Category Archives: Book review

Review of ‘The Ides of April’ by Lindsey Davis

‘The ides of April’ is a detective story set in Rome in 98AD, it is an enjoyable read. Lindsey knows her background so as you read you get taken back to Rome under the emperor’s with the terror of the state as well as how the normal people lived. The hero, Flavia Albia, is a woman which makes for an interesting story as women had few rights in ancient Rome. The plot is neat and convoluted, even if I had worked it out before the conclusion.  As I got further into the story I found I just wanted to keep reading to find out what was happening next.  This is Lindsey’s new adventurer book after 20 novels about Marcus Falco, I must leek for some of those as well as I expect they are equally as good to read.

A book well worth reading I think most people will enjoy it.



Life in a Medieval….. book review

Life in a Medieval City; Life in a Medieval Castle  by Joseph and Frances Gies

Two books I had for Christmas, I have been reading them between other things. The Bible mainly as well as Role Playing books.  Both of these books are great for a good understanding of medieval life and although old are still very relevant and have been used by many others to guide there novels.

Both books start by looking at the context then looking at daily life for different people, Knights, Craftsmen, farmers ext. They look at religion, commerce, fashion, death, marriage,  education and war. There are many books out there with deeper knowledge but known I have read which give such a good coverage in general.

Interested in Medieval history in general, for setting of Role Play games or for writing a novel then you need to read these.

Battle Mage a review

Battle Mage by Peter Flannery


Synopsis from his web site []
The world is falling to the burning shadow of the Possessed and only the power of a battle mage can save it. But the ancient bond betwen battle mages and dragonkind is failing. Too few dragons are answering the summons and of those that do, too many are black. Black dragons are the enemy of humankind. Black dragons are mad.

Falco Dante is a weakling in a world of warriors, but worse than this, he is the son of a madman. Driven by the need to understand his father’s actions Falco makes a decision that will bring disaster to his people and drive him to the brink of despair. As he tries to come to terms with everything that has happened Falco follows his friends to the Academy of War, and all the time the shadow of the Possessed draws closer.

If the kingdoms of Wrath do not stand together they will fall. Only Queen Catherine de Sage can see what needs to be done, but the other kings are stubborn and her rule is constantly being challenged by the rising power of the magi, a powerful body of scholars and magic users who seek to rule the land themselves.

As Falco struggles to unlock his power so the dark forces of the enemy work on the minds of weaker men. The magi are determined to stop him and even the Queen has her doubts. Will Falco succeed in becoming a battle mage or will he be lost to madness and murder, like his father?


I enjoyed this book, it draw me in as I got to know Falco and his friends and enemies. As he grew in power and suffered loss. I love the idea of demon possessed people and the fight to stop this evil. The battle scenes make sense and the internal logic of the story works. By the end I could not put the book down [although I was reading a e-book]. Just as I thought I knew how the story would go it twisted and off it went drawing me in again.

By the end I was thinking about the christian story, particularly with the Hermit, The Healer and the Fisherman. Sacrifice redemption and faith struggling with temptation.

Well worth reading     

Review of ‘Finishing Our Course with Joy’ by J I Packer

‘Finishing Our Course with Joy’ is an interesting book. It looks at how as we get older we stop doing things but in fact we should still engage as much as we can with life. It particularly looks at our Christian life and how we need to change what we do and how we do it but not just give up and sit back. It points out that we can be tempted to just stop doing things but that God knows what we can and can’t do and will give us different opportunities to share our faith and engage with others.

An interesting if easy read, it has big print, and a book I will go back to to remind myself that I still am useful to God even as my body gives out on me.

Review of ‘The Lords of Vaumartian’

‘The Lords of Vaumartian’

by C Holland

This is a easy quick read. The story is based around Everard  and his personal story along with the rest of his family in different ways. It is set in 14th century France during the 100 years war. The history feels right and reads well, it soon sucks you into the daily lives of the different characters and the people around them showing us the different ways of live in medieval France. How the rich had it all and the poor where there to support and serve them.

In some ways it can talk to our modern society about how injustice can lead to unforeseen results but also how a good person can change the world around them with love.

If you like medieval history and fiction then this is a book worth reading

Review of ‘A Nearly Infallible History of the Reformation’

A Nearly Infallible History of the Reformation

by Nick Page

Although I have been a Christian for 20 years and spent 3 years at Church Army college I was never that interested in church history other than the early church as seen in the bible. However I have now read a few of Nick’s books on church history and decided that this would be the next one.

I had no idea how many different people came up with the need for the church to change. Popes might have felt the need but never quite got there to priests and normal people, not that I am saying priests aren’t normal. This book looks with humor where that is possible at how the reformation came about and the differences between those who wanted reform and how as always with human interaction it often led to violence on all sides.

Many knew that the church as it had become needed to change from what it had become, a kind of super state, sucking in money for lavish living for a few to what Jesus had shown and what it had started out as. As the bible, thanks to printing, became more accessible to all, in their own language, so more people came to see that what it was was not what it should be.

This book is a easy, humorous read through a span of history which made the modern world. Brought forth the idea of free thinking and having a personal relationship with God rather than one controlled and by a few. As I read it some of my own idea made sense as I could see them in others, I also understand where my conflict with some of the main organised denominations comes from.  From small beginnings of reform has come constant bickering which keeps splitting Christs body the Church. As far as I can see the reformation was right but we Christians need to stop arguing over ever small point and keep the the main point of being a follow of Christ. Jesus as a body the church of Christ will often need reform as its human run and open to human failings but it is also the Bride of Christ and needs to act like that much more often than it does.

A good book well worth reading if you want a easy read to understand the reformation, I also recommend the other books by Nick Page

Review of Gardens of the Moon by S Erikson

Review of ‘Gardens of the Moon’

from the Malazan Book of the Fallen

By Steven Erikson

This is a interesting book, written in the modern style of multiple view points with no  outline of the story or characters early on. It is part of a big series however I am not sure I would read any more.

The general outline is a war between the Malazan Empire and various cities with various other groups involved as well. It took a while before I could work out who I was supposed to be cheering for and even then I had doubts. At one point I thought it would be a military book then a political based one then a small group based one down to an individuals story. However it is all and none of these, the reason I say all and none is that each of those story lines drew me in and then left me flat.

I wanted a story I could hold on to in the mix, but the story kept moving and leaving the line it was on. The end does make sense even if it only uses up the last 20 pages of a other 700 page book. As a person who likes detail in weapons, spells ect I was disappointed. Some mages unleashed terrific power which would, apparently level  cities, but nothing much happened. We had a division which seems to consist of only 6 or so men and a girl, a civil war within the empire which is hinted at only. Swords which dampen magic so a mages city destroying power has no effect and so on. I found it all quite strange and with no explanations it was difficult to work out what was going on at time. Gods which seemed to be all powerful at one point and nearly useless at others.

This book has good reviews however I would only rate it average. It tries to be like Lord of the Rings but fails to explain background and context.