Shardfall by Paul E. Horsman – Review


Muus is only a thrall, a chattel without rights, but he knows the small, blue shard he picked up belongs to him alone. Kjelle, heir to the Lord of a rich mininghold, is strong, and covetous of his thrall’s tantalizing find. The one’s greed causes an avalanche that leaves both young men marooned on an icy mountain slope. The other’s commonsense saves their lives from cold and starvation. Now the antagonists are bound together on a danger-laden journey to a lost and burning land, where Muus needs to connect the skyshard to the Kalmanir, the standing stone that is the world’s fount of all magic. The Kalmanir’s time is almost up and it urgently needs to be replenished before the magic of Gods and men runs out. The two antagonists have to learn to trust each other, for all around them, enemies abound. Rebels threaten both the kingdom and Kjelle’s holding, and a tribe of mad idolaters is trying to recall the banned primordial Old Gods. Even more imminent is Muus’ danger, for it comes from nearby, from the shard itself. Muus is the only one person in the world who can wield the powerful skyshard. Will he succeed with Kjelle’s help to reach the standing stone before the world’s magic dies? Shardfall is an epic, non-gritty journey through a wild, snowy land. Each of the four main characters, Muus, Kjelle, the young wisewoman Birthe with her baby son Buí and the naive Tuuri, who serves the enemy, will have to overcome not only the dangers of their journey, but also their own shortcomings.



Shardfall is a fantasy story set in Viking times. It begins with a slave named Muus having to travel with his master Kjelle, the heir to the king, up a snowy mountain to find the source of a blue light. There, an avalanche occurs, and the adventure begins for these two boys. They hate each other which adds to the drama of their journey.

I really enjoyed this book; it was fairly easy to follow even with all the different names for people, places, and things. Throw in some magic and you have a great read. The descriptions of the snowy locale were so vivid that I could really feel it.

The characters were all diverse, from slaves to nobility to a völva. The author did a great job revealing their nature to me as I read. I especially liked Birthe, a young widow with a baby. She was tough and smart and very strong-willed.

The main character is a teenage boy but due to violence, subject matter, and some mild profanity, I wouldn’t call it YA. But it could be read by an older teen. It could be a great way to learn about Vikings and hopefully spark some interest in learning some more.

I like a book that moves along, with not a lot of slow spots and this book did just that. Which is hard to do when you are world-building. The only complaint I had was that I felt the story ended a bit abruptly. But I did like how it ended (which I won’t spoil here) and am now wanting to see what happens next!

I enjoyed a red wine, a cabernet with this book!

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About the Author:

Paul E (Erik) Horsman (1952)

Lives in Roosendaal, The Netherlands.

I was born in the year 1952, in the Dutch town of Bussum, a sleepy, well-to-do place that was home to many artists, musicians, writers and publishers. As my family were neither artists nor well-to-do, we moved when I was nine.

When I was seventeen, I started my career as paperclip counter with a worldwide Dutch producer of baby food. After some months, I was finished counting, and I looked around for something more interesting.

A love of books drove me to work in a small bookstore in Rotterdam. An ancient establishment, since 1837, in an old building just too far away from the city’s modern shopping center. It was a nice job, but there wasn’t any future in it. Still, I left it a licensed bookseller.

In 1972 I had to do my stitch for Queen and Country, and as a bad back tied me to a desk job, I applied for a posting overseas. For the Army, that meant Surinam, then still a member of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and one of the most beautiful. Once you’ve seen the jungle, you will never forget it.

To keep it short, I stayed in business, slowly climbing the ladder, until in 1995 I changed direction. That year I joined a large educational institution, at a school specialized in Dutch language and integration courses for foreigners. That meant immigrants, refugees and international businessmen, an interesting mix. It was great work, on the one side teaching crash courses Dutch to high-powered people (we got a lot of very well-educated refugees) and on the other teaching reading and writing to people who had never ever held a pen before, let alone a computer. To see them growing was a reward in itself.

Unhappily, due to changed legislation the language school closed in mid-2012.

In the meantime, I had started my first book (Rhidauna) in 2009 and it got published by Zilverspoor Publishers just before I got laid off. As my age, five years from retirement, made it nigh on impossible to find something else, I started building a career as an independent author.

SF and Fantasy have fascinated me since my high school days, but apart from some juvenile trash, I never seriously tried to write anything. But after several false starts and associated discouraged intervals, a spark began to grow and mid-2010, the first two parts of Shadow of the Revenaunt were more or less written.

My style is probably a bit old-fashioned, Fantasy as a heroic tale with sympathetic heroes/heroines and black villains, in which good always triumphs in the end.

I don’t use my characters as cannon fodder; they get hurt, but their dying is rare.

One of the other elements in my writing I think important is, that both male and female characters have their own lives and goals. Most of them exist primarily for themselves, not as a prop or a love interest for other MC’s. The only character who did die, was actually a prop and I had him killed just to take that away from my lead MC.

A word about the book cover of ‘Shardfall’
Designed by top illustrator Jos Weijmer of JW Art Studio, Maastricht (2013).

The cover gives an impression of a scene from the book, the two main male characters, Muus and Kjelle, wrestling for possession of the blue stone Muus found.

The style of all my covers is purposely old-school Fantasy, to give all my books their own, distinct identity. Because of their nostalgic look, these covers have been met with acclaim among fantasy fans.

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Review of The Emerald Tablet by Joshua Silverman

The Emerald TabletGenre: Sci-Fi, Fantasy

Leoros doesn’t have many friends. The son of a scientist and archeologist, he is constantly on the move. But when his parents make a startling discovery in Egypt, Leoros’ world is turned upside down.

Do you wish you could have the power of a god? Would you use it for good…or for evil?

When an archaeologist discovers the mythic Emerald Tablet buried beneath Egypt’s desert, her son decodes the ancient text leading him to a distant world.

On that world, a slave girl begins a journey towards a destiny she cannot imagine. But when an ancient foe rises from the ashes, they will be brought together by forces neither understands.

Leoros, who dreams of being like the heroes in the comic books, must fight to unlock the secrets of the universe to save a people he never knew existed.

Atlantia, whose bloody visions wake her in the night, senses the darkness coming.

Together they will face an enemy with the power of dark energy, lose a mentor to the assassin’s blade, and be betrayed by someone they trust. Their fight for the future is just beginning, and before it is over, a final sacrifice must be made. When the darkness comes, will they stand and fight or will they join it?

There is darkness in everyone.

My review:

I was really looking forward to this book.  It has a beautiful cover and what’s not to like about good vs evil fantasy?

The story was a little difficult for me to get into at first. We finally meet the hero of the story, Leoros, several chapters into the book.  The author begins with the back stories of how this world was created.  And while it is very descriptive, it does get a bit confusing and I found myself having to re-read some of it so I could fully understand.

Once Leoros uses the Emerald Tablet to travel from modern-time Egypt to this other planet, things become clearer.  And about half-way into the book,  the battle between good and evil begins. The action was well-paced and kept me interested and wanting to see what would happen next.  I also enjoyed how the author shows the evil and how they are able to convince others into believing they are actually the good ones.  At some points, you really don’t know who the good guys are and who the bad guys are.

There are many memorable characters throughout this book and the author has certainly done his homework in regards to Greek and Egyptian mythology and history.  And although the main character is 13, this is not what I would characterize as young adult; there are several scenes not appropriate for younger teens.

Overall, I liked this book and can see the potential as this series progresses. Since this is the first book, we are sure to see Leoros’ character develop further. There are so many really great characters about who I would like to learn more.   I have the feeling that this first book is just the start for Leoros and his true destiny.

I didn’t really drink much wine with this book as I needed a clear head to follow it,  but afterwards, a lovely Shiraz was very nice as I mulled over the adventure I had just read.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.  The opinions expressed are mine.


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About Joshua SilvermanJoshua Silverman

Joshua Silverman was born in Washington, D.C. and raised in Orange County, California.

While attending California State University, Fullerton and studying Criminal Justice, Joshua was introduced to a creative writing class where he wrote a series of paranormal stories. As a child, he has always been an amateur historian, focusing on ancient Egypt, Greece, and Roman civilizations.

Since working in the legal environment, he has combined his passion for creative writing with his love of ancient history by penning his debut novel, The Emerald Tablet, the first of seven in the Legends of Amun Ra series.

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Fall of Sky City by SM Blooding – Review

Fall of Sky CityFall of Sky City

Genre: New Adult Fantasy, Steampunk Adventure

In a world governed by the opposing forces of the mystical House of Tarot and the tribal Great Families, Synn is caught in the crossfire. He witnesses the slaughter of innocent people, and the devastating murder of his father. This act awakens his Mark of power, a Mark greater than any the world has seen in a very long time.

Queen Nix thought she won a great prize when she destroyed Synn’s father, the leader of the strongest Great Families. She had no idea she’d be doubly blessed by capturing his son. However, before Synn can become her treasured weapon, before she can use him to bring the rest of the world to its knees, she must break him and bind his soul to hers.

She does her job with brutal brilliance. Synn’s mind is broken and his soul is seared to hers in an unbreakable bond.

That doesn’t stop him from wanting to be free. She may have broken his mind and claimed his soul, but he will find a way to destroy her.
Experience a world of ships that sail the clouds and cites buried beneath the ocean, and survive the fiery battle brought forth by those who control the forces of nature!



I really had no idea what to expect when I started reading this book. I had never read a “steam punk” adventure novel. I was transported to another world by descriptions of underwater cities, boats that travel the sky, and the many creatures that inhabit that world. The main character Synn is very likable. He is brave, strong, and does what is right, not what is easy. He is captured and brought to Sky City. Their queen, Nix, makes it her mission to make Synn hers, which she does viciously. He escapes with the assistance of his friends and gets back to his mother’s city. There, he learns to use his very powerful Mark and plans are made to bring down the evil Hands, who rule mercilessly. Synn is on a path on self-discovery, to find out just what it takes to be the leader he is meant to be. His life is not turning out how he thought.
This book is full of action, adventure, and even a little humor. It was enjoyable to read as the plot moved along and kept me interested. The fantastic imagery really made me want to go there and hang out with these characters. Well, except for Nix; she was pretty scary!
I am looking forward to the next book in this series so I can see what adventures Synn and his friends encounter as they fight for freedom.
I think a nice bold wine like a Cabernet Sauvignon goes well with this book. Bold like Synn.
I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. The opinions are mine.



About Author SM Blooding

SM Blooding lives in Colorado with her pet rock, Rockie, Ms. Bird, the Chicken and SistaPITA. It’s quite the zoo. She’s taken a break from the piano, which Ms, Bird is quite happy about, and now knows more than one word in Arabic. Basically, she can say hello, good-bye, give it to me, and hurry up!

She’s dated vampires, werewolves, sorcerers, weapons smugglers and US Government assassins. Yes. She has stories.

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