Rosie’s #Bookreview of #Tudor #Mystery Tombland by C.J. Sansom #fridayreads

Tombland (Matthew Shardlake, #7)Tombland by C.J. Sansom
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Tombland is book seven of the medieval Shardlake mysteries.

Set in Norfolk, this book involves a story about the economic, politial and religious changes of the time. Sansom uses the 1549 rebel rebellion and the Mousehold Heath camp to good effect as he weaves a tale around an upsetting murder of a distant relation to Anne Boleyn.

This is a large book and I did feel that at times the story was unnecessarily slow, but Sansom has a dedicated following who won’t mind the lengths of his work. Certainly Matthew Shardlake is a determined lawyer; he leaves no stone unturned in his search of the truth.

Overall, a good piece of historical fiction.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Book description

Spring, 1549. Two years after the death of Henry VIII, England is sliding into chaos . . .The nominal king, Edward VI, is eleven years old. His uncle Edward Seymour, Lord Hertford, rules as Protector. The extirpation of the old religion by radical Protestants is stirring discontent among the populace while the Protector’s prolonged war with Scotland is proving a disastrous failure and threatens to involve France. Worst of all, the economy is in collapse, inflation rages and rebellion is stirring among the peasantry. Since the old King’s death, Matthew Shardlake has been working as a lawyer in the service of Henry’s younger daughter, the Lady Elizabeth. The gruesome murder of the wife of a distant Norfolk relation of Elizabeth’s mother, John Boleyn – which could have political implications for Elizabeth – brings Shardlake and his assistant Nicholas Overton to the summer assizes at Norwich. There they are reunited with Shardlake’s former assistant Jack Barak. The three find layers of mystery and danger surrounding the death of Edith Boleyn, as a second murder is committed. And then East Anglia explodes, as peasant rebellion breaks out across the country. The yeoman Robert Kett leads a force of thousands in overthrowing the landlords and establishing a vast camp outside Norwich. Soon the rebels have taken over the city, England’s second largest. Barak throws in his lot with the rebels; Nicholas, opposed to them, becomes a prisoner in Norwich Castle; while Shardlake has to decide where his ultimate loyalties lie, as government forces in London prepare to march north and destroy the rebels. Meanwhile he discovers that the murder of Edith Boleyn may have connections reaching into both the heart of the rebel camp and of the Norfolk gentry . . .

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#NewRelease Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT reviews #thriller Silent Mayhem by @SueColetta1

Today’s team review is from Karen B, she reviews here https://sassyredheadbookreviews.wordpress.com

#RBRT Review Team

Karen has been reading Silent Mayhem by Sue Coletta

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Shawnee’s back and in danger, again. Her life is about to take quite a turn with the secrets about her parents that she will try to get from Mr. Mayhem.

Mayhem, Poe, Edgar, and Allan’s lives will change in Silent Mayhem as well. Mayhem’s wife, Kimi will push the crows and Mayhem into Shawnee’s life to protect and warn her of the danger she is in. The crows may not like the fact that they need to try to protect her and warn her, but they’ll do it for Kimi and Mayhem.

Levaughn is working a case of a serial killer who decapitates and scalps his victims. There is no rhyme nor reason to the victims of the serial killer that can easily be found, and the track to the killer is not easy. Levaughn has to fight his distaste for working with FBI Special Agent Odin Barrett, when he finds out that he is working the case as well. The killer is working in two states, so the FBI are involved.

I really love reading Sue’s books. They are so full of information, sassy women, twists, and suspense that they draw me in from the first word and keep me tied up in the story until the very last page, even when that ending makes me want to scream! Sue did not disappoint with this story either. The information that was in this story for the murders and the possible reason for the killings, and the way the killer treated his victims was very interesting and I have to side with Shawnee, that the atrocities that were committed so many years ago made me just as angry as they did her. The side stories going on in Shawnee’s life are just as interesting as the main story of the murders and the murderer in Sue’s books. There is so much going on, but none of it distracts from the main story. It just gives it so much more to read and take in.

I love Shawnee and her take-no-bull attitude. Her exterior is hard, but she is secretly a kind hearted, softie. Her love for Levaughn, Maggie, and her best friend, Nadine, show her vulnerabilities as well as her softness. She is such a great character. I love her sassiness as much as her toughness that she shows.

I give this story a 5-star review and am anxiously awaiting the next book in June. I always recommend Sue’s books because they are just written so well, and they are so entertaining to read. If you are a lover of mysteries, suspense, murder, crime, or books with twists and sassy heroines you will love Sue Coletta’s books.

Book description

Some things in life defy comprehension, but that doesn’t make them any less real. Or deadly.

When a familiar crow drops a cryptic scroll at Shawnee Daniels’ feet, she’s compelled to open it, even though everything in her power warns her not to. Mr. Mayhem—the most prolific serial killer the North Shore has ever known—claims her life is in danger. He “claims” he wants to help her, but just last year he threatened to murder everyone she loves.

While Mayhem taunts her with oddly-placed feathers, like The Creator left at his crime scenes, an interstate killing spree rocks Massachusetts and New Hampshire. A madman is decapitating men and women, dumping their headless corpses on two area beaches. But what Shawnee soon uncovers shatters all she’s ever known, her memories shredded, the whispers of the past in shambles on the ground.

Can she find the strength to move forward, or will the truth destroy her?

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT Victorian #Romance A Modest Independence by @MimiMatthewsEsq

Today’s team review is from Liz, she blogs here https://lizannelloyd.wordpress.com/

#RBRT Review Team

Liz has been reading A Modest Independence: Parish Orphans of Devon #2 by Mimi Matthews

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This unusual Victorian romance tells the story of two people who do not plan marriage with anyone. At 28, Jenny Holloway is a spinster “past her prime” and after life as a drudge caring for her ungrateful father, her ambition is for independence and the opportunity to travel. Tom Finchley is a successful, London attorney whose lonely childhood has given him the drive to work long hours, with little time for pleasure.  But as Jenny sets out to travel to British India with her legacy and two trustworthy servants, Tom finds himself compelled to accompany her.  Soon, despite antagonism, they draw closer and begin an intimate friendship not normally possible for respectable single men and women.

Mimi Matthews has the ability to reveal her characters inner most thoughts even when they are deeply confused.  The frank conversations between Tom and Jenny show that although they are strongly attracted to one another they are equally determined to keep their independence.  The plot takes us on trains, ships and gharries to Egypt and on to India.  The intense heat and tense atmosphere following the Indian mutiny is clearly described and the unfortunate early lives of Jenny’s Indian servants tells us much of the unfairness of colonial rule. This accurate picture of society’s expectations helps the reader to feel Jenny’s frustration at the entrapment of women within marriage, paralleled by the tight rigidity of her corseted costume.   And the addition of passion and love, results in an irresistible tale I did not want to stop reading.

Book description

He Needed Peace…

Solicitor Tom Finchley has spent his life using his devious intellect to solve the problems of others. As for his own problems, they’re nothing that a bit of calculated vengeance can’t remedy. But that’s all over now. He’s finally ready to put the past behind him and settle down to a quiet, uncomplicated life. If only he could find an equally uncomplicated woman.

She Wanted Adventure…

Former lady’s companion Jenny Holloway has just been given a modest independence. Now, all she wants is a bit of adventure. A chance to see the world and experience life far outside the restrictive limits of Victorian England. If she can discover the fate of the missing Earl of Castleton while she’s at it, so much the better.

From the gaslit streets of London to the lush tea gardens of colonial India, Jenny and Tom embark on an epic quest—and an equally epic romance. But even at the farthest edges of the British Empire, the past has a way of catching up with you…

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Of #RegencyRomance Unlaced By The Highland Duke by @laratemple1 #TuesdayBookBlog

Unlaced by the Highland Duke (The Lochmore Legacy, #2)Unlaced by the Highland Duke by Lara Temple

4.5 stars

Unlaced By The Highland Duke is book two of The Lochmore Legacy historical romances.

A set of four books, each steps back into history as clues to a mystery are revealed. Book one began in the Victorian era, book two is set during the Regency years, book three in Tudor times, and the final book is set in the medieval period.

So far we have been introduced to a mystical broach, an empty crypt and a long standing family feud between two clans.

Book two is set in 1815. Duke Benneit Lochmore is a widower. He has a lively young son, Jamie, who dreams of becoming an explorer. The Duke is persuaded to give a temporary home to Jo, a distant relative. She will help care for Jamie while the Duke is running his estate and planning his second marriage.

I loved Jo’s Pied Piper style magic that weaved its way into the hearts of all those who lived and worked in the castle. The stories that she created for Jamie were a delight, and I wanted to go exploring for treasures left by mermaids and giants alongside Jamie on the local beaches.

There is plenty of romance too, and links to book one. I did go back to remind myself of how these characters fitted with the first story as they only have a minor role in the outset of the series. I also thought there might have been a little more about the ongoing mystery than there was. However it is still a very good Regency romance and could easily be read as a stand-alone story. Overall, the settings, story and characters ticked plenty of boxes for this genre.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Book description

A plain Regency governess

In bed with the duke!

Part of The Lochmore Legacy: a Scottish castle through the ages! Unceremoniously packed off to Scotland to care for the Duke of Lochmore’s young son, practical widow Joane Langdale fears she will be ignored as always. But the deep connection and heated passion that develops between her and Benneit is far more dangerous! When Benneit is expected to propose to another, how dare Jo dream of becoming his duchess?

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #Shortstory Collection More Glimpses by @HughRoberts05

Today’s team review is from Teri, she blogs here https://teripolen.com/

#RBRT Review Team

Teri has been reading More Glimpses by Hugh Roberts

What an eclectic collection of short stories!  There’s something for everyone – horror, comedy, science fiction, mystery, paranormal.  Some are a scant few paragraphs, while others span several pages.  My reactions to these stories ran the gamut – laughter, shock, sadness, surprise.  The author has quite an imagination, and uses human nature and tendencies and our dependence on modern technology in clever ways.

All are a delight to read, but some that stuck with me are The Tunnel – such an unexpected ending, and I laughed out loud; Floral Hall – so sweet and melancholy; The Right Choice – words can have different, and sometimes very literal, meanings; The Hole – karma occasionally delivers in the most divine ways; and Easter Bunny Cake – I’ll never look at carrot cake the same way again.

Whatever your preferred genre, you’ll find it in this compilation of chilling, humorous, and unpredictable tales.

I received a copy of this novel from the author through Rosie’s Book Review Team.

Book description

Do you believe in fairies at the bottom of the garden? Or know the real truth about what lurks inside every mobile phone? Would you steal items from a blind person, or send your neighbours on a time travelling adventure fraught with danger and menace to save the human race from a bug? How about staying in a sleepy village where many murders have taken place or coming to the aid of royalty while out shopping?

These are just some of the subjects covered in the second collection of short stories and flash fiction from author and writer, Hugh W. Roberts.

‘More Glimpses’ gives the reader an opportunity to take a peek into the lives of normal, everyday people whose lives are all on a path full of twists, turns and unexpected endings. However, it’s not only about the humans; nothing escapes the extraordinary journeys Hugh has planned for you. If you are a lover of shows such as ‘Black Mirror’ or ‘The Twilight Zone’ then you’re in for another exciting trip in this second collection from Hugh. Come and meet the characters who had no idea their lives were about to be turned upside-down. Enjoy the ride!

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Rosie’s #Bookreview of #YA #RomanticSuspense #shortstory An Object Of Desire by Jenny Twist

An Object of DesireAn Object of Desire by Jenny Twist

3 stars

An Object Of Desire is a young adult romantic suspense short story. It is set in the exotic location of Morocco. Hannah and Rea are life-long friends who are enjoying a week’s holiday. While in the market, Rea buys a heavily bejewelled necklace from a bargain basket. At their hotel and during the next day, Hannah feels as though they are being watched. But what could two poor students possibly have that warrants the attention of creepy men?

A sweet little story in a lovely setting with a nod to both Indiana Jones and James Bond, and a fine sense of place.

Note: when I agreed to review this, I didn’t realise that it was a short story.  One reason that I usually avoid shorts is that I prefer a longer storyline, one that I can really get into; thus, I am not the ideal person to review this, but I am sure short story lovers will enjoy it.

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Book description

Hannah and Rea, on holiday in Tangiers are disturbed to discover that two sinister looking characters are following them. Then they meet the mysterious Toby who is himself following the stalkers. He wants to know why the men are interested in the girls. But the girls have no idea. They are not too worried, since the following day they are moving on to Chefchouen. He says he will take them himself, secretly. Is he what he says he is? Or is he part of the problem?
All seems well until Rea disappears.

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Of #Histfic #Romance The Duke And The Enchantress By @PaullettGolden

The Duke and The Enchantress (The Enchantresses, #2)The Duke and The Enchantress by Paullett Golden

4 stars

The Duke And The Enchantress is book two of The Enchantresses historical romance series.

The book is set during 1790 in Northumberland. The story opens with newlyweds Charlotte and Drake, as they travel home from London.

With only a month of courtship before their hasty marriage, Charlotte is anxious about the future. She realises that the couple know very little about each other, and she is frightened about what she may be expected to undertake in her role as Duchess.

Upon arrival at Drake’s home, Lyonn Manor, Charlotte is introduced to his mother, a woman who makes it very clear that she disapproves of her son’s choice of wife. Feeling lost, alone and bullied by Drake’s dragon like mother, Charlotte almost despairs that she will never achieve the type of married life that she once dreamed of.

Readers of the series were introduced to Charlotte and Drake in book one; now we get to see them in a flip-side setting. If you’ve read book one, like me, you may have already formed your opinions of them. This book, however, shows a very different side to the couple. We get a chance to understand their characters deeply. I’m pleased with how my impressions changed between the two books; I quite disliked them at times in the first story, so this is a clever turnaround.

There’s also a musical sub-plot which works well, particularly with how the author linked it to the whims and fashions of society. It brought an unusual element to this genre. I’m enjoying this series, and am hoping that Drake’s sister will get to star in her own story very soon.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Book description

Some fairy tales begin with the kiss.

​Drake Mowbrah, the Duke of Annick, needed a wife. After choosing an acceptable bride, he traps himself in a marriage of convenience and must tap his creativity to woo his frigid wife and fuel her passion. Drake battles scandals, duels, and his own carefully crafted reputation to win her heart.

Charlotte Trethow dreamt of a fairy tale marriage to the perfect man. When she marries the Duke of Annick, all her dreams should have come true, but no one told her happily ever after doesn’t start with wedding bells. Charlotte is thrust into a world with a plotting housekeeper, an interfering despot, and an unconventional husband.

This is the love story of Charlotte and Drake as they turn a marriage of convenience into a fairy tale romance.

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #Psychological #Suspense Murder Undone by Robin Storey

Today’s team review is from Terry, she blogs here https://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.co.uk/

#RBRT Review Team

Terry has been reading Murder Undone by Robin Storey

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3.5 stars

This book starts well, with main character Eva poisoning her cheating husband.  Fast forward twenty years: she’s married again, and living with the fall-out.  Except she can’t deal with it; she drinks too much, and goes into bars to pick up men for casual sex.  Then she is offered a chance to go back in time, still retaining her memories of her ‘real’ life, and not murder Cheating Charlie after all….

I found this author’s style pretty readable; I’d suddenly realise I’d galloped through 10 pages or so, without thinking about stopping to make notes, which is a good sign.  I was moderately drawn in when I first started to read, but as soon as Eva got a chance to go back in time, I thought, ah—now I’m interested!

The story continued to zip along in a readable fashion, but I did have some problems with it.  Eva’s character seemed more like a vehicle for the plot that the other way round; I never believed in her.  One minute she is the pampered, submissive wife of a millionaire businessman, the next she is daredevil sleuth, able to talk her way into any private location, and mixing with the criminal underworld without turning a hair, to the extent of having sex with them for information (and enjoying it despite the guy having had a knife to her throat, but I’m not even going to go there; the cocaine she’d taken, alone, would make her paranoid and agitated in this situation).

I was dubious about some dialogue (the way one of the female characters talks about sex would make Samantha from Sex and the City cringe) and unconvinced by some events; for instance, before she goes back in time, Eva is around 60 years old, but gets hit on/approached for casual sex every time she enters a bar to have a drink.  However glamorous and well-kept a woman of that age may be, I found this a little unlikely.

One other point is something the author might want to consider for future work of this genre.  Later in the book, Eva is caught driving under the influence of cocaine.  There was a detailed chapter about her court appearance, ending with the news report about it on TV.  Why not just cut the whole court thing, and start the chapter with the news report, ending with a paragraph or two about how she felt, watching it broadcast to the world?  That would have given all the information the reader needed, and let them get on with the more juicy stuff, like infidelity, deteriorating marriage and underworld dealings …

… because it is a rip-roaring tale, and not badly put together at all, generally.  The basic idea is great, though I didn’t feel enough use was made of the fact that she was living her life over again; I expected more references to the past, and perhaps the steering of other events, too.  It’s a bit like a watered-down Jackie Collins (that’s a compliment, by the way!), but, alas, I need to be convinced by and become totally involved with the characters in order to really enjoy a book, and Eva never came alive to me.

To sum up: the author has much of the skill and writing style for this genre, but it still needs a bit of fine tuning!

Book description

Wealthy socialite Eva Dennehy murdered her first husband Charlie because he was planning to leave her for his mistress. Even her marriage to kind-hearted Edgar can’t blot out her remorse or fill the gap Charlie has left in her life.

When Eva is offered the opportunity to travel back in time and undo her crime as penance, she accepts – what does she have to lose? Back in her old life with Charlie, her passion for him surpassed only by her torment at his infidelity, she is more determined than ever to prevent him from leaving her.

But Eva discovers a sinister side to Charlie she never knew before, and her plan plunges her into a world of crime and depravity. She soon realizes she has even more to lose this time around.

If you love complex, flawed characters, simmering tension and suspense with a twist of noir, you’ll love Robin Storey’s novel of jealousy and betrayal.

Scroll up and click the Buy Button now to immerse yourself in this story of the dark side of love.

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Rosie’s #Bookreview of Regency #Romance Her Midnight Sin by @sofie_darling @SoulMatePublish

Her Midnight Sin (A Shadows and Silk Novel)Her Midnight Sin by Sofie Darling

4 stars

Her Midnight Sin is a Regency romance. Callie is a widow, who currently runs Wyldcombe Grange in Devon. It’s part of Viscount St. Alban’s estate, and one he wishes to sell off. But it’s Callie’s home and she’s poured her heart into making it turn a profit; she can’t stand the thought of losing it all. In her haste to raise the funds to buy the property herself, Callie strikes a deal with a notorious pirate.

John Nylander is a law-abiding captain of The Fortuyn. An orphan, he was raised by Viscount St. Alban’s sea-faring family. Chance circumstances and a bout of malaria have him sent to Wyldcombe Grange to convalesce. Once recovered, he admires the way Callie runs the estate; it would be just the place he would like to have for himself.

To Callie, Nylander is the very attractive enemy; a man who has the means to take away her precious home. She’ll do anything to stop that happening.

Set on the rugged coast of North Devon, this is a romance full of passion and heart-ache. I like stories with a connection to the sea and the pirate theme was an added bonus. The romance worked well and I admired Callie’s determination to keep her home. Ideal for those who enjoy this genre.

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Book description

Like a vengeful Norse god, Captain John Nylander has come from the sea to steal the only home that Callie has ever known. And that might not be all he’s after.

Can a Viking…

Orphaned as a child, Nylander has never known a real home. Now he is ready to leave the dangers of his past behind and put down the roots he has always longed for. The only thing standing in his way is a lanky aristocratic lady who is more at home on the farm than in the ballroom. And she has secrets…

And a Viscountess…

Callie, the Dowager Viscountess St. Alban, has poured all her energy into making Wyldcombe Grange her home. Managing an estate is not what she dreamed of, but her late husband’s rejection made it clear that love and a family would never be hers. Now she may lose even that to the sinfully handsome Captain. But Nylander is making her dream again…

Turn passion into love?

Nylander inspires a recklessness in Callie that she can’t control. Soon she finds herself conspiring with pirates and contemplating midnight trysts with the very Viking who has turned her life upside down. For Nylander, being with Callie embodies everything he’s always wanted—home. As midnight strikes, will all their secret, sinful dreams come true?

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT Icelandic #Histfic #Mystery STORYTELLERS by @bjornlarssen #TuesdayBookBlog

Today’s team review is from Terry, she blogs here https://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.co.uk/

#RBRT Review Team

Terry has been reading Storytellers by Bjørn Larssen

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5 out of 5 stars

I loved this book – it was a delight to read, an unusual debut novel by a writer with much talent.

The story tells of village blacksmith Gunnar, who is (at first glance) quite happy living in his shack with his dog, Ragnar, and his ‘medicine’ (alcohol).  One night, he takes in a climber with a broken ankle, Sigurd; with reluctance, Gunnar agrees to take care of him until he can walk again.  From the outset, it is clear that there is much mystery surrounding the stranger.

Meanwhile, Gunnar’s life is picked apart by his doctor, the overbearing Brynhildur who wants to marry him, and the Conservative Women of Iceland who demand that he mend his heathen ways.  I loved these women – the Conservative Women number just two; they and Brynhildur were a joy to read.  The gossip and atmosphere of small village life reminded me of a Jane Austen novel, subtly and amusingly executed as it is.

This is actually a story within a story – the Icelandic winters are long and dark, and storytelling is a much loved pastime.  Threaded through Gunnar’s own tale is a another, told to him in instalments by Sigurd, about love, death and a feud between brothers.  Both stories are so compelling.

As we learn more about Gunnar, we discover the demons that lurk within, that he tries to banish with the moonshine that he makes in his shack.

The atmosphere of the place and time is perfectly drawn, the characterisation is excellent, the dialogue authentic and amusing.  The ending is surprising, as the link between the stories is uncovered.  In these days when so many novels are jam-packed with events from start to finish, I enjoyed the slower pace of Storytellers; it has such charm that I still found it to be a ‘page-turner’, was reluctant to leave it when I had to, and sad to finish it.

The quality of the writing and storytelling is most definitely worthy of 5*.  I was, at first, going to knock off half a star because of some editorial errors that may not concern many readers – a few Americanisms, the odd word used incorrectly, and phrases/words too modern for the time.  However, English is not the author’s first language, and his command of its subtleties is, on the whole, outstanding, so I don’t want to penalise him for that which should have been picked up by editors and proofreaders, and which I believe will be remedied soon.

This a work of literary art that I recommend most highly; Bjørn Larssen is, indeed, an Icelandic storyteller.

Book description

In March 1920 Icelandic days are short and cold, but the nights are long. For most, on those nights, funny, sad, and dramatic stories are told around the fire. But there is nothing dramatic about Gunnar, a hermit blacksmith who barely manages to make ends meet. He knows nobody will remember his existence – they already don’t. All he wants is peace, the company of his animals, and a steady supply of his medication. Sometimes he wonders what it would feel like to have a story of his own. He’s about to find out.

Sigurd – a man with a plan, a broken ankle, and shocking amounts of money – won’t talk about himself, but is happy to tell a story that just might get Gunnar killed. The blacksmith’s other “friends” are just as eager to write him into stories of their own – from Brynhildur who wants to fix Gunnar, then marry him, his doctor who is on the precipice of calling for an intervention, The Conservative Women of Iceland who want to rehabilitate Gunnar’s “heathen ways” – even that wicked elf has plans for the blacksmith.

As his defenses begin to crumble, Gunnar decides that perhaps his life is due for a change – on his own terms. But can he avoid the endings others have in mind for him, and forge his own?

The author is an ex-blacksmith, lover of all things Icelandic, physically located in Amsterdam, mentally living in a log cabin near Akureyri. He has published stories and essays in Polish and American magazines, both online and in print. This is his first novel.

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