Author Archives: James - Page 3

dark ages

The Half-Drowned King by Linnea Hartsuyker [Book Review]

The Half-Drowned King by Linnea Hartsuyker My rating: 5 of 5 stars It took me a very long time to read The Half-Drowned King, mostly because it's a long story, although it never felt that long when I was reading it. Based on a couple of sagas the Half-Drowned King starts the story of Ragnvald and his sister Svanhild that continue in two more volumes. The Half-Drowned King is historical fiction done well, rather than fantasy. The characters are credulous enough that there's an element of the latter there, with visions and a fight with a draugr. The Half-Drowned King Ragnvald is a descendant of a King, in a time where there were many Kings. His stepfather tries to have him murdered, and the story is a combination of how Ragnvald gets his inheritance and gets involved in the rise…
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Bargain [Fiction] [Write Club]

Back at the end of January I wrote The Bargain for February's Write Club. In genre it's closest to urban fantasy, although it's set in a small central European village sometime in the early to mid-nineteenth century. The sort of place where traditions are still important, but where the outside world is still there. February's Write Club had a change in the weather as the theme. Bargain Tomas strode towards the Baron's house. He wore his best clothes, a dark green wool suit with yellow braid. He'd had it ready for the midsummer celebrations. The Baron's house was off the village green, near the inn. Before Tomas got there, the front door swung open. Rupert, the steward, beckoned him in. 'What's going on, Rupert?' 'His Lordship was insistent you come in the front.' 'Well best I come in then.' 'Let…
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Sanctuary 87 by Patrick Skelton [Book Review]

Sanctuary 87: A Post-Apocalyptic Thriller by Patrick Skelton My rating: 4 of 5 stars Sanctuary 87 is a pretty bleak place. In a deeply fascist future only those that can work are worth keeping alive.  'Bedside compassion' is scheduled for those that aren't expected to recover. This is US style healthcare, so curable/treatable cases still get euthanised (murdered) if they don't have a good enough job with insurance. Sanctuary 87 The sanctuaries are to protect people against solar flares, which have got significantly worse over the previous few decades. These coincide with the discovery of a rift in space in the outer solar system that allows interstellar travel to another planet with humans on it. The title sanctuary is one in the former USA. The protagonist's quadriplegic son is sent there after he loses his job as a journalist. A…
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dark ages

The Far Traveler: Voyages of a Viking Woman by Nancy Marie Brown [Book Review]

The Far Traveler: Voyages of a Viking Woman by Nancy Marie Brown My rating: 5 of 5 stars An awesome mix of documentary history and archaeology, to bring a character to life. Even though we can't be sure hat Gudrid was a real woman that actually existed the combination of the sagas and the archaeology give a great understanding of life in the viking period, and particularly from a female perspective. This is not a tale of warriors and raiders, but one of persuasion and influence and a hard life on the very frontiers of where humans could exist. Gudrid was born in Iceland, and went to America with Erik the Red. Later in life she went to Rome. Far Traveler I read this last year, the Far Traveler was the first book that I read in 2020 but for…
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The Mother’s Dream [Write Club] [Fantasy]

The Mother's Dream is my story for the January 2021 meeting of Write Club Surrey, which had dreams as its theme. I chose to write a creation myth for Skyss, the world that I've my fantasy novel is set in. One inspiration for The Mother's Dream is my love as a child of a book of Australian aborigine myths called Dreamtime Heritage. The stories are how the world was formed and shaped in the dreams of the early people. The idea has stuck with me, even if I can no longer find the book on my shelves. Troll head and fist in the woods atop Mount Floyen, Bergen, Norway. An inspiration for The Mother's Dream. (Photo: James Kemp) Another source of inspiration for The Mother's Dream was me thinking about how to describe the trolls in Fierce. I read quite…
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