Viking Fire by Justin Hill


Viking Fire by Justin Hill

Being a very big fan of historical fiction, I was delighted when I received a copy of Viking Fire by Justin Hill. This is a sweeping story of the last Viking Harald Hardrada and I was so impressed by Justin Hill’s writing telling the story of Hardrada from his youth in 1035 when wounded in battle to the adventures Russia to the Holy City of Jerusalem.


Harald Hardrada had ambitions and that drove him from the land of his birth through the continent and being a Christian when he reached Jerusalem he spent time discovering the religious sites. He meets Kings and Queens and but also loses friends. There are battles won and lost both on and off the battlefield. This is a story told very much by Haldrada himself and with recollections. Hill has used this to great effect and makes this epic tale really flow.

The incredible research into the life of the last Viking by Justin Hill makes this book all the more impressive. Most people who love history and the story of the Vikings and of Harald Hardrada should read this as even I thought I knew a fair bit but when you read this and his recollections of his youth and his subsequent exile made me rethink my own knowledge. This is just so superbly written and told.

It was though Hardrada’s wish to return home rich and with an army and vengeance was the word being spoken of. To correct a wrong that was done many years before. You may imagine being a Viking there would be plenty of violence through his life but Hill is saying here is that Hardrada was more than just a warrior but something more, he was intelligent and bright with it. But the one thing he has a lot of is desire and determination and the will to survive and grow, both in stature and wealth.

The people and places he encounters all help to leave an impression on Harald and not giving too much away here this is a stunning telling of his life and his adventures and the bloody battles. A truly wonderful story and brilliantly told. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

379 Pages.

Thank you to for Amelia Reid the advanced review copy of Viking Fire.

Viking Fire by Justin Hill is published by Abacus and was published on 7th September 2017 and is available through Waterstones, Amazon and all good bookshops.


Landfalls by Naomi J. Williams



Landfalls by Naomi J. Williams

Review Date: 20 September 2015

Author: Naomi J. Williams

Release Date: 22 October 2015

Publishers: Little, Brown Book Group

ISBN –10: 1408705761

ISBN – 13: 1408705766


Available in Hardback, Kindle and audio


The Last Word Review

Naomi with her stunning debut book Landfalls achieves literary genius status. A nautical story to be treasured

Landfalls is a joy to behold a treasure of a debut novel that has been painstakingly researched a joy to read.

The story is set around two ships Astrolabe and Boussole that set sail from France in 1785 on an expedition to seek out new lands in a World that was still to be fully discovered seek out new lands, and confirm passages and routes that had previously been mapped out but also seek out new scientific discoveries in animal and plant discoveries that would put France ahead in the race to discover new lands and the spoils that would come.

The story that Williams tells is a fictional based story that is based on the true adventures of both ships and their crew and at the same time managed to tell the story and brings to life the adventures of those involved. With Captains Jean-Francois de Galaup de Lapérouse and Paul-Antoine-Marie Fleuriot, Viscount de Langlein charge of the expedition both ships have managed to secure the very latest navigational equipment that was at the time state of the art on board you had the servants, botanists, geologists and physicists this was to be a ‘no expense spared expedition’ the epic voyage was to end in tragedy.

I must congratulate William’s on the way she has told the story of the voyage, mostly narrated but also you get personal insight from various members of the crew told through letters and personal accounts of the experiences on board ship and exploring new civilisations.

As the ships and crew made stops in places such as Chile, Alaska, where they were seen as ‘Snow Men in winged war canoes’, California, Monterey, Macau and far eastern Russia. I found William’s narrative of how the European explorers interpreted the natives of each of the lands the drama of the voyage I found unrelenting not just with discoveries but with the personalities involved and the infighting that went on.

There is so much detail in Landfalls that you feel you can almost taste the salty sea and feel the wind in your face as you become part of the expedition.


Landfalls US cover

While in Russia the translator Barthélemy de Lesseps leaves the ship to head to Paris with reports of the expedition via the frozen lands of Siberia.

This is an incredible story told with such humanity that brings together both the voyage of both ships but also the people involved as well the natives that the where encountered during the 4 years at sea.

Imagine the sights and sounds as well as the new discoveries in the animal world and scientific discoveries that where encountered. This was an age of discovery but at the same time expeditions such as these come with tales of tragedy and sadly this story is no different. Heart-break is something that goes hand in hand on journey that are undertaken and you read of friends losing friends. There is humour in the story and William’s manages to encapsulate the characters so well and their individual personalities. If you love tales of adventure and exploration then this Landfalls is a book that I am more than happy to recommend. A book that will be treasured and read and re-read over time and time again. I will for sure.

Thank you to Little, Brown and Poppy Stimpson for the advanced review copy.

Silenced by Anne Randall


Cover - correct version

Silenced by Anne Randall

Review Date: 9 September 2015

Author: Ann Randall

Release Date: 3 September 2015

Publishers: Constable

ISBN –10: 1472112334

ISBN – 13: 1472112330


Available in Hardback and Kindle


The Last Word Review

Gritty, tense crime thriller that will keep you guessing until the very end

Silenced by Anne Randall is the second in the series of the Wheeler and Ross crime novels, the first book Riven was penned under the name of A.J. McCreanor and had rave reviews this will received by her fans in the same light.

There is an escaped prisoner on the loose, this is no ordinary prisoner, a notorious killer is at large he was sent down for burying his victim alive. Now Wheeler and Ross are on the case. The killer is at large and on the run in the city of Glasgow.

Let me set the scene, its cold, wet, there is snow and thunder crashing overhead, this is a part of Glasgow that is described so well by Anne Randall. Will Wheeler and Ross find their escaped killer before it is too late?

The daughter of the victim has stayed quiet since her Mums murder, now she has gone missing, also someone is targeting homeless people and a body of a homeless person is found in an alleyway.

Time is running out and Wheeler and Ross need to find the killer before he strikes again. More bodies of homeless people are found, is there a motive here? Is there another killer on the loose, and where is Fiona Henderson?

This is a no holds barred tense thriller that shows a city with double standards for those in need. There is a fair amount of gritty language that gives Silenced that rawness that can only be found in this type of crime thriller it sets the tone and the scene.

This is a novel that will have the pulses racing and will keep you up late at night wanting to know what happened next.

Lovers of great crime novels should make their way to their nearest book shop and grab a copy and be prepared for some late nights.


Meet the Author

Ann Randall


Anne Randall was born in Glasgow and after university taught English in various secondary schools in inner Glasgow. In 2011 she won first prize for crime fiction writing at the Wells Literature Festival. Anne now lives in Glastonbury with her husband, two cats and one dog. Silenced is her second novel. Riven was penned under the name A.J. McCreanor.

Silenced blog tour banner

How would you like to win a copy of Silenced by Anne Randall. Head over to my Twitter page @Thelastword1962 and all you have to do is Re-Tweet and follow the ‘pinned’ message by Midnight tonight and I will pick a lucky winner early Thursday morning and the winner will be notified. * Please note UK and Eire only and the book will be sent direct from the publishers.