Monthly Archives: August 2014

The Silver Cross by B. Kent Anderson

Silver Cross (Nick Journey #2)

1864: Confederate spy Rose Greenhow dies trying to pass information about a ‘silver cross’ which could have made France the Confederacy’s ally. The present: government investigator Meg Tolman learns the cross is tied to a dangerous conspiracy. Can Tolman, aided by history professor Nick Journey, unravel the mystery of the cross and stop a plot that threatens the future of the U.S.?

The plot has an intricately suspenseful feel as the quest for the cross becomes mixed in with a domestic conspiracy, an assassin that plays by their own rules, and potential international repercussions. Adding to the suspense, and character growth, are internal conflicts the characters face. Journey balances caring for his son with the mission, the assassin and villain are blinded by their morals, and Tolman sees how others are affected by conflict. The Silver Cross could be for those looking for a historical thriller, conspiracies, a suspenseful tale taking place in the U.S., and/or character development.

Want other books like The Silver Cross?

U.S. Department of Justice Agent Cotton Malone finds an assassination attempt attempt against the president is one move in a conspiracy dating back to the founding of the U.S. in The Jefferson Key by Steve Berry.

A single father learns a cryptic secret about his father and is drawn into a U.S. Marshal’s quest to end a set of terrorist attacks in The Mesa Conspiracy by David Kent.

Wild Rose: The True Story of a Civil War Spy by Ann Blackman gave Anderson inspiration for his portrayal of Rose Greenhow.




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Polar Star by Martin Cruz Smith

Polar Star (Arkady Renko, #2)

Russian-U.S. peace is threatened when a galley worker part of a joint fishing venture is murdered. Exiled investigator Arkady Renko is pulled from a ‘slime line’ to investigate. Arkady’s investigation dredges up his past, secrets of the ships’ crews and espionage. Can he discover the truth without being dragged under by secrets?

Arkady’s mixture of insightful sarcasm, melancholy and understated compassion makes him a compelling character. A view of hazardous cold of Siberia, cramped dangers of shipboard life and life in Russia during the ending of the Soviet era are vividly shown through his eyes. Arkady uses visual metaphors to show his world. For instance, “in their [Soviet women] stolid frames were souls so romantic that they lifted like doves on the slightest breeze” (169). The victim’s secrets seem like an onion. Arkady discovers one motive for her being killed and then discovers another. Polar Star could be a match for those looking for a compelling protagonist, vivid look at Soviet Russia and/or a compelling mystery.

Want other books like Polar Star?

Inspector Porfiry Rostnikov is caught between the demands of the KGB and a killer who seems to have a political message in Death of a Dissident by Stuart M. Kaminsky.

Captain Alexei Korolev‘s freedom is threatened when he determinedly seeks the truth behind an American woman’s murder in Moscow in The Holy Thief by William Ryan.

Books such  The Strange Death of the Soviet Empire by David Pryce-Jones by look into the ending of the Soviet era.



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Lockstep by Karl Schroeder


Toby McGonigal sleeps for 14,000 years and wakes to the mystifying reality of the Lockstep Empire. Worlds hibernate to negate the faster than light problem and minimize resource drain. His siblings have thrived as tyrants and turned Toby into a mythic figure. Can Toby, with the help of some allies, face down his siblings and help the worlds bound by the Lockstep Empire?

Lockstep is filled with exotic worlds such as one in which whole cities exist in bubbles and another is powered by an alien replacement for a sun. The hibernation scheme causes a unique perception of time. The plot builds as Tony realizes he must think outside the metaphorical box to find a solution that won’t drag the empire into war. Lockstep could be a match for those looking for world building, space opera, conspiracies, and/or a tale which addresses science.

Want other books like Lockstep?

In the wreckage of an intergalactic empire an arhceologist rediscovers an old world with intriguing secrets in Artemis Awakening by Jane M. Linkshold.

Geoffrey Akinya is sent offworld in a quest that will drag family secrets into the light and change Earth’s destiny in Blue Remembered Earth by Alastiar Reynolds.

Paul Atriedes is swept into a centuries old power play and must choose his path in Dune by Frank Herbert.

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The Greatest Knight by Elizabeth Chadwick

The Greatest Knight (William Marshal, #2)

William Marshal is determined to be more than a hearth knight wedged under his resentful older brother’s thumb. As he gains prominence his destiny becomes intertwined with those of the Plantagenets. As he lives through royal turmoil he shows loyalty and skill that will be remembered centuries later…

The Greatest Knight feels like a tale but also feels real. The heroic tale feeling comes from the battles and the riches of court life. The real feeling comes from the financial and other hardships of court life such as when William is destitute after his first battle. Descriptions of food and clothing increase the tale feel and how they are paid for the real feeling tone. The characters are multilayered. William is brave and loyal but also develops pragmatic ambition- the reader sees how the Middle Ages affects him. The royals are shown as charismatic but also injured by the lure of ambition. The Greatest Knight could be a match for those looking for the Middle Ages, a stirring tale of a historical figure and/or multilayered characters.

Want other books like The Greatest Knight?

The last Saxon king of England strives to keep his throne from William the Conqueror in I am the Chosen King by Helen Hollick.

King Richard the Lionheart battles against Saladin in the Holy Land and faces treason from his brother John in Lionheart by Sharon Kay Penman.

Chadwick wrote her portrayal of Marshal and his times using books such as William Marshal, Knighthood, War and Chivalry, 1147-1219 by David Crouch.

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Claws of the Cat by Susan Spann

Claws of the Cat

Master Ninja Hiro would prefer not to investigate the murder of a samurai in a teahouse. His employer, Jesuit Priest Mateo, entangles himself in the matter and will die in two days- unless Hiro can find the murderer. With political intrigue on multiple levels and familial differences Hiro finds the matter is unpleasantly vexing…

Spann invokes 16th century Kyoto by showing subtle customs of politeness, beautiful but practical houses, and describing Kyoto. Her characters show the times but are also likeable. Hiro is pragmatic, subtle and honorable. Father Mateo respects local customs- though with some blunt edges- and is compassionate. The other characters also pull the readers into the story with their reasoning and actions. The plot is intricate as Hiro pulls together the chain of events with visits to various witnesses. Claws of the Cat could be a match for those seeking 16th century Kyoto, samurai, likeable characters and an interesting story.

Want other books like Claws of the Cat?

A young government clerk is tasked with discovering why tax convoys have disappeared in a distant province in The Dragon Scroll by I.J. Parker.

Yoriki Sano Ichiro disbelieves the death of an upper class woman and a commoner are suicides and becomes entangled with a plot against the shogunate in Shinju by Laura Joh Rowland.

Books such as Japan: Its History and Culture by William Scott Morton provide information on this period in Japan’s history.


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