Age of Iron by Angus Watson

age of ironAge of Iron (Iron Age 1) by Angus Watson

LEGENDS AREN’T BORN. THEY’RE FORGED.

Dug Sealskinner is a down-on-his-luck mercenary travelling south to join up with King Zadar’s army. But he keeps rescuing the wrong people.

First, Spring, a child he finds scavenging on the battlefield, and then Lowa, one of Zadar’s most fearsome warriors, who’s vowed revenge on the king for her sister’s execution.

Now Dug’s on the wrong side of that thousands-strong army he hoped to join ­- and worse, Zadar has bloodthirsty druid magic on his side. All Dug has is his war hammer, one rescued child and one unpredictable, highly-trained warrior with a lust for revenge that’s going to get them all killed . . .

It’s a glorious day to die. (Goodreads)

I really wanted to love this but I didn’t. I like fantasy and I like history so this should be perfect book for me, right?
I think the biggest problem was that I thought this was a fantasy book. But it was in Britain, Romans are coming and Germany was also mentioned. Just because you add pagan gods and add few druids and their magic doesn’t make it proper fantasy book for me. If I think it as a historical book then the too modern language would bother me. At some point I wanted to start counting how many times shagging was mentioned but that would have meant too much commitment.

I didn’t mind the blood, gore or mentions of rape but that could be a problem for someone. I’m pretty sure that every time new female character was introduced we’re told how her face, hair, boobs and ass looks. And it got tiresome after awhile.

Aithne was big-boned, big-arsed, busty and tall with hair the colour of piss-soaked stable straw, while Lowa was average height, slender, with hair so blonde it was almost white. Admittedly she was on the stocky side of slender. Riding and archery had built muscle, and a keen observer would have seen that her right shoulder and arm were bigger than her left from drawing the longbow, but she was slim-waisted and supple, with a bottom that lobbed slingstones would have bounced off. Aithne had the small-featured, freckled face of a milkmaid. Lowa had the pale skin and high cheekbones of a fairy princess. Aithne had dark, bovine eyes with long, heavy lashes. Lowa’s eyes were blue, pale-lashed and slanted like a wildcat’s. Aithne was gregarious while Lowa watched from the edges. Aithne was confused and idealistic where Lowa was logical and pragmatic. Aithne was a glutton for food and booze, often to be found vomiting before bed, while Lowa never overate and had never been sick after drinking. Aithne was two years older, but Lowa had been the leader as long as she could remember. (pg.53)

I couldn’t care less about the characters and I was so bored that I had to force myself to open the book. The writing wasn’t bad but unfortunately that’s not enough to make this good. But I liked that there is strong women who went to battles, and fought well, so that is a bonus and earned higher rating.

This definitely wasn’t for me but everyone else seems to love this so don’t take my word for this.

2/5

Published: Orbit (2014)
Format: paperback
Pages: 523
Source: my own

Sea Witch by Helen Hollick

Sea WitchSea Witch (Sea Witch Voyages 1) by Helen Hollick

The time: the golden age of piracy – 1716

The Place: the Pirate Round – from South Africa to the Islands of the Caribbean

At 15 Jesamiah Acorne escapes the bullying of his elder half brother to become a pirate with only two loves – the sea and his freedom. But his life is to change after an attack on a merchant ship off the coast of South Africa when he meets the mysterious Tiola Oldstagh, an insignificant girl – or so he assumes until he discovers her true identity, that of a white witch. Tiola and Jesamiah becomes lovers, but the wealthy Stefan van Overstratten also wants Tiola as his wife. Meanwhile, Jesamiah’s half-brother, Phillipe Mereno, is determined to seek revenge for resentments of the past.

When the call of the sea and an opportunity to commandeer a beautiful ship, the Sea Witch, is put in Jesamiah’s path he must choose between his life as a pirate or his love for Tiola. He wants both… but Mereno and van Overstratten want him dead.

Tiola must use her gift of Craft to rescue her lover, but first she must brave the darkness of the ocean depths and confront the supernatural presence of Tethys, the goddess of the sea, who will stop at nothing to claim the soul of Jesamiah Acorne for herself. (publisher)

I don’t think I’ve ever read a book about pirates so this was interesting. I’ve liked the pirate movies I’ve seen though. Erroll Flynn, people!

I was curious to see how Hollick will show the pirates because I liked her King Arthur books and Arthur wasn’t all nice guy. We get realistic picture of pirate life, there’s murder, whores and lot of rum but Jesamiah is still very likeable guy. Who doesn’t love a man with troubling past? We also meet Jesamiah’s half-brother who is total asshole and while he didn’t have happy childhood either, he’s still an asshole.

Our heroine is Tiola, who also happens to be a witch, carries her own secrets about her past. She first sees Jesamiah when she is quite young and has a crush on him ever since but I liked that when they meet again, despite her crush she holds on to her morals and doesn’t blindly follow Jesamiah and his pirate ways.

The only thing I wasn’t huge fan was the mystical element; Tiola’s craft and especially Tethys. I’m not fan in general mixing magic and historical fiction so that’s not a surprise. It didn’t ruin the book or anything but I could have lived without it.

This was fun and enjoyable read and I learned a lot about ships and what everything is called.

4/5

Published: SilverWood Books (2011)
Format: eBook
Pages: 314
Source: Author

The Blood of The Fifth Knight by E.M. Powell

Powell_Knight_Cover_Template_UK.inddThe Blood of The Fifth Knight by E.M. Powell

A triumphant sequel to Powell’s acclaimed historical thriller The Fifth Knight. A desperate king trusts a lone knight to unravel a web of murder.

England, 1176. King Henry II has imprisoned his rebellious Queen for her failed attempt to overthrow him. But with her conspirators still at large and a failed assassination attempt on his beautiful mistress, Rosamund Clifford, the King must take action to preserve his reign.

Desperate, Henry turns to the only man he trusts: a man whose skills have saved him once before. Sir Benedict Palmer answers the call, mistakenly believing that his family will remain safe while he attends to his King.

As Palmer races to secure his King’s throne, neither man senses the hand of a brilliant schemer, a mystery figure loyal to Henry’s traitorous Queen who will stop at nothing to see the King defeated.

The Blood of the Fifth Knight is an intricate medieval murder mystery and worthy sequel to E.M. Powell’s acclaimed historical thriller The Fifth Knight.

I haven’t read the first book and while this works as stand-alone, I wish I had read the previous book. I think there’s lot more to Benedict and Theodosia’s tale than we learn here.

While Henry’s relationship with Rosamund isn’t new to me it was still interesting to read. For me Rosamund’s portrayal was nice change from what I’ve usually read about her. Which is logical considering that Henry was quite older than she… Geoffrey was also very interesting because most times he’s very minor character and I liked reading more about him.

I liked the relationship between Benedict and Theodosia; they’re very loyal and committed to each other. I really wish I had read the first book because I’m curious to know how they met.

I’m very bad with mysteries but I did not see who the villain was. I was so sure I knew who it was but I was totally wrong!

I loved this book and I have to read the first book soon!

4,5/5

Published: Thomas & Mercer (2015)
Format: ebook
Pages: 368
Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

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You can check the tour schedule here

About the author

E.M. Powell is the author of medieval thriller THE FIFTH KNIGHT which was a #1 Amazon Bestseller. Born and raised in the Republic of Ireland into the family of Michael Collins (the legendary revolutionary and founder of the Irish Free State) she now lives in the north west of England with her husband and daughter and a Facebook-friendly dog. She is a member of the Historical Novel Society, International Thriller Writers and Romance Writers of America. She is a reviewer of fiction and non-fiction for the HNS. Find out more by visiting www.empowell.com. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.