Authors on Characters
Penmore Press authors offer a rich and entertaining array of short reflections on characters and how they were created in the novels. READ
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James Boschert is the author of the popular Talon Series. Set in twelfth-century Palestine, Talon’s adventures include: Assassins of Alamut, Knight Assassin, Assassination in Al-Qahirah, Greek Fire, and A Falcon Flies. Boschert has also written When the Jungle Is Silent, a novel about the 1960s jungle wars in Malaysia, and Force 12 in German Bight, a thriller aboard a tanker in the stormy North Sea.
Boschert’s unique biography has provided him with an in-depth knowledge of his novels’ subjects. He grew up in the colony of Malaya in the early fifties during the turmoil of a Chinese Communist insurgency. He joined the British Army at fifteen, and from eighteen to twenty-two fought in the jungle wars in Borneo and Malaysia. Afterwards, Boschert lived in the Middle East, serving in countries such as Oman, Lebanon, Israel, and finally Iran where he worked with the Shah Pahlavi’s army. When the 1978 revolution overturned the Shah, Boschert negotiated a perilous escape from Iran, returning safely to the United Kingdom.
As a civilian, Boschert has worked as an engineer on a tanker in the North Sea and as optical engineer involved in the development of laser telescopes at the National Ignition Facility in Lawrence Livermore, California. He and his wife currently live on a small ranch in Arizona.
A Congress of Kings
Book 9 of the Talon series. The year 1187 is one of the most fateful for the Christian crusades in the Holy Land, and one of the most disastrous. Under the vigilant protection of Lord Talon and his companions, the land of Kantara enjoys peace even as the tyrant Isaac Komnenos continues to plunder the rest of Cyprus. However, dark clouds are gathering and great storms bring with them unwelcome Norman visitors. Soon Talon is embroiled in the invasion of Cyprus, assisting King Richard of England who, en route to Acre for the Third Crusade, must save his royal sister, Queen Joanna, from Isaac’s clutches.
Talon is forced to accompany Richard I to the besieged city of Acre—a city which holds painful memories for Talon. There, quarreling kings, men who once were kings, and men who want to be kings form the leadership of the Crusading armies. Their lust for power blinds them to the threat posed by Salah ad Din, the skilled general who fights on the Arab side, continuing the tragedy that started with the terrible defeat at Hattin. And lurking out of sight is yet another implacable foe who prepares his own assassins for a mission of revenge. Talon has eluded the Fidai of The Master Rashid ad Din for nearly twenty years, but his luck may be running out.
Storms of Retribution
Book 8 of the Talon series. The year 1187 is one of the most fateful for the Christian crusades in the Holy Land, and one of the most disastrous. With an act of savage banditry, an infamous lord of the Kingdom of Jerusalem destroys the treaties that have made possible trade and a fragile peace. Led by Salah Ed Din, the armies of the Arab world converge on the borders of the Christian kingdom, seeking retribution. Duke Raymond, the Count of Tripoli, sends for Talon, reminding him of the promise he made: to return to Jerusalem after he completed his quest to find Ra’van. The Duke is confident that, with Talon’s help, he can help prevent a disaster of enormous magnitude by negotiating directly with Salah Ed Din. It almost works. But the King of Jerusalem and his advisers, who know little of the land and nothing of their opponents, refuse to honor the pact and ignore the warnings. Talon and his faithful companions finds themselves fighting for their lives at the springs of Cresson and the Horns of Hattin, then among the survivors who take refuge in besieged Tyre. But how can they hold out, when Tyre is governed by one who would deliver the port city of Tyre to Salah Ed Din in exchange for his own safety? And what of Cyprus? In Talon’s absence, more than one opportunist sees an occasion for conquest. The castle of Kantara is a plum for the taking, and rumors of hidden gold only make Talon’s enemies more determined than ever to take possession of all he has left behind. Spies, assassins, and pirates converge on Cyprus, and mayhem ensues.
Assassins of Kantara
Book 7 of the Talon series. After returning the heads of assassins to the Master of Hashashini, Talon flees with his family and closest companions to the Kingdom of Jerusalem to escape retribution. But death and disaster follow them, dashing hopes of finding a safe haven. Talon and Max travel to Cyprus only to discover that it is ruled by a psychopathic tyrant. The self-styled emperor Isaac Komnenos captured the island earlier in the year with the help of mercenaries and is plundering his kingdom into destitution. When Talon swindles Komnenos out of a prominent castle fortress, he quickly earns the emperor’s enmity and the population’s support.With old and new enemies determined to eliminate him, Talon must bring to bear the martial arts skills he learned in China, his training as an assassin, and his skills as a leader. At stake is his survival—and that of his newfound followers.
The Dragon’s Breath
Book 6 of the Talon series. Talon, an assassin turned knight turned merchant, is restless. Enticed by tales of lucrative trade, he sets sail for the coasts of Africa and India. Traveling with him are his wife and son, eager to share in this new adventure, as well as Reza, his trusted comrade in arms. Treasures beckon at the ports, but Talon and Reza quickly learn that dangers attend every opportunity, and the chance rescue of a Chinese lord named Hsü changes their destination—and their fates.
Hsü introduces Talon to the intricacies of trading in China and the sophisticated wonders of Guangzhou, China’s richest city. Here the companions discover wealth beyond their imagining. But Hsü is drawn into a political competition for the position of governor, and his opponents target everyone associated with him, including the foreign merchants he has welcomed into his home. When Hsü is sent on a dangerous mission to deliver the annual Tribute to the Mongols, no one is safe, not even the women and children of the household. As Talon and Reza are drawn into supporting Hsü’s bid for power, their fighting skills are put to the test against new weapons and unfamiliar fighting styles. It will take their combined skills to navigate the treacherous waters of intrigue and violence if they hope to return to home.
A Falcon Flies
Book 5 of the Talon series. Talon has returned to Acre the crusader port after more than a year in Byzantium. He is now a rich man, the owner of ships and and in possession of a license to play the merchant within the Empire to the north.
However riches bring enemies and his past is about to catch up with him as accusations of witchcraft have followed him from Languedoc. An investigation is about to disrupt his life but then everything is changed when he travels to a small fort with Sir Guy de Veres his Templar mentor. They survive a daring attack by ‘Assassins but here also he obtains vital information about Rav’an.
Before he can act upon the stunning news, the kingdom of Baldwin IV is threatened by none other than the Sultan of Egypt, Salah Ed Din, who is bringing a vast army through Sinai to retake Jerusalem from the Christians. Talon must take part in one of the most significant battles of the time, Montgisard, to help ensure the continued survival of the Kingdom of Jerusalem after which he can set out to find Rav’an and honor his promise made six years earlier.
The ‘Assassins of Rashid Ed Din the ‘Old Man of the Mountain’ have targeted him for death having obstructed their plans once too often. He is forced to take a circuitous route through the deepest reaches of the southern deserts on his way to Persia to avoid them, but even then he faces betrayal, imprisonment and execution soon after.
His sole objective is to find Rav’an but she is not where he had expected her to be. Once more he must become the assassin and join forces with his long time friend Reza to find her in time and find safety for them all.
Book 4 of the Talon series.In the fourth book of Talon, James Boschert delivers fast-paced adventures, packed with violent confrontations and intrepid heroes up against hard odds. Imprisoned for brawling in Acre, a coastal city in the Kingdom of Jerusalem, Talon and his longtime friend Max are freed by an old mentor from the Order of the Templars and offered a new mission in the fabled city of Constantinople. There Talon finds that winning the Emperor’s favor obligates him to follow the Emperor to war in a willful expedition to free Byzantine lands from the Seljuk Turks. And beneath the pageantry of the great city, seditious plans are being fomented by disaffected aristocrats who have made a reckless deal with Arab pirates to sell the one weapon the Byzantine Empire has to defend itself, Greek Fire, to an implacable enemy bent upon the Empire’s destruction. Talon and Max will find themselves in a fight for their lives – on the sea in perilous battles, and in the labyrinthine back streets of Constantinople where Talon must outwit his own kind, the assassins in the pay of a treacherous alliance.
Assassination in Al Qahira
Book 3 of the Talon series. Talon is returning to the Holy Land to search for his beloved Ravan, but Fate has other plans for him. When his ship is wrecked off the coast of North Africa in a storm, Talon and Max, his sole surviving companion, escape captivity and the threat of execution, only to risk their lives preventing a massacre.
Barely surviving the ambush they interrupted, they find themselves in the care of a wealthy Egyptian family in a region known as the Fayoum. Life is peaceful of a short while, but disaster strikes when they are recognized as former prisoners. Their lives are spared, but they are made slaves.
Brought to Al Qahirah, they find a city seething with old enmities, intrigues and treachery at the highest level. As friends of Sal Ed Din, the entire family is targeted for destruction. Harried from every quarter by hired assassins and mercenaries, Talon calls on all his skill as an assassin to protect the children he has sworn to guard with his life. On the playing field of the Sultan, in palaces, in a secret kingdom hidden beneath the streets of Cairo, and on the Nile, Talon and Max must balance keeping their solemn oath with their determination to escape and resume their journey to Jerusalem!
Book 2 of the Talon series. A joyous homecoming turns into a nightmare, as a trained assassin must do the one thing he didn’t want to do—become an assassin again.
Knight Assassin is story of treachery, greed, love, and heroism set in the Middle Ages, just prior to the Third Crusade.
Talon, a young Frank, returns to France with his uncle Phillip, a Templar knight, to be reunited with his family who lost him to the Assassins of Alamut when he was just a boy. When he arrives, he finds a sinister threat hanging like a pall over the joyous reunion. Ruthless enemies, who will stop at nothing to destroy his entire family to achieve their ends, are challenging the inheritance of his father.
Talon will have to depend upon a handful of Welsh Archers, whom he met at sea, and his uncle’s trusty sergeant Max to help him defend his family from this plot. To accomplish that, however, he must also use the skills he learned as a Persian Hashshashin to tip the balance in his family’s favor.
Assassins of Alamut
Book 1 of the Talon series. Talon de Gilles, son of a Christian knight of Jerusalem during the time of the Crusades, is only 13 when ferocious Saracens attack his family’s caravan and take him captive. Instead of selling him into slavery, slaying him for their amusement or ransoming him, his captors impose a dire fate upon the boy, forcing Talon to become one of them, an Assassin of the Ismaili, the most feared and hated sect in all of Persia, and beyond.
The Master of the Ismaili has plans for this young ferengi, who will be able to pass unnoticed among Europeans to reach targets that not even the most skillful Saracen could approach unchallenged – if he survives his training and initiation. But when Talon, his friend Reza, and Rav’an, the Master’s own sister, discover treachery in the stronghold of Alamut, they must flee, using all their skills to evade the ruthless assassins who are sent to hunt them down, from the frozen wastes of snow-laden mountain passes to the flowering gardens of Isfahan and beyond.
“This is a rare first novel that not only is well written and crafted by a confident author but is also solidly based on research and the life experiences of the author…Engaging and superbly executed” — Historical Novel Society Review
Midshipman Graham and the Battle of Abukir
It is midsummer of 1799, the British Navy is in the Mediterranean Theater of operations. Young Midshipman Duncan Graham is anxious to get ahead in the British Navy, but has many hurdles to overcome. Without any familial privileges to smooth his way, he can only advance through merit. The fires of war prove his mettle, but during an expedition to obtain desperately needed fresh water – and an illegal duel – a French patrol drives off the boats, and Graham is left stranded on shore. It now becomes a question of evasion and survival with the help of a British spy. Graham has to become very adaptable in order to avoid detection by the French police, and he must help the spy facilitate a daring escape by sea in order to return to the British squadron.
North Sea Windstorm
A major drug deal is underway and loose ends are being taken care of when two things go wrong: two murders that were supposed to look like a suicide and an accident get noticed – one on an English railroad, and one on board an ocean-going barge. As police are sent to investigate both seemingly unrelated incidents, the men at sea find themselves in dangerous waters. Who among them is on the take, and who is on the level? Who can be trusted when all of them are enduring the special man-made hell of life on an oil barge? As if deadly drug runners weren’t enough to contend with, a convergence of storm winds and tides is creating the kind of waves that can make even the largest ships disappear without a trace… It’s surprising that more authors have not made the North Sea oil rigs the setting of a novel. It may be because most writers have experienced nothing like it. James Boschert has lived it. Readers of North Sea Windstorm will feel they have, too.
When The Jungle is Silent
Jason, a young soldier of the Light Infantry who is good with guns, is stationed in Penang, an idyllic island off the coast of Malaysia. He is living aimlessly in paradise until he meets Megan, a bright and intelligent young American from the Peace Corps. Megan challenges his complacent existence and a romance develops, but then the regiment is sent off to Borneo.
After a dismal shipping upriver, the regiment arrives in Kuching, the capital of Sarawak. Jason is moved up to Padawan, close to local populations of Ibans and Dyak headhunters and in the path of the Indonesian offensive. Fighting erupts along the border of Sarawak and a small fort is turned into a muddy hell from which Jason is an unlikely survivor.
An SAS Sergeant and his trackers have been drawn to the vicinity by the battle, but who will find Jason first: rescuers or hostiles? Jason is forced to wake up to the cruel harshness of real soldiering while he endeavors stay one step ahead of the Indonesians who are combing the Jungle. The jungle itself, although neutral, is deadly enough.
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