Teaser Tuesdays: The Ashes of London


Welcome to Teaser Tuesdays – a weekly feature hosted by The Purple Booker. Expect a new teaser every week!


| Teaser Tuesdays: August 11 |

The Ashes of London

Book One of Marwood and Lovett

by Andrew Taylor

Historical Fiction | 496 Pages | Published by Harper Collins in 2016


“Even I could see that the place was a sad tangle of branches and bushes and fallen trees. The air smelled of rotting vegetation. The path we followed was muddy underfoot, and slippery with dead leaves. It looked as if deer and foxes used it far more than humans.

~ Chapter 24 | Page 206 | The Ashes of London by Andrew Taylor


| Synopsis |

London, September 1666. The Great Fire rages through the city, consuming everything in its path. Even the impregnable cathedral of St. Paul’s is engulfed in flames and reduced to ruins. Among the crowds watching its destruction is James Marwood, son of a disgraced printer, and reluctant government informer.

In the aftermath of the fire, a semi-mummified body is discovered in the ashes of St. Paul’s, in a tomb that should have been empty. The man’s body has been mutilated and his thumbs have been tied behind his back.

Under orders from the government, Marwood is tasked with hunting down the killer across the devastated city. But at a time of dangerous internal dissent and the threat of foreign invasion, Marwood finds his investigation leads him into treacherous waters – and across the path of a determined, beautiful and vengeful young woman.

Amazon Book Depository | Goodreads


| Join In |

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Please leave a comment with either the link to your own Teaser Tuesdays post, or share your ‘teasers’ in a comment here!

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This Week by Proxy: 03 – 09 August


Welcome to This Week by Proxy. Join me as I link up with the Caffeinated Reviewer to look back on the past week and see what I’ve been reading, posting, watching and playing!


| This Week by Proxy: 03 – 09 August 2020 |

Another hot and sunny end to a busy week spent indoors! Yesterday we took an expedition along the canal to feed the ducks, and my stepdaughter took us on a detour down some wooded paths to find some fairies where, by (not unintended) chance, we came across Rapunzel’s tower. Now it is, in fact, either a folly or what was meant to be a chimney for an unfinished mining ventilation shaft but it suited a three year old’s imagination very well. We then spent the rest of the day in the garden, watering plants, playing with the bunnies and reading books. Not a bad weekend at all!

I hope you are all well and have had a wonderfully, bookish week! 


| Books Read |

This week I finished Sharp Ends by Joe Abercrombie and Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey and they were both wonderfully entertaining reads in very different ways. It has taken me an awfully long time to get round to reading Sharp Ends, so I’m particularly happy to have finally read it, and Leviathan Wakes really was an incredible start to a series that I cannot wait to continue. 


| Currently Reading |

This week I started The Ashes of London by Andrew Taylor, a historical crime fiction novel set in the year of The Great Fire of London. It is an excellent read so far, very detailed and beautifully written with interesting characters and details – Taylor’s writing is most definitely a feast for the senses. The architect in me is particularly enjoying the ties to Christopher Wren’s vision of London and the rebuilding of St. Paul’s Cathedral.

I have also started listening to the audiobook for The Doors of Eden, which I try and squeeze in any time I can, and have finally (hurrah!) picked up All Systems Red, the first novella in The Murderbot Diaries.


| Upcoming Reviews |

I am still slogging my way through the review list, making slow and steady progress. Now that a few deadlines are out of the way at work I’m hoping the time I spend doing unpaid overtime is finally going to be minimised and I can spend more of my time writing reviews! 


| Watching |

The other half and I have finally finished the second season of The Order, which was both silly and highly entertaining, and have started watching the second season of The Umbrella Academy. I have also made it to the third season of Humans, which I am enjoying very much. 


| Gaming |

I submitted to peer pressure this week and started playing GTFO, a survival horror cooperative first-person shooter which is both a challenge and brilliantly entertaining. I hadn’t expected to enjoy it as much as I am doing and , seeing as the other half is playing it while I write this post, it will probably be top of the list for the coming week too! I have also played limited amounts of both Apex Legends and No Man’s Sky, both of which I am still thoroughly enjoying.


| Posts |

Review: Ashes of the Sun by Django Wexler

Music Mondays: 0:59

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Books with Black in the Title

Teaser Tuesdays: Leviathan Wakes

Waiting on Wednesday: The Doors of Eden by Adrian Tchaikovsky

The Friday Face-Off: Action

Friday Firsts: The Ashes of London


I hope you all have a wonderful, book-filled week!

What have you been reading, watching and playing this week? Have you accomplished any goals?

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Friday Firsts: The Ashes of London


Welcome to Friday Firsts – a weekly meme created by Tenacious Reader. First paragraphs. First impressions. A new favourite?


| Friday Firsts: August 07 |

The Ashes of London

Book One of Marwood and Lovett

by Andrew Taylor

Historical Fiction | 496 Pages | Published by Harper Collins in 2016


| First Paragraphs |

The noise was the worst. Not the crackling of the flames, not the explosions and the clatter of falling buildings, not the shouting and the endless beating of drums and the groans and cries of the crowd: it was the howling of the fire. It roared its rage. It was the voice of the Great Beast itself.

Part of the nave roof fell in. The sound stunned the crowd into a brief silence.

Otherwise I shouldn’t have heard the whimpering at my elbow. It came from a boy in a ragged shirt who had just pushed his way through the mass of people. He was swaying, on the brink of collapse.

I poked his arm. ‘Hey. You.’

The lad’s head jerked up. His eyes were wide and unfocused. He made a movement as if to run away but we were hemmed in on every side. Half of London, from the King and the Duke of York downwards, had turned out to watch the death throes of St. Paul’s. 

Amazon | Book DepositoryGoodreads


| First Impressions |

The opening paragraphs of The Ashes of London are an incredibly evocative start to the book. The fall of St. Paul’s is captured so vividly – the heat and the flames and the ash falling from the sky – that you are instantly transported to the terrifying and chaotic Great Fire of London of 1666.

This is a book which quite clearly provides a richly detailed backdrop on which to hang its tale of freedom and murder, and I cannot wait to unravel what happens next.

What are you currently reading? What were your first impressions?

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The Friday Face-Off: Action


Welcome to The Friday Face-Off, a weekly meme here at Books by Proxy. Join me every Friday as I pit cover against cover, and publisher against publisher, to find the best artwork in our literary universe. Check out Lynn’s-Books for upcoming themes!


The Empire of Ashes by Anthony Ryan


Welcome to the Friday Face-Off where this week we’re comparing book covers that depict action!

Amongst the many action-packed and bloody covers that grace the fantasy genre, I decided that it was about time some awe-inspiring and dynamic dragons featured on Books by Proxy. The Waking Fire by Anthony Ryan was one of my favourite reads of 2017 and it just so happens that the series, The Draconis Memoria, has some incredibly beautiful and action-packed covers to choose from – The Empire of Ashes being the third and final instalment of the trilogy.

With Orbit’s cover by Jeffrey Read going head to head with Ace’s cover by Leesha Hannigan, scroll down to see which one is your favourite!


Orbit | Cover #1

Cover Art by Jeffrey Read

Ace | Cover #2

Cover Art by Leesha Hannigan


| The Friday Face-Off: Winner |

The Ace cover is a dramatic and beautifully rendered image of two dragons in the midst of a battle. In a swirl of water and wings, the two dragons snap and snarl at one another in this action-packed composition. Despite Leesha Hannigan’s beautiful illustration, I feel this cover is let down by the blocky typeface and the flames that eat away at the page. This artwork, like the Orbit cover, deserves a clean, full-page spread to truly appreciate it.

The Orbit cover on the other hand is, for me, as close to perfection as possible. Jeffrey Read has captured a dramatic and suspenseful scene as two figures throw up a glowing shield as they are wreathed in flames. The dragon is menacing and terrifying, a true vision of a ‘monster’, and the bright colours of magic and flame provide a stark contrast to the dark and smokey backdrop. The typeface is clean and simple and only complements this simply stunning cover.

I highly recommend that you check out Jeffrey Read’s website too, his concept art is truly second to none.

Cover Art for The Draconis Memoria by Jeffrey Read

Which cover wins your vote this week? Have a cover of your own? – Post the link below!

Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads


Next week’s theme is:

Spectacular

  A cover featuring glasses or spectacles

Remember to check Lynn’s Books for upcoming themes


| Links |

Lynn @ Lynn’s Books

Steve @ Books and Beyond Reviews

Mogsy @ The Bibliosanctum

Tammy @ Books, Bones & Buffy

Sarah @ Brainfluff

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Review: Ashes of the Sun by Django Wexler



Ashes of the Sun

Book One of Burningblade & Silvereye

by Django Wexler

Fantasy | 592 Pages | Published by Head of Zeus on 21st July 2020


| Rating |


| TL;DR |

This vibrant, rich and detailed novel tells the tale of two siblings on either side of an ages old war. As Maya, agathios of the Twilight Order, attempts to clear her mentor’s name and Gyre, Maya’s brother, searches for a powerful artefact to help him bring about the the Order’s destruction, their two intertwining narratives dramatically converge in this exciting and action-packed epic.

With strong characters, a unique magic system and a beautifully rendered landscape, Ashes of the Sun straddles the line between good and bad, right and wrong, and paints this broken empire in exquisite shades of grey.

| Synopsis |

Long ago, a magical war destroyed an empire, and a new one was built in its ashes. But still the old grudges simmer, and two siblings will fight on opposite sides to save their world in the start of Django Wexler’s new epic fantasy trilogy.

Gyre hasn’t seen his beloved sister since their parents sold her to the mysterious Twilight Order. Now, twelve years after her disappearance, Gyre’s sole focus is revenge, and he’s willing to risk anything and anyone to claim enough power to destroy the Order.

Chasing rumors of a fabled city protecting a powerful artifact, Gyre comes face-to-face with his lost sister. But she isn’t who she once was. Trained to be a warrior, Maya wields magic for the Twilight Order’s cause. Standing on opposite sides of a looming civil war, the two siblings will learn that not even the ties of blood will keep them from splitting the world in two.

| Review |

The ages old war between the Chosen and the ghouls has obliterated the landscape and left it in ruins. Spearing from the earth and tunnelling under mountains, relics from the past are now home to the ever expanding towns and cities of man, and all that was left behind has either been salvaged, scavenged or stolen.

But more than one war continues in this shattered landscape. From the Forge, the Centarchs of the Twilight Order, powerful champions of the Chosen, are charged with keeping order and fight to eliminate dhakim – those who practice ghoul magic and use it to create the abominable plaguespawn. In the cities, the rebellion fight for freedom and against those who would suppress the tunnelborn, a subjugated people living on the outskirts of society, even if it means taking on the local militia, the Legions of the Dawn Republic, and the Twilight Order itself.

Born to one household but raised apart, Maya and Gyre find themselves on opposite sides of this insurmountable divide. Maya, an agathios – or novice – of the Twilight Order is gifted with a connection to the deiat, and wields the unimaginable power of Creation. Gyre, driven by this troubled past and his burning hatred for the Order, fights for the rebellion under the pseudonym Halfmask. As trouble brews across the realm, Maya and Gyre’s lives converge in an explosive and action packed tale where the line between good and evil are hopelessly blurred.

Told form two entirely different perspectives: one which champions discovery, order and the power of good and the other that champions vengeance, liberation and, ultimately, destruction; Ashes of the Sun pulls the reader into the midst of a conflict which questions the very nature of good and bad, right and wrong, for a non-stop, whirlwind of a tale. Narrated by two distinct voices and personalities, these two opposing viewpoints work together to paint a vivid picture of a world that, in reality, comprises shades of grey.

With ruined constructs, great metropolises and fallen skyships, this post-apocalyptic and fantastic vision unveils a colourful world with a unique and inventive magic system. The weight of history is woven into the landscape in the ages old struggle between the forces of chaos and order, and in the people and their struggle to survive under such deprivation. The divide between the rich and the poor, between the repressed and their suppressors, is depicted with a clear and direct vision which emphasises Maya’s naivety, her steadfast belief that the Order are solely good, and Gyre’s bitterness, that the world’s ills stem from the likes of the irredeemable Order.

From auxiliaries and legionaries to dogmatics and pragmatics, Wexler has created a strong foundation on which to build his series; the two tangled narratives threatening to derail plans, destroy hope and eliminate what little respect Maya and Gyre had for one another in the first place. This is a tale that thrives on its worldbuilding, that celebrates its diverse characters and that is all the better for its use of politics and intrigue throughout its plot.

Maya and Gyre are two siblings defined by their differing experiences and entirely disparate lives, with Maya’s comfort and innocence contrasting sharply with Gyre’s hardship, anger and resentment. With unique and memorable viewpoints, neither protagonist outdoes the other in either drama, suspense or action, with the endearing qualities of one complementing the bravado of the other.

Similarly, the supporting characters provide an interesting and diverse backdrop to the protagonists. Those of the Order – Bec, Tanax and Varo – show the complex hierarchy of the Order and their devotion to the Inheritance, and those of the rebellion – Yora, Lynnia and Harrow – show a driven and like-minded community who will fight for the rights of their people at almost any cost. Providing plenty of interest, intrigue and diversion throughout the narrative, these characters are only surpassed by the enigmatic and ultimately dangerous Kit Doomseeker who steals more than just the show.

Well written and highly-enjoyable throughout, this series opener succeeds in setting a perfect scene from which to read the remainder of the series. While there may be a lot of new terminology to absorb throughout the novel, the steady pace and the intricacies of the narrative give plenty of time to fully absorb the different terms – in between bouts of plaguespawn, skirmishes and bar fights, of course.

Ashes of the Sun is a well-written, exciting read that I barely put down over its six hundred pages. While I could have lived without many of the romantic aspects of the storyline, these remained only secondary to the narrative and didn’t inhibit my enjoyment of the story as a whole. With more fights, skirmishes and powerful artefacts than you can shake a stick at, the first in Burningblade & Silvereye promises the start of something quite special.

Thank you to NetGalley and Head of Zeus for providing a copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Amazon Book Depository | Goodreads

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Waiting on Wednesday: The Doors of Eden


Welcome to Waiting on Wednesday, a weekly meme linking Waiting on Wednesday by Breaking The Spine and Can’t Wait Wednesday by Wishful Endings


| Waiting on Wednesday: August 05 |

The Doors of Eden

by Adrian Tchaikovsky


They thought we were safe. They were wrong.

Four years ago, two girls went looking for monsters on Bodmin Moor. Only one came back.

Lee thought she’d lost Mal, but now she’s miraculously returned. But what happened that day on the moors? And where has she been all this time? Mal’s reappearance hasn’t gone unnoticed by MI5 officers either, and Lee isn’t the only one with questions.

Julian Sabreur is investigating an attack on top physicist Kay Amal Khan. This leads Julian to clash with agents of an unknown power – and they may or may not be human. His only clue is grainy footage, showing a woman who supposedly died on Bodmin Moor.

Dr Khan’s research was theoretical; then she found cracks between our world and parallel Earths. Now these cracks are widening, revealing extraordinary creatures. And as the doors crash open, anything could come through.


To be published by Tor on 20th August 2020

Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads

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Teaser Tuesdays: Leviathan Wakes


Welcome to Teaser Tuesdays – a weekly feature hosted by The Purple Booker. Expect a new teaser every week!


| Teaser Tuesdays: August 04 |

Leviathan Wakes

Book One of The Expanse

by James S. A. Corey

Science Fiction | 561 Pages | Published by Orbit in 2011


“The old shipyards protruded from the asteroid, great spiderwebs of steel and carbon mesh studded with warning lights and sensor arrays to wave off any ships that might come in too tight. The internal caverns of Eros had been the birthplace of the Belt.

~ Chapter 22 | Page 226 | Leviathan Wakes by James S. A. Corey


| Synopsis |

Humanity has colonized the solar system—Mars, the Moon, the Asteroid Belt and beyond—but the stars are still out of our reach.

Jim Holden is XO of an ice miner making runs from the rings of Saturn to the mining stations of the Belt. When he and his crew stumble upon a derelict ship, the Scopuli, they find themselves in possession of a secret they never wanted. A secret that someone is willing to kill for—and kill on a scale unfathomable to Jim and his crew. War is brewing in the system unless he can find out who left the ship and why.

Detective Miller is looking for a girl. One girl in a system of billions, but her parents have money and money talks. When the trail leads him to the Scopuli and rebel sympathizer Holden, he realizes that this girl may be the key to everything.

Holden and Miller must thread the needle between the Earth government, the Outer Planet revolutionaries, and secretive corporations—and the odds are against them. But out in the Belt, the rules are different, and one small ship can change the fate of the universe.

Amazon | Book DepositoryGoodreads


| Join In |

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Please leave a comment with either the link to your own Teaser Tuesdays post, or share your ‘teasers’ in a comment here!

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This Week by Proxy: 20 July – 02 August


Welcome to This Week by Proxy. Join me as I link up with the Caffeinated Reviewer to look back on the past week and see what I’ve been reading, posting, watching and playing!


| This Week by Proxy: 20 July – 02 August 2020 |

This week’s post is actually a two-week post, as last week my weekend was so chaotic that I didn’t find any time to wrap up anything! I did, however, do some gardening with a three year old, read many a children’s book, drank copious amounts of wine, and had an insanely lengthy trip to Ikea where I spent a veritable fortune on items that I hadn’t planned on buying in the first place! But such is life.

I have also managed to enjoy several socially distanced meet ups with both my parents and my partner’s parents, which was a lovely change to my somewhat house-bound working week. However, both their areas have now gone into an extended lockdown period and we will be unable to meet up until restrictions have been lifted again.

I hope you are all safe and well and I can’t wait to catch up on your bookish posts during the week!


| Books Read |

I finally finished Ashes of the Sun, the first in a new fantasy series by Django Wexler, which proved to be a beautifully wrought and complex tale of siblings who find themselves on opposite sides of a war that has lasted the ages. This was a joy to read from beginning to end and has me itching to see what else Wexler has to offer.

I also finished Becky Chambers’ novella, To Be Taught, If Fortunate, which tells the tale of the crew of the Merian as they explore, study and catalogue their findings of strange, new worlds. While not in the same league as the Wayfarers series, this was still an enjoyable tale which explores several interesting concepts.

I also completed my second Jeeves novel, Right Ho, Jeeves, which I rather enjoyed, and a collection of Blandings short stories, Lord Emsworth Acts for the Best.


| Currently Reading |

I just can’t cope with how in love I am with Leviathan Wakes. If a book can be devoured, then every time this one is opened up it is a feast for the mind. The worlds, the ships, the people – they’re all so clearly and wonderfully wrought that I feel lucky to be reading it.

I have also finally gotten around to reading Sharp Ends by Joe Abercrombie which, for some unknown reason, I’ve left high and dry on my bookshelf – pristine signed hardback looking down at me in stunning blue. I am thoroughly ashamed! With short tales of new and familiar characters, I couldn’t be happier to be back in the world of The First Law.


| Upcoming Reviews |

I am definitely struggling to stop myself from reading and start reviewing at the moment. I partially blame my excessive hours behind a computer whilst working from home but, in all honesty, everything I’m reading is so exciting that I’m too eager to go onto the next thing before I’ve given myself some time to process. I will, however, be playing a bit of catch up this week (as I certainly don’t want to fall any further behind!) and should have all the above reviews out in the next two weeks.  


| Watching |

The other half and I are slowly making our way through The Order in between bouts of gaming, while I’ve been watching Humans, an addictive science fiction series about AI and synthetic consciousness. I first started watching Humans when it was first released and, for some unknown reason, failed to continue – so I have plenty to catch up on!


| Gaming |

For the past two weeks I have been playing copious amounts of No Man’s Sky and Red Dead Redemption 2, interspersed with Apex Legends. No Man’s Sky is a beautiful and expansive game of planetary exploration which I now believe I’m slightly addicted to. Likewise, Red Dead Redemption 2 is a stunning, chaotic and wild ride across the Wild West. Had I not already chosen my Top Ten Games of the Past Two Years, which will be posted next week, these two would almost certainly be featured.


| Posts |

Review: A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers

Music Mondays: Huggin & Kissin

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Book Festivals in the UK

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Books with Red in the Title

Teaser Tuesdays: Ashes of the Sun

Teaser Tuesdays: To Be Taught, If Fortunate

Waiting on Wednesday: Piranesi by Susanna Clarke

Waiting on Wednesday: The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue

The Friday Face-Off: Framed

The Friday Face-Off: White

Friday Firsts: Leviathan Wakes


I hope you all have a wonderful, book-filled week!

What have you been reading, watching and playing this week? Have you accomplished any goals?

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Friday Firsts: Leviathan Wakes


Welcome to Friday Firsts – a weekly meme created by Tenacious Reader. First paragraphs. First impressions. A new favourite?


| Friday Firsts: July 31 |

Leviathan Wakes

Book One of The Expanse

by James S.A. Corey

Science Fiction | 561 Pages | Published by Orbit in 2011


| First Paragraphs |

The Scopuli had been taken eight days ago, and Julie Mao was finally ready to be shot.

It had taken all eight days trapped in a storage locker for her to get to that point. For the first two she’d remained motionless, sure that the armoured men who’d put her there had been serious. For the first hours, the ship she’d been taken aboard wasn’t under thrust, so she floated in the locker, using gentle touches to keep herself from bumping into the walls or the atmosphere suit she shared the space with. When the ship began to move, thrust giving her weight, she’d stood silently until her legs cramped, then sat down slowly into a fetal position. She’d peed in her jumpsuit, not caring about the warm itchy wetness, or the smell, worrying only that she might slip and fall in the wet spot it left on the floor. She couldn’t make noise. They’d shoot her.

Amazon | Book DepositoryGoodreads


| First Impressions |

I have had Leviathan Wakes on my TBR for what seems like an awfully long time and, after watching The Expanse series on Amazon Prime, it became only too apparent that if a TV series is this good then the book really must be something else entirely. So, here I am, writing my Friday Firsts post and I’ve already made it through 25% of the book!

The opening paragraphs are full of tension and mystery – who has taken Julie Mao? Why has she been imprisoned in a storage locker? Where are her crew? – and this theme runs throughout the book as every subsequent chapter amplifies the anticipation, uncertainty and excitement.

Furthermore, as the story progresses the parallels between book and TV series become ever more apparent, highlighting just how good a job the production team did in realising at least the (first quarter of the) first book in the series. This gripping space opera really is no less wonderful for knowing what is coming.

What are you currently reading? What were your first impressions?

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