Tag Archives: Military

Eight Pointed Cross: A Novel of the Knights of Malta by Marthese Fenech

Reviewed by Rox Burkey

A Deliciously Ambitious History Saga!

Author Marthese Fenech presents the violent history of 16th century Malta with living breathing storytelling vignettes from one end to the other. The details of life for the Maltese people as they succumb to slave traders, bow to Christian Knights, and sometimes serve as common soldiers clearly conveyed the difficulty, harshness, and violence present in that era. The history is more digestible because of the character relationships within these interwoven tales; good and bad.

The myriad of stories within the book as a writing technique is awesome. It helped fill in the murky background and additional depth to the violence of the Ottoman Empire’s Muslim Turks. Many parts of this historical saga filled my eyes with tears, with the suffering of the Gozotain families particularly horrific. Wars and conquest are filled with terror and fear, but the heroes and heroines are often found in Eight Pointed Cross.

The siblings Domenicus and Katrina Montesa are so real and relatable as a family unit who grow up over the course of the book. I loved Katrina with her determination and independent thoughts, not common among females of the period. Yet her character is very relatable and sadly naive.  Frankly, all the characters are well developed regardless of their role from the Montesa siblings to their father; Angelic overcoming her initial suffering, and Demir who knows right from wrong in his heart and mind. Ms. Fenech laces her extensive research into a compelling history brought to life because of her amazing characters and their interactions. The story has twists and turns that are more enjoyable with the concise bite-sized chapters.

I was concerned initially with the length of this novel, but I was immediately captivated by the clear expression-filled voice of Simon Hester, as he embraced the superb prose. Simon’s voice adds a realistic richness to a historical fiction masterpiece. The overwhelming sincerity to his narration made me think he watched the scenes as they were occurring and related it just for me. Simon Hester is the ideal narrator for Eight Pointed Cross This audible book had no production issues and the quality was consistent from beginning to end.

I enjoyed listening to the comprehensive descriptions, richness of history, extensive character development, and personalization of this historical saga. I highly recommend it for those who enjoy listening to a story with unfiltered realism. Not for the squeamish, but then war and conquest never is.

5 Star Rating!

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Disclaimer: The audiobook was provided free of charge by the author, narrator, and/or publisher in exchange for a non-bias review.

SAS: Body Count: The Wicked Will Perish (Book 1) by Anthony Vincent Bruno

Jim Brannigan, a former military policeman and whose wife is found brutally murdered by the hands of a Jamaican drug dealer, is facing a mystery that even he may not be able to solve without more loss and heartache.  Stymied by a corrupt system, Brannigan muddles through.

Enter an elite group of vigilantes – formerly SAS Special Forces soldiers.  Disillusioned and finding the judicial and law enforcement system corrupt, they take exception.  They seek justice for the innocent, the paedophiles, drug dealers, and corrupt members of the system who find themselves at the short end of the stick.

A life and death struggle to right the wrongs; albeit unconventional and illegal, means the book will capture its listener’s imagination. Strong characters that could be developed a bit more, a plot that is not only well developed but takes exciting turns and twists until the end.

Definitely violent and not for the faint of heart; the descriptions of the children’s deaths can be a trigger for some.  Vastly dark, this book will give you nightmares, wondering how close to the truth it is.  The author, Anthony Vincent Bruno knows how to bring you to the edge and then leave you in a precarious situation.    In fact, I found him far scarier than any Stephen King book when it comes to real-life situations involving children. This is not a book that one can walk away from and forget;  it is a book that lingers in the back of your mind . . . haunting you.

Colm Farrell, the narrator did a solid job of performing this book.  He kept true to the British language and accent.  He captured the essence of each character and projected it clearly. His performance underscored the darkness of the book vividly.

There were no issues with the production or quality of the audiobook.

Star Rating:  5 Stars

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Disclaimer: The audiobook was provided free of charge by the author, narrator, and/or publisher in exchange for a non-bias review.

Sons of War by Nicholas Sansbury-Smith

Nicholas Sansbury-Smith is an excellent writer who knows how to weave an engaging yet terrifying story that the reader cannot help but connect it to what is happening today.  In a time where a pandemic situation could very easily bring about the economic downfall of the world, Sansbury-Smith could not have picked a better time to debut his newest novel, Sons of War.

Mixing mafia, politics, military, and paramilitary all into one novel was a bold move. One that I feel, as a reader, was brilliant.  It is exciting when an author moves from one genre to another and does it as well as Sansbury-Smith has done.

This story follows a small community within Los Angeles through a cataclysmic economic and political breakdown affecting the U.S.  A father and son bent on protecting not only their wife and daughter/mother and sister but their friends, the innocent, and their country.  The mafia intent upon building an empire based on drugs, sex/human trafficking as well as death and destruction; the paramilitary bent on removing the power of the US government into their own hands all while riots and starvation occur.

Vividly detailed, the plot and character development are flawless as are the plot twists! The dialog is realistic and well done. Sansbury-Smith has a knack for storytelling and does so in a riveting style.  Complete with action, adventure and edge of your seat moments, Sons of War promises to be all that listeners desire and you should know upfront that you will NOT be able to put it down until the end!  When you do reach the end, you are going to want more!

Ray Porter, the narrator, gives an excellent performance.  He masters the characters in a manner that leaves the listener thoroughly engaged and moves the story along at the appropriate pace.  I cannot think of anyone better for this performance.  With both Porter and Sansbury-Smith, this is another successful series.

If you have ever listened to a book by Nicholas Sansbury-Smith you already know he is a vivid and impressive storyteller, this book just drives that point home.

There were no issues with the quality or production of this audiobook.

Star Review:  * * * * *  (5-star)

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One if By Land, Two if By Submarine by Eileen Schnabel

History is about to change.  Paul Revere is missing, presumed kidnapped and Samuel Adams and John Hancock are in a precarious situation as well.  Kep, TJ, Max, and Tela are charged with traveling back and taking the infamous ride to warn the colonists of the British invasion as well as rescuing a trunk of documents for John Hancock that could put a deadlier spin on the outcome of the war.  Several twists keep this listen exciting and riveting!  Kep, TJ, Max and Tela are all kids and in 24 hours or less they must right the wrongs.

Action-packed, Eileen Schnabel captures our imagination and runs with it.  Well written, the plot is executed beautifully with finesse and charm.  One cannot help but fall in love with the kids and smile with the fresh take on Hancock and Adams.  It is a fresh way to look at time travel and the intrigue was fascinating.  The characters were very well developed, each character was realistic and her attention to detail made the story unforgettable.  Well written with realistic dialog and interactions, it is an easy listen.

Narrated by Kevin Clay, the story is wonderfully performed.  Clay moved the story along with his skilled voices and added just the right mix of emotions.  Clay brought the characters to life, including the nasty Fox and Rat Face!

The production quality of this book was well done and clear.

Regardless of your age, this is a book that will drag you in.

Star Rating:  * * * * *

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The Long Lost War by Jeff Walker

The Long Lost War by Jeff Walker is one of those unique stories that would only improve with length.  Attention to detail, Walker tells the story of John 999801.  John is a clone but a clone with questions and dreams.  Relegated to the front line of the war, John discovers answers to his questions … questions better left alone.  An action-packed adventure with unique and developed characters that bring the story to life.

This is one of those rare stories that would only benefit from being longer, as a novella it is too short.  While it works ok, the story could have gone in many different places.  And yes, Walker is a bit into the “big” words but that comes with the territory, I think.

Jack de Golia performs the audiobook very well.  Like most male narrators his female voices sound less feminine but overall his performance was very good.  De Golia is well versed in moving a story along with tone and appropriate emotions.

There were no issues with the quality of this audiobook or production.

Star Rating: ****

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Timberwolf by Tom Julian

Timberwolf is an action-packed, edge of your seat audiobook. Timberwolf is an ex-top black ops agent who has faced many adversaries but nothing like the alien spider who “left a bit of himself behind” in Timberwolf’s mind. He volunteers for every dangerous and potentially suicidal mission available. So not only does he have to protect the universe from impending war, from a religious madman but he has to figure out how to rid himself of the spider.

Picture Tom Cruise or Matt Damon on superhuman steroids! Tom Julian, the author, captivates his audience through detailed and complex plot twists, fully developed character development and attention to detail. This is a military styled sci-fi action-adventure that one cannot put it down. Julian allows us to see just how damaged Timberwolf is but also how human he remains. One cannot help but become engaged in this book!

C.J. McAllister, the narrator, performs the audiobook superbly. He captures and projects the characters realistically. His narration is smooth and flawless. His deep resonating voice for Timberwolf is just how one pictures it would sound.
There were no issues with the audio quality or production of this book. I thoroughly enjoyed the storyline and narration!

Star Rating:  * * * *

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Deep Shadow by Nick Sullivan

Boone Fischer is a divemaster on the Bonaire island.  Living the life, he teaches scuba diving and enjoys Divers Paradise.  Until one day out on a typical dive, he captures a photo of a camouflage sub.  Of course, it is believed to belong to the drug Cartel but what is inside is way more explosive than drugs!  Boone’s world just got tangled up, tossed upside down, and completely out of whack in a terrifying tale that is extremely realistic.  Action-packed, the edge of your seat thriller!

The author and narrator, Nick Sullivan is very thorough and provides graphic details in an accurate and engaging style.  Sullivan is a powerful wordsmith that allows the listener to actually visualize the islands and beauty he is describing.  His plot is well executed with no holes, his character development is complete.  Sullivan’s powerful writing makes the story flow.

As the narrator, Sullivan has “personal” insight (as the author) and projects each character and storyline in such a way that makes the listening even more captivating.  He moves the story along with the use of his voice eliciting excitement and wonder.  His voice is strong and resonates.  As a narrator turned writer, Sullivan knows just how to work a nuance thus capturing his audience’s attention!

I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  I am not one for terrorism stories but this one was very well done! This is just the first in what I hope is a long series!

There were no issues with the quality or production of this audiobook.

Star Rating:  * * * * 1/2

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Hell Divers (The Hell Divers Series Book 1) by Nicholas Sansbury Smith

The earth as we know and loved it has been nearly destroyed by humans.  Floating above the clouds and well above the radiation levels, two airships – Ares and The Hive contain the only living humans.  All others are gone, fallen to the earth in crashes leaving no survivors.  All too often, the airships need supplies that only the war-ravaged and nearly destroyed earth can provide – parts to maintain the ships.

The ships are self-sufficient, crowded and depending on who you are – life can be pleasant or hellish.  Not only does The Hive have to attempt a rescue mission over Hades (a particularly deadly area of the world) but their ship is falling into ruin.  Hell divers are the men and women who dive from the airships and fall to the earth to scavenge what the ship needs to stay afloat.  X is one of the best but he carries so much baggage that one wonders if he still has it in him.

Action-packed, X and his crew must find the necessary parts to keep their ship afloat while the captain faces her own difficulties.  Residents are recruited younger and younger to be engineers, hell divers and more – there is no childhood anymore!  Diving to the planet from the airship is dangerous given the electrical storms and other conditions that mother nature throws their way.  While on the planet, X not only loses his best friend and becomes a surrogate father but he comes face to face with deadly vicious monsters that have mutated into unspeakable horrors that enjoy human flesh.  The Hive must fly, X must return with the needed supplies and the human race must survive – but is it too late?

Nicholas Sansbury Smith brings the injustices of society, mistakes, and fallacies of humans to the forefront and mixes in unimaginable monsters with razor-sharp nails and teeth.

I thoroughly enjoyed Smith’s Extinction series so I was looking forward to this series with anticipation and excitement.  Smith did not fail to deliver – Hell Divers is an exciting action-packed book that is well written and developed fully.  Rich in detail, the characters are fully developed along with the plot.  Everything moves together – in a fluid-like manner leaving no questions or holes.

Smith is a rare and unique story-teller; one that can grow a story into a very skillful piece of writing capturing the audience’s attention and interest.

R.C. Bray, the narrator, performs this oral narration perfectly.  He captures the roughness and personality of each person; he plays his voice as if it were a musical instrument – concise and with the correct tone inflections and emotion.  He embraces the book and allows the book and its characters to shine.

If you enjoy action and well-written stories of the apocalypse, then don’t miss out on this one.  It is riveting!

There were no issues with the audio production or quality.

 

Star Rating:  * * * * *

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Escaping the Dead (Whiskey Tango Foxtrot Book 1) by W.J. Lundy

Set in Afghanistan, this Escaping the Dead (Whiskey Foxtrot Tango) focuses on an active military unit out on patrol only to find complete radio silence, local blood-crazed maniacs, and their home base completely overrun by these ‘primal’ crazies. Staff Sergeant Brad Thompson struggles to remain alive, keep his unit intact and find out what is going on. Feelings of abandonment and never-ending horror haunt these men in the Afghan wasteland.

An extremely short story, well written and action-packed. The plot was well constructed and the character development was excellent. The plight Brad Thompson was almost tangible through vividly detailed descriptions. Listeners could get caught up in Thompsons being cut off from everyone, being chased by primals and not knowing the fate of his friends and family.

This is a unique zombie book as it takes a very small group of survivors and drops them in the middle of a wasteland, completely removed from everyone and everything except the enemy. They are not given insight into what is happening or how it happened, where to go, what to do.

Lundy was considerate of his audience by not losing them in the descriptions of the military equipment. His writing style is laid back, informative and engrossing.

Eric Vincent did an excellent job of narrating and drawing the listener in with his talent.  His narration was smooth.

The audio production of the book was well done.

I recommend this volume 1 to anyone who enjoys zombie/military genre.

Star Rating:  * * * *

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Extinction Ashes (Extinction Cycle: Dark Age Book 3) by Nicholas Sansbury Smith and Anthony Melchiorri

The latest book in the Extinction Series continues to deliver a powerful and action-packed ten hours of suspense.  It is truly up to Timothy, Fitz, Team Ghost, Kate, Beckham, and Horn to defeat the “new gods” and crack the purpose of the variant webbing.    There is not a moment in which anyone is at peace, it is a consuming war in which trust is valuable and not easily given but life can be snuffed out in an instant.  So many different pieces to the story are moving at once but the authors, Nicholas Sansbury Smith and Anthony J. Melchiorri keep everything flowing and consistent.

I would have to echo what many others have said about this series; the characters are so well developed that they are like one of the family.  As a listener one cannot help but groan out loud when Timothy, Fitz, Beckham or Horn are caught between a rock and a hard place.  Smith and Melchiorri have a talent for connecting the listeners to the characters in the book – there are some you can’t help but love and others … you hope Karma comes around in the form of a variant or bullet and takes care of the right ones!

This was an intense book, it took me several days to get through it only because I was so involved in the book.   I would find myself experiencing a wide range of emotions – relief, anger, fear, OMG moments and then the strong feelings of patriotism, dedication, and duty.  Those real feelings that not many of us experience throughout lives now except vicariously through books and movies but they are accurate feelings that I have seen throughout my family members who have served in Korea, Vietnam, WWII and more.  Smith and Melchiorri are very perceptive and talented storytellers to be able to invoke those feelings with words along.  Their words reveal the passion and dedication very strongly.

RC Bray, as a narrator, is the best!  His ability to speak in different tones and inflections helps move the book along as well as cement that connection to the characters for the listener.  His distinctive voices are strong and well-executed.  I cannot imagine listening to the Extinction Series without him present – he has become the voice of the characters!

There were no issues with the production quality of this book.

Star Rating:    * * * * *

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