Operation Hail Storm.

Operation Hail Storm (Hail, #1)

By Keith Brady

Bald Mage Rating 7.5/10

Firstly I would like to thank Mr Brett Arquette for sending me his book for an honest review.

A wave of depression passed through him that was so intense it almost brought him to his knees. It happened that way sometimes. Depression jumped on him fast- like a wild animal. He could go for days pretending nothing had happened- that the world had not really changed all that much, but it had.

 

As an Eagle soars overhead of the current residents of the minister of peoples armed forces of North Korea Kim Yong Chang, he is unaware that eyes are on him, and have been for quite some time.

The Hail Nucleus is at first sight an 80,000 ton cargo ship. However it is fact a state of the art command centre designed by Marshall Hail. Under the command of Marshall there are a unique team of systems Analyzers, Aeronautic experts, communications specialists and weapons systems experts( know as killers) all responsible for a multitude of recognisance and attack DRONES.

Marshall Hail is an M.I.T graduate and a self made billionaire who made his fortune in designing and manufacturing a nuclear reactor than burns unwanted nuclear waste that the U.S government was more than happy to give away for free providing he gets rid of it for them which he was only too happy to do. Marshall then refines it and sells it at exorbitant prices to power his new reactors.

Marshall is a very driven man and now only has one purpose in life, and that is to rid the world of the Terrorists and general scumbags that now plague our world. With the help of his unique team and an attractive C.I.A agent Kara Ramey, Marshall Hail seeks the help of the C.I.A to continue his pursuit of retribution. However this arrangement comes at a price! And so Hail Storm begins.

Firstly, this was my first outing in the Thriller genre, and I must say it won’t be my last as I thoroughly enjoyed Operation Hail Storm.

One thing I will say though is this book wasn’t a quick easy read; it has a lot of descriptive dialogue with-in it which may put some people off early on in the book. I have criticised authors in the past for having too many descriptive elements that detract you from the main story being told, and are there just to pad out the novel. However I felt Mr Arquette found just the right balance without putting unnecessary content in, as I found everything was relevant to the story. Hail Storm sets a nice pace throughout and I wasn’t bored at any stage of the book.

Marshall Hail is the main character in Operation Hail Storm and so is one of the most complex. Marshall is quite an unstable man only holding it together because of the vocation he has set for himself. You do find yourself as you read asking the question why is he doing what his doing? But all becomes clear as you progress through the novel, so be patient.

Marshall has a good supporting cast of characters, unfortunately we don’t get much in the way of back story’s with them, only what their on the Hail Nucleus to do. Despite this fact you do get the feeling of strong camaraderie between them and it’s obvious they regard Marshall with the upmost respect not only as their leader but as a father figure to some. And in return Marshall considers the majority of his younger crew his children. With all these facts in mind it’s no wonder Marshall Hail spends a considerable amount of money fitting out his ships not only with a quite remarkable arsenal of weaponry but also luxury’s for his crew to enjoy.

Kara Ramey is a young beautiful C.I.A agent and is the other main player in this book. She specializes in undercover work getting up close and personal with her marks to gather information that the C.I.A needs, then getting the hell out of dodge fast before she’s even missed. However, Kara has her demons too! So when she meets Marshall Hail they soon discover they have more in common than either of them first thought, because of this the demons that plague them both can hopefully start to be exorcised. But trust comes first and that in many ways is harder to deal with for both of them as loyalties are put to the test.

I’ve given a brief insight into the characters of interest but where Hail Storm really shines is in the operations that Marshall Hail and his crew perform in the pursuit of ridding the world of the Terrorists that contaminate our world. The detail that Mr Arquette goes into is nothing short of amazing and I thoroughly enjoyed being wrapped up in his world for the entirety of the novel.

With all the technology that Marshall and his team have developed throughout this novel it really does get you thinking about how close we must be to actually doing what takes place with-in these pages, who knows it may even be taking place as I write this review?

This book centres on North Korea and their pursuit of Nuclear weapons, which is rather current I’m sure you would all agree. One thing I’d like to touch upon is the author’s analogy of the causes of Terrorism and why people join organisations that promote it; it’s quite thought provoking and mirrors my own thoughts on the subject.

Terrorism is an unwinnable war.”Hail said.” It’s not about countries or groups or religions; it’s about social outcasts that are hungry, bored and have no future and no prospects. So along comes a member of a terrorist organization and finds these poor guys……..”

 

One other wonderful moment I would like to mention, was a scene at a memorial, It’s one of the most touching and well written scenes I’ve had the privilege of reading in a long time. It might just be me but I really felt the loss and despair, so I thought it worth mentioning.

So how to sum this book up, well it’s well thought out, well written, put together nicely, not a quick easy read, but an enjoyable one and one I would recommend to any Thriller fan that likes military hardware. I’m certainly looking forward to what comes next for Marshall and his team.

 

Thanks for reading.

 

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An Interview with Mr Kevin Wolf.

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By Keith Brady.

May I extend a very warm welcome from the Two Bald Mages to the talented Author Mr Kevin Wolf.

 

Firstly Mr Wolf allow me to congratulate you on your fantastic sequel to the equally great Brokeheart, A Town Called Vengeance which is due for release on May 1st 2018(U.S.A) and June 28th 2018 (U.K). These wonderful books offer Historical fiction with a Supernatural twist that are second to none and I can’t recommend them strongly enough.

So without further ado, let’s get on with what we’d all like to know!

T.B.M-Have you always wanted to be a writer? (And was there a particular moment you thought ‘I can do this’)?

K.W- First, thanks for the kind words about my writing and inviting me to share some thoughts on your site.

I always thought I could be a writer.  I was the kid in school who didn’t grown when the teacher assigned a writing project.  I welcomed the chance.  After several false starts, I know the exact minute I decided to get serious.  It was after the Nine-Eleven attacks.  I travelled for business and was trying to get back to Denver on a Friday afternoon.  Those were the days when you never knew if the security lines would take fifteen minutes or three hours.  I breezed through security in ten minutes and found myself sitting in the Detroit airport three hours before my flight home.

I had a choice to buy a book or write one.  I opened my laptop and plunked out the opening chapter of my first novel.  At that time, I thought it would be so easy.  I didn’t know what I didn’t know.
T.B.M- What inspires you to write the most?

K.W- More than being known as an author, I want to be a story teller.  I hope that plot, the setting, the characters and even the words I choose add to the story experience.  If the reader is able forget that he is in his favourite chair, or in a seat on airline or reading those last few pages in bed before he turns off the light and instead smells a bit wood smoke and wonders if something quite other-worldly might pay a visit,  I’ve done my job.

T.B.M- Well from where I stand you have Kevin.

T.B.M- What are you reading now? And what are some of your favourite books and authors?

K.W- Great question, I was asked to be a judge for the traditional western category for Western Writers of America Spur Award.  Between October and February I read almost sixty westerns—the sixguns and saddles kind.  I’m a basketball junkie, so March Madness took up my free time last month.  I’ll be catching up on my favourites.  I’m two books behind in CJ Box’s Joe Picket Series, have two of Anne Hillerman’s on my night stand, James Lee Burke’s latest is trying to move to the top of the must read stack and I really ought to find a used copy of Philipp Meyer’s  THE SON.  There are other Colorado authors that I really need to open the covers of their books.  Check out Barb Nickless and Emily Littlejohn and Shannon Baker.
T.B.M Wow almost sixty Westerns, that’s impressive! I must say I’ve not heard of these author’s, I’ll be sure to check them out.
T.B.M- Where do you find ideas for your characters? Do they come from real life or do you create them to fit into certain situations as they arise in your books?

K.W- I’m an addicted people watcher.  I confess I eavesdrop.  My characters are combinations of my observations.  Add a dash of imagination here and there.  Shake well and see what drops out.

How’s that for a way to dodge the question?

T.B.M- Hahahah as good as any I’ve heard, nice.

T.B.M- A Town Called Vengeance incorporates a wonderful and unique mix of Historical fiction and Supernatural horrors, how did you come to write such a fantastic blend of genres?

K.W- This might sound corny, but it was the story I wanted to tell.  BROKEHEART and VENGEANCE are stories of good versus evil and a good, but flawed man, who joins in the battle.   I’m a baby boomer.  I owned Mattel fanner- fifties toy guns and Roy Rogers comic books.  On Saturday evenings the TV was tuned to Have Gun Will Travel and Gunsmoke, so any story I would write had to be a western.
T.B.M- That’s great; it’s certainly a wonderful mix.

T.B.M- In your new book A Town Called Vengeance my favourite character is Landry, which character do you most relate too?, and who do you most like writing scenes for?

K.W-–  Landry?  She’s still a bit of a mystery to me so I work hard with her.  Kepler, the disgraced frontier newspaper reporter is easy.  I think I understand him.  I really enjoy the supporting characters, both good and bad ones.  The Buffalo Soldiers, outlaws and settlers are the most fun.  I believe if I can make those characters authentic and real it will draw the reader to the story.

T.B.M Well your hard work is paying off with Landry! And in regards to all the supporting characters that’s what brings Brokeheart and Vengeange to life, the heart- beat of the books if you will.

T.B.M- Do you have a big say in the amazing artwork of your books?

K.W- I wish I could say the cover art was all my ideas.  When North Star shared their first concepts for BROKEHEART’s cover, I was disappointed.  I shared my concerns and they went back to work and hit it out of the park.  The cover for VENGEANCE is even better.   It carries the western theme with the evil presence.  I am so pleased.
 T.B.W I’m not surprised there great, they really catch the eye.

T.B.M- Have you got in mind a set number of books to write in this series?34794473

K.W-BROKEHEART, the first in the series, is set in 1879 in the Colorado mining towns.  In A TOWN CALLED VENGEANCE, Kepler follows the evil to the deserts of the Arizona territory.  It’s the time of the Earp brothers, Doc Holiday and Apaches on the warpath.  The third story, REPROACH, is set in Nebraska where Buffalo Bill is gathering his first Wild West Show.  It will bring together a cast of secondary characters from the first two books.  If we’re lucky enough to continue, book four will take the main character’s quest to Yellowstone National Park as the first eastern tourists come to see the geysers, wildlife and other natural wonders.  Then the Alaska gold rush?  Along the border in time of Poncho Villa?  In Hollywood with the first silent movies?  A lot were westerns, you know.36349102

T.B.M- That’s fantastic news Kevin, I’m sure they’ll all come to fruition for you. I’m like a kid in a sweet shop now, so excited!

And it’s nice how your books follow in the time-lines of some of the most famous people in Western history, it really adds to the atmosphere of the books.

T.B.M- On average how long does it take you to come up with a first draft copy of a book? And from the first draft how long until you get to the finished publication?

K.W- That’s hard for me to answer.  I worked on BROKEHEART for three years. In 2009 the manuscript won several writers’ contests, I was able to sign with an agent.   It took almost five years for my agent to convince a publisher to give it the blend of genres a chance.

I started work on VENGEANCE right after I was done with BROKEHEART, laid it aside, wrote other things and came back to complete it later.
Special shout out to Gina Panettieri, president of Talcott Notch Literary for believing in me and my writing.

T.B.M- I can’t believe it took that long for a publisher to realise it’s a fantastic mix of genres. Some people can’t see a good thing when it’s staring them in the face. Still all’s well that ends well!

T.B.M- The Buffalo Soldiers in A Town Called Vengeance appear in some of my favourite senses, do you do much research before you write your novels?

K.W- The Concordia Cemetery in El Paso Texas is interesting place.  The gunfighter, John Wesley Hardin, is buried there. There are graves of two or three Texas Rangers.  One portion of the graveyard is set aside as memorial for the Buffalo Soldiers, I wandered through the cemetery while I was writing VENGEANCE and knew that I had to include those men in the story.  In BROKEHEART, Kepler championed the cause of immigrant miners and their families.  I thought it made sense that he would stand up for the black soldiers.  For about two months, I read all could find about the Buffalo Soldiers.

T.B.M- That does sound like an interesting place I’d love to visit as would my mother-in-law as she loves the old Westerns.

T.B.M- I have been asked by a couple of new authors recently what brings me back time and again to a particular Authors work, and my answer is Authors that make me feel a part of their worlds (setting the scene). And I have directed them to two Authors works in particular: Mr Adrian Tchaikovsky and the other is your good self Mr Kevin Wolf both of whom transport me into their worlds.

So what do you think is the most important thing that brings you back to a particular Author?

K.W- I’m flattered to be placed in such good company.   I think it comes down to trust.   You know when you pick up the next Tchaikovsky novel that you will be entertained.  He brings the elements—setting, characters, voice– that you expect.

I know CJ Box—in his Joe Picket series—is going to take me to the mountains of Wyoming, introduce to a cast of cowboys, game wardens, crooks, and lawmen and take me on a darn good adventure.

Think of that.  A reader has expectations and he’s taking a chance the first time he reads your work.  He comes back because he found what entertains him.  If that reader does not find that entertainment, he has so many other options.

Trust is a precious thing.  It’s hard to earn.
T.B.MHow do you structure your writing on a day to day basis? i.e do you set yourself time limits to write? And where do you write?

K.W– Just recently I retired from a career in professional sales.  I was doing most of my writing in the evening and weekends.  I travelled a good part of the time and did a lot writing in motel rooms.  I’m looking forward to finding a set routine.  I think I’m most creative in the afternoons.   My plan is to use morning for the business of writing and devote the afternoon to the real writing time.  My wife and I have plans to move from the city to the mountains.  I’m looking forward to all the inspiration that the mountains can bring.
T.B.M Well a very happy retirement to you Kevin and I’m sure a move to the mountains will be not only amazing, but like you said incredibly inspirational and an great asset to your writing.

I’m not jealous in anyway shape or form lol.

T.B.M- What advice could you give to any aspiring Authors out there that are finding it difficult to get started?

K.W-. I had visions of sitting at a desk pounding out these wonderful stories all by myself.  Early on, I was fortunate to discover Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers.  They taught me the craft and the business of writing.  But more important, I found a community of other writers struggling with the same challenges.  I would tell aspiring writers to look for a local writer’s organization and plug in.

T.B.MThat’s very sound advice Kevin thank you, I’m sure there will be lots of people out there that will take note of this.

 T.B.M- What is your proudest moment as a writer so far?

K.W- No hesitation here. My first novel, THE HOMEPLACE, was the 2015 winner of the downloadTony Hillerman Award.  To have my name associated with one of my favourite authors in that way is beyond anything I could hope for or even imagine.  The award is given for the best debut mysteries set in the Southwest.

T.B.M- That’s a great achievement Kevin, please accept my belated CONGRATULATIONS.

T.B.M- One last question Kevin, if you could only take three books with you onto a desert Island what would they be? And why? Excluding you own.

K.W- Hmm.  Just three?   There’s a book called LITTLE BRITCHES first published in 1950 and still in print.  It’s a story, set not too far from where I live, of boy learning to be a cowboy.  I should read that again.  Robert Ruark was called the poor man’s Hemmingway.  I discovered his novel SOMETHING OF VALUE in junior high.  I re-read it every few years.  And a guy on a desert island should have a Bible, for inspiration and hope.

T.B.M- Those sound like good choices Kevin and would certainly while away a few hours on an Island.

This was fun.  Thanks so much for the invitation.

T.B.M-It’s my pleasure to have you hear and a wonderful honour to have this opportunity to speak to an author I have the upmost respect for.

 

T.B.M I would like to thank you for taking time out to take part in this Interview Kevin and I wish you all the best for what the future holds. And a heartfelt congratulations again on a wonderful novel, and the best of luck for the forthcoming release of A Town Called Vengeance.

I would also like to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to Shelley from Jolly fish press without whom this Interview would not have been possible, so thank you again Shelley. 

My review’s!

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Brokeheart

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A Town called Vengeance.

Thank you all for reading.

Doctor Who Memoirs Part 3

2805593949[1]By Steve Parkes

Doctor No 3: Jon Pertwee

1970-1974

Companions and Ratings:

Elizabeth Shaw 8/10

Jo Grant 7/10

Sarah Jane Smith 6/10

UNIT Regulars:

Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge Stewart 9/10

Captain Mike Yates 6/10

Sergeant Benton 8/10

Fan Art: Monsters and Villains from the Pertwee era:

Third-Doctor-who[1]

Stories and Ratings:

*All Stories watched on DVD*

Spearhead from space: 4 Episodes 8/10

The first story in colour and the Doctor begins his exile on Earth, Pertwee makes a solid start as the Timelord joining up with Brigadier Lethbridge Stewart and UNIT to defeat the Nestenes and the plastic Autons, good action throughout. However the music score is bloody awful.

The Silurians: 7 Episodes 7/10

A tense story that runs a little too long for my tastes, the acting is totally believable as the research centre personnel begin to crack, the Doctor is at his most diplomatic dealing with two intelligent species who both believe they are the rightful rulers of the Earth.

The Ambassadors of Death: 7 Episodes 7/10

Intelligent script that doesn’t rely on alien monsters, there is plenty of action throughout and a lot of twists and turns to keep the viewer entertained, Pertwee’s best performance so far.

Inferno: 7 Episodes 9/10

This is one of my favourite Pertwee stories, the story is well directed and the tension at times is unbearable. The actors have to shout their lines to be heard as the drill noise is so loud which adds to the mood, perhaps one the most adult themed stories ever made in Doctor Who. The cliff hanger to episode 6 is one of the best in the series history!

Terror of the Autons: 4 Episodes 8/10

A re-write of Spearhead from Space but with one vital ingredient; an evil Timelord. The Master enters Doctor Who and is played to perfection by Roger Delgado. The Autons themselves are not quite as menacing as their first time out.

The Mind of Evil: 6 Episodes 6/10

A good interesting plot that carries on way too long, there is so much padding during the story, with repetitive episode endings. The UNIT regulars feature well with various set pieces.

Claws of Axos: 4 Episodes 4/10

I have never liked this story, the directing and editing of the story really bugs me, there is a lot of wooden acting throughout. The Axons are well realised but the real star of this story is the Master who plays an unlikely hero.

Colony in Space: 6 Episodes 6/10

Colonists and Miners arguing over a Planet is interesting at first, but goes into repetitive mode very quickly with various gunfights, kidnappings and rescues. The Master turns up again for the fourth story in a row, but yet again Roger Delgado has a big impact to the story and you can clearly see the chemistry between him and Pertwee.

The Daemons: 5 Episodes 7/10

This is my wife’s personal favourite story, alas I can’t agree with it, the story is an enjoyable romp, with a rather lighter tone to proceedings, UNIT is represented in more of a lighter tone this time around which would stick for future stories but there are many memorable lines from the Brigadier.

Day of the Daleks: 4 Episodes 7/10

The Daleks are back! I used to love this story when I was younger, but now I’m older I can see there are only three Daleks which dampens the story a little. The Ogrons are the best thing about this story, they really come over as strong and a simple race. Anyone new to the Pertwee era will enjoy this story as it has many elements similar to the Terminator films.

The Curse of Peladon: 4 Episodes 7.5/10

A story dripping with an intense atmosphere and featuring many alien races, I think this story is Katy Manning’s best performance as Jo Grant and you clearly see Pertwee is enjoying himself whilst singing Venusian Lullabies.

The Sea Devils: 6 Episodes 9/10

This is one of those stories that gets better every time I watch it. There is no doubt in my mind that this is Roger Delgado’s finest performance as the Master, he truly oozes evil here. All the regulars are on top form, the story has a quirky music score and the Sea Devils themselves are excellent.

The Mutants: 6 Episodes 8/10

This story is so bad that its wonderful to watch, Paul Whitsun-Jones who plays the Marshal is the epitome of a megalomaniac and plays the part so over the top that’s its amusing to watch. Where as Rick James who plays Cotton is possibly the worst actor to ever grace the show.

The Time Monster: 6 Episodes 2/10

Utter garbage!!!! A story that tries to replicate the Daemons formula from the previous year and fails on all accounts. This also is the worst story to feature Roger Delgado as the Master.

The Three Doctors: 4 Episodes 7.5/10

All the Doctors unite to defeat the Evil Timelord: Omega. Troughton and Pertwee have a great chemistry as their personas clash throughout the story and it’s interesting to see the difference in the Doctor’s styles as they try and out wit Omega. William Hartnell only has a small part to play but does a good job of keeping his future selves in line. What lets the story down is the low budget.

The Carnival of Monsters: 4 Episode 7/10

A larger than life story that has some wacky ideas, but it all works nicely. There are some great monsters and humorous script for the actors to work with, the bickering between Pletrac, Kalik and Orum is hilarious at times.

Frontier in Space: 6 Episodes 6/10

I have mixed feelings about this story, this is the last story to feature Roger Delgado as the Master. The ending is so rushed that it makes no sense, the Master just disappears, all the trouble he causes during the story is a waste of time. The Draconians are possibly the best alien race to feature in Doctor Who which makes me wonder why they haven’t been used since.

Planet of the Daleks: 6 Episodes 8/10

The Dalek toy scenes aside, this is an enjoyable romp of a story. It’s nice to see the Thals return to the series as they carry on their endless war against the Daleks. Pertwee’s scene with him thinking Jo has been exterminated is wonderfully played.

The Green Death: 6 Episodes 10/10

The best story to feature UNIT, this story is a classic, it has everything including an excellent plot, giant maggots, flying insects, horrible green burning slime and some excellent cliffhangers! The final scene with Jo’s departure is tear jerking.

The Time Warrior: 4 Episodes 7/10

A clever story that mixes History and Science Fiction elements together, this is the first appearance of the Sontarans, an interesting clone race that has a thirst for War against the Rutans. Sarah Jane Smith makes her debut in Doctor Who and I found her rather annoying. There are some really good scenes and the interplay between Irongron and Bloodaxe is amusing.

Invasion of the Dinosaurs: 6 Episodes 9/10

Dinosaurs aside which frankly look terrible, this story is really clever and kept me guessing throughout. I did sympathise with the villain characters in what they were trying to achieve which is unusual in Doctor Who. This story was to tell the public of the growing dangers of polluting our planet.

Death to the Daleks: 4 Episodes 8/10

This story is so atmospheric, which is ruined by the dreadful music score, that aside this story shows how ingenious the Daleks are in how they adapt to situations which puts them in a great evil light. The puzzles the Doctor and the Daleks have to face during the story are interesting, and the natives are extremely hostile.

The Monster of Peladon: 6 Episodes 5/10

Everything that made Curse of Peladon good is used in this story, but this story never reaches the same heights as it’s predecessor. The Ice Warriors return to being Villains but lack any sort of menace, merely a bunch of thugs trying to get their own way.

Planet of Spiders: 6 Episodes 6/10

The final farewell for Jon Pertwee as the Doctor, this adventure crams in everything that made Pertwee’s era a success, lots of chases and fights, and the Spiders are well realised, but some of the acting is frankly manure which dampens proceedings. The regeneration scene is tear jerking.

My score for Jon Pertwee: 7.5/10

Average story score: 7/10

Next Part Tom Baker 1974-1981

The Liar’s Key Review:

24428239Reviewed By Steve Parkes

Bald Mage Rating 5/10

I tried to fathom that one. He had to take the key to the man who had sent assassins to kill him for it? He had to take the key to the man who wanted it badly enough to reach out more than a thousand miles for it? He had to enter the lair of a deadly mage and face ridiculous odds…and the ‘prize’ was to open a door into death and start another suicidal quest that couldn’t possibly give him what he wanted?

PLOT:

The eyes of the mighty are on the North. Loki’s key has been found and lies in the hands of a feckless prince and a broken warrior.

Winter has locked Prince Jalan Kendeth far from the luxury of his southern palace. The North may be home to Viking Snorri ver Snagason but he is just as eager to leave. However, even men who hold a key that can open any door must wait for the thaw.
As the ice unlocks its jaws the Dead King moves to claim what was so nearly his. But there are other players in this game, other hands reaching for Loki’s key.

Jalan wants only to return to the wine and women of the south, but Snorri has a different and terrifying goal. The warrior aims to find the very door into death and throw it wide. Snorri ver Snagason will challenge all of Hell if that’s what it takes to bring his wife and children back into the living world. He has found the key – now all he needs is to find the door.

But pawns are played to sacrifice and the Red Queen set both these men upon her board. How many moves ahead has the Silent Sister seen? How far will they get before their part in the game is over?

REVIEW:

So here we are, the second book of The Red Queen’s War trilogy and I can put my hands up and say I didn’t really enjoy it until the last 20% of the book.

I struggled to get into it, the first half of the book was mainly Jalan, Snorri and Tuttugu sailing to various Norse settlements where Jalan indulged in getting himself laid with some young lady and getting drunk, only to suffer the consequences the next day. I also found early on with the novel that Jalan would get captured only to be saved again and again.

Don’t get me wrong there were occasions that made me chuckle as some of Jalan’s narrative is hilarious to read, one such moment was him having sex with a maid in a barn only for it to accidently be set on fire, also when he is guarding the boat only to have birds crap on him and his reaction is sublime, but apart from these humorous moments the first half just didn’t get me stimulated.

The story centres around Loki’s key, if you are unaware, Loki is the Norse God of mischief, but Snorri thinks the key will lead him to his family and sets of on a quest to find the door which fits the key, Jalan on the other hand just wants to go home. On their travels they realise quickly other Viking tribes and other evil people, such as The Dead King and the Unborn and various other evil doers want the key as well, and this takes up much of the first 50% of the book, go to a village, the village gets attacked, they escape, then move onto another village only for it to happen all over again.

We have a few new characters enter the trilogy, such as the young Volva Kara, she was an interesting character. I couldn’t tell if she was good or bad which brought some intrigue to the proceedings but I got the idea she was bought in for one purpose and that purpose was to put a blood spell on Jalan so he could see visions. This opened up a complete background story for the Red Queen and the Silent Sister which I really enjoyed, and every time Jalan wakes from his deep dreams he begins to respect his Grandmother more and more but also finds out information he wished he never saw and this begins to harden our cowardly friend. This leads me to when he returns home, which was one of my favourite bits of the novel as everyone thinks he is dead and this made for some amusing interplay.

The second half switches to Florence and I have to be honest and say I started to switch off, as this was the author giving me background info into the financial affairs of the Empire past and present. Don’t get me wrong I know wars cost money but I had to read a bankers speech about debts and repayment and various insults, it just got a tiny bit tedious.

Half the trouble for me was the fact Snorri was missing a lot in the second half, but this gave Jalan some character development. His cowardice is put to bed a little, as he does some courageous acts to impress a certain boy called Hennan, who I think puts Jalan to shame almost to the point where he has to prove to the boy that he is a hero. This is evident in the attempted rescue of his friends in Umbertide, it’s here that I got to read about the Clockwork Soldiers, they were an interesting creation, and one called Guardian is used to good effect.

But I return to the Viking Snorri, who is my best character mainly because he is the story carrier, he drives the plot not Jalan, he has a purpose and he melted my heart when he spoke of his family uttering;

‘She lit me up. My wife, Freja. Like I was one of those windows I’ve seen in the house of the White Christ. Dull and without meaning by night and then the light comes and they’re aglow with colour and story. Have you known that, Prince of the Red March? Not a woman you would die for, but a woman you’d live for?’

I just hope Snorri has more of the action in the final book of the trilogy.

Overall I was a little disappointed with this entry, I felt my concentration wander a few times but there are also some good sections that got me back on the right track. I always enjoy the mention of the Builders and their technology remnants of a past age that are abused for evil purposes, and I got to learn of The Red Queens past as well as the Blue Lady who has some power I can tell you. However this book just didn’t give me that same vibe that I got from the Prince of Fools which was a shame. Put that aside, this book ended on a cliff hanger so I must read Wheel of Osheim some time later in the year.

 

A Town called Vengeance.

A Town Called Vengeance

By Keith Brady

Bald Mage Rating 9/10

I would like to thank Shelley Jones from Jolly Fish Press,North Star Editions, and Netgalley for allowing me to read and review this book.

“Far away, the lone sound of a single animal reminded me of what more I must face. A Wolf howled.

Fresh from the events at Brokeheart, Kepler and June are headed to a Town called Vengeance in the hopes of a new beginning they both sorely need. However mid-way to Vengeance Apaches strike, Kepler, June, their driver Ford and five Buffalo soldiers led by Sergeant Pope are now pinned down and fighting to survive. As casualties start to mount and night sets in Kepler’s focus is not only on the Apaches, but the wolves that have been stalking them since leaving Brokeheart. With the horrors of Brokeheart still firmly imbedded in Kepler’s mind and the improbable desire for their new life together. The question now is, will they ever get to Vengeance at all, and if they do get out of this can Kepler finish what was started in Brokeheart whilst keeping all whom he loves safe?

Well what a delight this was to read, not only because I enjoyed the first book Brokeheart, but because A Town called Vengeance grabbed me from the start and refused to let go even after I had finished. A Town called Vengeance kicks off at a fast pace and will keep the reader entertained throughout the whole journey. This book unlike its predecessor has a very tense feel to it with lots of things happening on the periphery as the story progresses.

The main character Kepler still has a little mystery that surrounds him as we still don’t know much about his past history other than the loveable gambling rogue, news paper journalist he is , which I feel ads to his charm. One thing that is obvious though is Kepler’s mother still has an influence on how he approaches certain situations, as there are lots of moments throughout the book when he reflects on past advice from her.

June who worked in Months Saloon in Brokeheart and who Kepler is obviously in love with, is a loveable character and complements Kepler well. The nice thing about these two is the unspoken love between them. It’s plainly obvious they love each other but it’s something that really doesn’t feature prominently in the book, it’s there but under the surface. I don’t know if this was deliberate but I thought it’s something that was cleverly done and warmed my heart, so I thought it worth a mention here.

The group of Buffalo soldiers are also very well written into this story and the author touches on the subject of race discrimination which was very prevalent at that time not only in the American mid- west but most of the colonised world. The soldiers have a major role in the whole scenario of Vengeance, especially Taylor who befriends Kepler quite early on in the book, and goes on to help him with the many encounters that Kepler faces.

The main focus of A Town called Vengeance is Kepler’s desire to finish what he started in Brokeheart. So Kepler starts work for Thomas an editor who owns The Vengeance Dispatch the local news paper. It was Thomas who sent Kepler news clippings of reported Apache attacks where the victims had been savaged by Wolves, and the picture of Landry the she Wolf that escaped him in the inferno of Nicolae’s house in Brokeheart. So Kepler understandably wants to track down and stop the infamous Landry before more killings take place. So Kepler starts his investigation, and he soon discovers from talking to various people around Vengeance more to concern himself with than just his nemesis Landry.

“If what we fear comes… the colour of those trooper’s skin won’t matter at all”

To sum up my thoughts on this great sequel to Brokeheart then, well quite simply it’s my favourite book of the year so far. It had everything I’d hoped for in a sequel, in many ways A Town called Vengeance was better than the first. It had a tenseness to it that kept me enthralled throughout and it had a great pace to it. The characters feel like old friends and the setting for all this was well portrayed. So welcome to my favourite author list Mr Wolf, I look forward to the adventures to come.

Thanks for Reading!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Doctor Who Memoirs Part 2

Patrick-Troughton-actor-Dr-Doctor-Who[1]By Steve Parkes

 Doctor No 2: Patrick Troughton 

1966-1969

Companions and Ratings:

Ben Jackson 8/10

Polly 8/10

Jamie McCrimmon 10/10

Victoria Waterfield 7/10

Zoe Heriot 8/10

Fan Art: Monsters and Villains from the Troughton era:

700f320709fd8a443528b628612f4ea4[1]

Stories and Ratings:

Power of the Daleks: 6 episodes DVD animated story, But I prefer the audio

10/10

Patrick Troughton’s first story and what a cracker! Ben and Polly have a shock to deal with in the fact they have a younger man that is the Doctor but is he really the Doctor? Troughton’s Doctor is intelligent and witty, if a little over the top at times but he brings a complete new energy the series needed and proved that the show could exist with a change of actor. The Daleks are at their chilling best, no other story repersents them in this way again!

The Highlanders: 4 episodes Audio

8/10

The last historical story until Black Orchard in 1982 which is shame, much like the Smugglers this has a swashbuckling feel with over the top characters. Troughton is on top form but still trying to find his feet as the Doctor, also we have a new companion in the form of Jamie.

The Underwater Menace: 4 episodes, DVD episodes 2 and 3, Audio episodes 1 and 4 7/10

This story has a bad reputation by most Doctor Who fans labelling it as one of Patrick Troughton’s worst stories. I beg to differ, I rather like it, there is no doubt the hammy acting is there throughout the duration but I think that’s part of its charm and its very underrated.

The Moonbase: 4 episodes DVD with animated episodes

8/10
This is a basic re-write of the The Tenth Planet but on the moon, the Cybermen have a new better look and come across as good enemies, Troughton leans to more of the serious side of the Doctor in this adventure which makes him darker, a great story.

The Macra Terror: 4 episodes Audio

7/10
A happy colony that has a crab problem, but guess what, it works brilliantly. Jamie has more of the action which would set things rolling for the future of the series.

 

The Faceless Ones: 6 episodes, Audio episodes 2,4,5 and 6, DVD episodes 1 and 3

6/10
This story uses Gatwick airport to good effect, the chemisty between Patrick Troughton and Frazier Hines is evident here and unfortunately Ben and Polly are written out badly which was a shame because I liked them alot.

The Evil of the Daleks: 7 episodes, Audio episodes 2,3,4,5,6 and 7, DVD episode 1

4/10
I don’t like this story and I’ll explain why, the audio doesn’t do it justice, this is an action orientated story that doesn’t work on audio, I hope someone finds this story because it’s rated so highly by other people, but I just find it a chore.

Tomb of the Cybermen: 4 episodes DVD

8/10
This see’s Troughton’s Doctor being uncharacteristically manipulative, as he baits human archeologists into opening a long lost Cyberman tomb on Telos. Good acting throughout and the Cyberman being at their best make this an excellent story, just a few minor camera shots that reveal wires lets down an almost flawless story.

The Abominable Snowmen: 6 episodes, Audio episodes 1,3,4,5 and 6, DVD episode 2 9/10
When I first listened to this story I loved it, in fact I’ve listened to it 3 times in row. The main cast as well as the supporting cast put in some great performances and the highlight is the Great Intelligence as it possesses Padmasambhava, the hideous whispering voice Wolfe Morris produces is frightening.

The Ice Warriors: 6 episodes: DVD

7/10
The Ice warriors make their debut appearance and its a fine one as they come over as very alien for the time and Bernard Bresslaw puts in a memorable performance as Varga. I just found this story went a little stale in the middle but its still a good story.

The Enemy of the World: 6 episodes DVD

9/10
A recently found story that stunned me mainly because it had a bad reputation for being the clanger of the season, but on viewing it I thought Patrick Troughton was excellent playing two roles; the hero and the villain! A very underrated story.

The Web Of Fear: 6 episodes, DVD episodes 1,2,4,5 and 6, Audio episode 3

7/10
Another recent lost story that was found but unlike Enemy of the World this story had a good reputation, on viewing it I thought the story was good. The sets of the underground are brilliant, but it did go stale in the middle with all the running around the underground tunnels, Nicholas Courtney puts in a good performance as Colonel Lethbridge Stewart.

The Fury of the Deep: 6 episodes Audio

9/10
One of the most chilling Doctor Who Stories ever produced, I hope they don’t re-discover this story as it works perfectly for audio. Victoria’s farewell is handled brilliantly, no doubt one of the best stories of the Patrick Troughtons era.

The Wheel in Space: 6 episodes, Audio episodes 1,2,4 and 5, DVD episodes 3 and 6

7/10
A long winded Cyberman invasion of a space station, the Cybermen are at their best when keeping in the shadows especially in the black and white format, but this story is padded out too much. Wendy Padbury is good as Zoe and a welcome addition to the Tardis crew.

The Dominators: 5 episodes DVD

6/10
A silly story, the Dulcians are the most passive race ever in Doctor Who are so pathetic it’s almost laughable, The Dominators come across as really good villains but by the end their constant bickering becomes tedious.

The Mind Robber: 5 episodes DVD 

9/10
This is a personal favourite of mine, I just loved the land of fiction and the Doctor trying to work out what the hell is going on throughout the story, the only let down was the end, otherwise this would have got a perfect score.

Invasion: 8 episodes DVD

9/10
The Cybermen return! But they are not the stars, this honour goes to Kevin Stoney who portrays an excellent villain in the shape of Tobias Vaughn. This is the first story to feature UNIT and in some ways this is a dummy run for the following years stories.

The Krotons: 4 episodes DVD

7/10
I rather like this story, it’s not the best 2nd Doctor story but Troughton puts in a comical performance. My favourite line in the story is: ” great jumping gobstoppers what was that?!” The Krotons appearance is laughable being oversized egg boxes but the voices are some of the best I have ever heard.

The Seeds of Death: 6 episodes DVD

8/10
This story is just a great enjoyable romp with the Ice Warriors invading the Moonbase to use as a stepping stone to invading the Earth, the over use of foam during the story makes for some hilarious scenes involving Patrick Troughton who turns in a fantastic performance.

The Space Pirates: 6 episodes, Audio episodes 1,3,4,5 and 6, DVD episode 2

2/10
The worst story in the Patrick Troughton era, the regular cast hardly feature during the story so the weight is carried the supporting cast who fail to set alight proceedings, a bland and boring runabout.

The War Games: 10 episodes DVD

7/10
This story is all over the place, at times there are some good ideas but some of the acting is terrible, and with such a big episode count the action stagnates too much, episode 9 and 10 are worth the wait, as we learn more about the Doctor’s race in two episodes than we have done in the last 6 years of the show.

Overall I love Patrick Troughton’s Doctor, he starts off a bit wacky but settles down into a great Doctor who goes blundering into trouble but always finds a way to defeat the monsters whilst always managing to do it with a twinkle in his eye.

My score for Patrick Troughton:  9/10

Average story score: 7.3/10

Part 3 next month :Jon Pertwee 1970-1974

Doctor Who: Last of the Colophon Review

22211074Reviewed By Steve Parkes

Bald Mage Rating 6/10

‘These megalomaniacs are all the same’

PLOT:

The planet Colophos is a dead world. Nothing but dust and rubble – and the ruins of a once-great civilisation. But is it really as dead as it appears? When the Doctor and Leela land, joined by the crew of the Oligarch survey ship, it’s not long before they receive a communication from one of the ruins. A communication from Astaroth Morax, the last of the Colophon. Attended by a sadistic robot nurse, Morax is in a wheelchair and bound in bandages to conceal his terrible injuries. But is he really as powerless as he seems? What became of the rest of his race – and why didn’t he die with them?

Entering his lair, the Doctor uncovers a terrifying secret…

REVIEW:

During Tom Baker’s era of Doctor Who the best years were the ones that took old horror and Science fiction stories and re-worked them to work for Doctor Who, in this case it’s a re-write of The Invisible Man.

The story is enjoyable if a little rushed to fit the 60 minute timeslot, the opening part reveals the Doctor wanting a holiday and lands the Tardis on the planet Colophos, much to Leela’s disgust it’s cold and bleak. However they are not alone, a space ship lands containing a survey team to see if the planet is habitable, with the Doctor’s holiday ruined they unite with the survey team who pick up a distress signal.

The most interesting character of the audio is Gareth Thomas’ character the scientist Morax; the last of his kind who is within the citadel and has a robot nurse jailer. The first episode reveals him to be a weak man who thought he was alone in the universe but with the activity on the planets surface he finds out he is not alone and tries his best to get the Doctor and the survey team to help free him from the robot nurse. Morax’s conversation with the Doctor, as he tells him of the hideous affair of how he was so badly burnt that he has to wear bandages to protect his body, made me feel sorry for him, but the Doctor is not fooled and begins to unravel who Morax really is and why he is imprisoned.

Gareth Thomas plays the charcter really well delivering his lines with an evil venom uttering lines such as;

‘Soon I shall be liberated from this purgatory, and then I shall not rest until my name is spoken in dread across the universe.’

Tom Baker turns in a good performance with lines he would use regularly in the TV series making light of a dire situation, but at times when things really go badly Tom will speak a line with such a serious tone that it will make your hairs stand up on the back of your neck, this is what makes him the greatest Doctor of all.

Louise Jameson’s Leela uses her hunting skills to great effect during the audio and works out the weaknesses of the enemy and uses them to her advantage.

I have a major negative about this plot, Morax is the last of his kind and there is no doubt he is an evil bastard as you find out during the audio, but would the Doctor commit genocide? I don’t think so, and with Tom Baker’s line said in a humorous nature ‘well that’s the last of the Colophon’ and to just leave in the Tardis was out of character.

Overall this was a decent idea and the first part was really good, alas though the concluding part let the whole story down. Undoubtedly the highlight of the audio is Gareth Thomas playing a villain character and doing it brilliantly but it was a shame the story had a rushed uncharacteristic ending.

Briguella Review:

36665372Reviewed By Steve Parkes

Bald Mage Rating 8/10

I would like to thank Vicki Fitzgerald for providing me with a free copy for an honest review:

‘We are closing the net on you. We are coming and we will find you. You will be held accountable for the six young women you brutally murdered. I will have justice for all of them, and for Kate Rivendale. Hand yourself in and make things easier for yourself. It’s only a matter of time until we come knocking at your door.’

PLOT:

After seven women fall victim to a serial killer, journalist Kate Rivendale becomes embroiled in the manhunt. The authorities have no suspect, only one forensic link dating way back to the 1930s.

Detective Chief Inspector William Beckley needs to salvage his career; he has too many deaths on his conscience. Beckley entices Kate to go undercover, a decision which backfires with devastating consequences.

While DCI Beckley reaches a horrifying conclusion about the murderer Kate enters a desperate fight for her life… while battling to keep her own secrets buried.

REVIEW:

This was an enjoyable little novel, that was easy to read mainly because it flowed nicely. The novel is split between three characters and these are; DCI William Beckley, A journalist Kate Rivendale, and the Killer and each of these characters felt truly realistic.
The author paints a grim present day world that I totally agree with, such as the character Kate siting in a park watching a child play, whilst noticing there are syringes laying about, as well her seeing a hooded drug dealer selling coke to a young teenager, and I totally relate to these sorts of events as I have witnessed things like this myself, so I sympathised with Kate’s character.

Now I want to go onto the pressures of each job our characters do and I will start with Kate and journalism, the author really shows the complicated nature of the job. As Kate tries to find the perfect story to impress her boss, and even when she gets a good story her boss still isn’t impressed or satisfied and this leads to many stressful situations for Kate who has her own personal troubles to deal with. Kate finds it hard to detach herself from the stories she investigates and she becomes emotionally attached at times, and yet again the author really summed up todays world of people trying to get a quick buck here and there because they might make the news in the papers.

DCI Beckley’s job is also well realised as the author shows the pressures of a detectives livelihood. Beckley at times is pushed to the limit as the dead are growing in number and he hasn’t a clue who the killer is, Beckley also has a troubled past with a previous case that he feels responsible for, and this eats him up inside and makes him more determined to catch this new killer.

The author has clearly done some good research for this novel or she has worked in one of the roles previous to writing this book. The police press conferences were really well detailed and felt extremely realistic as well as the Post Mortem descriptions which were extremely detailed, which I thoroughly enjoyed mainly because some of the killers traits that he used on his victims were different to what I’ve read before. I always enjoy the profilers of any book like this, I find these people really intelligent in how they determine a killer’s traits and weaknesses and now I’m older I look back at my childhood and think that I’ve wasted a good opportunity as I would have liked to have been a profiler myself.

The Killer is an interesting person, the reason for these horrific crimes this lunatic commits is a little staggering, the Killer only kills blonde women. For me as a reader there was one key scene that revealed the identity of the Killer early on and I told my wife who I thought it was and I was proved correct by the end. Did this ruin my experience of the book? I would say no, the police still had to catch this crazed buffoon before any more deaths took place, so I was fairly entertained reading about the murderer outwitting the police.

Overall this was great outing for the author who clearly has a talent for writing, she describes human emotions perfectly, as I witnessed both sides of the human mind. The lunatic murderous kind and the fighting spirit of the will to survive at all costs, the book really shows the reader present day society in a nut shell which is kind of depressing but in a good way.

The Sea Watch. (Shadows of the Apt #6)

The Sea Watch (Shadows of the Apt, #6)

By Keith Brady

Bald Mage Rating 8.5/10

“There will come a tomorrow, when we shall speak again. Remember that.” And the sheer depth of her pain and anger, Chilled him to the bone.

 Upon returning from Khanaphes, Berjek Gripslop, Praeda Rahespear, and Amnon (formally the first soldier of Khanaphes) meet with Stenwold Maker to give him a firsthand account of the events surrounding the Invasion the distant Beetle city. Though pleased to see their safe return Stenwold is apprehensive, as there is one noticeable absence, his niece Cheerwell. And upon hearing what took place, Stenwold is incensed at not only the company his niece is keeping but also her rashness.

As Collegium’s ships come under attack from pirates, (some are even disappearing entirely) Stenwold finds himself drawn into investigating the matter after Rones Failwright a shipping magnet, petitions the assemblers at the Collegiate Amphiophos. And what Stenwold discovers will change his world forever.

With an almost worthless peace treaty with the Wasp empire and a fragile alliance with the paranoid Vekken, in a world of subterfuge Spymaster and Statesman Stenwold Maker has to take stock of many events past and present, and not for the first time in his illustrious carrier asks himself a question; is the enemy of my enemy, my friend… or my enemy? And the answer to that is never clear!

“Don’t spoil too much for a fight, tall one,” she advised him. “For my kind, that’s wooing.”

Wow what a wonderful edition to the shadows of the Apt series! This for me ranks among one of the best so far. The sea Watch mainly centres on good old Stenwold Maker, Beetle Kinden spymaster extraordinaire and statesman/diplomat of the coastal city of Collegium. And Teornis, who is a Spider Kinden Aristoi of the great family Aldanrael. Teornis became a popular figure in Collegium, as he was instrumental in leading a fleet of ships out of his own city of seldis to break the Vekken siege of Collegium. That said we do have some great supporting characters (shouldn’t expect anything else from Mr Tchaikovsky), these include; Tomasso master of the pirate vessel the Tidenfree, Laszlo a young crew member of the Tidenfree who befriends Stenwold Maker (he also happens to be my favourite character), Wys and Paladrya of the sea Kinden. These are to name but a few of a large and unforgettable cast of new characters in Adrian Tchaikovsky’s The Sea Watch.

The best part about the Sea Watch is the expansion of the already vast world of Adrian Tchaikovsky’s insect kingdom. We are introduced to some fantastic characters, beasts and places which, though at times felt a little fantastical to me, gave an exciting nonstop thrill throughout this book. Which has only left me wanting more of the same, and that can only be a good thing!

There is another wonderful aspect to this book, and that is the political arena. All the subterfuge and espionage not only between the members of the Amphiophos- which is the seat of the Collegiate government. But also between the Ant Kinden diplomats, the Spider lands, not to mention the new environments and peoples we are being treated too. All are wonderfully written and very engaging for the reader. Though it can be a daunting to start with a whole host of new characters and environments in an already vast world, Mr Tchaikovsky eases us in to this exciting new world that brings with it Myths and Legends of its own.

Thus far the Shadows of the Apt series is a delight to read and I would go so far as to liken it to A Game of Thrones, only with insect evolution. Adrian Tchaikovsky has surpassed himself yet again and left me wanting more, much more and soon!

I believe this is one of the most overlooked Fantasy series out there and I urge anyone that hasn’t read any of these books to give them a go, you won’t regret it.

“What I mean is this: you see the Empire do pointless, violent, cruel things, and you mark it down as the Wasps simply doing what Wasps do. But I, being who I am, ask why.”

Thanks for reading.

 

 

 

 

 

Fiends of Nightmaria.

The Fiends of Nightmaria  (The Tales of Bauchelain and Korbal Broach, #6)

By Keith Brady

Bald Mage Rating 7/10

“Accord them no sympathy, Mr Reese. They make their own fate after all, and if through incompetence, laziness or stupidity they must live a life of abject suffering and hopeless, despairing misery, why, no-one ever said the world was fair.”

 

The city of Forrog has a new King, Bauchelain the first, along with his trusty companion now the Grand Bishop Korbal Broach and their ever suffering manservant Emancipor Reece they have absolute rule over their subjects. However fearing an uprising due to rising tensions with the neighbouring country of Nightmaria home of the grotesque fiends, King Bauchelain has had nearly all of the Poets, Artists and bards put to death in an attempt to quell the tensions in his unique way. There are however, some survivors and they languish in the palace dungeon arguing amongst themselves who’s turn it is next for the rack, oh and making their escape and seeking revenge on the necromantic duo. At the same time a team of bungling thieves are planning to enter the palace and rescuing the thief guild leader from the evil clutches of Bauchelain and Korbal Broach. Oh and on top of all this the Indifferent God has escaped and now prowls the bowels of the palace along with other unmentionables.

Firstly let me say this is a typical Erikson book, by that I mean throw a load of characters together on differing story threads and let them collide in the middle, not a bad thing though under the circumstances I hope you all agree.

Well the duo is at it again causing mayhem where ever they go, and in this instalment Bauchelain finds himself a King, of forrog no less. And in his usual droll way governs like a necromancer would, mercilessly. Full of self importance Bauchelain has put to death all those he thinks would spread ill word of the coming war with the country of Nightmaria. Bauchelain and Korbal Broach are their usual selves throughout this book with Bauchelain never seemingly concerned about any eventuality that comes his way even when Demons are called upon. Korbal Broach is continuing with his experiments with a good supply of headless corpses roaming the bowels of the palace, he’s also taking his new position as Grand Bishop as seriously as Korbal would, with upmost contempt. They are just two of the most loveable rogues you could ever wish to find in a book and my favourite throughout the entire Malazan series even though it’s mostly cameo appearances. And poor old Emancipor Reece ever faithful man servant to our duo is more often than not Bauchelains conscience in the ever chaotic world his masters find themselves.

“I have proclaimed a holy war, Ambassador.” “Yes why?” “Korbal Broach frowned.”Because I felt like it”

Now this next group had me in stitches, I’m referring to the prisoners Bauchelain has so kindly thought to imprison and torture. Firstly we have Brash Phluster who’s constantly moaning how late the royal torturer is, and then goes into debating whose turn it is next. Apto Canavlian carries the argument on along with Tiny Chanter his brothers Midge and Flea, whom if there’s a brain cell among them it would be a surprise. Tulgord Vise a former mortal sword of the sisters Soliel and Poliel is next on the list; Tulgord is a proud and righteous man and is a member of the Nehemothanai sworn hunters of Bauchelain and Korbal Broach. He has very little patience when it comes to the others mind. Stech Marynd is the last of our little band of merry prisoners; Stech is by far the most sensible and gives the vibe of a true leader in his former life before his incarceration. What makes this lot so special is the banter between them and as the story progresses it becomes all the more bizarre.

Now we come to the thieves, this lot is just as much fun if not more so; Plaintly Grasp, Barunko, Symondenalian Niksos, Lurma Spilibus, Mortari and Le Groutt make up our unlikely band of thieves mounting a rescue to release the leader of the thieves guild Dam Loudly Heer, and if there’s any treasure knocking about well, they’ll take it of course. This bunch of buffoons is an absolute riot especially Barunko bless him, they all gel together wonderfully and could have a novella all of their own. The only thing I can really say against The Fiends of Nightmaria would be that sometimes the bizarreness of the dialogue distracted me from the story line other than that it’s a cracking read.

On the whole Erikson has made every character in this book thoroughly entertaining and will have you chuckling to yourself throughout, in my opinion it would make a wonderful script for a Carry on film.

Oh and did I mention the Indifferent God has escaped, well he has……………

My next post will be in two weeks time.

Thanks for reading!