Book Spotlight & Guest Post: A Child of Szabo, by M.J. Webb

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A Child of Szabo
by M J Webb
Genre: Thriller
Out Now
323 pages
Intended audience 18+

A teenage rebel with a tragic past is on the edge of the abyss. Offered one final chance of redemption by an enigmatic stranger, she is recruited into a secret society of assassins formed by Winston Churchill. She must battle for survival against unknown enemies in a do or die existence to become the best. Only then can she take out those who killed her family. Those who are now trying to kill her.

Should appeal to fans of Lee Child, Mark Greaney or Tom Cain.

It is exciting, thought-provoking and realistic. Consequently, there are the occasional swear words (especially when she undergoes SAS E and E training, firefights, torture…..). It has an immensely tough female anti-hero and she pulls no punches.

Goodreads / Amazon


‘She studied the face in the mirror for a good half hour. Scarcely recognised the individual staring back at her. Wondered how much truly remained of the person she was. The turbulent existence, the traumas, the wear and tear, the physical injuries and mental scars… all left indelible marks over time on people like her. They warned her of that from the very outset. Baggage, they called it, because you carry it with you wherever you go. Some bags were heavier than others. Too heavy. Most eventually broke under the enormous strain, succumbed to the inevitable and just burned out. Or ended things in the only way they knew for sure was permanent, removed any variables in favour of a dead cert, you might say.

Humans are frail creatures.’


These books are easy reading, penned for anyone above the age of twelve who has a little imagination.

In September 2022 A Child of Szabo was published. This is a high octane adult thriller which will grip you from the very start. It’s a little bit different and routed in British history.

Guest Post:

A Child of Szabo is my fourth novel. It follows on almost ten years after the publication of my first novel in the Jake West Trilogy, which was relatively successful. Why did it take me ten years therefore to write again? Part of it was work. It is a HUGE commitment writing a novel when you work full time and have a family/other interests. It was also a sense that I did not want to write for writing’s sake. I was waiting for an idea which really enthused me. A project I believed in and couldn’t wait to explore. Something different, you know?

I had been encouraged to write again by fans of Jake West and friends of my own. I was kicking an idea around in my head for some time and then I verbalised my thoughts to another good friend, John Dunning. J.D.’s enthusiasm was infectious and the main reason this novel saw the light of day. From the very first jottings I became engrossed in the whole experience. It rekindled a passion in me which lay dormant for a while.

I wanted to write a novel which was basically non-stop action. All thriller no filler as they say. I like to think I succeeded. Something happens in almost every chapter which moves the story on at a pace rarely seen.

The novel is a work of fiction. However, there are elements which hopefully will have the reader thinking, ‘What if…?’

The future? I genuinely do not know. I’d like to see what others make of this novel I think. I am in full time employment so there is no pressure and I am able to choose what, when and how I write. I just know that I enjoy the whole process and I love the idea that, on the other side of the planet, someone is reading and hopefully enjoying my work.

Also by M.J. Webb

jake west Trilogy pic

The story tells of two ordinary boys who unlock by accident a deadly secret which threatens to destroy us all. Hunted across worlds the teenagers escape to a fantasy land. There, our intrepid heroes will have to rely on each other and the alliances they make in order to survive against the overwhelming forces of evil who now seek their destruction. The exciting novels contain heroes in abundance, battles, wizards, dragons, spirits, warriors and beasts, the undead, prophecies… and just plain human guts and determination. There are strong themes of loyalty and friendship. These are books all parents will want their children to read and be inspired by.

About the Author:

mj webb
M.J. Webb lives and works in the heart of England. A short while after the birth of his two children he found himself wanting to do something for them. To give them something from him they could hopefully be proud of. Something which would inspire them in times of need, comfort them in times of sorrow and enthuse them as they navigate their way through adolescence and adulthood.
The Jake West Trilogy was the result. He intended to pen just one novel, maybe two (one for each child) but in the end, the tale simply took on a life of its own and evolved into a real epic. There are wizards, dragons, an army of the living dead, different species of warriors, spirits, Gods….

M.J. Webb is also an avid reader. He reads historical fiction, fantasy, young adult novels, military and thriller/adventure stories mainly. He is active on Goodreads. Writing is a passion started and fuelled by his love of reading books. The feel of that page turning is something wondrous for him. His favourite authors are John Gwynne, Stieg Larson, Lee Child and Conn Iggulden. Names which highlight the diversity in his library.


Spotlight, Guest Post & Excerpt: The Genes of Isis + Giveaway

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The Genes of Isis
by Justin Newland
Genre: Mythological Fiction / Fantasy

Akasha is a precocious young woman who lives in a world where oceans circulate in the aquamarine sky waters.

Before she was born, the Helios, a tribe of angels from the sun, came to Earth to deliver the Surge, the next step in the evolution of an embryonic human race. Instead, they left humanity on the brink of extinction and spawned a race of monstrous hybrids.

Horque is a Solarii, another tribe of angels, sent to Earth to rescue the genetic mix-up and release the Surge.

When Akasha has a premonition that a great flood is imminent and falls in love with Horque, her life becomes an instrument for apocalyptic change. But will it save the three races – humans, hybrids and Solarii – from the killing waters?

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Opening Fryme’s package, she fingered the dark green leaves. She’d used hyssop many times before and had grown to enjoy its astringent odours. Deftly, she worked the herb into a paste and poured a droplet onto a wafer. Before lying down on the bench, she re-read the hieroglyphs on the wall: ‘The Spell of the Gods’ and beneath that, the warning, ‘Use me wisely, lest I turn and rend thee.’

This ritual was the ultimate. It was life and death. She had to be dedicated and fulsome, lest the warning would apply to her. She replayed every detail of the ritual in her mind before preparing for the trance. The timing was of the essence: according to the proscription of the ritual, it had to be conducted on the night of the round moon and completed by the rise of the sun.

Carefully, she adjusted the aperture on the glow-lamp so the amount of light hovered on the twilight between astral and incarnate. Lying on the bench, she placed the wafer beneath her tongue, relishing the minty bitterness of the hyssop as it suffused her being. Slowly, a mists and vapours of the astral veiled her eyes.

She drifted in and out of consciousness, as her ka eased out of her physical body, until she crossed through the Veil and entered its natural domicile, the huge edifice of the astral light. Immediately, she settled into her familiar astral cloak – the golden lioness. It felt good to be back amongst the warmth of her own kind.

Oh, how she’d missed the freedom of the astral light, where she could fly the universe at the speed of thought and take wing through millions of years in an instant. Through her ka, she looked down on herself, lying on the bench. Would this be the last time she’d ever do so? She banished the thought. For now, she had to be meticulously correct. Her enemies were doubt, fear, and hesitation.

Author Guest Post

What is your favorite part of the book?
My favorite part of the novel is this extract is the opening of Chapter 50, The Facing.

The scene is near the Tower of Babylon. The rains have started. The flood is coming. Everyone is panicking to escape the apocalypse. The heroine Akasha is pregnant, and her friends, Philo, Tros, and Shamira are trying to get her to the safety of the Tower. See the image. Amidst the maelstrom, this happens:

Akasha’s belly hurt. The spasms shot through her, then faded. With Shamira’s help, she waddled along behind Philo. The tower stood implacably ahead. From an enormous circular base, it spiralled into the sky, getting narrower as it got higher. The apex was barely visible amidst the swirling mists and low cloud. In the gathering gloom, the hundreds of people who had taken shelter in the tower had lit glow-lamps, and they cast eerie shadows as they moved about in front of the window openings.

Obsidian clouds scudded in from the east, the horizon seared by constant flashes of lighting. In the distance, a tornado whirled its mayhem. This one seemed more menacing than the others she’d seen. She bit down on her fear.

The wind growled and the rain spat in her face. She wiped the moisture away, like so many tears for a dying epoch. A moment later, she was soaked again. There was no shelter. All around, people were inebriated, swimming on the ecstasy and exasperation of the apocalypse. It had a dull, parlous sound, this end of days: a cacophony of breaking strings, snapping branches and creaking doors. By an unlit alley, she doubled up in agony. As the spasm subsided, she heard people in the darkness of the alley, their grunts of pleasure and groans of ecstasy clearly audible. A couple were pleasuring each other: the dreary evening light the sole cloak to their sad intimacy.

With frantic gestures, Philo pushed the people ahead of him out of the way.

“The way’s blocked again.” His voice was as hard as flint.

They were surrounded by scores of refugees from the Jasmine Gap, as well as drifters, rabble-rousers and lost souls all heading for the last place of possible sanctuary for many leagues around, the Tower of Babylon. Oh, she was so tired. Her baby was feeling her frustrations, an unwilling participant in a static crowd, so near and yet so far from her destination. Tros stood beside her. She felt guilty over his actions.

“I’ll never forget your sacrifice,” she told him.

“Nor will I,” he murmured disconsolately.

Bats flitted through the mists. Dogs bayed at an invisible moon. A cock crowed and then another answered. Birds squawked cries of alarm and cats screeched like demons. An owl cried out overhead. Hordes of frightened, violent people worshipped at the altar of the atrophied old epoch.

None of them had glow lamps. The tenebrous night was closing in on them and with it the storm of the millennium. Hemmed in, her breath shallow, Akasha was suffocating. She wanted to scream. Rain hissed out of the sky. She was drowning in an ocean of fear. Across the way, a turbulent wind gusted around the turret, making an eerie whistling sound. Locked in a weird embrace with the agents of death, they were all waiting for the apocalypse to break over their heads.

“We need to get over there!” Philo shouted, pointing at the tower, now less than a stone’s throw from where they stood, hemmed in by the crowd. For a moment, there was a pause, a hiatus in the chaos. The crowd seemed to sense it too, and quietened. Then a moment later, it was gone, as if it never existed. And people were jostling, shouting and fighting with each other all over again.

It happened again. There was a note, a voice. Singing. No, it couldn’t be. In this morass? The crowd surged behind Akasha and she stumbled. That brought on another spasm. The child was awake, moving around inside her. Tros and Shamira grabbed an elbow each and hauled her upright.

Cloaked in the maelstrom, there was the singing again. Sweet sounds drifted in the air, blown this way and that by the gusting wind and slanting rain. People backed away, and Akasha stepped into a clear open space. The singing originated from near the corner of the tower. The noise and hubbub subsided.

A small gap appeared and through the parting crowd walked a man holding a bright lantern out in front of him. It was Rocor.

His chest rose and fell as he sang. As if in response to a pre-arranged signal, the crowd parted to let him through. A wonderful paean rose up out of the maelstrom. Shamira and Tros joined the singing. Slowly, the crowd joined in with the singers and the joy of their voices extinguished the fear in their eyes. Amidst the rain, the drunks, the despair, and the hopelessness, people raised their voices in the words of the hymn, incense to the Source. Those in the tower hung out of the windows and sang into the rain.

This unexpected transformation banished Akasha’s pangs of doubt. In the midst of a spiritual vacuum, one man had restored her faith in humanity. Faced with an ugly apocalypse, she was dimly aware of witnessing something divine. She was not alone. That night in Babylon, all were equal in the eyes of men; they were always equal in eyes of the Source.

About the Author

author image

Justin Newland is an author of historical fantasy and secret history thrillers – that’s history with a supernatural twist. His stories feature known events and real people from history which are re-told and examined through the lens of the supernatural. He gives author talks and is a regular contributor to BBC Radio Bristol’s Thought for the Day. He lives with his partner in plain sight of the Mendip Hills in Somerset, England.


Justin Newland will be awarding one signed copy of the paperback (US or International) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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Spotlight & Guest Post: The Rush + Giveaway

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I am thrilled to be hosting a spot on the THE RUSH by Si Spurrier & Nathan C. Gooden Blog Tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. Check out my post and make sure to enter the giveaway!


About The Book:

Title: THE RUSH: This Hungry Earth Reddens Under Snowclad Hills (The Rush #1-5)

Author: Si Spurrier, Addison Duke (Colorist), Nathan C. Gooden (Illustrations), Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou (Letterer), Adrian F. Wassel (Editor)

Pub. Date: August 9, 2022

Publisher: Vault Comics

Formats: Paperback, eBook

Pages: 136

Find it: GoodreadsAmazon, Kindle, B&NiBooks, KoboTBD,


Historical horror that chills to the bone, The RUSH. is for fans of Dan Simmons’, The Terror mined with a Northwestern Yukon gold rush edge. Answer the call of the wild north and stampede to the Klondike…


This Hungry Earth Reddens Under Snowclad Hills.

1899, Yukon Territory. A frozen frontier, bloodied and bruised by the last great Gold Rush. But in the lawless wastes to the North, something whispers in the hindbrains of men, drawing them to a blighted valley, where giant spidertracks mark the snow and impossible guns roar in the night.

To Brokehoof, where gold and blood are mined alike. Now, stumbling towards its haunted forests comes a woman gripped not by greed — but the snarling rage of a mother in search of her child…

From Si Spurrier (Way of X, Hellblazer) and Nathan C. Gooden (Barbaric, Dark One) comes THE RUSH, a dark, lyrical delve into the horror and madness of the wild Yukon.

Collects the entire series. For fans of The TerrorFortitudeCoda, and Moonshine.


“The book strikes a wealthy mixed vein of sophisticated psychological chills and monstrous horror.”― Publishers Weekly

“Gritty historical drama meets supernatural horror in this sumptuously drawn tale set during the Yukon Gold Rush.” ― PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

The Rush is a chilling bit of historical horror. Rugged and raw and thoroughly researched. It’s got such a wonderfully creepy sense of menace but most of all it’s the moving story of a mother searching for her child, that’s its beating heart. Wonderful work.”  — Victor Lavalle (best-selling and award-winning author of he anthology, Slapboxing with Jesus and four novels, The Ecstatic, Big Machine, The Devil in Silver, and The Changeling, the fantasy-horror novella The Ballad of Black Tom, and the comics series Destroyer and Eve)

The Rush is a splendidly savage tale of frontier scum and the doom they’ve brought down upon themselves, and the innocents cursed to suffer alongside them. I for one can’t wait to see more.”  — Garth Ennis (best-selling and award-winning writer, Preacher, and writer/co-creator of The Boys)

Guest Post:

Talk about your favorite kind of character to write about

SS: A bastard will always be more compelling than a boy scout. That’s at least as true for writers as it is for readers.

Listen. If it’s accurate to say that we’re all culturally keyed to hope for positive endings in fiction, and that we enjoy the tension of the journey, then the simplest expression of a satisfying narrative is, simply, whether or not a good person is able to acheive a good thing. On the surface that accounts for a surprisingly huge percentage of all stories. It’s the root of all heroic mythology, right? It’s almost every family-friendly tale you’ve ever encountered. Right? A true believer would call it An Aspirational And Therefore Morally Valuable Trope. The world would be a better place if we all acted a bit more like heroes.


But it’s a bit fucking boring. Isn’t it? And – I’ll go you one better – it’s not even a very useful lesson.

And, okay, maybe this a product of cynical modernism, maybe it’s my privelege speaking, maybe it’s performatively bourgeoisie, maybe it’s just because I’m a ghastly British malcontent seeped in the decaying disappointments and toxicities of a once mighty (and comphrehensivel abhorrent) Empire, suffering the grouchy-hearted hangover that follows in the wake of lost importance–
–but I’d far rather the stakes of a story relate to whether or not an awful person can be better.

And, y’know what? Look again at those allegedly infantile narratives that defined our formative relationship with story and I don’t think it’s a stretch to say it’s been there from the start. It’s there in The Epic of Gilgamesh, with our hero struggling to reconcile his effortless mightiness with the ultimate impotence of mortality. It’s in the squabbles and venalities of the Olympian Gods. It’s there in the violent spasms of Heracles, getting too caught-up in adrenaline and inadvertently pulverising lovers and friends. It’s there in Odin’s all-consuming lust for knowledge and Thor’s bone-headedness. It’s there in every overreaching trick played by Coyote, Maui, Anansi.

Our ancestors understood better than us that a perfect archetype is far less valuable than a flawed one. For all their elevated power and incredible feats, the oldest gods, demigods and heroes were profoundly – even depressingly – human. Yet these are the parts of the myths which nowadays litter the edit-room floor when we recount these tales to our children.

Privately I suspect there’s a little broken switch in our lizard brains. A moral blindspot, refusing to acknowledge our consonance with imperfection. It means more to us, I think, that Darth Vader ultimately returns to the light than that his morally unimpeachable son declines the dark, and yet countless generations of storytellers and story-consumers continue to insist on the Good Person Does Good paradigm. Fans seethe and shriek about boycotts when Superman makes a lapse of judgement or Captain America reveals inner darkness, as if these lofty moral archetypes are somehow irreducible, sacred, hermetically sealed in their hard-won saintliness. As if perfection is a useful aspiration.

It isn’t. If you fuck up, you can make amends. If you are broken you can attempt to repair yourself. And if you are irreparable, you can – at least – own it. These are the axioms that matter to me.

So, yes. Give me a bastard. Let me decide whether to give them knowledge of their own inadequacies or leave them stew in ignorance – both are extraordinarily fertile grounds for stories. Give me a liar. Let me decide whether they’re lying to the world aroud them or to the reader or to themselves. Or all of the above. Give me a coward. Give me a depressive. Give me a lecher or a berserker or an idiot. The journey to self-restraint, or self-improvement, or even the merest glimmer of self-knowledge, is a thousand times more powerful (I think) than the journey to… ohhh, treasure, or slaying a dragon, or kissing a princess, or punching a villain, or whatever the hell our White Hatted Goodie is currently girding his loins at.

The Rush is no different, although our main character’s flaws take a little while to be fully perceived. Nettie Bridger presents as an unstoppable force of motherly duty – because that’s exactly what she is. An obsessive mother. Her love for her missing son takes on the gleam of purity in the context of the darker, uglier flavors of obsession which surround her. Avarice, lust, ambition.

And yet she is just as riddled with self-deceit as anyone around her. She willingly sets aside the evidence of her sons’s demise and chooses a path of forlorn hope, madness and mania just to keep herself going. (An uncharitable critique would position her entire story as an attempt to self-validate and self-motivate.) Her past is a patchwork of social climbing and reinvention. She’s a chameleon. She’s a cheat. She has lustful desires and isn’t afraid to use them to get what she wants. She is, in a word, complex.

Which is to say: human.

About Si Spurrier:

His work in the latter field stretches from award winning creator-owned books such as NumbercruncherSix-Gun Gorilla and The Spire to projects in the U.S. mainstream like HellblazerThe Dreaming, and X-Men. It all began with a series of twist-in-the-tail stories for the UK’s beloved 2000AD, which ignited an enduring love for genre fiction. His latest book, Coda, is being published by Boom! Studios at present.

His prose works range from the beatnik neurosis-noir of Contract to the occult whodunnit A Serpent Uncoiled via various franchise and genre-transgressing titles. In 2016 he took a foray into experimental fiction with the e-novella Unusual Concentrations: a tale of coffee, crime and overhead conversations.

He lives in Margate, regards sushi as part of the plotting process, and
has the fluffiest of cats.

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

About Nathan C. Gooden:

An award-winning illustrator and sequential artist, Nathan C. Gooden is Art Director at Vault Comics. Nathan studied animation at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, and worked in film production, before co founding Vault Comics. Nathan’s previous works include Brandon Sanderson’s Dark One (Vault), Barbaric (Vault), Zojaqan (Vault), and  Killbox (from American Gothic Press). He lives in Southern California, where he plays a lot of basketball and hikes constantly with his wife. 

Website |  Instagram | Goodreads

Giveaway Details:

2 winners will receive a finished copy of THE RUSH, US Only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Ends August 23rd, midnight EST.

Tour Schedule:

Week One:


Writer of Wrongs

Guest Post



Guest Post/IG Post


#BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog



Two Chicks on Books

Guest Post



IG Post



Review/IG Post/TikTok Post

 Week Two:


Sadie’s Spotlight

Guest Post/IG Post


Rajiv’s Reviews

Review/IG Post


The Girl Who Reads

Review/IG Post


Fire and Ice



The Real World According To Sam

Review/IG Post



IG Post


See Sadie Read

Review/IG Post

 Week Three:


The Momma Spot

Review/IG Post


Lifestyle of Me



Two Points of Interest



The Chatty Bookworm

Tik Tok Review/IG Post


One More Exclamation

Review/IG Post






IG Review

 Week Four:


The Underground




IG Review


Brandi Danielle Davis

Review/IG Post


More Books Please blog



Lady Hawkeye

Excerpt/IG Post



Review/IG Post


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