Monday, 23 March 2015

VIDEO GAME NEWS: Batman: Arkham Knight delayed until 23rd June - Warner Brothers Interactive

Hail Might Readers and Followers of the Calloused Thumbs,
Our friends at Warner Brothers, DC and Rock Steady Games have let us know that the forthcoming title, Batman: Arkham Knight will be delayed for release until 23rd June 2015.

This is because:
"We're a developer that hates to make any compromises, so we are sorry to say this means it's going to be just a little bit longer until you can play the epic conclusion to the Arkham trilogy. As a reward for your patience and understanding, and to make the wait even more unbearable, we are pleased to whet your appetite with a new gameplay video of Batman™: Arkham Knight.

Thanks so much from everyone at Rocksteady for your continued support. We are working as hard as we can to make you proud."


Please remember that if you preorder you'll also get to play Harley Quinn. as well as the fact that this title is next gen and will only be released on the following formats:  
Xbox One    

All the best,  

Gareth and Lady Eleanor

Friday, 20 March 2015

ALTERNATE HISTORY FICTION: The Hesperian Trilogy 1: Clash of Eagles - Alan Smale

Release Date: 20/03/15
Publisher:  Titan (UK), Del Rey (US)


Perfect for fans of military and historical fiction - including novels by such authors as Bernard Cornwell, Naomi Novik, and Harry Turtledove - this stunning work of alternate history imagines a world in which the Roman Empire has not fallen and the North American continent has just been discovered. In the year 1218 AD, transported by Norse longboats, a Roman legion crosses the great ocean, enters an endless wilderness, and faces a cataclysmic clash of warriors, worlds, and gods. Ever hungry for land and gold, the Emperor has sent Praetor Gaius Marcellinus and the 33rd Roman Legion into the newly discovered lands of North America. Marcellinus and his men expect easy victory over the native inhabitants, but on the shores of a vast river the Legion clashes with a unique civilization armed with weapons and strategies no Roman has ever imagined. Forced to watch his vaunted force massacred by a surprisingly tenacious enemy, Marcellinus is spared by his captors and kept alive for his military knowledge. As he recovers and learns more about these proud people, he can't help but be drawn into their society, forming an uneasy friendship with the denizens of the city-state of Cahokia. But threats - both Roman and Native - promise to assail his newfound kin, and Marcellinus will struggle to keep the peace while the rest of the continent surges toward certain conflict.


A strange and unusual alternate history title that takes readers into the strange world of “What if” where the roman war enginee invades the America’s with mixed results. Its in part reminiscent of “A Man Called Horse”, has some solid world building and whilst the combat seuqneces worked very well, it was more as an individual battle that the author did very well rather than as an overall army combat. Its definitely a very interesting premise and whilst I initially wasn’t as enthused with it as I thought I would be, I did find that as the tale moved on, I became more engrossed to see how the world would adapt.

Its got some quirky characters, some wonderful dialogue and when added to an arc that will lead the series into one hell of a war, its going to be a case of leaving the reader wondering how the adaptations alongside warfare will effect a world to which many readers are completely unfamiliar. Definitely a series to watch and for me, a tale I was very pleased that I stuck with to the end. Can’t wait to see what book two has in store.

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

VIDEO GAME NEWS: Lego Jurassic World gets Trailer - Warner Borthers Interactive

Hail Mighty Readers and Followers of the Calloused Thumbs,
Our friends at Warner Brothers Interactive, have let us know about the latest trailer for the forthcoming Lego Jurassic World game that spans the four films set on the popular franchise.

Its quirky, its going to be a ton of fun and when you add Lego into the mix, you know that its going to be a lot of fun.  (Here's also hoping I get to play as a dinosaur and do some human munching.  LOL)

So here for your viewing pleasure is the latest trailer:

For the latest news please follow the following feeds (alongside Falcata times)

We hope to see you on Isla Nublar on the Meurtes Archipelago.

Gareth and Lady Eleanor

Monday, 9 March 2015

MILITARY SCIENCE FICTION REVIEW: Confederation 4: Valour's Trial - Tanya Huff

Release Date: 17/04/14
Publisher:  Titan


The rousing military adventure (Locus) continues with a brand new Valor novel.

Gunnery Sergeant Torin Kerr is a Confederation Marines marine. She's survived more deadly encounters and kept more of her officers and enlistees alive than anyone in the Corps. Unexpectedly pulled from battle, Torin finds herself in an underground POW camp that shouldn't exist, where her fellow marine prisoners seem to have lost all will to escape. Now, Torin must fight her way not only out of the prison but also past the growing compulsion to sit down and give up not realizing that her escape could mean the end of the war.


The latest outing for Torin Kerr and a title that delivered what I was expecting, hardcore action, top notch dialogue and of course a story arc that keeps on giving for the overall world. It’s a title that as usual with Tanya, is well written, has great prose and of course with Tanya’s identifiable writing style will keep you going from start to finish,. If you’re looking for a new Sci-Fi series with a great characters to keep you going over the Christmas period, then this is definitely the one for you.

Sunday, 8 March 2015

URBAN FANTASY THRILLER: Mick Oberon 1: Hot Lead, Cold Iron - Ari Marmell

Release Date: 23/05/14
Publisher:  Titan


" Mick Oberon may look like just another 1930s private detective, but beneath the fedora and the overcoat, he’s got pointy ears and he’s packing a wand. Among the last in a line of aristocratic Fae, Mick turned his back on his kind and their Court a long time ago. But when he’s hired to find a gangster’s daughter sixteen years after she was replaced with a changeling, the trail leads Mick from Chicago’s criminal underworld to the hidden Otherworld, where he’ll have to wade through Fae politics and mob power struggles to find the kidnapper and solve the case."


As a huge reader of Urban Fantasy, I always love it when I get a genre mix such as adding a touch of crime with the supernatural and whilst there’s been quite a few who’ve done it well before, I like it when someone steps away from the norm and to be honest that’s what Ari has done in this outing.

Set in the 30’s its full of action, gangsters and of course action that keeps it moving, however the major problem for me was that I had trouble associating with the principle character and his abilities that felt pretty useless. As a reader I do like the potential for this world and the events that can occur within however for a first outing it felt a little lacking for me.

Saturday, 7 March 2015

URBAN FANTASY THRILLER: Sherlock Holmes: The Spirit Box - George Mann

Release Date: 22/08/14
Publisher:  Titan


German zeppelins rain down death and destruction on London, and Dr Watson is grieving for his nephew, killed on the fields of France.
A cryptic summons from Mycroft Holmes reunites Watson with his one-time companion, as Sherlock comes out of retirement, tasked with solving three unexplained deaths. A politician has drowned in the Thames after giving a pro-German speech; a soldier suggests surrender before feeding himself to a tiger; and a suffragette renounces women's liberation and throws herself under a train. Are these apparent suicides something more sinister, something to do with the mysterious Spirit Box? Their investigation leads them to Ravensthorpe House, and the curious Seaton Underwood, a man whose spectrographs are said to capture men's souls..


Ah the latest outing for Urban Fantasy Holmes and Watson and for me, a series that really keeps on giving to the reader who loves a touch of the other to a cracking tale of murder and investigation. As with the other titles in this series, its well written, has great characters that still continue to grow which when added to dialogue that keeps the magic flowing all round gives me a read that more than kept me happy.

Back this up with top notch prose and of course an arc that keeps on giving with each page and all round I was a more than happy reader. Magic.

Friday, 6 March 2015

FANTASY REVIEW: Rogues - Edited by George RR Martin and Gardner Dozois

Release Date: 29/08/14
Publisher:  Titan


If you are a fan of fiction that is more than just black and white, this latest story collection from #1 New York Times bestselling author George R. R. Martin and award-winning editor Gardner Dozois is filled with subtle shades of gray. Twenty-one all-original stories, by an all-star list of contributors, will delight and astonish you in equal measure with their cunning twists and dazzling reversals. And George R. R. Martin himself offers a brand-new Game of Thrones tale chronicling one of the biggest rogues in the entire history of the Ice and Fire saga. Follow along with the likes of Gillian Flynn, Joe Abercrombie, Neil Gaiman, Patrick Rothfuss, Scott Lynch, Cherie Priest, Garth Nix, and Connie Willis, as well as other masters of literary sleight-of-hand, in this rogues gallery of stories that will plunder your heart and yet leave you all the richer for it.


Compendiums, the wonder of the new age for readers everywhere and when a fantasy gets George RR Martins name on it, you know that top notch quality is going to be revealed within. As you’d expect from this outing you have great characters, a whole host of short stories and when added to the sheer amount of talented authors within give the reader a book that is not only value for money, but a title that you really can’t afford to miss.

Thursday, 5 March 2015

HISTORICAL FICTION REVIEW: Tyrant: Force of Kings - Christian Cameron

Release Date: 04/12/14
Publisher:  Orion


The vast and deadly conflict between Alexander the Great's former generals as they battle for control of his empire has reached a tense stalemate. No one seems able to strike the decisive blow.

But with everything in the balance, a secret emerges: hidden in the remote mountains is a young man who could change everything: Herakles, the son of Alexander.

Whoever aspires to Alexander's mantle must now control his one legitimate heir - or destroy him - and a war being played across the known world is set for its final, bloody conclusion. As the rival armies converge on the village of Ipsus, twin monarchs Satyrus and Melitta know that they too must gamble their own lives and the survival of their Black Sea kingdom on the outcome...


The latest Christian Cameron title and as usual, one that is on form to give you not only hardcore action but great prose with a cracking storyline.

As a fan of Chrisian’s writing I don’t have a clue how he can turn out so many books with such great form in a year and when you add to this characters that you just want to spend time around which when accompanied with the authors own indomitable writing style all round gives you a cracking treat for the holiday period or even for a time of year you want picking up.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

VIDEO GAME NEWS: Mad Max Announces Pre-Order Bonus - Warner Brothers Interactive

 Hail Mighty Readers and Followers of the Calloused Thumbs,
Our friends at Warner Brothers Interactive have let us know about the Pre-Order Bonus tied in with the forthcoming Mad Max game (available on the 4st September) for the following formats:
Xbox One

Here's what they had to say:
"Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment today revealed new pre-order bonus details for Mad Max™. All those who pre-order Mad Max™ will receive an additional Magnum Opus car body called “The Ripper,” which packs a powerful V8 engine, upgraded exhaust with custom off-road tires, a ramming grill and a tuned suspension so it can take on a variety of Wasteland surfaces. Also revealed today was box art for the game.

Mad Max™ delivers open world gameplay in a post-apocalyptic setting where cars are the key to survival. Developed by Avalanche Studios, gamers become Mad Max, a lone warrior who must fight to stay alive in The Wasteland, using vicious on-ground and vehicular combat against savage bandits. Following the theft of his iconic Interceptor, Max must align himself with a gifted, but peculiar, mechanic named Chumbucket and others to build the ultimate war vehicle as he works to escape from the dangerous Wasteland. For more information visit

STEAMPUNK REVIEW: The Mammoth Book of Steampunk Adventures - Edited Sean Wallace

Release Date: 18/09/14
Publisher:  Robinson Publishing


From the editor of The Mammoth Book of Steampunk, this anthology of steam-powered short stories, dirigibles aloft, retro-tech wonders, and astounding adventure will set clockwork-loving hearts hammering with delight. Longtime steampunk fans: prepare to gleefully grab your goggles to read these remarkable stories! Newcomers: prepare to become fans of this popular genre involving both the past and present-entertainingly and provocatively re-thought, re-invented, and re-evaluated. With stories by K.W. Jeter, CaitlĂ­n R. Kiernan, Ken Liu, Cherie Priest, Carrie Vaughn, and many others.

Full list of contributors: Christopher Barzak; Tobias Buckell; C. S. E. Cooney; Aliette de Bodard; Lisa L. Hannett; Samantha Henderson; K. W. Jeter; Caitlin R. Kiernan; Jay Lake; Ken Liu; Alex Dally MacFarlane; Tony Pi; Cherie Priest; Cat Rambo; Chris Roberson; Margaret Ronald; Sofia Samatar; Gord Sellar; Nisi Shawl; Benjanun Sriduangkaew; E. Caterine Tobler; Genevieve Valentine; Carrie Vaughn; AC Wise; Jonathan Wood.


OK, as most know I’m a huge fan of compendium titles and whilst you tend to get quite a few for other genres, Steampunk has often been one where readers have to make a hard choice between individual books without the knowledge of whether they like the authors writing style or not.

What this title does is give you the chance to sample so many authors (some from outside the Steampunk genre) and gives you a whole host of tales that you can delve into when you want something to read during either travel time or during a lunch break. As a reader I love to have any chance to escape from the real world and give myself over fully to fantasy.

Thank you Robinson for a cracking steampunk offering and one that is full of cracking prose and of course so many heroes that I love to spend time with. Magic.

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

HISTORICAL FICTION: The Empress of Rome 4: The Lady of the Eternal City - Kate Quinn

Release Date: 03/03/15
Publisher:  Berkley


National bestselling author Kate Quinn returns with the long-awaited fourth volume in the Empress of Rome series, an unforgettable new tale of the politics, power, and passion that defined ancient Rome.

Elegant, secretive Sabina may be Empress of Rome, but she still stands poised on a knife’s edge. She must keep the peace between two deadly enemies: her husband Hadrian, Rome’s brilliant and sinister Emperor; and battered warrior Vix, who is her first love. But Sabina is guardian of a deadly secret: Vix’s beautiful son Antinous has become the Emperor’s latest obsession.

Empress and Emperor, father and son will spin in a deadly dance of passion, betrayal, conspiracy, and war. As tragedy sends Hadrian spiraling into madness, Vix and Sabina form a last desperate pact to save the Empire. But ultimately, the fate of Rome lies with an untried girl, a spirited redhead who may just be the next Lady of the Eternal City . . .


I originally came across Katie in a compendium with Ben Kane and for me, it was not only a great experience having so much talent in one book, but allowed me other area’s to get my Historical Fiction fix from, one of which was Katie’s wonderfully crafted tale that turned me on to her writing.

So whilst I hadn’t read any other stories by her I was more than happy to give this book a go as I loved the way that she not only weaved the arc but also brought characters to life in such a way that you couldn’t help but want to see what would unfurl in their lives.

As with her short story, this tale was wonderfully crafted, the prose was sharp, easy to get into and when added to characters that I just couldn’t get enough of alongside an overall arc that just kept me reading all round made this a wonderful experience. A great story and for me, a series that I’ll be checking out from the beginning as soon as time allows.

Monday, 2 March 2015

Science Fiction Review; Judge Dredd: Year One Omnibus - Matthew Smith, Michael Carroll, Al Ewing

Release Date: 28/10/15
Publisher:  Abaddon


Three celebrated Judge Dredd writers take you back to Dredd's first year on the streets of Mega-City One as a full-eagle Judge, in three novellas. Bred to dispense Justice, the young Dredd is not the wizened veteran we know, but a Judge with built-in determination and little experience. In City Fathers, the brutal murder of a Justice Department-sanctioned spy uncovers something new and dangerous in the sector's murky black market. Unless Dredd can stop it, chaos will be unleashed. In Cold Light of Day, a savage killing spree results in the deaths of two highlyregarded Judges, and many consider Dredd to be responsible: a decision he made five years earlier - while he was still a cadet has come back to haunt him. The third story in the collection will debut in this collection and is guaranteed to thrill.


Ah the chance to go back to a young not quite so grizzled young Joe Dredd with a series of short stories that bring Mega City One to life for the reader. Whilst you know that Dredd is never in any danger (as otherwise he wouldn’t become the single-minded natural force that we all come to love.)

The tales are sharp, really get to the seedy underside of the big meg and when added to some cracking sleight of hand, some wonderful weaving all round give you a book that I had a lot of fun with.

Sunday, 1 March 2015


Release Date: 30/10/15
Publisher:  Gollancz


The Gurus came in peace, bearing gifts.

They were a highly advanced, interstellar species who brought amazingly useful and sophisticated technology to the human race. There was, of course, a catch. The Gurus warned of a far more malevolent life form, beings who have hounded the Gurus from sun to sun, planet to planet, across the cosmos. Pundits have taken to calling them the Antagonists - or Antags - and they have already established a beachhead on Mars. In exchange for all they've done for us, the Gurus would now like our help.

Enter Master Sergeant Michael Venn, a veteran Skyrine (a Marine who is specially trained for off-world combat) who is dropped onto the Red Planet with his band of brothers on a mission to take down as many Antags as possible.

But from the moment they're dropped through the thin Martian atmosphere, their mission goes horribly, terribly wrong. From a group of female special ops Skyrines with secret orders, to mysterious humans who've settled on Mars, to the overwhelming and highly-reinforced Antags themselves, Venn and his brothers will face impossible odds just to survive - let alone make it home alive.


The first book in a brand new series from Sci-Fi fan favourite Greg Bear. As usual Greg likes to weave a tale that takes readers to the edge of the universe and beyond as events take the lead hero through on hell of an adventure. Yet for all the things I was looking forward to in this title I felt a little let down with this title as it didn’t seem to have the usual umph that I’d expect almost starting out well and then ending on a bit of a damp squib.

All round its an OK book but for me, sadly one that didn’t deliver what I was hoping for. Whilst I will continue to read Greg’s work, I’m not sure that this series will have me returning to any time soon.

Saturday, 28 February 2015

VIDEO GAME TIE IN: The Art of Alien Isolation - Andy McVittie

Release Date: 07/10/15


The Art of Alien Isolation is a high-end art book featuring over 300 images from the latest game in the critically and commercially acclaimed Alien franchise. Taking players back to the survival horror atmosphere of the first film, Alien Isolation features Amanda Ripley as the hero trying to survive on a wrecked space station. This book is the ultimate gallery of the game, a must-have for any fan.


In recent years gamers tend to have a lot of splatterfests and whilst this can be a lot of fun, one of the tings that seems to have slipped by is the concept that things are scarier when you don’t see them. Take Jaws or Evil Dead for example, not seeing what is causing the fear, allowed your imagination to run rampant and scare the hell out of you.

What this book does is bring the dark and eerie space to creep in and chill you to the marrow, the artworks dark area’s atmospheric really help build the atmosphere and whilst many people tend to overlook some of the details from concept art right through to finished product all round gives you the chance to see how such things are put together. All round a cracking book and one that I’ll be looking at quite a few times.

Friday, 27 February 2015

SCIENCE FICTION REVIEW: Star Wars: Tarkin - James Luceno

Release Date: 06/11/14
Publisher:  Century


"Of power, I could tell you much. One must seize the moment, and strike." Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin. He's the scion of an honourable and revered family. A dedicated soldier and distinguished legislator. Loyal proponent of the Republic and trusted ally of the Jedi Order. Groomed by the ruthless politician and Sith Lord who would be Emperor, Governor Wilhuff Tarkin rises through the Imperial ranks, enforcing his authority ever more mercilessly...and zealously pursuing his destiny as the architect of absolute dominion. Rule through the fear of force rather than force itself, he advises the Emperor. Under Tarkin's guidance, an ultimate weapon of unparalleled destruction moves ever closer to becoming a terrifying reality. When the so-called Death Star is completed, Tarkin is confident that the galaxy's lingering pockets of Separatist rebellion will be brought to heel - by intimidation or annihilation. Until then, insurgency remains a genuine threat. Escalating guerrilla attacks by resistance forces and new-found evidence of a growing Separatist conspiracy are an immediate danger the Empire must meet with swift and brutal action. And to bring down a band of elusive freedom fighters, the Emperor turns to his most formidable agents: Darth Vader, the fearsome new Sith enforcer as remorseless as he is mysterious, and Tarkin - whose tactical cunning and cold-blooded efficiency will pave the way for the Empire's supremacy...and its enemies' extinction.


Ah, one of my favourite characters (because I watching Peter Cushing) from the Star Wars Universe and of course one that now has his own chance to step to the front and allow readers the chance to get to know his own dark personality. Whilst he’s not a force user (as so many of them seem to be) the reader gets the chance to delve deeply into a side of the Empire that we’ve never really had chance to get to know.

As expected from James, the book has great pace, really allows Tarkin to step out on his own and when added to solid prose and a cracking art is perhaps one of my favourite Star Wars titles to date. A good book for the Star War’s fan in your life and one I’d definitely recommend as a Christmas gift.

Thursday, 26 February 2015

VIDEO GAME NEWS: Batman: Gotham is Mine Trailer is now Live - Warner Brothers Interactive

Hail Might Readers and Followers of the Calloused Thumbs,
Our friends at Warner Brothers, DC and Rock Steady Games have sent us the latest trailer for the forthcoming Batman: Arkham Knight (due for release on the 2nd June 2015.)

“Gotham is Mine” features a closer look at some of the story’s most infamous super-villains. As Scarecrow unites the Rogues Gallery, including Two-Face, The Penguin, the Riddler, the Arkham Knight, Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy, they bring all-out war as they try to take down The Dark Knight, and claim Gotham City as their own.. 


Please remember that if you preorder you'll also get to play Harley Quinn. as well as the fact that this title is next gen and will only be released on the following formats:  
Xbox One    

All the best,  

Gareth and Lady Eleanor

FANTASY REVIEW: The Iron Ghost - Jen Williams

Release Date: 26/02/15
Publisher:  Headline


From Jen Williams, author of highly-acclaimed fantasy debut THE COPPER PROMISE, comes a brand-new epic fantasy adventure in THE IRON GHOST. Beware the dawning of a new mage...Wydrin of Crosshaven, Sir Sebastian and Lord Aaron Frith are experienced in the perils of stirring up the old gods. They are also familiar with defeating them, and the heroes of Baneswatch are now enjoying the perks of suddenly being very much in demand for their services. When a job comes up in the distant city of Skaldshollow, it looks like easy coin - retrieve a stolen item, admire the views, get paid. But in a place twisted and haunted by ancient magic, with the most infamous mage of them all, Joah Demonsworn, making a reappearance, our heroes soon find themselves threatened by enemies on all sides, old and new. And in the frozen mountains, the stones are walking...


If you’re after something a little different that has some cracking twists, a good size cast and hidden agenda’s aplenty then you really should give this book, Jen’s second a go. It has all the things that made the first one stand out (great characters, some wonderful twists and of course a tale that gives fantasy readers what they want) alongside cracking pace and prose.

It’s a cracking addition to the Headline stable and for me, is making Jen a name to watch in the fantasy genre. After all, for me, whilst the first book announces the author to the audience, its always the second that demonstrates whether they were a one hit wonder of if they are able to cope with a professional writing schedule. All round this is a cracking outing and one that I feel will have many readers sitting up and paying attention. Magic.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

FILM TIE IN: The Science of Interstellar - Kip Thorne and Christopher Nolan

Release Date: 06/11/14 
Publisher:  Titan


Interstellar, from acclaimed filmmaker Christopher Nolan, takes us on a fantastic voyage far beyond our solar system. Yet in The Science of Interstellar, Kip Thorne, the physicist who assisted Nolan on the scientific aspects of Interstellar, shows us that the movie's jaw-dropping events and stunning, never-before-attempted visuals are grounded in real science. Thorne shares his experiences working as the science adviser on the film and then moves on to the science itself. In chapters on wormholes, black holes, interstellar travel, and much more, Thorne's scientific insights-many of them triggered during the actual scripting and shooting of Interstellar-describe the physical laws that govern our universe and the truly astounding phenomena that those laws make possible. Interstellar and all related characters and elements are trademarks of and (c) Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. (s14).


When you go to see a film, you’re often left wondering why there is such a huge production list at the films conclusion from the actors to the set designers, from eh SFX through to the lighting and this book from Titan goes to show exactly why the list is so long as it takes a hell of a lot of people to make something that not only wows your imagination but also leaves you with the possibilities of what could be.

Whilst the book is partly concept art, the bits that I really love is how they put it together, from the music that adds another level to your appreciation through to the actors who make you believe and of course from the hundreds of people that help pull it altogether for your viewing pleasure, even though, at times, you won’t even know what they did.

All round a cracking book and one that really added to the whole experience and is one that whilst it’s still my book, has been half-hitched by my twin to help present a number of things to his art classes. Magic.

FILM TIE IN: Interstellar - Greg Keyes

Release Date: 07/11/14
Publisher:  Titan


From acclaimed filmmaker Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight Triology, Inception), this is the chronicle of a group of explorers who make use of a newly discovered wormhole to surpass the limitations on human space travel and conquer the vast distances involved in an interstellar voyage. At stake are the fate of a planet… Earth… and the future of the human race.


I love Greg Keyes and as a fan of Christopher Nolan, it did feel to me that it could be a great partnership and whilst I haven’t seen the film yet, I hate it when a concept relies so heavily on Science goes into what I like to think of gobbled-gook so that I don’t understand how it functions.

Here in this rather short book, Greg manages to get to the heart of the matter without bogging the reader down with all the technical detail explaining the concepts rather succinctly. The prose is solid, the pace OK and when added to an arc that manages to get to the characters makes this a book that will allow the reader the chance to get the story without the expensive trip to the picture.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

FANTASY REVIEW: Shadowdance 5: A Dance of Ghosts - David Dalglish

Release Date: 11/11/14
Publisher:  Orbit


IN A CITY KNOWN FOR DARKNESS, THE UNDERWORLD TREMBLES AT THE RISE OF THE SUN...A night of fire and blood heralds Muzien the Darkhand's arrival to the beleaguered city of Veldaren. With him comes the might of the Sun Guild, eager to spread their criminal empire to the east. Left blind and vulnerable after being attacked by the Widow, Alyssa Gemcroft struggles to hold together the remnants of the Trifect as the Sun Guild's arrival threatens to shatter whatever future her son might have left. Veldaren's only hope is in the Watcher, but Haern is no longer there. With his father, Thren Felhorn, he is traveling to the Stronghold, an ancient bastion of the dark paladins of Karak. Will they find the answers they seek? Or will the Stronghold be their final destination? Killer or savior; the line can no longer remain blurred. Fantasy author David Dalglish continues his tale of retribution and darkness, and an underworld reaching for ultimate power in this never-before-released novel in the Shadowdance series following A Dance of Mirrors.


OK, so you want hardcore action in a fantasy world, you want a lead character that you love to spend time with and of course you want a tale that gives you an arc that allows you to sink your teeth into. So what are you going to do? Well if you’re like me, you’ll pick up the latest instalment in David’s series to ease that need within you.

As you’d expect with such a deliciously dark character events can often turn a multitude of ways for the reader so you’re kept guessing as to what will occur, which when blended with such a dark arc all round generates something deeply satisfying by its conclusion. All round a great read and one that will keep me wanting more.

Monday, 23 February 2015

URBAN FANTASY REVIEW: Rivers of London 5: Foxglove Summer - Ben Aaronovitch

Release Date: 13/11/14
Publisher:  Gollancz


In the fifth of his bestselling series Ben Aaronovitch takes Peter Grant out of whatever comfort zone he might have found and takes him out of London - to a small village in Herefordshire where the local police are reluctant to admit that there might be a supernatural element to the disappearance of some local children. But while you can take the London copper out of London you can't take the London out of the copper. Travelling west with Beverley Brook, Peter soon finds himself caught up in a deep mystery and having to tackle local cops and local gods. And what's more all the shops are closed by 4pm...Sales for BROKEN HOMES in trade leapt by 50% over WHISPERS UNDER GROUND, confirming that Ben Aaronovitch is an author with an unrivalled eye for a bestselling story.


The latest from Ben and of course one that continues on the success of the series that gave Britain its own unique flavour of magician far from the usual type that readers may expect. Add to this police themes, dealings with the supernatural and of course a heavily undermanned unit to deal with that aspect and all round the reader in is for a treat.

Back this up with a trip out of the big smoke, a set of new mysteries for our lead cop to investigate upon his own with the help of a certain London River and I was more than happy with the title. Back this up with an arc that just keeps on giving, allowing he reader to get a fuller flavour of Ben’s wonderful world and you know full well that you really have to give this series a go.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

URBAN FANTASY REVIEW: Zombie Apocalypse! Endgame - Stephen Jones

Release Date: 20/11/14
Publisher:  Stephen Jones


Human Reanimation Virus (HRV) has spread around the globe and most of the major cities have fallen or been destroyed. As a new race of intelligent zombies rise to power, the remaining pockets of human resistance make a last, desperate stand in the ruins of a world on the brink of unimaginable change. With the final pieces of the epic puzzle falling into place, a centuries-old Endgame is revealed through a series of interconnected documents - emails, articles, reports, diaries and eyewitness accounts - as past and future hang in the balance. In this third and final volume of the original best-selling Zombie Apocalypse! trilogy, Thomas Moreby's plan for world domination is finally revealed in all its mad glory, as the very fabric of time and space is ripped apart and history itself is about to be changed forever ...


Sadly a book that whilst being the third and final part of Stephen’s series was one that completely failed to deliver on the titles synopsis promise from the publisher. It was sadly flat, spent way too much time filling itself with unnecessary filler which when backed with an incredibly slow pace as well as unanswered questions all round left me feeling heavily disappointed. Not a book that I’d recommend to anyone and if you have to read it, borrow it from either the library or wait for it to appear in the pound shop to save yourself a few quid.

Saturday, 21 February 2015

SCIENCE FICTION REVIEW: Ultima - Stephen Baxter

Release Date: 27/11/14
Publisher:  Gollancz


Fresh from his latest collaboration with Terry Pratchett on the Long Earth sequence Stephen Baxter now returns to the mysteries and challenges first hinted at in his acclaimed novel PROXIMA. In PROXIMA we discovered ancient alien artifacts on the planet of Per Ardua - hatches that allowed us to step across light years of space as if we were stepping into another room. The universe opened up to us. Now in ULTIMA the consequences of this new freedom make themselves felt. And we discover that there are minds in the universe that are billions of years old and they have a plan for us. For some of us. But as we learn the true nature of the universe we also discover that we have countless pasts all meeting in this present and that our future is terrifyingly finite. It's time for us to fight to take back control. This is grand scale, big idea SF of the best possible sort. It is set to build on the massive success of PROXIMA and define Stephen Baxter's work going forward.


Space, whilst not quite the final frontier is perhaps one that we, as readers, love to explore with our favourite Science Fiction authors and for me, I have Stephen Baxter at the top of my TBR pile when I want that exploration. As you’d expect from the author the tale is one of wonder, brings cracking thoughts to the reader and when it ties in to hi previous title Proxima, all round helps expand the universe in so many different ways.

Add to this a cracking arc, wonderfully descriptions and a set of characters that really step off the page all round makes this a cracking read and one I was more than happy I spent the time working my way through. The only real warning I’ll put on this is that you should read Proxima prior to this otherwise you won’t get the full experience.

Friday, 20 February 2015

URBAN FANTASY REVIEWL The Darkest Prt of the Forest - Holly Black

Release Date: 05/02/15
Publisher: Indigo


Near the little town of Fairfold, in the darkest part of the forest, lies a glass casket. Inside the casket lies a sleeping faerie prince that none can rouse. He's the most fascinating thing Hazel and her brother Ben have ever seen. They dream of waking him - but what happens when dreams come true? In the darkest part of the forest, you must be careful what you wish for...NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Holly Black spins a dark, dangerous and utterly beautiful faerie tale, guaranteed to steal your heart. Holly Black is a NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author, co-creator of The Spiderwick Chronicles and author of YA novels including the widely acclaimed THE COLDEST GIRL IN COLDTOWN.


Ah the delicious dark temptation of Holly Black and whilst for quite a few readers she’s more of a YA author, I do love to delve into her worlds as she is not only imaginative but also gives the reader cracking descriptions that work wonderfully within the mind but just trip off the page.

As you’d expect the tale is well written, the prose are sharp and when added to an overall arc that moves along wonderfully well all round gives you that magical experience. Back this up with a great set of characters and for me, if you only get one stocking filler for your YA reader make sure its this one. Cracking.

Thursday, 19 February 2015

CRIME THRILLER REVIEW: Obsession in Death - JD Robb

Release Date: 12/02/15
Publisher:  Piatkus


A crisp winter morning in New York. In a luxury apartment, the body of a woman lies stretched out on a huge bed. On the wall above, the killer has left a message in bold black ink: FOR LIEUTENANT EVE DALLAS, WITH GREAT ADMIRATION AND UNDERSTANDING. Eve Dallas is used to unwanted attention. Famous for her high-profile cases and her marriage to billionaire businessman Roarke, she has learned to deal with intense public scrutiny and media gossip. But now Eve has become the object of a singular and deadly obsession. She has an 'admirer', who just can't stop thinking about her. Who is convinced they have a special bond. Who is planning to kill for her - again and again...With time against her, Eve is forced to play a delicate - and dangerous - psychological dance. Because the killer is desperate for something Eve can never provide - approval. And once that becomes clear, Eve knows her own life will be at risk - along with those she cares about the most.


If you’re a fan of crime the odds are you’ve read one of JD Robb’s books before and the fact that this is the fortieth book in the series goes to show that the author not only keeps the book fresh but also manages to help the recurring characters within growing so that they keep the readers interest.

The prose is sharp, the pace wonderfully delightful and when added to top notch romantic interest all round generates a book that fans will not only love but also allow new readers to delve into an established world without worry.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

MILITARY SCIENCE FICTION REVIEW: Empires: Extraction, Infiltration - Gavin Deas

Release Date: 13/11/14
Publisher:  Gollancz


This groundbreaking collaboration between two Gollancz authors tells of the invasion of Earth by two different alien races - at the same time. Two men become aware of the threat, and must work to sabotage the invasion plans and see off the aliens. Each book follows one hero, uncovering the threat to humanity and the world from their point of view. Each book can be read on its own, and will give the reader a complete, kinetic, fast-paced military SF story. But read both books and the reader gets something else - another view of (some of) the same events and crossover points, culminating in a bloody battle at Canary Wharf. The two books can be read in any order, but together they tell the story of humanity caught in the crossfire between two deadly alien races, who have made Earth their battleground...


A tale of two halves as a war against two alien species is told from two separate points of view by the amalgam of two top authors from Gollancz, Gavin Smith and Stephen Deas. Both titles are well written, have some solid twists and when added to an overall arc that is not only massive but really gives the reader a chance to see one established piece from both sides. Its definitely unique, has some great twists and whilst this is solid in itself, it’s the way that the authors bring the individual characters to life that really helps this series step out into its own.

All round a cracking piece of fiction and something that a lot of Science Fiction fans can really get behind especially as the tales not only keep you hooked but leave you wondering throughout if mankind can triumph against such odds. Magic.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

FANTASY REVIEW: Wolf Chonicles 3: Spirit of the Wolves - Dorothy Hearst

Release Date: 04/12/14
Publisher:  Simon and Schuster


Set in Southern Europe at the end of the Ice Age, Spirit of the Wolves follows the visionary young she-wolf Kaala in the Wide Valley as she attempts to bring peace between wolves and humans, for the sake of both species. When some of the Swift River pack resists the attempts at bonding with mankind, Kaala and her closest friends must travel beyond the valley for the first time in their lives in order to find her long-lost mother and bring the Promise of the Wolves to reality. Meanwhile, TaLi, Kaala's faithful human companion, is being ruthlessly pursued by a rejected lover, and Kaala must balance keeping her safe with completing her quest. And with a rival wolf plotting to thwart their plans, Kaala must rely on her loved ones more than ever. But there are many dangers outside of the valley, and the young wolves have much to learn about the world outside their pack. This stunningly detailed journey, seen through the mind of a wolf, details the origins of the relationship between the human race and man's best friend.


I’ve been a fan of this series for quite some time and so when I had the chance to read the concluding part of this trilogy I couldn’t wait. Whilst its different to a lot of the fantasy out there, its own unique look at thing as well as an outstanding lead character point of view that has made this series a real treat to sit down with.

The prose is wonderfully imaginative, the arc something that has really kept me glued and when topped off with characters that I want to spend time around I really couldn’t put the book down. All round one of my top series in more recent times. Cracking.

Monday, 16 February 2015

DVD FEATURE: Michael Bay: A Life in Pictures - Paramount

This month legendary American film director and producer Michael Bay turns 50. His talent directing big-budget action films with stylistic visuals and extreme special effects has allowed him to make a name for himself as one of Hollywood’s boldest and most bankable feature film directors. 

The Blu-ray and DVD of his latest work Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is out today, the 16th February, just in time to be added to his successful portfolio before his milestone birthday. To celebrate, we’re taking a look at his career in pictures. 

Bad Boys and Bad Boys II 

Released in 1995 Bad Boys starred Will Smith and Martin Lawrence who played best friends and detectives of the Narcotics Division of the Miami Police Department. The film was followed by the sequel Bad Boys II in 2003. 

The Rock 

Michael Bay directed this action film about Alcatraz Island in San Francisco, in 1996, starring Sean Connery, Nicolas Cage and Ed Harris.  



Starring Ben Affleck and Bruce Willis Armageddon was an international box-office success in 1998. Bruce Willis plays Harry Stamper who leads his team in a mission to destroy an asteroid which is threatening to wipe out existence should it collide with Earth in 18 days. 

Pearl Harbour 

This 2001 film starred Ben Affleck, Josh Hartnett and Kate Beckinsale and is a dramatic retelling of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. 

The Island 

Michael Bay directed this American science fiction action thriller in 2005 starring Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson.   

The Hitcher 

Michael Bay partnered with Sean Bean for the second time on this feature film. Released in 2007 this horror thriller told the story of a couple driving across New Mexico and their run-in with a hitchhiker.   


Michael Bay has directed four transformers blockbusters from 2007 to the present day with the franchise grossing over $2.4 billion. The latest film Transformers: Age of Extinction took $300 million globally when it opened and broke box office records in China. 

Michael Bay’s most recent work is the action-packed and highly entertaining comedy, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which comes to Blu-ray, DVD and VOD today, 16th February. The legendary heroes Shredder, Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael and Michelangelo take to the streets to defend their home, New York, which is under attack. The film stars Megan Fox as an intrepid reporter.