The Trojan War was the greatest catastrophe of the ancient world. We are told that it devastated Europe and Asia and plunged the known world into a Dark Age that lasted 500 years. This is the ‘Story of Troy’. The truth has never been established – until now!
30 years of painstaking investigative research has finally resolved this 3,000 year-old mystery. Author and Historian, Bernard Jones, uncovers the evidence piece by piece, separating fact from fiction, and unlocking for us the secrets of the past. Unbelievably, Bernard’s research showed that the Trojan War could not have taken place in the Aegean area, or even in the Mediterranean world. This evidence turns our accepted geography on its head and leads us on a fascinating journey of discovery back to the real world in which the Trojans lived. Here, we discover who the Greeks and the Trojans really were, and the parts they played in Homer’s Bronze Age world.
Secret knowledge concealed in the Iliad reveals Homer’s work to be a genuine historical record. Yet, only in the corrected Bronze Age environment can it be understood. Deciphering Homer’s coded information becomes the key to finding the location of the Trojan War and the Bronze Age city of Troy itself. Lost histories also tell the whole story of the migrations that took place following the Trojan War and the nations that arose out of the ashes of Troy. The records of these nations independently verify the author’s findings, and they overturn the theory of a ‘Dark Age’.
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Caution to the Wind recounts your thrilling and sometimes perilous journey out on the ocean. Why was this an important book for you to write?
I kept a journal throughout the entire voyage and soon discovered that I had a real love for writing. My cruising life took me on an incredible journey, which strengthened my desire to share this adventure. My passion is to inspire those who are contemplating a similar voyage, and to encourage people to follow their dreams!
You had been through so much while sailing, both physically and emotionally, was there ever a moment that you were not prepared for and made you rethink things?
Being caught in a major storm with no ability to make contact with the outside world, was an intense experience. There was nothing that could have prepared us emotionally or mentally. What was crucial at the time was how to stay alive, in such extreme conditions. There were moments where I questioned my life and the decision that I made to make this voyage. What was paramount for me was the possibility of never seeing my family again. What really stuck in my mind is that if we didn’t survive, no one would know what had happened to us. We could disappear without a trace, consumed by the very ocean that I love.
Looking back on that time, what do you miss the most?
I miss the freedom and the simplicity of life, that cruising offers, which I found to be incredible. It is hard to replace the excitement of navigating to foreign shores, and the diversity of cultures and people, that I met along the way. I have strong memories of amazing sunsets & sunrises, brilliant starlit skies, and an interesting array of sea and bird life.
If you were to take another trip, without limitations, where would you go?
Without limitations, I would buy a yacht in Europe, to cruise around the Mediterranean without a time limit. Venture up through the beautiful canals of France once again, cross the English channel to explore the UK, and eventually head back to Australia. Which route, I am not sure at this point.
On May 5th, 1994, at 9.30 am on a chilly, sunlit day, Ebony, a 36ft Roberts Spray, left the safety of Lyttelton Harbour in New Zealand, to venture into the unknown, where nothing would be predictable.
The voyage plan was to follow the famous trade wind route, sailing from New Zealand to England.
All too soon, they found themselves battling their way to Sydney, Australia. Caught in a ruthless storm with no contact with the outside world, they were truly alone. All the romantic notions of the ultimate cruising life disappeared into oblivion.
Step aboard Ebony and take an adventure, an epic 15-month voyage. Experience this day-to-day passionate tale, packed with intrigue, and at times suspense. Experience the delights of the lands visited and learn more about the world of international sailing. This was a life-changing adventure, with a dramatic, unexpected, ending.
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The Sky Throne, by Chris Ledbetter, is a tale set in Ancient Greece. Zeus, a youthful prankster, finds himself entangled in a conflict that reaches the slopes of Mount Olympus itself. Living a life as an unknown, Zeus’s world changes entirely with the violent attack by an Elder deity, Hyperion. Zeus, seeking an answer for this attack, finds himself at Mount Olympus Preparatory Academia. He finds sanctuary and a temporary reprieve from the sorrow that haunts him, but trouble still follows him. Students and faculty begin to vanish from Olympus, which leaves Zeus and his peers to solve the mystery.
Ledbetter takes the best pieces of contemporary YA and gives them their own mythological flare. The academia of Harry Potter becomes the independent schools of the Mediterranean and Aegean. The survival of The Hunger Games is embodied by Zeus’s ingenuity throughout the story. Even tones of Red Rising can be felt in the opening pages of the very humble beginnings of a character we have known about for thousands of years. The breadth of the world is very thorough, and will please any Grecophile. Ledbetter covers everything from Crete to Tartarus, and all that lies in between.
These very familiar characters from mythology are made a new by being “made young” and formed into literal student roles. The twist on these old figures was one of the reasons why I kept turning the page. This, and the mystery of Zeus’s parentage, kept me enthralled with the character; especially since Zeus is a character that not only grows and changes throughout the book, but becomes endeared to the reader. For example, he consistently struggles with how to flirt with girls!
The actual pacing itself is done quite well. Within the first dozen pages, the reader feels the very real consequences of violence and aggression and the plot only gathers speed from there. It especially begins to escalate when the real threat against Olympus Prep arises and Zeus begins to show the true core of his character, to the delight of the reader.
If anything negative can be said against the plot and world building of the book itself, I would say that Ledbetter’s technical skill could use a bit of Olympus grace. While reading, I found some of the sentences awkward, while others were quite unnecessary based on context. This forced me out of the story. Beyond that, I found the dialogue to be inconsistent along the lines of pushing melodrama or self-deprecating humor. This is not to disregard the appreciation I had for his presentation of different cultures that actually did have their own way of speaking.
All of this taken into account, the reader of YA literature will not be disappointed. Following in the footsteps of Rick Riordan, yet also striking out on his own when his path diverges, is not a feat to be taken lightly. Ledbetter achieves this with brilliant originality and a story uniquely his own.
Pages: 324 | ASIN: B06W5LXJFN
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Zurga’s Fire takes place in historical Greece and the rest of the Mediterranean and is broken up into four books filled with short tales of adventure. What was the inspiration for this third book in the Orfeo Saga?
The fictional universe laid out by Tolkien in Lord of the Rings was probably the series that got me thinking along the lines of an extended saga. I liked the way Tolkien used ancient sources to create heroic fiction. At the same time I wanted to be more historical like Robert Graves and his series I, Claudius. I wanted to write something that would not be fantastic, and which would not re-tread well known history. The Bronze Age offered scope to speculate. There are few written sources, but what there is offers scope to invent characters and place them in historical context.
Zurga’s Fire introduces the issue of nomads and how they impact civilization. I had been researching nomads for my other interest, Oriental carpets. Nomads were very effective warriors, and they could overwhelm sedentary societies. They did have one weakness, and that was leadership. Every group from that lead by Attila to Ghengis Khan eventually fell apart. A charismatic leader is essential for nomads. In Zurga’s Fire the leader of the nomads is eventually undone not so much by a face to face challenge, but by a crisis in leadership.
Why did you go with the format of short stories told as a collection?
This is a very good question. I really did not think about the format before I started writing the series. I wrote many short stories over a period of years that were never published. Looking back that was probably a good thing. I always liked reading short stories. I think I have a short attention span. The result is that I am quite comfortable writing short stories and I have structured my Orfeo Saga that way too. Many books in the Orfeo Saga are made up of two different stories which are divided into books. In contrast my other series about a Los Angeles based private eye (the Bart Northcote series) are entire novels.
I felt that the characters in this book were complex and well thought out. What was your favorite character to write for?
I think that the character I had the most fondness for was “Zurga.” I gave him a rather ridiculous name because the character went by many names. This name suggests that you cannot take the character seriously. Zurga likes to deceive people as to his true intentions, as well as build up a mythology around himself. Zurga realized early on that he would not be fully accepted. No one would ever select him as a leader. In contrast his protege Orfeo can become a leader. Again I was well aware of Orpheus in the Greek pantheon. While Orpheus was a gifted lute player, he is also credited introducing civilization to savages. My Orfeo character has some similarities with Orpheus, but I have taken all supernatural elements away.
I think of Zurga’s Fire as a historical adventure tale. Did you do any research to keep the setting and characters true?
I studied ancient and modern nomads for years. I read about them, their social structure, history, and particularly art. Many of my research trips were to see nomads making textiles, particularly Turkish speaking people. I knew that for the Bronze Age there were not good historical sources, so I filled in the blanks with what I understood from more modern nomadic groups. I tried to capture their lifestyle in the novel, without going into the nuts and bolts of their society. The interesting thing is that the Greeks had recently settled by the Bronze Age. In the novel they were well aware of the kind of enemy they faced. The same pattern repeats throughout history many times. A group settles and then the next group of nomads impinges on them. Every sedentary group has the same choice. They can fight or they can flee. For Zurga’s Fire I wanted to show how the nomads being horse riders and archers had an advantage. Sedentary society, with farmers, had fewer people who would naturally take on a warrior role. They could fortify cities to stop nomads, but that does not always work. That is the tension I wanted to accentuate in the book.
What does the next book in the Orfeo Saga take readers?
The next book is also divided into two main parts. The first part takes the characters to the New World. There has been a huge amount of scholarly speculation about the contacts between the Old and New Worlds. I think that there must have been limited contact between these two areas, but I am not sure that it occurred as early as the European Bronze Age. However, there was likely early contact. There was a report that a scientist had found traces of cocaine as well as nicotine in Egyptian mummies as early as 1000 BC. I think it is important to look at evidence with an open mind but have a healthy skepticism about big claims.The Orfeo Saga volume 4 has a bit more humor in it than other books in the series. I also thought it was important for Orfeo to take a greater role in his own fate. His teacher disappears during this story.
Part II of the book deals with the rise of Sparta. This is not as far-fetched as some people think. Archaeology is pushing the date for Spartan civilization further back in time. I try to post interesting links to the archaeology on my Facebook page.
The Getae inhabited the region on either side of the Lower Danube River, in what is today northern Bulgaria and southern Romania. They were in contact with ancient Greeks from an early date. Herodotus – writing in the 5th century BC – extols their martial spirit: “…when it lightens and thunders, they aim their arrows at the sky, uttering threats against the god; and they do not believe that there is any god but their own.”
They ruthlessly incorporate conquered people into their society through enslavement, and are prepared to kill those who are not useful to their plans. They have no need for the luxuries of city life. Fighting in troops of mounted archers, they mock individual heroes. Getae have a long history of reducing enemies in deadly hails of arrows while not getting close enough to lose warriors in single combat. Here Orfeo and his warriors must deal with an expanding Getae empire during the heroic age of Greece. Vastly outnumbered, can they stop an invasion that threatens not only their lives, but also their entire culture?
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Travel back in time in this fantastical adventure with Zurga’s Fire, book three in the Orfeo Saga. Murray Lee Eiland Jr weaves his tale that takes place in historical Greece and the rest of the Mediterranean. Broken up into four books filled with short, easy to digest chapters we begin with Daryush, a young man who has been living as a consort for the Empress Zinaida. If you are just coming into this saga, you won’t be able to get a true grasp on what previous volumes have covered. What we learn from Daryush and Zinaida is that theirs is a young love and she has recently acquired her position of power. Due to their differences Daryush decides to leave Babylon in order to preserve his life. We then begin to follow him on his journey while meeting other important characters and breaking off to follow them. It all comes back around and end with Daryush.
Eiland is very good at keeping his chapters short and to the point. Instead of long, drawn out chapters that cover far too much information to digest well, this tale has the benefit of being broken into four books and a total of 70 chapters. While that may seem like a lot, the story doesn’t break 300 pages. There is even a historical note for those history buffs who are reading. This is a historical fantasy-adventure tale and Eiland does his best to keep information as true to history while taking certain artistic liberties. This makes the book easy to read without getting bogged down by technicalities. While the information regarding tribes, empires and villages is indeed massive, it is all presented in shortened, easy to read ways.
Daryush is not the titular character, although he feels like one. He weaves in and out of the story that the reader can get deluded into thinking it’s all about him. The book is called Zurga’s Fire for a reason and that is made quite apparent in the third book within this volume.
Aside from being a bit in the dark to previous accomplishments in the first two books, Zurga’s Fire stands well on its own. The story feels complete at the end and doesn’t leave too many unanswered questions. The writing is clean with little to no grammatical errors and the chapter formatting is nice on the eyes. The intrigue, romance and mystery that pepper the tale are all tasteful with nothing feeling forced or contrived. This is a spectacular feat to accomplish when you have so many characters with such intricate lives.
If you’re looking for a good read that won’t have you feeling overwhelmed then Zurga’s Fire by Murray Lee Eiland Jr is definitely something you should consider. Not too heavy on historical explanations and easy to read with short chapters, this third installment in the Orfeo Saga is pleasant and satisfying.
Pages: 244 | ASIN: B017YFKZSU
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Sicania Rising by Daniel Buckley is a work of fiction set in the ancient times of sea trade routes and praises to gods for their help in all matters of life. The story features several characters and a depth of detail sure to please any lover of historical fiction, especially of the Mediterranean variety.
One of the great rulers, Seidon, seeks to make headway on the islands of Sicania to further strengthen his hold on the trade routes of the Mediterranean. Meanwhile, his sons are hoping to be elected as the new rulers of the land but seem to have differing views on how to govern. Several other characters have roles to play as the power vacuum of the Mediterranean attracts all interested and worthy seafarers, creating a dynamic and intriguing story for the reader.
Particularly, I enjoyed the descriptions of adventuring and sea warfare. It was interesting to see how wars on the water would have taken place back then, and the author does a good job of putting the reader right in the middle of the battles to soak in all of the details he provides. Language issues do limit some of this, but the strength of the story still shines through the errors, leaving the reader with a solid understanding of what happened in each situation.
It’s unfortunate that the author doesn’t spend more time developing the characters, because they are interesting and beg to be fleshed out. The story has a tendency to jump into a bit of character development and dialogue, only to quickly fast forward through time with more exposition, leaving the reader’s investment in the characters lacking. Otherwise the historical accuracy of this book is the true gem of the story. If you are a fan of historical fiction you will enjoy the depth of detail delivered in this novel.
Sometimes the writing is difficult to follow as it often lacks structure and has inconsistent grammar. It’s a shame because there are glimpses of a great narrative hiding under all of the mistakes.
Overall, Mr. Buckley does a fantastic job of establishing a fictional conflict in a well-documented historical setting. However, his focus on historical facts and neglect of meaningful character development might leave fans of fiction wanting more. For those that enjoy nonfiction, historical sea battles and Mediterranean politics, this story is worth your time.
Pages: 235 | ASIN: B01M3X3YDG
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