Book Review 150 // Sharpe's Triumph (Sharpe #2) by Bernard Cornwell


Time to revisit a series that captured my interest, then I failed to find this book in a thrift store for months! But I finally found the second Sharpe title: Triumph. So let us not waste time and just dive in.

Title: Sharpe's Triumph (Sharpe #2)
Author: Bernard Cornwell
Fluff: 
Richard Sharpe and the Battle of Assaye, September 1803

India, 1803. Sergeant Richard Sharpe witnesses a murderous act of treachery by an English officer who has defected from the East India Company to join the mercenary army of the Mahratta Confederation. In the hunt for the renegade Englishman, penetrates deep into the enemy's territory where he faces temptations more subtle than he has ever dreamed of. And behind him, relentlessly stalking him, comes his worst enemy, the baleful, twitching Sergeant Obadiah Hakeswill who is determined to break Sharpe once and for all. The paths of treachery all lead to the small village of Assaye where Sir Arthur Wellesley, with a tiny British army, faces the Mahratta horde. Outnumbered and outgunned, Wellesley decides to fight, and Sharpe is plunged into the white heat of a battle that will make Wellesley's reputation. It will make Sharpe's name to, but only if he can survive the carnage and killing frenzy, for it is at Assaye that he at last realizes his ambition and has a chance to seize it. This major new novel will follow the adventures of Richard Sharpe in India, begun so excitingly in Sharpe's Tiger and culminating in the Battle of Assaye, which Wellington considered his greatest victory.

Get a copy via my Amazon link: Buy Now and I get a sweet kickback
Style: Paperback
Page Count: 368

Review

Well, this reads very much like the old tv show, which is great for me as I loved that Sean Bean series. Set about four years after Tiger we join Sgt. Sharpe as he accompanies General Wellesley in a campaign against the Mahratta. Leading up to the actual battle of Assaye in 1803.

The main plot sees Sharpe teaming up with Colonel McCandless once more, to hunt down a rogue British Officer who earlier in the book slaughters a whole platoon of men with Sharpe being the only survivor. At the same time, we have the foul Sgt. Hakeswill trying to takedown Sharpe by framing him for a crime.

The story is nicely paced and exciting as it leads up to The Battle of Assaye, which we get to experience through Sharpe's eyes, which is something rather horrific and cold and has you watch the callous commanders send their troops in. These chapters really stuck with me which just goes to prove how well written they are by Cornwell.

But it isn't all great, the Sgt. Hakeswill arc felt very unneeded. It seemed like more of a filler plotline rather than something to worried about. I found it a like disappointing overall especially with the fact that it brought to an end Colonel McCandless who deserved a better ending. I am also left knowing that he will be back, though it was heavily hinted he is killed by an elephant. This really is a small complaint as it doesn't hugely impact the amazing story, but Hakeswill's plot armour is too strong. I hope we get a break from him in the next novel.

I am now on the hunt for the next title: Fortress, which hopefully I will find quicker this time.

I hope you enjoyed the review? Feel free to comment below or seek me out on one of the many social platforms I hang out on. Here is a quick LINK (Solo bio link) to my details. Cheers to reading this.

Audio Review 50 // The Damnation of Pythos by Pythos David Annandale

Hopping back into the Horus Heresy verse. Decided to hit up the next story as an audio book, this is mainly due to me enjoying other novels at this time and not being ready to go back to reading the series. I doubt I will miss out on much as I know the audio dramas do an amazing job.

Title: The Damnation of Pythos (The Horus Heresy #30)
Author: David Annandale
Fluff: In the aftermath of the Drop Site Massacre at Isstvan V, a battered and bloodied force of Iron Hands, Raven Guard and Salamanders regroup on a seemingly insignificant death world. Fending off attacks from all manner of monstrous creatures, the fractious allies find hope in the form of human refugees fleeing from the growing war, and cast adrift upon the tides of the warp. But even as the Space Marines carve out a sanctuary for them in the jungles of Pythos, a darkness gathers that threatens to consume them all…

Get a Copy via my Amazon Link: The Damnation of Pythos

Firstly we need to discuss the cover. Space Marines of Iron Hands and Salamander legions, fighting a giant multi-eyed Lizard/dinosaur beast! This has grabbed my attention and I was excited to listen!

This story did something other stories have failed to do, it made me like the Iron Hands. David Annandale achieved something with the characters that others have failed to do, which was to make them relatable. Other authors seem to get stuck to the idea of them being more machine than man, but Annandale managed to make them cold and calculating like a machine but still have humanity in them. He also managed to make the darkness of space scarier, it is easy to get absorbed into the civil war, but at the end of the day, the galaxy was still largely unexplored and more dangers exist out there, more than Horus vs Emperor.

Pythos is one of those worlds, having been corrupted way, way, way back by a force of chaos. Having failed to find a higher intelligence here it lurked and manipulated the live forms, creating plans and scheming for the day that it could be released into the galaxy properly. Here enter our space marines. Beaten, broken and scattered, Captain Atticus of 111th Company of Iron Hands has created a force from the survivors of Isstvan. His goal is to strike back at the enemy and beat them with a thousand cuts, but first, his forces need a rallying point, a base, and Pythos is that key.


The world of Pythos is the villain of the piece, a true death world. Full of Fauna and Flora manipulated to be alpha predators. We get lots of dinosaur-style creatures, ranging from standard sizes up to Imperial knights scale (Godzilla could easily live here), all the way down to waves of roving moss that will suck the blood old of its victims, yep you read that right, vampire moss! This made a world full of life and deeply terrifying. I could happily just read about the planet more. But at the heart of the story was Loyalists vs. Chaos and the warp. This main arc was beautifully played out, leaving you kind of knowing what was going to happen but still amazed and shocked when it hits home.

Overall a beautifully written piece and David Annandale did an amazing job. If you are looking for Space Marine on Space Marine action, you will be disappointed. But, if you want Grim Dark this the book for you.

I hope you enjoyed it? Feel free to comment below or seek me out on one of the many social platforms that I hang out on. Here is a quick LINK (Solo bio link) to my details. Cheers to reading this.

Beer Review 160 // It won’t be long now - Guilty Remnant by Blood Brothers Brewing


Mid-week is hitting and it is hitting hard. Meaning it is time to crack a can and chill the f*ck out. This week it is a cheeky little 6% number from Blood Brothers Brewing in Toronto. The can as always is stylish and pretty on the eyes. Its simple colour palette speaks volumes and I am excited to be drinking this one.

The details

Name: It Won't Be Long Now - Guilty Remnant
ABV: 6%
Brewery: Blood Brothers Brewing, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Fluff: This "white stout” is brewed with all of the elements of a traditional stout without any roasted malts. Instead, we infuse this decadent, full-bodied ale with vanilla, locally roasted coffee and cocoa tea to provide delightful aromas of coffee and white chocolate. Contains lactose.

Review

As I pour the can out I am greeted by a milky yellow coloured beer, which as it settles forms a decent white head that seems to fade a little too quickly. Coffee unexpectantly is leading the charge in aroma and taste, there is also a strong sweetness coming off, I know it is the vanilla but it is making me think of mainstream coffee shops and the flavour pumps they have. Overall it delivers plenty of coffee, plenty of sweetness and a creamy body. It did leave me wanting more, but not of this beer. It made me want a dark coffee stout, I feel the combo of lactose and vanilla ended up making it over-sweet for me. But this is very much a personal opinion and I know for sure people who will love this.

I hope you enjoyed it? Feel free to comment below or seek me out on one of the many social platforms I hang out on. Here is a quick LINK (Solo bio link) to my details.

Cheers to reading this.

Comic Review 154 // 2000 AD Prog 1322


Welcome to something a little new. I was feeling in need of a little pick me up, so I treated myself to some 2000 AD. As I was looking at my options I felt it may be fun to do some quick and dirty 2000 AD reviews so I purchased the 2003 Digital bundle. The earliest set I could get, hopefully, they will keep releasing more, but the series for me begins with Prog 1322. Hope you are ready let's go!

The cover is pretty epic, showing off Judge Dredd tackling a chestbuster, that can mean only one thing, Aliens vs. Dredd! I have already reviewed this series in the past but I am excited to get a reread of the series over the next few days. With this in mind, the opening tale is of course Judge Dredd Vs. Aliens: Incubus (Part 2), yep that's annoying, Part 1 was in 2002. Set in the Eisenhower hospital, a perps chest rips open revealing a chestbuster that flees into the vent system. Fearing a Cursed Earth pest, Dredd calls in the verminators an elite squad of pest control specialists. These guys seem to be heavily armed and equipped to deal with the Mega-City's pest problems. Sadly for them as they search for the creature they soon realize they have a much bigger problem! I love this tale, I enjoyed it the first time around and Love it more this time around, drawn by Henry Flint this is everything I enjoy about modern Dredd. I'm ready to read more.

Up next is sadly another part 2 tale, titled Caballistics Inc. Going Under. This is a new to me series, but the fact it is written by Gordon Rennie gives me hope. The artwork by Dom Reardon is classic, in stunning black and white, it helps to add a bit of classical horror to the storyline. From what I can gather they are a group who investigate the paranormal and it would seem something is going down in London town. Interested to see where it goes.

Then we get another Part 2 story (damn did I start an issue too early? Was Prog 1321 a jump-on issue?). Slaine Moloch - Part 2. Written of course by Pat Mills and drawn by Clint Langley. Having missed the opening arc, I am left assuming that Slaine's tribal home has been invaded by a hoard of monstrous creatures, that seem to be killing or raping everyone in their path. In this mix is the mutant form of Slaine fighting back. A very standard Slaine strip from my experience, with plenty of gore, body horror and over-the-top violence. Enjoyable for what it is but until I understand what is happening I am on the fence with this.

Finally a Part 1. Sinister Dexter - Relode, written by the fan favourite Dan Abnett and drawn by Ben Willsher. The last time I read a story about this duo was back when Demi Octavo was killed at her wedding (yep remember that far back ha). I have no idea what they have been up to in that period but it would seem a lot has happened. The duo seems to have got involved with a dimension-jumping character who has accidentally dropped the duo 15 years into the past! There is also a Miss Octavo? I would guess it is the younger sister of the ex-crime queen but I am not sure. I am happy to be reading about this duo again. I've missed them and their wit.

The final tale of this issue is Nikolai Dante - Hell and High Water. Once again a part two ( I know how to pick a starting point!). Similar to Sinister Dexter I haven't read a Dante tale in a long while, I think the last story would have been during the revolution series. I have no idea why Dante is on a boat, or who he is fighting, but I am excited to find out.

With that issue, 1322 finished. Sure I made an error not starting at 1321, but damn does it feel good to reading 2000 AD again, it is like welcoming an old friend back into life. Hope you enjoyed this quick and dirty review, expect more real soon.

As always I hope you enjoyed and will support my blog by using the link below.

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Miniature Monday // Iyanden Wraithblades

It feels like an age since I did an Aeldari post. I have to be honest and say my love for GW has waned, but this is not a post-bashing rant. It's entirely the opposite, in fact, I love what they have been selling over the last two years but I am only collecting certain kits at the moment and so far nothing has jumped out at me apart from Jain Zar and the Banshees.

In an attempt to rekindle my love I am attempting to get back into my Iyanden force and dusting off some units. This leads me to today's post, Aeldari Wraithblades.

Here are some of the most feared Aeldari creations. Most Aeldari is repulsed by the idea of Wraith units, believing that the dead should be allowed to rest, but with a never-ending war, more and more spirits are drawn into the conflict. This is creating restless spirits whose anger grows with each recall to the living. It is these spirits that are drawn to the Wraithblades, those who feel the rage of Khaine inside them still.

Few Aeldari uses their true name of Klaivaulch, as it is believed to call down the wrath of Khaine on them. But when the spirit seers awaken these angry souls, it is commented how hot and bright their spirit stones glow, they are so energized that they become the ultimate fury, wanting nothing more than to engage the foe in combat. These units go to war with devasting close combat weapons like the ghost swords shown here. Usually wielded in pairs, they leave glowing traces in the air as they are swung. Like all Ghost Weapons, they can help guide the wielder's blows into the most vulnerable areas of a foe.

This unit has a Waveserpent begging to be painted and I feel now is the time to complete them! Drop me a comment of support and let's see if I can do this! Write me a comment and leave it below. As always I hope you enjoyed and will support my blog by using the link below.

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Comic Review 153 // Marshal Law: Fear and Loathing by Pat Mills


Now I'm sure long-time readers will know I love 2000 AD the British comic. One of the most influential writers from that team has to be Pat Mills, having written Judge Dredd, Slaine, Nemesis and ABC Warriors. Well, I had the opportunity to borrow one of his non-2000 AD stories for a read so I had to pounce on it! I am pleased to introduce Marshal Law.

Title: Marshal Law: Fear and Loathing
Author: Pat Mills
Illustrator: Kevin O'Neill
Fluff:
The big one destroyed San Francisco and the rebuilt city is now called San Futuro. Into this city of genetically altered superheroes comes Marshal Law who is searching for heroes but he hasn't found any yet.

Get a Copy via my Amazon Link: Paperback
Page Count: 192 pages

Review

The story arc is a simple one to follow. It is the anti version of the Super Hero genre, think Watchmen, think The Boys, think a little bit of Batman and think Judge Dredd. The heroes aren't real heroes, they are in fact simply humans with crazy powers and abilities, and when given power, they will ultimately fall to greed, lust, pride.

This is proven in this story, where we see hundreds of people medically altered into Super Soldiers. The reason for this is to fight in a war (of course). Sadly these veterans upon returning to the states, struggle to find work and ultimately become warlords and gang leaders, with most of them gravitating to a post-earthquake San Francisco. Which has a huge no-go area in the city which looks like something from a Mad Max/post-apocalyptic film. These heroes are feared by the average human and prey upon the weak, wanting to highlight their awesome powers.

Into this mess comes Marshal Law, also an ex-super soldier who towards the end of the fighting becomes jaded with it all and with the aid of his girlfriend realizes he has the ability to stop these heroes preying on the weak. Soon Marshal Law is known as the Hero Hunter and works for a covert agency that wishes to police the superhumans. His look is very S&M and he takes down heroes like nobody could ever imagine, but in this tale, his nemesis is Public Spirit (aka Homelander), a much-beloved hero with a Darker Side.

The story is pretty well explored and thought out. Pat Mills has created a very strong theme and world for the characters to live in. This is then brought to life by the talented Kevin O'Neill. But it sadly isn't all good news, at points, it lost me and I found my interest waving and got misted eyes as I auto-piloted some pages. That said the story has a lot of backbone and isn't scared to punch hard at an overdone superhero genre, it has also aged really well. I would highly recommend reading it!

I hope you enjoyed it? Feel free to comment below or seek me out on one of the many social platforms I hang out on. Here is a quick LINK (Solo bio link) to my details. Cheers to reading this.

Sector 102: Dan Abnett Block

It's been ages since I did a building update on the Dan Abnett Block. The original Post is from January 2020. It is real bare-bones and it sadly stayed that way for far too long! COVID hit and work got crazy, eating up more time than it ever had before and absorbed all my free time. Step forward to now as things seem still crazy but a little more organized and I have once again got time to grab a glue stick.



As you can now see, a second floor has appeared, along with an air filtration unit, a memorial fountain to Judge Dredd vs Death, a shop front, along with computer terminals, tables, hedges and billboards. Now to get a slap of paint on it and start gaming!

A very quick update but I hope you enjoy it! Support my blog by using the link below.

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Beer 159 // Damien Thorn by Blood Brothers Brewing


Here we go! The weather is cooling, summer is winding down and we are entering my favourite time of year...Imperial Stout season. Yep, I am all about the Stout Life. I can happily enjoy a pint of stout in the summer, it is definitely a lot harder to knock back an 11% beast. But as the nights close in and September 22nd draws closer I hear the call and the stouts are coming!

Today's beer is by Blood Brother Brewing from Toronto and it is a beast of a brew. Here are the details:

Name: DAMIEN THORN (From the Omen)

Style: Imperial Stout w/ Maple Syrup, Coffee & Hazelnut 

ABV: 11.9%

Fluff:

We've made some changes to amp up this decadent stout. We've brewed at a higher gravity for a fuller mouthfeel and bumped the ABV to an Ontario 11.9%. We used bourbon barrel-aged coffee from Good Morrow coffee, dark maple syrup, and a touch of hazelnut to round out the edges and complement the roast profile.

Review

First up let us discuss the can, classic Blood Brother-style, black, gold, stunning central image. I believe the central image is a representation of the child from the Omen film and it gives me the creeps just thinking about it.

As it pours you can't help but be captivated by the dark pour, the head is thin and dissipated quickly which would be my only complaint. But as it sits in the glass it looks stunning. The aroma is also loud and proud and definitely excites me. The first sip seems to overload the senses, but as I sip more the flavours mellow out as my tongue is covered by the beer. The coffee aspect offers up hints of sweetness and a lot of bitterness. The maple adds a sweetness to help combat the coffee but I sadly lose the hazelnut aspect completely. I feel it needed more Hazelnut, but that would have made the beer hugely expensive in my mind so I get the less is more approach.

I really enjoyed this beer and would buy it again, I am sure given another run Blood Brothers would kill it!

Let me know what you think in the comments below. And if you are ever in Ottawa come to say hi!

Beer Log Book - Helps you remember what you drank!
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Book Review 149 // Verntropa by E L Clarke


When we dream, where do we go? 

It’s time for my first real #bookreview #ad. I recently joined @lovebookstours #booktour and received my first #gifted book in exchange for an honest review. Hopefully, I will be able to use this new resource to broaden my reading and discover new reads and authors to watch out for. Let me know if you are interested in doing this well and I will tell you how. Enjoy.

Title: Verntropa (The Balance) Part 1.
Author: E L Clarke
Format: Gifted Kindle
Page Count: 426 Pages
Fluff: 
When we dream, where do we go?

Olivia Merton has only ever known Earth after the shift. For fifteen years there has been no sunshine, little rain…and resources are scarce.

A recurring dream provides an escape from her troubled monochrome life and leads her to a vividly coloured landscape, populated by four distinctive societies.

This world is Verntropa.

Her attempts to describe her dream memories are met with distrust and she fears for her grasp on reality - until she discovers that Earth is in danger and a mission on Verntropa awaits her if she is to fulfil her destiny.

Does Olivia have the prophesied power needed to strengthen the balance between her two worlds, or will it, and she, be damaged beyond repair?

As Olivia’s fate unfolds, she is thrown into a fast-paced adventure where she discovers the meaning of trust and true friendship. One thing is certain – her life will never be the same again.

Review

Verntropa is a book that is ideal for those who love gentle fantasy/sci-fi settings. It explores where we go in our dreams and how the two places are linked. The cover is eye-catching and colourful, which is great for the target audience which is young adults. It features the title character Olivia, asleep, heading to the hexagonal city of Verntropa. A simple cover, but it gives the reader all the information needed to understand the setting and the base of the plot.

The pacing of this story was good and about a third of the way in, the story builds and interest is peaked and held on until the end. The main plot of the book simply jumps back and forth between Verntropa and Earth. This is achieved by having each chapter set in a different world. Which also aided to form a clear distinction between, “awake” and “asleep”, making it an easy read.

The actual setting of Verntropa is one described as full of life, colour and activity. This is why I was left a little disappointed that it wasn’t explored in more depth, especially with such a large page count. It wasn’t just the setting that suffers from this, but also the characters, a few of the main cast lacked description, leaving a lot up to the imagination (not always a bad thing). I just hope that the follow-up titles will delve more into the different societies and lifeforms of this new setting.

Overall there was also a lot to like about the title, which was full of political intrigue, spying and a big mystery that was fifteen years in the making. The area in which it fell short, was the actual world-building. This series has a lot of potential and has made me want to see what will happen next. I really would love to see themed books for each of the societies and some more time spent fleshing out the new world. But I am excited to see and read what E L Clarke writes next.

As always I hope you enjoyed and will support my blog by using the link below.

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Miniature Monday // Medic Judge


Got a newly painted model everyone! It's the Warlord Game Med-Judge, an under-explored archetype in the Judge Dredd verse. Even on the Fandom pages, there aren't details. Here is what I've found.

MED-JUDGES

Med-Judges are the Department's paramedic wing, brought in to heal both citizens and Street Judges to patch up themselves. They are run out of Med Division.

History

The first appearance of a Med Judge appears to be in prog 534, where a Judge with red cross shoulder pads is examining one of PJ Maybe's victims and then, later, he and a colleague are taking the body away. (Prog 500 had introduced a "Forensic squad" but this was a different uniform again)


The first explicit claim there was an entire division of Judge paramedics was Mega-Special 1989, which placed a Med-Division and Med-Judges (who outrank "civilian med services") as part of the Justice Department rank setup.

Since then, Med-Judges have been a sporadically occuring presence in strips and are presented as predominantly non-combat. An exception was Judge Morinta, who enjoyed modifying weaponry and was first seen involved in a covert raid on a Sov Block gulag; she appeared in several Gordon Rennie stories from 2004-07 and is the only recurring Med-Judge so far.

Exactly what a Med-Judge uniform looks like is completely dependent on the artist (and sometimes the individual artists aren't consistent either).



There you go, short and sweet. This is something I love in lore as it gives me the freedom to do as I pleased. If you watched the video, you will see me struggling with choosing white or yellow for the helmet. It sounds silly now I think about it, but at the time I really felt I had to do white and I was left questioning my decision right up to the end. Now with it finished, I am so happy with the yellow.

I hope you enjoyed the video? Write me a comment and leave it below. As always I hope you enjoyed and will support my blog by using the link below.

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Alien Isolation Playthrough Part 1


Something a little new for me, some gameplay action.

I am also tweaking my new mic so hopefully, this sounds okay (definitely louder, but a strange tinny sound??). Let me know in the comments with any advice as well.

Alien Isolation Walkthrough Gameplay Part 1. This Alien Isolation Gameplay Walkthrough will include a Review, all Story Missions, Scary Moments, Bosses, Weapons, Collectibles, Characters and the Ending of the Single Player. It will also include swearing, me pooping my pants and death, lots of death.

Alien: Isolation is a first-person survival horror stealth game. If you are sensitive do not watch. I have warned you! The game is set in 2137, 15 years after the events of Alien and 42 years prior to Aliens. The game follows Amanda, who is investigating the disappearance of her mother Ellen Ripley. Amanda was transferred to the space station Sevastopol to find the flight recorder of Nostromo. However, an Alien has already infested the station. So of course, shit hits the fans! 

Wish me luck.

Amazon links.
Buy the Game: https://amzn.to/3gIerXL 
Buy the Novel: https://amzn.to/3Bi23Wa 

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Book Review 150 // Sharpe's Triumph (Sharpe #2) by Bernard Cornwell

Time to revisit a series that captured my interest, then I failed to find this book in a thrift store for months! But I finally found the se...