Author undertakes 1,500-mile road trip to promote novel

An image of General Stonewall Jackson.Alabama author Skip Tucker will leave April 29 on a 1,500-mile drive to promote the national paperback release of his historical adventure novel, Pale Blue Light, at the annual re-enactment of the Civil War’s Battle of Chancellorsville, Va., May 3-5. The trip is timed to coincide with the 150th anniversary of the death of Stonewall Jackson and the historic battle.

Tucker will hold an 11 am news conference on May 4 at the Spotsylvania County Museum at the Chancellorsville Battlefield to announce the book release.

Gen. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, a central figure in Tucker’s novel, was wounded at the May 2 battle and died of pneumonia May 10. “Pale Blue Light” is a lesser known nickname for Jackson, whose pale blue eyes would seem to shine with light from adrenaline before a battle.

“Pale Blue Light is not a work of history, but historical fiction, and I intended it to bring people a living, breathing Jackson. It’s actually a spy thriller, and it questions whether Jackson was wounded by friendly fire or whether there might’ve been something more sinister in play,” comments Tucker, for whom Jackson is a particular hero.

Chancellorsville will be the first major stop on Skip Tucker’s national roll-out tour that will include stops in the Shendandoah Valley, where “Stonewall Jackson is a superstar,” Atlanta (at the Georgia History Museum), and New Orleans (at the Confederate Memorial Hall Museum).

“This is really an exciting time for me. I intend to rough-camp along the way and follow the trail, sometimes, that Jackson took in his historic campaign through the Shenandoah Valley. I’ve read just about everything I could find about Stonewall. I feel I know him. He’s a hero for all ages and all seasons,” the author adds.

You can read a preview of Pale Blue Light here:

Historical fiction authors walk length of Hadrian’s Wall for charity

Just before Christmas 2012 Ben Kane, author of the Spartacus and Hannibal series, decided to walk the length of Hadrian’s Wall for charity. And in full Roman gear. Anthony Riches, author of the Empire series, and Russell Whitfield, author of the Gladiatrix novels, quickly agreed to join him (Mike Bishop, archaeologist, author and noted expert on Hadrian’s Wall will also be among the walking party). The two charities that they will be raising money for are Combat Stress and Medecins Sans Frontieres. From the 28th April to 4th May they will walk west to east with the wind at their backs. Donations to this worthy cause can be made here:

Hadrian's Wall: Greenhead.

Here is the latest update from Ben Kane’s blog: “Since late January, I have been walking three times a week. It started off at about 4 miles each time, but I have been building up one of those more and more. Yesterday, I did about 8/9 miles. I got lost, so have no idea how far it was! I started off wearing normal hiking clothes, carrying only my shield on my back but as my kit arrived, I began to wear it too. Each time now, I go out wearing the lot – all to get a real feel for the kit, and also to identify any problems that might arise. The only thing that I haven’t worn is the shield, and that’s because I have a niggling shoulder injury that I need to get better. I do get some looks from passers-by and drivers, however! “Oi, mate, where are the rest of the 300?” from a van driver. “Coming in for a drink?” from a blonde outside the local pub. “Just a normal resident of Cccc (village),” from a passer-by to another. It’s all in a good cause, however, and so far we’ve raised more than £7600 – and that’s with a month to go! If you haven’t already given, please think of doing so.”

To follow the group’s progress you can follow Mike Bishop @perlineamvalli on Twitter or check out his Hadrian’s Wall website. He will be tweeting, blogging and taking photos on the march.

I am just about to make a donation and we will keep you all updated through Twitter, Google+ and the blog once the march begins. That just leaves me to wish the four gentlemen the very best weather and fortune.

For more information on the two charities, visit and

And here is a little treat for the ladies… an image of Ben from his website:

Ben Kane dressed as a Second Punic War hastatus.

Warrior of Rome series continues with book three, Lion of the Sun

Fantasy Book Review is currently reading and reviewing its way through Harry Sidebottom’s Warrior of Rome series. A tale of historical fiction, set in the third century AD during the decline of the Roman empire, we recently reviewed the first book in the series, Fire in the East, and will be shortly moving onto the second book in the series, King of Kings.

Fans of the Warrior of Rome series will be pleased to learn that July 22, 2010 will see the publication, in hardback, of the third book in the series, Lion of the Sun.

Betrayed by his most trusted adviser, the Roman Emperor Valerian has been captured by the Sassanid barbarians. The shame of the vanquished beats down mercilessly like the white sun, as the frail old emperor prostrates himself before Shapur, King of Kings.

Ballista looks on helplessly, but vows under his breath to avenge those who have brought the empire to the brink of destruction with their treachery. One day, maybe not soon, but one day, I will kill you… But first he must decide what price he will pay for his own freedom.

Only the fearless and only those whom the gods will spare from hell can now save the empire from a catastrophic ending. Ballista, the Warrior of Rome, faces his greatest challenge yet.

Dr Harry Sidebottom is a Fellow of St Benet’s Hall and lecturer at Lincoln College, Oxford, where he specializes in ancient warfare and classical art. He has an international reputation as a scholar, having published widely on ancient warfare, classical art and the cultural history of the Roman Empire. Harry is originally from Newmarket, Suffolk and he now lives with his wife and two sons in Cambridgeshire. See for more information.