Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Wayward Herald: A Goodreads Giveaway for Enoch’s Device!

Good tidings from Goodreads! A giveaway of 10 copies of Enoch’s Device kicks off today on Goodreads.com! Any Goodreads members can register to win. Enoch’s Device is a fast-paced medieval adventure steeped in history, mythology, and mysteries from a dark and magical past. You can enter for the giveaway here!


Here are some quotes from recent reviews:
"Enoch's Device is a wonderfully imagined, vividly described, alternately lyrical and violent romp of a novel that should give lovers of historical fantasy just the kind of fix they're looking for." - Steven Reynolds, SPR
"Real magic exists within these pages, and it's woven into the story so well that you will be wondering exactly where fact turns to fiction." - Marty Shaw, Reader Views
In other tidings, on one of my new, favorite blogs, Ancient & Medieval Mayhem, there is a great interview with historical fiction author Ben Kane (interviewed here on this blog about his novel Spartacus: The Gladiator ). You can read the interview at Ancient & Medieval Mayhem here.

Meanwhile, this week The Passive Voice quoted from an article on The Daily Beast titled Can Barnes & Noble Be Saved? It hearkens back to an earlier Wayward Herald post titled Is The End Nigh For Brick & Mortar Bookstores? I really hope B&N can survive, but only time will tell.

Until next time, good tidings and good day!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Every Good Journey Tale Needs A Map

One of the things I love about journey tales is all the different places they can take the reader. For example, my own novel, Enoch’s Device, begins at the monastery of Derry in Ireland, but the journey soon takes my protagonist to France (and the cities of Paris and Poitiers), and finally into the heart of Moorish Spain and the city of Córdoba. And like most good journey tales, I provided a map. Here it is.

The map of Tenth-Century Europe in Enoch's Device
Long before writing Enoch’s Device, I was always a fan of the maps that accompanied my favorite journey tales, whether it was Tolkien’s map showing Bilbo’s journey from the Shire to the Lonely Mountain, or David Eddings’ map of the kingdoms of the West and the Angaraks in The Belgariad. I’ve grown especially fond of the much-needed maps of Westeros in George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire (talk about a series that takes a reader different places; without the maps, it could be hard to follow!), and I love the fact that the HBO series uses an animated map in the opening credits of Game of Thrones. While only some of Bernard Cornwell’s stories are journey tales, many of his novels have maps, and some are quite beautiful. In fact, the map at the beginning of Agincourt is one of my favorites.

I’m sure I’ve left out other good examples. But if you have a favorite journey tale with a great map, post a comment and let me know!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Enoch’s Device Picks Up More Reviews!

This week, Enoch’s Device received two more reviews on the web. Steven Reynolds' review on SPR went live on February 12. You can read the complete review here, but here are some highlights:
Enoch’s Device is a wonderfully imagined, vividly described, alternately lyrical and violent romp of a novel that should give lovers of historical fantasy just the kind of fix they’re looking for.”
“There’s a lot to like here. Finley drops the reader immediately into the action, allowing the characters to reveal and explain themselves as the story unfolds. The prose style is clean and functional without being drearily plain. Finley isn’t afraid of complex images or longer sentences, and he has the skill to wield them usefully. Where extended narrative sections are required, as in describing the historical settings, Finley calls on extensive research and deploys some well-chosen facts and delightful visual details to immerse the reader deep in the historical moment. The descriptions of Poitiers and Córdoba are especially impressive. They had me rushing off to Google Earth to see how much of their medieval magnificence survives today.”
I really appreciate that last comment. It was a both a challenge and great fun to imagine what these cities looked like in the Tenth Century. Here is another comment I really appreciated:
“Finley combines astrology, Celtic myth, and the Jewish and Christian faiths to draw out commonalities and connections, arguing, it would seem, for a universal origin. Better yet, he does so in a way that is convincing: it doesn’t feel forced or faintly ludicrous as the claimed connections do, for example, in The Da Vinci Code.”
Marty Shaw of Reader Views also reviewed the novel. His review first appeared on Blogcritics.com, and will soon be featured on Reader Views. Here are some excerpts, and you can read the entire review here:
“I’ll be honest and admit I wasn’t a fan of Dan Brown’s The DaVinci Code, so I was a little hesitant when I flipped open Enoch’s Device by Joseph Finley, imagining a dry mystery buried within a description-heavy historical setting, but I was hooked within the first few pages and that other novel was quickly forgotten.
“The number one difference between Finley’s debut novel and any other historical fiction book out there is that the story offers much more than a mystery to be solved. Real magic exists within these pages, and it’s woven into the story so well that you will be wondering exactly where fact turns to fiction.
* * *
“In addition to the people that populate the story, the setting itself is a powerful character within the book. You’ll easily imagine yourself standing on the grassy plains of Ireland and feel the salty spray of the ocean against your face as demons attack the ship you’re on which sailing. The locations, the experiences, and the time period itself come to life with the author’s talented use of words.
“If you enjoy tales of magic and adventure that are perfectly blended with reality and history, Enoch’s Device by Joseph Finley will be an exciting read for you.”
It’s truly gratifying to know that people like the book. Of course, the novel’s very first review on the web came from blogger Leslie Hedrick. You can read it here. Also, no one can match Leslie’s talent for finding amusing videos about monks. Even if you don’t read the review, you should visit her site for the videos alone!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Wayward Herald: News on The Hobbit and Enoch’s Device!

The Wayward Herald has been rather wayward of late (isn’t that the point), but he arrives once more with tidings from the Middle-Earth News. It seems that the film version of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit has surpassed the first two films of The Lord of the Rings at the box-office.
 
“According to Deadline, as of this past weekend, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey surpassed the worldwide box office take of both The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring and The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.”
You can read the rest of the article here.

Frankly, I’m not surprised. While The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was a bit too long, Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings films built a huge following, and the look and feel of The Hobbit is the same. It was an ambitious task to stretch The Hobbit into three films, but I really like how Mr. Jackson is using the material from the appendix to The Return of the King to make this series a true prequel to The Lord of the Rings.

In other news, my own novel, Enoch’s Device, is now available in paperback from Barnes & Noble.com, in addition to Amazon! It’s also available as an ebook from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and Smashwords. And you can read the a review of the novel at Leslie Hedrick’s blog here!
 
 
Until next time, good tidings and good day!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Book Review: Stonehenge

I picked up this book a while back because I’m a huge Bernard Cornwell fan and have always been interested in Stonehenge. It was not my favorite Cornwell novel, but that’s probably because of its Bronze Age setting (I really prefer Cornwell’s books set in the Middle Ages). To be clear, however, Stonehenge did not disappoint.


The novel takes place around 2000 B.C. and most of the story events surround the construction of Stonehenge. In this sense, it was a lot like The Pillars of the Earth – except with Bronze Age characters. And like The Pillars of the Earth, the characters drive this story, which concerns the three sons of Hengall, a tribal chieftain. Lengar, the eldest son, is a ruthless warrior who wants to bring war against the tribe’s enemies. Camaban, the middle son, is an outcast and a sorcerer who speaks to the gods and is determined to build a temple that will change the world. While Saban, the youngest son and the story’s protagonist, longs for peace.

After Lengar kills his father to become chief of the tribe, a tale of jealousy, betrayal, and murder ensues. Camaban believes that only the construction of a great temple to the sun god can save the land, and he’s convinced that Saban must build it. Over time, the brothers encounter two strong female characters, Derrewyn and Aurenna, whose actions, much like those of Nimue and Guinevere in The Warlord Chronicles, will determine the fate of men.

The drama plays out amid the madness of primitive religion, with its sex rites and human sacrifice. The latter is quite disturbing, both to the reader and to Saban, but this theme of violence in the name of religion is one of the book’s most thought-provoking elements. While I prefer Cornwell’s novels set in the Middle Ages, I am glad I ventured back a few thousand years and explored Stonehenge.