New (Jan 2016) Review of Amulet II from the SanDiego Book Review:
Wounded in the Battle at Tigranocerta, Roman Ninth Legionnaire, Aulus Veridius Scapula, recovers under the watchful care of Pontus Queen, Hypsicratea. Upon a sounding alarm that the King is returning, Aulus must say his goodbyes, depart for Rome, claim his pension back pay, and find his stolen amulet. Accompanied by his female companion Aripele, nothing goes as planned. But does it ever?
Roman history enthusiasts will find //Amulet II// a gratifying and worthwhile read. Based in the mid first century BC, readers are transported through several overlapping storylines that harmoniously intertwine, moving between forbidden romances, street fights, cold-blooded murder, war campaigns, and the mysterious whereabouts of his stolen amulet.
The book’s initially smooth and causal pacing is unexpected, opening the storyline with a thick emotional drama void of action. This could confuse readers who were expecting action from the get go, but patience is a virtue, as is the case with //Amulet II//, that is well rewarded by the end of the book.
Without warning author Fredrik Nath quickens the pace, pouring action into the drama which remains steadfast right up until the very end. Readers will delight with the well balanced fight scenes, justly detailed and tending to never drag on longer than need be.
The battles, while often detailed and graphic, are thoroughly riveting creating glorious visuals. Aulus, the main character, is an exquisite example of character building. He has the greatness of a champion, but he’s not without humility as he’s not invincible, willing to go to great lengths to do whatever he must even at the expense of his own life.
While historical buffs might point out several historical inaccuracies, they don’t compromise the actual story and readers will find flawless transitions between the various scenes. //Amulet II// is easily a stand alone book that might start out a little too casual, but packs a punch you won’t want to miss. Whether or not Roman history is your forte, //Amulet II// is definitely worthy of your time.
Review of Galdir Protector of Rome:
From Italophile Book Reviews
The books in the Galdir Saga series follow Galdir from child barbarian, to slave, to rebel soldier, to bodyguard, to royal bodyguard, and finally to the tribal leader he was born to become. The books in the series are:
- Galdir - A Slave's Tale
- Galdir - Rebel of the North
- Galdir - Protector of Rome
- Galdir - (in the works)
Reviews of The Cyclist by Fred Nath
( Historical Novels Society Review - Editor's choice) Fred Nath, Fingerpress Ltd, 2010, £12.99, pb, 304pp, 9780956492517
In Vichy, France, the French police continue to operate and to uphold the law within limitations placed upon them by their German occupiers. Auguste Ran has accepted the situation and has followed orders as best he can in the belief that he is serving the good of France. This blind acceptance is challenged and finally destroyed when a young French student is found raped and murdered. Sure the culprit is Helmut Brunner, a German Security Police major, Auguste is nonetheless thwarted at every level in his attempts to indict him.
The scales fall from Auguste’s eyes and he realises that he has been complicit in the Nazi atrocities and crimes against the Jewish locals. Determined to make amends, he agrees to hide the daughter of his greatest childhood friend, Pierre, a freedom fighter and a Jew. In doing so he risks not only his life, but those of his wife and daughter. Yet once started, he will do all in his power to keep his promise to Pierre and also to prevent Brunner from striking again. It is a pledge that will cleanse Auguste’s soul but cost him dearly.
The Cyclist examines what it was like to live under an aggressive victor and highlights just how easy it is for even a good man to become deaf and blind to genocide and to keep his head down and simply “follow orders.” There is a palpable sense of fear pervading the pages, where every knock at the door can signal death and disaster. At the conclusion, there is a breath of redemption and then an aftertaste of bitterness, because the greater good can so easily be won only at the cost of personal sorrow and loss.
This is a haunting and bittersweet novel that stays with you long after the final chapter – always the sign of a really well-written and praiseworthy story. It would also make an excellent screenplay. --Sara WilsonBy Marie / Little Interpretations
Holding it in my hand, this book has a slightly larger than average format with a glossy cover and bright white pages, feeling more like a textbook than a wartime novel. Yet the story hidden behind this facade is anything but textbook; The Cyclist is enthralling.Fred Nath tells the story of Auguste Ran, Assistant Chief of Police in Nazi-occupied Aquitaine, 1943. Auguste begins to realise that he is complicit in Nazi atrocities, and struggling with his conscience, he searches for forgiveness. In his journey, Auguste battles with his Catholic religion: he doesn’t “think of himself as a deeply religious man”, he questions the existence of Hell and he admits to being a “lax Catholic” as well as “superstitious”; yet at times he is so overcome with religious feeling that it’s hard to believe that he doubts his faith: “He saw his God. He envisioned his Lord on the cross and a warm feeling came.” This inconsistency only illustrates Auguste’s loss of self, and his consequent desire to redeem himself in the eyes of his God:
He did know his soul dangled by an unraveling thread, suspended over a bitter sea of eternal punishment.
Auguste’s struggle is also rooted firmly in the “Vichy government’s propaganda” motto, Travail, Famille, Patrie, which means Work, Family, Fatherland. He often questions his role as a father, as a husband, as a friend to his Jewish “brother” Pierre, and in his position of authority, as he struggles with the idea of of good versus evil, law versus justice, and revenge versus redemption.
Dordogne Valley, FranceThe story is brilliantly executed. Fast-paced with short snappy sentences and surprising plot twists, The Cyclist is a real page turner, so much so that I found myself skimming paragraphs just to discover the outcome of certain quandaries. Fred Nath manages to strike a fine balance: progressing with the plot while providing just enough quasi-historical insight to fuel the story (too much historical context can often overshadow the narrative). But Nath’s biggest success is the sustained atmospheric tension that he creates somewhat effortlessly: doors “click” closed, feet “slap”, and heels “clack” on the “cobbles” outside the Prefecture. Admittedly, I found the imagery to be slightly repetitive (all doors seem to “click” close), however this repetition does contribute to the tension that is well sustained throughout the text.At times, I found the the prose slightly akward (“He knew he must have been dreaming but had no recall of it”), and the erroneous typo’s throughout the text did distract me (“acc-ompanying”, “in-tolerance” “Dubois”/”Dubos”). But none of this detracts from what is essentially a gripping and haunting story about a conflicted and tortured soul, and I highly recommend it.Go on, read the prologue and chapters one and two at the Fingerpress website! See the full review on:http://littleinterpretations.com/2010/11/30/review-the-cyclist-by-fred-nath/#more-1106
2011/03/30The Cyclist by Fred Nath
Book Review of The Cyclist by Fred Nath
Reviewed by: L. Gregory Graham (Historical Novels Review (online))
World War II can be a touchy subject. It is still too fresh in our collective memory. In addition, there is film. As a result, it is very hard to romanticize it or to stray far from the truth. This novel of three hundred pages confronts these obstacles and manages to tell a compelling story.
Vichy France is a deal with the devil at best. The Nazi’s, acting the part of the Devil, promise that they will not rape and pillage too much if citizens of France promise not to resist. The deal is frequently violated on both sides. The Nazi’s take what they want, and violate whomever they choose, and the French organize a resistance movement that does what it can to kill soldiers and sympathizers and disrupt Nazi hegemony.
This is the world of August Ran, an assistant Chief of Police, in Bergerac, a small town in the south of France. He is a just man, a moral man who knows on the most basic level that the social fabric must be maintained. The guilty must be punished, and justice must prevail no matter who is in charge. When the order comes down from the Nazi’s that all Jews in the prefecture must be identified, he compiles the list and passes it along. When the order comes down that all Jews must wear a yellow Star of David on their coats, he enforces this also. Only when the orders come that he must round up the Jews for deportation to work camps does he wake up to the moral implications of his actions.
To make matters worse, he is sheltering the daughter of his boyhood Jewish friend who has joined the resistance, and the Nazi in charge of his area has raped and murdered a young woman. It looks as if the monster will get away with it and be free to rape and murder again.
August finds himself plunged into a moral nightmare without easy answers. Should he obey Nazi orders and round up the Jews if he knows that they will be killed? Should he continue to harbor the Jewish girl when it jeopardizes his own family? How can he allow the Nazi commander to get away with rape and murder? Isn’t he in the final analysis a policeman, and isn’t his job to protect the people of Bergerac from monsters like the Nazi even if the courts and the penal system no longer function as they should? Finally if he kills the commander, is his immortal soul forfeit or is he absolved because he is an instrument of God’s will?Nath does an excellent job of depicting one man’s moral and intellectual struggle to make sense of a world turned upside down. It is far too easy for us, seventy years after the war to label all Nazis as evil and deserving of death. It is another thing to walk in the shoes of a just man faced with the enormity of the Nazi regime. When does one decide that killing is the only answer?
It is not an easy question. If you don’t believe me, change the circumstances. Should an Iraqi man who watched his family killed by an American soldier take that soldier’s life when he gets the chance? Is he morally justified in doing so?
There is a gritty appealing reality to this story. Sometimes one must find a way to work with evil to preserve a greater good, sometimes one must decide when evil has gone too far, and sometimes one must resist it knowing the consequences. They are tough decisions that take a man back to the basics. What does he believe and why does he believe it?
The story is a compelling one. There were times when I wearied of August’s internal monologues, but in the end, it is worth it. August does what he must because of who he is and what he believes. That makes him a hero.
Review of Francesca Pascal
Fredrik Nath Find & buy onAMAZON
Francesca Pascal, an artist, is caught in Paris during the German occupation. In a shocking accident, her daughter is shot by German soldiers under the command of an SD officer, Egger. When Jewish friends are arrested and their cherished painting, an early Matisse, is stolen by the Nazis, she determines to avenge her daughter and to recover from the enemy the Matisse, a symbol of French culture and life. Fleeing Paris for Bergerac, she becomes involved with the partisans and encounters Egger again. The Matisse is in his possession. Obsessed by the painting and her daughter’s death, she joins a plot to save the picture and to kill Egger, but he is a clever and cruel opponent with the resources of the SD behind him.Nath has drawn a powerful and grim picture of life in France during the Occupation. In Francesca, he has a strong heroine whose grief and almost insane passion for revenge and for the Matisse carries the story. Despite some irritating repetition, this is an interesting novel and a good read.