Recommended reads

These are the latest novels I've read that I would highly recommend.

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Click the image to navigate to Mr. Dee's Homepage

This was the first novel by Richard Dee that I've read and I must say, I am impressed. What a simply delightful tale. The story has many elements that I enjoy in a novel (mystery, adventure, romance) which I also found so enjoyable because the characters are depicted so well; their lives become fascinating and vested with interest for the reader.

The change in point of view from an everyday bloke on Earth who works a 9 to 5 job, to leaping 600 years into the future and light-years away to another planet where our humdrum Earthman vicariously experiences the life of a futuristic settler/explorer thru the medium of his dreams is perfect.

The experiences of these two men begin to parallel in a fashion that is too similar to be mere coincidence. Are they the same man? Or are they men from different times who are somehow connected by a psychological, temporal thread that impacts the life of the other? For when disaster strikes for Dan on Ecias--an Earthlike world--it also bodes ill for Rick, back in Earth's past.

With Rick's wife wondering about his loyalty after he tells her about his dreams of being married to a beautiful woman on an Eden-esque world in an exotic future, and with invaders threatening Dan's home on far, futuristic Ecias, will either man live happily ever after? It's an intriguing story that I found quite captivating and well written. Bravo, Mr. Dee

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Click the image to navigate to Mr. Hahn's Ring and the Flag page

The Test of Fire: A Sword and Sorcery Novel from the Lands of Hope is the second volume to be released in William L. Hahn's Tales of the Tributarians.  

Mr. Hahn's prose is some of the most mellifluous I've read.  Although this novel touches on topics complex, adventurous and mundane, Mr. Hahn seems to have developed a knack for making the complicated comprehensible, the routine interesting and the entirety intriguing--a feat I found fascinating to watch unfold in this yarn.

I daresay, if it had fallen to Sir Querlak to take out the trash of Mon-Crulbagh, we would read of this act of derring-do with bated breath--all due to Mr. Hahn's style.  It becomes so easy to engage with our Lord Barleybane's character as Mr. Hahn's prose draws us in and vests us with interest in Querlak's quest to turn a ruinous foef into a successful kingdom because of his love for the people who look to him for protection.  Bravo. 

 

Querlak is a real man's man.  Fearless, intelligent and thoughtful--but not entirely perfect; which is key to writing an engaging yarn--the balance of a character's strengths and weaknesses and having him lean on his friends when necessary.  For if he is all strength and no shortcoming, we don't "buy" it.  I bought it hook, line and sinker. 

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Click the Winterhaven cover  image to navigate to Mr. Stack's Winterhaven page

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Gilbert M. Stack's Winterhaven Book 1 is classic story telling and world building where the duchies and people come alive right under one's nose without even realizing it.

 

The plot is a complex one that doesn't rush itself, whose political and character threads are juggled with consummate precision and dexterity. The setting is reminiscent of medieval Europe, but the supernatural also lurks herein, which only heightens the mysticism of this world where things like 'the draal' are real, and shouldn't be taken lightly.

 

The players are thoroughly developed...and believable. And that might be what strikes the chord the most--is that Stack's Winterhaven world seems so real.

 

This story isn't to be read in a rush; it's immersive--a slow-roasted dinner versus a hot-pocket. Savor it as such.

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Click the image to navigate to Mr. Hahn's Ring and the Flag page

William L. Hahn flexes his literary muscles in The Ring and the Flag -- a fantasy novel replete with elves and heroes and creatures of myth and lore.

 

His hero, Justin, fresh out of military school, is soon thrust into predicaments he may or may not have covered in class. Enter Justin's innate cunning and supra-natural grasp on tactics. Military fantasy at its best!

 

The characters are memorable, the prose is smooth and the action fast-paced and page turning. I really enjoyed this novel - the first I've read by Mr. Hahn.

This novella-length opening gem for Mr. Hahn's series - The Shards of Light - will certainly leave you wishing to continue reading the Lands of Hope Chronicles.

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Click the image to navigate to Mr. Stack's Legionnaire series page

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Gilbert M. Stack impressed with The Fire Islands -- Volume I in his Legionnaire Series. This seems to be a trend for the chronicled adventures of Marcus Venandus - Tribune. The Sea of Grass is a rousing tale of adventure where we are again immersed in Stack's imaginary empire which only gains more and more depth with each volume. I found this novel quicker to absorb than The Fire Islands, having a background this go-round with the terminology.

As with any fantasy based on the Roman era, battles and intrigues are rife. These intrigues Marcus is quickly learning to thread, coming off exactly as one would wish of a hero - he doesn't care for the politics of being a soldier. It is in the heat of confrontation where Marcus' true brilliance is realized as he is able to scrounge from what little he has on-hand to come up with stratagem after stratagem to fight his enemies -- in this instance a horde of barbaric savages against whom Marcus must martial his defenses in the form of a rag tag band of legionnaires and a bunch of civilians among whom he is traveling.

It doesn't help matters that the mysterious shaman rebel rouser is a magician who is able to call down the lightnings! Beware, Marcus!

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Click the image to navigate to Mr. Stack's Legionnaire series page

For as long as I can recall, I've loved reading historical fiction.  And no era is quite as fascinating to explore as that of ancient Rome—or in this case, Aquila.

In his new Legionnaire series, Gilbert M. Stack doesn't just explore it—he owns it.   Not initially realizing this was a piece of fantasy, I was quickly drawn into life in this Romanesque outpost where you could literally smell the Praetor's sweat and hear the creak of leather sandals.  By Mars, many times while reading it I wished I owned a gladius so I could go outside and hack branches from trees—pretending them to be the enemies of Marcus Venandus.

But this is no simple piece of fiction  based around the legions of Rome.  This initial piece of Mr. Stack's new series offers the fan of High Fantasy a taste of what might have been.  The enemies of Aquila are not always couched in human guise, for in this world magic is real—and quite deadly.

Any Caesar sitting in his loge would give this  story a thumbs up, and so do I.

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The map of the Jeweled Hills painted by Chris L Adams

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