Saturday, March 31, 2018

My Review of "Lucia’s Renaissance" by C. L. R. Peterson



Inquisition, Pestilence during the Italian Renaissance
 


For most of us, the word Inquisition conjures up Medieval Spain and Portugal. However, during the waning decades of the Italian Renaissance and after the pope had returned to Rome, Catholic zeal to combat the Reformation of Martin Luther struck terror for enlightened Italians. Many of them died under the torture from the Grand Inquisitor and his zealot henchmen.

The author begins the story of young Lucia Locatelli and her family in 1571 in Verona. An extremely bright child, Lucia discovers Martin Luther’s hidden doctrines in her father’s study. Fired up by her thirst for learning and unfettered young idealism, her fervor sends her family on a terror-stricken path. Her physician father is branded a heretic and imprisoned. To atone, he is sent to the pestilence-ridden Venice. Eventually, Lucia follows him there in hopes of a new beginning.

Lucia’s Renaissance is told in first-person from the few main protagonists. A relatively easy read, the novel’s subject is nevertheless terrifying, and I kept reading in hopes of a better outcome for the Locatellis. Wisely, the author did not romanticize those terrible times when a careless word could spell death.

This is a debut novel for C. L. R. Peterson.

With the annotation about her extensive research, hopefully she will continue writing and pen a more intricate tapestry of those times. I did find the extremely large dropped caps irritating on my Kindle. I was surprised that the one German sentence was mangled. A quick Google search would have given her the perfect “Wer sind Sie?”
Other than that, the book was perfectly edited.



https://www.amazon.com/C.L.R.-Peterson


Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Interview With a Pirate



Enjoy an Interview with Vergil,
a Supporting Character from the 5-Volume
“Legends of the Winged Scarab” Historical Fiction Series
by Inge H. Borg
 Interviewer: Hello, I believe you appear in several of Inge H. Borg’s Legends of the Winged Scarab novels? Would you like to introduce yourself?

Vergil: I am Vergil, with an e. That’s how my Puerto Rican mother spelled it.
I am a relative late-comer to Borg’s Legends, appearing in Books 4 and 5, The Crystal Curse and The Nile Conspiracy.
 


Interviewer: What role do you play in the novels?

Vergil: I turn into a rather important character due to my special skills acquired while plying the Southern Atlantic in search of ships. It’s how I wound up in that stinking Venezuelan prison on Margarita Island. Twenty-five years, I got for what the crappy Caracas court called ‘Piracy on the high seas.’ (I am sure, Interviewer, you are familiar with the term as you seem to have a soft spot for those engaged in the trade.)

Interviewer: No spoilers. But are you a ‘goody’ or a ‘baddie’? Or maybe you are both?

Vergil: Depends who you ask, doesn’t it. I think I am rather good. Especially at what I do. Well, getting caught was bad luck.

Interviewer: So you support the lead character? Who is he or she and tell us a little bit about him or her?

Vergil: I wouldn’t exactly say I am supporting the lead characters, high-minded archaeologists Naunet and Jonathan Wilkins, trying to save those silly Ancient Egyptian golden tablets from obsessed people like my new boss Lorenzo.

Rather, in The Crystal Curse, I support Lorenzo Dominguez, the South American billionaire and art collector; a bit of a pirate himself, to put it mildly. After he sprung me and some of my murderous buddies from jail, he made me guard his “guests” on board the Bucanero.

Interviewer: Now be honest – what do you really think of this lead character!

Vergil: You are talking about that Boston boy, Jonathan? He’s always wondering if I only speak Spanish, or if I understand English as he and his exotic-looking wife are plotting their escape from Lorenzo. He keeps poking me in the chest, and in his broad ‘haavaad-yaad’ accent tests me with things like, ‘Your mother’s a whore.’
But I am smart [taps the side of his nose with his finger]. I keep my cool. Although, one day, pretty-boy …

As to Lorenzo? He thinks I am beholden to him, poor bugger. He plum forgets he owns a ship. From the outside, the Bucanero may look like a wreck, but inside, she’s a palace. Very tempting, that’s all I can say.

Interviewer: Do you like being the ‘supporting role’ or do you wish you could have a lead part in a book of your own?

Vergil: Naw. I am kept plenty busy, especially in The Nile Conspiracy. Did I tell you I am very handy with weapons? Balancing on the skid of a helo trying to shoot off a rocket launcher takes nerves of steel—and the prospect of a juicy prize.

Interviewer: What is one of your least favourite scenes?

Vergil: Remember, I’d been in prison for some time. So, I suggested to Jonathan I would appreciate a little romp with his lovely wife Naunet. The ungrateful sod slams a steel door in my face. I can tell you, I really had to hold on to my pistol (no pun intended).

Interviewer: And your most favourite?
I have a real good chance of getting my hands on a super ultra-modern yacht, the A&N. She belonged to a shady Russian billionaire (aren’t they all, shady I mean). This yacht was confiscated by the Egyptian president for his own use. He renamed her the Khamsin. As I said, I may have a real good chance …

Interviewer: Thank you – that was really interesting – I look forward to meeting you again in ‘your’ novels!

Vergil: El gusto es mio, SeƱora Interviewer. Now, shall we adjourn to the Khamsin’s salon for coffee and cognac? The old ghost ship may look decrepit from the outside - on purpose. But inside, she's fitted out like a palace.
The ship's owner liberated me from a nasty Venezuelan prison - and thinks I have reformed. But you know how it is: Once a pirate, always a pirate. 

Quickly now, before the owner returns from his outing.

* * *
Inge H. Borg’s e-Books and Paperbacks are widely available:

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Her Mystery Still Unsolved ...


Just as you should Google yourself (and your books) occasionally, I did this for the mysteriously vanished Russian Ghost Ship, the MV Lyubov Orlova, which I had instilled with new life in Books 3 – 5 of my Legends of the Winged Scarab series.
Dated November 19th, 2017, an article by Paul Harper appeared in the UK paper The Sun. (Curiously enough, I can't find any such headline in a US paper).
 Image: Science Channel/WhatOnEarth
The ship has been missing for four years after being released out to sea, when on its way to be scrapped in the Dominican Republic the towline snapped and she was set adrift (a bit irresponsible, if you ask me).

Remains of Russian ghost vessel wash up after it was invaded by hordes of cannibal RATS. Scientists believed wreckage that washed up on a Californian beach may have been the mysterious MV Lyubov Orlova.”
 

 Image: Science Channel/WhatOnEarth
And, yes, “my” ghost ship does feature cannibal rats (with some dire consequences) ...
To my disappointment (but also firing this writer’s imagination for another story perhaps), the article concedes at the end that this is not the Lyubov Orlova, but rather a vessel which was a former floating casino run by The Mob and called the SS Monte Carlo.
 As long as the ghost ship's whereabouts remain a mystery, this is good news for my books.


 My renamed Bucanero II (with its convenient home port of Caracas) can now sail on with unimpeded impunity under the ownership of all-around smuggler and modern-day buccaneer Lorenzo Dominguez.




Saturday, December 2, 2017

Edward Always Tells a Good Story

... but somehow, it will differ greatly from the truth.

From December 3 until Christmas, a different short story or excerpt by my historical fiction writer friends will be posted every day  
on Helen Hollick's blog:
The shared theme is DIAMONDS





On December 13, it's Edward's turn to charm the gullible Mrs. Joe Bunting. Snuggled into the folds of her short neck sits a strand of exquisite South Sea Pearls. While Edward compliments her on them, his appreciative eye immediately spies the large yellow diamond in the clasp. Something he will not comment on in case the woman might grow suspicious.

After their delightful lunch with several glasses of heady California Chardonnay, Betsy Bunting foots the bill for Edward to accompany her on her trip to Egypt. In a strictly platonic manner, of course.

  Read Edward's entire California Interludes
in this short volume

Once in Cairo, our wily Edward becomes the nemesis to my protagonists in the modern portion of the Legends of the Winged Scarab series (Books 2-5) where he is no longer quite so charming, to put it mildly.

Buy individually for $3.99 each - 
or the 4-Novel Box Set for only $5.99

My Review of "Swift for the Sun,"



a Novel by Karen Bovenmyer 
 

  This is an excellent fluid read. I obtained a free copy as part of  reviewing it for Helen Hollick's historical fiction review blog -  https://discoveringdiamonds.blogspot.com/swift-for-sun-by-karen-bovenmyer

It easily earned five stars from me as a Discovered Diamond.

 



Genres: Multicultural & Interracial/Gay Romance



In the beginning, the title “Swift for the Sun” conjured up everything from old sailing ships swiftly following the sun - to other flights of fancy involving smugglers and privateers (which it does). At the end of Bovenmyer’s novel, I realized that I was wrong in assuming it to be a rollicking pirate fable or – as one of its genre is listed as gay romance - a man loving another man; it was so much more (even though I, too, have loved men – but then, I am a woman).


Benjamin Swift (as he introduces himself to us in this first-person account) is young, impetuous and a bit of a bungler who doesn’t listen too well to advice from his more experienced mates. This becomes sadly evident when, as captain of the Sea Swift, he puts his ship squarely on the rocks on cursed Dread Island.


Deeming himself the only survivor of the wreck, the young seafarer is understandably spooked when he finds himself face to face with a blond island savage who masters survival a lot better than our handsome Benjamin. After initial life-threatening quarrels and mutual mistrust, the two men (both being predisposed by nature or circumstance) fall deeply in love.


This is when the author’s mastery of human needs and wants shines. Lust and love are aptly intertwined with Benjamin’s secret hope to be rescued. A storm does bring a ship - and with it terrible trouble brews for the two. Sun could easily “take care” by himself of unwanted intruders into their isolated paradise; but during an ensuing fight, Benjamin feels he needs to prove himself.


That’s when I shouted at my Kindle, “For heaven’s sake, he told you to stay put!” I had become utterly involved in the two protagonists’ fates and desperately wanted them to escape their seemingly inexorable doom clamped on them by their “rescuers.”


Apart from the thrill of exotic seafaring adventure, the novel left me with a much deeper question about loyalty, the bond between two human beings, and the moral choice between killing for freedom or submitting to Man’s laws. “What would any of us have done?”
 * * * * *