Saturday, 29 June 2013


About the Book:
Mercy Row is a novel set in 1920's and 1930's Philadelphia. It's the story of the rise of a North Philadelphia crime family who was also responsible for building the homes and factories that make up this blue collar area of the city. Despite the violent trials and tribulations caused by rival gangs from South Philadelphia and Chicago Jacob Byrne and Franklin Garrett, with the help of the Irish immigrants that settled the Kensington area, build a formidable Irish mob.

This legal and criminal enterprise kept North Philadelphia free from the Mafia for two generations. Jacob's and Franklin's organization was built on the blood of those who opposed them, the sweat of the laborers who built North Philly and the tears of the wives and mothers whose loved ones were lost in the struggle. 
When Jacob Byrne and Franklin Garrett meet for the first time in a jail cell, neither of them could visualize that this would be the start of an unlikely and lucrative friendship.  Jacob's father is the wealthy and powerful head of the construction company where Franklin is the head of construction.

Together with the Irish immigrants they form a gang to suppress the Mafia in Philadelphia and this book is the story of their rise to power.
I thought the swearing was a little over the top and could not help feeling that it was more for shock value than effect, but some readers may not feel like that.  

For a debut novel it kept my attention throughout, the writing was simple, not challenging, and the characters were interesting but I did not feel that I got to know any of them intimately.

Overall, a good story and one for anyone who's interested in this time period.
The Blog Tour can be found at Sage's Blog Tours

Monday, 17 June 2013



Published:  April 2013 (Headline)

1565; In its hour of greatest need, Malta must rely upon the ancient Knights of the Order of St John for survival. Bound by the strongest ties: of valour, of courage and of passion, the Knights must defend their island against ferocious and deadly Ottoman attack. For Sir Thomas Barrett, summoned by the Order and compelled by loyalty - to the Knights, to his honour and to his Queen - returning to the besieged island means revisiting a past he had long since lain to rest. As the beleaguered Knights grapple to retain control, decade-old feuds will be reawakened, intense passions rekindled and deadly secrets revealed.

This epic tale starts with a sea battle in the Mediterranean between the Christian Knights of St. John and the Muslims of the Ottoman Empire, this sets the scene for what is to come later.  On one of the captured ships, Sir Thomas Barrett discovers a woman who has been kidnapped and thus begins his downfall as they start a doomed affair which goes against everything the Knights stand for.

When they are discovered Sir Thomas is banished from Malta and so begins 20 years of fighting as a mercenary in Europe not knowing what has happened to the love of his life Maria.

When he is summoned back to Malta to help the Knights defend Christendom and Malta against Sultan Suleiman and the Turks he is determined to find out what has happened to Maria once and for all.

With the added mystery of being told to retrieve a lost document in Malta that if made public could tear England apart, an accompanying squire who is not what he seems, bloody battle scenes, being outnumbered 7 to 1 by the Turks, romance, treachery, revenge.....this is not a book for the faint-hearted though it is a very good read!

Sir Thomas is the kind of man who you would want at your side in a battle, he's strong, courageous and skilled at arms.  He's also a good person who is utterly trustworthy and I was really rooting for him.

This is a historical tale of the Great Siege of Malta, something of which I knew nothing about, and the author really brings to life how brave the citizens of Malta, together with the Knights of St John, were in their fight against the might of the Ottoman Empire.  Fascinating stuff.

Read this and you'll want to read more of Simon Scarrow's other novels.  Details of which can all be found at his website

Source of this review book was Nudge (Real Readers).  Thank you for sending it to me.



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