This is a very different Matthew Reilly novel. There’s no Scarecrow, nor Jack West. There is also no hero saving the world with moments to spare from some global calamity.
But don’t let that stop you from reading it as this is Matthew Reilly at his story telling best.
We meet Bess, the young 13 year old daughter of Anne Boleyn & Henry VIII, who goes to Constantinople with her teacher, Roger Ascham, to witness the inaugural World Chess Tournament hosted by the Sultan. Soon after arriving, a prominent Cardinal from the Catholic entourage is found murdered. The Sultan engages Ascham to investigate the murder. In the process of the investigation, conducted in the background to the tournament, further murders are perpetrated to add to the intrigue.
Meanwhile, Bess’s friendly older companion Elsie seeks to win herself a Prince, the son of the Sultan. She spends her nights on various nocturnal exploits which she regales in full detail to Bess the following morning. Yes, this novel features sex, which to his credit, Reilly points out at in his “Author Note” at the beginning of the book stating it to be for mature readers only.
The tournament, the investigation and Elsie’s ambition are all drawn together at the end. There was a degree of predictability which is not typical in a Reilly novel, however, the power of the novel is in Bess’s coming of age story line.
Bess, of course, matures into Elizabeth I, and one of the wonderful aspects of the novel was the fictionalising elements of real people. Fundamentally, this is a story about Bess, and Reilly courageously explores how the experiences in her youth (namely this fictional one) helped mould her into becoming one of Britain’s greatest monarchs. Not to mention that she never married.
Told from Bess’s first person voice, this is a rollicking tale that will delight Reilly’s passionate reader-base as well as introduce new readers to the great story teller that he is.Read More
Erin Healy’s latest supernatural thriller, Stranger Things, comes to stores on New Year’s Eve. Most of you will know I’m a big fan of Erin and when she asked for some bloggers to help promote Stranger Things I was delighted to get the opportunity to feature Erin once again.
*** There is also the opportunity to win one of 10 copies of Stranger Things by using the Rafflecopter link below. You can enter every day this week until Sunday 8 December by visiting the other bloggers during the week.***
Here goes. Let’s start with a brief blurb about Stranger Things.
Introducing Stranger Things
Library Journal says: “Serena Diaz’s teaching career came to an abrupt end when a student falsely accused her of sexual misconduct. Seeking solace in the woods, she discovers that a gang of sex traffickers has taken over a vacant house. Serena is almost captured by one of the criminals but is saved by an unknown man who has been shadowing her. He is shot, and Serena escapes with her life. But she is drawn to know more about this stranger who died for her. What follows is a suspenseful story of danger and pure evil. Whom can Serena trust in a world that seems intent on serving its own self-interests? VERDICT Healy (Afloat; coauthor with Ted Dekker, Burn and Kiss) has written an edgy, fast-paced spiritual thriller that will please Dekker fans.”
I first stumbled across Jim Rubart’s speculative fiction three years ago when I read Rooms. Jim’s clever use of supernatural allegories woven through fast-paced suspense grabbed my attention.
Jim’s novels have become a must read for me. He challenges me to reflect on my walk with Christ as he weaves a story of faith throughout page-turning suspense. Further, I love how Jim describes the ‘everyman’ experience. He has a beautiful gift of being able to share what’s going on in a man’s heart and mind.
Jim released the second in the “Well Spring” series of novels last week: Memory’s Door. I’m currently reading Soul’s Gate, the first in the series, and am struggling to put it down. Great when a story has that effect.
Enough of that, let me hand over to Jim. He was kind enough in his busy launch schedule to answer a few questions I posed him. So without further ado, it’s my absolute pleasure to welcome Jim Rubart: