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Bernard Cornwell - The Last Kingdom Series, Book 1 Review

The first book of nine re The Last Kingdom series, Bernard Cornwell uses mostly real figures such as Alfred the Great and his one-time nemesis Guthrum in this story of an orphaned Saxon, Uhtred. Uhtred is of noble birth, and he ends up being adopted by Danish chieftain Ragnar, and Uhtred subsequently fights for the Danes against the Saxons. But everything then changes...

This is a compelling story, which doesn't shy away from the brutality of the period. Thankfully, the explicit brutality towards people and animals alike is infrequent, and the book paints an accurate picture of what life was like in England when the Danes were here.

- Paul Rance/

Best Sellers in Kindle Store BOOK REVIEWS/COMMENTS

Richard Adams - Watership Down
Jane Austen - Pride And Prejudice
Lewis Carroll - Alice In Wonderland and Through The Looking Glass
Miguel de Cervantes - Don Quixote
Charles Dickens - A Tale Of Two Cities
Charles Dickens - Oliver Twist
Harry Graham - When Grandmama Fell Off The Boat
Kenneth Grahame - The Wind In The Willows
Graham Greene - Brighton Rock
John Hegley - Glad To Wear Glasses
James Joyce - Dubliners
Franz Kafka - The Trial
Ric Klass - Excuse Me For Living
Robert Lacey, Danny Danziger - The Year 1000

Edward Lear - Complete Nonsense
C.S. Lewis - The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe
Paul Merton - My Struggle
George Orwell - 1984
Wilfred Owen - Collected Poems
J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone
J.D. Salinger - The Catcher In The Rye
Anna Sewell - Black Beauty
Fiona Snelson - The NSPCC Book Of Famous Faux Pas
Voltaire - Candide

The Wilfred Owen page

Homer's 'The Iliad' Book 1

Aesop's Fables

Edgar Allan Poe - The Black Cat

Plus a lengthy appreciation of Philip Pullman's 'His Dark Materials' Trilogy by Dorothy Koenigsberger.

Writers Interviews


"A fantasy tale for 8-14 year olds"

"An intriguing adventure as the young Fynn moves from her believable world into a captivating tale of hope, friendship and survival inside the lands of the Watcheye."
FAY-NIGHTS @ £6.75 from bookshops. Or: A special signed numbered edition @ £8.75 - includes p&p from Author, 35 Par Green, Par, Cornwall, PL24 2AF.
ISBN 978 1 904 17709 8

Books by founder Paul Rance on Amazon

Mother Becomes Stardust By Paul Rance

Mother Becomes Stardust

A story of bravery, love and resistance

Mother Becomes Stardust By Paul Rance Kindle Mother Becomes Stardust Paperback

Mother Becomes Stardust Kindle Mother Becomes Stardust Paperback

An inspiring book by Paul Rance, who details his Mother Thelma's brave fight against breast cancer and a disabling stroke. This book also details problems encountered dealing with 'the system', within Lincolnshire and beyond, and how the power of music can work as therapy.

Born in 1945, Francis Pryor is best known for his work at Flag Fen and on the Channel 4 series Time Team.
Cover of Flag Fen: Life and Death of a Prehistoric Landscape ~ Francis Pryor
Flag Fen: Life and Death of a Prehistoric Landscape
~ Francis Pryor, available from

Sanford Holst - Phoenician Secrets: Exploring the Ancient Mediterranean Review

When asked about the great ancient Mediterranean civilizations, the Romans, Greeks and Egyptians will probably be the first three that most people name. After reading Sanford Holst's illuminating book, I would say that the Phoenicians deserve to be mentioned in the same breath. Their achievements alone were breathtaking, but how they managed to succeed adhering to a strict peaceful philosophy, early on in their civilization at least, is just as remarkable.

- Paul Rance/

Paul Rance Being St. Francis paperback front cover
Available from, Being St. Francis is a book that will appeal to people who care about making this world a better place.

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5 Fantasy Books for Children
By Paul Rance

Since J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter became such a phenomenon in the Western world, the fantasy genre in literature has never been so popular.

Some of the best loved children's books are fantasy related, and England's greatest playwright, William Shakespeare, was not averse to writing fantasy tales, namely 'A Midsummer's Night Dream'. Increasingly, fantasy is associated with dragons, magic, and supernatural powers, but though they are important elements, fantasy is really something that changes reality into something unreal. Any list of inspirational fantasy books for children will be subjective. But, this list covers fantasy through the ages, from 'Gulliver's Travels' of the 1700s, up to Harry Potter at the end of the 20th Century.

Jonathan Swift - Gulliver's Travels

A bewildering book, as the central character Lemuel Gulliver is first captured by a tiny race of people, the Lilliputians, and then captured by giants in Brobdingnag. 'Gulliver's Travels' makes the reader think about man's place in the world, and shows that size and strength can be overcome. But 'Gulliver's Travels' teaches this in an understated and entertaining way. It's also, fundamentally, a good story.

C.S. Lewis - The Chronicles of Narnia

The adventures of four children, siblings Peter, Lucy, Susan, and Edmund, revolve around the magical land of Narnia, and the mystical lion, Aslan. The children are befriended by a great number of combative animal friends in their adventures and battles, and the White Witch is one of Narnia's foes. The Narnia books were originally published in the 1950s, and as with the Harry Potter series, 'The Chronicles of Narnia' have been adapted for several movies.

Kenneth Grahame - The Wind in the Willows

Four lovable animal characters, Toad, Ratty, Mole and Badger, made Kenneth Grahame's 1908 book one of the most beloved in children's literature. Toad is the rebellious and dominant figure in the 'The Wind in the Willows', and has delusions of grandeur. His other three animal friends despair at his eccentric behaviour, which eventually gets him into trouble with the law.

J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, aka Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

J.K. Rowling's stunning Harry Potter debut in 1997 contained simple, universal ideas about good and evil, but which were utilized for a modern readership. One of the book's strengths is how the author vividly portrays everything. This allows the characters and their situations to come alive with great clarity. There are also the unexpected twists, which often help to turn a good story into a great one. Which this one undoubtedly is.

Lewis Carroll - Alice's Adventures in Wonderland/Through the Looking Glass

Probably the two greatest children's fantasy books written in the 19th Century. Both 'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland', and its sequel, 'Through the Looking-Glass', are equally strong. The central character, Alice, is transported into a world of extraordinary creatures and people, such as the Mad Hatter, the White Rabbit, the Cheshire-Cat, and the Red Queen. These characters are some of the most famous in all literature, not just in the fantasy genre.

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On the Road (Penguin Modern Classics) ~ Jack Kerouac
Available from On the Road (Penguin Modern Classics) ~ Jack Kerouac

On the Road was like the Bible for the Beat Generation, though parts of it will now seem politically incorrect to many modern readers.

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