Friday, 12 October 2018

018 #BookReview — Blood and Ink by D. K. Marley #Shakespeare #Marlowe @theRealDKMarley

Blood and Ink
By D. K. Marley

History shows Kit Marlowe died in a tavern brawl in Deptford in 1593, but did he? England is torn apart by religious metamorphosis and espionage. The stages of England and bright intellectual boys are used to bolster Queen Elizabeth I's reign and propagate the rising Protestant faith. At the age of eight, Christopher Marlowe, the muse's darling, is sucked into the labyrinth of secret spy rings, blood, murder, and betrayal, while his own ambition as England's favorite playwright slips further from his grasp.

As Christopher grows to manhood, he sinks further into the darkness, and a chance meeting with an unknown actor from Stratford-upon-Avon, William Shakespeare, sets him on a path of destiny; a fate of forced exile and the revelation that the real enemy is not the assassins of Rome, but a man who stared into his eyes and smiled. One he did not expect

“Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more…”
Macbeth — Act V, Scene V.
By William Shakespeare

When a sparrow falls from the sky, God sees, he knows. Christopher Marlowe was born in humble circumstances, but under the brightest of stars. From a tender age, he saw the world differently from how others saw it. His world was one of poetry and prose, sonnets and blank verse, and with his muse, Calliope, whispering in his ear, his future as a playwright was assured. But then on one ordinary and unassuming day at The King’s School in Cambridge, Kit happened upon a man who would take this would-be-playwright into the dark and dangerous world of espionage and murder.

From lofty heights, did Kit’s ambition grow. However, he soon learned a bitter lesson which was that *Hell hath no limits… and where Hell is there must we ever be.

From the banks of the River Stour to the elegant grandeur of Queen Elizabeth’s court, Blood and Ink by D. K. Marley takes us on an unforgettable journey about one man’s hope for immortality.

What can I say about this book? For the pages speak for themselves. It is the story of not one man, but many. As the players fan out upon the stage, Marlowe, and indeed all the principle historical characters from that time, put on a play for your enjoyment.

For fans of Shakespeare, this book poses an age-old question — did Shakespeare, a skilled player, really write 37 plays and 154 sonnets? This story, says no. This story argues so elegantly on the side of Marlowe, and in such a way, that I, a lifelong lover of Shakespeare, found myself at times swept along with the whole argument! With the language of the bards ringing so gracefully in the words that inked the pages, and the atmospheric setting of a book so well drawn that I was oblivious to everything that was going on around me, this story, this book, is the best I have ever read about this era and these people. I cannot commend D. K. Marley enough for this beautiful story. She has brought Marlowe and Shakespeare back to life in this magnificent retelling.

The dialogue is as rich as a Shakespeare sonnet, the darker moments, as terrible as the Massacre of Paris, and the lighter moments as amusing as anything that William wrote. I adored the interpretation of both Marlowe and Shakespeare. So although this is very much Kit’s story, there would not have been a story without William’s running along side it.

This book asks many questions and D. K. Marley has tried to give plausible answers. And although we will never know if Kit really did die in that dreadful fight in a house in Deptford, or if William really did pen the worlds most beloved plays, this story has something for anyone who is interested in these poets and the world in which they lived in.

If you were to read only one book this year, then let it be this one.

I Highly Recommend.

Review by Mary Anne Yarde.
The Coffee Pot Book Club.

*Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe

D.K. Marley

DK Marley is a historical fiction writer specializing in Shakespearean themes. Her grandmother, an English professor, gave her a volume of Shakespeare's plays when she was eleven, inspiring DK to delve further into the rich Elizabethan language. Eleven years ago she began the research leading to the publication of her first novel "Blood and Ink," an epic tale of lost dreams, spurned love, jealousy and deception in Tudor England as the two men, William Shakespeare and Kit Marlowe, fight for one name and the famous works now known as the Shakespeare Folio.

She is a true Stratfordian (despite the topic of her novel "Blood and Ink"), a Marlowe fan, a member of the Marlowe Society, the Shakespeare Fellowship and a signer of the Declaration of Intent for the Shakespeare Authorship Debate. Her new series titled "The Fractured Shakespeare Series" will tackle adapting each play into a historical fiction novel. She has traveled to England three times for intensive research and debate workshops and is a graduate of the intense training workshop "The Writer's Retreat Workshop" founded by Gary Provost and hosted by Jason Sitzes and Lorin Oberweger. She is also a blogger for her blog "The Jabberwocky Blog" on Wordpress. She lives in Georgia with her husband and two Scottish Terriers named Maggie and Buster.

Connect with D.K. Marley: Author Website • Facebook • Twitter • Instagram: @theRealDKMarley •Amazon Author Page • Goodreads • Jol's Book Club.

Friday, 14 September 2018

Book Review — Wildfire: A Post-Apocalyptic Pandemic Survival Thriller (The Hurst Chronicles #3) by Robin Crumby #postapocalyptic #mustread @HurstChronicles

 A Post-Apocalyptic Pandemic Survival Thriller
(The Hurst Chronicles #3)
By Robin Crumby

In the aftermath of a devastating flu pandemic, a military-led relief effort is evacuating UK survivors to a mass quarantine zone on the Isle of Wight. In the political and moral vacuum that follows, refugees trade their freedom for food and a fresh start.  

Riley and the others from Hurst Castle have relocated to a hotel on the clifftops of Freshwater Bay. To keep her promise she must leave the relative safety of their new home in search of Zed's daughter on the other side of the island, witnessing first-hand the at-times brutal repression of the civilian population.

Colonel Abrahams' investigation into the causes of the pandemic leads Zed back to the bio-weapons research facility at Porton Down to interview Ephesus, the archivist with detailed knowledge of Porton's century-long experiments with chemical and biological agents.

After her kidnap from Osborne House, Terra remains embedded with Briggs and the rebel group, helpless to stop their attempts to disrupt Allied reconstruction efforts. As more locals rally to the rebel cause, the prospect of civil war seems unavoidable. 

If you enjoy fast-paced, post-apocalyptic stories like The Day of the Triffids, The Road, Station Eleven, The Stand, and The Atlantis Gene, you'll love The Hurst Chronicles series. 

There have always been secrets at Portland Down, but the more Zed learns, the more he fears that this epidemic that ravished the United Kingdom, was no freak act of nature.

Safety comes at a cost, and human life is very cheap. The Allies will do anything and everything to keep the Isle of Wight virus free, even if that means doing things that one would never do under normal circumstances.

It isn’t very often when a book challenges you to open your mind and think about the big pharmaceutical companies and the secret military laboratories. Wildfire (The Hurst Chronicles #3) by Robin Crumby is such a book. This series has had me gripped from the very first novel, and Book 3 did not disappoint. Wildfire is one of those books where you just can’t read one more page. Oh, no. You want to read the entire book! I did not want to put this book down, so engrossed was I with the plot that the time flew by without me noticing.

What I really liked about this book, despite the fabulous plot and unforgettable characters, was how Mr Crumby approached the science behind his dystopian world. Sometimes in such books, the scientific explanations can come across as quite dry. However,  Mr Crumby has such a way with words that not only are the explanation incredibly fascinating, they are written in such a way that makes it very easy to understand.

While I was reading this book, I could not help but compare it to Dan Brown’s, The Da Vinci Code — I felt like I was on a very complicated treasure hunt with The Hurst Chronicles, and while Zed and everyone else was trying to discover where the fictional Millenial Virus came from, so was I!

The dystopian world that Mr Crumby has created is frighteningly real in the telling. This is a series that really makes you stop and think. Wildfire was a wonderful story. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Robin Crumby
Robin Crumby is the author of The Hurst Chronicles, a post-apocalyptic series set on the south coast of England in the aftermath of a flu pandemic. Robin spent much of his childhood messing about in boats, exploring the many waterways, ports and military forts of the Isle of Wight, where The Hurst Chronicles is set. Since reading John Wyndham's 'The Day of the Triffids' as a child, Robin became fascinated by end of the world dystopian literature and was inspired to start writing by Cormac McCarthy's 'The Road' and Emily St. John Mandel's 'Station Eleven'. Why? Because post-apocalyptic fiction fires the imagination like nothing else. Pondering what comes next, who would survive, what would life look like? Much of the best fiction in this popular genre focuses on brain-eating zombies or events unfolding in the USA so Robin determined to write a story set in the UK. His Eureka moment came wandering the shingle beach at Milford-on-sea, inspired by the beauty and rich history of the Solent. Where better to survive the end of the world than a medieval castle surrounded by water?

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Pre-Order your copy of The Du Lac Prophecy TODAY!! #Arthurian #HistoricalFiction

The Du Lac Prophecy
(Book 4 of The Du Lac Chronicles)
By Mary Anne Yarde

Two Prophesies. Two noble Households. One throne.

Distrust and greed threaten to destroy the House of du Lac. Mordred Pendragon strengthens his hold on Brittany and the surrounding kingdoms while Alan, Mordred’s cousin, embarks on a desperate quest to find Arthur’s lost knights. Without the knights and the relics they hold in trust, they cannot defeat Arthur’s only son – but finding the knights is only half of the battle. Convincing them to fight on the side of the Du Lac’s, their sworn enemy, will not be easy.

If Alden, King of Cerniw, cannot bring unity there will be no need for Arthur’s knights. With Budic threatening to invade Alden’s Kingdom, Merton putting love before duty, and Garren disappearing to goodness knows where, what hope does Alden have? If Alden cannot get his House in order, Mordred will destroy them all.


They won’t help you,” Bastian stated and Philippe turned to look at him. “The dead. They won’t help you.”

“I thought I was alone,” Philippe said as he looked back at Tristan’s tombstone.

“In Benwick Castle?” Bastian scoffed. “There is always someone watching. You know that as well as I do. Why are you here?”

“I came looking for answers.”

“Did you find any?” Bastian asked with cynicism.


“I didn’t think so.”

“Lancelot was a brave man, wasn’t he?” Philippe mumbled the question more to himself than anything else.

“As was Tristan,” Bastian agreed.

“Did you know him? Tristan, I mean.”

“A little. He kept himself to himself for the most part. He was wounded you see, during the battle of Benwick. He lost the use of his legs. He couldn’t walk. But he…” Bastian smiled as he remembered. “He was very wise. And he was happy to share that wisdom. I liked him. Although not everyone did. After Tristan died, there was talk. Some said he was a liar.”

“What did Lancelot say?” Philippe asked.

“I cannot imagine Lancelot being friends with someone who lied to him. But he neither condemned nor defended Tristan. He kept his own counsel. What are you going to do, Philippe?”

Philippe looked up at the sky. The lavender hue had changed to a blue one. He never appreciated how beautiful the sky was, until now. The day promised to be a warm one, but Philippe felt chilled.

“What would you do?” Philippe asked, as he rose to his feet and looked at his general.

“You have two choices. You can abdicate. Hand him the throne. Or...”

“Or...” Philippe encouraged.

 “You could kill him...” 

Available for Pre-Order

Mary Anne Yarde
Mary Anne Yarde is the multi award-winning author of the International Bestselling Series — The Du Lac Chronicles. Set a generation after the fall of King Arthur, The Du Lac Chronicles takes you on a journey through Dark Age Briton and Brittany, where you will meet new friends and terrifying foes. Based on legends and historical fact, The Du Lac Chronicles is a series not to be missed.

Born in Bath, England, Mary Anne Yarde grew up in the southwest of England, surrounded and influenced by centuries of history and mythology. Glastonbury — the fabled Isle of Avalon — was a mere fifteen-minute drive from her home, and tales of King Arthur and his knights were part of her childhood.

Catch up with The Du Lac Chronicles series on Amazon.

Monday, 13 August 2018

#BookReview ~ Tears of Fire (A Lambeth Group Thriller) By Gordon Bickerstaff #Crime #Thriller @ADPase

Tears of Fire
 (A Lambeth Group Thriller)
By Gordon Bickerstaff

Two serial killers have been getting away with murder for years. For them, it's a well-paid hobby while they bide their time. It's about to stop when everything slots into place for them to leap to the next level. Payback for the people who killed their parents.

Lambeth Group investigator, Gavin Shawlens, is on their trail. But all is not as it seems and he is pushed way out of his depth when the killers turn on his family. Gavin's Lambeth Group partner, Zoe Tampsin, is cut off from him and fighting her own battle to stay alive.

They need to connect but Zoe will face an impossible choice. Stop the killers before they pull off the most audacious murder that will shock the world and change it forever. Or, rescue Gavin's family from the jaws of evil.

Dr Traherene’s exclusive and private clinic for terminal ill patients is not quite what it seems. Neither are the two Nurses, Jung and Seng. They may appear compassionate, but they are anything but…

Where to begin…. Gordon Bickerstaff has done it again. Tears of Fire (A Lambeth Group Thriller) begins like any good Bond film. Our heroine, Zoe, is in trouble. Will she live? Will she die? Will someone hurry up and roll the opening credits…! Boy, what a story. Filled with non-stop action. Very human heroes, and deplorable antagonists. And a storyline that was terrifyingly believable. The only way I can describe this series is that it is James Bond meets Mission Impossible.

Zoe is a female version of Ethan Hunt and dear old Gavin, is definitely Benji Dunn. They work so well together in the other books in this series, and they continue to do so in this story.

The plot, what can I say about it? It had me gripped from the opening chapter. So much happens in this book and the short chapters seem to help keep this momentum going. At times I really began to fear for several of the protagonists. Especially when they got onto the Wensley! Talk about tension.

If you are looking for a truly great crime read, then I highly recommend the Lambeth Group Thriller series. These books just get better and better!

About the author

I was born and raised in Glasgow but spent my student years in Edinburgh. On summer vacations, I learned plumbing, garden maintenance, and I cut the grass in the Meadows. I learned some biochemistry and taught it for a while before I retired to write fiction. I do some aspects of DIY moderately well and other aspects not so well. I live with my wife in Scotland where corrupt academics, mystery, murder and intrigue exists mostly in my mind. I have written the Gavin Shawlens series of thrillers: Deadly Secrets, Everything To Lose, The Black Fox, Toxic Minds and Tabula Rasa. More will come in due course. I enjoy walking in the hills, 60s & 70s music, reading and travel.
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