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Return to Babylon

Return to Babylon (The Orfeo Saga, #5)5 Stars

Return to Babylon is the fifth installment of the Orfeo saga and begins with Orfeo and Clarice returning from the New World and their battle with the Spartans to settle into a somewhat peaceful life in Pylos. However with the battles still fresh in their mind and the nightmares still haunting their sleep, Orfeo knew evil would eventually reappear- it was just a matter of when and where. An assassination attempt on Orfeo’s life leads him to leave with Clarice to venture to the city of Mesopotamia in hopes they will keep their beloved city of Pylos safe.

Meanwhile, kings begin to drop like flies with the kingdom of Mursillius the Hittite becoming the first to fall. Zinaida wants vengeance upon the coalition who put her on the throne and sends spies to find Zurga. What price will be paid for those who fight for justice and freedom?

Return to Babylon, written by Murray Lee Eiland Jr, continues the adventures of Orfeo who begins the heroic tale in the city of Pylos. Prepare for an action-packed story line that explores the dynamics between different kingdoms and the blood thirst for those who want to save the world.

Assassination attempts and secret spies lead the characters to question whether the events taking place are purely coincidental or is there a more sinister evil at work. As the reader explores the different kingdoms, you soon learn who is trustworthy and who hides behind closed doors, plotting their evil revenge. Networks of spies will reveal information that will mean our favourite characters will have to risk it all for the price of glory.

Murray Lee Eiland Jr. has an impeccable flair to paint the scenes of his story with such conviction that the reader will feel emotionally involved with the main characters and their harrowing tales. At times the novel has moments of historical accountability, giving readers a front row seat into the secrecy of life and lies within kingdoms. Once you add in the brave and fierce heroes, Return to Babylon, has an epic story line that will leave you on the edge of your seat and eager to read all installments. My favourite character was Cyrus, a young and eager apprentice who begins to learn the ins and outs of spy craft. I particularly enjoyed the character development and surprise turns that each character entails throughout the story.

This book in the series delves deeper into the world of mystery, intrigue and espionage. I particular like how Murray Lee Eiland Jr adds a light-hearted touch to scenes in order to create a memorable and powerful story line. It is a cool reminder that some of our biggest threats are being spun together behind the closed doors within the most powerful people in the city.

Return to Babylon is brilliantly written. I would recommend this novel for anyone who loves an action-packed novel filled with twists and turns that will leave you on the edge of your seat, and eager for more!

Pages: 217 | ASIN: B01KEDH2CG

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The Hunter’s Rede

The Hunter's Rede (Chronicles of Ealiron, #1)3 Stars

The Hunter’s Rede by F.T. McKinstry is a tale of adventure, mystery and deceit. Lorth is a hunter/assassin who obeys the Hunter’s Rede; a series of rules the dictate the isolated lifestyle of an assassin. He has never questioned their necessity; until now.

He is summoned home by the mysterious Mistress of Eusiron and arrives to find the region invaded by the Faerin army. Even more alarming; a member of the Keepers of the Eye has been assassinated.

Lorth must use his wits, magic, and sheer determination to escape being framed for the murder, find the perpetrator and defeat the invaders. All the while, he must juggle the Hunter’s Rede – a selfish code – with morality, loyalty, and love.

This is an enjoyable read for those who like suspenseful fantasy. The world building is strong and specific; a requirement in fantasy stories. The battling kingdoms, the Hunter’s Rede, and the Keepers of the Eye are all thoroughly referenced and explored by the author. However, the origins of the Rede are vague and difficult to visualize.

The characterization is fuzzy at first but the reader eventually becomes well acquainted with many of the characters who decorate the story. Lorth, in particular, grows on the reader overtime. Some of the most enjoyable characters are placed in the background and only dip into the story occasionally – such as the amiable Captain Ivy.

The plot is entertaining and ornamented with twists and tension. The story focuses on its characters and conflicts but also has a strong theme revolving around morality and sacrifice, which finds its way into the story. You could say that The Hunter’s Rede is inspired by the video game series Assassins Creed; as I felt that it dealt with similar concepts, story models and parallel titles. But I enjoyed the variances that allowed The Hunter’s Rede to have uniqueness.

While the story has some thrilling action scenes, at times they were either too cumbersome or unclear. Overall the story was clever and entertaining except for the romance moments which come off as less inspired. The Hunter’s Rede is one proofread away from being a fascinating and exciting read.

Pages: 303 | ASIN: B01LZS174X

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Chaste: A Tale From Perilisc

Chaste: A Tale from Perilisc4 StarsChaste is the third book by Jesse Teller in the Tales from Perilisc. In Teller’s prior book, Legends of Perilisc the god Cor-lyn-ber is mentioned the father of Hope and Light; Chaste focuses on Cor-lyn-ber and his followers in the small town. The town of Chaste is a remote town dedicated to Cor-lyn-ber that has been overcome with a deep sickness. Five strangers to the town arrive and all their destinies take a turn. The book is dark and filled with detailed violence. It is not for someone looking for fairies and elves. The theme of rape, abuse and murder run though the whole book revealing a dark and sick society struggling to find the light again.

The main characters are Father Frank, Cheryl the barmaid and self-appointed watcher of the town, and the five strangers, Ambul, Ruther, Sai, Sob, and Trevonne. Cheryl watched her parents die, her mother and battle and her father murdered. They were the religious leaders for Cor-lyn-ber and Cheryl from that point on lost all faith in her god. The first half of the book is all about the devastation of the town, the murders of their children, the sickness and evil that penetrates the land and people. The reader learns little about the five strangers only getting pieces of their history bit by bit. Trevonne is wizardass in training, she arrives in the town of Chaste weak and sick. Sob, an assassin and thief has taken on the role of protector of her. Ruther appears to be the leader of their group with a no nonsense mentality. Ambul and Sai call themselves brothers but they are not related. Sai is known as the great swordsman and dreams of a woman each night where they continue their love saga from afar. Ambul is referred to as the gentlest and good man known to man. He is an innocent and pure of heart, with a secret past.

The five strangers arrive in the town right after the death of another child. They all feel there is a wrongness in the town. The first night there Sob is out looking for jewelry to steal and comes in contact with the killer of the children. She recognized there was something evil and not human from the start but wasn’t staying around to investigate further. Meanwhile, back at the tavern and inn Ambul goes missing after a fight with Sai. The fight was brought on out of nowhere, the towns sickness already infecting them with its poison. From here the story of finding their missing friend, discovering the source of the sickness and purging the town of the poison is told.

The story of Cheryl is key to the novel, and she goes through a drastic transformation. Like all major transformation in life hers is a hard story and she learns lessons of pride and sacrifice. She also learns just how much control the gods of Perilisc have over her life and that of the world around her. She learns that her destiny is set by them, not herself. She must face her past, and Cor-lyn-ber himself.

Overall this book is not for the reader looking for a happy ending fantasy novel. This is fantasy at its darkest. Abuse, demons, and torture are key themes and some are described in vivid detail. If you can get past all that, the story is one of transformation, overcoming evil and delivering justice.

Pages: 244 | ASIN: B01J0FVC9S

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The President’s Fixer

The President's Fixer4 StarsIgor Komarov works directly for the Russian President. His job is to take covert action against people the Russian President deems to be enemies of the state. Komarov is tasked to locate and retrieve a piece of software that has the potential to start another cold war. The software was developed using the latest quantum computers and can hijack and destroy any computer around the world. To get the job done Komarov must lose all connection to the Russian government and team up with the Russian mafia. Komarov and his mafia connections come up with a plan to steal the software, but before they can put their plan into action several other government agencies and mafia organizations are onto them. Now Komarov has to steal an advanced computer program off of a dangerous island while the NSA, GCHQ, and an ex-SAS operative tries to stop him.

The President’s Fixer is a fast paced action thriller that rivals Robert Ludlums Bourne series. The President’s fixer gets right into the action in the first dozen pages. The book opens with an assassination and from there it’s a lot of high stakes plot building that is cut up with short violent action scenes. I read this book all in one day because it was short and riveting. What I like about this book was that no one person seemed to be the bad guy; or doing evil things just to be evil. There was a purpose and direction behind everyone’s actions. I thought that Komarov would be the main character in the story, but he shares the spotlight with many other intriguing characters. My favorite character is the ex-SAS agent Tom Traynor. Quiet and calculating; he seems to be one that stands back, watches things unfold, and then acts with deadly precision when ready. I can’t wait to read more about Tom in the next book in the series. Many of the characters that are introduced are well trained deadly professionals and it was interesting to see them confront one another because when they are both after the same thing violence ensues and it’s entertaining to see which highly trained killer will come out on top.

The complex connections between people and places was interesting, but it was also something that was confusing at times. Because the book is so fast paced and condensed, and because there are several characters you have to keep track of, it gets a little difficult to follow along with who is doing what for which reasons. And because it was the thing that all the characters were after, I wish there was more technical description of how the quantum software was developed.

The President’s Fixer is a fast paced espionage thriller that doesn’t disappoint. Be warned, you will definitely want to read the next book in the series after you read this. Action packed, riveting, engaging and I can’t wait to read more.

Pages: 127 | ISBN: 9781310408519

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The Geek

The Geek5 StarsThe Geek is the tale of an American assassin who is ready to get out. After serving American “unclassified” side of things for the CIA for 20 years, Gary is ready to move on to the next chapter in his life, whatever that is. All he has to do is finish just one more assignment, involving a British mole selling information with international implications. Along the way, Gary meets another operative, (Olia K) a Russian operative, who knows a lot more about The Geek than even the assassin would assume. That encounter was only a preclude to what would happen next. The final assignment did not end as Gary and his handler Juan had hoped. Instead it reveals a dangerous duo from the past, but Gary wants no part of it. When Gary receives news that another respected assassin (although of a slightly differently category) felt that his last job went too far, he really wants out. He plans to live off his savings, in quiet obscurity, no longer indebted to the murky world of patriotic espionage. The first thing Gary does, after a brief relaxation, is return home. The problem is, he’s changed in ways that his family can’t even imagine. When he finds himself unable to stay in the place he thought would be home, he ends up getting trapped back into the world he left.

This book grabbed my attention because it was never what I expected. From the beginning, the character’s codename “The Geek” to the plot twists that happened throughout the book. It was also a little darker than I expected in the beginning. It featured great description, though with just the right amount of detail and insight I needed to understand the characters. The switch to action jolted my attention. The more you read, the more layers are exposed. I especially liked the cat and mouse games that is mirrored between the characters as well between the reader. A good example of this is the Geek’s interaction with Joana. It starts innocent enough, then descends into a cat and mouse game between Gary and the operative. A chapter or two later, that scene shows up as only one layer of a deeper drama that neither Gary nor Joana expected.

The author only provides a few lines of detail to provide the back story, but it’s more than enough to keep readers intrigued. Nowhere was this more pronounced than in the lead character, Gary. The book found an interesting twist to the ‘Army dude who was hired by CIA’ cliche that has been repeated ad nauseam in spy films and books. That twist is especially pronounced midway in the book, when the character makes a key decision that starts a whole new chain of events. The Geek seems to go in one direction, but once a reader thinks they have figured it out the book goes in another. These changes aren’t dramatic, over-the-top plot twists (in most cases), but tiny details (like a death or even a simple gesture) that alters the story’s direction in a way that a reader never saw coming.

The story is a highly engrossing read. Readers can easily find themselves lost in another world filled with spies, secrets, and lies played on a global stage. Despite the exotic locations, the book doesn’t suffer from being too out of the realm of reality. Every character has a history based in a reality that is plausible. The way the author treats each character’s origin as hero or villain (most often both) is what draws readers further into the book. Overall, It’s not just another espionage novel. It’s an incredible story about an assassin and the choices he has to make in a world where evil and good isn’t clear cut. All of the characters add or peel back a layer of depth on the journey. As a result, The Geek is a ride you will never forget. The ending chapters tie everything together in slightly predictable fashion (at first), then ends on a cliffhanger similar to a really good TV series.Buy Now From Amazon.com

Pages: 340 | ASIN: B01540DRAU

 

Review: Lights Out

Lights Out  3 Stars

Paul is a top notch assassin that struggles with suppressing his dark past. His life is turned around when his depraved boss, Aaron, gives him a gift that sends Paul on a painful and perilous journey to escape his life. The gift is a small boy named Ethan that reminds Paul of himself and his past. His commitment to Ethan and his promise to take him away from the evil men in his life is constantly tested as Paul fights his way out of increasingly difficult situations with increasingly deadly men.

Lights Out is entertaining in its ability to deliver quick and intense spurts of violence, but these vicious fight scenes are broken up by long bits of character introspection. Every other sentence explained how the character was feeling and why he was feeling that way. This lends to the complete development of the character and this alone wouldn’t drag the story down except that there is also a lot of detail in the story. Describing what characters are doing, where they are, what everything looks like. Detail is good, but it gets to a point where the story drags because I’m swimming through a river of descriptions that detail even the subtle movements of a character. Every villain in the story seems to be omniscient. Each more powerful than the last. In all cases Paul is subservient to them and is stuck playing whatever game they want. Which it seems that all they want to do is have long conversations with Paul about who he is, who they are, humanities innate brutality, and why he should do whatever they want. All punctuated with short bursts of violence. Right around Chapter 20 and 21 I got completely lost. Jakob, who shows up out of nowhere, takes Paul prisoner, leaves him in a cage, then gives a long speech about how he needs Paul and how Aaron is going to kill him so he better work for him or die by Aaron’s hands. Paul gets beaten up, passes out, and wakes up in the same house where he was first in the cage, but this time Aaron is in the cage. We find out that Aaron and Jakob were working together this whole time on something they need Paul for. And it was all part of a master plan to get Paul into a house with Jakob. But I didn’t understand this because Aaron could have simply asked Paul to show up and do a job for someone like he’s been paid to do since meeting Aaron so many years ago. It could be said that Paul needed to be motivated to complete the job by having something to come back for (Ethan), but while on the job against Chac Mool he basically botches the job and has to be saved by Jacob anyway. But still there were some stand out things in the novel. The deep character development made Paul feel like a real person. The darkness in Paul’s past is visceral and sincerely disturbing. You really get a sense of the inner demons that Paul is constantly fighting. And his flashbacks were jarring reminders of his disgusting past. But this is a story that’s driven by the villains and Paul is just trying to survive the deluge of violence he’s thrown into.

Pages: 386Buy Now From Amazon.com
ISBN: 1626940886

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