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!

http://www.amazon.com/The-Fish-Fighters-Song-Girl-Stepsons/dp/0985166835/ref=cm_cr-mr-title

THE BOOK OF MADNESS AND CURES by Regina O’Melveny

THE BOOK OF MADNESS AND CURES, by Regina O’Melveny

This book is an excellent example of the reason why book lovers read. Because every once in a while we get to read a book this good.

If I didn’t know better I’d almost believe Ms. O’Melveny discovered a previously unpublished diary written by a woman in 1500s Venice who trained with her father as a physician. This is the story of her journey to find her father who left Venice to seek more information to include in the book he is writing (with his daughter’s assistance) called “The Book of Madness and Cures” detailing the understanding of mental illness, or “madness” as it was conceived at the time.

As her father traveled through Europe and England, meeting with other Doctors to gather information for his book, he sent letters back home, sharing what he learns and what he thinks about the information. His letters become more and more disturbing and distressing in tone, and come less and less frequently.

After ten years, the daughter decides she must follow her father and find him, leaving Venice with two servants, using her father’s letters as a guide. The journey is fascinating as are the people she meets. At that time, in some places, if it was discovered she practiced “medicine” especially using any herbs or plants or their derivatives, she would be accused of witchcraft and executed, so she must hide her training and knowledge, while seeking out and engaging doctors her father mentioned in his letters.

I will not spoil the book by continuing with the story, but it is so very, very worth reading to find out.

Ms. O’Melveny’s voice is rich, authentic, poignant and moving. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. I am quite sure it is one I will remember for many years.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book in return for a review and will be posting it on Amazon, B&N, Goodreads, Library Thing and NetGalley.com as well as my blog.

http://www.amazon.com/The-Book-Madness-Cures-ebook/dp/B005SCRQ4S/ref=cm_cr-mr-title

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-book-of-madness-and-cures-regina-omelveny/1105946082?ean=9780316195836