S.J.A. Turney's Books & More

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Book Launch

with 15 comments

On Thursday just gone (26th April) I had a busy day racing down to London on the train for a book launch that I’ve been eagerly anticipating for a long while. Arriving in the ‘smoke’ I made my way to the public house where I was meeting up with a number of friends from Twitter who are variously involved in the world of literature (reviewers, specialist book sales and avid readers all). These folk are some of the most interesting people you can meet ( @ParmenionBooks @Wetdarkandwild @Nick_Britten @LittleDraco @Conojito @RomanAgent @Augusta666 ). An added bonus that really is icing on the cake was the arrival of Angus Donald ( @angus_donald ) the author of the rather excellent Outlaw series, who joined us for a couple of pints and engaged me in a fascinating little chat about the likelihood of Paganism in medieval Britain. More on Angus soon. Anyway, as the time for the book launch approached, we made our way on the 2 minute wander to Goldsboro Books, the venue.

This book launch was a duel event, held to celebrate the release of two different tomes by two different authors that happen to coincide on the same date. It also happens that these two writers of historical fiction are friends (as are most of the HF writing community) and that I’m acquainted with both of them through Twitter and brief meetings at events.

Anthony Riches – author of the excellent Empire series of Roman fiction, set in Northern Britain in the late 2nd century. The protagonist is a fugitive from Imperial ‘justice’ fleeing the men of the unstable emperor Commodus and hiding among the auxiliary army units on Hadrian’s wall in a time of tribal unrest. The books are very realistic and portray a thoroughly believable military, pulling no punches. I would highly recommend them as a series. Look him up on his website here or on Amazon here where you’ll find my reviews of the first 3 books:


But on Thursday we were celebrating the release of the new, fourth novel in the series (image to right of book cover shows Tony with appropriately impish grin and yours truly looking like I’m lurking behind him with strange intent – photo courtesy of the wonderful Kate):


And as well as Tony’s new work, the night focussed on:

Giles Kristian – author of the engrossing Viking saga the Raven series. Raven is a young man with an unknown past, adopted by Viking raiders led by Sigurd the Lucky, becoming involved with raids deep into the the wilds of Wales, betrayal, fights to the death, intrepid journeys into the lands controlled by Charlemagne the great and so much more. The Raven series for me was a real eye opener as it is one of very few books written in the first person and based around a civilization I’m not that familiar with, and yet I find it hard to put them down (I am currently close to finishing the second of the trilogy). Check out Giles’ website here or his page on Amazon here, where you will be able to track down my review of Raven: Blood Eye.


But once again, it was not these three we were there to celebrate. You see, Giles has launched a new series far removed from the Vikings. The Bleeding Land is the first in a series set during the English civil war and which is receiving rave reviews already (once again – photo courtesy of Kate showing Giles looking rather suave and myself looking like a retarded, half-crazed lunatic):

So there you have it. Two talented authors, who are also also fun people and who both have new books out that I urge you to buy.

But that’s not everything. You see the event brought out a whole load of other talented writers of historical fiction, some of whom I have met or spoken to and others whom I have not. So check out the books:

Angus Donald is the author of the astounding (and one of my fave series of all time) Outlaw books, featuring Robin Hood as you’ve never seen him before. Angus will be the subject of a separate post soon as I wait with bated breath for the upcoming fourth book in the series. Angus is fast becoming a good friend, the charming gent that he is.


Then there was Henry Venmore-Rowland, author of the forthcoming Last Casesar. First time I’ve met Henry, but was instantly impressed. A lovely chap and I look forward to reading this book very much:

If you read historical fiction, I find it hard to believe you won’t know the name Conn Iggulden, but just in case, he’s an astonishingly successful author, with bestselling series about Julius Caesar and Gengis Khan gracing every shelf in every store. Also responsible for a number of books in other genres, there are too many for me to post images, so here’s the man himself and a selection.


Another gent who I have had the good fortune to speak to on previous occasions and who I still find to be one of the nicest, most interesting and helpful people I’ve met, is Ben Kane, on whom I will be posting something about his Spartacus books later in the summer. Ben is the author of several bestselling Roman series, including the aforementioned Spartacus, the second volume of which is on its way this summer, the Hannibal series (also waiting on the second volume) and the Forgotten legion trilogy.


A surprise visitor was Robyn Young, author of storming Medieval epics centring around the religious military orders of the crusades and around Robert the Bruce, whose first novel I had just finished a week or so beforehand. Works engrossing enough to tempt me away from the Roman era for a bit.


And last, but by no means least, a lady who’s a prolific writer in several genres with a list of bestselling works and who I met for the first time on Thursday but has instantly rocketed into my list of wonderful people: Manda Scott (whose new Roman novel is imminent and may require a post at some point). Photo of Manda graciously signing a book for Parmenion Books:


For other (better) posts about the evening, check out:

ForWinterNights (Kate’s book blog), and thank you to Kate for the totally unauthorised use of all her photos taken that night. Feel free to break my arm for copyright infringement at Oxfest, Kate. Just leave me one to drink with.

ParmenionBooks – an excellent online store for signed and rare editions, who brought me prezzies on Thursday. Mmmm. Boook.

Written by SJAT

April 29, 2012 at 3:33 pm

15 Responses

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  1. Wow! What a night for all of you! Rubbing shoulders, drinking beer, talking books, and spearing cheese! You are a riding star, my friend. I am so very proud if you!



    April 29, 2012 at 3:47 pm

    • I’m building up to the day I get to come out and visit the stars in California, my friend.



      April 29, 2012 at 6:31 pm

  2. Amazing how you can lower the tone, even of a photograph! Good post, just wish I could have been there.
    Roll on #Oxfest and #Kelmarsh.



    April 29, 2012 at 5:57 pm

    • I can lower the tone just by hanging about nearby. Surely you know that by now?



      April 29, 2012 at 6:31 pm

  3. Oooooh! Blind envy! Especially that you get to hobnob with AD, author of the best finds for this year thus far. And thank you, Si, for adding more titles to my TBR list.



    April 29, 2012 at 11:37 pm

    • Angus is THE most charming fellow. You’re simply going to have to come over and we’ll go meet him somewhere.



      April 29, 2012 at 11:42 pm

  4. I’m sure you remember suggesting the Outlaw series to me, and I managed to read all three books already. And I LOVED them! What a fantastic take on the Robin Hood myth! AD really threw me for a loop in book #3, with Alan’s betrayal. So fabulously well written. Thank you ever so much for the recommendation.



    May 3, 2012 at 10:37 pm

    • I shall pass that on to Angus, as I’m sure he’ll be pleased. Book 4 comes out this summer (Warlord.) Will try and catch you on messenger.



      May 3, 2012 at 10:46 pm

  5. Well, I’m blushing – thanks for all the kind comments. And Cheers, Simon, for bigging me up in such a nice way. It was a really fun night and I hope there are many more like it. Angus


    Angus Donald

    May 3, 2012 at 11:20 pm

    • Always leap on an opportunity to help, Angus, because it’s so damn well deserved. And yes, I hope there are many more. I think you need to get your publicist onto a similar night for Outlaw 5….



      May 3, 2012 at 11:39 pm

    • Angus, let me reiterate how well you did Alan’s betrayal in #3. I got so angry I almost threw the book across the room, and I even tweeted my friend who read it also, “HOW COULD HE DO THAT?!” He encouraged me to keep reading, so I calmed down eventually, but it was really masterfully done. I was totally in the dark as to what was really going on. I’m looking forward to #4, and hope it’s released here in the States soon.



      May 4, 2012 at 3:04 am

      • Thanks Blue! It was a little bit sneaky of me, I know. My Dad (who is 80) read the book and was completely confused by Alan’s “betrayal” – he stopped reading at that point and for weeks afterwards he kept asking me in a plaintive voice, Why, Angus, why would Alan do that? Eventually, I persuaded him to read on. Anyway, I’m glad you like the series – I don’t know when Book 4, Warlord, is coming out in the States, maybe 2013. If you get impatient you may have to buy the English copy. All the best, Angus


        Angus Donald

        May 4, 2012 at 8:19 am

      • I’ll be at the festival of history in July and will be getting my copy there. Perhaps Mr D will sign a copy for you and I can post it?



        May 4, 2012 at 8:25 am

  6. It sounds a great day. It’s great that historical fiction is getting this sort of airing.


    Martin Lake

    May 4, 2012 at 8:39 am

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