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Taken Away

A fantastic race through space told from the first-person perspective of First Officer Genevieve Autumn graces the pages of Taken Away by London Knight. A dying planet: a desperate race for resources out there in the vast blackness of space. With the building blocks of so many preceding science-fiction tales firmly supporting it, we travel on an adventure that takes us across the universe and spans hundreds of years. But the conspiracies have been in play for much longer than we realize, as the cryogenic sleep that was supposed to support Genevieve and her crew until they reached their planet of salvation goes wrong, and the new world is more hostile than they expected.

The world of Taken Away is carefully constructed and told in the first person. This style of narration lends a sense of ownership to the reader. We are there; we are experiencing it. London Knight does a great job building the characters that will carry this story and gives a slightly different twist to the trope of a space crew that is frozen for a big adventure. It has been done before, but Knight peppers the awakening of the team with an interesting side effect that hasn’t been done before.

The excitement is present from the get-go and doesn’t stop. There are problems with the ship, with the sleep, with the awakening of the crew, and the unexpected side effect they find themselves experiencing after their freezing. And that’s just what happens at the start. It seems like everything that could go wrong has gone wrong, but that is just the beginning. There is a bigger conspiracy at play here and a much bigger reveal the deeper you travel within these pages.

If you are looking for an exciting science fiction book that will keep you engaged and on your toes as you flip through the pages, then you must pick up a copy of Taken Away by London Knight. Not often are science fiction stories told through the lens of a female character who is more than just a pretty face. Genevieve Autumn is a First Officer, and she absolutely deserves her position. She’s earned it through merit, and her skills bring the story together. The ending could be interpreted as a beginning of sorts: perhaps there will be a part two for readers to eagerly look forward to.

Taken Away is a riveting science fiction adventure with a strong female protagonist. Readers will be taken through space on a mission that challenges them on all levels and is filled with uncertainty and unexpected events keeping everyone on edge.

Pages: 268 | ASIN : B0B9K4Z5Z9

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Despite All Odds

Samrat Mitra Author Interview

Laddie Roy DFC follows an intrepid youth from a British colony who flies a combat aircraft for the Royal Air Force in the Great War. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

Having read a few brief mentions of Lt. Indra Lal Roy or ‘Laddie Roy’ on Memorial Day, I was quite in awe of his achievements. Here was a young Indian boy from colonial India flying expensive war planes to take down the German aircrafts at a time when the Red Baron spread terror in the skies with his deathly ‘Flying Circus’. It seemed too good to be true: we have read amazing accounts of Indian infantry battalions storming German trenches on the ground but the aerial fight of the flying aces was a tactical and expensive war and if not for Colonel Sefton Brancker, no one from the British colonies could ever fly these magnificent machines, let alone get near them. However there were brave men from all corners of the Empire and America whose characters have been woven into Laddie Roy’s journey to greatness because they worked as one squadron, one team. It didn’t matter where they were from but what they did to fulfil their mission duties. Mike Mannock (Victoria Cross), George McElroy (Distinguished Flying Cross) and James McCudden(Victoria Cross) and many others were Indra Lal Roy’s contemporaries and colleagues who figure prominently in his story. When a plan and a few good men come together only greatness can follow, this was the inspiration for the setup of my story.

Indra Lal Roy is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

Indra Lal Roy’s journey to become a pilot of the Royal Flying Commission (as the RAF was named at the time) was not without incredibly challenging odds and yet he overcame them. It was his struggle about getting past his first failed qualification test for the RFC, his first crash which nearly killed him, his remarkable recovery thereafter to become a flying ace in a matter of days gives us hope that we can achieve what we set out as our goals. Indra Lal Roy was as determined, as forthright and sincere as anyone could be but I see this brilliant brightness in his persona that just made destiny put the pieces together for him to fulfil his dreams until it didn’t in his final flight mission over Carvin, France. Roy never let up his determination to keep going despite all odds and yet he never lost that touch of humanity between missions despite fighting the moral dilemma of destroying an enemy aircraft.

My book touches upon this aspect of what we now call PTSD but back then soldiers were afraid to admit this and yet one could find evidence of their stress in the mails they sent back home as I have mentioned in the story. My driving ideals were to present as accurate a picture as I could, a snapshot of the time when flying was still an experimental science forcefully brought into urgent improvement during the First World war.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

I wanted to delve into the psyche of the victor and the vanquished airmen in an aerial dogfight, clearly this is a different war than those fought in the trenches and that is where the heart of the book lies. One is transported into one of these biplanes, high above the sky, cold and alone except for possibly a few more colleagues in their own planes on a flight mission waiting to take on enemy aircraft. It is a situation where a thousand checks can fail save for one rash maneuver, one bracing wire to snap or have enemy aircraft shoot at you from below. Flying these aircrafts required incredible skill if one were to stay alive after the mission was over and this is the reason why some of the challenges faced by the pilots especially technical faults are mentioned. One has to remember these men were not given parachutes as it was a ‘do or die’ mission which made sure the pilot applied himself the best he could while flying these airplanes.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

My third book would be a conclusion of my first one, The Incidental Jihadi because I couldn’t quite give the story a conclusion at that point in time. Given the geopolitical situation in Syria is difficult, it felt almost impossible to conclude the story but the wheels are in motion as some ideas are shaping into chapters. I always want the best for my characters which is why closure from the first book is quite important to me as it needs to be realistic to what could be achieved now that the US has retreated completely from Syria, leaving the nation completely open to Russian influence. I am hoping to complete the conclusion to my first book The Incidental Jihadi by the end of 2023.

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What were the odds of an intrepid youth from a rebellious British colony flying a combat aircraft for the Royal Air Force in the Great War? Could hopes and dreams survive at the cusp of an increasingly bleak conflict on the western front? Against all odds, Flying ace Indra Lal Roy (D.F.C. 1918) dreamt of flying airplanes and engaging in a new form of battle for the skies above German occupied France. He achieved ten victories in thirteen days. This is his story based upon true events from the war.

Laddie Roy DFC

Laddie Roy is the story of a young boy from India named Indra or ‘Laddie’, as he is later known. After the family moves to England, the older boys, Indra and his older brother, must try to integrate into a British school where they are faced with discrimination. They both enlist in the army to try and prove themselves. The story moves between Indra’s life as a boy and his experience during the Great War.

This is an adventurous tale that is full of vivid historical imagery and intriguing metaphors. One of my favorite pieces of writing is ‘Father Frost was gently laying a quilt of snow on Indra.’ There is something so compelling about it, especially since it is a peaceful scene juxtaposed against the background of war. In addition to the beautiful writing there are many quotes that the reader will find heartening and inspirational such as, ‘Exhausted in the satisfaction that he gave his best and the outcome would not matter as much as the journey itself.’ This gave the book the same uplifting and thought-provoking feel as Paulo Coelho The Alchemist.

It is good to see a story about the Great War that is told from the unique perspective of an Indian soldier. The way the main character’s life flashes between past and present is written in a clever way that is easy for the reader to follow, and makes the story engaging. I enjoyed seeing what lead to the character being in the war, and flying a plane in the first place. I felt connected to the character by the end of the story.

Laddie Roy DFC by Samrat Mitra gives readers an interesting and unique perspective on life growing up from someone who has emigrated to Britain and wishes to prove themselves, not only to their family and their country of origin, but also to their new friends and their new country. The writing in this story is so moving. I would recommend this impassioned military adventure story to any reader who enjoys military or historical fiction.

Pages: 282 | ASIN: 1915330025

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The Devastation of War

Andrew Tweeddale Author Interview

Of All Faiths & None is a coming-of-age tale focusing on the relationships of the characters and how they fall victim to the tragedy of a needless war. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

I marched against the Iraq war and wanted to write a novel that showed the needlessness and brutality of war. The following year I visited Castle Drogo on Dartmoor. There is a room in the castle that is a shrine to the memory of Adrian Drewe, the eldest son of the tea baron who commissioned the castle in 1910. It seemed to me to be the perfect setting to tell a story about war. I wanted to introduce the reader to characters they would grow to like and then have each of these characters deal with the effects that war has on people’s lives. I therefore created a fictional story set around Castle Drogo that led up to the final tragedy of a lost generation.

Your characters are intriguing and well developed. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

Thank you. I did not want to create stereotypes but rather rounded characters with flaws. I wanted to take ideals such as faith, duty, conscience and honour and see what would happen to characters when faced with the devastation of war. In many cases the ideals that the characters believed in are questioned or lost by the effects of the war on their lives.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

The necessity of war and its consequences on those caught up by it. However, I also wanted to look at what drove people to enlist and how people dealt with tragedy.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

The book I am currently writing looks at the Mau Mau uprising in Kenya and considers whether it is ever right to use torture and oppression to stop an enemy who uses the bloodiest tactics imaginable. It has a working title of ‘The Nuremberg Paradigm’ and should be completed within the next two years

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In the autumn of 1910 the famous architect, Edwin Lutyens, receives a letter from Sir Julius Drewe for the commission of a castle on Dartmoor – Castle Drogo. The design for the castle focusses on both the past and the present and reflects Britain, which at that moment is in a state of flux. Lutyens’ daughter, Celia, becomes enamoured with the project dreaming of chivalry and heroism. The following year Lutyens and his family are invited to a stone laying ceremony at Castle Drogo. Celia meets Sir Julius’ children: Adrian, Christian and Basil. Adrian has an unbending sense of duty and honour and is seen as a hero by Celia when he rescues a farmer from a fire.

The novel moves to 1914, and the start of the Great War. Christian Drewe returns from Austria where he has been working as an artist. He has reservations about joining up, unconvinced that the war was either necessary or right. He meets a nurse, Rose Braithwaite, when he is stuck at a railway station by fog. They subsequently meet again when Rose invites Christian to a party she is having for her birthday. Despite them being of different classes, there is a mutual attraction and during the evening they kiss. However, Rose is engaged and a fight breaks out between Rose’s fiancé, who arrives much later, and Christian. Both Rose and Christian decide never to see each other again. Christian’s moral conflict about enlisting comes to a head when he is handed a white feather – the sign of a coward. Eighteen months later, during the war, Christian is injured and is treated by Rose at a hospital on the front line. Both realise their mistake of following their heads rather than their hearts. Christian is sent back to a rehabilitation hospital in England where Celia is now working.

Adrian, when on leave, visits Christian and again meets Celia. The relationship is now one of equals. Celia, a headstrong young woman, decides that she must try and develop the relationship or risk losing Adrian. Adrian is torn between his desire for Celia and his need to protect his family, who are now having financial problems. The story moves from the battlefields of Flanders to Castle Drogo, where the characters are reunited for brief periods. Faith and love are stretched to their limits as each character is affected by the relentless brutality of the war. Of All Faiths & None is the story of a lost generation. It is a novel that focuses on the relationships of the characters until those relationships are shattered. It is a coming-of-age tale and a social commentary on the tragedy of a needless war.

Wasn’t That a Time

Wasn’t That a Time by Chip Hannay is riveting military romance novel set during the Vietnam War that touches on many aspects of life and struggles, including duty, passion, love, and camaraderie. The heart of the story focuses on Gid Bubchek, a Marine chopper pilot, and Ginger Lee, an enigmatic feminist, and the complicated emotions they experience together, in their respective positions, and within their relationship. The author candidly covers many challenging aspects of preparing for war and living in dangerous conditions while exploring diverse characters, their storylines, and their sense of humor.

Author Chip Hanny, a war veteran himself, gives the reader an authentic and unique perspective into soldiers’ lives leading up to the war and how they support each other the most during uncertain and challenging experiences. The author provides vivid details of overhead military helicopters and combat scenes amid the intense humanity throughout the story, despite the battle’s unfortunate circumstances and horrors. The book focuses heavily on character development, which carries most of the plot, and allows readers to get a close-up and raw look into their lives.

This is an excellent romantic thriller that is perfect for readers looking for a military fiction novel with a heart. I especially enjoyed this story because of its particular view of the Vietnam War and the way the story shows how it had a lasting impact on the generations of people that followed. This thought-provoking story gives readers a lot to reflect on about war and its effect on society. I recommend Wasn’t That a Time for the author’s ability to relay his experiences as a veteran into an entertaining book that contains a personal reflection on the impact of war. It’s a raw and explicit but thoughtful story that delivers a powerful message on the importance of camaraderie.

Pages: 253 | ASIN: B0B5HMFVHQ

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Of All Faiths & None 

Of All Faiths & None by Andrew Tweeddale is a historical fiction novel set during the Great War between 1910 and 1918. This compelling novel begins with Julius Drewe, who hires a famous architect, Edwin Luytens, to design a castle. Drewe’s goal is to establish and preserve his legacy with the construction of Castle Drogo, which later symbolizes the nature of the war, and how the younger generation of the Drewes and Luytens become entangled in the war, which breaks out in 1914. The plot quickly develops when the setting shifts from the families’ residence in London to the various battlefields and their connections to each other and Castle Drogo.

The author explores many essential topics during the early 1900s, including the age of enlightenment, the suffragette movement, and the impact of war. It’s an emotional rendition of the history of western society and how significant changes in the world challenge different religions and belief systems. Tweeddale does a great job developing each character and evolving them throughout the book in well-structured chapters and well-written descriptions of their individual experiences.

Throughout the book, Tweeddale explores the themes of duty, vanity, romance, and spirituality and how they evolve during the war. Readers get a glimpse into the political system of this era, and the consequences of war on all levels of society, from the ordinary people to the elites. The author brilliantly showcases the horrors of war and how it capitalizes on the arrogance and vanity of humans while humanizing war casualties so that they are not merely seen as numbers or statistics but as soldiers who are also brothers, sons, and spouses.

I profoundly enjoyed Of All Faiths & None by Andrew Tweeddale. I recommend this impassioned historical romance novel for the author’s ability to highlight the tragedies of war and how it is the ultimate equalizer, impacting everyone regardless of faith or lack of it. It is a well-told tale of love, faith, and war, and is perfect for fans of historical fiction. 

Pages: 352 | ASIN: 1739612205

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A War That Will End War

J.L. Feuerstack Author Interview

Over the Breadth of the Earth is the second book in your Saga of Fallen Leaves series. What were some new ideas you wanted to explore in this book that were different from book one?

Volume II sees the conflict between Heaven and Hell move into the modern era. I wanted to explore the interconnectedness of the past century and the changes that accompanied the world becoming ever smaller. In continuing the existential theme of the series, I wanted to explore if modernity is more or less isolating for the individual, as compared to previous eras of history. I also wanted to consider the desire for a “war that will end war” and the notion that a lasting conflict-free world could be established. This is the goal of humanity at the outbreak of the Great War and both sides of Celestial characters throughout the saga. In this volume, I really wanted to examine the compromises and sacrifices one is willing to make toward reaching such an end.

Did you plan your character’s development or did they grow organically as you wrote the story?

I started with a loose outline of how I wanted the characters to develop. However, I also left room for the situations they endured and their shifting motivations to guide them. In some instances, I was surprised by the growth of the characters. Many of the big decisions Schitz and Zinc made were not set in stone until I got to the critical point in their story.

What scene in the book did you have the most fun writing?

I really enjoyed writing the scene set to the folk song High Germany. The song has such contrasting emotions. In one stanza it mentions drinking in ale houses and getting married. In the next, it curses the “cruel wars” for sending England’s sons far from home. It felt like a perfect fit for the scenes of battle juxtaposed with the medical advancements associated with the outcomes of the battles. It was also very enjoyable because the song fits so well with the saga,which stretches over many eras. I love tying together different ages. High Germany was written either about the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-1714) or the Seven Years War (1756-1763), but it fits perfectly for the scene set during the Second World War. It was a lot of fun to incorporate the song into the story.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I’m currently editing And They Marched Up, Volume III of The Saga of Fallen Leaves and writing Volume IV. These volumes fit together with I & II like pieces of a puzzle. They’ll give insight into some of the minor characters from Volume I & II and expound upon many of the subjects from the series. And They Marched Up, Volume III should both be available in January 2023.

Author Links: GoodReads | Website | Twitter

Over the Breadth of the Earth presents the continuation of the eternal struggle between Angels and Demons. The story follows the on-going battle as God and Satan pit their armies against each other on an ever increasingly complex and global scale.

Lord Zinc II and Schizophrenia “Schitz” Incenderos Nervosa continue balancing their intricate existence while battling the enemy, coping with duplicitous elements within their own ranks, and trying to ensure their survival. Their rivalry stretches across the vast globe from the killing fields at Gettysburg to the barren steppe of Kursk and even into the treacherous streets of Fallujah.

Throughout, these bold cavaliers interact with some of the modern era’s fiercest fighting units (the Waffen-SS, the Viet Cong, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, and more). Utilizing a myriad of ever evolving weaponry and coordination, Zinc and Schitz attempt to stay one step ahead of friend and foe alike.

The Killer Half 

The Killer Half by J.B. Blake is an action-packed thriller that follows Hawk, a soldier, and his return from service in Afghanistan. Hawk served as a well-known and respected “Mr. Fix It” for the army, doing the dirty jobs that others either wouldn’t or couldn’t do. Once Hawk is back home, the familiar surroundings of civilian life feel more foreign than ever. He quickly learns that adjusting to home is more difficult than anticipated, and as Hawk settles back into civilian life, his only companions are his military-trained dogs and arsenal of weapons.

As Hawk adapts to his new life, he unexpectedly discovers a young girl in trouble during a hike in the desert. It is clear that she is about to be assaulted by human traffickers, which Hawk quickly, and skillfully helps the girl break free from, only to discover there is much more lurking beneath the cartel-backed criminals. As Hawk uncovers the onset of a multi-stage invasion orchestrated by the cartel and Muslim extremists, who plan on invading the U.S. with the purpose of trafficking drugs, and people and subjugating its populace to Sharia law.

At first glance, the plot feels outlandish and over-the-top, but it successfully delivers raw, entertaining action from start to finish. Hawk embodies the epitome of action heroes, a one-man army who is good at a lot of things and applies these skills throughout the book. What I enjoyed about this book is how well the author delves into Hawk’s struggles with PTSD and trauma from his time in Afghanistan. Despite Hawk’s trigger reaction to events and his preference to resolve issues with a gun, his character displays some depth and dimension, alongside his battles with villains and developing love interest.

The Killer Half is a thrilling novel for fans of easy-to-read action, with unrelenting plot twists and exciting characters. While the story provides a steady dose of action, the book also explores themes around religion, politics, the American border, and the war in Afghanistan, which may seem divisive or offensive to some readers. The gist of the story is unapologetic, with a poignant view and a strong voice. I recommend The Killer Half for its action-packed and character-driven story.

Pages: 338 | ASIN: 1639885048

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