Minotaur’s Lair, and the entire Servant of the God’s series, are intriguing fantasy novels. Why was it important for you to write this book series?
Great question. Firstly, I love ancient history and mythology, and studied ancient history for years and still consider myself a student. There is a lot to still learn about ancient cultures, and I consider these ancient civilisations much more clever and far more innovative than we are today. This is one of the reasons why I wrote Servant of the Gods, to hopefully inspire my audience to read the original myths and legends and the various ancient civilisations from which they came from. I don’t advocate going back in time, like Evan was forced to, and in particular the terrible way women and slaves were treated. I like to create stories where readers can immerse themselves and vicariously experience the highs and lows felt by the characters, and in the process make ancient history a vibrant and interesting subject to learn through storytelling.
As this book wraps up the series, were you able to achieve everything you wanted with the characters in the novel?
Yes and no. The series changed a lot from its initial conception and even when I was writing Minotaur’s Lair, there were elements in the story that deviated from what I had planned. The characters deemed the flow of the narrative and I had no choice but to let them dictate. Afterall, it is their story. What I wanted to discuss through the story was what if we had an alternative religion, so very different to one’s today and not one mandated by a patriarchal system. And would it change the way we view life, work and gender inequality in all its forms?
What was your favorite character to write for and why? Was there a scene you felt captured the character’s essence?
Hmmm… I had a few favourites, but if I had to choose, it would be Dexion, the young Sicilian boy and seer. Despite his street smarts and behaved somewhat more maturely than that of a twelve-year prepubescent teenager, Dexion was still a young boy who wanted the love of a parent.
There was the scene where Dexion tries to reach out to Evan and gives clues to help him remember why Zeus sent him from the Twenty-first Century to the Seventh century B.C.E. It shows his maturity but also that he’s alone and yearns for the fatherly connection he and Evan had created in Books 1 and 2.
The Servant of the God’s series took readers on an exciting quest to stop the Dark Master. What will your next novel be about, and what will the whole series encompass?
I am currently working on a thriller/suspense/timeslip series titled Coin of Time and it’s about two coins infused with magical powers first owned by Herakles, and passed down from generation to generation of a family who once were the bodyguards of Helen of Sparta and her family. One coin disappears during crusades and Nik’s predecessors, the Zosimos’ were the guardians of the coins, try to find the missing one.
The story is set in the present, Nik and his grandfather go looking for the sister coin in France, where a neo-Nazi group led by Konrad Resnik, are also seeking the coin. Book 1, The Guardian’s Legacy is published and has received multiple nominations for awards, and Book 2 is drafted and almost ready for beta readers to evaluate. If anyone is interested in being a beta reader, email me! email@example.com
I am also working on a historical fiction based on the life of Hypatia, the astrophysicist and mathematician who lived in ancient Alexandria and was killed by religious fanatics.
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The Fifth Horseman by Jon Smith is the supernatural story of Emma, a woman who is fed up with how her life is going. She decides to end her troubles by jumping off a building. Sadly, her flatmate Mark shows up attempting to get her to rethink things, as well as delivering an unwanted declaration of love. Instead of hitting the sidewalk, the pair are suddenly whisked away by a skeletal being on a pale horse, Death.
Something has caused their life’s hourglasses to freeze in their final moments. Not knowing what to do with this duo caught between life and death, Death takes them home to Limbo, where they eventually become his apprentices. These unlikely reapers soon learn not all is well in the order of death, and if the issues progress, it could end the world. Can Death’s problems be the salvation of their existence?
Jon Smith has crafted a beautiful world that is easy to imagine yourself transported into. It gives a unique twist on the afterlife. I liked the blending of ideas like the Christian horsemen and Greek ferryman. I love that Death has a cottage by the River Styx where the dead trends of yesteryears are his décor and food options. This is a similar case we find with the other horsemen, whose homes also collect items of their area of expertise from the bygone era. This humorous fantasy novel has entertaining humor throughout. Readers experience things like a curmudgeon Death, who’s getting too “old” for the job, and a gold-obsessed ferryman, Charon, who bemoans the lack of gold coin on modern souls. We even have Pestilence, who’s so into his job of creating illness he tests his new diseases on himself sometimes. The book, while funny at times, also had great thought-provoking moments that make you contemplate life.
If I have one recommendation for this novel, it is to add some translations of some French phrases. Some you can guess, but some are not entirely clear about what is being said. I think a footnote for these would be helpful for readers less familiar with the phrases.
The Fifth Horseman by Jon Smith is a comical fiction novel that readers who love a good spin on death will enjoy. This book created an exciting story of the afterlife and what happens when its delicate balance is upset. It had great depictions of the horseman, the ferryman, and just two average joes who are caught in the middle of the game of life and death.
Pages: 320 | ISBN: 9781838452940
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Minotaur’s Lair – Servant of the Gods – Book Three by Luciana Cavallaro is the final installment in the trilogy, which follows Evan, who must face Queen Antioche and stop the Dark Master from becoming a deity. If the Dark Master successfully gains this power, Evan and his alliances face an uncertain future. There are many unexpected twists throughout his journey and fate, making this book an incredible read.
The story maintains a consistent pace that conjures excitement from the start. Cavallaro creates an action-packed tale with elements of ancient mythology and mystical places, contrasting with time travel and modern technology. Evan must quickly adapt and learn how his quest shifts from one challenge to the next, whether Queen Antioch attempts to entice him with tempting gifts and promises or he becomes face-to-face with a new enemy. He must also follow his father’s legacy by locating a sacred artifact while defeating his captors.
Cavallaro’s fantastic writing style is sharp and descriptive without slowing the story’s pace. The author thoroughly researches the architecture, landscapes, and scenarios in mythology. It’s a fantastic adventure full of exciting developments and lively characters. As the story delves into the thrilling mythology of an ancient world, Evan becomes eager to find a way home to his time in the future.
I found this book, and the trilogy, an excellent story that’s engaging and enjoyable from start to finish. The author does a fantastic job of creating an intricate world with layers of fascinating developments and characters that keep the reader moving from one chapter to the next. Minotaur’s Lair – Servant of the Gods – Book Three by Luciana Cavallaro is an excellent read for science fiction and fantasy fans. I recommend the trilogy and look forward to more books from this author.
Pages: 396 | ASIN : B0BFGW1Z6S
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Courtney and her friends have finally re-entered the world of Elysia, only to discover the world that needs their help. Sinister characters are trying to harness the magic to steal the Crystal of Light from the dreamland, and they must be stopped. So Courtney and her friends must travel to another dreamland known as the magic world to stop them. Through their mission to stop the bad guys from taking the crystal, they face unique challenges to protect themselves in the dream world and reality. Will they make it through and save the dream worlds; find out in Elysia: The Magical World by Malcolm Chester!
Elysia: The Magical World is a story full of exciting plot concepts, including the traditional coming-of-age tale. Regarding plot and pacing, Elysia was a great and entertaining read. I was reading an Alice in Wonderland retelling. With the dream elements, special honey, and creative dream characters, Elysia carries the same magic as Lewis Carroll’s classic children’s book. It even further resembles the Disney live-action remakes with the amount of adventure that takes place.
I felt that Courtney’s interactions with Reginald felt forced. When they first meet in Elysia again and kiss, it becomes awkward and uncomfortable for the reader. I felt like I was reading middle school fanfiction. With lines such as “Reginald’s lips tasted like the most delicious food Courtney ever ate.” and “The heat between them grew stronger.” You can attribute some of these matters to the age of our characters, but there may have been a better way to write these scenes and the dialogue within them. But overall, it gave the novel a sweet and quaint ending that many will appreciate.
Elysia: The Magical World is an entertaining children’s fantasy novel that takes readers into a magical dream world. This adventure story is a fun and fast-paced read that was easy to digest in one sitting. I look forward to seeing what Chester publishes in the future!
Pages: 166 | ASIN : B07N7RN2VW
Tags: author, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, childrens books, childrens fantasy, ebook, Elysia, fantasy, fiction, folk tales, goodreads, indie author, kindle, kobo, literature, Malcolm Chester, middle grade, mythology, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, story, writer, writing
Elysia: The World In Children’s Dreams is a children’s book written by Malcolm Chester. It features 11-year-old Courtney, who has a troubled home life. In addition, she is a young girl just starting puberty and experiencing all the emotions that go along with this stage of life. Elysia is an escape for Courtney. It is a dream-like fantasy world that allows her to forget her problems at home. However, problems soon plague Elysia as the crystal that supplies the world’s magic is stolen by an evil king in this world. Courtney’s primary goal is to find and return the crystal and restore the magic and balance to Elysia.
Chester does a great job at creating a relatable character in Courtney. She is a caring girl while also dealing with issues children might be dealing with. For example, her father was sent to prison. Unfortunately, these issues are rarely brought up in books made for children. Hence, it is essential to shine a light on these types of relationships. Children need to have an outlet and understand that although their situation might not be typical, they are not the only ones going through it.
Chester creates a world that is so imaginative and charming readers will want to exsperance the magic of Elysia themselves. This lets the reader understand why Courtney doesn’t want to leave. The world of Elysia is symbolic and an excellent allegory for growing up. By saving Elysia, Courtney learns it’s important to be proactive when trying to fix a problem bigger than herself. She learns that she is brave and strong enough to resolve any issue in front of her. This is a lesson she can take to her real life and issues that will arise from puberty and growing up.
Elysia: The World in Children’s Dreams is a children’s and middle-grade fantasy novel. This story can be read by anyone looking to find inspiration. It’s a great story that teaches change doesn’t have to be scary, a lesson many of us could use today.
Pages: 320 | ASIN : B0792XS13D
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The Masque of Count Milado follows a man from Earth who sets off on a quest to retrieve the missing masque before it goes missing forever. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?
I wanted to reprise characters introduced in “The House on Chambers Court”, though the challenge I set for myself was to write a traditional murder mystery. This book was an attempt to do that, and of course it’s a lot harder than it seems, the challenges of exposing the clues to both the characters and the reader in such a way as to move the story and keep everyone guessing.
Did you create an outline for the characters in the story before you started writing or did the characters personalities grow organically as you were writing?
Many of the characters in my book are based on people I know personally or in the public eye. Villains are easy to spot in the political and corporate spectrum. At least that is the root of their creation. It gives me a ‘face’ to work from, though once the book is under way, they really take on their own personalities.
What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?
Each book I write represents a particular challenge for me, in this case writing a murder mystery. I don’t want my books to be carbon copies of each other, though some themes run through each. A subtle part of the book is taking on animal perspectives and how they may be different from our own. Add to that, Xavier Gaines is faced with an additional perspective, the differences between men and women. Empathy is an important element of the magic involved.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
“The Wizard of Grimmer’s Wharf” has just been released (another mystery) and I’m well into the next book, “The Rift of Brande”. I’ve a great deal of experience sailing and so I wanted to write a ‘sea story’ involving adventure and lost treasure. I’ve reprised characters introduced in “Grimmer’s Wharf” and “The Henna Witch”. It looks to be a bigger book, perhaps rivaling “The Deck of the Numinon” in size. Of course magic is involved, which is also a great way to introduce some metaphysics into the story. Speaking of “the Deck of the Numinon”, which is wonderfully illustrated, I’m working with the artist to create an entire deck, providing the guide book to supplement her work. Fundamental excerpts were included as an addendum in “the Deck of the Numinon”. With a little perseverance on my part, both will be ready by the end of ’23.
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The Masque of Count Milado by GJ Scherzinger is a fantasy mystery centered around a powerful masque thought to be long lost. Xavier Gaines, a man from Earth who found his way to the magical world of Terranovae, has been asked by a friend to use his magical and physical abilities to retrieve this mask from Count Milado, who has acquired it. So Xavier sets off to infiltrate the count’s court with his wife and daughter in tow. Shortly after arriving, the count is found mysteriously dead, and the race is on to locate the missing masque before it’s lost forever.
This was a fantastic story. This world had excellent story building. There was some nicely done backstory that really brought the characters to life and made them richer. The magic was beautifully described. I love how each transformed state was kind of its own being and not the magic user in just a different form. They each had their own personality and were treated as such, complete with different pronouns. There was a beautiful mystery that I wanted to solve. There were twists I wasn’t expecting that kept me guessing how the story would play out. I got excited when things were revealed to me, making the story more engrossing. This kept me reading on, captivated.
The beginning has a slow burn as things get set up but really picked up as the plot progresses. I felt that it was redundant that every time Xavier became a tiger, the beast was described to us. Seeing as how it was the same tiger each time, I feel the initial description was enough to give us a clear picture of what it would look like from then on.
The Masque of Count Milado is a fascinating new fantasy novel with mythology and folklore elements. A world filled with magic, mystery, and mischief to keep readers engaged. I definitely want to read more of this world.
Pages: 267 | ASIN : B0B1P9YDW3
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Set in the fierce world of Vikings, The Silver Helmet by George Lyttle is a story that touches on subjects such as family bonds, morality of leadership and betrayal. Banished from the lands ruled by Viking Earl, two feuding families, the Godrons and the Caltons, are sent to exile in the lands on either side of the Redron Sea. The Godrons manage to sustain a peaceful lifestyle within their community, but live in constant fear of another attack from the vicious and war-prone Caltons. On one of these frequent attacks on their civilization, the Godrons find and take home an infant that is raised as one of their own, which will alter the destiny of both clans forever.
Author George Lyttle transports the reader into the gritty world of Vikings with two feuding civilizations, one being ruled in peace and the other in war. This feels metaphorical and allows for the reader to decide which mentality and set of values they resonated with best.
The main characters, Savon and Bradnor, have continuous tension throughout the story which kept me engaged. Savon, the child originally born of the Calton clan, was never accepted by Bradnor as one of his own, and that tense conflict gave the story a healthy level of intrigue and momentum throughout the book.
I enjoyed the arc of the storyline, when Savon comes into his own and decides which of the two civilizations he wants to be a part of, along with realizing his destiny in the form of the illusive and sought after Silver Helmet. The push and pull for the Helmet was the main reason why I was so interested in the story, and the reason why I kept wanting to pick this book up.
While I enjoyed this grounded sword and sandal epic I would have liked to have had more dialogue between the characters rather than using narration to show the relational complexities and character evolution. I would have liked the text to have expanded upon conversations and the emotions within the characters because I found them to be very compelling.
The Silver Helmet is a rousing fantasy story that I had a lot of fun reading. Readers who enjoy a sophisticated story that weaves in and out of Viking myth and legend will enjoy this exciting novel.
Pages: 145 | ASIN:
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