Monday 21 February 2022

NEANDER: EVOLUTION by Harald Johnson @AuthorHarald #RBRT #TuesdayBookBlog

out of 5 stars

On Amazon
On Goodreads

How I discovered this book: it was submitted to Rosie's Book Review Team, of which I am a member.

In a Nutshell: Book #3 of a time travel series between now and 40K years ago.

Evolution is the final book in the highly original and well-researched Neander trilogy, in which science journalist Tom finds himself back in prehistoric times, and develops a life there, whilst keeping the portal to the present (and, as he discovers, the future) open.

His journeys between the worlds have not remained a secret, and scientists dedicated to genetic modification are anxious to milk this opportunity for all they can - while Tom, back in pre-history, wants to strengthen and educate the Neanderthal people he has grown to love, so that they will not be rendered extinct by the Sapiens.

The portal between the worlds is becoming unreliable, with Tom returning to the present and finding it to be the future - there is also an instance of a return to times much longer ago.  I loved this idea, and wished there had been more of it; I would have loved to see the world through Tom/Rusty's eyes before man, or, say, about five thousand years ago.  As with the other books, the narrative flows well and I read it quickly, anxious to know what was going to happen.

This is a great idea, the books are well-written, though I think it could have been explored still further - Tom talks about changing the present by actions he takes in the past, a most fascinating concept, and I would have loved to see more of this.  However, these are Harald Johnson's books, not mine, and as such I am not telling him what to write!  Suffice to say that if he decides to return to this world, I will be happy to read the results.

(Incidentally, I was most interested to read that prehistoric people were biologically unable to tolerate the milk of goats, or cows when they were introduced.  Humans being lactose tolerant is a relatively new phenomena; bearing in mind the amount of people who find that many minor ailments clear up once they stop taking in dairy produce makes me wonder how the change came about.)  

Monday 14 February 2022

LOYALTY IN CONFLICT by April Taylor @authapriltaylor #TuesdayBookBlog

 4 out of 5 stars

On Amazon
On Goodreads

How I discovered this book: I know the author from Twitter and heard she was writing about this time period, one that always interests me.

In a Nutshell: Schemes and skulduggery during the Wars of the Roses!

Loyalty in Conflict is set in the period of the Wars of the Roses when Edward IV had been king for ten years, and when his brother George, Duke of Clarence, had teamed up with the Earl of Warwickshire to support the other side.  In case you are not familiar with this time in history, April Taylor has provided a brief and helpful summary of the state of play at the time when this story starts.

As the story is named 'A Gideon Rooke Adventure', I assume there will be more; Gideon is the son of the marshal at Lord Richard Welles' Lincolnshire manor at Eresby.  He works in the stable, though his basic intelligence must be hidden in a time when those of his station were thought of as dim-witted.

The household supports the red rose, but Gideon's father believes that Edward IV is the king the country needs, and sets out a plan for Gideon to inform the king about a planned rebellion.

The book is flows so well, a very 'easy read', sometimes with an almost 'cosy mystery' feel to it.  Gideon's personal development once he steps outside his own little world is most interesting, and the characters of Edward and Richard, Duke of Gloucester (later Richard III) were just as I've always imagined them.  As I often find with historical fiction of this period, an aspect that I loved was the detail that showed how people lived in this time; the book is clearly well researched.

Later in the book is a detailed account of Gideon's impression of the battlefield, which is shocking and moving, and shows that battle is no glorious adventure.  I look forward to reading more about this world that April Taylor has created.