Litercurious Book Review

The King’s Shadow – Edmund Richardson
TitleThe King’s Shadow: Obsession, Betrayal, and the Deadly Quest for the Lost City of Alexandria
AuthorEdmund Richardson
NarratorJulian Elfer
PublisherTantor Audio (April 12, 2022)
FormatKindle, Hardcover, Audiobook
Time8 hours and 18 minutes
GenreAfghanistan Travel Guides, Central Asia History,
India History


Edmund Richardson is Professor of Classics at Durham University. He was named one of the BBC New Generation Thinkers. He is the author of ‘Alexandria: The

Quest for the Lost City’ (Bloomsbury) and ‘The King’s Shadow: Obsession, Betrayal, and the Deadly Quest for the Lost City of Alexandria’ (2022) (St Martin’s Press).

From Amazon’s Edmund Richardson Page


Award Winning British born New York City actor JULIAN ELFER studied at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts (LAMDA) and the British Academy at Oxford University. Other credits include roles in the film Reverie, the pilot of Models and Me, The History Channel, several audio books and the voice of Twinnings Tea. Julian

graduated from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art and studied extensively with famed British Theater director Frank Hauser.

Excerpt taken from


The King’s Shadow is the story of a modernized England, in 1827, making his way through rudimentary India and Afghanistan. Using his wits to survive and evade the East India Company’s agents, James Lewis truly becomes a chameleon.

A disenchanted soldier in India, James deserts at a time when absconders where, if caught, “broken on the wheel.” He quickly learns how to con the locals for everything he needs to survive from food and lodging to clothing and money. He discovers that the more outlandish his con, the easier it is to pull off. Along the way, he makes acquaintance with every stratum of class structure. He his entertained by King’s and befriended by peasants.

Changing his name to Charles Masson, he teaches himself to be an archeologist. However, he cannot stay ahead of the East India Company, and his true identity is uncovered. He is then blackmailed into becoming one of the most important spies for England in the Middle East. Although a renowned archeologist for his work on finding the lost city of Alexandria, it is his spy network which is the most important to the East India Company and England’s interests in the region.


The King’s Shadow is a true historic spy novel. It has suspense, thrills, danger, intrigue, blackmail and world politics. Dr. Edmund Richardson has done a superb job researching and documenting the life of James Lewis, a.k.a. Charles Mason. His attention to detail and the past is unequaled in this historic tale. This true-life spy drama excites the mind and provides a look into the time and politics of the region.

Julian Elfer’s narration adds a depth to the story that was not there when I read the book. His accent, inflection, tone and pace are perfect accompaniments to the tale. I found the audio version better than reading it myself due to the Julian’s style of narration. He really makes the story come alive for the listener.

Rating: 4 out of 5.


I would like to thank Dr. Edmund Richardson, NetGalley, and Tantor Audio for affording me the opportunity to review The King’s Shadow: Obsession, Betrayal, and the Deadly Quest for the Lost City of Alexandria.



The events described in The Devil’s Trap surround the preamble to the First Indian Mutiny of 1857-58, specifically the Cawnpore Massacre, and the subsequent remedial actions taken by the British to re-establish…

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A Haunted Road Atlas by Christine Schiefer & Em Schultz
A Haunted Road Atlas – Christine Schiefer & Em Schultz
TitleA Haunted Road Atlas: Sinister Stops, Dangerous Destinations, and True Crime Tales
AuthorChristine Schiefer & Em Schultz
PublisherAndrews McMeel Publishing (May 31, 2022)
FormatKindle, Paperback, Audiobook
GenreHistory Humor, Supernaturalism, Internet
Social Media Humor
Pages / Runtime304 / 6 hours and 45 minutes / 473 KB
ISBN / ASINBook 978-1524872106
Audiobook B09VYDGBWQ


Taken from the A Haunted Road Atlas


A Haunted Road Atlas is written and performed by Christine Schiefer and her co-author Em Schultz. There is one word that sums up this insanity; cleverly wrapped up in either the written work or the unabridged audiobook, and that word is – fun. Schiefer and Schultz have created a powerful diversion from everyday irrelevant concerns with their fantabulous journey across the entire Continental United States!

Now back to the review. The book is subdivided into individual geographic locations. The reader joins the trip mentally with Christine and Em, visiting haunted hotels, paranormal tours and strange and weird places. That’s not all; oh no! A Haunted Road Atlas also covers: notorious criminals, murders, mayhem, massacres, and con-men. All these are accompanied by fun facts and opinions. I both read and listened to their productions, and I highly recommend the audiobook version. The narrative is rapid delivered and the staccato humor just blew my socks off.


Imagine for a moment the most unhinged but fun person that you know or can imagine. Now add in a touch of Zac Bagin’s of Ghost Adventures fame. Sprinkle in some spooky places with two uproarious, loud and gregarious story tellers, and you have a simple idea of just how deep the rabbit hole goes.

It confounds me just how they managed to cram so much humor into this book. If you enjoy alternative humor, delivered by consummate entertainers look no further.

I sincerely hope that they manage to get to visit Alaska and Hawaii just so that there will be another magical creation.

Rating: 4 out of 5.


I would like to thank Christine Schiefer & Em Schultz, Andrews McMeel Publishing, and NetGalley for affording me the opportunity to review A Haunted Road Atlas: Sinister Stops, Dangerous Destinations, and True Crime Tales.

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A Hunted Road Atlas by Christine Schiefer and Em Schultz
A Hunted Road Atlas by Christine Schiefer and Em Schultz

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London A-Z – REVIEW

Be it the times of Pax Romanaus or Pax Britainica always have your trusty and reliable cartographic entertainment on your person, because you never know when you’ll need the London A-Z.

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Norman 2 – REVIEW

Norman 2 is the sequel to Norman: The Doll That Needed to Be Locked Away. An ominous comment from the store owner peaked Lancaster’s interest, and he bought the doll and took it…

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The crew, alerted to an emergency transmission, reluctantly answers the call and discovers horrors, mysteries, phantoms, and challenges beyond their imagination. Claire Kovalik must conquer her conflicted self, the crew, and the company…

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Litercurious Book Review

The Crooked Door - Brad McLelland & Louis Sylvester
The Crooked Door – Brad McLelland & Louis Sylvester
TitleThe Crooked Door
AuthorsBrad McLelland & Louis Sylvester
PublisherHenry Holt and Co. (BYR) (April 11, 2023)
FormatKindle, Hardcover
GenreChildren’s Spine-Chilling Horror /
Children’s Action & Adventure Books (Books)
ISBN 10/131250124387 / 978-1250124388


Brad McLelland was born and raised in Arkansas and spent several years working as a crime journalist in the South. In 2011, he obtained his MFA in creative writing from Oklahoma State University, where he met his writing partner, Louis. A part-time drummer and singer, Brad lives in Oklahoma with his wife, his stepdaughter, a mini Aussie who gives hugs, and a chubby cat who begs for ham. He is also the co-author of the Legends of the Lost Causes series.

Louis Sylvester is a professor at Lewis-Clark State College in Lewiston, Idaho. He and his wife spend their free time playing tabletop games from his collection of over a thousand card and board games. Louis enjoys watching Western films and reading fantasy novels. He has two dogs that go wild when they hear the word treats. He is also the co-author of the Legends of the Lost Causes series.

Excerpt taken from The Crooked Door.


Thirteen year old Ginny and her family are moving to a new state and a new town. They are forced to take a detour off the main highway when their troubles begin. Bernard, their crusty old pick-up truck, breaks down just outside of picturesque Pottsville. It is a story book town; clean, no traffic, happy people, with kids playing and riding their bikes in the streets.

While the local mechanic takes a look at Bernard, Ginny is taken away by some of the local kids for a tour of the town. Toy stores, ice cream shops, and bike shops are everywhere but there is something disturbing about the town. The lack of cars on the streets, the aged dress of the locals and the distant looks on their faces give Ginny a bad vibe. When the kids take her into the Town Hall basement, she really gets spooked. There, in the middle of the floor is a crooked door. She’s told to knock twice, donate some blood and the thing most dear to her and she will receive a wish. Her wish comes true but what is the price?

After Ginny gets back to the hotel, things really get spooky. The town at night transforms into something twisted with demonic creatures roaming the streets. Her parents are no where to be found, and Ginny is frantic. She learns that picturesque Pottsville is really a dimensional realm for twisted fairies and creatures of the night. The creatures demand sacrifice and Ginny’s parents are next on the menu. No one can escape Pottsville; everyone that tries to leave always end up back where they started.

Will Ginny find her parents in time? Can they escape Pottsville? Can she avoid the creatures of the night and the ghouls that are tracking her? Can she save her family and the kids of Pottsville?


The Crooked Door is a slow starter; about half-way the book took off and I couldn’t put it down once things got going. Reminiscent of Stephen King, it has just the right creepy feel to it. As I read the book, it reminded me of the Twilight Zone episode “It’s a Good Life,” featuring Bill Mumy. It also has a “Children of the Corn” vibe throughout the story, and it even takes a little from “The Lottery,” by Shirley Jackson. A really good combination of horror and creepy.

Although the first half of the book was slow and the story and characters weren’t fully developed, the second half more than made up for it. In the second half the characters really come to life and the suspense is palatable. You can feel the fear and anxiety in the prose. The authors take the reader on a fantastic but scary journey filled with suspense and excitement. The horror seen through a young desperate girls eyes trying to save her family and escape demonic beings is an intense and adrenalin fueled journey.

Suitable for all ages, I highly recommend sticking with the book once you start it. You will not be disappointed. I really enjoyed The Crooked Door.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.


I would like to thank Brad McLelland & Louis Sylvester, Henry Holt and Co. and NetGalley for affording me the opportunity to review The Crooked Door.



Litercurious Book Review

Arnhem - Iain Ballantyne
Arnhem – Iain Ballantyne
TitleArnhem: Ten Days In The Cauldron
AuthorIan Ballantyne
PublisherAgora Books (October 5, 2019)
FormatAudiobook, Paperback, Audio CD
GenreDutch History / WWII Biographies /
World War II History (Books)
ISBN 10/131913099245 / 978-1913099244


Iain Ballantyne has written extensively about navies past and present. A former newspaper defence reporter and current editor of the global naval news magazine ‘WARSHIPS International Fleet Review’, Iain has sailed in minefields off war-torn Kuwait, witnessed embargo enforcement in the Adriatic, and

reported on naval operations in the Arctic and counter-terrorism sweeps in the Mediterranean. He has contributed to national and regional newspapers, international magazines, as well as to television news, documentary programs, podcasts and radio shows. While working for a London-based multi-media production company, Iain played a pivotal role in creating training films and corporate communication projects for the Royal Navy. In 2017, Iain was presented with a prestigious Fellowship Award by the UK’s Maritime Foundation for making ‘a truly outstanding contribution to stimulating public engagement in maritime issues’. Iain’s books include ‘Bismarck: 24 Hours to Doom’ (Agora) ‘The Deadly Trade’ (Weidenfeld and Nicolson), ‘Arnhem: Ten Days in the Cauldron’ (also for Agora) and ‘Hunter Killers’ (Orion), plus ‘Killing the Bismarck’, ‘HMS Rodney’ and ‘Warspite’ (for Pen & Sword).

From Amazon’s Iain Ballantyne Page


Arnhem is an in-depth look into the lives of the soldiers and civilians during Operation Market Garden. In September 1944, the British launched an intensive foray behind enemy lines to capture key bridge crossings in and around Arnhem.

A massive night-time insertion by paratroopers and gliders well behind enemy lines put around 10,000 British troops on the ground. Things never go as planned in war, and almost immediately this was the case here. Lack of communication, troops spread far and wide, gliders that were off course, and lost equipment in crashes and due to enemy fire only made the situation worse.

This story details the fighting on both sides for control of the bridges and the terrain. It depicts the struggle of not only the soldiers but the civilians that were involved as well. The first hand accounts and the stories told by the survivors are depicted in gruesome detail. The struggle for survival and the devotion to duty are laid out bare in this book.


This book is one of the best that I’ve read this year. The research into this pivotal battle, the first hand accounts of the survivors in their own words, the detailed battles from individual soldiers against tanks to higher headquarters manipulation of troops and equipment, all coalesce into a great historic account.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.


I would like to thank Ian Ballantyne, Agora Books and NetGalley for affording me the opportunity to review Arnhem: Ten Days in the Cauldron.



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Litercurious Book Review

My Girly Unicorn - J. Pedicini
My Girly Unicorn  J. Pedicini
TitleMy Girly Unicorn
AuthorJ. Pedicini
PublisherNewhall Publishing Co (June 7, 2022)
FormatKindle, Paperback
GenreChildren’s Fiction, Children’s Fantasy
ISBN 10/130962743631 / 978-0962743634


Graduated from the University of Pennsylvania. Former freelance writer for the Philadelphia Bulletin.

Excerpt taken from Amazon.


In a far away land up in the clouds, a herd of young unicorns play and laugh out loud. But one little unicorn so sad and shy, was left all alone when the other unicorns went by. They would not play with the Girly unicorn, she had a great big purple horn. Then one day the clouds turned dark and grey, the rain threatened to wash them all away. The Girly unicorn danced and danced, she chased the clouds away as if by chance. All of the other unicorns were so happy and glad, they hugged the Girly unicorn and she was no longer sad.


A cute book well animated. The colors are bright and the pictures are great for young children. The plot is pretty much Rudolph the Red Nose reindeer adapted for a girly unicorn instead. The story is told through rhyme and is quite short. A good bedtime story for children 2-5 years old.

Rating: 3 out of 5.


I would like to thank J. Pedicini, NetGalley and Newhall Publishing Co for affording me the opportunity to review My Girly Unicorn.


Litercurious Book Review

The Little Prince Around the World by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry estate
The Little Prince Around the World by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry estate
TitleThe Little Prince Around the World
AuthorCorinne Delporte
IllustratorAntoine de Saint-Exupéry estate
PublisherCrackBoom! Books (October 4, 2022)
GenreChildren’s Fiction / Children’s Europe Books
ISBN 10/132898023531 / 978-2898023538



ANTOINE DE SAINT-EXUPÉRY, the “Winged Poet,” was born in Lyon, France, in 1900. A pilot at twenty-six, he was a pioneer of commercial aviation and flew in the Spanish Civil War and World War II. His writings include The Little Prince, Wind, Sand and Stars, Night Flight, Southern Mail, and Airman’s Odyssey. In 1944, while flying a reconnaissance mission for his French air squadron, he disappeared over the Mediterranean.


The Little Prince’s flower is sick. He decides to travel around the world and take some pictures of tourist attractions in order to cheer up his flower. The end.


Although the graphics are nice and the historical data included for each landmark is accurate, there is no plot and no story. The Little Prince Around the World is simply a bunch of colorful drawings of landmarks with a small blurb of information about each one. I would give this one a miss, there are much better books out there for your children.

Rating: 1 out of 5.


I would like to thank the Antoine de Saint-Exupéry estate, NetGalley and CrackBoom! Books for affording me the opportunity to review The Little Prince Around the World.



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