Monday, 5 February 2018

The Journey Through Wales Begins

As we have seen in our examination of the life of Gerald of Wales, almost everywhere he went he kept a record, and published many books. In 1188, men everywhere were being encouraged to take the cross and join the great Crusade. Archbishop Baldwin, Archbishop of Canterbury, decided to visit the four corners of Wales, and he took Gerald with him. It is mainly through Gerald’s writings – The Journey Through Wales - that we know what went on.


In addition to documenting the journey, Gerald often digressed into long stories about the ‘noteworthy things’ (usually meaning the natural or supernatural wonders) of the regions he passed through. Some of these stories he heard as he rode along, or in the places where he lodged for the night. Some he added much later (he was still revising his work 25 years afterwards) until there were so many that they swamp the narrative of the mission altogether. Though they make the Journey Through Wales a poor travel guide, they also make it a much more readable book – which is just what Gerald would have wished.

Sunday, 4 February 2018

Intruders, Flight of the Kestrel book 1

The last few weeks I have been recommending science fiction books I have read recently. I’m still reading voraciously, but I’m going to be cheeky this week and recommend my own book!

The Kestrel is part of the Fast-Response fleet of PACT (The Planetary Alliance for Cooperation and Trade), a sort of UN Peacekeepers in space. There will be a series of books, all stand-alone adventures, about the Kestrel and her crew of eleven. The first book is Intruders.

Intruders cover (396x546) (72dpi) Web

Due to a crew shortage, 18-year-old Tabitha Enns is given work experience on board the Kestrel, part of the fast-response fleet of the Planetary Alliance for Cooperation and Trade (PACT). The fast-response fleet is a diplomatic and emergency service, and Tabitha is excited at the chance to get away from her home planet for the first time. She is shocked to find she is the only female on board and has to share a cabin.

Monday, 29 January 2018

Preaching the Cross

One of the major things that Gerald of Wales was involved in was the crusade to recover the Holy Land.

During the late summer of 1187, astounding and terrible tidings spread through western Europe. The great Moslem warrior, Salah-ad-Din Yusuf, the dreaded ‘Saladin’, had surrounded the Christian army of Palestine at the Horns of Hattin, and utterly annihilated it: the Holy Cross of Christ, the sacred relic borne before the crusaders, was in the hands of the infidel. Within three months even worse news followed. Sweeping all before him, Saladin had taken the Holy City of Jerusalem, and only the desperately defended fortress of Tyre now held out against the final Moslem conquest of the land where Christ had lived and died.


Saturday, 27 January 2018

The Auriga Project & The Alien Element by M G Herron

The two books I’m recommending this week are the beginning of the Translocator Trilogy. So far, there isn’t a book three, but you can enjoy books 1 & 2 and then wait, like me.

The Auriga Project
The Auriga Project
Transported light years in a heartbeat

Ripped from Earth in a horrifying teleportation accident, archaeologist Eliana Fisk finds herself stranded on a strange planet whose denizens want her as a human sacrifice.

Can she stay out from under the knife long enough to find her way home? Or will the desperate natives and their bloodthirsty gods get to her first?

The Auriga Project is a fast-paced science fiction thriller with an edge of the fantastic. It's a harrowing tale of survival against all odds, and the gateway to an ancient alien mystery.

Saturday, 20 January 2018

The Secret of Spellshadow Manor series

Something a little different this week. A lot of people who like science fiction also like fantasy. The two genres are bracketed together under the label speculative fiction. I prefer science fiction but read fantasy occasionally, so here is a fantasy series I can recommend. It’s by Bella Forrest, who is a prolific writer, particularly of vampire books.

The Secret of Spellshadow Manor 

The Secret of Spellshadow Manor

This is billed as A spine-tingling new fantasy, perfect for adults or teens who enjoyed Harry Potter... I was sceptical, but curious, so I tried the first book, which was free on Kindle. It didn’t disappoint.

Monday, 15 January 2018

Gerald of Wales and the Struggle for St Davids

Last week we looked at why the bishopric of St Davids in Pembrokeshire was such a hot potato.


In 1176 the bishop of St Davids, Gerald’s uncle, died. The local clergy nominated Gerald for the post even though he was only a young archdeacon. King Henry II got the wrong information and thought he had been elected, and was so enraged that he said he would never consider Gerald as a candidate, even when the mistake was corrected. Afraid of the ramifications of a Welsh bishop of St Davids, there was a lot of opposition. A man like Gerald, related to the Welsh princes and a vigorous champion of the rights of St Davids, was the very last bishop Henry wanted for the most controversial diocese in Wales. The Anglo-Norman Peter of Lee (Peter de Leia) became bishop, and Gerald swore the oath of allegiance.

Sunday, 14 January 2018

Halcyone Space series

This science fiction series by L J Cohen consists of four books: Derelict, Ithaka Rising, Dreadnought and Shuttle, and Parallax. Halcyone is the name of the ship owned by Ros after she salvaged it. I have only read the first two books, but I fully intend to read the others when my to-be-read pile goes down a bit (fat chance!)