Gary is a small town Irishman with a love for all things historical and fantastical. He works as an English and History teacher at post-primary where he endeavours to instil and nurture a love for reading and writing in students. Tea is his weakness. Reading is his passion. His one goal in life is to buy a castle when he retires.

A Ritual of Bone (The Dead Sagas #1) by Lee C Conley 03, Oct

An atmospheric old school fantasy tale of Vikings, cannibals and zombies.

A Ritual of Bone is the first book in Lee C Conley's The Dead Saga series. Set in the Kingdom of Arnar, a land reminiscent of ancient Britain and Ireland with its misty mountains, dark forests, looming dolmens and hill forts, it accounts the rise of an ancient evil long forgotten by its people. 

The story spans the length and width of the Kingdom of Arnar and is told through multiple viewpoints. Bjorn is a hunter tasked with tracking a mysterious beast that haunts the dark forests that border the Savage Lands only to discover something far worse. I really enjoyed his arc with one particular chapter near the beginning that hooked me immediately, in which Bjorn silently follows a set of tracks across a vast distance. It reminded me a lot of The Revenant in that Conley captures the sense of loneliness in the vast wilderness while building tensions and mystery without using any dialogue. A nice contrast to this is the story of the innkeep Jor and barmaid Nym who both seek to escape the clutches of a terrible sickness that plagues the busy port of Anchorage near the capital. Again, Conley does a great job here, this time capturing the uneasiness and mistrust that spreads among the town's denizens just as quickly as the sickness. 

The Trouble With Peace (The Age of Madness #2) by Joe Abercrombie 13, Sep

I received an approved arc by Orion Publishing Group through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 

 I went into The Trouble With Peace with high expectations only for it to far exceed them in every possible way. This is Joe Abercrombie at his best. 

The Trouble With Peace picks up shortly after A Little Hatred. With an uneasy friendship between the Young Lion and the Great Wolf barely keeping the North together and the Breakers and Burners having slunk back into the shadows and slag of Midderland's industrial cities, the Union, under the newly crowned King Orso, has returned to a fragile state of peace. But, being an Abercrombie book, it is not long before the tendons of peace are cut by those whose ambitions know no limits. Which is pretty much everyone in the First Law world. 

A Little Hatred (The Age of Madness) by Joe Abercrombie 30, Aug

Joe Abercrombie earned his literary crown with the First Law Trilogy and had a monument raised in his honour with the subsequent standalones: Best Served Cold, The Heroes and Red Country. With A Little Hatred, the first in his brand new trilogy, The Age of Madness, the author has reached legendary status. 

In the decades since defeating the Ghurkish Empire, the Union has given birth to the age of industry. A new era promises new beginnings and opportunities, but not for all. As the factory chimneys and furnaces belch riches, dissent permeates the slag. Revolution is coming. Meanwhile, up in the North, old wars continue to be waged by young warriors. A new age may be dawning, but the scars of the past are as prominent as ever.