“Path of the Hawk Book 1” by Ian Graham. Reviewed!

The Path of the Hawk

Book 1

path of the hawk 1

I’ll start this review by telling you Path of the Hawk is a prequel to a book called Monument that originally came out back about a decade ago. I read Monument years ago and it was so good that it truly lodged in my mind, particularly its main character, a real anti-hero called Anhaga Ballas. The legendary David Gemmell even endorsed it fer Gawd’s sake!

I’ve spent the intervening years looking for information about any more books by this guy Ian Graham who just seemed to write that one, fantastic, book then disappear completely.

Well, finally, in January of this year I half-heartedly searched Amazon for Ian’s name again and found out, to my delight, that he hadn’t just written one new book, but TWO.

So, noticing Path of the Hawk was just 99p on Kindle I bought it and eagerly dived in. I must point out, I haven’t read a novel in over a year – I just don’t have the time these days, but I made an effort for this. I really did love Monument that much!

Anyway, I’m very glad to say Path of the Hawk did not disappoint me at all. It tells the tale of Ballas’s days as part of an elite fighting unit (kind of a fantasy SAS or Navy SEAL) and, again, he’s not your usual clean-cut hero with a fairly well defined moral compass. Oh no, he kills people out of hand in brutal ways and basically doesn’t give much of a damn about anyone although he’s not as jaded and unfeeling as he was in Monument.

He has a couple of partners along with him for this adventure, as they seek to locate the source of some outlawed books and from beginning to end the action never really lets up. There’s a little side story but even that is full of action and some of it pretty gruesome too with a rather nasty biological/magical weapon described in horrible detail!

Even that seems tame compared to Ballas though, who is really an excellent protagonist. It’s interesting to see him feeling somewhat friendly towards one of his companions and I’m looking forward to Path of the Hawk Book 2 to see how his character progresses and comes closer to the drunken, bitter, nasty bastard he was in Monument.

The writing style is engaging and entertaining, the action fast paced and imaginative, and the characters interesting and well-drawn. The world they inhabit is detailed enough to feel real but not in the boring, overdone way some fantasy writers do.

Overall, this is an excellent fantasy read and a fine prequel to one of my favourite ever books.

Now I just need to find time out from researching my own new novel to read Path of the Hawk Book 2!

I will be doing a Q&A with Ian Graham within the next couple of days, so why not load up your Kindle with his three books and check back to see what he has to say about them all? You won’t regret it!

EDIT – check out that Q&A HERE now!

Final note – a few people asked me how to find Path of the Hawk in the USA and I’ve found out it’s not available as the publisher hasn’t put it out there! I’d suggest you find the paperbacks from the UK or email Orbit, the publishers, and tell them to get it sorted as these books deserve to find a huge audience.

Forest Lord birthday cake, check it out!

It was my 40th birthday a couple of weeks ago and, as a very cool surprise, my wife had this cake made for me. Just thought I’d share it with you all, I was really chuffed with it!

 

p1170798

p1170801

p1170800

And look out for my latest Kindle Single, the short story “The Escape”, which should be out within the next week or so! Some of you might have read an earlier version of this, but for the rest of you, here’s the blurb. I expect it to be 99p/99c. Cover reveal in a few days!

All he wanted was a quiet drink…

It’s spring, 1323 AD, and John Little, notorious outlaw, seeks to forget his troubles in a Barnsley alehouse. He didn’t count on the place being packed to the rafters with drunk, belligerent, Scottish mercenaries though.

The locals all respect – even fear John – but the strangers from the north only see in him the chance to claim a great bounty.

When the hard stares and furtive whispers turn into explosive violence the chase is on. Without any of his famous friends to help him, will it mean the end for the giant outlaw?

This new stand-alone Forest Lord tale sees one of England’s favourite sons in a battle for his very life that will hugely entertain all lovers of action and adventure!

Historical Fiction Cover Winner January 2017

Didn’t win but check it out anyway!

Vintage Treasures

Do you love historical fiction? What makes you choose one book over another? For most of us, the cover is the first thing that attracts our attention. For me, the cover has to look professional and must convey genre and a hint of what the story is about.

Each month I will be taking a look at historical fiction covers and choosing my ‘Pam’s Pick’ for the month. Hopefully, you will be intrigued enough to look beyond the covers I feature and find your next favourite author. If a cover interests you just click on the image to learn more about the book and buy if you wish.

My first winner is The White Camellia, by Juliet Greenwood. When this cover landed in my inbox, I knew immediately it would be one of my top picks. The image is beautiful, romantic and delicate. If I saw this in a shop I would…

View original post 591 more words

Steven A McKay: The Prisoner: A Forest Lord Novelette

A short and sweet review of “The Prisoner” by a histfic expert!

parmenionbooks

Robin Hood authorAbout (in his own words)

My name is Steven A. McKay and I’m a writer from Old Kilpatrick, near Glasgow in Scotland, heavily influenced by the likes of Bernard Cornwell, Douglas Jackson, Ben Kane et al.

My first book in the Forest Lord series, Wolf’s Head, was set in medieval England and it’s a fast-paced, violent retelling of the Robin Hood legends. It hit the number 1 spot in the UK “War” chart, reached the overall Kindle top 20 bestsellers list and is available on Kindle, audiobook and paperback from Amazon here:  http://smarturl.it/2636

As I write, in October 2016, I’m just about to publish the fourth and final book in the series, Blood of the Wolf. I think my take on the Robin Hood legend is quite different to anything that’s been done before – check out the reviews to see for yourself.

In total, including my two novellas, Knight of the…

View original post 361 more words

Blasty – is it any good? Yes!

A few weeks ago I signed up for the new service called Blasty which promised to help authors “blast” websites which were sharing pirated copies of their books. If you’re anything like me you’ve probably searched for those sites and found loads of torrents and such. Trying to get in touch with the site owners is always impossible though, and it’s not like they’d give a flying f**k about some indie author who has no legal clout anyway.

In short, it was easy to find pirated, illegal copies of our books that were being shared around the internet but there was no way to really stop it happening.

Enter Blasty!

blasty-beta-1

I expect them to start charging for their service soon but I signed up to their beta version which was free and, well, let’s take a look at the results from the past couple of months.

First, how does it work? Click the images to see bigger versions…

blasty-1

 

As you can see here, it’s as easy as clicking a button, adding a link from Amazon to your book (and a thumbnail if you like) and that’s it.

 

blasty-2

 

Next, just click “Check Google Now” and the Blasty system will find, and analyse, various terms like “X book, X author, PDF, Free, Torrent, Audiobook” etc and bring up the list of possible targets.

 

blasty-3

You can see from the list that one of the links seems fine to me, so I “whitelisted” it. One of the links is illegal so I’ve already “blasted” it and the system is working to have it removed. The second one in the list WAS sharing an illegal version of Wolf’s Head a few weeks ago but Blasty did their thing and the site has been removed completely from WordPress.

So is it worth it? Well, I never paid anything but the screenshots show I’ve already blasted 305 sites/links that were sharing my books illegally. You try removing just ONE of those links by yourself and it will soon become clear Blasty kicks ass! Let me be clear – you don’t need to check every site Blasty finds yourself. Some of them are clearly torrent sites from their visible address so you just need to hit the “blast” button on those. It is NOT a time consuming process at all. Yes, you need to manually review a few links but it’s not very often.

Presumably Google keeps track of all the people sharing blasted content too.

One disclaimer – I have no idea if any of those sites were really sharing my book or if they were scam sites just looking for people to sign up so they could take them for a ride in some way. Probably a LOT of them were. But I’m quite sure many of the links blasted were sharing torrents with my work for free.

Kindle versions of my books arent expensive at all, ranging from 99p to £2.99 so I’m not sure why anyone who enjoys my work would want to rip me off by taking it for nothing when it’s all cheap anyway. Hell, sign up for my email list and not only do you get a free short story I’ve written just for subscribers (I even paid my usual designers to make up a nice cover for it),

the-rescue_eb

but you also get regular chances to win signed paperbacks or audiobook downloads! I’ve literally just given away an entire signed collection of my paperbacks to someone as part of a giveaway. So I do try and reward my readers as much as possible. No need to rip me off!

 

Anyway, to sum up, if you’re an author, you need to sign up for Blasty. Do it now while it’s still free because I’m sure they’ll be charging for the service soon and rightly so.

What are you waiting for, do it!

https://www.blasty.co/

 

 

 

Review: The Prisoner – Steven A. McKay

Another great review from a well-respected historical fiction blogger for The Prisoner! 🙂

Speesh Reads


the-prisoner
out of 5 stars

My version:
pdf printout
Historical Fiction 13th Century England
Self Published
2017
Pre-publication copy, ’cause I’m ace!

*May be an idea to read all the ‘proper’ Robin Hood novels by Steven, BEFORE you read this. You have been warned.

The Stapleford Prisoner is a delightfully crafted, deceptively simple, thought-provoking and intriguing little glimpse of life in early 13th Century Sherwood, Forest – with a twist. Or rather, an outcome that, while you may well see coming, will still have you smiling with ‘get in you beauty!’ righteousness.

I’m not going to give the plot, it’s very simple, as I said above and I don’t want to spoil your enjoyment. I’ll just say that it’s a warning maybe, not to pre-judge, to see all sides before you come to a decision there’s no going back on. Even set several years after the first of Steven’s…

View original post 129 more words

The Prisoner: A Forest Lord Novelette by Steven A. McKay (@SA_McKay) – Review

Fantastic review of The Prisoner!

David's Book Blurg

Title – The Prisoner: A Forest Lord Novelette
Author – Steven A. McKay
Genre – Historical Fiction
Publication – 20th December 2016
Pages – 27 Pages
My Rating – 5/5 Stars

Synopsis

When two lawmen – fabled former outlaws themselves – are sent to a snowy English village to arrest a rapist it seems a straightforward task, but is all as it first appears?

England 1325 AD

As Robin Hood and Little John take the criminal into custody they find the people of Stapleford accommodating enough and the terrified victim’s bruises are plainly visible. Inevitably, as they set off on the journey back to Nottingham the lawmen’s disgust at the captive’s crime colours their opinion of him and Little John has to be restrained from brutally assaulting the man.
The harsh winter conditions slow their progress though, and eventually the prisoner’s protestations and desperate violent actions have the lawmen questioning what’s really been…

View original post 315 more words

A brand new Forest Lord tale published today!

Today sees the publication of “The Prisoner”!

That’s right, a completely new Forest Lord novelette, “The Prisoner” has just been published. This is part of Amazon’s Kindle Singles Program and, for the first time, I didn’t have to pay for a cover! Amazon designed the cover themselves after I gave them some pointers (“How about some snow and a sword?”) and I really like it. They also copy-edited it for me.
Only 99p/99c! It is also FREE on Kindle Unlimited.
If you read and enjoy it, please leave a review!

“The Prisoner”

When two lawmen – fabled former outlaws themselves – are sent to a snowy English village to arrest a rapist it seems a straightforward task, but is all as it first appears?

England 1325 AD

As Robin Hood and Little John take the criminal into custody they find the people of Stapleford accommodating enough, and the terrified victim’s bruises are plainly visible. Inevitably, as they set off on the journey back to Nottingham the lawmen’s disgust at the captive’s crime colours their opinion of him and Little John has to be restrained from brutally assaulting the man.
The harsh winter conditions slow their progress though, and eventually the prisoner’s protestations and desperate, violent actions have the lawmen questioning what’s really been happening in Stapleford…

Can Robin and John complete the mission they’ve been given, or will their own innate sense of justice lead them down an unexpected path?

Fans of the bestselling Forest Lord series will love this exciting new stand-alone tale, set just before Blood of the Wolf, that explores the themes of morality and justice in medieval England.

Buy here, worldwide (tomorrow, or now if you really can’t wait!) —>>> http://getbook.at/ThePrisoner

On a different note, the audio version of Blood of the Wolf is almost finished! Only a couple more chapters to go before it hits Audible, so look out for that if you enjoy the Audible versions.

blood-of-the-wolf_audible-smaller
I also have the cover art for my Will Scaflock novella The Abbey of Death but I’ll reveal that another day…

New Forest Lord short stories!

Beer Booty!

20161216_184214

I’m having a little celebration tonight because I can tell you Amazon’s exclusive Kindle Singles Programme will be publishing two of my Forest Lord short stories! (Friar Tuck and the Christmas Devil was of course in the Singles Program). First out is “The Prisoner”, a novelette which features Robin and Little John taking a rapist to Nottingham for the sheriff’s justice with, of course, a little twist. That will be out sometime this month.

The second, “The Escape” is about Little John getting into a bit of bother with (ironically!) some drunk Scotsmen and should be out early next year.
I’m also just finishing up the final Forest Lord novella which is titled “The Abbey of Death” and sees Will Scaflock as an unlikely monk. The title will give you an idea that things aren’t as peaceful as he expected when he left behind his farm in Wakefield to become a clergyman…Look out for a cover reveal soon.


Don’t forget, you can get another FREE short story, “The Rescue” by signing up for my email list.
https://stevenamckay.com/mailing-list/

Cheers all! I’m off to enjoy some Robin Hood ale! Have a great weekend.

20161216_184352