The book I read to research this post was Lost London by Richard Guard which is an excellent book that I read at kindle unlimited. This book is more of a history book than a travel book and is about historic buildings of interest in London that are no longer there. Most buildings in London are relatively  recent with the damage done by the blitz and the Great Fire Of London. The Great Fire destroyed over 90 % of the buildings in the 17th Century. There has also been a lot of emphasis on pulling down old buildings and replacing them with modern ones. There used to be a Globe Theatre which of course was rebuilt to an identical design on the original site fairly recently. The original got burnt down when someone tried to put out a small fire with a glass of brown ale that subsequently burnt out of control. Many of Shakespeare’s plays premiered here and he owned a part share that he sold and retired to Stratford on Avon with the proceeds on. There used to be a Farringdon Market which cost a load of money to build but only made a measley income. It was the classic case of someone not doing any kind of business plan. The traders themselves were very poor and on average only took in £225 per year and customer turn out was poor. There was also Harringhay Stadium where they did greyhound racing but was rife with organized crime with Joe Coral who founded Coral Bookmakers even having to threaten a man with a gun because the man had been trying to force him to pay protection money before that. The crowds were particularly rowdy and they even had riots featured in the national press at the time. The Tower Of London was built on the site of an older castle that had incorporated part of the  city wall built by the Romans in its design. They discovered this when archaeologists dug around the area fairly recently. Of course the city wall has long disappeared. There was also an old London Bridge that had the heads of traitors displayed on metal spikes including William Wallace who fought for Scottish independence. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would gladly recommend it. It is also around 190 pages so is a reasonable length.

I am reviewing the forensics thriller novel Devils Bones by Kathy Reichs which is a very good story that I bought from a car boot sale. This novel is part of the Tempe Brennan series which also inspired the TV series Bones and is about a 40 something police forensics expert who solves crimes. Especially with programs like CSI forensics is a popular them in thrillers. Kathy worths as a criminal anthropologist in real life and is also a professor. She is often an expert witness at criminal trials. You can see she really knows what she is writing. Anyway getting back to the story a basement is discovered by a repairman doing a job. He drops a tool whilst working that disappears through a rotten plank of wood and when he lifts it up makes a grisly discovery. There are people in the basement who look like they have been sacrificed gruesomely in a santeria ritual.Santeria is a form of devil worship carried out mostly in West Africa. Anyway the local wicca group gets most of the flak from the locals who think they are responsible. It does turn out the serial killer just happens to be a member of the wicca group but followers just about anything that involves sacrifice and sex. They do discover one of the victims has been paralyzed in santeria fashion with a herbal concoction and then had her spine sawn up with a circular saw among other things. A policeman is murdered in a shooting. They also discover the perpetrators ex girl friend gave them the wrong dates about when certain things happened like he got arrested and she bailed him out and he subsequently dumped her. She has a condition that affects her judgement of time and of course this places him conclusively at the crime. The book is around 300 pages so is a decent length. I must admit I like long books. The story is set in Charlotte, North Carolina. I did quite enjoy this book and would be quite happy to recommend it. David Boreanaz who star in the vampire TV series Angel is one of the actors in Bones.

I am reviewing the fantasy novel A Dream Of Mortals by Morgan Rice which is a very good story and that I read on kindle unlimited. Actually I think all Morgan Rice’s books are available on kindle unlimited. This book is around 250 pages so is a decent length. It is the 15th installment in the Sorcerer’s Ring series. The plot is Queen Gwen has been defeated by a foreign power and had to flee her country and get reinforcements. She’s had to travel pretty much in a rough and ready and was dying of thirst when found by friendly people who give her water and take her to a castle which is ruled by an ally. Thor has almost drowned and became possessed much to the consternation of his wife. He is enthralled by his new powers. There is a battle between a navy and pirates with them ramming the weakest spot to try and make their getaway. In the next book Queen Gwen does return to her homeland with reinforcements. There is apparently 17 books in the series with the final book still in preparation. The books seem to be connected by a ring that gives the holder magic powers. I did quite enjoy reading this book and do recommend it. This isn’t one of the better books in the series but is still pretty good. I do recommend it and hope to read and review all the series. I think Morgan would have been better off doing longer books and less installments which would have left the same result more or less.

I am reviewing the historical fiction novel Emperor: The Death Of Kings by Conn Iggulden which is a very good story that I bought from a car boot sale. This book is based on events surrounding Julius Caesar & Spartacus especially the slaves rebellion led by the latter. Apparently they reckon 70,000 slaves took part. The funny thing is they could have travelled across the Alps and got away but instead presumably because they wanted to take the Roman Army they headed South and of course ultimately were defeated. In this story also Julius was captured by Barbary pirates in North Africa and held to ransom and when he was finally released recruited his own army from local settlements and exacted a very bloody revenge on them. There are nice little details to the story like them wrapping cloth around their sandals to prevent them squeaking and give them grip when walking on the rain sodden parapets. Apparently we don’t know for certain that Julius fought in the battles against Spartacus but it does seem likely. Apparently Bernard Cornwell the author read the previous in the series and said it was so good he wished he had written it himself. This book is around 660 pages so is a pretty hefty size. I enjoyed reading it especially the factual notes at the end of the book. I think I do have all the books in this series so will try and read and review them. Of course I recommend it. A relatively minor character in this book although interesting nonetheless is Octavius who would become Augustus Caesar. He was a street urchin living on his wits and was adopted by Julius’s family. He was quite rebellious although did settle down to Roman life. Of course after Julius’s assassination he fought and became Roman Emperor and many reckon was their greatest leader. Interestingly the month of august is named after him and July after July in what is often called the Roman calendar.

 

I am reviewing the sword and sorcery novel A Joust Of knights by Morgan Rice which is a very good book that I read at kindle unlimited. This book is part of The Sorcerers Ring and is the last but one in the series which I think consists of 17 books. The entire series is available on kindle unlimited and quite a few are available as free downloads on kindle. This book is good but it isn’t one of the better books in the series. I think maybe the series is getting a bit worn. The plot is there are 2 fleets sailing long distances to do battle. Gwendoleyne is on one of these ships in the one fleet and the rightful ruler of the country they are doing battle with. The crew is getting a bit mutinous as they haven’t eaten properly for goodness knows how long and they are surrounded by inedible fish. There is various other sea creatures but they are unsure whether they can eat them or not and they look a bit strange like octopus like creatures with several heads. The army with Gwendoleyne is successful and she regains her throne and the crowds flock to the streets to celebrate and she tours her new kingdom. The other fleet will presumably see battle in the next book. I think they are going to try and overthrow Queen Gwendoleyne. Morgan has also written a series of vampire novels and a survival series about people surviving a catastrophe. I think he is a really good writer and hope to review all his books soon. I did quite enjoy this book and would recommend it. The book is around 190 pages so is a fairly decent length. I can’t help but wonder if it would have been better if the series had less installments but maybe longer books it might have been better.

I am reviewing the TV series True Blood Season 6 which is an excellent series. This series wasn’t quite as well received with critics as the first 5 series but that is probably to be expected with something that has been on television as it has. The series is about there are vampires who have been in hiding because they drink blood and have now come out because there is a blood substitute called True Blood that enables them to lead a near normal life. Of course not all vampires want to change and in the later series we find a lot of people want to get rid of all vampires. In this season there is a civil war between the 2 factions and many vampires have been captured in a kind of concentration camp. Sookie Stackhouse who is drawn to vampires and they to her and can hear thoughts of mortals but not vampires and is actually a faerie with powers to kill vampires with a fire ball she can launch from her hands as well as fortune telling abilities. Later in this series Hepatitus-V a blood disorder comes out and vampires are forced not drink people’s randomly to avoid catching it. The people who run the concentration camp do mostly get there comeuppance. Rutger Hauer famous for starring in films like The Hitcher kind of guest stars in these season and I think he’s a couple of seasons before too. This series tends to be characterized by lots of sex and violence and a lot of the relationships Sookie especially has are handled in a sexy way. It is based on a series of novels by Charlaine harris and although some of the episodes are based directly on individual books that aren’t all. Apparently Charlaine was impressed with TV Producer Alan Ball’s understanding of what she wanted to do with the series so she chose him to make. In the Radio Times several years ago they did a Top 10 of the best TV boxsets and this lthough was number 1 on it although some of the series has been released since. It has to be certainly one of the best things on television. There is a finale to the series when there are zombies coming back from the dead. The 7th season is apparently the final one and I will try and review that soon.

I am reviewing the gangster thriller novel Sins And Secrets by Jessica Sorensen which is a very good book that I read on kindle unlimited. This book is the first installment in the Sins series and is actually 2 books rolled into one with one being as a promo. There is around 250 pages altogether so it is a decent. Despite it being a gangster romance it isn’t that different to a lot of Jessica’s books and there is a certain fantasy element to it. The plot is there is a young lady whose father is a mafia boss and mother an ex-escort whom her father fell in love with and married. Her mother suspects someone else maybe her father and she only finds this out by accident. Her mother died when she was twelve and the lad she had a close friendship with and his parents are also dons stops seeing her on that day. Years later her father owes a debt and she has to assassinate a crime boss which is the only way it can be paid. The don she killed has his henchmen after her and she has to go on the run and be a secretary by day and an escort by night. Also the one she had a close relationship with and by now presumed dead is alive and they rekindle their relationship and get romantically involved. The owner of the escort agency also discovers her real identity and blackmails her. She also finds out her now boyfriend’s family were connected to her mother’s death which she thought was a heart attack. Her and her boyfriend are a bit like Bonnie and Clyde but on the run from the mafia. This book is probably aimed at an older audience than Jessica’s other books which are generally teen fiction. I did really enjoy this book and of course recommend it. The story tends to tug on the heart strings and you almost want to be one of the couple who are on the run. It is a nice read.