Author Archives: Dave-Brendon de Burgh

About Dave-Brendon de Burgh

I play guitar, write short stories, busy writing my first fantasy novel, I work in a book shop, I collect comics, and I'm a huge Star Wars fan. :-)

Review: Rime by Tim Lebbon

Hey everyone, Dave here.🙂 Hope you’ve all been well!

I’m back with a new review, this time a with a look at Tim Lebbon’s ‘Rime’. I said on FB, while I was reading it, that the tale reminded me of why I’m a fan of Science Fiction, and I’m sticking with that.


Adrift in space, a gigantic freighter, Cradle, carrying seventeen million souls makes its slow journey across the universe.

They are in search of a new home, a ‘Goldilocks’ planet to sustain human life after the decimation and downfall of planet Earth.

One man, a control room tech, is part of a generation destined to live their lives protecting those of the sleeping millions onboard Cradle.

But soon, everything is about to change…

When Cradle encounters five unknown entities flying just beyond its radars, the ship’s AI calls for caution. Comms go down across the gargantuan ship, cutting the tech from the millions of other souls under his watch.

Those in cryosleep don’t realise the danger they are in. Their lives are in the balance.

And the alien ships are fast approaching…

Now this lonely technician must make his decision: will he stand his ground, and risk the lives of millions?

Or is it time to admit that humanity has strayed too far into the unknown?

Mankind’s fate is in his hands. Soon, the consequences of his actions and the message he bears will be felt for generations to come…

‘Rime’ is a SF retelling of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s ‘Ancient Mariner’, and while I must confess that I haven’t read that Classic, I’m confident in saying that ‘Rime’ can stand alone and proud among the future Classics of Science Fiction, and also among all that has come before. For such a short tale (around an hour and half’s reading, I’d estimate), this story has wonderful depth.

‘Rime’ centres on a technician aboard what we would know as an ark-ship, called Cradle. Cradle has been travelling away from Earth for centuries with a cargo of millions of humans in cryo-stasis; the generations of various technicians living on Cradle have the envious job of making sure that the vast ship runs properly. Something happens, at once wonderful and terrible, which none of the technicians, nor the ship’s governing Artificial Intelligence (also named Cradle), could have predicted – contact with intelligent aliens, and the technician is drawn into the centre of events which will affect not only Cradle but humanity as a whole.

Now, remembering that Cradle is an Ark-type ship, or Colony Ship, Tim does an excellent job of conveying not only the ship’s size but also how all the myriad technicians fit into the running of it. The technicians also have their own culture, dependent on their specific jobs on the ship and who they come into contact with. Some technicians have no religious beliefs, few manage to explore Cradle in its entirety, and social circles are small.

There’s a sense of almost desperate isolation in the characters we meet which deepens as Tim tells the tale from two points in time – pre-Contact and post-Contact – I was kept wondering about what had happened aboard Cradle and just where the technician had ended up, what had happened to so psychologically affect him, and the fate of Cradle and its passengers, both in cryo-stasis and tending the great ship. Tim steadily unfurls the tale, like a solar sail being released by its parent craft, early on already, and by the time the ‘sail’ is fully extended and begins to catch the solar wind, the book is impossible to put down.

For those seeking action and battles, this might not be the kind of book you’re expecting. Though it is proudly and wonderfully grounded in the core of what good SF should be -that sense of wonder and mystery, of exploration and consequence- it is a tale that also explores what it means to be human, to react emotionally, to grieve, and to be at once at part of something massive yet also supremely isolated.

‘Rime’ is damned well crafted, beautifully and painfully told, and a welcome addition to Science Fiction – won’t be surprised at all if this becomes a future SF Classic.




You can order your copies (ebooks) of Rime at Amazon US and Amazon UK, and check out this post by Tim for more information about the tale. Rime was published by Venture Press.

Until next time,


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Posted by on July 26, 2016 in Reviews


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Spotlight: Michael G Munz – Zeus is Dead & The New Aeneid Cycle

Hey everyone, Dave here, hope you’re all well.🙂

I featured Michael on the blog a couple of years ago, and it’s time to revisit his work, so let’s get into it!

Zeus is Dead


You probably saw the press conference. Nine months ago, Zeus’s murder catapulted the Greek gods back into our world. Now they revel in their new temples, casinos, and media empires—well, all except Apollo. A compulsive overachiever with a bursting portfolio of godly duties, the amount of email alone that he receives from rapacious mortals turns each of his days into a living hell.

Yet there may be hope, if only he can return Zeus to life! With the aid of Thalia, the muse of comedy and science fiction, Apollo will risk his very godhood to help sarcastic TV producer Tracy Wallace and a gamer-geek named Leif—two mortals who hold the key to Zeus’s resurrection. (Well, probably. Prophecies are tricky buggers.)

Soon an overflowing inbox will be the least of Apollo’s troubles. Whoever murdered Zeus will certainly kill again to prevent his return, and avoiding them would be far easier if Apollo could possibly figure out who they are.

Even worse, the muse is starting to get cranky.

Zeus is Dead was published by Booktrope but the publisher has since closed down – not to worry, though, as the book is still available.🙂 Check out the following links:

Amazon  –  Kobo  –  iTunes  –  Nook

As you can see above, Zeus is Dead won the Bronze Reader’s Favorite Award; it was also a finalist in the 2015 Independent Author Network Awards, 2015-IAN-Finalistand was a 2015 Semi Finalist in the fourth annual Kindle Book Awards,


Good reasons all to check the book out!🙂 While you’re at it, have a look at these two books from Michael:


Northgate is in turmoil. Decaying, violent, and corrupt, it is a common enough city in 2051, yet soon, discoveries beneath the Moon’s surface will mark the city with their first distant echoes.

New arrival Michael Flynn is jobless and down to his last few dollars, but he still dreams of making a positive difference of his own. He has no family, no friends—save for the freelancer known only as Diomedes—and tonight the apartment they share will burn to the ground.

When Diomedes becomes his mentor in a search for the arsonist responsible, Michael will get the chance to realize his dreams. Joining them is Felix, a wise-cracking “information bounty hunter” who claims that neither the arsonist nor the man Michael idolizes are quite what they appear.

Will Michael find the courage to pass through the flames unscathed, or will the violence that surrounds him incinerate all that he is? Those who search the Moon will be watching…

Order here


Save humanity from itself. It is the goal of the worldwide conspiracy known as the Agents of Aeneas. For months they have struggled to unlock the mysteries of Paragon, an alien spacecraft buried on the Moon. Once a closely guarded secret, word of the craft has leaked, and now multiple forces plot to seize it for themselves.

Agent Marc Triton has breached its depths and returned alive. While Michael Flynn protects Marc from those who believe he knows too much, together they must confront a demon from their past: the freelancer Diomedes. Michael’s violent ex-mentor, Diomedes has assassinated a man at the heart of the spacecraft’s discovery. They must learn why.

Meanwhile, the vigilante Gideon, ruthlessly murdered six months prior, has been spotted alive in the city of Northgate. Seeking the truth behind his impossible return will draw Caitlin and Felix into dangers far beyond those that lurk on Earth.

Each of them driven by a memory, their fates will soon collide amid the blackness of Paragon.

Order here

I’ll be featuring Book 3, A Dragon at the Gate, on the blog closer to its release date.🙂

Visit Michael’s website for for info, and check him out on Twitter and Facebook, too.

I’ll leave you with this cool choice of books to read and see you again on Friday.🙂 Until then,


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Posted by on June 29, 2016 in Spotlight


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Review: Neverlight by Dan Weatherer – Collection

Hey everyone, Dave here.🙂

I hope you ordered your copies of Dallas Mullican’s “A Coin for Charon”, which I reviewed on Friday.🙂

Today’s review will focus on a short story collection by Dan Weatherer, titled “Neverlight“, published by Spectral Press.

Are we mere puppets, a slave to the will of others? Influence, an inescapable and unseen force exerted upon all of us. Can we ever say that we are creatures of free will, acting according to our desires and not of those around us? Influence is the white noise that bombards our every waking moment, clouding our thought, hindering our judgement.

Looking beyond our existence, there are those beings that dwell beneath the surface of our planet, ancient entities twisted in their resentment of our freedoms, that would mean us harm. Theirs is an influence ancient in its origin, born from evil and cruel intent. Their will presses upon us, calling out to our most primal instincts.

We, oblivious, heed their call.


This is a collection of short stories and verse, the third collection from Dan’s pen (check out Only the Good Burn Bright and The Soul That Screamed), and serves to put a spotlight on a storyteller of talent and range.

The collection opens with the tale, “Abarath“, a chilling, Lovecraftian tale about two friends discovering the truth behind a rumoured treasure; it’s atmospheric and builds menace and tension steadily.

The next tale, “Signed” is my pick for the most entertaining, since it focuses on a struggling Horror writer and the lengths he goes to to get an agent; it’s also a wonderful, satirical look at struggling authors and successful authors and I’m sure many writers will catch themselves enjoying it for all the wrong, yet spot-on, reasons.😉

The Watchful Eye” is a great twist on the run-of-the-mill Haunted House tales, charting the implosion of a couple while revealing the utter strangeness of the house they live in.

Time Flow and the Spectral Realm” reads almost like an extract from a larger essay and, in my opinion, needs a bit more to shift it into the realm of a true short story. It does offer an interesting take on a phenomenon many people have experienced and which I (as a paranormal investigator) have also thought about.

My First Horror Story” shows that even children can be evil and calculating, yet reveals this in a darkly humorous manner.

Meadow View” is a tale of friendship and darkness in a strange psychiatric facility, and though predictable in a sense, it remains one of the strongest tales in the collection.

The Withered Touch” is a tale of misery and love, a tragedy which leads into a resolution which made me smile.

One of my other favourites, “The Raven and the Wolf” explores a strange yet beautiful friendship between two vastly different creatures, showing that perhaps companionship is the one thing which can bridge any difference.

“The Miners of Annan” is another foray into the creeping, stygian horror made famous by Lovecraft and has some truly creepy imagery.

A Butcher’s Wife, Indisposed” sheds light how  how one old woman ‘enjoys’ her stay in an NHS hospital bed while getting to know the other women in her room; of all the tales, it is the most well-constructed and incredibly entertaining.

The Tragedy of the Tailor” seeks to show that finding the answers you seek could actually be a curse, but is almost too short a tale to explore that idea.

The Thing Beneath the Bed” brings an age-old monster into the world of adults, and could have also benefited from a more gradual building up and exploration of the idea.

Clarence Milton – Vampire Hunter” was, in my opinion, the weakest of the tales – I think it’s trying to explore the dark side of psychotic obsession when it comes to the supernatural, but doesn’t do so strongly enough.

That Laughing Man” is really damned creepy and is one of the tales which lingers; really enjoyed the character’s investigation of a sinister-looking attraction.

Six Feet” follows the travails of a grave-digger – definitely one of the most interesting tales in the collection.

She Who Casts No Shadow” was engaging and tragic yet also ended a bit too quickly – I would have liked to read more of the main character’s experiences and been able to delve a bit deeper into her thoughts and psychology.

Soul, Ugly” is a biting tale with a brutal stab of an ending, really damned good.

Killing Gary” is a quirky look at a simply crazy woman and the back and forth between her and the detective interrogating her – Gary’s of the world, read it at your peril.😉

Brammerly House” is another teasingly taut and creepy tale of what a child witnesses, and I feel it could have used a bit more to make it more effective.

The collection is also interspersed with short snap-shots of thoughts, idea-explorations and meditations, many of which still resound; I’m sure there’ll be many readers who will count a fair number of them among their favourites.

All in all, this collection is a great peek into what goes on in Dan’s head – his talents range across the board, from striking characterization while exploring interesting ideas, to being really effective at building tension and creepiness; I do wish that that some of the stories were a bit longer and that Dan strung the reader along for a couple of more pages before springing the climax. Some of the endings arrive so quickly that they lose their effectiveness even though they fit the tale. So that would be my only complaint.🙂

I’m definitely looking forward to reading much more of Dan’s work (he’s got a novel on the way, too), and folk that like audiobooks will be glad to know that Neverlight will be produced as an audiobook, too.

The stunning cover art was created by Holly Madew – you’ll be seeing a lot more of her exceptional work, trust me!🙂



I give this collection a strong 8 / 10 and hope you’ll check it out – it’s currently selling for a bargain-price on Amazon UK and Amazon US, and you can order the limited edition hardcover direct from Tickety Boo Press.

And do go check out Dan’s site for more info about him and his work.🙂

Until next time,


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Posted by on June 15, 2016 in Reviews


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Review: A Coin for Charon by Dallas Mullican

Hey everyone, Dave here again, hope you’re all well.🙂 I hope you got yourselves copies of ‘Thou Shalt Not’, which I reviewed on Wednesday.

In this post I’ll be reviewing a serial-killer thriller which is right up there with the work from folks like John Connolly and Thomas Harris, at least in my opinion.


Gabriel isn’t murdering anyone. He’s saving them.

The media has dubbed him the Seraphim Killer. He believes the gods have charged him to release the chosen, those for whom life has become an unbearable torment. Gabriel feels their suffering—his hands burn, his skull thunders, his stomach clenches. Once they are free, he places coins on their eyes to pay Charon for passage into paradise.

Detective Marlowe Gentry has spent the past two years on the edge. The last serial killer he hunted murdered his wife before his eyes and left his young daughter a mute shell. Whenever she looks at him, her dead eyes push him farther into a downward spiral of pain and regret. He sees the Seraphim as an opportunity for revenge, a chance to forgive himself―or die trying.

Gabriel performs the gods’ work with increasing confidence, freeing the chosen from their misery. One day, the gods withdraw the blessing―a victim he was certain yearned for release still holds the spark of life. Stunned, he retreats into the night, questioning why the gods have abandoned a loyal servant. Without his calling, Gabriel is insignificant to the world around him.

He will do anything to keep that from happening.

This novel is the first book is Dallas’ ‘Marlowe Gentry’ series, gentry being the main character and a detective.

Marlowe is a no-nonsense, seriously unhappy man; having gone through a massively traumatic experience and working as a detective, he sounds like the kind of character it would be difficult for the reader to associate with, but I found myself really caring about this guy; Dallas’ reveals more of Marlowe’s inner self chapter by chapter instead of giving the read *everything* about the man as soon as he’s introduced, a mistake which many writers in this genre have made. Marlowe comes across as an living, breathing person, and when I finally found out just what had been driving -and hounding- Marlowe, it rounded out his character perfectly. He’s a damaged man, but then, all great, memorable characters are.

Marlowe’s supporting cast is split between his superior, McCann, and his friend, Spence – the back and forth between them is entertaining and doesn’t feel forced at all. McCann is a man under immense pressure and Marlowe’s past (which is known to him) doesn’t make things any easier for him. Spence is, in many ways, Marlowe’s opposite, yet still manages to stand out among the cast – he supports Marlowe but also calls him out from time to time, the kind of thing a true friend does. Koop, the medical examiner, is another stand-out character who, along with Spence, could easily star in their own series’.

There are two other characters, Becca and Max. Becca is a psychologist and the wife of a bad cop; Max is a husband and father who gets very bad news, which impacts and changes his life. How these characters swirl into each others lives and then intersect with Marlowe’s, was expertly handled – they are all important and central to the plot, as well as to the plans and choices of the man who will change all their lives.

Which brings me to Gabriel, one of the most interesting serial killers I’ve met in this genre. His view of life, his personality, his choices, motives and methods are pretty damned unique and memorable and I was absolutely helpless as his tale unfolded.

The novel has an air of mystery and just-perceptible supernatural elements and the writing is tight and controlled; Dallas’ creates and maintains a balance between evoking the gritty urban world the characters inhabit and their inner selves, both deeply realized and explored.

When there’s a tangible sense of place as well as stand-out characters, a tale works well, and this tale, focusing on people trying to find their place in an unforgiving and brutal world, is excellent.

The only writers of the genre who have so captured me before this have been Thomas Harris and John Connolly – Dallas Mullican deserves to stand alongside them, and I’m really looking forward to reading the next Marlowe Gentry novel.



And how awesome is the cover art?!🙂

To order your copies, follow this link for all the other links and info you’ll need.🙂

Until next time,

Be Epic!


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Review: Thou Shalt Not – Edited by Alex Davis

Hey everyone, Dave here.🙂 Hope you’ve all been well! Apologies for my absences – I’ve been writing a lot and editing a lot lately and have achieved a balance or sorts which will lead to more regular reviews from me.🙂

Let’s get into ‘Thou Shalt Not’!

The Ten Commandments were laid down in the earliest days of mankind, a guiding set of principles for our everyday lives. For centuries these tenets have shaped our morality, our laws, our societies. But what happens when these commandments are tested – and even broken? Step inside ten tales exploring the dark consequences of breaking these most ancient and sacred of rules…

That’s the premise for this anthology and, being raised as a Roman Catholic, I was really curious as to how the premise would be explored. Put it this way – I was shocked, stunned and left speechless, and I mean that all positively.

The anthology opens with Jeff Gardiner‘s Dionysus, a tale exploring the commandment, “Thou Shalt Have No Other Gods Before Me.” It’s also a tale about awakening and emerging from from the kinds of chrysalis’ which we find ourselves smothered in while trying to navigate Life. It is hard-hitting and heart-felt, the kind of tale that will probably echo in the reader’s mind when witnessing situations similar to what the two main characters find themselves in.

The next tale, Amanda Bigler‘s The Last Dinner, explores the commandment, “Thou Shalt Not Worship Any False Idols” and focuses on a photographer’s confession of love and admiration, exploring not only his quirks and tendencies but also throwing a light on a shady, dangerous business. It hit hard and had me swearing when I finished it – the build up in this tale is perfectly managed and the end is darkly, brutally brilliant.

All the Best Tunes by Clare Littleford takes the commandment, “Thou Shalt Not Take the Lord’s name in Vain” as its inspiration, and focuses on a couple, their desperate love for one another, and how their relationship impacts the community in which they live which, at times, has the flavour of a dystopia. It’s a subtle tale with an intense gut-punch of an ending.

Stuart Young‘s Confessions explores the commandment, “Thou Shalt Keep the Sabbath Day, to Keep it Holy“, and is one of my favourite tales in the book. It’s an absolutely blistering and eye-opening look at the concept of sin – outstanding tale!

The Looking Glass Girl by Laura Mauro, exploring the commandment, “Honour Thy Mother and Father“, is one of the more tragic tales in the anthology and follows the main character as she begins to uncover the truth behind her sister’s disappearance. The thing is, her sister, Stefania, appears in a mirror … or does it? Are we experiencing something supernatural or are long-suppressed memories rising to the fore? Great tale.

Danuta Reah‘s The Dummies’ Guide to Serial Killing (with “Thou Shalt Not Kill” as its theme, of course) is a fun, vicious tale in which a budding murderer is given a brilliant lesson in how not to go about being a serial killer. I enjoyed a nasty little cackle at the end of this tale.

Fuxnet by Pat Kelleher, exploring “Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery“, is uncompromising and truly scary – the author takes online pornography and creates a nightmare which consumes the main character. It’s a disquieting, unflinching tale and may upset some readers, but is well worth the read.

Mark West‘s The Goblin Glass explores “Thou Shalt Not Steal” and has the main character sent to steal a particular, special mirror (The Goblin Glass) by a man he wishes to impress. He finds the mirror, of course…😉 A great, tense tale in which you as the reader know that the character is heading into dangerous territory, but you really don’t want to warn him (even if you could) because you need to know more about the mirror.

After Jasper Kent‘s The Tangled Web, you will never break the “Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness Against Thy Neighbour” commandment ever again, and you might even look at Twitter from an entirely new perspective, too…

And finally, rounding out the anthology with a tale of salesmanship, business deals and Hell, Jacey Bedford explores “Thou Shalt Not Covet Anything of Your Neighbour’s” in Pitch, an entertaining, surprising mix of themes and outcomes.

Thou Shalt Not

This is a seriously good anthology, exploring different themes with physical, emotional and psychological Horror-elements and should keep you reading late into the night; in fact, you’ll probably be late for work the next day. Not checking Twitter at all. Wondering about Sin. And so much else.😉

I’ve got no idea how many tales Alex had to choose from, but all of these tales are damned good and memorable. The editing was sharp and completely invisible and I’m definitely looking forward to reading further projects edited by Alex, and written by these authors.

9 / 10

You can order your limited edition hardcovers direct from Tickety Boo Press, or get the Kindle edition at the following links: Amazon US and Amazon UK.

Until next time,



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Posted by on June 8, 2016 in Reviews


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Rosarium Publishing – Help Them Level-Up!

Hey folks, hope you’re all well.🙂

If you’ve not yet heard of Rosarium Publishing and the awesome work they publish (including fellow AfroSF author Tade Tompson’s novel, Making Wolf), then head on over to their website and familiarise yourselves.🙂 And then support their IndieGoGo campaign to raise enough money to launch them into the well-deserved spotlight!

making wolf

Rosarium Publishing (distributed through IPG) was started in 2013 with one goal: to bring true diversity to publishing so that the books and comics we enjoy actually reflect the fascinating, multicultural world we truly live in today.

We publish science fiction, crime, steampunk, satire, comics and represent over 40 artists and writers from all over the world.  With the success of this campaign, we will be able to print thousands of books and continue our mission to further our quest for diversity in publishing with the high quality of work you deserve.

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Check out this video for more info about Rosarium, their campaign, what they hope to achieve, and much more:

And then head on over to IndieGoGo and support them!🙂 Ensuring diversity in SFF is a damned kickass goal, and Rosarium needs your help to ensure that diversity is the norm, not the aspiration.


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Posted by on May 4, 2016 in Spotlight


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Review: Biblia Longcrofta by Simon Marshall-Jones

Hey everyone, Dave here.🙂

I’m a sucker for short story collections and anthologies – collections because a writer’s skills and imagination unfold from story to story, and anthologies because the talent and ideas on offer are always something to be excited about.

Simon’s collection, featuring an incredible cover by Jim Burns, is a stunning showcase of a storyteller with heart, wit and an incredible imagination.

Biblia Longcrofta 1

The first tale, Biblia Longcrofta, follows the journey of a man in search of himself and his place in the world. It is also an exploration of many different ideas and philosophies, which not only make it one of the most unique stories I’ve read but also one of the most memorable. In this tale you’ll come across living statues, mysterious and monolithic Black Ships, gods and goddesses, souls and their own journeys toward rebirth, cosmic terror and war… And that’s by no means everything!😉

Simon also manages to stitch together each of these ideas into a unified whole, using them not only as a means to further explore the world the main character finds himself in but also allows the reader to get to know the main character in deeper detail. Not only is the tale a journey of the heart and soul but also a journey into myriad realms, realms which has Longcroft as its focus.

I also can’t help feeling that this journey with the main character is also a journey with Simon; even though I’ve yet to meet the Marshall-Jones’, it feels as if I know them well, to some degree. Putting that much of yourself into a tale you’ve written could be a risk, but here it comes across as something exciting and beautiful, a tale beautifully told and explored.

The second tale, Feathers, is simply beautiful. Taking place in both the past and the present, it is an exploration of love, longing, memory and the magic all of these can create together.

And the third, Leaves, is a clever, wonderful tale of a boy, his Auntie and their adventures. As both the closing of a circle and the beginning of a new cycle, it’s a surprising, wonderful tale.


I give this collection a resounding 10 / 10 for its inventiveness, soul and uncompromising beauty. Wonderful stuff!🙂

You can order Simon’s collection from Tickety Boo Press, Amazon US or Amazon UK.

Until next time,


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Posted by on February 17, 2016 in Uncategorized