Tag Archives: historical

Featured New Book Spotlight: Vikings: The Truth About Lagertha And Ragnar: A historically accurate retelling of the ninth book of the Gesta Danorum by Rachel Tsoumbakos


I LOVE having books to feature around here, and I’m glad to see submissions rolling in. Keep ’em coming, so keep spreading the word.

Today we have one of my friends from Triberr, and although this book has a super long title, I’m fascinated just by the concept of it. It seems (to me, anyway) that lately, we’ve been learning that Vikings are more than just all rape-pillage-boats-conquer-wear hats with horns. And this book definitely helps us learn more than the old-time stereotype.

The book is called Vikings: The Truth About Lagertha and Ragnar: A historically accurate retelling of the ninth book of the Gesta Danorum. (Did anyone else not know what a Gesta Danorum is, or am I deficient?)

So. Author Rachel Tsoumbakos, what song makes you think of this incredibly ambitious-sounding book?

If I Had A Heart by Fever Ray

Not only is this song included in the opening credits to History Channel’s Vikings, but the theme of the song feels like it is on a very similar trajectory to that of Lagertha and Ragnar’s love story in my novel. Vikings: The Truth about Lagertha and Ragnar delves into their story and tries to shed some light onto the real version rather than the one shown on TV. Even though both characters are faced with many obstacles in their relationship, like the line “crushed and filled with all I found,” they still care for each other. They still feel the need their love “will never end” because they want more. However, it is never quite clear until the very end of their Viking saga whether their story will have a happy ending or not.

But… it’s a romance between Lagertha and Ragnar, right? But… it’s also real life, so…

Ugh. Now I NEED to read this!

Here’s the back cover copy:

Lagertha was known to be one of the wives of the famous Viking, Ragnar Lodbrok. But did you know they first met each other at a brothel? And just how long did their marriage last? Was Lagertha really the revered shield maiden we see her as today? ‘Vikings: The Truth About Lagertha And Ragnar’ aims to unravel all these secrets.

‘Vikings: The Truth About Lagertha And Ragnar’ is so much more than a history book though.

In Part One their story is brought to life with a historically accurate retelling. Part Two then explores the historical facts surrounding this story.

‘Vikings: The Truth About Lagertha And Ragnar’ aims to discover just how much of what we know of the shield maiden, Lagertha, and the famous Ragnar Lodbrok in popular culture today is actually true.

‘The Truth About’ series explores the historical fact from present day fiction in regards to the Vikings and other key historical figures that existed in the Viking era.

Pick up your copy. It’s Amazon-only, so know that going in.

And if you do read it, be sure to leave a review! If not at the place of purchase, then consider GoodReads or the other social book networks, or if you ask nicely, I’ll loan you my blog for a day. Reviews help books find new friends!

Connect with Rachel, too. (She writes amazing reviews of popular TV shows, and I recommend them!)


Featured New Book: The King’s Redress by Devorah Fox


It was only a couple of months ago that Devorah Fox stopped in to tell us about a book. And she’s back! We love repeat visitors here at West of Mars, so we’re more than glad to host Devorah today with her new book, The King’s Redress.


As always, before we tell you about the book, let’s start with the important stuff: the music. And let me tell you, this music is a doozy.

That would have to be “Candleman” by Billy McLaughlin.

There are a number of military campaigns in The King’s Redress and the song’s steady rhythm is like the movement of an army on a march. The percussion sounds like the clopping of a horse’s hooves and the guitar fingering ebbs and flows like the rising and falling action of a story. There’s a Celtic hint to the tune that calls up images of hard life in ancient times. When I hear the song’s final fade I picture a trail that cuts through rolling terrain narrowing as it approaches the horizon, and finally disappearing, like the tale reaching its conclusion. However, just as that road continues on the other side of that hill, albeit out of sight, King Bewilliam’s story may stretch beyond the last page of this volume.

Despite the odds, King Bewilliam persists in his struggle to attain his goals. McLaughlin’s personal story of triumph over adversity is inspiring in its own right.


Okay, guess what? I’ve never heard of Billy McLaughlin. If you haven’t, either, check him out. What a touch this man has on a guitar string. Wow.

So what’s the book about? Other than about a king? Well…

When everyone you trust turns against you, what do you do? Dragon slayer of renown, Robin, King Bewilliam, has bested both man and beast to battle his way back to the Chalklands and reunite with his sons, but discord threatens the kingdom’s hard-won peace and prosperity. War breaks out and Robin finds that there is no one he can trust, not even his closest knights. Fighting for his throne pits him against a shocking, unsuspected rival. With his own life and lives of all his imperiled subjects at stake, Robin faces off against his fiercest enemy in mortal combat.

What a contrast to Naked Came the Sharks, huh? Devorah, my friend, your range is impressive!

If you’re as intrigued as I am, here’s the links you need:



Connect with Devorah while you’re at it.






Featured New Book: The Briton and the Dane by Mary Ann Bernal


It’s through Triberr that I’ve come to know Mary Ann Bernal, a lady with some fascinating interests. If you watch her blog, you’ll be as blown away as I am.


So I’m pleased to bring you the song that makes her think of her new book, The Briton and the Dane. I’ll hand it over to her now:

Verdi – Requiem Mass Dies Irae

The music sets the stage for the tumultous storm that transport Gwyneth back in time, when treachery, deception and betrayal run rampant in 11th century Britain.

Short and sweet… So what’s the book about?

Dr. Gwyneth Franger is a renowned expert in early medieval England who is set upon learning the truth about the death of Lord Erik, the last descendant of the powerful House of Wareham. Her quest becomes an obsession, a condition that began with the discovery of a portrait of the tall and valiant warrior with which she forms an extraordinary and inexplicable bond.

Digesting troves of mildewed scrolls and source documentation only enhances her belief that Lord Erik was brutally assassinated by a cabal of traitors in the pay of William the Bastard, shortly before the onslaught of the Norman Invasion.

On an archeological dig in Southern England, her team unearths an Anglo-Saxon fortress, a vast citadel built during the reign of Alfred the Great, which she believes was Lord Erik’s stronghold. In the midst of her excitement, she is awakened one night from her slumbers by a disconcerting anomaly emerging from the site.

Dr. Franger finds herself transported back to the Dark Ages and at the side of the noble Lord Erik who commands an army of elite Saxon warriors, a swift and mobile force able to deploy quickly throughout the kingdom to ward off invaders.

Witnessing the unrest firsthand, Gwyneth senses that her instincts had been right all along, and she is determined to learn the identities of the treacherous blackguards hiding in the shadows, villains who may well be posing as Lord Erik’s friends and counselors.

Will Gwyneth stop the assassins? Is she strong enough to walk away and watch her beloved Erik die? Or will she intervene, change the course of history and wipe out an entire timeline to save the man she loves with all her heart?

Buy links!

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Connect with Mary Ann:


Featured New Book: Lady Gwendolyn by Magnolia Belle


This is one of those rarities for me… a book I edited that I can tell you I edited — some folk like to keep their editors close by, fearing being told they will have to wait weeks or months for an opening.

I loved working on this book, I love how it turned out, and I think anyone who likes a good, fun romp with knights and ladies and hired hands and treachery and handsome men and valiant women… well, it’s all right here for ya. Have at it.

The book is Lady Gwendolyn, by my bud Magnolia Belle. And if I didn’t convince you yet that you need this one, check out what song makes Belle think of her book:

Bridge’s Ode, first track on “Celtic Classic: An Enchanted Journey” fits the mood of “Lady Gwendolyn”. It hearkens back to medieval times where the wild, piercing scenery of England and Scotland could steal your breath and the hardness of life could break your heart.

Here’s the book trailer link

Belle makes really good book trailers — and I am not a fan of trailers. But somehow, Belle has a touch and I have yet to watch one that she’s made and come away with a migraine.

Ready for the blurb?

In early medieval days, bandits beset a caravan taking Lady Gwendolyn Hampton of England to marry Angus Dewar in Scotland. In the confusion, she escapes, while the bandits think her maid, Madeleine, is her. From one peril to another, Madeleine must keep the ruse in order to stay alive. Lady Gwendolyn’s brother, Lord Richard Hampton, wants Madeleine as his consort, and tries to rescue her. Through betrayal, intrigue and murder, she becomes a woman of title, and must decide if she wants the life he offers.

Ready to get a copy? I know you are!
Smashwords (affiliate link!)

Amazon Author page