#BookReleaseBlitz #PublicationDay #RandRBookTours @RRBookTours1 @Shanannigans81 / #PromoPost : The Perfect Murder #ThePerfectMurder – Kat Martin @katmartinauthor

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

Today I’m on the ‘The Perfect Murder’ blogtour, organized by R&R Book Tours.
To promote this book I have some ‘basic’ information.

Kat Head Shot---Ventura-Star-(275by20New York Times Bestselling author Kat Martin, a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara, currently resides in Missoula, Montana with Western-author husband, L. J. Martin. More than seventeen million copies of Kat’s books are in print, and she has been published in twenty foreign countries. Fifteen of her recent novels have taken top-ten spots on the New York Times Bestseller List, and her novel, BEYOND REASON, was recently optioned for a feature film.

Website | FacebookTwitter | BookBub

Synopsis :

Title: The Perfect Murder
Publication Date: Today 🎉
Genre: Suspense / Thriller
Length: 352 Pages

The eldest of the three wealthy Garrett brothers, Reese Garrett is in the middle of a major purchase for his multimillion-dollar oil and gas company, Garrett Resources. The Poseidon offshore drilling platform venture will greatly enhance the company’s value.
But when Reese is on a trip out to see the rig, his helicopter crashes, leaving him hospitalized and two men dead. It’s discovered the chopper was sabotaged, and Reese is determined to find out who’s behind the crash—and whether he was the intended target. Then, when his lover, Kenzie, is accused of her ex-husband’s murder—a man with a vested interest in the Poseidon deal—clues start pointing to a connection that puts Reese, Kenzie and her young son in the sights of a killer.
From the Texas heat to the Louisiana bayous, Reese and his brothers must track down the truth before the body count gets any higher.

Amazon | B&N | Indiebound | Kobo | Google | iTunes

Giveaway :

Win a $20 Amazon e-gift card and a digital copy of The Ultimate Betrayal! (International, from today until June 25th!)

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The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #RachelsRandomResources @rararesources / #GuestPost : The Five Things – Beth Merwood @lizcity77

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

Today I’m on the ‘The Five Things’ blogtour, organized by Rachel’s Random Resources.
To promote this book I have a guest post, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Beth Merwood is from the south of England. The Five Things is her debut novel.

Social Media Links:
Website
Instagram
Twitter
Facebook

Synopsis :

perf5.000x8.000.inddFor nine-year-old Wendy, the summer of 1969 will never be forgotten.
Local kids have always told stories about the eerie wood on the outskirts of the village, and Wendy knows for sure that some of them are true. Now the school holidays have started and she’s going to the wood again with Anna and Sam, but they soon become convinced that someone is trying to frighten them off.
When a terrible event rocks the coastal community, the young friends can’t help thinking there must be a connection between the incident, the tales they’ve heard, and the strange happenings they’ve begun to witness. As glimpses of a darker world threaten their carefree existence, they feel compelled to search out the underlying truth.

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK
Amazon US 

Guest Post :

A trip to the garden centre

How do I spend my time when not writing, or editing, or reading? Well, often I spend it weeding or carrying out some other task amongst the flower beds.
A trip to the garden centre is something to look forward to as well, and I think a lot of us will agree, makes for a reviving and inspiring interlude. It’s important to make sure to allow enough time for a visit: it’s a place where it’s easy to get carried away, to become absorbed by the items on sale and all the possibilities that they conjure.
To start with, there’s a lot of looking to be done. It’s always good to wander through the tree section. For me, that’s a place to dream of having a fruit orchard. I imagine the spring blossom on a cool sunny morning, a few pigs or sheep grazing under the branches.
It seems that gardeners love their ornaments and furnishings, and next I find myself surrounded by grand stone seats, wooden outhouses and glass houses, too large for my space but still enjoyable to see and admire.
In another section lie the accoutrements that might encourage other beings to join us in our outdoor hideaways. Water bowls and bird tables. There are bee houses, insect towers and butterfly hotels on offer. A variety of food for all sorts of birds and beasts can be bought, and plenty of seeds are available that, if grown, could attract and make welcome more of the true owners and inhabitants of our little pieces of the outside world.
Even coming away with a small item, perhaps a new garden tool, a pot, or a piece of garden furniture fills us humans with a positive feeling. It will be pleasurable to go out into the garden later with the perfect implement for the job at the ready. The sheds confirm, that over the years, this has been a common finding, at least for members of my own family. The little buildings are stuffed with implements old and new, practical and experimental. And much as I like a new garden tool, I also love an aged one, with woodworm in the handle, the metal dull and coarse compared to the arrogant shiny stainless steel of the modern version. Some of the older implements remain unfathomable to me; I can’t work out their purpose at all. Others are so simple and throw up visions of a past heyday, in summer fields and expansive plots. I’ve kept a simple tool which involves two wooden spikes joined by robust garden string. The twine is wound round one of the wooden pieces: you push the empty reel into the ground and unwind until, at the distance you require, you push in the other spike. It’s unsophisticated, but perfect for marking a row to plant vegetables or for digging the line of a new flower bed.
A morning cup of coffee on a folding chair on the lawn; reading a book in the shade of a tree; a cool drink with a friend on a terrace or patio on a mild evening, the light fading.
So, car laden with new pots and compost, bird seed, an irresistible watering can, even some flowers — young bedding plants — I’m going home to while away a few hours on a small but special patch of land.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour @HoZ_Books / #Review : The Fort (City of Victory 1) – Adrian Goldsworthy

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free.
I’m grateful of receiving a free copy from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review of this book. –

About the Author :

Adrian Goldsworthy studied at Oxford, where his doctoral thesis examined the Roman army. He went on to become an acclaimed historian of Ancient Rome. He is the author of numerous works of non fiction, including Caesar, Pax Romana, Hadrian’s Wall and Philip and Alexander. He is also the author of the Vindolanda series, set in Roman Britain, which first introduced readers to Flavius Ferox.

Website

Synopsis :

AD 105: DACIA
The Dacian kingdom and Rome are at peace, but no one thinks that it will last. Sent to command an isolated fort beyond the Danube, centurion Flavius Ferox can sense that war is coming, but also knows that enemies may be closer to home.
Many of the Brigantes under his command are former rebels and convicts, as likely to kill him as obey an order. And then there is Hadrian, the emperor’s cousin, and a man with plans of his own…
Gritty, gripping and profoundly authentic, The Fort is the first book in a brand new trilogy set in the Roman empire from bestselling historian Adrian Goldsworthy.

Amazon
Kobo
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iBooks
Waterstones
BookShop.org

Review :

I’m going to start with immediately saying that when I saw this book I really thought it was a brand new series (It says it also on the cover!), but that’s, in my opinion, not 100% true as a couple of pages in the book I started to have the feeling that I was reading about characters who had a history together and therefore knew stuff I didn’t.
Fair enough, after some Google-ing, I found out that Flavius Farox and some others were the main characters in another trilogy by this author which I haven’t read.
Therefore the sense of being a newcomer to the party was true and it lingered on for quite a while I must confess.
It’s however not something I can blame the author for (Maybe a sticker with ‘Farox is back!’ on the cover would be helpful?) and not something to trash the book for as it was certainly a very enjoyable read.
The characters are very well depicted and there’s a lot going on from intrigues to heavy battling, humor and a real sense of that this all could have happened as the author wrote.
A very interesting and fast-paced historical novel that at the end leaves me wanting to read more about Farox & co as they, along the way, became truly friends I want to follow on other adventures in Ancient Rome.
I definitely can’t wait for the next installment in this series and I will be picking up the ‘Vindolanda series’ I missed out on whilst biding my time for a new story!

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #RachelsRandomResources @rararesources / #Excerpt : Search For The House of Dreams – Alison Burke

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

Today I’m on the ‘Search For The House of Dreams’ blogtour, organized by Rachel’s Random Resources.
To promote this book I have an excerpt, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

I was born in Lancashire and started my career by training as a State Registered general nurse. Later, I joined the army and became an officer in the Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps. On a posting to Malaya, now Malaysia, I found my true love. This was an ideal setting for a marriage with young children, and now my memories are a wonderfully rich source of material for my writing.

Social Media Links:
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Synopsis :

It is the year 1847 in the elegant city of Bath where 18yr old Genevre Stratton is treated more as a servant than a daughter in the elegant house where bills are not paid, and the rent is in arrears. Appalled by the dishonesty and overriding social ambition beneath her parents’ veneer of respectability, only her love for her younger brother and sisters keeps her there. Left to cope alone when their false world falls apart, she fights to keep her siblings together, until poverty forces her to yield them to the care of their half-brother, George Coleman. Handsome, wealthy and charismatic, he is the enemy who becomes her lover. To surrender all to her passionate desire for him, or to keep the independence of a new-found musical career on the London stage? This is her is her choice to make, until an unexpected call of duty takes her to Paris. Must the old, dark secrets she discovers there alter the course of her life forever?

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Excerpt :

What happens here leads to the heroine, Genevre, going to London instead of her sister Barbara and meeting the enemy who will become her lover. Here, left alone by her selfish parents to look after Barbara, dangerously ill with a fever, she has sent for a doctor.

He came into the room, a tired, heavy old man in a shabby greatcoat.
‘Miss Stratton,’ he greeted me and explained that he had been delayed by a difficult confinement. He went to the other side of the bed to hold Barbara’s wrist and I didn’t know if the tremor in his hand was due to exhaustion or some other reason. I saw him bite his lip as he felt her racing pulse.
‘Her hair’s keeping the heat in her scalp,’ he said gruffly. ‘It’ll have to come off.’
I stared at him, shocked. Barbara’s hair was a tangled mess now, but when she was well it fell over her shoulders like a golden cloak.
‘Her hair has never been cut. My parents wouldn’t accept that it was necessary.’
He interrupted sharply, ‘They’ll likely have to accept the loss of a daughter if something isn’t done to break the fever. You have scissors, do you?’
Terrified, I turned to the nearby sewing box and snatched up the dressmaking shears, gathered up a handful of her hair, then hesitated.
I felt tears come to my eyes and he said, more kindly, ‘Give the scissors to me. Your parents can’t blame you then,’ but I could not trust Barbara to his unsteady hand and set about cutting off her hair as near to the scalp as I could manage.
When the job was done, he came to my side of the bed, took off his greatcoat, rolled up his shirt sleeves, took the sponge, sodden with cold water, and slopped it over Barbara’s head, ignoring her moans of protest. Water ran everywhere, the pillow was soaked, and he set about drenching the rest of her through her cotton shift. ‘I’ll trouble you for more cold water, Miss Stratton and then you’d best take a rest while you have the chance,’ he told me, and I hurried down to the kitchen, where pails of water from the pump in the yard were lined up on the draining board ready for the morning. I filled two large enamel jugs to the brim and took them up by the back stairs, struggling under the weight. Relieved when the doctor said that would be sufficient, I lay down on the other bed and fell into an exhausted sleep.
It was almost an hour later when I heard Barbara calling my name and was by her bed in time to see her blue eyes flutter open. Her forehead was cool to the touch, the doctor smiling with relief.
‘We will never know if it was the medicine, the water or the hand of God that’s pulled her through, but you can close the window and we’ll get her bed changed.’
We pulled the wet sheets and pillow from beneath her and replaced them with the dry ones from the other bed, put her into a fresh nightdress and tucked in the bedclothes.
‘You do not have the appearance of sisters,’ he remarked as he was putting on his greatcoat to leave.
I was used to people remarking on the difference between us. Barbara was small, fair and prettily curved. I was tall for a girl, skinny and with a darker complexion, my hair and eyes very dark.
‘Barbara and the rest of the family are like my father. My mother is from the south of France. I believe I have taken after her side.’
‘And very nice too, if I may say so. How old are you, Miss Stratton? Seventeen? Eighteen. I thought so. A lovely young woman on the threshold of life!’ he remarked with an unexpected touch of gallantry. I felt my colour rise and I glanced away, unused to compliments.
After he had gone, I was too nervous to close my eyes again and sat on the upright wooden chair beside Barbara’s bed, watching in case the fever came back. She slept peacefully, but only when the night faded to early morning light and I heard the clock strike five did I feel it was safe to lie down on the bare mattress of the other bed, pull the blanket over myself and fall asleep.
There was a sudden cry, almost a scream, and I started up, wide-awake. Our mother was standing beside Barbara’s bed, her eyes wild, her beautiful face distorted by a look of horror. For a dreadful moment, I thought the worst had happened, that the fever had returned and taken Barbara while I slept. Then, as I reached the bedside, I saw she was awake, starting to cry as her small, pale hand reached up to feel her cropped hair. Relief swept over me even as our mother turned on me.
‘What have you done? Her beautiful hair gone. Ruined, spoiled forever. You wicked girl. Why did you do such a thing? Why? Why are you so stupid?’
She was likely to shout anything in a temper. I was used to that, used to placating her when she was in the wrong. Now, after the night of anguish I had endured, this was too much. I lost control just as our father came into the room. His anxious glance flickered over Barbara, then he hurried to our mother’s side and put a protective arm around her.
‘She was ill, Mama,’ I cried. ‘The fever was so bad that the doctor said it was the only way to cool her down. To save her! I had tried everything else. What was supposed to do?’
My mother flung herself against my father’s shoulder.
Her French accent, barely perceptible at other times, was pronounced as she sobbed, ‘Charles, what are we to do? Barbara was to go to London with dear Gertrude Oliphant in less than a week’s time. Gertrude has been so good to us and she has asked just this one little thing, that Barbara accompany her. And now she will not be able to go. Not like this with her pretty looks ruined by a jealous sister.’

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #LoveBooksTours @LoveBooksGroup / #Excerpt : The Last Shadow Knight #TheLastShadowKnight – Michael Webb #MichaelWebb

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

Today I’m on the ‘The Last Shadow Knight’ blogtour, organized by Love Books Tour.
To promote this book I have an excerpt, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Michael Webb lives in Dallas, GA in the United States. He works full time as a purchasing manager for a wholesale distribution company. Recently, he took up writing and fell in love with it. The Last Shadow Knight is his debut work and will soon be joined by books 2 and 3 of the planned trilogy.
Michael has been married for 18 amazing years. His wife is working on her master’s degree in clinical and mental health counseling. He has one son in middle school.
In addition to writing, Michael enjoys exercising, hiking, watching movies, drinking coffee, and traveling.

Synopsis :

On the unforgiving streets of Karad, Veron grows up hungry, inexperienced, and stealing just to survive. After tragedy strikes, he is forced to decide what path his life will take.
Opportunity arises when he discovers the last survivor of a secret organization called the Shadow Knights. Apprenticed to learn their ways, Veron begins to develop abilities he never dreamed he could have.
Meanwhile, an enemy from across the mountains comes to destroy their kingdom’s way of life, and the Shadow Knights are the only ones able to stop him. As Veron fights to survive the city, he prepares to face his destiny.he Shadow Knights are the only ones able to stop him. As Veron fights to survive the city, he prepares to face his destiny.

Amazon

Excerpt :

Moonlight bounced off the rooftops and spires, creating a glowing veil over the city. Merrick Ryd paced the balcony, waiting. By the end of the night, the King of Feldor would be dead, and he would be the one to kill him.
Merrick appreciated his perch from atop his tower of stone. Lanterns illuminated the stone streets of Felting, and the Felavorre River shimmered in the distance. The bustle of the day had settled to a trickle of people making their way through the city at night. He stood tall, like a ruler surveying his domain, untouchable in his walled fortress.
He looked across the city to the castle. Soon, the king would receive an urgent message. After reading it, the man with more compassion than brains would get in his carriage and ride through the streets to his cousin, the one who would desperately need his help. Merrick and his men would be waiting.
What a fool, he thought with a smirk. He felt at his hip to make sure his sword was there—it always was. Time to begin.
Merrick walked through the open doorway, and a blanket of silence fell over the men inside. A lone candle burned on a table, but the light from the moon outside illuminated the room where eleven men waited. Some worked for him at the Ryd Shipyard. Others had similar business interests. All would willingly give their lives for him. He looked through the crowd, taking his time to lock eyes with each of them.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #RandRBookTours @RRBookTours1 @Shanannigans81 / #PromoPost : In Solitude’s Shadow #InSolitudesShadow – David Green @DavidGreenWrite @EerieRiver

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

Today I’m on the ‘In Solitude’s Shadow’ blogtour, organized by R&R Book Tours.
To promote this book I have some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

David green is a writer of fiction, published multiple times on a variety of platforms.

David Green

Synopsis :

Title: In Solitude’s Shadow
Publication Date: June 4th, 2021
Genre: Dark Fantasy

The Banished have returned, and they will have their revenge.
Zanna Alpenwood, a powerful mage, stands atop Solitude’s walls staring down at an army bent on invasion. Two hundred aged and forgotten Sparkers are all that stand between the Banished and the nation of Haltveldt.
With time running out, Zanna is forced to reach out to her estranged daughter, Calene, and set her on an impossible quest. In doing so Calene must decide between her masters and her own conscience, as she teams up with unlikely allies to forge their way over land and sea. Will they arrive in time to save the fortress of Solitude from destruction?
Only one thing is certain. Ruin is assured if Solitude falls.

GoodReads

Amazon

Giveaway :

International Giveaway: $25 Amazon eGift Card

a Rafflecopter Giveaway

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#MiniTour #RandRBookTours @RRBookTours1 @Shanannigans81 / #PromoPost : The Last Tiger #TheLastTiger – Anthony Lavisher @alavisher

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

Today I’m on the ‘The Last Tiger’ blogtour, organized by R&R Book Tours.
To promote this book I have some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Since reading The Lord of the Rings at an early age, and later, the works of his favourite author, David Gemmell, Anthony has been inspired to write his own stories. When he is not forging tales and filling blank pages, Anthony spends his time working in his local library, reading, board gaming and enjoying adventures of his own.
Anthony lives in Wales with his wife, Amy, and their cat, Mertle. He is currently working on ‘Rise of Eagles,’ his fifth novel.You can keep up-to-date with his news here:

Website
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Synopsis :

Title: The Last Tiger
Publication Date: June 7th, 2021
Genre: Modern Thriller

Jon Galnia is a husband, a father, a Mafia Don, a man who believes that Fate and Destiny are two sides of the same fickle coin. Rich beyond his wildest dreams, his inherited empire expands beyond America, far beyond the streets of his bloody playground, currently far beyond the reach of the authorities desperate to pin even a traffic violation on him.
Fate is about to intervene.
Plucked from the sky by those who hate him, or perhaps by those who want what he has, Jon’s private jet crashes in central India, sabotaged by fate, though, perhaps, guided by destiny.
Unbeknownst to him, Jon is about to play a daring hand in an even bigger power struggle, one that will shock the world and, perhaps more importantly, the self-centred, ruthless Don.
A tale of corruption, of adventure and heroism, The Last Tiger is a thrilling tale of one man’s quest for survival and his uncertain hand on the pages of history.

Amazon

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #RandRBookTours @RRBookTours1 @Shanannigans81 / #Review : Everyday Magic – Charlie Laidlaw @CLaidlawAuthor @RingwoodPublish

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free.
I’m grateful of receiving a free copy from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review of this book. –

About the Author :

Charlie LaidlawCharlie Laidlaw lives in East Lothian, one of the main settings for Everyday Magic. He has four other published novels: Being Alert!, The Space Between Time, The Things We Learn When We’re Dead and Love Potions and Other Calamities. Previously a journalist and defence intelligence analyst, Charlie now teaches Creative Writing in addition to his writing career.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Synopsis :

Title: Everyday Magic
Publication Date: May 26th, 2021
Genre: Literary fiction / Contemporary Fiction / Humour
Publisher: Ringwood Publishing

Carole Gunn leads an unfulfilled life and knows it. She’s married to someone who may, or may not, be in New York on business and, to make things worse, the family’s deaf cat has been run over by an electric car.
But something has been changing in Carole’s mind. She’s decided to revisit places that hold special significance for her. She wants to better understand herself, and whether the person she is now is simply an older version of the person she once was.
Instead, she’s taken on an unlikely journey to confront her past, present and future.
Everyday Magic is an uplifting book filled with humour and poignancy, and reminds us that, while our pasts make us who we are, we can always change the course of our futures.

GoodReads

Ringwood Publishing
Amazon

Review :

‘Everyday Magic’ by Charlie Laidlaw is the third book I’ve read written by this author and once again I found it a unique read.
At its core it’s basically just a week in the life of Carole Gunn, but from page one you already know it will be so much more.
With the help of a little bit of magic we discover a lot about her life, not only in the present, but also in the past.
From the beginning Carole is, for me at least, a very relatable character in a realistic worldsetting which makes you really want to read all about her soul searching journey.
This may sound like a heavy topic, but as it’s so very compelling and entertainingly written, with a great dose of humor, you can’t do anything than fly through the pages.
Charlie Laidlaw definitely has a knack of telling a great story by not only making it intriguing, but also very heartwarming.
Needless to say, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and I’m convinced that you would too!

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #ZooloosBookTours @zooloo2008 / #Excerpt : The Shadow Man #TheShadowMan – Mark Brownless @markbrownless @SpellboundBks #SpellboundBooks

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

The Shadow Man blog tour poster

Today I’m on the ‘The Shadow Man’ blogtour, organized by Zooloo’s Book Tours.
To promote this book I have an excerpt, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Mark Brownless Author PhotoMark Brownless lives and works in Carmarthen, West Wales, UK. He has been putting ideas on paper for some years now but only when the idea for THE HAND OF AN ANGEL came to him in the autumn of 2015 did he know he might be able to write a book. Mark likes to write about ordinary people being placed in extraordinary circumstances, is fascinated by unexplained phenomena, and enjoys merging thriller, science fiction and horror.
Mark’s new novel, The Shadow Man is a terrifying horror thriller imagining what would happen if you found out the memories of your childhood were untrue, and that something sinister was lurking behind the facade of your life. Could you face what had happened back then? Could you face The Shadow Man.
Mark is also fascinated by myths and legends such as those of Robin Hood and King Arthur. This has culminated in the release of his short story series, Locksley, a Robin Hood story.

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Synopsis :

The Shadow ManWhat if the memories of your childhood were a lie?
One Dream was all it took and all the memories of thirty years before started to flood back.
Not the idyllic coming of age summer down by the lake that they remembered.
But dreams of death and of fear and of the burnings.
Dreams of the Shadow Man.
Will they finally face what had happened to them that summer?
Can they finally confront him once and for all?

The Shadow Man is the terrifying and utterly spine tingling new horror from the author of The Hand of Angel , perfect for fans of Alex North , CJ Tudor and Stephen Chbosky.

Amazon

Excerpt :

The lounge was twilight dark as the dirty blinds stayed permanently closed. It was stuffy and damp-smelling, and almost… something else. Like the smell of despair. On the table in the corner was an old chunky laptop and a pile of books – mainly horror fiction. I excused myself to go and use the bathroom.
I walked down the hallway, shocked at the memories it brought back from thirty years before, with the brown wood veneer cladding, the fake wood skirting boards and faded tatty pictures on the walls. I glanced into Janey’s parents’ room and it looked like it hadn’t been touched – as if the bed had been made by her mum on the day she died and had been left alone since. Janey hadn’t moved rooms. Her door was open, too, and I paused, looking in. I could hear the others talking in the sitting room. Janey’s bedroom was chaotic, with clothes and sheets of paper scattered around the floor, the curtains drawn creating shadows everywhere. She had a battered Star Wars mobile above her chest of drawers and a globe lamp that had clearly had an accident at one point because most of Europe was missing, the bulb shining out harshly through the Northern Hemisphere. Hundreds of overlapping newspaper cut-outs and pictures were pinned like a collage to a large noticeboard on the back wall, like some seventies police investigation. A black trilby hung on the corner of the cork board, a black scarf draped over it. The globe lamp did little to cut through the gloom, but I could see a small table in front, on it was a papier-mâché model of a landscape, which I couldn’t quite place. I glanced over my shoulder and saw no one in the hall. The others were still talking in the lounge. I walked into the room to get a closer look, stepping over Janey’s underwear and dinner dishes, the shiny disc in the centre was suddenly the lake and there were the trees around it and the grassy banks, exactly as I remembered them, exactly as they’d been in the dream. It was a poor, childish model but it hit me like a punch in the face. I was transported there, standing on the bank looking out across the water, the warm wind in my hair and the happy shouts and screams of my friends forming the soundtrack. Then the screams and shouts sounded less content, and more like they were afraid.
There were dolls in the basin of the lake.
She’s nearly fifty and she’s playing with dolls?
Janey had made a doll for each of us. There was her own of course, with her burns and her leg – that must’ve taken some adapting. There was Katie with her freckles and her wild auburn hair – the freckles looked drawn on, with eyeliner, maybe. This was too weird. Clara’s avatar was there with Sal’s and so was mine. Fuck it was creepy. I left the room quickly before I was caught snooping around, and re-joined the others after doing what I needed to do.
‘So what’s going on, Janey?’ I said. ‘Why’d you start dreaming again? Why now?’
‘Yeah, has anything happened round here?’ Katie asked.
‘Nothing ever happens around here.’ Janey smiled slightly for the first time since we’d arrived. She could almost look pretty when she did, almost lost the haunted expression she always seemed to carry. The smile lifted her face. It lifted half of her face, that is. The whorled discoloured scarring on the other side barely shifted. So her almost-pretty smile was a sneer.
‘Yeah, but does it, though?’ I knew I had to push her to get anywhere, always had to. With a delicate touch you could actually have an open conversation.
‘I don’t think so. I don’t hear anything. I… I don’t go out,’ the right side of her face flushed. ‘Or see anyone.’ She looked like a frightened little girl now.
‘But don’t you get any gossip?’
Janey shook her head. ‘The only direct interaction I have is with the Tesco delivery driver each week. And the Amazon guy, of course.’
‘Christ.’ I looked across at the table. ‘You got wi-fi?’
‘Yes of course, I’m a recluse, not Amish. There’s my laptop.’ Janey went across to her small desk in the corner of the room and opened her computer. She booted up Google and looked at me for direction. Nothing changes. I asked her to call up the local paper, The Enquirer.
‘Someone’s burned to death. There’s your answer, kiddo, right there.’ I read from the article. ‘Louise Jordan was found in her bedroom, burned beyond recognition, leaving only her foot, forearms and half her head intact, the rest burnt to ash. There was no sign of an intruder, or of arson, so initial conclusions are that Ms Jordan died accidentally. The forensic fire team concluded that there was no evidence of an accelerant, no trigger in the form of a cigarette or spark, so they have listed the cause as unknown’.’
‘Spontaneous human combustion?’ asked Katie, quietly.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #TheCoffeePotBookClub @maryanneyarde / #Excerpt : Guardians at the Wall – Tim Walker @timwalker1666 #HistoricalFiction #HadriansWall

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

Guardians at the Wall Tour Banner

Today I’m on the ‘Guardians at the Wall’ blogtour, organized by The Coffee Pot Book Club.
To promote this book I have an excerpt, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Tim WalkerTim Walker is an independent author living near Windsor in the UK. He grew up in Liverpool where he began his working life as a trainee reporter on a local newspaper. After studying for a degree in Communication studies he moved to London where he worked in the newspaper publishing industry for ten years before relocating to Zambia where, following a period of voluntary work with VSO, he set up his own marketing and publishing business. He returned to the UK in 2009.
His creative writing journey began in earnest in 2013, as a therapeutic activity whilst recovering from cancer treatment. He began writing an historical fiction series, A Light in the Dark Ages, in 2014, inspired by a visit to the part-excavated site of a former Roman town. The series connects the end of Roman Britain to elements of the Arthurian legend and is inspired by historical source material, presenting an imagined history of Britain in the fifth and early sixth centuries.
The last book in the series, Arthur, Rex Brittonum, was published in June 2020. This is a re-imagining of the story of King Arthur and follows on from 2019’s Arthur Dux Bellorum. Both titles are Coffee Pot Book Club recommended reads. The series starts with Abandoned (second edition, 2018); followed by Ambrosius: Last of the Romans (2017); and book three, Uther’s Destiny (2018). Series book covers are designed by Canadian graphic artist, Cathy Walker.
Tim has also written three books of short stories, Thames Valley Tales (2015), Postcards from London (2017) and Perverse (2020); a dystopian thriller, Devil Gate Dawn (2016); and three children’s books, co-authored with his daughter, Cathy – The Adventures of Charly Holmes (2017), Charly & the Superheroes (2018) and Charly in Space (2020).

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Synopsis :

Book Title: Guardians at the Wall
Author: Tim Walker
Publication Date: 1st June 2021
Publisher: Independently published
Page Length: 310 Pages
Genre: Historical dual timeline (Contemporary/Roman)

Guardians at the Wall CoverArchaeology student Noah scrapes the soil near Hadrian’s Wall, once a barrier that divided Roman Britannia from wild Caledonian tribes, in the hope of uncovering an ancient artefact around which he can build a project-defining story.
He makes an intriguing find, but hasn’t anticipated the distraction of becoming the object of desire in a developing love triangle in the isolated academic community at Vindolanda. He’s living his best life, but must learn to prioritise in a race against time to solve an astounding 2,000-year-old riddle, and an artefact theft, as he comes to realise his future career prospects depend on it.
In the same place, almost 2,000 years earlier, Centurion Gaius Atticianus, hungover and unaware of the bloody conflicts that will soon challenge him, is rattled by the hoot of an owl, a bad omen.
These are the protagonists whose lives will brush together in the alternating strands of this dual timeline historical novel, one commencing his journey and trying to get noticed, the other trying to stay intact as he approaches retirement.
How will the breathless battles fought by a Roman officer influence the fortunes of a twenty-first century archaeology mud rat? Can naive Noah, distracted by the attentions of two very different women, navigate his way to a winning presentation?
Find out in Tim Walker’s thrilling historical dual timeline novel, Guardians at the Wall.

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Excerpt :

Student and Tutor Meeting

[archaeology student, Noah, visits the Head of Archaeology for her opinion on his find]
I skirted around the two-storey sandstone building and ducked through a doorway into a well-lit reception area and stood before Mavis, the marketing assistant.
“Hi Mavis, is Maggie in?” I chirped, picking up the latest issue of Archaeology Magazine. Professor Maggie Wilde was pictured on the cover, standing on the battlements of the reconstructed section of wall, gazing northwards towards the unconquered barbarians. She was already a celebrity archaeologist and would have made the perfect foil for Harrison Ford’s movie character, Indiana Jones, with her wild, windswept strawberry blonde hair framing a striking face with cute freckles across her nose, and twinkling pale blue eyes. Her glossy lips suggested she knew the value of a warm smile or pout in a room full of men. ‘It’s like fancying your mum’s friend’, Dave had once remarked.
“She’s on a conference call to the States. Wait if you like, she’ll be finished soon,” Mavis replied, in a cultured Edinburgh accent. Posh Scottish.
“She’s the pin-up girl of British archaeology,” I quipped, flashing the magazine cover.
“I don’t know what she uses to keep her skin so flawless,” Mavis sighed.
“Perhaps she discovered an ancient potion?” I offered, flicking through the pages to the article. I had been hovering around when the photographer had taken her photos that day – maybe I was in the background of one of the pictures? I sat and read. ‘Hadrian’s Wall Gives Up Its Secrets’, the headline declared. The Vindolanda reading tablets were described as, ‘the find of the century.’ My broad idea for my dissertation was for it to be based on translations from some of the tablets – those that related to the lives and living conditions of the soldiers garrisoned at Vindolanda and other forts in the early years of Hadrian’s Wall. I had been cropped out of the photos.
“They couldn’t have been more excited if they’d discovered Moses’s tablets,” I quipped.
“You can go in now,” Mavis said, her voice dragging me away from the article. I had read half of it, and resolved to return to it when I came out.
Professor Maggie Wilde’s room was bigger than the reception area, with two walls given over to floor-to-ceiling book shelves – one with books and the other with boxes of academic reports and maps. No doubt Mavis had labelled and sorted them, as Maggie gave the air of being disorganised. She was an anomaly – a successful career academic who reputedly hated being tied down to boring tasks, like report-writing, collating documents, copying and filing; a creative free-thinker who was skilled at persuading others to unburden her of boring or repetitive tasks. She held two positions – Head of Archaeology at the Trust, and part-time Archaeology Professor at Newcastle University.
“Ah, Noah, come in. Just move those over there and sit,” she said, pointing to a couch piled high with maps and printouts. I moved the items and sat, twiddling my thumbs, watching the crown of her ginger head, waiting until she looked up. I had literally bumped into her at the student placement reception a few days earlier, and she had welcomed me with a firm handshake. I had blurted that I’d seen her Hadrian’s Wall documentary on television, feeling like a needy fan as soon as I’d said it. She had smiled and asked me what I hoped to achieve during my placement and listened intently, planting her stylish heels as if she had nowhere else to go, a strange thing in a room where people were mingling in groups. I was grateful for her full attention and pleased when she invited me to call on her expertise any time.
“If it’s a bad time I can come back?” I offered.
“There never seems to be a good time, so now will do,” she said, removing her reading glasses and fixing me with a warm and welcoming smile. “I’ve just had a two-hour conference call with members of the US Archaeological Society, so I could do with a distraction.” She leaned forward and picked up the marble figure Mike had brought to her hours earlier. He must have thoroughly cleaned and polished it before presenting it to her.
“I just wanted to hear what your thoughts are on that little lady,” I said. “Do you think she’s a female deity?”
She turned it over in her slender fingers and her shoulders twitched. “Ooh, I felt a slight shock, like static on a jumper,” she said, placing it gently on her blotter. “Yes, most likely female, judging by the full-length robe. The slight tummy bump suggests she might be pregnant, so perhaps a fertility symbol. I’ll send it to the curator at the Hancock Museum for her opinion. She’ll give me a better idea of where it fits into the Brigantes’ belief system. Some of their gods were twinned with Roman deities as the polytheistic Romans were keen to encourage local worship in their temples. Once we know roughly how old it is, we can look for other carvings or figures from that period and make a guess as to which deity it is. I agree with Mike; it could be a goddess whom the household would supplicate for good fortune, fertility or protection from evil spirits. Come and sit in the chair.”

*****

[At the same location in the year 180 CE, Roman centurion, Gaius Atticianus returns home after a fractious meeting to be confronted by his wife, Aria]
He entered his courtyard in a state of shock to be met by Aria, legs apart in her combative stance, holding the Brigantia effigy in one hand, a look of anger in her eyes.
“What do you mean by sending Paulinus to give me this carving of the local goddess, Brigantia? You know full well that we have a shrine to the water goddess of my people, Sulis, who is twinned with your goddess Minerva, and is the deity who watches over this house and our family! Have you forgotten the time our prayers and the healing waters of Sulis restored our little Brutus when he had the sweating fever?”
“Sulis be praised. But my love, it was a gift from the wife of my scout whom we saved from despoilment and murder,” Gaius replied in his well-practised conciliatory tone. She had resurrected the unhappy memory of his fears that his little son would succumb to the same fever that had robbed him of his first family.
“Then you have kept your promise and delivered it to me. But it cannot remain here, or our own goddess will desert us. You shall not see it again and do not ask me about it.” Gaius knew not to argue further when her temper was raised. She looked both magnificent and terrifying when her red mane was raised and her crystal eyes turned icy with rage. But like the storms of Britannia, it would soon blow out and she would be his sweet Aria again.
“You are wise, as always, my love,” he whispered, now more eager than ever to soak his weary bones and clear his troubled mind. He would withhold his bad news from her and mull it over. Gaius skirted around her and went to the kitchen to seek out Longinus to make preparations for his bath. He would be up at dawn to prepare once again for battle with the Caledonii, or to lead a guard to Coria with their wives, cohort valuables, and the report blaming him for the attack. But that was tomorrow. Tonight, he would eat with his family and sleep in the arms of his beloved Aria.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds