Blood of the Wolf

Just wanted to post a little update since I haven’t said anything here for a while, so…

The fourth and final Forest Lord book is coming along nicely (if a little slower than I’d like) – I read through it the other day and rather enjoyed it, which is always a relief!

Look out for it this summer. I believe it will be called BLOOD OF THE WOLF but that may change.I feel like I need to wrap the series up with something of a bang so expect fireworks…
In the meantime I’m really happy to see Wolf’s Head still doing so well, even managing to reach number one again today in one of Amazon’s charts.
Wahey!

If you haven’t read it yet you can get it here, worldwide: getBook.at/Wolfs-Head-Kindle

stardust

Neil Gaiman, “Stardust” and Salman Rushdie, “Satanic Verses” for company!

 

Review of The Voyage of Odysseus

I was very lucky to receive an advance copy of Glyn Iliffe’s brand new novel in his Adventures of Odysseus chronicles, The Voyage of Odysseus. Was it as good as the previous books? Read on to find out!

voyage of odysseus cover

 

“From one adventure to another the pace never lets up. Like Homer’s original, Glyn Iliffe’s series is destined to become a classic!”

That’s the strapline I gave to Glyn for the cover of this book and I think it about sums it up. The Trojan War is over and it’s time – at last! – for Odysseus and his men to go home. Back to the wife and child he hasn’t seen for a decade. But it’s not going to be that easy is it?

Anyone who’s ever read the Odyssey will know there’s still a lot of story to be told and Glyn uses this book to do so. Gone are the schemes and plots to get inside Troy and, in their place are fantastic islands populated by bizarre monsters like the Cyclops. Truly this is a tale of magic and adventure!

And yet, the characters Glyn has created are – here more than ever before – portrayed as REAL people, with real flaws and emotions. They attack an innocent village, for example, purely so Odysseus can gather some more plunder (wealth and slaves) to take back from the long war. This is how it was back then and the author doesn’t shy away from it – it’s just a part of life, but it really shows us the type of hard men we’re dealing with and it’s a great counterpoint to all the fantasy that permeates the story.

The battle scenes are excellent – vivid, exciting and brutal, while the pacing of the tale is just about perfect, drawing the reader in from the very start and not letting go until the end. And it’s a long book so you’re really getting your money’s worth here, as Odysseus and his side-kick Eperitus lurch from one horrible situation to another, even visiting Hades along the way.

Glyn Iliffe has been lucky in a way with this series because much of the tale has been written for him, so he “just” has to flesh it out in his own style. BUT that can also be a curse and I think the end of this particular book shows that. If you know the story of Odysseus from Homer’s original you will know his voyage home is not an easy one – far from it. And as a result this novel is very dark, with a lot of death and sadness and I did feel it started to become rather oppressive just as it neared the end.

But things finish on a hopeful note and the next book is set up perfectly!

Glyn is now self-published and I think this new novel really proves his mettle as a writer. Given his original books had the benefit of major in-house editors, cover designers etc I can say this, and his previous self-published book The Oracles of Troy, stand alongside them and, in fact, are probably BETTER.

 

The Voyage of Odysseus  should be out NOW – I hope you pick up a copy, but DO start at the beginning if you haven’t read the previous books. They’re ALL excellent.

MY RATING – 5/5

Click HERE to read a Q&A I did with Glyn on the Historical Novel Society website when his previous book came out.

historical fiction greek

Glyn Iliffe, author of the excellent Adventures of Odysseus series.

BUY the Kindle version HERE in the UK

BUY the Kindle version HERE in the USA

 

Review: Wolf’s Head by Steven A. McKay

My review of Glyn Iliffe’s new book will be up soon but, in the meantime, this guy enjoyed Wolf’s Head. A lot! :-)

Speesh Reads

Wolf's Head
An earthy: 5
 out of 5 stars

My version:
Paperback
Historical Fiction, Medieval England.
Self published
2013
Bought from The Book Depository

England 1321 AD

After viciously assaulting a corrupt but powerful clergyman, Robin Hood flees the only home he has ever known in Wakefield, Yorkshire. Becoming a member of a notorious band of outlaws, Hood and his new companions – including John Little and Will Scaflock – hide out in the great forests of Barnsdale, fighting for their very existence as the law hunts them down like animals.

When they are betrayed and their harsh lives become even more unbearable, the band of friends seeks bloody vengeance.

Meanwhile, the country is in turmoil, as many of the powerful lords strive to undermine King Edward II’s rule until, inevitably, rebellion becomes a reality and the increasingly deadly yeoman outlaw from Wakefield finds his fate bound up with that…

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Book Corner: Steven A. McKay’s ‘The Forest Lord’ Series

Brilliant new review of my books, check it out!

History... the interesting bits!

CX0jE-zWcAEQNWnSteven A. McKay‘sThe Forest Lord series of books is a wonderful, refreshing new take in the Robin Hood Legend. All the usual heroes are there, including Little John, Friar Tuck, Will Scarlet and Maid Marian, battling against their old enemies, the Sheriff of Nottingham and the despicable Sir Guy of Gisbourne.

However, what has changed is the time and location. Instead of the wilds of Sherwood Forest, The Forest Lord books are set in Barnsdale Forest in what is now West Yorkshire, while young Robin’s family lives in the nearby village of Wakefield. Gone also is the vile Prince John – and you won’t see King Richard the Lionheart either. The story is set in the time of Edward II, the rebellion of his cousin, Thomas of Lancaster providing the back-story to the first book; while the aftermath of Thomas’s defeat at the Battle of Boroughbridge is still…

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Happy New Year 2016!

It’s Hogmanay and 2015 is almost over. Thank you to all my readers and reviewers, I hope you all have a brilliant 2016! I’m currently working on the final Forest Lord novel, so please Follow this blog or sign up for my Email List (with its FREE short story!) to make sure you keep updated with any news on that.

The highlight of my year has to be the three Forest Lord novels reaching Amazon’s UK Kindle chart top 30, while all five of my books hit number 1 in their specific categories . That was an incredible day!

 

 

Now, apparently to build my “author brand” I’m not supposed to ONLY talk about my writing – I should mention my other interests too. Well, I love playing guitar and occasionally write songs. Here’s one of ’em – Def Leppard inspired, I hope it brings a smile to your face…I sang and played all the instruments, not too badly I hope…

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU ALL! See you in 2016!

Merry Xmas one and all!

Just a quick message to say “thank you” to everyone who’s bought, read, reviewed and spread the word about my books in 2015. I hope you all have a fantastic Christmas!

If you can get the kids in bed early tonight, why not settle back with some mulled wine, a mince pie, a crackling log fire (or cosy radiator!) and lose yourself in medieval England’s snowy countryside with Friar Tuck? Don’t forget it’s also available as an audiobook (from Audible and iTunes) and I’d like to think it’s the perfect way to spend Christmas Eve…It’s spent the past few weeks at number 1 in Amazon’s short stories chart so people seem to be enjoying it so far.

Click HERE to go straight to your local Amazon page for the book.

Have a good one, and don’t get too drunk!

ftxd ad wee

All of my books at number 1 on Amazon!

Yessss!!!!! I’ve just had a call out from the day-job to go and put money in someone’s gas meter but spotted this as I was getting ready to go.

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All five of my books at number 1 in their categories, with the Forest Lord series all in the overall UK top 30!
I’m so pleased, thank you everyone who’s bought them, left nice reviews and spread the word. It really is like a Christmas miracle!

Special thanks to Amazon KDP for putting the Forest Lord books in their Kindle Daily Deal yesterday.

Saturday Historical Novelist Interview with Steven A. McKay

To celebrate my Robin Hood books being in Amazon’s overall top 30 (and 1,2 and 3 in their War chart!) here’s a brand new interview I did with novelist Christoph Fischer. Check it out!

writerchristophfischer

DSC_4100-xToday I have the pleasure of introducing anther excellent historical novelistL  Steven A. McKay, the bestselling author of the Forest Lord historical fiction series. Welcome Steven, please tell us a little about yourself as writer and as person.

I’m a 38 year-old Scotsman who writes about England’s greatest mythological hero: Robin Hood. When I’m not writing I love to spend time with my family – I have a wife and two small children – and I also play guitar, being a big fan of heavy metal like Iron Maiden, Slayer and Behemoth.

Tell us about the concept behind your books. How did you get the idea?

I originally wanted to write something set in Britain and, when I settled on Robin Hood as my main character I knew I’d have to make my version different to all the others. Let’s face it, the legend has been done to death over…

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The Forest Lord series on offer PLUS a new extract from the next book!

All three of my Forest Lord books are part of today’s UK Amazon Kindle DAILY DEAL. Each book is at a special hugely reduced price for today ONLY. Get the full set of three for just £2.97 or one each for 99p.

If you haven’t read them yet, or simply need to complete your collection today is the day to do it!

Go HERE to find out more.

f lord

And, as a bonus, here’s an extract from the fourth and final Forest Lord book (as yet untitled).

This follows two brand new characters (well, sort of…) as they meet a couple of genuinely unsavoury outlaws who played a small part in Rise of the Wolf…It was literally written tonight so un-edited. Enjoy!

 

“Hold!”

The cry was high-pitched but filled with aggression.

With the promise of violence.

Philip stopped dead in his tracks, eyes scanning the foliage all around them.

“Who said that?” Eoin rumbled. “Show yourself.”

A small man stepped out from behind the massive trunk of an old yew tree, longsword in hand. He had an unkempt beard, dark eyes, and appeared to be utterly filthy. And yet, when he grimaced at them, Philip was surprised by the fellow’s full set of almost white teeth.

“You two look like you can handle yourself,” the small man noted. “So I won’t get any closer.” He laughed unpleasantly. “Take my word for it though, if you don’t do as I say my mates will fill you with arrows so quick you’ll die looking like a pair of giant fucking hedgehogs. Drop your weapons and throw your purses over here. Quick now. Those hares strung around your neck too.”

Eoin glanced down at Philip, who simply nodded and slipped his coin-purse – which was as good as empty – from his belt and tossed it onto the ground in front of the robber. Eoin followed suit, although his purse really was empty, and so light it flopped sadly to the ground only a short distance away from him.

“Oh for fuck sake,” the little robber spat in disgust. “Is that it? You two were hardly worth it.” He held up a hand and, with an air of bored resignation, spoke to the trees.

“Kill the big bastard first. I’ll deal with the other one myself.”

Philip dropped instantly, and swung his leg around, tripping Eoin just as an arrow tore through the air where they’d been standing.

He pushed himself back up onto one knee and drew his dagger.

“Get that little bastard,” he growled.

The thief brought his sword back, ready to charge, but Philip swept up a short, stout branch from the forest floor and threw it at his face. The man parried it just in time but the manoeuvre left him off balance, and the huge weight of Eoin barrelled viciously into him. They fell onto the ground with a thud that Philip imagined he could feel as well as hear.

“Hold him down,” he shouted to Eoin. “By the neck!”

He turned and addressed the trees and bushes all around them, a grin splitting his face as if this was a great game.

“You out there – you can shoot us, but my big friend there will snap your leader’s neck before he dies. Or, you can come out and we can talk.”

Eoin wasn’t just holding the downed robber; outraged at the attack, his hands were squeezing inexorably on the man’s throat.

“All right, all right!”

A man no older than thirty, longbow in hand but with – in stark contrast to his downed friend, no front teeth at all – slipped out from his hiding place to their rear. “Leave him be, let him up. We didn’t plan on killing you –”

“Just on taking all our money and leaving us as good as dead in the middle of the forest?” Philip finished the man’s sentence sarcastically. “Well, as you can see…” he retrieved the coin-purses he and Eoin had dropped and emptied them into his hand. “We haven’t got any fucking money. Did have, but we left it behind in Holmfirth when the law chased us out.”

Eoin had let the small robber up by now and they stood glaring at one another now: the giant and the purple-faced, breathless thief.

Philip gazed across at the little man, sizing him up, and came to the conclusion he’d rather go toe-to-toe with Eoin.

The dark-eyed robber had a maniacal gleam in his eye that was deeply disturbing. They’d need to be careful around this one although…if they could get him on their side…

“Come,” he smiled, walking forward and grasping the robber’s hand. “We’re all outlaws together aren’t we? You must be as hungry as we are.”

He reached up and pulled the hares on the string around his shoulders over his head with a grin. “Let’s eat.”