario, in Canada) with his wife Sarah and their daughter Beatrice, currently age four. And a half.

LIBBIE HAWKER was born in Rexburg, Idaho and divided her childhood between Eastern Idaho’s rural environs and the greater Seattle area. She presently lives in Seattle, but has also been a resident of Salt Lake City, Utah; Bellingham, Washington; and Tacoma, Washington. She loves to write about character and place, and is inspired by the bleak natural beauty of the Rocky Mountain region and by the fascinating history of the Puget Sound.

After three years of trying to break into the publishing industry with her various books under two different pen names, Libbie finally turned her back on the mainstream publishing industry and embraced independent publishing. She now writes her self-published fiction full-time, and enjoys the fact that the writing career she always dreamed of having is fully under her own control.

KATE QUINN is a native of southern California. She attended Boston University, where she earned a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Classical Voice. A lifelong history buff, she has written four novels in the Empress of Rome Saga, and two books in the Italian Renaissance detailing the early years of the infamous Borgia clan. All have been translated into multiple languages.

Kate has succumbed to the blogging bug, and keeps a blog filled with trivia, pet peeves, and interesting facts about historical fiction. She and her husband now live in Maryland with two black dogs named Caesar and Calpurnia, and her interests include opera, action movies, cooking, and the Boston Red Sox.

VICKY ALVEAR SHECTER is the author of the young adult novel, Cleopatra’s Moon (Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic, 2011), based on the life of Cleopatra’s only daughter. She is also the author of two award-winning biographies for kids on Alexander the Great and Cleopatra. She is a docent at the Michael C. Carlos Museum of Antiquities at Emory University in Atlanta. The LA Times calls Cleopatra’s Moon, “magical” and “impressive.” Publisher’s Weekly said it was “fascinating” and “highly memorable.” The Wall Street Journal called it “absorbing.”

STEPHANIE THORNTON is a writer and history teacher who has been obsessed with infamous women from ancient history since she was twelve. She lives with her husband and daughter in Alaska, where she is at work on her next novel.

Her novels, The Secret History: A Novel of Empress Theodora, Daughter of the Gods: A Novel of Ancient Egypt, The Tiger Queens: The Women of Genghis Khan, and The Conqueror’s Wife: A Novel of Alexander the Great, tell the stories of history’s forgotten women.

SJA TURNEY lives with his wife, son and daughter, and two (close approximations of) dogs in rural North Yorkshire.

Marius’ Mules was his first full length novel. Being a fan of Roman history, SJA decided to combine his love of writing and love of the classical world. Marius’ Mules was followed two years later by Interregnum – an attempt to create a new fantasy story still with a heavy flavour of Rome.

These have been followed by numerous sequels, with three books in the fantasy ‘Tales of the Empire’ series and five in the bestselling ‘Marius’ Mules’ one. 2013 has seen the first book in a 15th century trilogy – ‘The Thief’s Tale’ – and will also witness several side projects seeing the light of day.

RUSSELL WHITFIELD was born in Shepherds Bush in 1971. An only child, he was raised in Hounslow, West London, but has since escaped to Ham in Surrey.

Gladiatrix was Russ’s first novel, published in 2008 by Myrmidon Books. The sequel, Roma Victrix, continues the adventures Lysandra, the Spartan gladiatrix, and a third book, Imperatrix, sees Lysandra stepping out of the arena and onto the field of battle.

Giveaway

To win a paperback copy of A Song of War: A Novel of Troy by the H Team:

ENTER HERE

Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on November 12th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US & Canada residents 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.

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Follow the Tour HERE!

Hashtags: # ASongofWarBlogTour #HTeam #Historical #Fiction #HistFic

Twitter Tags: @hfvbt @KateQuinnAuthor @StephMThornton @valvearshecter @Phokion1 @SJATurney @russ_whitfield

 

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Review: On the Edge of Sunrise by Cynthia Ripley Miller – Romance and Political Intrigue in 450 AD

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On the Edge of Sunrise (The Long-Hair Saga #1)

by Cynthia Ripley Miller

Publication Date: March 23, 2015
Knox Robinson Publishing
eBook & Paperback; 309 Pages

Genre: Historical Romance

When love commands, destiny must obey.

The year is AD 450. The Roman Empire wanes as the Medieval Age awakens. Attila the Hun and his horde conquer their way across Europe into Gaul. Caught between Rome’s tottering empire and Attila’s threat are the Frankish tribes and their ‘Long-Hair’ chiefs, northern pagans in a Roman Christian world, and a people history will call the Merovingians.

A young widow, Arria longs for a purpose and a challenge. She is as well versed in politics and diplomacy as any man … but with special skills of her own. The Emperor Valentinian, determined to gain allies to help stop the Huns, sends a remarkable envoy, a woman, to the Assembly of Warriors in Gaul. Arria will persuade the Franks to stand with Rome against Attila.

When barbarian raiders abduct Arria, the Frank blue-eyed warrior, Garic, rescues her. Alarmed by the instant and passionate attraction she feels, Arria is torn between duty and desire. Her arranged betrothal to the ambitious tribune, Drusus, her secret enlistment by Valentinian as a courier to Attila the Hun, and a mysterious riddle—threaten their love and propel them into adventure, intrigue, and Attila’s camp. Rebels in a falling empire, Arria and Garic must find the strength to defy tradition and possess the love prophesied as their destiny.

Review

For always saying I don’t read romance, I certainly am reading a lot of historical romance lately. However, when I am asked to review these historical fiction books I pick them because of all the great history and plot involved. I think the romance is something swirled into it, but not at all like a harlequin-type read. On the Edge of Sunrise, Book One of the Long-Hair Saga, by Cynthia Ripley Miller, is one of those types of books that is filled full of historical detail and story based on a great deal of research of 450 AD and the conflict between Attila the Hun, Gaul, and the Frankish Long-Hair chiefs.

This side of the world during this time period is something I’ve rarely read about or seen much written on and it was refreshingly new and different. I do generally really enjoy ancient history and so much of this was enticing. I can tell that Cynthia did an extensive amount of research of cultures/tribes, battles, weaponry, and landscape of the time to give readers a beautifully detailed account of the heated interactions and political machinations.

The romance between Arria, a Roman, and Garic, a Frank warrior, lends to soften to the over political story and bring some suspenseful tension. We are propelled by their dangerous love story through the pages quickly and treated to a foundation of history of the time period. She wrote two heroic and courageous people as her leads, even though they come from different experiences. The book doesn’t focus on their romance too much though, but more on those that surround them and interact with them (and conspire against them) which creates a dramatic story line filled with a well-developed cast.

Cynthia adeptly creates the time period for us in all its tenuous detail, with many vivid images. I enjoyed learning about the rise of Christianity in that area and the juxtaposition of all the cultures. She wrote battle scenes well without over doing the violence, but with fervent action that kept the book exciting. Her descriptions are bold and helped to carry the book along for me as a reader.

As an editor, some constructive things I might note for future development is to work on the dialogue to seem more natural, and not forced or stilted. Maybe she did that to represent it being so long ago  and not their actual language, but I think it could be softened. Also, I was also a little held up by sentence structure and felt that the book could improve by letting the sentences flow more freely. The cover is pretty, but makes it look like it’s all romance when it has so much else to offer!

Overall, it took me some focused concentration to read as it taught so much history between its pages, and her prose wasn’t light and airy, but more grounded, but that’s not a bad thing. It wasn’t a quick light romance at all, but I don’t like to read those anyway. I just tell you that in case that’s what you’re looking for in your historical fiction. It’s a deep look at a ancient time and place not often showcased, where so many rivaled for power, as well as the story of a very motivated and intelligent woman who used her abilities to change her own destiny.

I recommend for a long weekend by the fireplace somewhere it’s cold and your can cuddle up inside and get lost in time. Myself, I look forward to the next book in the series.

Purchase

AMAZON (KINDLE) | AMAZON (PAPERBACK) | BARNES & NOBLE | BOOK DEPOSITORY

Praise

“From cover to cover a gripping read – in all senses of the word! Grips your interest and imagination, your held breath and your pounding heart! A thumping good novel!” –Helen Hollick, USA Today bestselling author & Managing Editor Historical Novel Society Indie Reviews

“AD 450. The Roman Empire is breaking apart, and Attila the Hun has his sights set on conquering Gaul. … The love story between Garic and Arria is set against a background of fierce battles, intrigue, jealousy and betrayal. … The story weaves, twists and turns at a tremendous pace, and the characters leap off the pages, which simply keep on turning. This is the author’s debut novel, the first in her ‘Long Hair’ series. I look forward to reading more in due course. Recommended. – Marilyn Sherlock, Historical Novel Society, HNR Issue 74 (November 2015)

“On the Edge of Sunrise is a compelling epic, sure to appeal to fans of historical fiction. Forbidden love, a turbulent time period, and world-changing events combine to produce a real page-turner.” – India Edghill, author of Queenmaker, Wisdom’s Daughter, and Delilah

“On the Edge of Sunrise is a passionate and intriguing take on the often overlooked clash of three brutal and powerful empires: the Romans, Franks, and Huns. A Compelling read!” – Stephanie Thornton, author of The Secret History and The Tiger Queens

03_Cynthia Ripley Miller.jpgAuthor Cynthia Ripley Miller, Biography

Cynthia Ripley Miller is the author of On the Edge of Sunrise, the first novel in the Long-Hair Saga, a series set in late ancient Rome and France, and a Chanticleer International Chatelaine Award finalist. She has lived and traveled in Europe, Africa, North America and the Caribbean, taught history and currently teaches English. Her short stories have appeared in the anthology Summer Tapestry, The Scriptor, and at Orchard Press Mysteries.com.

Cynthia blogs at Historical Happenings and Oddities: A Distant Focus and on her website, http://www.cynthiaripleymiller.com. She lives with her husband and their cat, Romulus, and German Shepherd, Jessie, in a suburb of Chicago. Book Two: The Quest for the Crown of Thorns will be published in October of 2016.

For more information visit http://www.cynthiaripleymiller.com. You can also connect with Cynthia on FacebookTwitter, and Goodreads.

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