Excerpt From Rebecca Hazell’s Trilogy-Concluding Novel Consolamentum

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Lady Heloise added, “It is said that Saint Denis rose up after his execution, picked up his head, and walked a thousand feet before falling again. That is where a pilgrimage shrine was later founded, but the abbey that bears his name lies farther to the north. You will soon see that it is quite beautiful and also very special, for it is where all the kings of Francia have been buried since it was built. The king, I hear, intends to commission effigies to lie over each tomb, even of the earliest kings of Francia, like Clovis and Pepin. I find it very moving, and you must as well; it is good politics.

“Oh, look, they are already setting up for the October fair; one farmer always sells the richest cream you ever tasted. Not that I use it for eating: it also works wonders on the skin.”

As we passed, I saw many men and a few women setting up booths and stalls and even a few solid buildings. The aroma of roasting meat drifted across our path.

The fair was not yet open, but she and several other ladies did fall back to buy trinkets and, yes, cream, which the vendors were glad to sell them. I made the mistake of following behind. They were already returning, and I should have gone with them then, but I was drawn by a tent surrounded by colorful banners depicting odd-looking symbols. I thought just to look at them quickly and then to return to ask Heloise what they meant, but a woman dressed in motley came out when I rode up and began urging me inside her tent to have my fortune told. When I refused, a gang of hard-looking men suddenly surrounded me.

They probably had never heard a lady scream, but scream I did, and several knights in our company were soon bearing down on the ruffians, laying about and quickly rescuing me. This was shaming enough, but the king and queen heard the noise and were staring at me as I rode back, red-faced, to join their train. Lord Joscelin rode back to see me, looking stern. At least he began with, “Are you all right?” I nodded, looking down, unable to meet his eye. But then he added, “Don’t do anything foolish like that again. King Louis marked it, and you especially offended him by seeking out a fortune teller!”

Like what you read? This is an excerpt from author Rebecca Hazell’s new novel, Consolamentum, the conclusion of the Tiger And The Dove Trilogy.

More About This Book:

In the finale of Sofia’s memoir, Consolamentum, both dramatic and poignant, her dreams of home are shattered when her own family betrays her. Raising her child on her own, mourning the loss of her beloved knight, and building a trading empire, she seeks safe haven for her child and herself. Her quest takes her from Antioch to Constantinople to Venice. A surprise reunion in Venice leads her to France where she runs afoul of the newly established Holy Inquisition, possibly the greatest challenge she has yet faced. Can a woman so marked by oppression, betrayal, and danger ever find her safe haven, much less genuine happiness?

The novel is available both in paperback and Kindle versions and through your local bookstore by special order.

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About The Author:

Rebecca Hazell is a an award winning artist, author and educator. She has written, illustrated and published four non-fiction children’s books, created best selling educational filmstrips, designed educational craft kits for children and even created award winning needlepoint canvases. She is a senior teacher in the Shambhala Buddhist lineage, and she holds an honours BA from the University of California at Santa Cruz in Russian and Chinese history.

Rebecca lived for many years in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 1988 she and her family moved to Halifax, Nova Scotia, and in 2006 she and her husband moved to Vancouver Island. They live near their two adult children in the beautiful Cowichan Valley.

Visit Rebecca:
Website | Goodreads | Facebook

Visit other blogs on the tour for reviews, guest posts, excerpts and giveaways!

Giveaway:

Use this link to enter to win an ebook copy of the entire Tiger And The Dove Trilogy.

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Hand Of Fire By Judith Starkston Finally Places Achilles’ Love Briseis In Her Place In History

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“Patroklos, far most pleasing to my heart in its sorrows, I left you here alive when I went away from the shelter, but now I come back, lord of the people, to find you have fallen. So evil in my life takes over from evil forever. The husband on whom my father and honored mother bestowed me I saw before my city lying torn with the sharp bronze, and my three brothers, whom a single mother bore with me and who were close to me, all went on one day to destruction. And yet you would not let me, when swift Achilles had cut down my husband, and sacked the city of godlike Mynes, you would not let me sorrow, but said you would make me godlike Achilles’ wedded lawful wife, that you would take me back in the ships to Pythia, and formalize my marriage among the Myrmidons. Therefore I weep your death without ceasing. You were kind always.”

In Homer’s The Iliad, these are the only lines spoken by Briseis, Achilles’ love, and considered his wife. As you can clearly see, Homer left out a lot about a woman who changed the course of human civilization. Judith Starkston has corrected that mistake.

With the publication of Hand of Fire, Starkston has finally placed Briseis in her rightful place in history. Beginning as a healing priestess, our heroine soon finds herself in peril when she is taken captive after her family is killed in an attack. A woman who should have every reason to hate Achilles finds a way to love him, and those feelings become mutual.

We see Achilles and Patroklos’ close friendship, and how Patroklos was the only one who truly knew Achilles for who he truly was. When Patroklos was killed in battle, Achilles is inconsolable. This is the point when Briseis and Achilles begin to love each other, and she is able to peek through the veil of the immortal hero to see how human Achilles really is.

Throughout Hand of Fire, we see the progression of the romance between our heroes. The conclusion of the novel hits the reader very hard, when Achilles comes to realize that his fate is sealed and he is taken from this world so devastatingly. By this point, they consider each other spouses, and their love is cut down at its apex.

Hand of Fire is a truly amazing novel. Starkston executes the romance between Briseis and Achilles without letting it get too sappy or lose real, human emotion. Starkston interprets the Iliad the same way I do, with Achilles being a truly kind man with human emotions and flaws, rather than being a selfish, violent man like some believe. No matter what, though, Starkston has created two protagonists that all readers can relate to, with cares and emotions, love and betrayal. These two characters are shown so human-like, it allows us to peer behind the curtain of heroism to see how they really were, just like Briseis did when she found love with Achilles.

Judith Starkston has created a world full of historical accuracy to rival any other, and has crafted characters that we can all find similar to ourselves. I consider Hand of Fire to be one of the most powerful and well-written tales set in the Late Bronze-Age, and one of the best books of 2014. I look forward with great fervor to future works by Judith Starkston, which, if written on the caliber of Hand of Fire, will become classics themselves.

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Judith Starkston: Author Biography~

Judith Starkston writes historical fiction and mysteries set in Troy and the Hittite Empire. Ms. Starkston is a classicist (B.A. University of California, Santa Cruz, M.A. Cornell University) who taught high school English, Latin and humanities. She and her husband have two grown children and live in Arizona with their golden retriever Socrates. Hand of Fire is her debut novel.

Praise For Hand of Fire

“In Hand of Fire, Starkston’s careful research brings ancient Greece and Troy to life with passion and grace. This haunting and insightful novel makes you ache for a mortal woman, Briseis, in love with a half-god, Achilles, as she fights to make her own destiny in a world of capricious gods and warriors. I devoured this page-turning escape from the modern world!” — Rebecca Cantrell, New York Times bestselling author of The World Beneath

“Suspenseful, tragic, surprising and sexy” –Nancy Bilyeau, author of The Crown and The Chalice

“In Hand of Fire, Judith Starkston frees Briseis from the actions of Achilles and Agamemnon and gives her the power to become the heroine of her own story. … Starkston does a lovely job of bringing the characters to life, and her descriptions of the religious rites, the scenery of Mount Ida, and life as a woman of privilege in the ancient world put me firmly in the story. The love story between Briseis and Achilles is well-rendered, as are Briseis’ relationships with her father and brothers, her nurse, and the other women in the city and in the camp. A wonderful new take on a timeless story.” –Historical Novels Review

“Briseis steps out from the handful of lines she gets in Homer’s epic, and fearlessly tells her own story as healer, war prize, and partner to the famous Achilles–here a godlike hero who manages to be all too human. Recommended!”–Kate Quinn, author of Empress of the Seven Hills

“In her portrayal of Briseis, Judith Starkston has cast a bright light on one of the Iliad’s most intriguing sub-plots. With her fast-paced story, three-dimensional characters, and fascinating cultural details, Starkston has given historical fiction fans a tale to remember.” –Priscilla Royal, author of Covenant with Hell and 9 other Prioress Eleanor mysteries

“Starkston breathes new life into an age-old tale in this masterful retelling of the Iliad. The reader experiences the terror, bravery and heartbreak of Briseis who now takes center stage in one of the most famous love triangles of all time.” Elisabeth Storrs, author of The Wedding Shroud and The Golden Dice

“Absolutely loved the book. Couldn’t put it down. Wonderful writing. And, I see no errors whatsoever as regards the history.” –Professor Eric Cline, Chair of the Department of Classical and Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, George Washington University

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Please Follow The Virtual Tour For Hand of Fire here.

Purchase Hand Of Fire At:

Amazon

Nook

Guest Post From Donald Michael Platt, Author Of Close To The Sun

Today I have a guest post from Donald Michael Platt, author of Close To The Sun. Mr. Platt has had a long career in teaching and writing, and I look forward to sharing a post penned by him. He has now begun to write many new novels in genres including historical and military fiction, and I hope that this post helps you learn more about the man behind the books.

Guest Post From Donald Michael Platt:

I thank you Nassem Al-Mehairi for inviting me to post on your blog.

I have loved reading about History since first memory and later immersing myself in Historical Fiction by age eight. If I saw a swashbuckler film first, I wanted to read the book it was based on and non-fiction to learn how much was true. No Tom Sawyer for me, I preferred Mark Twain’s Prince and the Pauper and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, both of which were made into films.

I bypassed Dickens, Johnny Tremaine, and the Hardy Boys for writers from the so-called Golden Age of HF. Many of their novels were made into films when I was a boy into my early Teens:

Rafael Sabatini’s Captain Blood, The Black Swan, and Scaramouche
Samuel Shellabarger’s Captain from Castile and The Prince of Foxes –
Thomas Costain’s The Black Rose
Frank Yerby’s The Foxes of Harrow, The Golden Hawk, and The Saracen Blade—Edison Marshall’s novel Benjamin Blake became the film Son of Fury and others that made it to cinema included Yankee Pasha and The Viking –

And at age twelve I even read Kathleen Windsor’s Forever Amber. All the HF and non-HF I have read since then would fill many pages.

Continuing my love of History, I earned my B.A. in History at U.C. Berkeley and taught it as well. Able to write in several genres and media, film and TV, I decided the time had come for me to try HF.

Although my first published novel A Gathering of Vultures was contemporary horror, I included some history about worship of vultures going back to ca, 7,000 BC.

Little known historical characters who led exceptional lives have always interested me. I wanted to know more about them, but often no information existed to fill the gaps and satisfy my curiosity. That is why I wrote my first HF novels Rocamora and House of Rocamora based on the life of Vicente de Rocamora. a sparsely documented historical personage who went from Dominican ( the monastic Order that controlled the Inquisition) royal confessor and spiritual director for the teenage teenage Infanta of Spain and sister of Philip IV to at age 46 a Jewish physician in Amsterdam, married a twenty-five year old woman who would give him nine children over the next eleven years.

Another historical personage who appears in my next novel to be published in September of this year is Bodo, the Apostate, as described in this blurb for the back cover:

“… in the meantime, a credible report caused all ecclesiastics of the Catholic Church to lament and weep.” Prudentius of Troyes, Annales Bertiniani, anno 839

On Ascension Day May 22, 838, Bishop Bodo, chaplain, confessor, and favorite of both his kin, Emperor Louis the Pious, son of Charlemagne, and Empress Judith, caused the greatest scandal of the Carolingian Empire and the 9th century Roman Church.

My novel, Bodo the Apostate, dramatizes the causes, motivations, and aftermath of Bodo’s astonishing cause célèbre that took place during an age of superstitions, a confused Roman Church, heterodoxies, lingering paganism, broken oaths, rebellions, and dissolution of the Carolingian Empire.

About my novel published this past June 15th,, 2014, Close to the Sun follows the lives of two Americans and a German from childhood through the end of WWII. As boys, they idealize the exploits of WWI fighter aces known as chivalrous Knights of the Skies.

Hank Milroy from Wyoming learns his first flying lessons from observing falcons. Karl, Fürst von Pfalz-Teuffelreich, aspires to surpass his father’s 49 Luftsiegen accumulated during WWI. Seth Braham falls in love with flying during an air show at San Francisco’s Chrissy Field. The young men meet exceptional women. Texas tomboy Catherine “Winty” McCabe believes she is as good a flyer as any man. Princess Maria-Xenia, a stateless White Russian, works for the Abwehr, German intelligence. Elfriede “Elfi” Wohlmann is a frontline nurse. Mimi Kay sings with a big band.

Flying fighters over Europe, Hank, Karl, and Seth experience the exhilaration of aerial combat victories and acedom during the unromantic reality of combat losses, tedious bomber escort, strafing runs, and firebombing of entire cities. Callous political decisions and military mistakes add to their disillusion, especially one horrific tragedy at the end of the war.

Why did I write Close to the Sun? A sentient boy during WWII, I admired the fighter aces and their sleek planes. Over time I was given access to many documents from both the Allies and the Axis, and I met and conversed with aces from the USAAF, the RAF, and the Luftwaffe. A novel formed in my mind and I sat down to write.

I wanted to create a fictional USAAF fighter group and its squadrons for my fictional composite American characters against a realistic background. It took some time to find numbers that had not been used. For the Luftwaffe, I chose to use historical unit and bases.

My next challenge was to create composite characters. I wanted the two Americans to represent country and city, with a secondary character who had all the negative traits of certain fighter aces. I found it easier for purposes of the novel to make the Luftwaffe ace an aristocrat. The history of the air war over Europe carried the narrative.

I did not want Close to the Sun to be an all-male story, so I added four female characters. Winty McCabe was easy to create because she was the embodiment of all women who wanted to fly and who served as a WASP, Women’s Airforce Service Pilot. A Russian princess who worked with the anti-Nazi faction in the Abwehr, German Intelligence, gave me the inspiration for Mariya-Xenia. Given that some U.S. fighter aces wed actresses and big band singers, after a while I came up with the singer streetwise Mimi Kay. Last of all, I added Elfie, a German combat nurse for purposes of story.

My publisher has asked me for a sequel to Close to the Sun, which I have begun, and many more HF novels have been written in my mind.

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Donald Michael Platt, Biography~

Author of five novels Rocamora, House of Rocamora, A Gathering of Vultures, Close To The Sun, and Bodo, the Apostale, Donald Michael Platt was born and raised in San Francisco. Donald graduated from Lowell High School and received his B.A. in History from the University of California at Berkeley. After two years in the Army, Donald attended graduate school at San Jose State where he won a batch of literary awards in the annual SENATOR PHELAN LITERARY CONTEST.

Donald moved to southern California to begin his professional writing career. He sold to the TV series, MR. NOVAK, ghosted for health food guru, Dan Dale Alexander, and wrote for and with diverse producers, among them as Harry Joe Brown, Sig Schlager, Albert J. Cohen, Al Ruddy plus Paul Stader Sr, Hollywood stuntman and stunt/2nd unit director. While in Hollywood Donald taught Creative Writing and Advanced Placement European History at Fairfax High School where he was Social Studies Department Chairman.

After living in Florianópolis, Brazil, setting of his horror novel A Gathering Of Vultures, pub. 2007 & 2011, he moved to Florida where he wrote as a with: VITAMIN ENRICHED, pub.1999, for Carl DeSantis, founder of Rexall Sundown Vitamins; and THE COUPLE’S DISEASE, Finding a Cure for Your Lost “Love” Life, pub. 2002, for Lawrence S. Hakim, MD, FACS, Head of Sexual Dysfunction Unit at the Cleveland Clinic.

Currently, Donald resides in Winter Haven, Florida where he is polishing a dark novel and writing a sequel to Close To The Sun.

Books By Donald Michael Platt:

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Visit Mr. Platt at: http://donaldmichaelplatt.com/, and watch his YouTube video at https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=RXZthhY6OtI

Talon Series: Assassination in Al Qahirah Is A Riveting Adventure In Crusade-era Egypt

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This is my fourth post in the “Talon Series”. To read my other posts so far, more information on the other books, and upcoming posts in the series, please visit my “James Boschert’s Talon Series” page at the top.

James Boschert’s first novel, Assassins Of Alamut, takes place in the 12th Century. Set in the time of the Crusades, it is the story of Talon, a young Frank who is captured by the Ismaili Muslims, themselves hunted by the Sunni and Shi’a. He is raised as a Ismaili, and trains to become a Hashshashin (Assassin), the protectors of the Ismaili.

In the second book in the series, Knight Assassin, Talon, with the help of his uncle Phillip, makes the trek back to his birthplace (and true home): France. When Talon returns, his homecoming is celebrated, but a dark threat looms over the reunion of the de Gilles family. Greed and treachery plague the French countryside, as claims to inheritance are fought for to the death.

Now, in the third installment of the series, Assassination in Al Qahirah, Talon is finally able to return to the Holy Land. In pursuit of the friends he lost in the first book, Talon is especially diligent in his hopes to be reunited with his love, Rav’an. As much as he tries, however, Fate has a different path prepared for him.

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Al Fayoum: Where Desert Meets Oasis. Credit Here.

Upon rescuing Lady Khalidah and her children from a band of masked bandits, Talon, along with sidekick Max, find themselves being incorporated into life in Egypt. Al Fayoum, a city on an oasis 60 miles south of Giza, is where they make their home until they are able to trek to the Holy Land. While in Al Fayoum, they are the company of Lady Khalidah and her husband, Emir Abbas Faisal, where Talon instructs their children on mathematics, foreign languages, and cultures. He also advices the Emir on how to better the security on the walls of the family compound, all while following the trail of why Lady Khalidah and her children were attacked in the first place. Is the Emir also a target? Why them?

As the Nile River flows along, water rushing, so does blood. Can Talon stop it in time before it reaches its true target? Using the dual skills of a knight and an assassin, stealth and devastating combat, Talon is the only one to solve the mystery and root out the conspirators.

Assassination in al Qahirah is, like the first 2 Talon books, a true tale of adventure and bravery. Talon’s sense of fighting for good makes readers love him as a hero, and Boschert never writes a book without an intelligent, engrossing plot. The setting of Egypt was well-received with me, as I both love reading about it and a portion of me is ethnically Egyptian. The action is enough to make for an exciting adventure, but not enough that it becomes numb.

Overall, Assassination in Al Qahirah is an achievement, combining a historical conspiracy in Egypt with an adventure that never lets up. The characters are crafted with careful precision, making for a truly one-of-a-kind novel series.

Next will come my review of Greek Fire by James Boschert.

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James Boschert~ Author Bio:

James Boschert grew up in the then colony of Malaya between the ages of four and eleven. The Chinese communists were active in the jungles at the time threatening the entire country with a cruel insurgency. His school was burned down and the family survived the ambush of a food convoy, saved by a patrol of Gurkha soldiers. He joined the British army as a boy soldier and later served in remote places like Borneo, Oman and other countries of the Middle East, eventually spending several years in Iran. While there he explored the castles of the infamous sect known as the Ismaili or Hashashini. It sometimes took a few days hard walking or driving to find these remote deserted fortresses high in the mountains of the Alborz in northern Iran. They eventually became the subject matter for his first book “The Assassins of Alamut” Escaping from the turmoil of Iran during the revolution he went to college and now lives in the USA.

He has developed a fascination for medieval history in general but in particular the history of the Middle East, Andalusia, Egypt and all the way to India. His books are historical novels about the medieval history of the same region but seen from both perspectives, that of the Crusaders and the Muslim world. “I believe that in order to put some depth to the Crusades one needs to look at what was going on all around them at the same time. I find the world at that time incredibly rich in every aspect.”

“The four legs of civilization as we have recorded it, Andalusia, Europe, Byzantium and the old empires of Persia and the Islamic world of Syria and Egypt make a rich backdrop for any novel.”

“The politics and under currents of the Middle East continue to hold my attention as they are always in flux and are never still.”

Daughter of The Gods Is A Long-Awaited Redemption of Hatshepsut and Her Legacy

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I am lucky enough to know the author of Daughter of The Gods, Stephanie Thornton, personally, so I was able to read the novel before release. I am so happy now everyone can read it, and be personally inspired by it.

Daughter of The Gods is the story of Pharaoh Hatshepsut, the fifth Pharaoh of the Eighteenth dynasty of Ancient Egypt. She is forced for so long to do whatever people want her to do. Marry her half-brother Thut to secure his ascension to the Horus Throne, sit pretty for the people while the men plan battle (which she longs to do), and be forced to try to produce a male heir to the throne. When another of Thut’s wives, Aset, gives him a son, Hatshepsut begins to see a real life for herself. She is tired of being what everyone wants her to be, and when Thut abruptly dies, she becomes regent for her two-year-old nephew.

As she starts to realize what ruling is like, and as she develops a strong love connection to the brilliant Senenmut, Hatshepsut decides what she must do. She herself, unheard of previously, seizes the throne and becomes Pharaoh. She gives her all to Egypt, ruling effectively and putting the people first. But, as her heart aches, she must decide if she will rule or give in to what her heart desires. And when the people around her start to work against her, she must do what she feels right to lead Egypt to great things.

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Statue of Hatshepsut. Credit Here.

Ever since I read her debut novel, The Secret History, I have loved Thornton’s writing for many reasons. The books are so well-researched we feel we actually are smelling the incense, feeling the desert sun, just as Hatshepsut does. We feel the love Hatshepsut has, for Senenmut, for the people of Egypt. Thornton is able to display Hatshepsut’s achievements as the female Pharaoh would have seen them. The implementation of trade routes between Egypt and the rest of the civilized world, the construction of temples to last millennia, and the conquest of many Nubian towns.

The greatest thing I took away from Daughter of The Gods, just as I have from Thornton’s other course-of-history changing women, is the fact that you must give your all if you are to lead. I am going to be the leader of the free world (President of the United States), and so the lessons Hatshepsut’s life teaches I can apply to my own life. She worked her entire life for the best of Egypt, and that teaches me that if I am to be President I must work for the very best for the people of the US my whole life.

Stephanie Thornton adds another shining book to her powerful women in history series with Daughter of The Gods, and the restoration of Hatshepsut as one of the most powerful, influential, and important leaders in human history.

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Author Stephanie Thornton, Biography~

Stephanie Thornton is a writer and history teacher who has been obsessed with infamous women from ancient history since she was twelve. She lives with her husband and daughter in Alaska, where she is at work on her next novel. The Secret History: A Novel of Empress Theodora is available from NAL/Penguin and Daughter of the Gods: A Novel of Ancient Egypt hit the shelves May 6, 2014. The Tiger Queens: A Novel of Genghis Khan will publish in Fall 2014. For more information, please visit Stephanie Thornton’s website

Praise For Daughter Of The Gods

“Daughter of the Gods is a wonderfully intimate and dramatic evocation of Ancient Egypt, where one headstrong young woman dares to become pharaoh. Stephanie Thornton vividly portrays the heat and the danger, the passion and the heartbreak of Hatshepsut’s struggle, as she defies even the gods to ensure success on the throne of Egypt. A touching love story combines with a thrilling tale of death, courage and political intrigue to produce a superbly researched and powerfully written novel. This is the kind of book that grabs you by the throat and doesn’t let go. A remarkable story, remarkably told.” -Kate Furnivall, author of Shadows on the Nile

“Stephanie Thornton’s heroines are bold, brave, and powerful–they make me want to stand up and cheer!” -Kate Quinn, author of Lady of the Eternal City

“Daughter of the Gods is a full-out, total immersion experience of ancient Egypt. From her moving love affair with a commoner to her fierce and unwavering commitment to Egypt as a female Pharaoh, Hatshepsut crackles with fascinating complexity. Her ka must be grinning with pleasure at this richly textured account of her life, one that is worthy of the great queen herself. “ -Vicky Alvear Shecter, author of Cleopatra’s Moon

“An epic saga that brings ancient Egypt to life with vivid imagery and lovely prose. Stephanie Thornton is a rising star!” -Stephanie Dray, author of Lily of the Nile

Talon Series #2: Assassins Of Alamut Is A Multi-Dimensional Novel Of The Crusades

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This is my second post in the “James Boschert’s Talon Series”. To read my other post so far, more information on the other books, and upcoming posts in the series, please visit my “James Boschert’s Talon Series” page at the top.

James Boschert’s first novel, Assassins Of Alamut, takes place in the 12th Century. Immeshed in the Crusades, it is the story of Talon, a young Frank who is captured by the Ismaili Muslims, themselves hunted by the Sunni and Shi’a. He is raised as a Ismaili, and trains to become a Hashshashin (Assassin), utilized by the Ismaili to defend themselves.

As Talon moves up the ranks, he develops skills only master assassins have. He slowly starts to realize, however, that there is treachery among the assassins, and he must defend himself, his friend Reza, and his forbidden love Rav’an from the traitors that lurk behind every shadow in the Holy Land.

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Alamut Region. Credit Here.

Boschert’s first novel is a rare one because he has experienced first-hand this region, can speak Farsi, and knows Persian history like the back of his hand. He also can connect to Talon’s plight in the assassin community because he is a Brit who explored this region, not a native. His dual connection to both sides of this book brings it to life like none other.

The book’s length may be daunting to some readers, but it is well paced, with detail that absorbs us but allows for great action scenes. Also, this is not purely historical fiction nor military history; it combines both to make multi-dimensional characters and the events and locales around them.

Assassins of Alamut is executed perfectly, great for readers of historical fiction and military history both. It brings a new dimension to the time period of the Crusades, with personal experience tied with great accumulated knowledge of the period.

Next will come my review of the sequel, Knight Assassin.

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James Boschert~ Author

James Boschert grew up in the then colony of Malaya between the ages of four and eleven. The Chinese communists were active in the jungles at the time threatening the entire country with a cruel insurgency. His school was burned down and the family survived the ambush of a food convoy, saved by a patrol of Gurkha soldiers. He joined the British army as a boy soldier and later served in remote places like Borneo, Oman and other countries of the Middle East, eventually spending several years in Iran. While there he explored the castles of the infamous sect known as the Ismaili or Hashashini. It sometimes took a few days hard walking or driving to find these remote deserted fortresses high in the mountains of the Alborz in northern Iran. They eventually became the subject matter for his first book “The Assassins of Alamut” Escaping from the turmoil of Iran during the revolution he went to college and now lives in the USA.

He has developed a fascination for medieval history in general but in particular the history of the Middle East, Andalusia, Egypt and all the way to India. His books are historical novels about the medieval history of the same region but seen from both perspectives, that of the Crusaders and the Muslim world. “I believe that in order to put some depth to the Crusades one needs to look at what was going on all around them at the same time. I find the world at that time incredibly rich in every aspect.”

“The four legs of civilization as we have recorded it, Andalusia, Europe, Byzantium and the old empires of Persia and the Islamic world of Syria and Egypt make a rich backdrop for any novel.”

“The politics and under currents of the Middle East continue to hold my attention as they are always in flux and are never still.”