#Extract The Dark Earth by Gordon Doherty (Empires of Bronze #6)

It’s a pleasure to be joining the publication day celebrations for The Dark Earth by Gordon Doherty, the sixth and epic finale to his ‘Empires of Bronze’ series. Gordon is the author of the ‘Legionary’ and ‘Strategos’ series and, along with Simon Turney, forms the dream team behind the ‘Rise of Emperors’ series. Follow the links from the titles to read my reviews of The Blood Road (Legionary #7) and Masters of Rome (Rise of Emperors #2).

I’m delighted to be able to bring you an excerpt from The Dark Earth which you can read below. The Dark Earth is available to purchase now from Amazon UK and other retailers.


The Dark EarthAbout the Book

The time will come, as all times must, when the world will shake, and fall to dust…

1237 BC: It is an age of panic. The great empires are in disarray – ravaged by endless drought, shaken by ferocious earthquakes and starved of precious tin. Some say the Gods have abandoned mankind.

When Tudha ascends the Hittite throne, the burden of stabilising the realm falls upon his shoulders. Despite his valiant endeavours, things continue to disintegrate; allies become foes, lethal plots arise, and enemy battle horns echo across Hittite lands.

Yet this is nothing compared to the colossal, insidious shadow emerging from the west. Crawling unseen towards Tudha’s collapsing Hittite world comes a force unlike any ever witnessed; an immeasurable swarm of outlanders, driven by the cruel whip of nature, spreading fire and destruction: the Sea Peoples.

Every age must end. The measure of a man is how he chooses to face it.

Format: ebook (478 pages)
Publication date: 26th May 2022 Genre: Historical Fiction

Find The Dark Earth on Goodreads


Extract from The Dark Earth by Gordon Doherty

Darkness fell and the blizzard hissed over the col. The Hittite soldiers hunkered down around a fire, pinching their hands for heat. Prince Tudha moved around the edges of the sheltered camp, thanking each man by name for their swiftness in tracking down the cattle rustlers. It was a technique King Hattu had taught him – to show them that they were more than just soldiers, to forge a bond. He spotted the granite-faced one again – the one who had been acting suspiciously all day. He realised that – to his shame – he didn’t know this man’s name. The mountain of muscle sat in just his leather kilt – no cloak for warmth – re-braiding his three pigtails.

‘What’s your name, soldier?’

The man looked up, sour at the interruption. ‘Skarpi.’

Tudha noticed how he seemed detached from the others. A loner. ‘You did well today. I will not forget your part in things.’

‘Hmm,’ the man said, then turned back to his braiding.

Bemused, Tudha left him to it rather than make an issue of his demeanour. Yet as he strolled away, he was certain – certain – that the man’s eyes were burning into his back.

‘My prince,’ called Heshni from the edge of the camp. He was beckoning Tudha over, shooting concerned looks past him and towards the spot where Skarpi was seated.

‘Who is that man?’ Tudha asked quietly as he neared his half-brother.

‘Skarpi? A nobody – son of a prostitute, some say. Lucky to be part of the Mesedi.’ Heshni eyed the surly soldier again sceptically, then beckoned Tudha towards the edge of the col. ‘Come, I wanted to show you something. Lights.’

‘Lights?’

‘I saw a torch, out there in the night, shining damply in the murk,’ Heshni explained, guiding Tudha forward, round the base of the col and down a loose track. Outside the lee of their camp, the storm roared, casting their long hair and cloaks horizontal. ‘I think the cattle thieves have doubled back,’ Heshni shouted to be heard in the scream of the blizzard. ‘They mean to steal from you again.’

‘Could they be so foolish?’ Tudha said, the snow stinging his bare arms and face. He could see nothing out there. ‘Where are these lights?’

‘There, look,’ Heshni said, pointing into the whiteout. He stepped aside to allow Tudha past to see for himself.

Tudha stared hard, but could see nothing except speeding white snow and darkness beyond. ‘I see no lights, and even if I could, I cannot believe that those men would risk their necks again. They knew how close they came to death today.’

‘If only you were so wise,’ Heshni purred from behind, the words underscored by the zing of a sword being plucked from its sheath.

Tudha swung on his heel, horrified by the sight of his half-brother, rising over him, teeth gritted in a snarl, blade plunging down towards his chest.

Blood erupted, hot and stinking. Tudha fell to his back, coughing, retching. Snow and blood all around…


Gordon DohertyAbout the Author

Gordon writes: “I’m a Scottish writer, addicted to reading and writing historical fiction. My love of history was first kindled by visits to the misty Roman ruins of Britain and the sun-baked antiquities of Turkey and Greece. My expeditions since have taken me all over the world and back and forth through time (metaphorically, at least), allowing me to write tales of the later Roman Empire, Byzantium, Classical Greece and even the distant Bronze Age.”

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#Extract Until We Meet by Camille Di Maio @CamilleDiMaio

I’m delighted today to bring you an extract from a book I’m hoping to read very soon, Until We Meet by Camille Di Maio. My thanks to Ellen at Books Forward for my digital review copy.

Until We MeetAbout the Book

New York City, 1943.

Can one small act change the course of a life? Margaret‘s job at the Navy Yard brings her freedoms she never dared imagine, but she wants to do something more personal to help the war effort. Knitting socks for soldiers is a way to occupy her quiet nights and provide comfort to the boys abroad. But when a note she tucks inside one of her socks sparks a relationship with a long-distance pen pal, she finds herself drawn to a man she’s never even met.

Can a woman hold on to her independence if she gives away her heart?  Gladys has been waiting her whole life for the kinds of opportunities available to her now that so many men are fighting overseas. She’s not going to waste a single one. And she’s not going to let her two best friends waste them either. Then she meets someone who values her opinions as much as she likes giving them, and suddenly she is questioning everything she once held dear.

Can an unwed mother survive on her own? Dottie is in a dire situation – she’s pregnant, her fiancé is off fighting the war, and if her parents find out about the baby, they’ll send her away and make her give up her child. Knitting helps take her mind off her uncertain future-until the worst happens and she must lean on her friends like never before.

With their worlds changing in unimaginable ways, Margaret, Gladys, and Dottie will learn that the unbreakable bond of friendship between them is what matters most of all.

Format: Paperback (384 pages)    Publisher: Forever
Publication date: 1st March 2022 Genre: Historical Fiction

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Extract from Until We Meet

Distracted by the music and the twittering of their conversation, Margaret was surprised that an hour later, she had produced the base of a sock that, while not storefront-perfect, was something to be proud of. Gladys was about as far along as she was while Dottie was well on her way to finishing the matched sock that would complete the pair. At this rate, they could clothe the whole army in a short time. Dottie leaned in and showed them how to change the pattern in order to create the ribbed part that would hug the shin. Knit two, purl two.

As she continued, Margaret thought about the boys who would wear them and about a special request that John had asked of her. Could you write a note to my buddy William? He hasn’t received any letters yet, and I don’t know why. But I think it would mean an awful lot to him. Something cheery. You’re just the girl to do it.

She paused to glide a finger along her nearly done piece and thought about who this William was. Would he put the pair on right away? Or would he stash it in his rucksack for later? But most important, would he smile at the thought that some girl in Brooklyn had spent a Saturday evening making this for him? She was grateful her brother had enlisted her help. It gave her the kind of purpose that she felt working at the Navy Yard. That in some little way, she was contributing to the war effort.

“Margaret, watch out!”

Dottie was pointing to the pocket of the red sweater that Margaret’s grandmother had made for her many Christmases ago. It had seen better days – Margaret wore it frequently to the Navy Yard, and it had caught on her work more times than she cared to count. She missed her grandmother, having lost her two years ago to pneumonia, and the sweater was a warm reminder of the woman she’d loved. Margaret still felt the void at the dinner table every night as her grandmother’s seat remained empty. And now John’s.

She saw the problem that Dottie was pointing to. A piece of the yarn had come loose and had wound its way around the gray wool skein. The last row of Margaret’s stitching had the beginnings of an unintentional red border. “Looks kind of nice, if you ask me,” offered Gladys.

Dottie stood up to inspect the work. “I think she’s right, Mags. It dresses it up a little bit. Makes it stand out.” She dug through her bag. “I don’t have a red skein, but I have a yellow one if you want to make a border on purpose.” She held it up.

Margaret took it from her hand but wasn’t convinced as she put it next to the sock. There was something dull about it. Yellow on gray. Whereas the red reminded her of some of the flashiest dancing shoes her parents used to make. She shook her head and gave the yellow back to Dottie. Then she tugged on her sweater, loosening the yarn even more. “I’m going to stick with the red. For all the socks I make. It will be like having my signature on it.”

“Oh, Margaret!” exclaimed Dottie. “What do you mean? That’s your favorite sweater!”

Margaret’s heart beat faster as she doubted herself, but she knew deep down that this was something she had to do. “That’s why. It’s because it’s my favorite. What if this little sacrifice means something? Like the amount of our effort somehow elevates theirs?”

Gladys set her project down on her lap. “Like it’s in the stars. The more good you put out there, the more comes down to them.”

“Or” – Dottie seemed enthusiastic about the idea now – “it’s like sending them a bit of your grandmother’s goodwill. Letting her be their guardian angel too.”

Margaret smiled. “Yes. Exactly like that.”

“I like it. And so would John.”

Margaret stifled a yawn. It was only nine o’clock, but she still felt tired from the sleep she’d missed from the early shift yesterday. This work was too important, though, and this evening with her friends was too dear to wrap up early. Another Glenn Miller song came on – “Knit One, Purl Two.” The girls fell into another fit of giggles. The song had dominated radio stations last year, and its appearance at this moment felt like it was all meant to be.

“You know what?” said Gladys. “I think I’d like to do this every Saturday night after all.”

Margaret smiled at Gladys’s response to the silent wish of her heart. She whispered a prayer for the boys who would receive the socks and went back to work. Tomorrow, she would write a letter to William and slip it into the box before shipping it out.

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Camille Di MaioAbout the Author

Camille Di Maio left an award-winning real estate career to become a bestselling author. She has a bucket list that is never ending and uses her adventures to inspire her writing. She’s lived in Texas, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and California, and spends enough time in Hawai‘i and Maine to feel like a local. She’s traveled to four continents (so far), and hopes to get to all of them someday. Camille studied political science in college. She loves to spend Saturdays at farmers’ markets and belts out Broadway tunes whenever the moment strikes. She lives with her husband of twenty-four years in coastal Virginia, has two kiddos grown and flown, and two still at home. Rescue pets have been a long-term passion for her, the most recent addition being a German shepherd puppy. (Photo/Bio: Publisher author page)

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