A rousing and captivating epic that should satisfy fans of historical fiction.



Political turmoil and religious strife complicate a Roman general’s plans for retirement in this sequel.

In the fourth century, Gen. Marcus Augustus Valerias is a legend, a savvy military strategist who demands nothing less from his men than loyalty to him and the Roman Empire. His defeat of the Huns at the Battle of Three Tongues cemented his reputation. He is also a loving husband to Claire, a former queen of Britannia, and stepfather to her daughters, Anne and Elizabeth. At age 55, he moves with his family to an estate near Milan; but he dreads growing older and worries he may become a burden to Claire. Hoping to lift her husband’s spirits, she arranges a reunion with his trusted friend Bukarma. They open a training facility at the villa, but their attention soon turns toward religious and political discord. Valerias’ friend Joseph, a Christian bishop, is targeted by a priest intent on purging his village of anyone he believes is guilty of heresy. Then a new crisis emerges when Valerias learns the Saxons plan to invade Britannia. He fights to save the kingdom only to face an enemy more dangerous than he ever imagined. Prill’s (Into the Realm of Time, 2015) novel seamlessly continues Valerias’ journey, strengthening his relationships with his family and friends while introducing dynamic new characters. Valerias is a man reckoning with his mortality and place in history, and this struggle is an undercurrent running throughout the narrative. A pivotal supporting character in Into the Realm of Time, Claire emerges here as a central figure as her desire to reunite with her son, Douglas, is complicated by a treacherous scheme by a usurper queen to consolidate her power over Britannia. Prill’s lucid and compelling prose style weaves together storylines involving the various players in this ambitious tale. Newcomers to the series may want to start with the first book; but new readers and fans should find references to Valerias’ backstory and the full cast helpful.

A rousing and captivating epic that should satisfy fans of historical fiction.

Pub Date: March 29, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-9908604-1-9

Page Count: 532

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: July 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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Unrelenting gloom relieved only occasionally by wrenching trauma; somehow, though, Hannah’s storytelling chops keep the...


Hannah’s sequel to Firefly Lane (2008) demonstrates that those who ignore family history are often condemned to repeat it.

When we last left Kate and Tully, the best friends portrayed in Firefly Lane, the friendship was on rocky ground. Now Kate has died of cancer, and Tully, whose once-stellar TV talk show career is in free fall, is wracked with guilt over her failure to be there for Kate until her very last days. Kate’s death has cemented the distrust between her husband, Johnny, and daughter Marah, who expresses her grief by cutting herself and dropping out of college to hang out with goth poet Paxton. Told mostly in flashbacks by Tully, Johnny, Marah and Tully’s long-estranged mother, Dorothy, aka Cloud, the story piles up disasters like the derailment of a high-speed train. Increasingly addicted to prescription sedatives and alcohol, Tully crashes her car and now hovers near death, attended by Kate’s spirit, as the other characters gather to see what their shortsightedness has wrought. We learn that Tully had tried to parent Marah after her father no longer could. Her hard-drinking decline was triggered by Johnny’s anger at her for keeping Marah and Paxton’s liaison secret. Johnny realizes that he only exacerbated Marah’s depression by uprooting the family from their Seattle home. Unexpectedly, Cloud, who rebuffed Tully’s every attempt to reconcile, also appears at her daughter’s bedside. Sixty-nine years old and finally sober, Cloud details for the first time the abusive childhood, complete with commitments to mental hospitals and electroshock treatments, that led to her life as a junkie lowlife and punching bag for trailer-trash men. Although powerful, Cloud’s largely peripheral story deflects focus away from the main conflict, as if Hannah was loath to tackle the intractable thicket in which she mired her main characters.

Unrelenting gloom relieved only occasionally by wrenching trauma; somehow, though, Hannah’s storytelling chops keep the pages turning even as readers begin to resent being drawn into this masochistic morass.

Pub Date: April 23, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-312-57721-6

Page Count: 416

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Feb. 18, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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Debut novel by hip-hop rap artist Sister Souljah, whose No Disrespect (1994), which mixes sexual history with political diatribe, is popular in schools country-wide. In its way, this is a tour de force of black English and underworld slang, as finely tuned to its heroine’s voice as Alice Walker’s The Color Purple. The subject matter, though, has a certain flashiness, like a black Godfather family saga, and the heroine’s eventual fall develops only glancingly from her character. Born to a 14-year-old mother during one of New York’s worst snowstorms, Winter Santiaga is the teenaged daughter of Ricky Santiaga, Brooklyn’s top drug dealer, who lives like an Arab prince and treats his wife and four daughters like a queen and her princesses. Winter lost her virginity at 12 and now focuses unwaveringly on varieties of adolescent self-indulgence: sex and sugar-daddies, clothes, and getting her own way. She uses school only as a stepping-stone for getting out of the house—after all, nobody’s paying her to go there. But if there’s no money in it, why go? Meanwhile, Daddy decides it’s time to move out of Brooklyn to truly fancy digs on Long Island, though this places him in the discomfiting position of not being absolutely hands-on with his dealers; and sure enough the rise of some young Turks leads to his arrest. Then he does something really stupid: he murders his wife’s two weak brothers in jail with him on Riker’s Island and gets two consecutive life sentences. Winter’s then on her own, especially with Bullet, who may have replaced her dad as top hood, though when she selfishly fails to help her pregnant buddy Simone, there’s worse—much worse—to come. Thinness aside: riveting stuff, with language so frank it curls your hair. (Author tour)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-671-02578-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Pocket

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1999

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