The City of a Thousand Faces, Walker Dryden, Tumanbay, podcast, historical novel, saga
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Rating: 10/10

The City of a Thousand Faces, Walker Dryden, Tumanbay, podcast, historical novel, saga

A sweeping historical fantasy saga based on the hit podcast Tumanbay

‘Immersive, rich, compelling and populated with characters who come alive on the page, it will transport you to a different world. I loved it and didn’t want it to end.’ – Sarah Lotz, author of The Three

‘An immersive, engaging start.’ – SFX

Tumanbay: the most magnificent city on earth. The beating heart of a vast empire. A city of dreams – where those who arrived as slaves now reside in the seat of power.

But the wheel of fate is never still: from the gilded rooftops to the dark catacombs, there are secrets waiting to be uncovered.

For Gregor, Master of the Palace Guard, the work of rooting out spies and traitors is never done. His brother, the great General Qulan, must quell a distant rebellion. Whilst Shajah, chief wife to the Sultan, is suspicious that her new maid Sarah is not who she claims to be.

And a mysterious stranger arrives with a gift for the Sultan himself.

The City of a Thousand Faces, Walker Dryden, Tumanbay, podcast, historical novel, saga

A gift that will change Tumanbay forever…


Thank you to Will and Gollancz for sending me an ARC of this amazing gem. All thoughts are my opinion.

This is WHAT I WANT TO SEE MORE OF IN FANTASY. Being really honest, this was a book that is so easy to read I was engrossed in this. Amazing writing. Amazing dialogue. Amazing description. Amazing. Amazing. Amazing. Amazing. That’s all I can say. It’s an historical fantasy podcast that in my opinion has elements of alternate history. All I can think is…where can I find more historical fantasy novels like this? Heck, there should be more. I review historical fiction, and fantasy. But I’ve always wanted to see far more diversity in terms of settings: Historical Arabian inspired fantasy, Indian, Chinese, and Japanese. This book has it all. The writing is so good. The characters in this story is epic.

There are bustling marketplaces, kofta, chickpeas wrapped in flatbread, falafel…it’s amazing.

I would say the author really handles characters of children within this novel. The Frog is one of my most favorite characters. This novel has so much mythical status, that you’ll be shocked. The characters in this novel are epic. In a nutshell, I don’t want to spoil it too much since it’s already released, but it’s essentially a downfall. Don’t believe me, the novel itself explodes onto the stage. If you’re a reader that likes epic Arabian fantasy works, this one is DEF worth a buy

At this point, I don’t want to spoil. All I want to you to know is that you will be engrossed into epic deserts, exploring cities of domes and minerats, and discovering the true nature of humanity. You’ll see religion, you’ll see palace guards, you’ll see love and betrayel, this is a book WORTHY of a Netflix adapation or drama. This was a historical fantasy pod-cast? How did I not know of this? The writing, the prose, everything is amazing. Heck, I want a MAP of this book. I want a map of what this worlds look like. All the characters, Ibn, Heaven, Boy, the arrogant Sultan, Daniel, Gregor, Qulan, play an amazing part in this story. And Sarah especially. Watch out for her.

It’s just…AMAZING. Seriously, it took me a lot of time but this is quite a FANTASTIC book, literally saying this. I’ve always wanted more diverse historical/fantasy settings like this and I can’t wait to read the second novel. This is like Aladdin and Arabian nights put together.

Oh and I must rec this: If you like listening to soundtracks when reading, search up two soundtracks: Prince of Persia (2010) and Sinbad the Sailor (Dreamworks Animation, 2000) they really fit the theme when reading this.

Go buy it now!

Review: The Alexander Inheritance by Eric Flint

The Alexander Inheritance (Ring of Fire universe Book 2) eBook ...
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Rating: 8/10
NEW TIME TRAVEL ALT. HISTORY FROM A MASTER: Flint’s Ring of Fire and Boundary series have proved him to be a master of time travel alternate history. Here then, a new tale of persons displaced in time, fighting for their lives.
Twice before, mysterious cosmic catastrophes have sent portions of the Earth across space and back in time first, with the Grantville Disaster in West Virginia, and then again with a maximum security prison in southern Illinois.
Now, the planet is struck with yet another such cataclysm, whose direct impact falls upon the Queen of the Sea, a cruise ship in the Caribbean. When the convulsions subside, the crew and passengers of the ship discover that they have arrived in a new and frightening world.
They are in the Mediterranean now, not the Caribbean. Still worse, they discover that the disaster has sent them more than two thousand years back in time. Following the advice of an historian among the passengers, Marie Easley, they sail to Egypt or, at least, where they hope Egypt will be.
Sure enough, Egypt is there ruled over by Ptolemy, the founder of the Ptolemaic dynasty and one of Alexander the Great s chief generals. Alexander the Great, it turns outs, died just two years ago. The western world has just entered what would become known as the Hellenistic Period of history, during which time Greek civilization would spread around the Mediterranean and beyond. But the first fifty years of the Hellenistic Period was the Age of Diadochi the Time of the Successors when Alexander s empire would collapse into chaos. By the time the Successors finished their strife, every single member of Alexander s dynasty would be murdered and only three of the generals who began that civil war would still be alive.
That is the new world in which the Queen of the Sea finds itself. Can Marie Easley and Captain Lars Flodden guide the crew and passengers through this cataclysm? Fortunately, they have some help: a young Norwegian ship s officer who forms an attachment to Alexander s widow; a French officer who is a champion pistol marksman; a canny Congressman from Utah and, most of all, many people of the time who are drawn to a vision of the better world of the future.

About Eric Flint s Ring of Fire series:
This alternate history series is a landmark Booklist
[Eric] Flint’s1632universe seems to be inspiring a whole new crop of gifted alternate historians. Booklist
reads like a technothriller set in the age of the Medicis Publishers Weekly

This book has a giant 21st century cruiser transported to the era of the Diadochi. The epic conflict that makes Game of Thrones pale in comparison. This is the era of what happens after Alexander’s the Great death. This has been an awesome book, but the reason why I read this novel as a standalone (I believe it should be treated as one as it is part of the Ring of Fire Universe) was more for the setting than anything else.

I have been wanting alternate history to at least have less mainstream history. Sure, the Man in the High Castle was unique to an extent, but a book series needed 7-8 volumes. Always I’m browsing through youtube and I find videos of Alternate history that just do the same old stuff. Why not have an alternate history where Ancient Egypt did travel to the Americas? Why not have an alternate history where the Vikings surived and they actually besieged the Byzantine Empire’s capital? There should be more way more unique alternate history situations. And this novel has satisfied it to an extent.

You will find people of all races, people of all colours interacting in such unique ways I can’t tell you. Imagine Ancient Greeks interacting with modern day 21st century people? There are very humorous scenes if you spot this. I note that this book is more for the setting. It’s something very unique and I think hasn’t been done much, the only ones I can remember is the Nantucket triology by S.M Stirling which takes Nantucket and puts it right into the Bronze Age era. For me, an alternate history novel where Rome never converted to Christanity, employed Vikings and sailed to the New World would be an awesome novel. Imagine Rome colonising America. Or imagine the Persians conquering Greece and the endless possibilties.

One of my criticisms with this book is that the characters aren’t given enough attention, since there are a degree of competing historical figures as well. You’ll also find weird and unique situations like a constitution etc. You’ll figure it out. The other problem which accounts for this is the scene to chapter transitions. This book has more scenes than chapters, but it’s done for a very obvious reason. This novel has a wide array of characters that needs to be fufilled, and needs to be shown. And then there is the scientific explanations which is explored a lot. I am no expert, so take what I say about the scientific explanations as assumption more or less.

But…there’s something about this novel that makes me think: Why hasn’t this been done into a TV show or something? It has a good and original unique premise. I don’t want mainstream history I’m bored of it. Give me interesting situations like this. I still go back and read this novel. It has a very unique broadpoint, and there’s a lot of characters to juggle with. The writing is however superb, and the dialogue becomes very interesting especially with some VERY interesting historical FIGURES. Note that in mind.

So what do I think? Go buy it. It’s def worth a read. For such a premise and man I wished we had more UNIQUE COVERS like this. Really wished we had more of this. I think this is one novel that you should be reading. Read it more for the setting as this is a set up, and the sequel will go into more detail. I know nothing about the science stuff either!

A great novel, fun and interesting. I love it, and it’s one of those books where you get conflicted on, but you keep coming back to it.

View all my reviews


Rating: 10/10


On a giant artificial world surrounding an artificial sun, one man – a lucidor, a keeper of the peace, a policeman – is on the hunt. His target was responsible for an atrocity, but is too valuable to the government to be truly punished.

Instead he has been sent to the frontlines of the war, to use his unique talents on the enemy. So the lucidor has ignored orders, deserted from his job, left his home and thrown his life away, in order to finally claim justice.

Separated by massive seas, the various maps dotted on the surface of this world rarely contact each other. But something has begun to infiltrate the edges of the lucidor’s map, something that genetically alters animals and plants and turns them into killers.

Only the lucidor knows the depths to which his quarry will sink in order to survive, only the lucidor can capture him. The way is long and dangerous. The lucidor’s government has set hunters after him. He has no friends, no resources, no plan. But he does have a mission.


Thank you to Will and Gollancz for providing me an ARC. All thoughts are my opinion.

This is bascially Witcher inspired in a dystopian world that has a mutated world where the Advanced civilisation left this world that they created and featuring giant spider crabs?

Yes. This novel has spider-crabs.

Enough said.

This novel is the equivalent of CD PROJEKT RED spending their well earned reputation to make a fantastic game like Cyberpuk 2077. They spend their time planning, writing etc. This novel was like playing a triple AAA Game with fantastic descriptions and a lot of well written side-quests developed by a great team of developers and Paul was the game director of it.

The Wars of the Maps is the combination of what the Witcher of Rivia would look like if he time-traveled into the 21st century. It’s Witcher III the video game combined with Assassin Creed III. These are the video-game examples of what I’m comparing too. Because this novel has such a cinematic feel to the lush and dark environments of this world, it is amazing.

This book spans multiple oceans, spider crabs (yes. You heard it right. Spider crabs and mutated fish and leviathans) with a man that’s looking for really…a journey of his own redemption. The Lucidor is an old man, but I just couldn’t help but imagine him reading in Geralt’s voice. He’s funny, he’s smart, and above all, he has a very dry sense of humor. Needless to say, this world is dangerous with rival kingdoms fighting against each other, separated across vast distances of oceans. There are endless deserts, lush mountain scenery that reminded me of North America for some reason.

And the poor Lucidor, as you will instantly guess: is mired into the political trappings of everyone trying to make a living for themselves. There are foolish characters. There are brave characters. Some characters should have in my opinion, stayed for longer. Cyf is a character that I wished to see more off, as a slight criticism for me. The plot itself resembles something like a Spanish Expedition into the New World. You’ll soon see that during the novel. This world has elements of steam-punk, but there’s not much steam in it. There’s the whole history of the First Peoples (as I’ve seen this being used in many novels, let’s call them the advanced civilization, an apt example would be the High Elves in the Old World of Warhammer) and the novel is really centered around discovering what they did. Why did these Gods leave this artificial world that they had created?

historical references that are really well hidden. I guess you’ll find them, but it is hard to judge – its the context really. This novel is slow-paced, and it really picks up during the later stages. The reason for this is two-fold. One, this is a novel setting up the world. And two,

Many historical references are really well hidden. I guess you’ll find them, but it is hard to judge – its the context really. This novel is slow-paced, and it really picks up during the later stages. The reason for this is two-fold. One, this is a novel setting up the world. And two, most fantasy novels in their first stages can be either setting up the character through the world or setting up the world and then exploring the character’s motives. It’s a tricky situation for writers when they do this. Because you want a world where the reader has to be interested in every single element of world-building. You can’t go 100% Tolkein and write an entire bible because that’s not important. The world-building in this novel is VERY crucial. It’s drip-fed and doesn’t feel that imposing. I would say some areas did rely a little too much on describing some elements of the story. But if you want to know more about this advanced civilization, then I urge you to read it. The world has very clear references to what human nature can do to destroy nature, and you’ll see nature fighting back. There are diseases, mutations, etc. It would take me a lot of time to describe it.

The writing is amazing, the prose stunning, the worldbuilding on an awesome scale. I think it’s a great novel. Fantastic work. Fantastic descriptions. And this novel has characters that serve their purpose.

Overall, a great read, and def worth buying.

Would you rather?

Being tagged over a Twitter writing game can be fun 🙂

Luckily, I was tagged by Blogspells (@Blogspells) (He also has a fantastic blog which is worth checking out) for the tough edition of questions: Would you rather?

Fantasy Art Backgrounds - Wallpaper Cave

So without further ado! Let’s go!

Short chapters or long chapters?

Long Chapters

Never be allowed to read your favourite series again, or only be allowed to read 1 book per month?

One book per month? It will depend on what genre it is and what more good books are out there!

Live in a medieval fantasy or on another planet in the future?

I would live in an Ancient fantasy rather than sci-fi. Because sci-fi is cool and all, but there’s something about the past…which is unexplainable. Plus, there’s also cool alternate history scenarios that I would def like to visit. What would a world look like had Napoleon won? What impact would that have had? The Franco-Prusian War for example, would have perhaps gone in favour of the French.

What if Rome and the Aztecs had surived into the modern day? Or what if Carthage was still an existing empire? What if the Byzantines had surived till the Napoleonic Era? What if the Vikings had kept their religions and resisted the Christian Crusades? We could have gotten a Teutonic Order 2.0 crusade (they were already dealing with the Polish and the Lithuanians) and this creates many interesting scenarios.There are too many scenarios to count. But each and every single decision made in history is something once cast into iron (an ironic metaphor I know) is something you cannot change. Napoleon realised this sooner or later when he was almost winning at Waterloo when the Prussians had arrived. A simple decision is all that it takes.

A simple decision in history is the most monumental thing to be done. Bismarck once said that the next European war would happen in the Balkans. And lo and behold, it happened. WW1 came as a result. But even so, history is not complicated because of other factors, it is because of people in power that make those decision. WW1 was probably seen by many Monarchs and Governments of Europe as an extension of a short and glorious war. It ended up destroying most of Western Europe and the East. Nationalism rose. But that is my opinion none the less.

Delete your twitter or delete your blog?

Can’t answer that one, too tough!

Lots of characters or a few core characters?

The character that makes you want to read on is the character worth reading in my book. For example, a book populated by Napoleon’s innumerous Marshalls will make for a boring book. Why is that? Well we can’t expend all energy on every single Napoleonic Marshall now can we? We can focus on the ones who made a big difference. What about the Captains, Lieutenants, officers? All of them depend how the author makes them important.

Ken Follet’s the Fall of Giants triology is an huge historical backdrop exploring the origins of a family from WW1 to 2008. It features many characters all inter-related in such a way, that writing that book is a magnitude of scale, research and experience. But does it cover every single detail of the wars? No it doesn’t. Does it provide emotional scenes? Yes. I take this book series as a very serious masterclass on how writing should be approached for big projects. Even fantasy authors should, in my opinion, embark on this. It won’t be for everyone, but just apperciate the amount of work that went into this. I once read a book that was translated from Spanish into English and it was over a 1000 pages long. Historical fiction set in the Reconquista period. Even if these books are long, they focus on at least 2-3 characters, while expanding the historical cast. This is why I think historical fiction and fantasy are inter-related in some way. For some it won’t. But for someone who is from a historical background, I can apperciate the nuances.

A lot of different locations or a small number of locations in a book?

Different. I want to see cities based of the Ancient cities of Rome, Carthage, Tyre, Persepolis, the list goes on. However, it should be big cities, small locations within those cities. Below I’ll post pictures of historical cities that have been written about, but I’d rather want to see more fantasy move a little away from Medieval for a while, and focus on the Ancient World.


Paintings (mostly) — almaisan: Antoine Helbert Reconstruction ...
Manuel Doukas Chrysaphes' Lamentation for the Fall of ...

Why not Athens that was beautifully created in AC Odyessy?

Parthenon | Assassin's Creed Wiki | Fandom

The city of Angkor Wat, nuff’s said

Ancient Babylon, artwork - Stock Image - C015/5778 - Science Photo ...
The Ancient City of Babylon. I’d so love to way more Ancient Mesopotamian Fantasy inspired from this city.

The Ancient City of Pergamon
Total War: ROME II - Black Sea Colonies Culture Pack on Steam


Capital Cities (TWR2) - Total War Wiki
Carthage: Early History | Dickinson College Commentaries
Seeing this ancient city in a fantasy setting would be awesome

The port of ancient Carthage. | Ancient carthage, Ancient history ...
Memphis (Ancient Egypt) - Ancient History Encyclopedia
The Ancient City of Memphis. One of the cities’s concept art made by Ubisoft when they were developing Assassin Creed Origins. I do like Medieval Fantasy, but to be honest, I want to see more Ancient Egyptian inspired settings like this. I mean who doesn’t want to read a fantasy book based of this concept art?

Post image
Post image
Reconstruction of the Persian Palace of Persepolis. Honestly, I’d love a fantasy book inspired by the Persian Empire (even more books!) that has a palace like this. The above image is a more fantasy version of that, but come on, who doesn’t want THAT?

This is one of the historical empires I would have loved to visit ^^^^

Original Link:

Reconstruction of the Roman Forum. It is a vast complex of baths ...
This is one of the cities I bet should be in more fantasy books. Rome has been the world’s inspiration for quite some time. Imagine if more fantasy books covered this city in far more detail.

This is what a reconstruction of a Roman Villa looks like. It’s a nice refreshing change from the usual castle/estate you read in fantasy books

Reconstruction model of Villa Pollius Felix (aka villa Limona ...

Grimdark or something a bit easier going?

Easy going.

Would you rather read YA/Adult (whatever the opposite is of your usual reading) for a year, or change genres for a year?

I’m fine with historical fiction/fantasy for now. I don’t mind YA in particular, but I’d want it to be historical/fantasy.

And so that comes to our end of the blog post

My questions for you:

What event of history draws you the most?

Novellas or Novels for the fantasy genre? Which one would you choose?

Ancient fantasy or Medieval fantasy?

Well written characters that serve the plot of the novel? Or well written characters with motivations that drive the plot?

Historical inspired fantasy or made up fantasy?

Witcher (Netflix) or Cyberpunk 2077?

Dialogue or description in fantasy novels? Which one is the most important to you?

What period of historical inspired fantasy do you want to see?

Would you change a historical event if you were given the power to do so by time-travelling through a time machine?

What is your favorite historical battle? And how would you like to witness it?

Not needed to answer, but if you wanted a historical period represented in TV, film or video game, what would you want it to be? Take your pick!

Until We Meet Again by Rosemary Goodacre (Blog Tour Review)


Book 2 review is coming, I made an mishap! Check out book 1 review!


Until We Meet Again

The Great War drove them apart – but love kept them together

Summer 1914: Shy young woman, Amy Fletcher, lives a quiet life in Sussex. An office worker, she lives at home, along with her parents and spirited younger brother, Bertie. But her life is transformed when she meets handsome young man, Edmond Derwent, son of one of the wealthiest families in the small town of Larchbury, and student at Cambridge University.

The couple are falling deeply in love when war breaks out and, eager to do his duty for England, Edmond signs up as an officer. The couple plan to be wed, eager to start a new life together – but their happiness is short-lived when Edmond is sent to Flanders to lead his men into battle. Amy trains as a VAD nurse and is soon sent to France, where she sees the true horror of war inflicted on the brave young men sent to fight.

Separated by war, Edmond and Amy share their feelings through emotional letters sent from the front line. But when Edmond is critically wounded at Ypres, their love faces the biggest test of all – can their love stay strong while the world around them is crumbling?

A romantic, emotional saga set in WW1 – readers of Rosie Goodwin, Katie Flynn and Val Wood will be captivated by this story of love


Brilliantly done in the style of Ken Follet. Vivid emotional scenes, and the hopeless loss of lives in WW1. I feel this novel is one you need to pick up and read.

No one I believe in WW1 believed that the war was just for good vs evil, it was more than that. Men of other sides died in a war that ultimately showed the true devastation of war. However, the preclusion to WW1’s terrible nature goes back through two epic wars in history. The American Civil War was the setting stage for what would happen in WW1. Imagine if you’re a Confederate/Union soldier walking through the fields of battle as shrapnel, canister, and gunfire shoots at you.

The muskets themselves had a powerful rate of fire and accuracy as compared to the Napoleonic Wars. Walking in lines and columns was tough. Though, during the latter end of the war, Sherman did the March across the sea, burning and devastating the South. Railways were used often, and this would later spell out the tactics used in WW1. I’m imagining Edmond, or any officer walking through cannon fire knowing that you march and march until you can get there. And then, you fight. It is a harrowing experience. It is no wonder that Edmond suffered PSTD, and this has been prevalent throughout history.

The mothers in WW1 lost brave sons fighting for this cause. It is a terrible experience. I also liked the depiction of the British Army and how basically they were in difficult conditions. There wasn’t much you could do. Moving on, I do feel Amy was quite a good character, though sometimes I did feel that she was following the events more, than being actively involved. For example, the rift between the Derwent Family and Amy. I did not get enough scene development to show the rift between them eventually calmed down. I would have liked to have seen the Derwent family coming to terms with the fact that WW1 was changing the shape of society. Mr. Dervant certainly showed this. Edmond’s sister and mother, not so much.

I would have liked to have seen Amy as a VAD nurse being more shocked and horrified at the camps of wounded men. Because then I think where Rosemary could have built another emotional sequence was showing Amy’s fragility. Sure, she signed up to be a nurse and be closer to her husband. But she would also have seen the countless men out that had a wife or a girlfriend. Edmond could have been any one of them. This is foreshadowed later in the novel when Edmond says to Amy to be prepared for the worst.

There was that Colonel who successfully put her in prison because of her involvement in the Suffragette movement. I do feel that his assault on her, which Amy survived, should have been more of a karma payback to that dastardly colonel. The Colonel may have been well connected in the army, but I would have liked to see how karma would essentially bite him.
There are many great characters, many great moments, and many emotional moments that would make you cry. I see WW1 as a conflict that need not be started. Everyone in WW1 was imagining a short war. How wrong they were.

My rating is a solid 4/5.


Bryce O'Connor (@OConnorBooks) | Twitter

Rating: 9/10


By day, Eska de Caraval digs for ancient treasure in the dust and dirt and sweltering sun. By night, she dons the embroidered silks and jewels that are the markings of her family’s success. Spurred by a relentless thirst to lay bare the world’s secrets, Eska has led Firenzia Company to renown across the Seven Cities of Bellara, and far beyond. But when she comes into possession of a priceless reliquary with a harrowing history–one of six lost to the centuries–and the treacherous artifact within, Eska unwittingly sets off a race to uncover the other five and the powers they contain.

Bankrupt and bitter, Manon Barca supports a brother and a failing company on loans she cannot repay, all while her disgraced father rots in prison. Determined to drag her family name out of oblivion, Manon does not fear to take on the might of Eska de Caraval and Firenzia Company, even if it means sabotaging an excavation and endangering innocent lives. When her reckless decisions put her at the mercy of one of the most powerful men in the Seven Cities, Manon finds herself caught in a storm beyond her making, one that will see the sundering of alliances that have stood for three hundred years.

As the de Caraval and Barca rivalry surges, Eska must wield intellect and steel against a web of enemies and deceit, all while Manon battles tirelessly to preserve the final remnants of her family and its legacy.

Neither, however, is prepared to contend with the rising tide of an ancient menace unleashed upon the world once more…


I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This book is an ambitious fantasy book. Very big. Very epic in its world-building. You will see traces of historical influnces from Rome to Carthage in this novel. I sometimes think it’s a sort of a 16th century Renaissance world mixed with the Ancient World. The politics of this world is extensive, and is bascially archaeology in fantasy except its mixed with the following: Politics of the Arch-Duke, of the Seven Cities, of the numerous Kingdoms, the history, everything in it is pretty much that.

The two main characters: I liked Manon a little more than Eska. Eska is a cunning, devious, and clever lady that will stop at nothing to get what she wants. But she is also kind and caring. Whereas Manon? She is a character that goes through thick and thin. I liked Perrin and Alexandre more because their stories were more personal – As Eska is the daughter of the De Caravel family, you get to see a lot of stuff in this. It’s too hard for me to summarise all the details.

Both the authors, TL Greylock and Byrce have done an immense job of introducing the reader to the world. The prose is well written although I believe the novel could have been at a shorter pace, and there was a little dragging because of the explanation of the world that is needed. What I wanted to see was a map. I need a map to help me understand the big world – because this is a world of Gods, a world of history, a world of unexplained stories, of unexplained history that needs to be discovered. This is the set up, and the second novel will go much more into detail. I enjoyed and believe it is WORTH your time. Pick this up as it is free on KU, and really an engaging read. Really engaging. 9/10 from me!