Review – Retreat to Avalon
Fifteen hundred years have turned history into legend…
After three generations of struggle against ruthless invaders, Britain has finally clawed its way back within reach of peace and prosperity. Across the sea, Rome is crumbling under an onslaught of barbarian attacks, internal corruption and civil war. Desperate for allies, Rome’s last great emperor looks to Britain and the rising fame of her High King, Arthur.
Arthur believes the coming war is inevitable, but many are opposed. Dissent, intrigue and betrayal threaten to tear the fragile British alliance apart from within, while the enemies of Britain wait for the first sign of weakness.
Gawain, a young warrior craving fame, is swept up in Arthur’s wake as the king raises an army. While his wife and kin face their own struggles at home, Gawain finds himself taking on more than he bargained for and heading into the greatest battle his people have faced in generations.
Gawain is a young warrior, newly married, restless for battle and excitement beyond his settlement but also dutiful to his family and his clan. The Romans have left Britain, but their influence remains. Other forces vie for control and intrigue and alliances are ephemeral.
This is Gawain’s coming of age, in many ways, fulfilling a duty for another man’s cause and finding battle and politics are bedfellows. He’s a complex character – tender to his wife, loyal to his friends and leaders but also headstrong, creative and brave. The author does not shy away from the grimness of battle, the emotions of the men, far away from home and in dangerous territory. There is humour, there is grief. There are conflicting thoughts and needs. There is a land left in limbo, with warlords grabbing what they can.
There is Arthur.
King Arthur is a warrior – charismatic to an almost supernatural degree, yet a man, with a man’s weaknesses – rage, impatience, even hubris. He is a legend but a fragile one. He is the ultimate warrior-king. There is no magic, at least no obvious magic. Merlin appears, he is a mysterious figure with many allies and legends of his own. This is a time when Christianity was new to Britain and many of the old ways and believes lingered. Merlin knows it. Is he a wizard? Yes. Does he cast any obvious magic? No, but that makes him more intriguing and I really hope he appears in later books.
The author weaves a building tale of loyalty and what price that demands. His worldbuilding is detailed and rich, with the complexities of a society finding a new identity in an uncertain world. It’s far more historically accurate than many of the Arthurian legends and tales.
The emotive characters capture the reader and bring to life the trials of living in such a world as this, and such a time as this.
Some of the scenes are long, perhaps a little too detailed – such as the training scenes and day to day camp business, but overall a really good read.
The Third Edition Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles Book I is now available in Large Print format – currently on Amazon only – but should aggregate to the Barnes and Noble online store in a few weeks.
In a dark world where magic is illegal, and elves are enslaved a young elven sorceress runs for her life from the house of her evil Keeper. Pursued by his men and the corrupt Order of Witch-Hunters she must find sanctuary. As the slavers roll across the lands stealing elves from what remains of their ancestral home the Witch-Hunters turn a blind eye to the tragedy and a story of power, love and a terrible revenge unfolds.
18 rated. Amazon, Audible, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and more on the link below.
In a dark world beset by tyranny and lies can love and magic entwined bring freedom? A dark adult fantasy with sizzling sorcery, romance and revenge.
Erana er en verden full av magi og selv om forbudt, holder trolldommen seg fast for trolldom er mektig og følger ingen lov. Det er en verden styrt av undertrykkelse, men håpet vandrer i skyggen, alltid letende etter en sjanse til å blomstre. Det er en verden full av kjærlighet og fortvilelse i like mengder. Dette er fortellingene og mytene fra en slik verden.
Amazon UK https://amzn.to/3cP3IHM
Prisbelønnet fantasi, historisk fantasi og erotisk fantasi forfatter.
Britisk fødte A.L. Butcher er en ivrig leser og skaper av verdener, en poet og en drømmer, en elsker av vitenskap, naturhistorie, historie og aper. Hennes prosa har blitt beskrevet som ‘mørk og mektig’ og hennes poesi som ‘tankevekkende’. Hun skriver med en sikker og noen gang erotisk følsomhet om ting som kunne ha vært, ikke var, men kan bli.
Alex er forfatter av ‘Light Beyond the Storm’ krønikeren og ‘Tales of Erana’ lyrisk fantasi serie. Hun har også skrevet flere korte historier i fantasi og romantisk fantasi stil, og har streifet innom gotisk skrekk stil, innkludert ‘Legacy of the Mask’ serien. Med en bakgrunn i politikk, klassiske studier, oldtids historie og myte, bringer hun et eklektisk og unikt preg til arbeidet sitt, som blander virkelighet og drøm i alkymistiske deler og bringer figurene og verdenene til live.
What stalks the land cannot be but is.
Where magic is outlawed a troll Shaman calls from her deathbed to her heiress, Mirandra Var, daughter of the storm. Mirandra vows to find her missing kin, sort friend from foe, and claim the dangerous secrets guarded by unthinkable creatures. If she succeeds, she will become the leader of her tribe. If she fails, there will be no tribe to lead.
Amz UK audio https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08K3SDVBS/
Deep in the rain forests of Guatemala, an ancient Mayan temple holds a mythical secret. The legendary Fountain of Youth lies within, but not all myths are fairy tales. The temple ruins have been seized by the Core, a sinister cult determined to unlock the mysteries of immortality.
When their captured friends are spotted near the temple, Bobby and his cousin Jinx must journey into the dark heart of the jungle to save them. Harnessing their extraordinary abilities, the boys will undertake an epic quest to fulfill a centuries-old prophecy.
Cut off from their allies, Bobby and Jinx combat supernatural barriers, raging rivers, and deadly beasts. They’ll face savage natives, vengeful ghosts, and ruthless mercenaries who can conjure a person’s darkest fears. Past and present will collide, with the power of eternity on the line. Can Bobby fulfill the prophecy and lay the temple’s spirits to rest? If not, Bobby and his friends may become permanent inhabitants of the Temple of Eternity.
Meet author Nathalie M.L. Römer
Hello, everyone, my name is Nathalie and I’m a expat Brit who lives and works In Sweden (the country not the American city). I originate from the Netherlands originally where I was born, and I grew up in Amsterdam. (Fun fact, walking to school involved walking past the daytime versions of the “Red Light District” windows). My journey to authordom began originally with my ferocious bookworm addiction of devouring as many books as I could as I was growing up. My advice immediately is for kids to be as interested in reading books as early as possible.
I would typically read at least TEN books a day, and I’m not talking children’s books here though I’d read them too, but books by such authors as Isaac Asimov (still my favourite author and I’m excited for the upcoming Foundation movie), Tolkien, Georges Simenon and Jules Verne (I’d read the adult edition rather than the children’s edition of his books). My imagination was ignited by reading about so many different worlds and places, though circumstance caused me to only begin writing in 2014 (pesky bad marriage, annoying ex-husband getting in the way of creativity and all that sort of stuff). But when I began writing I realised that I had never forgotten any of the many stories I’d been dreaming up in my mind. One such story is the story in my series of The Wolf Riders of Keldarra, though the original premise did change somewhat as time went by…
I glance over at the suggested questions Silver Dagger Book Tours sent me and the first one is to tell something unique or quirky. I’ve often enough in my life been told I’m an empathic person who cares about others. I guess that’s not a unique thing but when I think back at what I’ve done throughout my life my mind settles on one event that has made me who I am.
The event is something that could have ended up tragic if I hadn’t acted as fast as I did. I knew I cared about others when I made an effort to rescue a toddler who got washed out to sea. I rushed to the child, got her from the water, and was already administering CPR and all necessary actions to save her. Her parents realised then what was going on. I still remember the mother’s words to this day, “Never forget what you did here today. You were a hero. You showed you cared for a child you never met before.” You need not do something massive to stand out from the crowd to “shine.” You can do a simple thing to show everyone you care about others. Though in Book 2 of my series, Stolen Truth, I decided to reverse the event somewhat, making the “rescue” spiritual rather than physical, there a scene in the book (available for pre-order on Amazon) that is a direct reflection of what had happened to me.
Well, even someone supposedly empathic can have her pet peeves. The biggest pet peeve I have is when I see people not wanting to get along with one another. I see us all as connected as we have one world to live on (so far and for the foreseeable future) and therefore we should all act in a way like we’re the hero. The best example of an explanation for this sort of behaviour comes from Melissa Benoist (never met her but she’s definitely on my bucket list of a “hero” I’d like to meet one day), who has said – and I’m not quoting verbatim: “We all are the heroes of the world. Girls come to me telling me that Supergirl has made them realise they matter no matter who they are.”
I kind of have the same approach with Marrida in The Wolf Riders of Keldarra (and had the approach before I knew of what Melissa Benoist said; she said it in 2019). Marrida in my story goes from a naive girl who knows very little about her world to someone who becomes an inspiration to others, i.e. a hero, and tells the people she meets they matter. A real hero, therefore, is ANY person who tells others they matter no matter who they are or where they’re from. So that means you can be a hero by simply being kind and loving to others, which then makes you my hero.
The drive to be an author comes from something a teacher once told me: “You’ll either be an artist or an author.” Before I became an author I did freelance work creating advert graphics (I guess that’s the artist part of the teacher’s statement fulfilled). As I decided in 2014 to embrace the other part of the statement that’s when I became an author. But whatever the creativity is, you become creative the moment you think about something you want to create, whether it is art, stories, music, movies or YouTube videos, theatre acting, costume design, or any other creativity. The ancient Homo Sapiens with their cave paintings teach us that by nature humans are creative. We invented writing. We invented mathematics. We invented engineering to create tools and later machines. It’s the first time you think: “What if I create…” that’s when you are a creative person. For me the “What if I create…” was when I was just four years old, created a drawing of a girl with a skirt (I still own the drawing) and then went into a lengthy tangent explaining to the girl beside me how drawing her art with just four fingers, opposed to me doing it with five, was likely the moment my storytelling skill was born. I may have begun writing my first novel over decades after that day as a toddler but I began being a creator of stories on that day in late 1973.
This leads into what I watch for added inspiration. I love movies that have a larger than life setting, which I commonly have in my books too, especially fantasy or science-fiction. When I write I have the movies of Lord of the Rings in my mind, where both the books and the movies offer the ultimate “hero’s journey.” Which coincidentally, right now, is my all-time favourite movies. But that may get eclipsed if either the movie Foundation, the reimagined Dune or any other movie comes along. I watch science fiction movies as they present to me the chance to see an imagined future. I watch fantasy movies for escapism. Personally, I’d like to see The Wolf Riders of Keldarra on the television screen though.
And finally, I’ll end this essay that gives you an insight in who I am with telling you that my “muse” is the plush doll of a WOLF that sits on my desk. Wolves are my spirit animal, and I have a high belief in such things as a Pagan. I’m someone who feels connected to nature, which is why almost all my stories always will feature animals in one fashion or another, especially wolves…
I support the Wolf Conservation Centre (https://nywolf.org/) as my chosen charity because of my love of wolves. Maybe you can show them your support too.
Nathalie is a published author, based in Sweden, and born and bred in the Netherlands, with roots squarely planted culturally in Britain and Curaçao. She primarily writes epic fantasy, futuristic science fiction, mysteries, romance with a twist, and is now venturing into fairytale retellings, dystopian stories and much more (just keep visiting to see where stories take you and the author alike). And Nathalie describes her style of writing as unapologetically wordy, because she has discovered that the best part of writing is weaving a world that’s interesting to explore, to discover its back story, to meet its people, and find out what makes them tick. Nathalie weaves each world with her own experiences into the stories, and will touch on various causes and situations that speak to her…