Book review: The Ashes of Heaven’s Pillar – I love France #110


You can share here about any book

or anything cultural you just discovered related to France, Paris, etc.

Please spread the news on Twitter, Facebook, etc !

Feel free to grab my button,

and link your own post through Mister Linky,

at the bottom of this post.


The Ashes of Heaven’s Pillar

The Ashes of Heaven's Pillar

In full compliance with FTC Guidelines,
I received this ebook for free
in exchange
for a fair and honest review.
I was in no way compensated
for this post as a reviewer,
and the thoughts are my own.
The Ashes of Heaven’s Pillar
Kim Rendfeld
Publisher: Fireship Press
Release Date: August 28, 2014


ISBN:  978-1611793062
Pages: 396

Historical Fiction 

Source: Received
from the publisher for a
virtual book tour


Buy the Book

Amazon U.S.
Amazon U.K.
Amazon Canada,
and other countries
as well as Barnes & Noble.

This book counts for the following Reading Challenges:

      books-on-france-14    2014 historical fiction    2014 Ebook-2


new eiffel 5

For once, let me tell you about some personal background here.
I discovered Kim Rendfeld three years ago and wrote a review of The Cross And The Dragon. So last April when I was approached by Fireship Press to review her latest book, I said yes right away, not really bothering to read the synopsis: as I wrote recently about Murakami, with some authors I like very much, I actually prefer to jump into the book knowing nothing about it.

You may remember that in March, I had completed my translation of a long historical novel into French, Orgueil et honneur, by Nathaniel Burns. It was a fascinating book on Widukind and Charlemagne and the key battles between the Saxons and the Franks. I enjoyed a lot the book and doing the translation, even though the publisher has yet to send me one cent for my hard work –more about that another time!
So what a happy surprise when I finally got to start reading Kim’s novel, The Ashes of Heaven’s Pillar, and discovered there Widukind, Father Sturm and other characters I had been so close to while translating Burns’ book! I am still shocked I was intrigued by the title and never thought for a second it was referring to the famous Irminsul!! The Irminsul was the sacred tree maybe, site for sure, for the Saxons and their pagan religion. Led by Charlemagne, the Franks destroyed it in 772.
Set on this background, Kim presents us the life of a Saxon family, their hardships and how they ended up living in Francia.
Click to continue reading

My first novel translation


Bonjour mes amis!

As I may have told you, after over 25 years of translating non-fiction, I just finally translated my first novel!

I am of course very excited about it. But I also humbly come for your help: you see, translators are usually paid right after their translation, on the basis of the number of words translated. In this case, my pay will depend on the number of books sold…

So to practice your French and support a new fiction translator, why not purchase this ebook? It is just a few dollars.
I would really appreciate if you could also spread the news to your French speaking friends or even your friends living in France or Canada, as the ebook is available there as well, see the relevant links below. Feel free to advertise it on any social network you may use.

The title is Orgueil et honneur : la bataille pour la Saxe. It was originally written in English by Nathaniel Burns. It has about 308 pages.
It is a historical novel, translated from English to French. It is set in the Middle Ages and recounts the conflicts between Charlemagne and Widukind. It is very good in recreating the atmosphere and recounting how things shifted in Europe back then through these 2 major historical figures.

Here is the blurb:

“Pareilles à une tempête de sang, les armées de Charlemagne ravagent l’Europe médiévale, laissant dévastation et misère dans leur sillage. Elles soumettent le royaume des Lombards, battent le duché de Bavière, et menacent les Maures à l’ouest et le pape de Rome au sud.

Mais Charlemagne a des plans encore plus ambitieux : il convoite les territoires saxons au nord. Les Saxons organisent une résistance féroce et inattendue. Quand les troupes de Charlemagne détruisent le sanctuaire d’Irminsul, le saint des saints des Saxons, une lutte à mort s’ensuit. Sous la direction du légendaire duc Widukind, les Saxons se battent sauvagement pendant des décennies pour leurs croyances et leur indépendance. Et ils auront leur revanche…

Orgueil et honneur transporte le lecteur en plein cœur de cette période du Haut Moyen Âge enveloppée de légende. Dans son roman historique, Nathaniel Burns tisse une tapisserie à la fois riche et sombre de l’une des périodes charnières de l’Europe médiévale. Ses descriptions historiquement exactes, riches en détails authentiques, refont vivre devant vos yeux ce monde de conflits.

Allez, attisez le feu dans la cheminée, approchez votre fauteuil et plongez-vous dans ce merveilleux roman historique plein d’intrigues royales, de guerriers et de batailles d’une Europe révolue.”

Here are the links where you can buy my French translation:

– on ($2.99)

– on (€ 2,68)

– on (CND$ 3.26)

– on (£2.05)

– on Barnes & Noble ($3.99)

– on iTunes ($3.99)

– on Kobo ($3.99)

Thank you so much for those who supported me morally during this long translation, and for your help now if you can spare a few dollars.

I really appreciate,




I love France #58: Book review: The Cross And The Dragon


I plan to publish this meme once a week.

You can share here about any book

or anything cultural you just discovered related to France, Paris, etc.

Please spread the news on Twitter, Facebook, etc !

Feel free to grab my button,

and link your own post through Mister Linky,

at the bottom of this post.


The Cross And The Dragon



Paperback, 356 pages

ISBN 1611792274
(ISBN13: 9781611792270)
The Cross And The DragonPublished July 15th 2012 by Fireship Press

In full compliance with FTC Guidelines,
I received a free paperback of this book from
the author
in exchange for a fair and honest review.
I was in no way compensated for this post,
and the thoughts are my own.

The book is available in e-book (via Kindle, Nook, Kobo, and other readers)
and in print from Amazon (U.S., Canada, U.K., and other countries)
as well as Barnes & Noble.

This book counts for the following Reading Challenges:

     Books on France New Authors 2013
Paris in July 2013      hf-reading-challenge-2013


Rating system

Today, July 11th, Western Christians, and most especially monks and nuns, Benedictines, Cistercians, Trappists, and more, celebrate Saint Benedict, who wrote a Rule for monks and nuns in the 6th century.

I’m glad to join the festivities my own way, by writing this review and introducing you to The Cross And The Dragon, a great historical novel where you will indeed meet some Benedictine sisters – I will let it vague here, for fear of including spoilers.
The story is set a bit later,  at the end of the 8th century.

As a French kid, I have heard often mention of Roland (Hruodland in Frankish – spelling used in the book ), a Frankish military leader under Charlemagne. We always associate him with the Battle of Roncevaux, where he supposedly died in 778 according to the legend. And really all we know about him, about  his famous sword Durendal, his horse Veillantif, and his oliphant horn, is only found in legends that developed around his figure in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance; the most famous being the Old French Chanson de Roland (11th century).

So as a starter, it was really neat to find a historical novel on such a figure, and on that period as a whole – I don’t think there are that many modern historical novels on the Franks in the 8th century.

Hruodland’s young wife Alda had some very bad premonitions against the military mission that sent her husband to Roncevaux. But as a woman of her time, she has a very strong faith, both in her Christian God, and in her pagan deities. Will the cross, and/or her dragon amulet she gave him before he left protect him? Did he really die, as the legend tells us modern readers, or did her love and faith managed to change history?

You will have to read the book to know of course. Apart from this mystery, you fill find some pretty nasty jealousies, set in the context of arranged marriages of the time. Just as a hint, life was not all honky-dory for Alda, and she had to make some tough decisions.

The book is rich with historical details on Charlemagne’s relatives – I suggest you write down the names as you read and draw the genealogy, to keep track of who is who. It’s also a lot about relationships with neighboring lands and tribes as we could still call them at the times. Tough tines for the Franks, who have to battle against both the Lombards and the Saxons.

I really enjoyed this book a lot. I felt it was extremely well researched, historically speaking, but also with lots of details on daily lives, on food and clothes, for instance. The characters, both men and women, soldiers, wives or nuns, have very strong characters and are richly defined.
If like me you read Bernard Cornwell’s Saxon chronicles, this book is an excellent opportunity to see things from the Frankish perspective just a bit later on. Written by  a woman, it has also less gory scenes, though some are graphic enough, as is necessary to reflect the violence of the days. Both  Cornwell’s and Rendfeld’s books witness as well to a religious time when the Christian and the pagan faiths were coexisting rather than being strongly set as opponents.


A tale of love in an era of war and blood feuds. Francia, 778: Alda has never forgotten Ganelon’s vow of vengeance when she married his rival, Hruodland. Yet the jilted suitor’s malice is nothing compared to Alda’s premonition of disaster for her beloved, battle-scarred husband.Although the army invading Hispania is the largest ever and King Charles has never lost a war, Alda cannot shake her anxiety. Determined to keep Hruodland from harm, even if it exposes her to danger, Alda gives him a charmed dragon amulet.Is its magic enough to keep Alda’s worst fears from coming true—and protect her from Ganelon?Inspired by legend and painstakingly researched, The Cross and the Dragon is a story of tenderness, sacrifice, lies, and revenge in the early years of Charlemagne’s reign, told by a fresh, new voice in historical fiction. [author’s website]


Kim RendfeldIf it weren’t for feminism, Kim Rendfeld would be one of those junior high English teachers scaring the bejesus out of her students, correcting grammar to the point of obnoxiousness. Instead, her career has been in journalism, public relations, and now fiction.

Rendfeld grew up in New Jersey and attended Indiana University, where she earned a BA in journalism and English, with a minor in French. She was a journalist for almost 18 years at Indiana newspapers, including the Journal and Courier in Lafayette, The Muncie Star, and The News and Sun in Dunkirk, and won several awards from the Hoosier State Press Association.

Her career changed in 2007, when she joined the marketing and communications team at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. Rendfeld gets paid to agonize over commas and hyphens, along with suggesting ways to improve writing, and thoroughly enjoys it. She is proud to have been part of projects that have received national recognition.

Rendfeld, a proud member of the Historical Novel Society, lives in Indiana with her husband and their spoiled cats. The couple has a daughter and three granddaughters.

Rendfeld opines about writing, history, and whatever else inspires her on her blog, Outtakes, and welcomes followers on Twitter.

Note to the media outlets and bloggers: You have Kim’s permission to excerpt her biography and use her photo appropriately. You are also welcome to use a larger head shot and artistic images. Please contact Kim if you need more info. [from her page]

You’re welcome to check out the reviews, an excerpt, the first chapter or the book extras on Shelfari. You can also read Kim’s blog, where she opines mostly about history and writing, like Kim on Facebook, follow Kim on Twitter, connect with Kim on Goodreads, and visit Kim’s Amazon page.





Just a reminder guys:

Please give the  link of your own post on France,
not just the link to your homepage

and if possible

include the title of the book or topic in your link:

name of your blog (name of the book title or topic):

example : me @ myblog (Camus)