Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update – Toni Pike, Andrew Joyce and Hilary Custance Green

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Welcome to the first of the March Cafe and Bookstore updates. The first author to be updated today is Toni Pike who has released the third book in the Jotham Fletcher Mystery series, The Magus Epiphany

519coziozel-_uy250_About The Magus Epiphany

ONLY ONE MAN CAN STOP THE REVELATION THAT WILL SHATTER THE WORLD.
Jotham Fletcher returns in a deadly quest to save his own family and unravel the mystery behind two ancient relics, the murder of a young woman and a shocking series of messages about an epiphany.

Jotham and Madena have dedicated their lives to stopping the work of the long-hidden Simonian Sect and the Brotherhood who will commit any crime to achieve the same goal. Their belated honeymoon in Italy is interrupted when they cross paths with the sect and hear news of a mysterious object left at the spot where Simon Magus died in Rome two thousand years ago. The hunt begins for answers – and soon they are both in mortal danger.

The maniacal new leader of the sect has a plan to rewrite history. Father Dominic, the head of the Brotherhood, flees across Europe with the help of a brutal killer. A strange series of messages about a solar eclipse has the world waiting for a revelation. And with Jotham’s family at stake, he must confront a nightmare from his past.

FEATURING: a fast-paced and gripping plot, mysterious relics left in Rome and Winchester, kidnapping, robbery, murder and a pursuit stretching from Assisi in Italy to an unforgettable climax in the Scottish Highlands.

By the book: https://www.amazon.com/Epiphany-Jotham-Fletcher-Mystery-Thriller-ebook/dp/B06WD6TCR6

Also in the series

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One of the recent reviews of the first book in the series The Magus Covenant.

A beautiful edge of the seat thriller based on Simon the Magician or Simon Magus mentioned in various places in the Bible. The way the story is woven, the characters developed, the twists and turns that the plot develops as it moves along makes the book alluring, fascinating and irresistible. The revelation at the end takes the reader by total surprise and makes this book a topnotch one! One gets enthralled as one goes through each page! I thoroughly enjoyed this book and look forward to reading Toni’s other book too! 

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Toni-Pike/e/B009I70E8Y

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For more information on Toni and her books and international buy links: https://tonipike.com/the-jotham-fletcher-mystery-thriller-series/

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My next update is for Andrew Joyce and it is my own review for Yellow Hair. The book was on my Christmas book list and I took the opportunity over my recent break to settle in and enjoy.

51zhg2sqivl-_uy250_About Yellow Hair

Through no fault of his own, a young man is thrust into a new culture just at the time that culture is undergoing massive changes. It is losing its identity, its lands, and its dignity. He not only adapts, he perseveres and, over time, becomes a leader—and on occasion, the hand of vengeance against those who would destroy his adopted people.

Yellow Hair documents the injustices done to the Sioux Nation from their first treaty with the United States in 1805 through Wounded Knee in 1890. Every death, murder, battle, and outrage written about actually took place. The historical figures that play a role in this fact-based tale of fiction were real people and the author uses their real names. Yellow Hair is an epic tale of adventure, family, love, and hate that spans most of the 19th century.
This is American history.

My review for Yellow Hair.

As a child of the 1960s, and with a father who was a huge Western fan, it was easy to get carried away with the dramatic and sweeping misinformation that was paraded before us. John Wayne led the charge across the plains and the common theme running through these Hollywood epics was ‘the only good injun, is a dead injun!’

Then in my late teens I read Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown and my love affair with many of the western films was at an end.

I had read the reviews of Yellow Hair and I was interested to read this fictionalised version of actual events. I was not disappointed and as I was introduced to the back stories of the white settlers, and their often very pragmatic and desperate reasons for heading into the West, I began to see how it was not usually a malicious intrusion and greedy land grab but two cultures being misled and manipulated by the US Government and those with commercial interests.

You reach a point early on in the book; having been introduced to the settlers in this wagon train, when you are shocked into the recognition of how very dangerous their undertaking was and how unprepared the majority of them were.

Then begins the saga that becomes the story of a white man living as part of this besieged indigenous people, struggling to maintain their traditions and to survive the destruction of their way of life and the land that sustains them.

The list of injustices is very long, and the brutality of the clashes between the cultures, graphic and very disturbing. Peace was brokered time after time and promises were made that were only as good for as long as it took the ink to dry. You will be shocked at your sense of outrage as the behaviour of those in power and also saddened that these once proud and flourishing tribes should be so decimated in just 85 years.

Andrew Joyce does not pull any punches, but he presents the facts well and fairly. The thread that binds the story together, and humanises it, is the story of a young man with a foot in both cultures. Seeing the events and catastrophic impact on both settler and Indian through his eyes, will make you question much of the history written by the victors and then dramatised for our entertainment.

I recommend that you read the book for yourselves and you can find it here:

Read all the reviews and BUY the book: https://www.amazon.com/Yellow-Hair-Andrew-Joyce-ebook/dp/B01LXOXHBI

Also by Andrew Joyce

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BUY all the books: https://www.amazon.com/Andrew-Joyce/e/B00EUCFDTM

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Connect to Andrew: https://andrewjoyce.wordpress.com/

The final author update today is for Hilary Custance Green and her book Surviving The Death Railway – A POW’s memoir and Letters from Home.

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About the book

The ordeals of the POWs put to slave labour by their Japanese masters on the ‘Burma Railway’ have been well documented yet never cease to shock. It is impossible not to be horrified and moved by their stoic courage in the face of inhuman brutality, appalling hardship and ever-present death. While Barry Custance Baker was enduring his 1000 days of captivity, his young wife Phyllis was attempting to correspond with him and the families of Barry’s unit.

Fortunately these moving letters have been preserved and appear, edited by their daughter Hilary, in this book along with Barry’s graphic memoir written after the War. Surviving the Death Railway’s combination of first-hand account, correspondence and comment provide a unique insight into the long nightmare experienced by those in the Far East and at home. The result is a powerful and inspiring account of one of the most shameful chapters in the history of mankind which makes for compelling reading.

The latest review for the book

By OlgaNM on 28 Feb. 2017

Thanks to Hilary Custance Green (who edited part of her family history and that of many others) and to Katie Eaton from Pen & Sword Books Limited (www.pen-and-sword.co.uk) for sending me a paperback copy of this book that I freely choose to review.

As a reader, when it comes to stories about the war, I’ve always been more interested in the individuals (both in the front and back home) than in the way the battles were fought. I had heard, read, and mostly watched TV programmes and movies about Japanese war camps (I won’t forget Tenko in a hurry). Probably lots of people have. This book provides the personal experience of a family whose lives were affected and transformed by the war. We get to know Barton (Barry) Custance Baker, born in Malaya, before the war; we later learn of his marriage to Phyllis and then we follow him all the way back to Malaya and read on as he becomes father and prisoner of war. We also read (thanks to the correspondence of the period, some that reached its destination and some that didn’t) about Phyllis’s life, the thoughts of those left back home and the way they tried to hang on to hope.

The book combines letters from Barry to Phyllis about his life in the East, most of the time not sure if any of them would make it to his wife, letters from Phyllis to Barry, trying to keep up his spirits with news about their son, Robin, and his family, and the diary Barry wrote, containing more details about his time abroad, although always trying to emphasise the positive and understate the difficulties. The combination of these narratives creates a complex and complementary testimony of the varied experiences of the war for those on both sides of the conflict, such as the difficulty of being away and separated from those you love for years, missing the early years of a son you hardly know and worrying that you might no longer know your partner when you go back (or when they come back), and contrasting the often mistaken ideas and thoughts about what the other party might be enduring.

Barry’s parents thought he would be bored as a PoW, never imagining he would be building a railway line, the Thailand-Burma railway, appropriately called Death Railway, as it cost so many lives (not only British). That he, as an officer, might be engaged in heavy labouring work, starved and ill did not enter their imagination.

Barry also had little concept of life back home and did not have news of his parents’ move to San Francisco to help with radio transmissions in Malayan or later, of the death of his younger brother, John. He imagines there might be some restrictions and even danger, but not how unsettling the lack of news was.

Barry’s efforts trying to ensure he kept track of his men and that he did all he could to keep them safe were echoed by those made by Phyllis, who tried her hardest to create a network of information to share any news between the relatives and friends of the men in her husband’s unit, sending encouraging letters, and even creating a dossier with as much data as possible about all the men, to facilitate the task of the War Office in identifying and reporting their fate.

The book is extraordinary too because it clearly shows the tireless efforts they all made to try and keep in touch at a time when communication with each other wasn’t only a click away, and when sometimes years might pass without any news of the other person (and in the best case scenario the news might be years old by the time they get it). Forget about 140 characters on Twitter. The rules of their communication kept changing and at some point they could only send 25 words to their loved one, and that included the date. And the best they could hope for was a prewritten card with only a few words added by hand.

If physically the experiences are very different (although not full of gross details, we get a clear sense of the trials and suffering the men had to endure), mentally, the toll of the lack of information, of the separation and the impotence is clear on both sides. And those letters of mothers, girlfriends, uncles, asking for information about their loved ones, sharing the good and bad news, but always trying to encourage the other person, no matter what their lot has been, are impossible to forget. Even the replies to Phyllis request for particulars about the men convey so much more than what is written. It is amazing how a few words to describe somebody can be so full of feeling and be so touching, and how much they say about unspoken emotions.

As readers, we can but share in the feelings, and are touched by the hopes, anxieties, and stress of the situation. We are given an extraordinary insight into the lives of people whom we might have known, and who could have been our neighbours, friends, or family. We read about their joy at the impending reunion and their wish to get to know each other (and the worry that they might no longer recognise or like the persons they have become). Barry and Phyllis become our ersatz family and we’re happy to learn they had more children and lived happy and fulfilling lives. I was particularly moved by a moment towards the end of Barry’s life when he’s ill in hospital and for a moment believes he’s back at the camp. When his daughter (Hilary) explains to him what has happened since and he realises he’s ill and dying but has lived a full life he says ‘I’ll settle for that’. I hope we all can say that when our time comes.

Hilary Custance Green, the editor of the book, and Barry and Phyllis’s daughter has found the way of letting the letters and the diary tell the story, with very little explanation or unnecessary interference, other than minimal clarifications or explanations when needed. The material is powerful enough in its own right. She has done a great job and the book is a great memorial not only to her parents but also to all the men and women who went through the experience. At the end of the book, there is a call to anybody who might have information about families of members of the Men of 27 Line Section to get in touch with the editor. Don’t forget to pass the message on if you know anybody connected to the menor with contacts who might have more information.

In summary, this is a fantastic book for those interested in World War II, both from the point of view of war action and of the home front, those interested in stories about PoW, tales of human bravery, valour, endurance and the heroism of extraordinary ‘ordinary’ people. Don’t miss this book and don’t forget to pass it on to anybody who might have known a member of the unit.

 Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/d/Books/Surviving-Death-Railway-Pows-Memoir-Letters-Home/1473870003

Also by Hilary Custance Green

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Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hilary-Custance-Green/e/B0034Q4SEQ

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Connect to Hilary via her website: http://www.hilarycustancegreen.com

Thanks for dropping by today and if you would like to feature in the Cafe and Bookstore then please click on this link: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore/

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22 thoughts on “Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update – Toni Pike, Andrew Joyce and Hilary Custance Green

  1. Pingback: Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update – Toni Pike, Andrew Joyce and Hilary Custance Green | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

  2. Reblogged this on Toni Pike and commented:
    Many thanks to Sally Cronin for including “The Magus Epiphany” in her latest Author Update, alongside great writers Andrew Joyce and Hilary Custance Green. I’m very lucky to be included in “Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore” where you can find an excellent and wide-ranging selection of authors and their books.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Smorgasbord Round Up | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

  4. Pingback: Smorgasbord Round Up – Loss, Memories, Blog Sitters and The Colour of Life | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

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