Inheriting a run down house from a stranger isn’t exactly the present Laura had expected for her 30th birthday. Especially when the house in question holds memories of a frightening encounter from her prom night fourteen years ago…
So when a man starts appearing in the house her first thought is that she must be dreaming. But Ben is very real indeed and somehow linked to an antique mirror and another life in 1942.
As their friendship blossoms, Laura learns more about the house and its history…and even discovers some surprises about her own destiny.
With her future foretold, Laura must find a way to alter destiny. But how can you change the future if it’s already written in the past?
To celebrate the coming release of The Last Seven, the first book in the series is free on Amazon Kindle for the next few days.
If you’ve not yet discovered Coelwulf, and his warriors, then here’s the blurb;
They sent three hundred warriors to kill one man. It wasn’t enough.
Mercia lies broken but not beaten, her alliance with Wessex in tatters. Coelwulf, a fierce and bloody warrior, hears whispers that Mercia has been betrayed from his home in the west. He fears no man, especially not the Vikings sent to hunt him down.
To discover the truth of the rumours he hears, Coelwulf must travel to the heart of Mercia, and what he finds there will determine the fate of Mercia, as well as his own.
The Last King is available in 2 versions – the original, which is stuffed with foul language, and the ‘cleaner’ version which is missing some of the stronger language, although there’s still many examples of bugger and arsehole, as well as a few others. The battle gore hasn’t been toned down in the cleaner version.
Sometimes, when I’m writing a scene, I just have to write something to go with it, a side story, a prequel, just something that ties up loose ends between one book series, and another, and so, Coelwulf’s Company, a collection of short stories from before the beginning of The Last King. Have you wondered what all our fierce warriors were up to before The Last King? How Coelwulf came to command his warriors? Hopefully, you’ll find some of the answers here in my first collection of short stories featuring the characters from The Last King, and also one character from Son of Mercia!
And, if you’ve read the Chronicles of the English, and are wondering where to go next, then The Mercian Brexit, is an attempt to bridge some of the gap between that trilogy and the Lady Elfrida books. At 15,000 words, The Mercian Brexit is one of my longer short stories, but equally, not as long as some of them have ended up (Cnut was supposed to only ever be 50,000 words but ended up over 100,000 – so not so very short after all.)
Both books are also available to read with a Kindle Unlimited Subscription.
These aren’t my only short stories. You can also find one in The Historical Times magazine from July 2022, and there are also a couple on my author platform with Aspects of History, and I plan on writing many more as well.
An action-led reimagining of the famous Greek myth, Jason and the Golden Fleece, brilliantly told by classicist Mark Knowles.
He has come to take what is yours…
Iolkos, Thessaly. 1230 BC. King Pelias has grown paranoid, tormented by his murderous past and a prophecy of the man who will one day destroy him.
When a stranger arrives to compete in the Games of Poseidon, Pelias is horried, for this young man should never have grown to manhood. He is Jason, Pelias’ nephew, who survived his uncle’s assassins as a child. Now Jason wants his revenge – and the kingdom.
But Pelias is cunning as well as powerful. He gives his foe an impossible challenge: to claim the throne, Jason must first steal the fabled Golden Fleece of Colchis.
Jason assembles a band of Greece’s finest warriors. They are the Argonauts, named for their trusty ship. But even with these mighty allies, Jason will have to overcome the brutal challenges hurled his way. His mission and many lives depend on his wits – and his sword.
PRAISE FOR ARGO AND MARK KNOWLES:
‘Mark Knowles has taken the legend of Jason and the Golden Fleece, and stripped it down to its bare bones… What is left is a deeply researched historical epic, so brilliantly brought to life I could taste the salt air on my tongue… Epic battles, well- rounded characters sailing through a brilliantly described world’ Adam Lofthouse, author of The Centurion’s Son
‘What a spectacular triumph! Knowles has taken a reassuringly familiar legend and elevated it into a new, realistic and engrossing story’ Sam Taw
‘[Knowles] has teamed his love of learning classics and childhood love of sword-and- sandals epics to accomplish something remarkable’ Boarding Schools’ Association
The legends of Greece don’t often cross my mind when I’m thinking of stories to read, but I read a wonderful retelling of the legend of Troy last year, and so I was really intrigued to be invited to read Argo by Mark Knowles. And I’m so pleased I did.
Argo is a rich retelling of the journey to retrieve the Golden Fleece, populated with a cast of characters with names even I recognised. Some of them leap from the page more clearly than others, as is to be expected with such a large cast, and the ship, Argo itself, is one of the clearest, for even someone such as me to imagine. Reading the author’s bio, it’s easy to see why the ship is such an important part of the story.
I was swept away by the tale, and intrigued to know how it would all end. I should probably have known, but I didn’t.
The story is rich in detail, the journey told in great detail, as are the stops along the way, and the people the Argonauts interact with. It certainly builds in tension so that the last quarter of the book went by in a flash. This truly is a wonderful reimagining of the legends of Jason, the Argonauts and of course, Argo.
I’m lucky to have been given an advanced copy of the sequel Jason, and I’m powering my way through the book now, which, luckily, starts exactly where Argo stops, and I was so pleased I had book 2 straight to hand. Do check back for me review.
Mark Knowles took degrees in Classics and Management Studies at Downing College, Cambridge. After a decade working as a frontline officer and supervisor within the Metropolitan Police Service, he became Head of Classics at a school in Harrogate. He is a particular fan of experimental archaeology and rowed on the reconstructed ancient Athenian trireme Olympias during its last sea trials in Greece in 1994.
If you missed the introduction to Jason from Mark Knowles on Monday, here it is again.
Introduction to Jason by Mark Knowles
Getting Argo home in the process of writing JASON was great fun. In fact, once I’d got the route straight in my head, it gave me the most joy I’ll probably ever have in writing a story. It presented an opportunity to weave together as many strands of myth as I could without – I hope – stretching credibility. And what more could an unashamed Classics geek want? JASON features an all-star ancient Greek cast: Circe, Talos, the Sirens, King Minos, Ariadne, the Minotaur, and the Oracle, ranging over a vast landscape from as far north as the Danube to Crete in the south.
‘Sprouting wings and flying home would have been a more useful suggestion!’ So says Idas, a thorn in Jason’s side, as options are discussed to outwit the ships blockading the Black Sea straits. His comments are apposite when looking at the wackier ancient suggestions for the return leg of Jason’s voyage. In one surviving version of the myth, we see Argo traversing the Sahara; in another, sailing to Greece via Scandinavia. Needless to say, all these routes (but one) are physically impossible. But what an opportunity for a writer to stretch the imagination!
I even discovered a lost island when researching the route. An old map of the Anatolian coastline based on a Roman geographer’s work showed an island just off the Thracian coast (modern day Bulgaria), which some natural disaster or other seems to have swallowed in the Middle Ages. As soon as I saw it, I had to have it for Circe’s mysterious island of Aea. This sums up the spirit in which JASON was written. I hope, in joining this epic voyage, you make some discoveries of your own.
I’m excited to share this one with you. I mean, we all knew what it was going to look like, but all the same, I think this looks suitably menacing for a title like that:)
Here’s the blurb:
He sent twenty men to infiltrate three hundred. It had to be enough.
While Archbishop Wulfhere of York begs for assistance against Jarl Halfdan, now living in Northumbria, Bishop Smithwulf of London is eager for Coelwulf to forge an alliance with King Alfred of Wessex. And the three Raider jarls continue to hold Grantabridge. Yet, Coelwulf has so far managed to dismiss all of these concerns, his worry only with his missing warrior, Pybba.
But while searching for Pybba, events overtake Coelwulf, his men are murdered, and his aunt taken, but by which of his enemies?
If Coelwulf fails to rescue his aunt alive, then what hope does he have for keeping his kingdom secure?
The year is AD875 and the men of Mercia must once more ride into the fray. The future of Mercia depends on them.
Meet Tribune Sixtus Victorinus. Drunken soldier. Absent father. Unlikely hero.
Wall of Hadrian, Britannia, AD 367
It’s just another day, until it isn’t. Tribune Sixtus Victorinus is scouting north of the Wall when he first sees the smoke. Little does he know it’s about to change his life forever. Riding south he finds a province in chaos, the local populace in flight, the soldiers absent.
For rebellion is in the air at the far reaches of empire. The land is ablaze, overrun with barbarians, ‘Valentia’, is the word on everyone’s lips. And no one seems to have the first clue what to do about it.
And so Victorinus must act. He has let his life run to ruin, drunk his youth away. Now he must forge himself into the soldier he always wanted to be, the hero his children think he is.
Because his family are among the missing, and traitors lurk much closer than he could ever believe.
I’m not very good at remembering where the ideas for my stories come from. I can remember researching for my first, The Centurion’s Son, and trying to find a period in Roman history that hadn’t already been ‘done’ by the authors I loved reading (Ben Kane, Anthony Riches, Conn Iggulden, Simon Scarrow etc) I settled on the Marcomannic War, but as for the idea of Albinus and his strained relationship with his father, I literally couldn’t tell you how I came up with it.
For this one though, I sort of know. I was reading the excellent Imperial Brothers by William Hughes, which covers in great detail the reigns of Emperor Valentinian in the west and his brother Valens in the east. I’d researched the period before, and my first attempt at a novel was even set in the eastern empire during Valens’ reign, based around the battle of Adrianople (the book was bloody awful, but I learnt a few things whilst hacking away at my keyboard)
But researching the same period again, and having a few novels under my belt, I felt much more confident diving back into the time period. I discovered something known as the barbarico conspirito (barbarian conspiracy to you and me) which took place in the year 367AD. Britain in that year was effectively cut off from the western empire, as tribes from north of Hadrian’s wall, Ireland and Germania all swarmed on the isolated population at once.
It instantly caught my attention, my imagination running wild as I thought of the possibilities. I needed a hero, a man to base my story around. What I came up with was Sixtus Victorinus, an aging tribune of the miles areani (a scouting unit that roamed the wild lands north of Hadrian’s Wall, keeping tabs on the Picts). I’ve always been drawn to the sort of anti-hero, and some of the best books I’ve read are centred around them (read The Damned by Tarn Richardson; Inquisitor Poldek Tacit is a phenomenal creation). I started delving into his past, into his mind. The idea of an estranged wife and kids, of drinking to hide the shame of a wasted life, full of regret for the path that remained untrodden, sprang from me, and I knew I had my man.
The other thing that drew me to this event was the amount of real-life people I could throw in to the story. Magnus Maximus and Theodosius the Great both feature (before they elevated themselves to the purple and took those names, pointed their respective armies at each other and brought the Roman world into civil war – but that’s a tale for another book), so too do the magister militum Flavius Jovinus, and the Theodosius the Great’s father, the Count Theodosius. The more I researched the more found myself itching to get started, but I still needed an antagonist, someone who could have been powerful and ambitious enough to be the man behind the conspirito.
Enter stage and left, Lupus Valentinus. A senator recorded as being banished from the emperor’s court for a crime that has not survived the centuries, only avoiding execution thanks to a friend in Rome having a word in Valentinian’s ear. He was perfect, not in the least because of his name.
Valentia is a word that crops up when researching the later western empire, but no one can quite agree on what it was. Some say it was for a time the northernmost province in Britain, between Hadrian’s Wall and the Antonine Wall, others have it as being south of the Wall. Others say it was something else entirely. Again, this worked perfectly for me. I could have it as Valentinus’ own province, the beginning of a new world he was birthing on Britain’s northern soil. He hadn’t though, banked on our anti hero Victorinus to step up and fight him for the right.
So, I had my story, throw in some stunning artwork by the wonderful folk at More Visual (check them out at bookartwork.com) and I have a book. It was an utter joy to write, and I do hope you’ll enjoy reading it.
Thank you so much for sharing Adam. I wish you tonnes of luck for the new release, and below is my review of Valentia, a fantastic novel.
Valentia by Adam Lofthouse is a fascinating reimagining of Britannia during the late 360s. This then is Roman Britain, complete with Roman soldiers and senators, Roman weapons and, of course, Hadrian’s Wall. (It’s the 1900 anniversary of Hadrian’s Wall this year, so it’s all quite apt:)) But, this is also a world of Germanic warriors, Saxon invaders, the tribes from beyond the Wall, and even some pirates.
Historically, the end of Roman Britain might be a few years in the future, but this is a world on the brink, the reach of the Romans starting to fade, and the events in Valentia tell of a people as yet unaware of the coming calamities, and, Adam tells it very well. We have abandoned Roman forts, discontent Roman soldiers who aren’t getting paid on time, and the tribes from across Hadrian’s Wall more aware of what might be happening than the Romans. And the emperor is very far away in Rome.
Our two main characters, Tribune Sixtus Victorinus, and Felicius are opposites of the same coin; one jaded and a drunk, the other, still a career Roman soldier. Between them, they must disentangle the unexplained events on the borderlands, and then they must rouse support from all that they can to defeat the coming rebellion.
Valentia starts fantastically well, immediately sucking the reader into the world of the 360s. It’s really quite hard to put the book down as the tension ramps up. Tribune Sixtus is a sympathetic character, for all, he is perhaps to blame for many of his problems. The small group of warriors who make up his area of command are well-sketched, and there is tragedy in the offing. Felicius’ life is more regimented, and it is Felicius who gives us the glimpse of what it was to be a Roman in the waning years of the Empire.
I really enjoyed Valentia. The book starts with a bang and builds really well to its conclusion, meeting a great cast of characters on the way. If you’re a fan of stories set in Saxon England, then you’ll love this earlier glimpse of Britannia.
I’m sharing an excerpt from Jenny Knipfer’s new historical fiction novel, On Bur Oak Ridge. I hope you enjoy.
I remember the day Jacob asked me to dance, staring at me across the room in the hotel ballroom in Land O’ Lakes—the day we met.
“You should go talk to him. He’s handsome,” my friend Kitty French—a young woman as silly and feminine as her name suggests—whispered in my ear, her arm tucked around my elbow in a conspiratorial fashion.
The man with a dark complexion, trim beard, and mustache of umber-brown, met my gaze, our eyes strung together by an unseen cord. Dressed in a charcoal-toned suit, he stood opposite me, across the dancefloor, with a cup of punch cradled in his hand. His full, even lips curled upward in a slow progression, as if he just realized that he’d won a prize. I gulped and had a feeling the prize might be me. I dropped my gaze, smoothed down the deep-red, silk fabric of my skirt, and tucked my lips in, trying to avoid a blush, but the heat on my cheeks told me that I failed.
“Well,” Kitty prodded. “His smile is an open invitation, if you ask me.”
I fished for an excuse, so I didn’t have to be brave. “I can’t approach him. That would be improper.”
I disliked doing brazen things and being noticed.
“What is this, the 1860s?” Kitty leaned back and gulped down the rest of the contents of the cup she held in her right hand. “If you don’t, I will.”
She raised one eyebrow in a challenge.
But as it happened, Jacob made his way to me. The band had struck up a slow waltz.
With his dark eyes sparkling, he asked me, “May I have this dance?”
I hesitated. I didn’t even know his name. He must have read my thoughts, for he introduced himself, and I stuttered out a reply, giving him my name.
Then, as if on cue, he held out his hands to me, passing his cup off to waitstaff. I nodded and gulped, forcing my drink on Kitty, who pouted.
Jacob’s arm pressed around me, and his thick hand held mine firmly. As we twirled around the dancefloor, he asked me all manner of questions, which I answered in a near breathless blur.
To have the attention of a richly dressed, handsome man sent my head spinning. With each step, turn, and twirl, I lost a bit of my heart to him. Little did I know that, years later, he would hand it back to me, broken beyond repair.
My heart aches thinking about our past. “Oh, Jacob…”
Here’s the blurb:
“The plot has its twists and turns to keep readers intrigued…to the very end. A great comfort read that will soothe the spirit with renewed hope and faith.” Readers’ Favorite five-star review
A HISTORICAL NOVEL OF FINDING HEALING AND A SECOND CHANCE AT LOVE
In the early 1900s, quiet and reserved Molly Lund finds refuge from her past at the Nelsons’ farm in Minnesota. In an attempt to turn a new page in her life, Molly works at making peace with her losses and coming to terms with the disfiguring burns on her face.
Samuel Woodson, the Nelsons’ hired hand, carries his own cares. Split from his family and bearing a burden of misplaced guilt for an act that haunts him, Samuel–seeing past Molly’s scars–draws her out of her self-protective shell.
Molly and Samuel form a friendship, but just as their hearts lead them deeper, an unexpected guest comes calling, demanding what’s his.
Will Molly and Samuel find a way to be together or will they be separated, due to impediments beyond their control? Can they trust in God’s plan and travel a path that heals the hurts of the past?
Readers of historical fiction, Christian historical fiction, and Christian historical romance will delight in this beautifully wrought story of the healing power of love.
“A heartwarming story of healing from external and internal scars. Through some of life’s harder lessons the characters learn to trust, forgive, and find second chances out of the ashes of pain and loss.”
Anne Perreault, author of eighteen inspirational novels, including the Yellowstone series
Grief, trauma from burns, accidental death, time in an insane asylum
Jenny lives in Wisconsin with her husband, Ken, and their pet Yorkie, Ruby. She is also a mom and loves being a grandma. She enjoys many creative pursuits but finds writing the most fulfilling.
Spending many years as a librarian in a local public library, Jenny recently switched to using her skills as a floral designer in a retail flower shop. She is now retired from work due to disability. Her education background stems from psychology, music, and cultural missions.
All of Jenny’s books have earned five-star reviews from Readers’ Favorite, a book review and award contest company. She holds membership in the: Midwest Independent Booksellers Association, Wisconsin Writers Association, Christian Indie Publishing Association, and Independent Book Publishers Association.
Jenny’s favorite place to relax is by the western shore of Lake Superior, where her novel series, By The Light of the Moon, is set.
She deems a cup of tea and a good book an essential part of every day. When not writing, Jenny can be found reading, tending to her many houseplants, or piecing quilt blocks at her sewing machine.
Her new historical fiction, four-part series entitled, Sheltering Trees, is set in the area Jenny grew up in, where she currently lives, and places along Minnesota’s Northern Shore, where she loves to visit. She is currently writing a four-part novella series entitled: Botanical Seasons and a three-part fantasy series entitled: Retold Fairy Tales.
A generation after Arthur Pendragon ruled, Briton lies fragmented into warring kingdoms and principalities.
Eighteen-year-old Alden du Lac ruled the tiny kingdom of Cerniw. Now he half-hangs from a wooden pole, his back lashed into a mass of bloody welts exposed to the cold of a cruel winter night. He’s to be executed come daybreak—should he survive that long.
When Alden notices the shadowy figure approaching, he assumes death has come to end his pain. Instead, the daughter of his enemy, Cerdic of Wessex, frees and hides him, her motives unclear.
Annis has loved Alden since his ill-fated marriage to her Saxon cousin—a marriage that ended in blood and guilt—and she would give anything to protect him. Annis’s rescue of Alden traps them between a brutal Saxon king and Alden’s remaining allies. Meanwhile, unknown forces are carefully manipulating the ruins of Arthur’s legacy.
Mary Anne Yarde is a multi-award winning and bestselling author of Historical Fiction, as well as an award-winning blogger. She studied History at Cardiff University and went on to study Equine Science at Warwickshire College.
Mary Anne is a passionate advocate for quality Historical Fiction and founded The Coffee Pot Book Club in 2015 and became a professional Editorial Reviewer in 2016.
Mary Anne’s award-winning series, The Du Lac Chronicles, is set a generation after the fall of King Arthur. The Du Lac Chronicles takes you on a journey through Dark Age Britain and Brittany, where you will meet new friends and terrifying foes. Based on legends and historical fact, The Du Lac Chronicles is a series not to be missed
Born in Bath, England, Mary Anne grew up in the southwest of England, surrounded and influenced by centuries of history and mythology. Glastonbury—the fabled Isle of Avalon—was a mere fifteen-minute drive from her home, and tales of King Arthur and his knights were part of her childhood.
This week’s Kindle countdown deal is Northman Part 1, Book 3 in the Earls of Mercia series, but with a handy ‘the story so far’ at the beginning for those keen to jump right in at this point (If you’ve read the Elfrida books you’ll be at about the same moment ‘in time’ anyway.)
(also available to read with a Kindle Unlimited Subscription)
Here’s the blurb:
Northman, the eldest son of Ealdorman Leofwine, fostered, at the King’s insistence, by Eadric of Mercia, finds himself caught between loyalty to his father and his foster father.
Fighting for his own sense of self, whilst Viking Raiders vie for the English King’s land, he must choose his own path, and hold true to his own belief’s amongst murky Court politics and bitter pitched battles.
Leofwine, Ealdorman of the Hwicce, must accept his King’s wishes with regards to his eldest son, even though he finds them abhorrent. Simultaneously he must continue to act in the best interests of his king as the English people face their direst threat yet, the raiding of Thorkell the Tall, the king of Denmark’s own Commander, trusted friend and foster-father of his son, Cnut.
And when events become even direr, will father and son act as one, or will they be torn apart by the machinations of the man who plots to undermine every action the king takes, Ealdorman Eadric?
Northman Part 1 is where readers of The First Queen of England, and The King’s Mother trilogies should pick up the story of Saxon England.
I wrote this book quite a few years ago, and I was only reminded yesterday that it’s dedicated to my cousin and his wife on their wedding – so Happy Anniversary to them:)
I’m delighted to welcome fellow historical fiction author (and avid reader and reviewer) Paul Bennett to the blog, to spotlight his series about The American Revolution.
Here’s the blurb for the series:
Follow the Mallory family as they attempt to live a peaceful life on the PA frontier in 1756. They face tragedy and loss as they become embroiled in The French and Indian War – Clash of Empires. In Paths to Freedom, the colonies are heading to open revolt against King George III, and the Mallory’s are once again facing the spectre of war. Crucible of Rebellion continues the Mallory story through the early years of The Revolutionary War. Book 4, A Nation is Born completes the Revolution and The Mallory’s have played their part in the victory. In book 5, A Turbulent Beginning, the nascent nation finds it hard going to establish a peaceful existence. The Natives of this land resist the westward expansion of white settlers.
Violence and battle scenes, mild sexual content, and profanity.
Here’s the blurb for Book 5 – A Turbulent Beginning
The Revolution is over, and a new nation has emerged from the ashes of war. The new government, leery of a powerful central government, learns quite quickly the folly of state legislatures controlling military operations, abandoning The Articles of Confederation to write The Constitution.
More lessons are learned by this second attempt when they discover that the indigenous tribes along the Ohio were more than a match for militia troops. It is time for President Washington and his War Secretary Henry Knox to come up with a better plan to pacify the warring tribes.
The Mallory clan is spread out from the Congaree River in South Carolina to the Wabash River in the Northwest Territory. The desire to be together again is stronger than the fear of traveling through a war zone. They are once again in the middle of the storm…Can they survive?…Can they make a difference?
This series is available to read for free with #KindleUnlimited subscription.
Paul was born in Detroit when the Big Three ruled the automobile industry, and The Korean Conflict was in full swing. A lifelong interest in history and a love of reading eventually led him to Wayne State University where he majored in Ancient History, with a minor in Physical Anthropology. However, to make ends meet, those studies were left to the realm of dreams, and Paul found himself accidentally embarking on a 50 year career in computers. A career that he has recently retired from in order to spend more time with those dreams….7 grandchildren will help fill the time as well.
He now resides in the quaint New England town of Salem, Massachusetts with his wife Daryl, just a few minutes’ walk from the North River, and the site where the Revolution almost began.
The Mallory Saga is the culmination of Paul’s love of history, and his creative drive to write stories. With Nightwish and Bruce Cockburn coming through his headphones, and many cups of excellent coffee, Paul hopes to carry the Saga into the late 19th century, bringing American History to life through the eyes and actions of the Mallory family.