(Truthseer Archives #3)
by Mike Shelton (2018)


The TruthStone has been a heavy weight for Shaeleen to bear, but she must continue to gather all the stones of power and restore them to their original glory – how, she is not quite sure.

The final part wraps everything with a bow and marriages.

It’s all very exciting and our hero escapes any damages with not even a scratch. This is probably to be expected, but given the power Shaeleen accumulates, it would have been nice to see it change her… maybe a bit to the dark side. But despite all the events happening within a year (she is 15 at the ens) she remains unchanged.

Still, it’s a well written at at times exciting story.



(Truthseer Archives #2)
by Mike Shelton (2018)


Sent to find Princess Diamonique to prevent a civil war, Shaeleen travels with her brother, Wizard Protector Cole, and her friend, Orin. But her journey veers off course when she discovers an evil shadow power threatening the magic of Wayland.

The second of the trilogy is better than the first. The stakes are higher and there is more action. So while it still fits into the young adult genre, things are a bit more intense and the story more involved. The ending leaves you wondering how the story will be resolved.



(Truthseer Archives #1)
by Mike Shelton (2018)

When fifteen year old Shaeleen unexpectedly is given a TruthStone, every lie she hears or tells causes her immense physical pain. As she struggles to control her new power and curb the pain, she learns a powerful truth that could thrust an entire continent into civil war. She must choose: reveal the truth and stop the pain – or sacrifice her own well-being to protect her kingdom.

This was purchased from Amazon for a dollar on a whim. It’s definitely young adult fantasy. The prose is easy to read and has a nice flow. Set is a pre-industrial age with magic, technology and a very modern outlook.

The story is centered around a young girl who is thrust into the limelight. There is nothing gritty, depressing of violent about the story and tone. In some ways this detracts from the story, meaning that there is less at stake for the characters. Sometimes the  magic seems to evolve to suit the story.

It feels light and adventurous, rather than deep and weighty. Even the  ‘evil’ characters aren’t that threatening.

At the end of the first book, it just seemed natural to move onto the second….

Cuckoo 3

Cuckoo Series 3

In this series it is clear that the writers have gone from comedy to farce. The characters do stupid things to move the plot and jokes along. With a new baby there is scope for a lot of domestic accidents and almost everything possible is included.



Pavilion 3-8

The Far Pavilions
Book 3 – World out of Time

This covers Ashton’s return to India and his meeting with Anjuli-Bai to kindle the romance into all out passion. This section is long (100k workds) and mainly covers a trip to take two brides to be married off. Ashton finds himself as the British representative and in a leadership role. Again, over-long and at times tedious.

Book 4 – Bhithor

Ash travels with a a wedding party to Bhithor to negotiate a a wedding contract. More political than adventure or exciting

Book 5 – Paradise of Fools

Ash returns then does… nothing really. It’s around the middle of the book and the pace is really beginning to sag.

Book 6 – Juli

Another 100K word section. And things are really going nowhere. It’s at this point I found a video online of the 1984 BBC adaption. Even this is rather stilted and lacking in action or intrigue. At this point interest began to fade and I eventually gave up 54% through the book.


Cuckoo 2

Cuckoo Series 2

In series two, the main character is replaced by his ‘son’, leading to the situation where Rachel has feelings for her son-in-law !

While the first series had a premise: your son-in-law it a dropout living with you, the second is a more traditional family centered comedy. The cast expands with the neighbors and Ken’s law firm.

The jokes keep coming but the plots keep getting more bizarre !


Pavillion 2

The Far Pavilions
Book 2 Belinda

Paperback cover (previously owned)

Belinda is Ash’s girlfriend and bride to be. The story takes Ash back to England for his education. Here he woos Belinda and plans to marry her. After school he joins the Army and returns to India.

The pacing slows down in the second book and almost becomes a generic English romance/comedy of manners. Fortunately it is short (40K words) and eventually Ash is back to adventuring.


Far Pavillion

The Far Pavilions
by M.M. Kaye

The current Amazon cover

Originally published in 1978, I owned a print copy for decades. Probably purchased in the late 1970’s via a Book Club I joined for a few years.

The book was always imposing. At 1,000 pages and almost half a million words it just sat on a shelf mocking me. So finally, forty years after publication and with the benefit of an e-reader (my smartphone) I have started.

Separated into eight ‘Books’, it is easier to handle. So here goes:

Book 1 The Twig is Bent

Set in India at the time of mutiny, circa 1850. This is the story of Ashton Pelham-Martyn, born to English parents in India and although raised in the local culture.

The prose immediately engulfs the reader in the environment. The descriptions are sparse but enough and the characters engaging. This first book is his story, being raised by a foster mother and working among the royalty. It ends with him a young man, about 17 years old.