Review of The Voyage of Odysseus

I was very lucky to receive an advance copy of Glyn Iliffe’s brand new novel in his Adventures of Odysseus chronicles, The Voyage of Odysseus. Was it as good as the previous books? Read on to find out!

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“From one adventure to another the pace never lets up. Like Homer’s original, Glyn Iliffe’s series is destined to become a classic!”

That’s the strapline I gave to Glyn for the cover of this book and I think it about sums it up. The Trojan War is over and it’s time – at last! – for Odysseus and his men to go home. Back to the wife and child he hasn’t seen for a decade. But it’s not going to be that easy is it?

Anyone who’s ever read the Odyssey will know there’s still a lot of story to be told and Glyn uses this book to do so. Gone are the schemes and plots to get inside Troy and, in their place are fantastic islands populated by bizarre monsters like the Cyclops. Truly this is a tale of magic and adventure!

And yet, the characters Glyn has created are – here more than ever before – portrayed as REAL people, with real flaws and emotions. They attack an innocent village, for example, purely so Odysseus can gather some more plunder (wealth and slaves) to take back from the long war. This is how it was back then and the author doesn’t shy away from it – it’s just a part of life, but it really shows us the type of hard men we’re dealing with and it’s a great counterpoint to all the fantasy that permeates the story.

The battle scenes are excellent – vivid, exciting and brutal, while the pacing of the tale is just about perfect, drawing the reader in from the very start and not letting go until the end. And it’s a long book so you’re really getting your money’s worth here, as Odysseus and his side-kick Eperitus lurch from one horrible situation to another, even visiting Hades along the way.

Glyn Iliffe has been lucky in a way with this series because much of the tale has been written for him, so he “just” has to flesh it out in his own style. BUT that can also be a curse and I think the end of this particular book shows that. If you know the story of Odysseus from Homer’s original you will know his voyage home is not an easy one – far from it. And as a result this novel is very dark, with a lot of death and sadness and I did feel it started to become rather oppressive just as it neared the end.

But things finish on a hopeful note and the next book is set up perfectly!

Glyn is now self-published and I think this new novel really proves his mettle as a writer. Given his original books had the benefit of major in-house editors, cover designers etc I can say this, and his previous self-published book The Oracles of Troy, stand alongside them and, in fact, are probably BETTER.

 

The Voyage of Odysseus  should be out NOW – I hope you pick up a copy, but DO start at the beginning if you haven’t read the previous books. They’re ALL excellent.

MY RATING – 5/5

Click HERE to read a Q&A I did with Glyn on the Historical Novel Society website when his previous book came out.

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Glyn Iliffe, author of the excellent Adventures of Odysseus series.

BUY the Kindle version HERE in the UK

BUY the Kindle version HERE in the USA

 

Wow! Stunning review of Rise of the Wolf

“This is the best Robin Hood you are ever going to encounter.” So says Professor Andrew Latham,  author of The Holy Lance! Read his review here:

http://www.aalatham.com/#!BOOK-REVIEW-The-Rise-of-the-Wolf/c149s/55c111e70cf2e37b76c1622a

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Another stunning review for Rise of the Wolf

It’s always nerve-wracking when a Robin Hood scholar reads one of my books. They know the legend inside out and have their own ideas of how it should be treated.

So I was very happy to read this quite fantastic review of my new book on Goodreads. Take a look and get ready for publication this Friday!  #RiseOfTheWolf

“McKay’s straight-forward style is consistent and well-suited to his story, but I also observed that there was considerable growth in the scope of his writing with this one.”

Click HERE to read the full review.

New Knight of the Cross review!

The hugely popular Indian Book Reviews website have posted a great new review of my novella Knight of the Cross. Take a look HERE.

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In other news, if you haven’t read my Robin Hood novels yet, The Wolf and the Raven will be on special offer (Kindle version) from this coming Wednesday, April 15th. Wolf’s Head will also be reduced in price at the end of the month, I’ll post more about it nearer the time.

To make sure you don’t miss out on things like this, please do use the FOLLOW button at the top of the page and sign up for email notifications any time I post here.

Lady of the Eternal City by Kate Quinn – review

Review – Lady of the Eternal City

by Kate Quinn

This is not my usual sort of book. In fact, I’d go as far to say I’ve never read a book like this before, simply because I wouldn’t choose it myself at the library or book shop (I was sent an Advance Review Copy by the author because I’d enjoyed one of her previous works). I am very set in my ways when it comes to entertainment – I don’t watch horror movies, I don’t listen to pop music and, when it comes to novels, I like a lot of action. While there is some action here, the novel is centred around the relationships of the main characters, with Emperor Hadrian, his wife Empress Sabina, grizzled old soldier Vercingetorix and Hadrian’s (male) lover Antinous.

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It’s a very long book and the thing I enjoyed most was the fact that I felt like I was learning a lot about this period of Roman history (I didn’t know much at all before this). It’s all told in such an interesting way, though, that you’re happy to be learning while engaging with the characters and their tangled, irrevocably intertwined fates.

As with any good book you will be rooting for your favourites while hoping that the “baddies” get what’s coming to them and, for the most part, you’ll be glad to see just that happening. However, Emperor Hadrian himself proves to be an extremely complex individual – I feared we were just dealing with a cliched, blacker-than-black murderous lunatic but I was wrong. I won’t spoil things but by the end of the book you realise each and every one of these people, particularly Hadrian, were just humans like you or I, with hopes and dreams and a dark side as well as a good side.

I felt sorry for all of them because they suffer so much but the end of the book leaves some room for hope, rather like the previous book of Kate’s that I read, A Day of Fire.

Overall, I have to be honest, I could have done with more people getting their teeth punched out – the most important relationship in my usual reading is the one between a hairy-arsed barbarian’s sword and his enemy’s face! But, as I say, Lady of the Eternal City is a long book and, when you have limited time to read as I do, the fact I enjoyed it enough to finish it speaks volumes for the skill of the writing and the strength of the story.

If you fancy a change of pace from endless brutality but still want a trip to ancient Rome then you should definitely pick this one up, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed!

Find out more in the Q&A I did with the author here.

Buy Kate’s Books

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Review of W&R by San Francisco Book Review

Very nice review of The Wolf and the Raven. It’s a little bit different to the usual reviews, I enjoyed reading it!  I will be doing an interview with them too (an actual recorded interview you can listen to) so watch out for that.

Take a look at the review here:

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“The important point is that this is a story that can and will be enjoyed by all ages, as all good myths (did I say myths?) should.” -SF Book Review

Another new review with a GIVEAWAY!

Here’s another fantastic review of Knight of the Cross, this time by Stuart S. Laing from The Review blog group. If you leave a comment after the review you’ll be entered into a giveaway to win a signed copy of the paperback. What are you waiting for?!

“One aspect of this book which is wonderfully refreshing is how McKay uses modern folklore, created by the Internet generation, in such a way that it feels like genuine legends from the medieval age. Just as our ancestors once gathered around their fire-pits in roundhouses to tell stories through the long, dark winter nights, the Internet has become its modern equivalent where 21st century folklore is spawned and spread until it becomes familiar to many. ”

http://thereview2014.blogspot.co.uk/2014/10/review-of-knights-of-cross-by-steven.html