Reviews

  

REVIEWS POSTED ON AMAZON (CO.UK & COM)


{Obviously there are those among you who have been scarred to cynicism by life's disappointments and revelations, and who may feel that I've just made up the following. Well, this will restore your faith and trust in humanity - I haven't made up the following reviews. In an uncertain world often shadowed by half-truths and lies it's nice to find something certain and trustworthy isn't it?}*

 

Gwen Blyth (5/5 stars) - Shadow Lands - a fantastic read. Brilliantly written. Fabulous. Buy it.


A truly brilliant book. A refreshing and credible account of Arthur. You don't just move through the story, you are in there. Intelligently written, and gripping from beginning to end. I hesitate not for a nano-second in recommending this book.



Kerensa (5/5 Stars) - Buy this series


A wonderful and utterly absorbing tale. Make sure you give yourself the time and attention to read this trilogy. If you are a fan of rich plots, fully developed complex characters and a gripping yarn that's impossible to put down, this book (and the two other instalments of the trilogy) are for you. Simon Lister has created a world that is familiar enough to be relatable, and at the same time alien enough to stir your imagination. 

The trilogy leaves you satisfied while hoping that there will be more to come. I found myself unable to put it down, flying through the pages, and then slowing my reading to a crawl at the end to make it last just a little bit longer. Although you may think that the Arthurian sub-genre is overdone, this is welcome and original take on the myth spiced with a subtle (and sometimes overt) homage to Middle Earth. 

It is so finely drawn that even avid book readers will be clamouring for the film (and hoping that Peter Jackson is available). Buy this book.



John Polak (5/5 Stars) - Another twist of the sword


I purchased the Shadow Lands trilogy from Simon at a summer medieval bash in rural Cheshire last summer. Sadly they languished at the bottom of a drawer until a few short weeks ago. On rediscovering them, I immediately embarked on a marathon, non stop, hell raising journey through an ancient Britain set in a distant dark and sinister future. 

A great lover of all things Arthurian, I'm not easy to please when it comes to new tales of the legendary celtic monarch. Indeed, I have always believed John Boorman's 1981 epic 'Excalibur' was beyond equal. Not so. In Shadow Lands, Simon Lister's pen has made the infamous sword mightier than ever before. There's no shiny suited knights here. Nor are there any pouting damsels in distress. Indeed Arthur himself is reinvented as a dark, seemingly cold hearted butcher who's raison d'etre is simply to preserve Britain's existence, whatever the cost. 

The action is fast, furious and at times difficult to keep pace with. There's lots of back stabbing, bucketfuls of treachery and even a few moments of tenderness thrown in. A terrific read. One note of caution - the concluding pages leave more than a few loose ends tantalizingly undone. Fear not. I have it on good authority that volume 4 will reveal all. Hollywood, you'd better start digging deep. 

With a cast of thousands this one's going to cost you!


TME McCoy-Page (5/5 Stars) - Amazing. Must read. Action packed.


A great book with lots of cliff hangers, action packed and leaves you wanting more. A great read. So glad I bought it as I have been reading it non stop and I can’t wait to get the 2nd book even though I havn’t finished the first.



Mr MT German (4/5 Stars) - Arthurian Legends with a difference

  

This is the 1st part of an enjoyable trilogy by Simon Lister. I bought all 3 (Causeway and Haven being the sequels) at a Fayre in May where I got to meet the author and for a great price had a signed copy of each. My interest in Arthurian legend really started probably with the film Excalibur back in the 80's but there are only so many times one can read the same old classic tale. 

Bernard Cornwell wrote the Warlord Trilogy a while back and to date these were the best I had ever read but Simon Lister's books are a close second!
All 3 books are a very clever mixture of fact, fiction and fantasy and reading the 1st is not enough, you need the other two! There are characters from the old legends but this is totally re written with a different take of the whole on England coming together to fight a rather mysterious foe from the far East. Mr Lister has cleverly written each chapter so you want to know more, it is not a complaint in any way but the next chapter will be on a different subject leaving you in suspense about the outcome of the previous chapter, of course this follows on from chapter to chapter and this is very clever.
If this author was to somehow release a 4th book I would definitely buy it, I recommend anyone who wants to read Arthur tales with a difference also does so!


 

Franics Aitken (5/5 Stars) - Simples...... Just buy them!


To me King Arthur was Sean Connery running around in tin foil with loads of good looking people, then I read Cornwell's Arthur..which I loved and had less tinfoil and good looking people and was very realistic.
Simon Lister takes Arthur to a new, and very realistic level. When I say realistic I mean the man, not the story, although there are parts of the story (set in the future) which may well ring true one day.
Arthur is flawed, brutal, not easy to like but I loved him and the 3 books.
Each book, the characters and the writing got better and better and I was truly sad to finish the last book, although it surely is only the last for a short while!



Belinda Osborne (5/5 Stars) - WOW!!!


I have just finished reading all three of these books and well - WOW! I would have absolutely no hesitation in recommending these to everyone from teenagers to grandparents. They are a cracking good read and I can't wait for the next series of books from a brilliant new author.



Mr Ray Brown  (4/5 stars) - Arthur the real warrior


I was recommended these books on the Conn Iggulden Forum, and read them in less than a week, I did not appreciate them at first, (I had a lot of problems at the time) I re-read them again one after another and found them even better the second time around, I can only concur with the other reviews on here, If you have not read the series you are missing something fantastic.



Margaret Monk (5/5 Stars) - King Arthur returns to troubled Britain 


I bought all three books together and from the first chapter I was hooked! These books are definitely not the romantic fiction of Mallory, the characters are much darker, being warriors not knights. The story runs at breakneck speed and I could not put the books down. I read them one after another and can't wait for another book from the author (as has been promised). I would recommend these books to anyone who wants to know what happens when King Arthur returns to troubled Britain.


 

Edwin Deady (4/5 Stars) - Once and Future

 

A rewarding book and series. It will take the reader an interesting time to adjust to the changed conditions of the writer's world but like the works of T.H. White and Tolkien it is worth it. The echoes of Arthur resound in this new Matter of Britain. 

This is very much a unique take on the legend and some of the characters you thought you knew from childhood will surprise you. Would you want to live there? No. To visit the place with Simon Lister is fun and with him as your guide you will feel the oppression of the dark forest, the anguish of the fight against overwhelming odds and finally the..... but read it for yourself.


 

R. Spencer “ReetPetite” (5/5 Stars) - Exciting


I don't think I read the book description properly, it mentions potatoes & I thought 'there weren't potatoes in the Dark Ages'. This is about a future Dark Age when modern civilisation has been destroyed. Arthur is the 'once and future king' again battling the hordes that threaten to overrun Britain, and not getting much support from the leaders. There is a secretive city which uses modern technology, where pale skinned people live. An exciting read & I look forward to reading the next 2 in the trilogy. 



Patrick Clarke  (5/5 stars) - Shadow Lands

 

A fantastic trilogy. Once I started reading the first, I struggled to put it down and had several evenings reading late into the night. Each book keeps you hanging in until the end with twists and turns as the books progress.
A fascinating look at the world post apocalypse and how humankind adapted.


 

Mr JD Slaughter (4/5 Stars) - Shadow Lands

 

The Shadow Lands trilogy starts fast and gets quicker. For me it wasn't 'just another' fantasy genre escapade; it's, predominantly, set in the UK, with characters from the past, fighting a war set in the future! How bonkers is that?!
I thoroughly enjoyed this trilogy and found it hard to put each book down. There are twists and turns and the ending caught me by surprise.
I would definitely recommend it.



Booklover ‘lukesmum’  (3/5 Stars) - An unusual take on an old story

 

I love Arthurian stories and I was really excited when I saw the author selling these books at The Festival of History. I bought the whole trilogy and couldn't wait to start reading. I have just finished the last one and to be honest I am not quite sure how I feel about them! This review relates to the complete trilogy.
The prose style is good and I found the books easy to read however sometimes the conversation seemed a bit stilted. Arthur is almost an antihero and definitely breaks free of previous stereotypes - I almost didn't like him.
The story moves at a breakneck pace which can mean that even the main characters lack any real depth and it is difficult to find sympathy with the almost constant deaths. Each death is dealt with in a fairly matter of fact way which fits the whole idea of the story but for me personally was a bit harsh.
The story itself is very well thought out and as the previous reviewer states you get tantalising hints that the story is actually set in the future rather than in the past and I would have liked this aspect of the story to have been expanded.
All in all I think these books are well worth a read but the story could have been extended and more depth added to characters. An example is when a group visit a ruined city - that episode was dealt with in a matter of a few pages where I would have liked more detail and suspense. Maybe by making each volume longer or spreading the story over more books the story could be given the detail it deserves. 



Swr080  (5/5 Stars) - The Warrior Arthur


Never expected to like this because I am something of an Arthurian purist but couldn't put this trilogy down. Very well written, enough familiar elements to get a hand-hold, but plot twists that are completely unexpected. This is the ferocious warrior Arthur, not the kingly monogamous Arthur. He scares people and doesn't much care. He becomes Britain's saviour in spite of his personality. A grim but fascinating take on Arthur.
The following books in this series (Causeway and Haven) are equally good. My hat's off to the author.



S. Cairo (4/5 Stars) - Great find!


I picked up this trilogy while on vacation in the UK. I thought the premise was odd---a futuristic Arthurian tale, but I was soooo mistaken! Loved these books! Action packed and edge of your seat---I couldn't stop reading until the very last page of book three! This series brings to mind Bernard Cornwell and George RR Martin, but the author certainly has his own style. The story is dark and filled with death, but it works and works really well. I can't wait for the fourth instalment!



Jenniffer Alvarado (5/5 Stars) - You want the good guys to win and even they were vulnerable


This trilogy is a MUST read. I didn't want to put any of the books down. There were unforeseen twists everywhere and I had to know what was going to happen next. You want the good guys to win and even they were vulnerable. I could not have guessed the ending. I want to read more!



V. Bernardi (4/5 Stars) - Review of the whole trilogy


I was given the first chapter by the author who I met at a Medieval Fayre in East Sussex. I liked the idea of using the Arthurian Saga as base for something completely different, a fantasy based in the future, though I was also a bit worried, I thought that the idea was original but it could have spelled disaster on the book if written in the wrong way. Using the legend of King Arthur for a futuristic fantasy book is treading on dangerous ground. I was pleased to discover that it actually worked very well, I read all the 3 books in a row as I was captivated by the story and I wanted to know what would have happened next. The characters in the book are nothing like their well known counterpart from which they were taken. 

The book has a definite dark inclination, the characters and especially Arthur, are often controversial, merciless and at time mean as much as the enemies they are fighting against. The books read well, the writing style is quite simple and direct, at time it is detectable that this is the author first book as there is some naivety in some comments who may uncover too early what is to come next. However you can see the writing becoming more elaborate and improving from one book to the next. So here I am now waiting for the 4th book!!


  

Some readers' reviews/comments for Shadow Lands


I took the 3rd of the set on holiday. Finished it a couple of days ago. I am very impressed. I've read a lot of Cornwell's books and your battle scenes are as good as his. I hope you write more. If you do let me know… these are a great set of books. 

David - Nuneaton


 

I REALLY enjoyed the shadow land trilogy, it was so good. I bought it from you at a mediaeval festival in the summer at Kent. In the back of the book there is a note saying leave a review (which I have on amazon for all three books) and that there is a fourth book coming. I was just wondering when and if the book will be for sale. Please let me know.
Once again, the books were great, loads of suspense and mystery. The ending is a great cliff hanger and I really want to read on.
Thank you
Ollie - email



I purchased the three books when you were in Perth. Having read them several times I wondered if you had written a fourth. I certainly hope so as I need a few loose ends tied up.
Thank you for a wonderful story.

George - email



I thoroughly enjoyed your Arthurian trilogy. I thought it was brilliantly written and your rendition of Arthur was fantastic. It was refreshing to see Arthur as flawed and realistic rather than the Victorian portrayal of the 'whiter than white king'.
Alice - email



I bought all three books (signed copies) from you at Tewkesbury Medievel Festival, first one we've been to, deff not the last!, absolutely loved the books, very well written, grabbed me in within first chapter, and couldn't put them down, a first for a long time, leaving me exhausted at times! as you're in there fighting with them . Tip, when possible I had soundtrack to Game of Thrones (Fire and Ice) playing in background creating a great atmosphere. Looking forward to your next book, many thanks for being out there at Tewkesbury.

Pete - email



I recently received all three books as a gift. They were brought from you at a medieval fair at Chester I think?? To be honest I was not that keen to read them as I was unsure about these novels. But I have to say they turned out to be so, so good. The series is right up there among my favourites. The characters are different to any others I've read in the genre. You have done a really great job.
I do have a few questions. How can friends order them from here (Australia)? And secondly you wrote on the web page that you are doing a fourth book? Is that going to be a series? And when will it be out? I can't wait.
Loved the books and thanks for writing them.
Dane - email



I NEED the next book!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I cannot remember a book that I enjoyed so much.

I love the whole concept, the characters and the no nonsense, intense plot.
Please finish the next book soon!
Kindest regards
Nick K (purchased at Tatton Park) - email



I met you at the Colchester Medieval Fair last weekend and bought your three books. I don't suppose you remember but my daughter and i had a chat with you. I must tell you that i loved the books and have read all three already. In fact I have done nothing but read since I got them !! You were kind enough to say you would let me know when your next book is out and I would love to know about it. Please keep up the good work!
Best Wishes and Congratulations
Jane M - email



I bought your books last summer at the Herstmonceaux Medieval Festival and after moving from Stockholm, Sweden to Hastings, East Sussex, I finally managed to read your wonderfully written books. I have been interested in Arthur, Merlin and the whole Camelot saga during my adult life and I must say that your books are the best I ever read. I was a bit shocked when I started reading the books as they were very dark but soon got into it but then got into a panic when I read the last of the trilogy and had only around 50 pages left to read. I did not want the book to end!
Thank you for giving me and hopefully many others a reading experience to remember!

Paul L - email



I have now read all three of your books and they were enthralling. I find it difficult to get into fiction books but these were a joy to read. Thank goodness I had bought all 3 as once I had finished one I picked up the next one straight away. The books are wonderful, rich, deep, exciting. The only thing is my other half has been only half since she purchased the books from you at Herstmonceux…Big problem now – I have finished them and feel at a loss. Please put me out of my misery and tell me that you have already written the next one and that it’s at the printer and I can have a copy by next week…

Hester B – email



Saw you at Tewkesbury Medieval Festival where you very kindly gave me an excerpt to read. Well, I didn't get a chance to read it at the festival, but once I had I promptly ordered and read all three in quick succession.
Very engaging and what a great character Arthur was (though at first he seemed a bit cold and remote, though the reasons for that soon became evident).
Just wanted to say how much I enjoyed them and that I sincerely hope you are writing a fourth (and fifth and sixth!) novel.

Heather B - email



I purchased the trilogy from you at the Lanark Festival this past summer.

Well. What can I say. The books stayed bundled up in brown paper through back to school preparations for my two boys, re-entry into the world of homework, etc. etc. Finally, last week, I picked the books up off of my dresser (where they had lain for over a month) and tore open the wrappings.

Suffice it to say, my children have eaten mostly prepared foods for the last week as I only occasionally resurfaced for short visits from my journeys in Middangeard.

Your trilogy, as many other folks on your review board have said better, was truly wonderful and utterly absorbing.

You have created that often rare literary feat of “can’t stop, don’t want it to end.”

Perhaps it was brave, perhaps it was stupid, but THANK YOU for stepping out and stepping up to realize the full potential of this great tale.

Only one thing is nagging at me, what is the young girl’s name?

Cathy C - email



Met and chatted with you at Colchester earlier this year and bought the trilogy for holiday reading.

What a read! Once started - it was every waking moment – grab another page, another chapter.
Hopefully you are working on another project, I wait with bated breath.
Utterly mindblowing!! Keep up the good work.
John H - email



I bought your trilogy at the Eastbourne Medieval Pageant. As promised I am just writing to let you know what I thought of them. I enjoyed them and wished they were a bit longer.

The twists of character names was very good and I appreciated how you used the original legend in a different context i.e. the Holy Grail/ the eastern city right down to throwing the sword into the river.

Thank you for the story and hope that you will be writing more in the future.

George G - email



A family member went to a reenactment fair and found your stall, from there they purchased your trilogy (which you signed, thank you) and gifted it to me at Christmas. Now I opened the gift and thought 'Oh god here we go again'. They had seen your books and decided that was the sort of thing I was into. Not quite!!!. Well I started reading the books a couple of weeks ago, which I am sorry to say was a token gesture because they were a gift.  

Well the first book I thought, macho crap!! but something kept me reading, I think a connection with the characters. I found myself picking up the second book and read very quickly and then suddenly I was at the end of the third book. Mouth open all agog and wanting to know the future story.  

I loved your books. The characters were amazing and real, I followed each character and was gutted whenever one died - the twists were a joy and the ending left me astounded. 

So much for me and my macho crap.  

Looking forward to another episode, please write one!  

Thank you for such an entertaining 2 weeks. 

Allie - (email)
 


Bought your 3 books last year at the Medieval festival in Lanark. Took me a while to get to them but have just finished them and have to say they where great!
Each book got better and better, what i really liked about them was that they weren't the usual "i know whats gonna happen next" book, which sadly most are these days!
...Surley there will be a fourth book?...Anyway, well done on a great series!
Franny A - (email)



I got the copies of your books at the Colchester Medieval Fare and just wanted to say what a fantastic read.I love the whole Arthurian story, and loved your whole angle on this amazing tale.

Great books can't wait to read more from you! 

Mark G – (email)



I have just finished reading the Shadow Lands trilogy - may I say I absolutely loved them, I couldn't put the books down. I look forward to reading any future books you write with anticipation, thank you for a most enjoyable experience.

Rory D – (email)



I purchased your books at the March medieval fair. I was hooked from the very first page, and just can't put them down. Best books I have read in years, thanks.

Sue P – (email)



...I thoroughly enjoyed all 3 of them. The writing was easy to read it was descriptive and very powerful. You felt the characters were personal friends and really wanted them to succeed. I also loved the fact that most of the places like whitehorse hill, and the haven are all places I know very well so was able to imagine them without modern civilisation and how they would have looked to Arthur and his team. Thanks for a great read and I look forward to your 4th book.

Lesley M – (email)



I can't believe that I have actually finished all three of the trilogy - what am I going to read next?
A really first class tale and very believable stuff, excellent, looking forward to some more of your work.
Look out Cornwell!!

Don J – (email)



I bought a set of your trilogy at the Festival of History and could not put them down. I found the characters wholly believable and was quickly drawn in as the story unfolded. The only disappointment throughout was knowing that there were only 3 of your books available to read and would request that you put me on your mailing list to advise me when you complete the sequel (I hope!).
Tony K –  (email)



I recently purchased The Shadow Lands Trilogy from you at The Festival Of History (Kelmarsh Hall). I have just finished them and wanted to say how much I enjoyed them. So much so that I read the last two in 3 days!
I loved the darkness of the books but found that the personal lives of the characters really shone through... I understand through your website that there will be a follow up to the books. I can't wait for this and would love to know when it is for sale.
Celine G – (email)



I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed your books. 

I was on holiday for a week, & totally immersed myself in the trilogy. 

What an adventure, it would surely make a great Movie trilogy.

Peter R  – (email)



I finished reading the trilogy within a week of receiving them, I am in agony waiting for a fourth book! and wish you had not told me so! Your writing skill is amazing and the books flow beautifully, I can but dream that this (these) great piece(s) of  "Arthurian magic"can be made into a film! 

Diane W – (email)


 

...I'm glad I bought all three, because I couldn't put them down until I'd read them all. I have read a large number of books on Arthur, both fiction and so-called factual, but found your trilogy a real treat! How you managed to write such an engrossing story without losing the original legend thread I found brilliant! 

I can't wait for the follow up book(s) - a trilogy perhaps?

David R – (email)



ive jus finised readin de last ov ur books
i fort dey were GREAT!!!
cnt w8 4 da nxt 1
if its as gd as de last 3 den dey wil b awsome!!! 

Ben J – (email)




* I can prove it too because I've got the original emails and it's probably possible to tie the email addresses to IP addresses, which in turn can be tied to the corresponding locations throughout the country. I suppose die-hard cynics might point out that I could have travelled around the country and set up email addresses and sent the emails to myself from those different places but I really don't have the inclination for such subterfuge. 

Besides, I'm too busy covering my tracks from the Grassy Knoll and trying to get those damn shadows right in the Lunar landing photographs.