A Man and His God now on The Book Rack!

A wonderful story; a classic.


The Book Rack is spotlighting A Man and His God:



Read how the Sacred Band of Stepsons gets its name and meet Abarsis, Slaughter Priest.  An iconic story from Thieves World(R), in an Author’s Cut edition totally revised and updated by Janet Morris.

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This review applies to the entire trilogy of the Dragoneers, not just the first book. The series is a really good YA trilogy, with real characters who have real foibles, dreams, fears, desires, unkind thoughts and everything else that comprises the range of human emotion. There are no “Mary Sues” in this saga. The female characters are smart, strong and emotional; the male characters are confused, brave, and scared. They are all elated at the bond they share with their dragons and absolutely terrified of the alien menace that reveals itself gradually through all three books. There is no “magic bullet” or “super-mage” that comes along to make an end to the devastating problems faced by all characters (not just the Royal Dragoneers). The solutions come along gradually with trial and error; various other entities decide to help or not as the story unfolds. I would definitely recommend this series (and the short stories that accompany it) for anyone whose teens/young adults are looking for something other than vampires, magical solutions, or werewolves but still want to read good fantasy.



I frequently read YA because I have a young niece (also a reader) and I like to be able to recommend books she would like, that are appropriate to her age and maturity level.

I found Lightmasters 13 to be a really fun romp from the perspective of a young girl who finds herself thrust into a situation far from her previous experience. Her grandparents, who take over her custody when her parents die, are great characters but Jessica is not familiar with them and their eccentricities or their small, insular town far different from her prior home. So Jessica has to learn to deal with her grandparents, a new school with schoolmates who, naturally, scorn this new, smart, unusual student, and the grief of her parents’ loss, all at the same time.

Jessica also discovers on her 13th birthday that she has been “blessed” with hereditary powers she was previously unaware of – that throw her for a huge loop.

This story of her receipt and acceptance of these powers, adaptation to their odd side effects, and the danger in which they place her is very fast-paced and highlights the slightly tongue-in-cheek angst and hyperactivity of a very young teenager whose journey to come to terms with just growing up is made even more difficult than normal by the additional complications of coming to terms with her powers.

I look forward to following Jessica’s journey as she explores her powers and the high-stress world of the much-anticipated high school “experience.”


THE FISH THE FIGHTERS AND THE SONG-GIRL by Janet Morris and Chris Morris

The Fish the Fighters and the Song-Girl contains the first new novella from the author of all the Sacred Band of Stepsons stories and novels in 25 years! To those of us who followed Tempus and his Sacred Band of Stepsons through the Thieves’ World shared universe series and then off on his own in the Sacred Band ‘Beyond’ novels, having new material to devour is absolutely the greatest treat imaginable. New characters are introduced, some who had joined the band from The Sacred Band of Thebes in “The Sacred Band” written in 2010, wherein Tempus goes back in time to rescue the 23 pairs of fighters whose remains were not contained in the cenotaph erected to honor the Sacred Band of Thebes, where they were killed, to a man, in the battle of Chaeronea in 338 B.C. Some new characters enter the picture directly in ‘the Fish the Fighters and the Song-Girl” and we are treated to some new information about some new and some older characters.

Tempus takes the band north out of Sanctuary, he hopes for the last time, and uses the journey to help the newer members become assimilated into the new United Sacred Band of Stepsons, and so he can also get to know these new members a little better. Since this book additionally contains a number of short stories originally appearing in Thieves’ World, the author has employed a unique form of integration by writing interstitials that continue the story of the new journey and bring the older information into the book in a cohesive format that new or old readers should really enjoy.

The writing in this book displays the finest standards of Janet Morris and her husband, Chris Morris, when exploring the character Tempus and allowing the reader to see into his motivations and learn more about this amazing group of warriors. I cannot recommend this book highly enough for lovers of fantasy, sword and sorcery, science fiction and epic fantasy. I thoroughly enjoyed this new book and the old stories as they were set within the framework of explaining to the newer members of the band how certain things came about, before they encountered the band.

New or old readers of The Sacred Band and Thieves’ World will not be disappointed!


THE BONES OF ODIN by David Leadbetter [The “Matt Drake” Series]

Making a realistic and reasonable action story out of an incredulous plot takes a very deft hand. David Leadbetter has done this in spades with “The Bone of Odin.” The action is everything you want with none of the usual tangents into boring descriptions of weaponry – people shoot with guns, cut with knives and rappel with (okay, fairly fancy) ropes. He brings together a cast of characters who each have distinct and separate but well-defined personalities and none of them are larger than life or superhuman. Quite the contrary. They come with foibles, fears, worries, families and all the rest of the baggage that adheres to humanity.

If you want a fun, exciting, well-written book to hold you enthralled for several hours and make you forget everything else going on in your life – just for a little while – this is the book.

I can’t wait to start on the next Matt Drake adventure.

Hats off to David Leadbetter!


BE NOW BUDDY WHAT by Dan Spencer


Using the premise of a man who fell to earth with no identity, no clothes and no injuries, Dan Spencer highlights the foibles of our society as the man’s story becomes well-known throughout the world. He is examined by “experts,” interrogated by the government, subjected to every medical test known to man, and everything shows he is a completely healthy, normal human male, with no brain injury to cause his amnesia, but he is finally allowed to go his own way, since no one can find any reason to hold him. Told through the initially skeptical, cynical view of a small-town reporter who befriends this strange person (who becomes known as “Buddy What” through a humorous set of misunderstandings), the story is the journey of an innocent trying to get a message across to the people of the world that life can be simpler and better than it is for most, if each person chooses to look at life as philosophers have been suggesting for untold ages: live in the now. Of course, that is an over-simplification, as Buddy What has any number of ideas on how to help people be happier and has a peculiar, almost “homespun” way of articulating his ideas. This causes no end of ludicrous groups (of the tin-foil-hat-wearing variety) to form around single, mostly misunderstood, aphorisms publicized by the relentless press presence surrounding Buddy.

Buddy What is not a preacher or a prophet; he is not trying to cash in on his notoriety or exploit his unique situation. Buddy is a man who has no idea where he came from, what his name is, how he ended up falling through the atmosphere to land in Minot, North Dakota, but he feels he has a message to share with the human race. Our intrepid reporter feels he must take Buddy under his wing to prevent the usual cast of characters from exploiting Buddy for their own personal gain — which, of course, many attempt. Buddy learns of the unique phenomenon called “a cult of personality” and assiduously tries to avoid becoming the subject of one, to no avail. He becomes an internet sensation immediately and the more he tries to get people to see him as he is, the more they see in him what they expect — expectations that are doomed to be unrealized. Typically, people hear what they want to hear, believe what they want to believe, expect miracles on demand, but Buddy refuses to be pigeon-holed. He and the reporter travel the country, meeting people in their homes who have invited Buddy to have conversations with them and their friends… as long as that is possible which, of course, is not long enough.

Even though written with a certain amount of tongue-in-cheek humor, there is a great deal of Valentine Michael Smith in Buddy and his story. “Be Now, Buddy What” is definitely worth reading since it manages to illuminate our more venal tendencies without demonizing any particular group, but also suggests we are all capable of being more than we realize if we pay attention to how we think and reflect on ourselves.


BEYOND SANCTUARY by Janet Morris [First of The Sacred Band “Beyond” novels]

Beyond Sanctuary was the first authorized novel spinoff from the “Thieves’ World(r)” series in the mid-1980s. This is an absolutely beautiful Author’s Cut release with some new material and revisions the author had wanted to make for a couple of decades, and a gorgeous new cover! This represents the first new release in the “Beyond” series – Beyond the Veil and Beyond Wizardwall will also be released over the next year or so.  Beyond Sanctuary begins the “Beyond” series with Tempus and the Sacred Band leaving Sanctuary to travel to Tyse, join with allies from the earlier war in which Tempus helped overthrow the ruler of Ranke, and then assault the mages ruling from Wizardwall who hold three countries hostage to their powers. There is great action involved and viewpoints from both the Sacred Band and the mages and witches, making this a truly riveting book you do not want to put down. The ethos of the Sacred Band is explored and described on a basic level, and some of the continuing characters in the Sacred Band stories begin to come into their own. An excellent read with more to come!

Highly recommended.