Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Audiobook Review: Ring Around the Sun (Last Line #2) by Harper Fox

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Title: Ring Around the Sun

Author: Harper Fox

Narrator: David Thorpe

Published: 1st December 2016

Length: 11 hrs and 51 mins

Synopsis

MI5 agents Marina Griffin and Leo South are made to be together. But their mission's-end encounter with Ashkeloi gypsies the Russian forest reveals a terrifying prophecy - a fate that will tear them apart, and re-echo into the lives of their sons, John and Mike.

Thirty years later, a deadly climate shift has opened up a seaway through the Arctic, and nuclear war is imminent as the global superpowers make a grab for the oil reserves suddenly exposed. Like everyone else, Mike and John just want to ride out the storm and protect the people they love, especially their boy Quin. But love isn't enough when the stakes are this high, and Mike and John too are in the grip of a destiny they can't avoid. Summoned from their Glastonbury farmhouse to the office of their ex-boss, James Webb, they discover not only the truth about their heritage but the forces they will have to encounter if the war for the Arctic - and the future of humanity - is to be won.

©2015 Harper Fox (P)2016 Audible, Inc.

STORY

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NARRATION

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Mark’s Post

Oh my goodness, what a breathtaking saga this story is. A story so big in scope and magnitude it really is difficult to know where to begin with my review. An intricate plot with so many twists, turns and revelations it drives the reader on wanting to now what comes next. To be honest I listened it to it twice just to make sure I hadn’t missed anything, not that it is confusing, but just to savour the smaller details that may have been forgotten in the first listening. Second time round was just as enthralling and deepened my understanding of the smaller intricacies contained within in this storyline.

Mike and John are now settled down into domestic bliss after we left them at the end of book one. However, this is all about to fly out the window as their true natures are revealed and their true destinies lie with having to save the world. Quite literally. This is why the book begins before Mike and John are born and we are introduced to their back story and parents before we get to the present day. Harper builds up the mystery surrounding their births and paranormal qualities so masterfully I was intrigued form the very first chapter. Both our boys were born under a shroud of prophecy and the mystical after an encounter with the Ashkeloi Gypsies while Marina ( John’s mother) and Leo (Mike’s father) are on a mission with James Webb their boss from the previous book. James Webb provides an constant thread running through the various time frames and as is his name so is his character, spinning an intricate web of lies and deceit in order to achieve his aims. He isn’t a bad person, but someone who has to play a dangerous game, uses people to that intent, a manipulator and double agent of the highest order. the sort of person that you know he has a heart and some sincerity somewhere that shows through on very limited occasions but is mainly covered up by all the manipulating he has to do. I found James to be one very captivating character indeed. As a reader be careful you don’t get caught in James’s web.

After we get the back story we arrive in the present day, domestic bliss, they now have guardianship of Quin (John’s younger brother) and all intents and purposes and loving close knit family. However, trouble is brewing and things are about to be run out of control or at least beyond the control of John and Mike. I swear hearing this story a second time that Harper Fox must have had some kind or premonition with today’s political situation. Everything is plausible and yet we hope it isn’t. The world is heating up, nations are gearing up to go to war and Quin starts to discover he has certain paranormal qualities that he nor anyone else can explain. I just LOVED the way that all these individual threads, the gypsy prophecies of Mike’s and John’s birth start to come together as a whole to start a chain reaction of events that will lead all three having to save the world.

John’s and Mike’s love for each other and their relationship is going to be put to the final test. Together they are strong, the loving and caring they have for each other oozes off the page. The sex is hot, if not a little kinky, as Mike finds that some of the things he did with Anjel in the first book is also a little bit of his own tastes, but that’s fun too. Can they both survive what  is required of them? There is no denying in order to find peace they are going to have to face down their arch enemies or opposite numbers. This leads to one part in the book where they have t go their separate ways the question remaining is whether they will ever be able to find each other again. They risk their own happiness for the greater good of putting a world to rights that has now spun out of control. An action packed race ensues that left me breathless and not wanting to miss a minute. Hence the second listening. Normally I would say that for Harper’s writing style is not one that would necessarily lend itself to action packed scenes, more for the emotional level, but she masters this well and are treated to lots of James Bond style action as our boys set off on their final mission.

I could wax lyrical about this book but my review has to end somewhere. It’s a difficult thing to write a review for something so momentous as reading this story from Harper. The book is excellently plotted, it’s suitably labyrinthine for such a thriller style story but never loses the reader, rather keeps the intrigue going until the final scene has played out. The tangled web that is woven by James Webb as he uses and plays people like puppets for his own means. The mystical is superbly woven into the reality lending the story and extra facet to this spy / thriller story. I can highly recommend this book for all those fans of Day of the Jackal style thrillers with extra M/M spice and magic thrown in. Loved these two books from start finish and if you haven’t managed to get around to them yet then it’s high time you do.

NARRATION

Harper writes very vibrant, deliciously complicated and multi-layered characters and this obviously needs a very careful narration. I can’t sing the praises of David Thorpe enough. He does an excellent job and not once does his vice characterisations falter in what is a marathon of a book. Each character has its own distinct voice and David brings them to life as they spoke to me through my speakers. He lends exactly what is needed to the voices of each character, their distinct accents, suitably dark and sinister when needed, emotional when needed, a real joy to listen to. He was a new narrator to me in the first book but has now earned his place in my all time favourite list of narrators.

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Reading Order and Purchase Links

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Title: Last Line

Author: Harper Fox

Narrator: David Thorpe

Release: 1st December 2016

Length: 9 hrs

Synopsis

John Griffin and Michael South - agents in the renegade counterterrorism agency Last Line, and closer than brothers. It's a fast-lane life of danger and excitement. John loves every minute of it, but he's facing one big problem now: his feelings for Mike have flared up from friendship into a passion he can no longer hide. And Mike, although the bravest and best of partners, doesn't feel the same.

Their one sexual encounter leaves them baffled and alienated from one another. Mike is a haunted man, shaken by flashbacks to his past life as an MI5 agent and a mission in Russia that went terribly wrong. He's been left with a need for violence between the sheets, and John isn't prepared to hurt him.

Not everyone has Mike's best interests at heart. Their ruthless boss hires a ghost from Mike's past to help track down a Russian war criminal who's planted a nuclear device in the heart of London. Anzhel Mattvei knows all of Mike's dark secrets, and soon regains his former sexual thralldom over him, leaving Mike locked in battle for his will and his soul. Anzhel has turned Mike into a human detonation device. Only John's love can pull him back from the brink - and save millions of lives in the fallout zone.

©2014 Harper Fox (P)2016 Audible, Inc.

::: MARK’S REVIEW :::

Audiobook Purchase Links

AMAZON | AUDIBLE US | AUDIBLE UK

AUDIBLE AU | AUDIBLE DE | AUDIBLE FR

Ebook Purchase Links

AMAZON | B&N | KOBO

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61pJ2dp3t6L._SL300_

Title: Ring Around the Sun

Author: Harper Fox

Narrator: David Thorpe

Published: 1st December 2016

Length: 11 hrs and 51 mins

Synopsis

MI5 agents Marina Griffin and Leo South are made to be together. But their mission's-end encounter with Ashkeloi gypsies the Russian forest reveals a terrifying prophecy - a fate that will tear them apart, and re-echo into the lives of their sons, John and Mike.

Thirty years later, a deadly climate shift has opened up a seaway through the Arctic, and nuclear war is imminent as the global superpowers make a grab for the oil reserves suddenly exposed. Like everyone else, Mike and John just want to ride out the storm and protect the people they love, especially their boy Quin. But love isn't enough when the stakes are this high, and Mike and John too are in the grip of a destiny they can't avoid. Summoned from their Glastonbury farmhouse to the office of their ex-boss, James Webb, they discover not only the truth about their heritage but the forces they will have to encounter if the war for the Arctic - and the future of humanity - is to be won.

©2015 Harper Fox (P)2016 Audible, Inc.

Audiobook Purchase Links

AMAZON | AUDIBLE US | AUDIBLE UK

AUDIBLE AU | AUDIBLE DE | AUDIBLE FR

Ebook Purchase Links

AMAZON | B&N | KOBO

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Meet Harper Fox

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Bestselling British author Harper Fox has established herself as a firm favourite with readers of M/M romance. Over the past three years, she’s delivered thirteen critically acclaimed novels, novellas and short stories, including Scrap Metal (Rainbow Awards Honourable Mention),The Salisbury Key(CAPA nominated) and Life After Joe (Band of Thebes Best LGBT Book, 2011).

Harper takes her inspiration from a wide range of British settings – wild countryside, edgy urban and most things in between – and loves to use these backdrops for stories about sexy gay men sharing passion, adventure and happy endings. She also runs her own publishing imprint, FoxTales.

Harper has recently returned from Cornwall to her native Northumberland, and already the bleak moorlands around her home are providing a wealth of new ideas for future work.

FACEBOOK | WEBSITE | TWITTER | GOODREADS

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