About Me

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I am a writer, editor and reviewer based in Perth, Western Australia.

The Dagger of Dresnia

My books

My first novel, The Dagger of Dresnia (Book 1 of The Talismans) is published by Satalyte - it's available from their website as well as from Amazon.com and other online outlets. Book 2, The Cloak of Challiver, is in preparation. I also have a short story, La Belle Dame, in print - see Mythic Resonance below.

Buy The Dagger of Dresnia

The Dagger of Dresnia, Book 1 of The Talismans Trilogy, is available in paperback and e-book from the publisher, Satalyte Publications - click on the cover to visit their online shop. You can also purchase it from Amazon.com and other online retailers. The paperback can also be found in selected bookstores in Australia.

Mythic Resonance

Buy Mythic Resonance

Mythic Resonance is an excellent anthology that includes my short story 'La Belle Dame', together with great stories from Alan Baxter, Donna Maree Hanson, Sue Burstynski, Nike Sulway and nine more fantastic authors! Just $US3.99 from Amazon. Got a Kindle? Check out Mythic Resonance.

Prefer hard copy?

There are still a few paperback copies of Mythic Resonance available, too. Contact me (there's a contact form on my website) if you'd like a copy - $20 including postage within Australia.

Your books and theses!

As both writer and editor, I specialise in historical and high or epic fantasy. If you have a fantasy manuscript in preparation, don't waste money on editing too early. Instead, let me help with a mini-assessment of your work, based on careful reading of your synopsis and first 20 pages. Then, when you've worked on the manuscript in line with our discussions, I will be happy to do a full edit before you send it off into the big wide world. I am also an experienced academic editor, and am available to edit theses, journal submissions and other academic papers. For more about my editing work, CLICK HERE

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Places I've lived: Manchester, UK

Places I've lived: Manchester, UK

Places I've lived: Gippsland, Australia

Places I've lived: Gippsland, Australia

Places I've lived: Geelong, Australia

Places I've lived: Geelong,  Australia

Places I've lived: Tamworth, NSW

Places I've lived: Tamworth, NSW

Places I've Lived - Sydney

Places I've Lived - Sydney
Sydney Conservatorium - my old school

Places I've lived: Auckland, NZ

Places I've lived: Auckland, NZ

Places I've Lived: Mount Gambier

Places I've Lived: Mount Gambier
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Places I've lived: Adelaide, SA

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Places I've Lived: Perth by Day
From Kings Park

Places I've lived: High View, WV

Places I've lived: High View, WV

Places I've lived: Lynton, Devon, UK

Places I've lived: Lynton, Devon, UK

Places I've lived: Braemar, Scotland

Places I've lived: Braemar, Scotland

Places I've lived: Barre, MA, USA

Places I've lived: Barre, MA, USA

Places I've Lived: Perth by Night

Places I've Lived: Perth by Night
From Kings Park

Inner Peace Blog

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Awarded by Joanna Fay. Click on the image to visit her lovely website!

Versatile Blogger Award

Versatile Blogger Award
Awarded by Kim Falconer. Click on the pic to check out her Quantum Astrology blog!

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Fabulous Blog Award
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Sunday, 14 April 2013

Book review: Eagle of the East by LS Lawrence

Eagle of the East
Eagle of the East by LS Lawrence

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This review first appeared on the now defunct site The Specusphere in July 2007.

L.S. Lawrence is a nom de plume for one of Aussie fandom's best regarded medieval historians, whose earlier work in the realm of YA fantasy will be familiar to most Speculative Fiction buffs in this country. Out of respect for the wishes of his agent and publisher, his name has been held back from this review. He is, of course, in good company: several other writers use different names for different genres. One who comes to mind is Stateside romance and specfic author Jayne Ann Krentz, who writes under no fewer than seven discrete names!

Based on an intriguing historical vignette, Eagle of the East speculates on the destiny of 10,000 Roman prisoners, who, according to Pliny, were commandeered by the victors to protect the eastern frontier of the Parthian Empire after Crassus's ill-fated expedition in 53 BC. These prisoners, apparently serving as mercenaries, would probably have met the conquering Han Chinese, thus becoming, perhaps, the first westerners to meet people of Chinese ethnicity. From this sketchy episode, Lawrence has developed a richly imagined tapestry of the meeting of three peoples: the Romans, the Parthians and the nomadic tribes of the Central Asian Steppes.

Eagle of the East is largely a coming-of-age novel in which Ardavan, a boy with no father, nevertheless finds his place in the world. Told from the point-of-view of a half-Roman youth of Parthia, the story weaves together themes of jealousy, suspicion, mistrust and murder, giving plenty of opportunity for sword-fighting scenes as well as episodes from the rough-and-tumble life of an army on the march.

While spec-fic fans will miss the magical element that characterized this author's earlier works, young men from eleven to eleventy-one will enjoy Ardavan's adventures. Right from the first chapter, when the youngster defeats a much bigger opponent by squeezing his testicles, we are right in the thick of a world where sharp eyes and ears, together with well-practised self defence skills, are pre-requisites for survival. Along the way, we experience with Ardavan the essentials of Roman fighting techniques, taste the elegant precision of Parthian archery and become embroiled in political and military manoeuvrings and skulduggery.

So many excellent books have been written for young women in recent years that it is a refreshing change to read such a boldly masculine story. Not that the book entirely lacks feminine interest, for the nomadic warrior chieftain Shara will quickly win the heart of any girl who yearns for heroines who are not the usual run-of-the-mill princesses and slave girls so beloved of spec-fic and hist-fic writers. Shara can shoot arrows from horseback faster than I can eat cashew nuts – and that without reins or stirrups. And she gets her man in the end, too, although it must be admitted that romance is only a peripheral element of this unashamedly blokey book.

My only grizzle is that in places I would have liked more dialogue. The narrative is excellent and always in character, but even in the heat of a fight, surely the antagonists would engage in a little light conversation about each other's ancestry and personal habits?

Lawrence has written a story in the tradition of such luminaries of the genre as Rosemary Sutcliff and Mary Stewart. His work, however, is fresh and exciting, being presented in a way that will appeal to today's more streetwise youngsters. Don't tell, them for heaven's sake, that they will be unable to avoid learning a bit of history at the same time. Who knows? Some young men might even find they like it and look for more. Let's hope Lawrence's fertile imagination will come up with a sequel. I, for one, would love to speculate on what those Romans did when they settled in Han country!


View all my Goodreads reviews

4 comments:

Jo said...

Sounds like a good book, will have to see if I can get hold of it here.

Ended up liking my Charles Stross book, still a difficult read tho.

Satima Flavell said...

It's a pity that books from Canada, NZ, South Africa and Oz are not widely available. I'm sure we're all missing out on some very good authors.

Satima Flavell said...

And I'm glad the Stross turned out to be a good read, after all!

john marsh said...

Great piece of writing, I really liked the way you highlighted some really important and significant points. Thanks

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