Recommended Reads: The Dark Citadel by Jane Dougherty

The Dark Citadel

The Blurb

Deborah has a secret
But she doesn’t know what it is.
The Protector does
And so does Abaddon.
Both of them want her destroyed.

A wild boy and a pack of wolfdog pups are all that stand between Deborah and destruction.
But Jonah and Deborah have forged a weapon that even the demon fears.

Between them, the pariah girl and the dog boy will change the world. Or die in the attempt.


If there is one genre I’ve so far avoided reading by self-published authors it’s fantasy. Not because I dislike fantasy, quite the opposite. I really love fantasy, and that was my problem. I was worried any books I chose would be derivative and not bring anything new to the genre. I should have known better.

In the Dark Citadel, Jane Dougherty has created a vividly layered, cruel fantasy world where the city of Providence acts as the last refuge of humanity against the demonic armies of evil. Yet even Providence has succumbed to the all pervasive corruption, where the heavily structured society where love and affection are suppressed by the rigid laws and a twisted, oppressive religion.

Out of this gloom we follow Deborah, a young orphan shunned by others because of her parents, who rebels against the fate mapped out for her. As she gets further into trouble, Deborah starts to learn more about her history, and the true history of her people. She decides to escape Providence and find her mother, a direct descendent of Eve, to change the world for the better.

I loved this book. Dougherty’s world may be bleak, but she has balanced the hope and despair with great skill to ensure the threat of disaster is always there but never overwhelming. Her multi-layered society is terrifyingly believable, especially the way the authorities use their twisted doctrine to ensure the population oppress themselves, and in Deborah she has created a wonderfully spiky, independent protagonist you cannot help but want to succeed – a great example of a strong, female lead.

If you enjoy you are looking to escape into a well-written, unique dark fantasy, you would be hard pushed to find a better book than this. I cannot wait to read the next two books in the series. Highly Recommended.

To buy The Dark Citadel from click here

To buy The Dark Citadel from click here

7-7-7 Challenge

Absent Souls - High Resolution

Many, many weeks ago I was nominated by Arran Bhansal for the 7-7-7 challenge. As regular readers will know, I tend not to take part in awards or challenges as I try to keep as much of my writing time freed up for useful advice – or dare I say it – writing books. However, this challenge intrigued me.

The challenge itself is simple: go to the seventh page of the manuscript you are working on, go down to line seven, then publish the next seven lines. What could be simpler? So here is my 7-7-7 challenge from Absent Souls, published Friday 28th November:

He stepped to one side as a group of semi-naked students ran
past, whooping and hollering, clearly enjoying the freedom of being
able to do whatever they wanted. Well, nearly anything. The
Scrambles wasn’t quite lawless. There was still his law, and nobody
with any sense broke that. O’Driscoll smiled inwardly. If only they’d
known who they had nearly ran into. They wouldn’t have been
screaming with pleasure.

The passage comes from the point of view of Mick O’Driscoll, also known as the King of the Scrambles. O’Driscoll is a crime lord whose family has controlled the Scrambles – a semi-legitimatised lawless district – for generations. The local authorities turn a blind eye to what happens there because it acts as a pressure valve for the rest of the city. They are happy for O’Driscoll to police the area how he wants, as long as things don’t go too far. Unfortunately for O’Driscoll, he’s about to learn his control of the Scrambles doesn’t extend as far as he thinks…

Mick O’Driscoll was a very minor character from Second Chance but one I fell in love with. The son of a notorious criminal, he was sent to an elite boarding school when young to make connections with the children of the rich and powerful. It gave him a plummy accent and a worldview very different from his father’s, but despite his best efforts, he remains an O’Driscoll.

As with any challenge you have to pass on the baton. There are so many wonderful authors who I’ve had the privilege to get to know over the past year or so of blogging and I would love to choose you all, but the two people I’m going to nominate are:

Julie Lawford, from A Writer’s Notepad blog who has just announced she will be publishing her first book, Singled Out, in January.

Tammy Salyer ( who wrote the Spectras Arise Trilogy I enjoyed so much earlier this year and is currently working on something related to Vikings, if her twitter feed is anything to go by.

Over to you…



Absent Souls: publication date and new description

Absent Souls - High Resolution


I’m very pleased to announce that Absent Souls (The Transcendence Trilogy: Book 2) will be available to buy as an e-book from Friday 28th November, exclusively on Amazon. To help give you a flavour of what the story’s about, here’s the product description.

One death, two nations on the brink of war, and four people fighting the ghosts of their past.

Mick O’Driscoll has a problem. A man has died in the Scrambles, and nothing happens in the Scrambles without his permission, or so he thought. The death spells trouble and O’Driscoll knows it. The question is, who killed the Prime Delegate’s brother on his turf and why?

Set two years after the events of Second Chance, Absent Souls follows the story of four people struggling to deal with events in the present while tormented by events from the past: an Investigator, tortured by the memory of a man he couldn’t find and a crime he was unable solve; a crime lord, forced to live a life he inherited but never truly wanted; a Professor, using academic success to drown out his guilt; and a Global Governance operative, slowly becoming the very thing she’s fighting against.

Forced to work with those they distrust in an effort to uncover the truth, it soon becomes clear that it’s not just their own lives they need to protect, but the very future of humanity that’s at stake.

So what do you think? Does it whet your appetite enough to buy the book?

Cover reveal: Absent Souls

I’ve been busy the last few weeks getting my next novel ready for publication. The good news is that all is on plan for the book to be published at the end of November, so without further ado, I would like to introduce you to:

Absent Souls - High Resolution


Absent Souls is the second book of the Transcendence Trilogy, set two years after the events of Second Chance and…

that’s all I’m going to reveal for the time being. But don’t worry, I’ll be releasing further information as we get closer to launch (I know, I’m such a tease).

So, what do you think? Do you like my new cover?