A winning debut fantasy that succeeds at being both graceful and turbulent.




This historical fantasy debut sees King Arthur’s peaceful reign threatened by savages and questioned by a mysterious band of horsemen.

Under the leadership of Sir Gawain, the famous knight of the Round Table, a soldier named Severus survived the battle at Mount Badon. There, King Arthur took a stand against the Saxon hordes and ushered in an era of lasting peace. Nine years later, Severus and his wife, Olwen, keep a farm and large family near the village of Glevum. One night, Saxon raiders, commanded by warlord Mil the Black, torch the family’s home. Severus is killed but he continues to view events in spirit form; specifically, he witnesses five black-garbed horsemen intervene on behalf of the innocent Britons. These skillful riders—William, Nikolas, Yusef, Dmitri, and Andre—turn back the Saxons, giving them wounds to remember them by. King Arthur, along with his Round Table knights, has retired from dangerous battle, but he hears of these heroic riders and wonders whom they might be. Some knights, such as the valiant Gawain, want to re-enter the fray as well, while others believe that the Britons should fight for themselves. The five horsemen are happy to establish their own battlefield supremacy—so long as they’re never forced to kneel before Arthur. If alliances are to be forged, however, they must happen quickly, as Mil the Black will soon have Irish and Pict warriors under his command. Author Gamache does the Arthurian myths proud with this rousing debut. He portrays classic characters such as Guinevere and Morgan le Fay with emotional, scholarly insight, as when the former says that the Britons “owed [Arthur] more than they gave him. And he let them forget their debt.” The best lines, though, are reserved for Gamache’s own creations; the noble William, for example, says to Severus’ family, “Land is nothing....Your treasure is each other.” Also, the author makes clever use of Severus as a ghost who can travel great distances from scene to scene. Gamache puts the final polish on his epic with incredible battles and a remarkable wizard/counselor named Morys.

A winning debut fantasy that succeeds at being both graceful and turbulent.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 9781508849995

Page Count: -

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.


Are we not men? We are—well, ask Bigfoot, as Brooks does in this delightful yarn, following on his bestseller World War Z (2006).

A zombie apocalypse is one thing. A volcanic eruption is quite another, for, as the journalist who does a framing voice-over narration for Brooks’ latest puts it, when Mount Rainier popped its cork, “it was the psychological aspect, the hyperbole-fueled hysteria that had ended up killing the most people.” Maybe, but the sasquatches whom the volcano displaced contributed to the statistics, too, if only out of self-defense. Brooks places the epicenter of the Bigfoot war in a high-tech hideaway populated by the kind of people you might find in a Jurassic Park franchise: the schmo who doesn’t know how to do much of anything but tries anyway, the well-intentioned bleeding heart, the know-it-all intellectual who turns out to know the wrong things, the immigrant with a tough backstory and an instinct for survival. Indeed, the novel does double duty as a survival manual, packed full of good advice—for instance, try not to get wounded, for “injury turns you from a giver to a taker. Taking up our resources, our time to care for you.” Brooks presents a case for making room for Bigfoot in the world while peppering his narrative with timely social criticism about bad behavior on the human side of the conflict: The explosion of Rainier might have been better forecast had the president not slashed the budget of the U.S. Geological Survey, leading to “immediate suspension of the National Volcano Early Warning System,” and there’s always someone around looking to monetize the natural disaster and the sasquatch-y onslaught that follows. Brooks is a pro at building suspense even if it plays out in some rather spectacularly yucky episodes, one involving a short spear that takes its name from “the sucking sound of pulling it out of the dead man’s heart and lungs.” Grossness aside, it puts you right there on the scene.

A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

Pub Date: June 16, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-2678-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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Suspenseful, full of incident, and not obviously necessary.


Atwood goes back to Gilead.

The Handmaid’s Tale (1985), consistently regarded as a masterpiece of 20th-century literature, has gained new attention in recent years with the success of the Hulu series as well as fresh appreciation from readers who feel like this story has new relevance in America’s current political climate. Atwood herself has spoken about how news headlines have made her dystopian fiction seem eerily plausible, and it’s not difficult to imagine her wanting to revisit Gilead as the TV show has sped past where her narrative ended. Like the novel that preceded it, this sequel is presented as found documents—first-person accounts of life inside a misogynistic theocracy from three informants. There is Agnes Jemima, a girl who rejects the marriage her family arranges for her but still has faith in God and Gilead. There’s Daisy, who learns on her 16th birthday that her whole life has been a lie. And there's Aunt Lydia, the woman responsible for turning women into Handmaids. This approach gives readers insight into different aspects of life inside and outside Gilead, but it also leads to a book that sometimes feels overstuffed. The Handmaid’s Tale combined exquisite lyricism with a powerful sense of urgency, as if a thoughtful, perceptive woman was racing against time to give witness to her experience. That narrator hinted at more than she said; Atwood seemed to trust readers to fill in the gaps. This dynamic created an atmosphere of intimacy. However curious we might be about Gilead and the resistance operating outside that country, what we learn here is that what Atwood left unsaid in the first novel generated more horror and outrage than explicit detail can. And the more we get to know Agnes, Daisy, and Aunt Lydia, the less convincing they become. It’s hard, of course, to compete with a beloved classic, so maybe the best way to read this new book is to forget about The Handmaid’s Tale and enjoy it as an artful feminist thriller.

Suspenseful, full of incident, and not obviously necessary.

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-385-54378-1

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Nan A. Talese

Review Posted Online: Sept. 4, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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