Sunday 14 January 2018

The Gallery of Curiosities

Received my contributor's copy of the lovely little publication, The Gallery of Curiosities, in the post today, courtesy of its editor and publisher, Kevin Frost, the print version of the podcast.
It contains my story After Nightfall, which has been published several times already, notably in The Year's Best Horror 1 edited by Richard Davis, Fantasy Tales, and more recently in Otto Penzler's mammoth collection Zombies! Zombies! Zombies! - as well as in an unauthorised Russian translation in the early 90s! It's also included in my own collection, The Lurkers in the Abyss and other Tales of Terror (Shadow Publishing).

Thursday 4 January 2018

Simon Scarrow's Day of the Caesars

First book read in 2018 was Simon Scarrow's Day of the Caesars, the latest in his series of novels about Centurian Macro and Prefect Cato in first century Rome.

In the previous novel we saw our interpid legionaires recruited into the Praetorium Guard, then sent off to settle a revolt at a vital silver mine in Spain. Returning to Rome at the start of Day of the Caesars, they expect to be treated as conquering heroes, but the old emperor, Claudius, has died and Nero is the new power in town, and it's not long before they unwillingly find themselves up to their necks in court intrigues, conspiracy and treason.

One of the things I like about Simon Scarrow's novels is how varied they are, so that each novel is refreshingly different. His knowledge of Roman history is phenominal, as is his grasp of character. A thoroughly good read - one which, quite literally, I couldn't put down. The appearance of a new novel about Macro and Cato around the end of the year is one of the few bonuses of the winter-time - and one I have grown to look forward to immensely.

The twists and turns in Day of the Caesars certainly surprised me this time, though they all, in restrospect, make perfect sense - which is a sign of a master teller of tales, which Simon Carrow most certainly is.

Fully recommended.