Saturday, 16 February 2019

#BookReview — The Vogels: On All Fronts (The Half-Bloods Book 2), by Jana Petken #HistoricalFiction #WWII @AuthoJana

The Vogels: On All Fronts
 (The Half-Bloods Book 2)
By Jana Petken

“The Vogels are fighting on all fronts in this compelling story of intrigue and betrayal in a world at war.” 
European citizens feel the full force of German injustice, but not all are willing to bend the knee. From France to Poland, Resistance groups fight from the shadows to thwart Nazi rule and hinder their goal to exterminate Jews. 

In Russia, Wilmot Vogel struggles to survive the ravages of a frigid winter, compounded by the German army’s lack of progress. Hit by a surprise Russian attack on the front lines, however, he finds himself facing an even greater challenge than the freezing weather and Soviet bullets. 

In Łódź, Poland, an idealistic doctor is resolved to oppose the Third Reich, but is he willing to betray his country? Will a Gestapo major find the answers he’s looking for? Can a ghetto Jew avoid transportation to a Nazi extermination camp? 

Can two spies rekindle their friendship, or will past betrayals become hurdles too great to surmount? Can Britain’s MI6 maintain the upper hand in a contest against the German Abwehr? Who wins when one man fights for British interests whilst the other seeks to undermine them? 

In the darkest days of war, love flourishes. Two women with very different paths are led to one man who changes the course of their lives forever – but only one will win his heart.

 I’m still trying to wrap my head around Paul being married to a Gestapo Major’s daughter, Wilmot spending time in a prison camp, and your father being a British spy. What sort of family have I married into?”

There are no winners in war, or so it is said. For the Vogel family, the war has brought division and mistrust. They are a household divided. While two sons fight for the Third Reich, the other, along with his father, is a British Intelligence Officer.

Max Vogel will not fight for a government, a country, that had so fundamentally lost its way. He will do everything in his power to thwart the Nazi Regime and help the Allies win this war.

Wilmot Vogel did not think his life could get any worse than the time he had spent as a prisoner in Dachau concentration camp, but that was before he experienced winter on the Eastern Front. Supplies are slow in coming, and the winter seems as never-ending as the war. However, Wilmot, unlike Max, believes in the Führer and the Party. He dreams of committing an act of true heroism. It is his ardent desire to one day have an Iron Cross pinned to his uniform.

With small acts of heroism, Paul Vogel finds himself fighting injustice from the right side of wrong. A doctor for the Third Reich and son-in-law to the Gestapo Major, Kriminaldirektor Biermann, Paul plays a dangerous game of cat and mouse. He isnt the person his father-in-law, and the Third Reich wants him to be, but if he refuses to conform, then he risks everything.

From the dangers of occupied France to the adversity of life on the Eastern Front, The Vogels: On All Fronts (The Half-Bloods Book 2) by Jana Petken is the compelling account of one family as it navigates the horrors of World War II from opposing battle lines. 

Petken’s narrative is flawless. This is a story which appals, impresses, and fascinates in almost equal measures. However, what makes Petken a master bard is that she knows when to pull back and change the scene, which gives her readers a chance to catch their breath. Petken can do this because the story is told by several points of view, which I found exceedingly compelling and utterly riveting.

Petken has a novelist eye for detail, not only with regard to the history of this era in which it is very obvious that she has spent many hours researching, but also in the study of human fallibility. Petken has created characters that are very real in the telling. I thought the portrayal of Paul’s wife, Valentina, showed how easily some German citizens believed fabricated and colossal untruths. Valentina is so blindly loyal to the Führer and her father that she cannot see the truth even when it is looking right at her. Valentina believes that she is part of the “master race,” and yet, as a mother to be, she cannot place herself in the shoes of her Jewish counterparts. She has been told the Jews are vermin and that is that. She has ceased to think of them as humans. They are an annoyance — and she wishes they would all disappear. Valentina is a stark contrast to her husband. Paul is loyal to his country, but he isn’t as devoted to the Führer and the Nazi Party as he has led everyone to believe. As a doctor, Paul deplores the things he has seen and the things that he has been forced to do, but on the other hand, he isn’t the victim in this story. There are decisions that he makes which have profound consequences on innocent people. Paul is, I guess, an ordinary man, who has been thrown into Hell without a map to guide him. Therefore, his story is one of utter heartbreak.

At times the tension in this book was so unbearable that I found myself holding my breath as I daringly turned another page. It is well documented that the German Army failed to supply their soldiers with equipment and clothing for the tempestuous winter weather on the Eastern Front. However, to read about a character whom I have come to care for made this knowledge all the more poignant and upsetting. Wilmot’s struggle to not only stay alive but to keep his wits was, at times, tremendously hard to read, and I did find myself in tears on more than one occasion as he faced one unimaginable horror after another. Petken’s portrayal of the terrible conditions on the Eastern Front was masterful. There is a realism that comes with Petken’s writing that is almost tangible. She has a visceral understanding of what makes history worth reading.

I thought Petken’s portrayal of MI6, and the very secret Special Operations Executive (SOE), was fabulous and a direct contrast to the Gestapo, especially when it came to interrogation tactics. Like his father, Max is involved at one time or another with both organisations. Max is a very experienced intelligence officer, but he is also a son and a brother. Max cannot understand why Paul chooses Germany and the Nazis over, what is so obvious to Max, the right path. Max is the only brother who sees the Nazi Party for what it really is, and he will do everything in his power to bring them down. Max lives in a shadowy underworld. He faces a different type of war to his brothers. I thought his story was tautly gripping.

The Vogels: On All Front (The Half-Bloods Book 2) is a wonderfully magnificent book that was so enthralling that I simply could not put it down once I had started. I cannot wait to get my hands on Book 3 and find out what happens to this extraordinary family.

If you are looking for your next great World War II, historical fiction read, then look no further than The Half-Blood series. You will not be disappointed. This series has everything you could want, and then a bit more.

I Highly Recommend.

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

Jana Petken 

Jana Petken is a bestselling historical fiction novelist and screenwriter. 

She is critically acclaimed as a bestselling, gritty, author who produces bold, colourful characters and riveting storylines. She is the recipient of numerous major international awards for her works of historical fiction and is presently in talks with film producers regarding one of her titles.

Before life as an author, she served in the British Royal Navy. During her service, she studied Naval Law and history. After the Navy, she worked for British Airways and turned to writing after an accident on board an aircraft forced her to retire prematurely.

Connect with Jana: Website • Twitter  • Goodreads

#BookReview — Pit of Vipers: Sons of Kings #2 by Millie Thom #HistoricalFiction #Vikings #AngloSaxon @MillieThom

Pit of Vipers
(Sons of Kings #2)
By Millie Thom

In Pit of Vipers, the second book in the Sons of Kings trilogy, the lives of Alfred of Wessex and Eadwulf of Mercia continue to unfold against the ever increasing threat of Danish raids. 

Now back in his homeland, Eadwulf sets out on his determined quest for revenge, whilst Alfred’s leadership skills develop at the courts of his successive brothers. Before long, those skills will be put to the test . . . 

The Danish invasion of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms in 865 is merciless and relentless. Every year more Norse ships come to join their comrades in a quest to plunder for wealth and gain domination over the people. 

The Wessex king is now Aethelred, Alfred’s last surviving brother, and Alfred becomes his trusted second-in-command. Whilst the Danes take kingdom after kingdom, the brothers wait with baited breath for them to set their sights on Wessex. 

By 869 their worst fear is realised. 

In the meantime, Eadwulf pursues the objects of his revenge.

“How those great leaders would grieve to see their kingdom so assailed…”

Some men die with a weapon in their hands and such deaths are to be celebrated for those warriors will sit in Oden’s Great Hall in Valhalla. For Ragnar Lothbrok there was no sword, no axe, just a pit filled with venomous vipers. As the venom seeped into his veins, Ragnar yelled these words:

“How the little pigs would grunt if they knew how the old boar suffered.”

King Aelle and his men laughed at Ragnar’s words, but Eadwulf did not. Eadwulf knew that the sons of Ragnar would seek their revenge and when they did, they would wipe that smile from King Aelle’s face. The sons of Ragnar would turn Aelles kingdom into something that resembled the Christian Hell. King Aelle had not conquered an enemy. He had started a war.

It was said that God favoured the younger son of the late King Aethelwulf. Alfred of Wessex wasn’t so sure because if God truly favoured him then why was he so inflicted by excruciating pain? Moreover, why had God chosen to make the reign of his brothers so short? Now everyone looked to Alfred’s beloved brother, Aethelred, to lead and protect the Kingdom of Wessex. However, there were rumours of a great Danish army led by Ivar, son of Ragnar, marching on Northumbria. Alfred can only hope and pray that once Ivar has had his revenge, he will leave the rest of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms in peace. But, if Ivar chooses to stay, then may the Lord have mercy on their souls.

From the cold and harrowing death of a Norse hero in a Northumbrian pit of snakes to the desperate battle on the plains of Salisbury, Pit of Vipers: Sons of Kings #2 by Millie Thom is an exemplary work of historical fiction.

Thom certainly deserves praise for her enthralling narrative and her authentic historical background. Thom has skilfully embroidered together the known history of this time along with the Old Norse poetry and sagas, which makes Pit of Vipers not only an incredibly powerful tale but also a compellingly epic adventure.

There is a little of everything in this book — heroes, villains, hate, love, wit and a good dose of irony — which keeps the reader not only engaged but enthralled. Thom is a born storyteller, and her masterful style pulls you right in. I found myself back in the Dark Ages with these fascinating characters during which can only be described as a very turbulent and uncertain time.

Pit of Vipers is the story of the almost desperate but incredibly heroic Prince Alfred (who would later become known as Alfred the Great) against the seemingly invincible Ivar and his Great Army. Running alongside Alfred’s tale is the equally mesmerising story of Eadwulf, who seeks vengeance for the murder of his parents, in particular, his mother. I adored Alfred. He is such a gentle soul. However, he is not afraid to fight for his kingdom, and there are hints of the King that he will become. Likewise, Eadwulf has come a long way from his desperate situation in Shadow of the Raven: Sons of Kings #1. Eadwulf has his freedom, and now he is a husband and a father, and yet, his desire for revenge will not be quashed. His relationship with Bjorn Ironside continued to fascinate, and his story was utterly compelling. 

Set in this harsh landscape of betrayal and mistrust, our heroes have to fight to stay alive. However, it is not all bloody battles and retribution. Thom paints a vivid portrait of what it was like to live during these times. The roles of women were explored in this book, along with the perils of childbirth. The suffering of the peasants under a Viking warlord was represented in all its terrible agony. All of which helps to gives Pit of Vipers legitimacy. This is a very believable presentation of this period in history.

There were times when I was left wondering who the real antagonist was — King Aelle, or Ivar the Boneless. If King Aelle had not executed Ragnar, then Ivar would not have brought his army across the sea seeking revenge. It is King Aelle’s actions which lead to terrible consequences for all, so does that make him an antagonist or just terribly naïve? It is quite a conundrum. Aelle’s treatment of Ragnar is deplorable, but then Ragnar was no hero to the Northumbrians. If only hindsight were a king, history, no doubt, would be very different! Ivar, in comparison, is a fierce and ruthless man, but he is also a shrewd strategist, and everything he does has a coldly calculated purpose, which makes his character all the more chilling to read about. I thought Ivar’s portrayal was wonderful.

I was fascinated by Ivar’s relationship with Halfdan. Halfdan is a warrior in his own right, but like everyone else, he lives in fear of his brother. It is only later on in the story that Halfdan comes into his own. Likewise, Bjorn’s relationship with his brothers is equally intriguing, as is his continuous relationship with Eadwulf. Of all the sons of Ragnar, it is Bjorn who comes across as the most honourable and certainly the most likeable! 

Pit of Vipers: Sons of Kings #2 is an absolute must-read for fans of Michael Hirst’s fabulous Vikings series. This book hooks you in and leaves you wanting more. The pages practically turn themselves.

I Highly Recommend.

Review by Mary Anne Yarde.
The Coffee Pot Book Club

Millie Thom

Millie Thom is a former geography and history teacher with a degree in geology and a particular passion for the Anglo-Saxon and Viking period. Originally from Lancashire she is a mother of six grown up children and now lives with her husband in a small village in Nottinghamshire, midway between the town of Newark and the lovely old city of Lincoln. When not writing, Millie enjoys long walks and is a serious fossil hunter. She is also an avid traveller, swimmer and baker of cakes!

Connect with Millie : Website • Twitter • Goodreads.

Saturday, 9 February 2019

#BookReview — The Dragon Lady, by Louisa Treger #Historical #Africa #Romance @louisatreger

The Dragon Lady
By Louisa Treger

Opening with the shooting of Lady Virginia Courtauld in her tranquil garden in 1950s Rhodesia, The Dragon Lady tells Ginie's extraordinary story, so called for the exotic tattoo snaking up her leg. From the glamorous Italian Riviera before the Great War to the Art Deco glory of Eltham Palace in the thirties, from the secluded Scottish Highlands to sultry, segregated Rhodesia in the fifties, the narrative spans enormous cultural and social change. Lady Virginia Courtauld was a boundary-breaking, extremely colourful and unconventional character who rejected the submissive role women were expected to play.

Ostracised by society for being a foreign divorcée at the time of Edward VIII and Mrs Simpson, Ginie and her second husband Stephen Courtauld leave the confines of post-war Britain to forge a new life in Rhodesia, only to find that being progressive liberals during segregation proves mortally dangerous.

Subtly blending fact and fiction, deeply evocative of time and place in an era of great social change and threaded throughout with intrigue, this novel keeps the reader guessing from the outset who shot the Dragon Lady and why. 

“I’ve spent a lifetime trying to forget, yet the smallest things take me back to the time the Dragon Lady was shot…”

Rebellious, that was the word Virginia Peirano’s mother would have used to describe her. Not even a convent education could curb Virginia’s recalcitrant nature. When she was a teenager, Virginia had a large snake tattooed down the front of her leg. Virginia never told anyone what possessed her to do it although she liked to make up wonderful stories about the reasons why she had done something so irresponsible.

Virginia’s marriage into the wealthy Spinola family should have brought contentment. Only it did not. Instead, it brought scandal. The Vatican eventually annulled their marriage. Virginia was now a divorcée, and although she married the very wealthy and decorated war hero, Major Stephen Courtauld, Virginia would never quite fit in. Not in Italy. Not in London. Not in Africa.

However, there was something about Virginia. Something that drew men towards her. Perhaps it was her quest for adventure or her deep and generous nature. One thing was for sure, this rebellious marchioness was not the kind of woman one could easily forget.

From the romance of the Italian Rivera, the beau monde of London society, the restoration of Eltham Palace, to the sheer beauty of La Rochelle Estate in Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), The Dragon Lady by Louisa Treger is the compelling account of Lady Virginia Courtauld’s remarkable life.

Treger writes with a great deal of empathy towards historical controversy and a keen eye for what makes historical fiction great. Treger has chosen her muse well, Virginia Courtauld’s story is one of success in a world where a king is forced to choose between his crown and the woman he loves, and the natives of a country have to fight to be treated as equals because of the colour of their skin. Like the scintillating Virginia, Treger’s writing could never be referred to as dull. Treger writes with a compelling style and a very impressive narrative that made this book impossible to put down.

I adored the characterisation of Virginia. Virginia is a woman who is born to a world that is ordered and has a sense of the proper. Virginia is like Wallis Simpson, a gallant spirit, who is occasionally shaken but never gives up her fight to be accepted and treated as an equal. When Virginia sees with her own eyes how the natives of Rhodesia were treated, there was no wonder that she wanted to help them any way she could, for she knows what it is like to be discriminated against.

This book touches on the terrible suffering caused by white supremacy in Rhodesia, and also the effects that this had, not only on the native population but also on the white settlers. The treatment of Mary, one of Virginia and Stephen’s servants, was incredibly effective in demonstrating the corruption of the government and the legal system during this era.

The amount of research that has gone into this book has to be commended. I knew next to nothing about the Courtaulds, but after reading The Dragon Lady, I felt compelled to learn more abut this remarkable couple. When I looked at photographs of Eltham Palace and the La Rochelle Estate, it was as if I had seen these images before. And, of course, I have, for their descriptions were so elegantly described in The Dragon Lady that I would have recognised them without the captions under the pictures. Treger has not only brought the Courtaulds back to life, but she has breathed life into the buildings and the time her novel is set in as well. Treger’s portrayal of Africa was rich and vibrant. I could feel the heat of the midday sun, and I could hear the chatter of the monkeys in the trees. Wonderfully descriptive and totally mesmerising.

The story is written with a great deal of imagination and energy. Treger’s elegant turn of phrase makes this book utterly irresistible and immensely readable. I enjoyed every word and every sentence. The Dragon Lady is a treat that no historical fiction fans will want to miss out on.

I Highly Recommend.

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

Available for Pre-Order
The title will be released on June 13th, 2019

Louisa Treger

Born in London, Louisa Treger began her career as a classical violinist. She studied at the Royal College of Music and the Guildhall School of Music, and worked as a freelance orchestral player and teacher.

Louisa subsequently turned to literature, gaining a First Class degree and a PhD in English at University College London, where she focused on early twentieth century women’s writing.

Married with three children, she lives in London.

Connect with Louisa: Website • Twitter • Goodreads.

#BookReview — A King Under Siege: Book One of The Plantagenet Legacy, by Mercedes Rochelle #Medieval #HistoricalFiction @authorrochelle

A King Under Siege:
 Book One of The Plantagenet Legacy
By Mercedes Rochelle

Richard II found himself under siege not once, but twice in his minority. Crowned king at age ten, he was only fourteen when the Peasants' Revolt terrorized London. But he proved himself every bit the Plantagenet successor, facing Wat Tyler and the rebels when all seemed lost. Alas, his triumph was short-lived, and for the next ten years he struggled to assert himself against his uncles and increasingly hostile nobles. Just like in the days of his great-grandfather Edward II, vengeful magnates strove to separate him from his friends and advisors, and even threatened to depose him if he refused to do their bidding. The Lords Appellant, as they came to be known, purged the royal household with the help of the Merciless Parliament. They murdered his closest allies, leaving the King alone and defenseless. He would never forget his humiliation at the hands of his subjects. Richard's inability to protect his adherents would haunt him for the rest of his life, and he vowed that next time, retribution would be his.

“With spades and hoes and ploughs, stand up now.
Your houses they pull down, to fright poor men in town,
The gentry must come down and the poor shall wear the crown…”

It was the age-old question, who should sit on the throne of France? Everyone in England knew that the French crown belonged to the English King — Richard II. Unfortunately, the House of Valois did not agree with the English consensus.

The French were a formidable foe. If the House of Plantagenet wanted to win this war, then they desperately needed to find more money. Parliament was called, and on the request of John of Gaunt, son of Edward III and uncle to the young King Richard II, a tax was agreed upon. Regrettably, this Poll tax was a very regressive tax. An unfair burden that the poor simply could not pay. It was really no surprise when the peasants revolted in 1381.

Richard II was only ten years old when he succeeded to the throne. He was too young to rule on his own. But instead of a regent, it was decided that the government should be placed in the hands of a series of councils, but even then, there were those who thought Gaunt had too much power. But it wasn’t Gaunt who rode out to meet with Wat Tyler (the leader of the rebels) at Smithfield. It was the fourteen-year-old King.

A child Richard may still be, but he was the King of England, and he believed in the royal prerogative. He had also had enough of being told what to do by men he no longer respected. Richard was old enough to know his own mind and to choose his own advisors. However, not everyone was happy with the way the monarchy was heading, and the discontent of those who had been influential rumbled around Richard’s realm like a threatening biblical storm from days gone by. It was only a matter of time before men such as Gloucester and Warwick had their retribution…

From small beginnings to disastrous ends, A King Under Siege: Book One of The Plantagenet Legacy by Mercedes Rochelle is the compelling account of the Peasant Revolt of 1381 and the following turbulent years of Richard II’s early reign.

What an utterly enthralling story A King Under Siege: Book One of The Plantagenet Legacy is. This is the story of a very tempestuous time in English history. Rochelle paints a vivid picture, not only of the peasantry and the hardship they faced but also the corruption and the dangers of court life in the reign of Richard II. These were treacherous times, and Rochelle has demonstrated this with her bold and an exceptionally riveting narrative.

The book is split into three parts, which gave the book a firm grounding of time and place. Part 1 explores the first major challenge in Richard II reign, which was the Peasant Revolt. Rochelle gives a scrupulously balanced account about the revolt. The story explores both sides of the argument, which I thought gave this book a wonderful depth and scope. Part 2 is aptly named “Resistance,” and this section was very compelling as Richard tried to take control of his throne. Part 3, was perhaps the most moving and upsetting as those who thought themselves slighted took revenge upon the King. Rochelle has this tremendous eye for writing very emotional scenes that certainly made me shed a few tears. I thought it was masterfully written.

As I have already touched upon, I thought the portrayal of Richard II was a historical triumph. Richard grows from this unsure youth to a man who is facing a war from those who should be on his side. Forget the war with France, it is the war within parliament that Richard has to try to win.

This story is rich in historical detail. It has so obviously been meticulously researched. I cannot but commend Rochelle for this exceptional work of scholarship.

A King Under Siege: Book One of The Plantagenet Legacy is one of those books that once started is impossible to put down. This book is filled with non-stop action. There are enough plots and conspiracies to satisfy any lover of historical fiction. This is storytelling at its very best.

I Highly Recommend.

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

Mercedes Rochelle

Born in St. Louis MO with a degree from University of Missouri, Mercedes Rochelle learned about living history as a re-enactor and has been enamored with historical fiction ever since. A move to New York to do research and two careers ensued, but writing fiction remains her primary vocation. She lives in Sergeantsville, NJ with her husband in a log home they had built themselves.

Connect with Mercedes: Website • Blog • Facebook • Twitter

Saturday, 2 February 2019

#BookReview — The Labyrinthine Journey (Servant of the Gods Book 2), by Luciana Cavallaro #HistoricalFantasy #AncientGreece

The Labyrinthine Journey
(Servant of the Gods Book 2)
By Luciana Cavallaro

Follow Evan as he continues his odyssey as Servant of the Gods in The Labyrinthine Journey. The quest to locate the sacred object adds pressure to the uneasy alliance between Evan and the Atlanteans. His inability to accept the world he’s in, and his constant battle with Zeus, both threaten to derail the expedition and his life.

Traversing the mountainous terrain of the Peloponnese and Corinthian Gulf to the centre of the spiritual world, Evan meets with Pythia, Oracle of Delphi. Her cryptic prophecy reveals much more than he expected; something that changes his concept of the ancient world and his former way of life.

Will Evan and his friends succeed in their quest to find the relics and stop the advent of Christianity?

"The time to restore the true path has come, and my bloodline will become king of the human race."

It is prophesied that the Gods of Olympus will be eclipsed by a man whom the people will call the Messiah. That cannot be allowed to happen.

Evan has been summoned by his father, Zeus, the King of the Gods, to partake in a very time sensitive quest. If he fails, then nothing will ever be the same again. Evan, along with some new friends from Atlanta set out on an epic journey to find the ancient relics which will save the Gods from an eternity of obscurity. However, it will be no easy task for there is one who is determined to see the Gods fall and the Messiah rise.

The Labyrinthine Journey (Servant of the Gods Book 2) by Luciana Cavallaro is no ordinary time-travel story. Prepare to meet deities, heroes and a whole host of mythological creatures.

Cavallaro has drawn from her extensive knowledge of Greek mythology and has written a story that will not only hook her readers but hold them captivated until the very last sentence. The narrative is refreshingly rich and vibrant. The story itself is bold and successful.

Throwing aside the boundaries of time and place, Cavallaro has carefully brought together some of the great names in Greek philosophy as well as some of the most memorable Greek heroes and Gods from that time. So be ready to meet, Zeus, Poseidon, Hera, Ares, Kronos, Plato, Jason and his famous Argonauts as well as a host of other fabulous characters. Bringing these characters together works very well for Cavallaro’s purpose of presenting a very entertaining and riveting tale. 

I thought Evan made a superb protagonist. He is a foreigner in this classical civilisation, having been brought from his comfortable life in the 21st Century by Zeus. Evan draws upon his knowledge of both the birth of Jesus and the contemporary interpretation of this ancient world he now finds himself in. Every so often he lets slip a modern term, only to be met with blank faces — some of his explanations were fabulous, and I must admit, I don’t think I would have explained how an aeroplane stays in the air quite as well!

Evan is a very driven character who simply wants to get on with the quest so he can go back to the time and life he knows. Unlike others, Evan does not cower when the Gods present themselves. He stands his ground. Evan does not fear them, for he knows their secrets, and he does not respect them as a hero usually does, which makes this story a little different from other Greek mythology tales that are out there. At times he can be somewhat temperamental, but then so would anyone who had found themselves stolen from their own time and thrown into a world of Gods, monsters and, if I may play on words a little, χάος — chaos!

Cavallaro has skillfully included a shadowy counterplot to this story, and by doing so, we have been given the privilege of following the antagonist’s tale as well. I was really surprised how well this worked. Usually I like my protagonists to be somewhat blind to the danger they are in, but in this case, I found myself enthralled by the antagonist's attempts to thwart the heroes. Kudos, Ms Cavallaro for thinking outside of the box.

The Labyrinthine Journey is the 2nd book in the Servant of the Gods series — I have not had the pleasure of reading book 1, but this did not impede my enjoyment of this story at all. The Labyrinthine Journey stands very firmly on its own feet.

What else can I say about this remarkable book but, be prepared to expect the unexpected! The storyline was refreshingly original, and there are certainly enough plot twists to keep the reader engaged. This is one adventure you don’t want to miss. Great for fans who have grown up with Rick Riordan’s fabulous Percy Jackson and Heroes of Olympus series!

I Highly Recommend.

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

Luciana Cavallaro

Historical fiction novelist and a secondary teacher, Luciana Cavallaro, likes to meander between contemporary life to the realms of mythology and history. Luciana has always been interested in Mythology and Ancient History but her passion wasn't realised until seeing the Colosseum and the Roman Forum. From then on, she was inspired to write Historical Fantasy.

Connect with Luciana: Website • Twitter