Who started it all?

A Potter's Tale
by Dave Davis
Sci Fi & Fantasy
Pub Date: 03 Apr 2019

1935. Roz Lhulier and his team unearth the massive tomb of Pakal, the greatest Mayan king. It’s the discovery of the century, they think. They’re wrong. Instead, deep in the pyramid that holds the seventh-century ruler, hides a primitive Codex, a book of prophecy, predicting the collapse of the solar system. Raising the question, “Does the world end?” The codex is deciphered by Alan Turing, the genius who broke the German’s Enigma Code during WWII, but its message is jealously guarded by the Astronomers, a lethal cult inside the Catholic Church. They’ve compromised or killed anyone with knowledge of the secret—presidents and prime ministers, for starters. The Codex pulls Noah Scott into its deadly orbit, a physician-turned reporter, and his partner Kate. When they investigate the murder and memoirs of DiShannia, a highly precocious teenager who’s achieved national recognition for her research on the demise of the Mayan civilization, Kate and Noah are led from Washington DC, to the British Museum, to the Center for Nuclear Research in Geneva, to Melbourne, Australia. Each step enlightens them, offers them clues, frightens them. And us. The Potter’s Tale weaves two strands of the novel—the Codex and its rich human stories—with another, creating an unsettling narrative DNA. This third strand involves the Potter, who crafts the story. And the genes that craft us all. Does the world end? The Potter knows the answer. Noah, Kate discover it. We learn it too—on the last page.

A novel about an alternate universe – or an alternate history of ours. I found the beginning chapters on the slow side – perhaps there were too many threads to the story too and I started to find it difficult to remember everything that had happened in each one.

There were also still quite a few proofing errors such as ‘well healed developers’ ; ‘members of a leafy sect’ [location 1320]

I also thought that the story could have been shorter – maybe reduce the threads and be rather cruel – there was, for me, too much of a tendency to ramble. The story line needed to be tighter.

All the above aside, the novel got an extra star for the great final twist to the tale.

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And the Civil War continues

Vindication Book Cover Vindication
#3 Clockwerk Thriller
Thomas Webb
Alternate history, fantasy, American Civil War
Cobble Publishing LLC (4 Mar. 2019)

Colonel Julius Montclair, crushed by the weight of his own actions, has abandoned his post and fled into hiding. Can his friends find him in time to answer President Grant’s call for help?Broken and a shell of the man he once was, Union airship Commander Julius Montclair has fled his home and his friends. The pain of old wounds, both physical and mental, wrack his body and mind. A dire new threat looms on the horizon, and his service to his country is once again required, but Montclair is no longer certain he is the soldier he was… can he rediscover the elite warrior within himself in time to answer the President’s call for help? Scarred by the loss of her mentor, fiery-haired Department of Strategic Intelligence assassin Cecelia ‘Scarlet’ Alayne thinks only of bloody revenge. Her emotions have made her reckless, but she’s about to embark on one of the most critical and dangerous missions of her career. Can she set her rage and hatred aside long enough to complete her mission and attain the justice she seeks?Political mastermind and former Confederate President James Smythe has fled south, where he’s recruited new allies and a new army. Emboldened by his growing forces, Smythe schemes to launch a military campaign that could threaten not only the Union, but ultimately the entire continent. With his plans of conquest renewed and the strength of foreign legions behind him, can anyone stop his march to Richmond to reclaim the Presidency of a Confederacy still reeling from his ouster?

American Civil War in an alternate universe with clockwork/clockwerk and unusual aether as energy source – light ok but dark so very much not.

In this novel we now have the Civil War being fought by 3 factions. The north, the South and the Confederate President – Smythe – who was forced out, who has now partnered himself up with Mexico. And some Texas Rangers – but not the good guys. Now in reality Mexico went to war with America over Texas annexation 1846-8 rather than being in partnership with some of the South, but again it was all about Texas. And the related border lands. Who held what and who ruled what. Mexico being somewhat annoyed about Texas being annexed of course.

Smythe is not a real character in our version of the War of Independence, at least on the Confederate side. There was a Percy Smythe fighting but he was a British Lord..

So with this alternate history in mind we have 3 factions. And 2 of these want Smythe gone for good – so Lee and Grant form a pact and peace in order to fight together against Smythe and Mexico. And so the political manoeuvring continues..

Scarlet plays a large part in this novel with a rather special gun and her ability to assassinate easily.

I found this novel not as interesting as the previous two, still a 4 star but I am losing interest in the Civil War and all the fighting. Would appeal to young gamers no doubt.

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Books/book review/Fantasy/fiction/crime fiction

Paris seduces but still you have to work

Gypsies, Tramps and Weeia Book Cover

Gypsies, Tramps and Weeia

Weeia Marshals #1

Elle Boca

fantasy, science fiction, paranormal,

Poyeen Publishing

(20 Jan. 2016)

Sworn to protect the secrets of their race, marshals are trained to police Weeia hiding among humans. After completing her advanced marshal training, Danni is blown away by her new plum assignment to Paris. But, all is not well in the City of Lights; the offices are a shambles, her boss is apathetic, and her predecessors died under mysterious circumstances; it's almost like somebody doesn't want the law there. Despite that she risks her life in the seedy underworld of gypsies and tramps to search for a missing Weeia man.

Weeia are not human – they have ‘abilities’ and in order to protect their secrets there are Marshals looking after them.

Danni is sent to Paris to help police the situation there but finds that all is not well in her office and with her boss. And that when she does find her boss he is very laid back about the work and is far from happy with her choice of clothing. In Paris one should be fashionable after all.

But following fashion dictats is constricting and this is why London fashion is more fun because there is no rule about what one should wear, when or how. It is true French women have a certain ‘look’ about them, but it is the same look isn’t it? So says the woman who follows the poem – ‘When I am old I shall wear Purple’

[When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat that doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me,
And I shall spend my pension
on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals,
and say we’ve no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I am tired,
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells,
And run my stick along the public railings,
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick the flowers in other people’s gardens,
And learn to spit.
You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat,
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go,
Or only bread and pickle for a week,
And hoard pens and pencils and beer mats
and things in boxes.
But now we must have clothes that keep us dry,
And pay our rent and not swear in the street,
And set a good example for the children.
We will have friends to dinner and read the papers.
But maybe I ought to practise a little now?
So people who know me
are not too shocked and surprised,
When suddenly I am old
and start to wear purple! ]

Jenny Joseph]

But Danni is seduced by the boots that are made to measure with steel toe tips. But still refused to wear dresses.

In order to solve her various mysteries Danni has to visit with Gypsies and discuss the Irish problem – and terrorists and robbery. And finds it more complex than she originally thought. Nicely written and being set in Paris makes a change as the author clearly knows something about the city

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Books/book review/Fantasy/fiction

When you are a spy in a foreign land

The Burning Page Book Cover

The Burning Page

The Invisible Library #3

Genevieve Cogman

Alternative history, sword and sorcery, historical, fantasy

Pan Macmillan

December 13, 2016


The third title in Genevieve Cogman's clever and exciting The Invisible Library series, The Burning Page is an action-packed literary adventure! When it's your job to save the day - where do you start?Librarian spy Irene has standards to maintain, especially while on probation. And absconding from a mission via a besieged building doesn't look good. But when her escape route home goes up in flames, what's a spy to do? However, it seems Gates back to the Library are malfunctioning across dozens of worlds. Worse still, her nemesis Alberich is responsible -and he plans to annihilate the Library itself.Irene and assistant Kai are posted to St Petersburg, to help combat this threat. Here Alberich emerges, as Irene tries to save her friend Vale and foil assassination attempts. Then one incredibly dangerous opportunity to save the Library emerges. Saving herself would be a bonus . . .Irene's adventures feature stolen books, secret agents and forbidden societies - think Doctor Who but with librarian spies!

I liked this story  better than book number 2.  Here Irene has to face and outwit her nemesis Alberich and it is not easy. Tricky even. Especially as Alberich ‘steals’ skins – yes truly – he skins people and then wears their skins…he wants the chaos that Irene is struggling to prevent.

An alternate world is in a struggle between the dragons and the Fae for the Ottoman Empire and Irene is drawn into this through her mentee  Kai, and to make matters more difficult the doors to this alternate have been disabled as they demonstrated ‘strange’ behaviour.

There were attempted murders – not unusual of course for Irene; Vale had gone to a high chaos world (Venice from the previous book) even though warned not to, and of course it was then expected that Irene and Kai would follow him and attempt to bring him back, but Kai couldn’t visit a high chaos world; still Vale was rescued but was contaminated and thus out of action;  and contamination limited access to the Library of course; and then there were werewolves involved;  and poison and tunnels; and so it all follows.

A very busy time indeed for Irene, and yet she survives her adventures, shaken but not…


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