Category Archives: Bantam

Book Review: Into the Fire by Manda Scott

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Into The Fire by Manda Scott

Review Date: 21 June 2015

Author: Manda Scott

Release Date: 18 June 2015

Publishers: Bantam Press (Transworld Publishers)

ISBN 10: 0593072472

ISBN – 13: 0593072479

480pp

Available in Hardback, and Kindle.

Authors Website: http://mandascott.co.uk/

As Part of the ‘into the Fire’ blog Tour

The Last Word Review:

‘Historical thriller with a burning desire to keep you guessing to the very end’

Imagine a thriller spanning 600 hundred years. Sounds incredible but that is exactly what Manda Scott has achieved just that with Into the Fire.

This is a unique recipe of two great crime novels rolled into one outstanding read that will keep the reader up all night. You have been warned.

The key characters are the Police Capitaine Ines Picaut from current time and from 1429 Joan of Arc trying to turn the tide in the war with the English.

The story opens in current time (2014) and Orleans is under attack by arsonists and on this occasion Capitaine Picaut is called to a hotel in the centre of the old town that has been hit and this time amid the flames lies the charred remains of a body of a male but his identity is unknown. All she has to go on are Islamic extremists claiming responsibility. Who is the dead man? Did he know his attackers? The post mortem later revealed a memory card lodged in his throat. As the investigations move forward to try and solve this crime, the arsonists strike again this time the CCTV cameras have footage. The chase is now on, but there is more to this story that a modern day crime.

In 1429 Joan of Arc (The Maid of Orléans) was in the process of fighting the English, and Tomas Rustbeard has been sent as an undercover operative to seek out and eventually kill ‘The Maid’ and the myth that surrounds her. This part of the story in woven skilfully by the author in to the modern day crime spree.

I have a bucket full of admiration for Manda Scott and the volume of research that has been undertaken to write this novel that spans 600 years. I will admit at first just holding the book I was not sure if it would stand up, but I was nothing but blown away by the storyline and style of writing.

The characters that appear in the pages of Into the Fire are not only strong and but believable as well as the outstanding storyline. Without doubt it will make it to my shortlist of books of 2015.

This is a book that should be on your reading list for this summer it has bags of Heroism and evil to match and keep the reader glued to every page as it weaves from 2014 back to 1429. A true masterclass in historical fiction writing.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

 

 

Meet the Author:

Manda Scott

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Manda Scott  is a former veterinary surgeon who is now a writer, Born and educated in Glasgow, Scotland, she trained at the University of Glasgow School of Veterinary Medicine and now lives and works in Shropshire. She made her name initially as a crime writer. Her first novel, Hen’s Teeth, hailed by Fay Weldon as ‘a new voice for a new world’ was shortlisted for the 1997 Orange Prize, and No Good Deed was nominated for the 2003 Edgar Award.

Her subsequent novels, Night MaresStronger than Death and No Good Deed, for which she was hailed as ‘one of Britain’s most important crime writers’ by The Times, were published by Headline and are now published, along with her other books, by Transworld Publishers, an imprint of Random House. She writes both historical and contemporary thrillers. “The Boudica series” are her first historical novels.

Her more recent Rome series (written under the name MC Scott), beginning with The Emperor’s Spy, are spy thrillers, set in the same fictional universe with some of the surviving characters from the Boudica series.

Between the two major historical series, she wrote The Crystal Skull, a dual timeline novel with a historical thread set in the Tudor era and a contemporary thriller set in modern-day Cambridge.

Her latest novel is a fast-paced, dual timeline thriller, Into the Fire, which explores the truth behind the myth of Jeanne d’Arc – and the impact those revelations could have on modern day France.

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Competition time. Would you like to win a signed copy of Into the Fire by Manda Scott.  Head over to my Twitter page: @Thelastword1962 Just follow and retweet the post for this review and you will go into the draw to win a signed copy. Entries close at 9pm Friday 26 June and the Winner will be notified on Saturday morning.

 

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Little Black Lies by Sharon Bolton

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Little Black Lies By Sharon Bolton

Review Date: 7 June 2015

Author: Sharon Bolton

Release Date:  2 July 2015

Publishers: Bantam Press (Transworld Publishers)

ISBN 10: 059306920X

ISBN – 13: 978-0593069202

368pp

Available in Hardback, Paperback, and Kindle.

Authors Website: http://www.sjbolton.com/

The Last Word Review:

‘Riveting and chilling South Atlantic thriller’

Thank you to Alison Barrow and Transworld Publishers for the ARC. This is my first Sharon Bolton thriller that I have reviewed and ‘Little Black Lies’ really left its mark on me. This is a dark thriller that has all the ingredients to be a big hit.

The scene is 1994 and the Falkland Islands, the war with Argentina ended some years before but the scars are still visible. Very quickly in to this book you are hit with something disturbing. Catrin’s two Sons are killed in a tragic accident while in the care of her best friend Rachel. This would test any long standing friendship. Now since this happened 3 other boys have gone missing from their tight knit community.

The book is very much told in the first person through the eyes of its three main characters, Catrin, Callum, (former Paratrooper and Falkland’s veteran) and Rachel. This keeps the story moving along and is very character focussed.

Catrin has never forgiven Rachel and there is an air of revenge running through this plot. Rachel feels guilty and blames herself for the accident. In the small Community there is no hiding place and Rachel is more or less left isolated by the events. When the island has visitors from a cruise ship another child goes missing and questions are coming thick and fast, the body of one of the missing children is discovered Callum now believes a killer is now among them tension and mistrust roam the community.

When the missing child is found and then to add to the panic Rachel’s young Son goes missing it is natural to think that Catrin could be behind this latest development.

‘Little Black Lies’ is packed with raw tension and drama set in a dark setting that only the South Atlantic could deliver rugged, the harsh and desolate landscape that is the Falklands. There is also the Wildlife of the islands and some distressing moments. The actual setting has been superbly chosen and the author should be congratulated on this. The book also delivers on many themes that has been woven into the story. The ending is simply outstanding and I had to re-read this a few times, that caught me out. This is an exceptional thriller that I would more than happily recommend to a book club and there are many discussion points to work through.

‘Highly Recommended’

Meet the Author:

Sharon Bolton

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Sharon Bolton (previously S. J. Bolton) is the critically acclaimed author of some of the most bone-chilling crime books ever written. She has been shortlisted for the CWA Gold Dagger for Crime Novel of the Year, the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year and the CWA Dagger in the Library.
Sharon lives near Oxford with her husband and young son. For further information please visit Sharon Bolton’s website.                       

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