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Byzantine Gold by Chris Karlsen (review & chance for GC & ebook)

Review, Chance to win a GC – a Goddess Fish Tour

Byzantine Gold by Chris Karlsen

Byzantine Gold by Chris Karlsen

A sunken warship from the Byzantine Era carrying an unusual cargo of gold has been found off the coast of Northern Cyprus. News of the valuable cache has attracted the attention of a terrorist cell. They plan to attack the recovery team’s campsite and steal the artifacts. On the Black Market, the sale of the relics will buy them additional weapons.

Charlotte Dashiell, an American archaeologist, and her lover, Atakan Vadim, a Turkish government agent, are scheduled to be part of the recovery team that brings up the artifacts. While en route to Cyprus, they find themselves caught in the crosshairs of Maksym Tischenko, a Ukrainian contract killer bent on revenge. Charlotte, Atakan and Tischenko share a grim history. As a result, Tischenko is a man who will stop at nothing to achieve his goal—seeing them both dead.



I had a hard time trying to write the review for this book mainly because I really try to pick tours with books I will more than likely enjoy and can give a more or less positive review. I just cannot give it a high rating, and I hate to do this to a tour book but I cannot candy coat this without being dishonest about how lacking this book was for me. The story seemed like it could not decide what it was about at all. Was it a love story? A story about an archaeology dig/dive.. a terrorist group? A throwback to the sexist writings of the James Bond era? I have NO CLUE!  It was all over the place and jerked me back and forth between a the two, wait three.. wait … many different story lines going on and at the very least three specific ones.

The couple, who had come together during the previous book Golden Chariot continue their growing relationship. Charlotte; our nautical archaeologist and the female protagonist, and  Atkan, a Turkish government agent, continue their romance and move on to a new dive site to excavate. But before they can, the antagonist from the previous book; Maksym Tischenko, a Ukrainian contract killer, reappears and, as the description states, is bent on revenge. Oh and to make it messier we have an apparent terrorist group decide to target the treasure Charlotte and her team are bringing to the surface during their dive. The stereo-types are thick and even with the bad guys I flinched at the extremely negative caricatures, especially the terrorist group members.

I hate being negative, and I do not want to be at all but I really was taken back by the errors and lack of direction. I kept being drug into something that showed promise only to be yanked right back out and thrust into another scene. It was jarring to read. A relatively short book which should have taken me a few hours to finish took me over 10 days to go through because of this. There was no segues, no sense of movement from one scene to the next. I had to double back and re-read many times to make sure I knew who I was reading about.

The sex scenes were numerous to the point of being gratuitous. However, this being said, these were very well written. I would say this was the best part of the book, the actual relationship between Charlotte and Atakan. The character development is pretty good also. I guess after reading reviews on this I expected so much more. I expected it to be the “Dan Brown underwater”. Though we do not want to get me started on Brown’s writing it still led me to believe it was going to be a good read.

If you are looking for scientific procedural style writing, much like James Rollins you will really be disappointed. This was also presented as a standalone, and perhaps if I had read and enjoyed the first one I would have gotten more out of this one.  I respect many of the reviewers I read and am wondering if we read the same book! I would like to say perhaps my review copy was not the final copy edited version, which if this is the case I strongly urge someone to correct this. I fear, however this is the not the case. Perhaps there are folks that would like this, for me? This was not the book I set out to read after reading the description  Oh and the Byzantine Gold? Ummmm no clue, because THIS was NEVER addressed! So many threads were started and never followed through. In the end the book raced to finish and wrap up and in doing so most of the stories seemed cut off. I won’t be reading the first one or reading any of the others. I am not rating this at this time because of the tour. The author has another series that are not my cup of tea genre wise but are the ones she is well known for.

I was provided a copy of this to read for a fair and honest review. I hope you can understand I did my best to do so. 

VBRT Byzantine Gold Banner

Chris Karlsen


Chris is a retired police detective. She spent twenty-five years in the law enforcement with two different agencies.

The daughter of a history professor and a voracious reader, she grew up with a love for history and books.

She has traveled extensively throughout Europe, the Near East, and Northern Africa satisfying her passion for seeing the places she read about.

A Chicago native, Chris has lived in Paris, Los Angeles, and now resides with her husband, and five rescue dogs in the Pacific Northwest.


Chris will award one randomly drawn commenter at every stop an ebook copy of Golden Chariot, and one randomly drawn commenter will be awarded a $50 Amazon gift card during the tour.

Byzantine Gold by Chris Karlsen (review & chance for GC & ebook)


  1. Thank you for hosting today.

  2. It’s interesting how different people feel about the same story. I have really enjoyed following your tour, and i really love the story line.

    • HI MomJane,
      Thank you. Your kind words are much appreciated. I also very much appreciate that you have been such a loyal fan. I hope you have a great week.
      Chris K.

  3. I want to thank Cabin Goddess for taking the time to read and review Byzantine Gold and for hosting me today.

    There’s a note on the site that the book is free on Amazon. I need to clarify that it is a free download on different days. The next “free” days will be in March.
    Chris Karlsen

  4. Hmmm, interesting. Personally, I’ve learned I’m not terribly fond of these sorts of books, so I probably wouldn’t have read it anyway. From your review, I am thinking that maybe Ms. Karlsen could look into writing romance novels, maybe even romantic suspense. With her background in law enforcement, she could draw upon her own experience, and if she is as you say, good at writing sex scenes, that seems like a great idea to me.

    • Hi Katy,
      I do write a romance series. It’s a paranormal series called, Knights in Time. Book one is Heroes Live Forever and book two is Journey in Time. I’m currently working on the third book in the series and hope to have it out by early summer.
      Chris K

      • Aw, geez, I thought your name looked familiar! I have those books to review… Dang, I need to read those! I’ve made a note to make a concerted effort to try to read them in April.

        • HI Katy,
          That would be great. I’d love to have them reviewed by you. You can see my book boards on my pinterest page. I loved putting them together on that site because I can use my “dream” cast, which I cannot do with trailers.


  5. Well there are always going to be different tastes in books, I like a mix of different genres in a book.

    lyra.lucky7 At gmail Dot com

    • Hi Lyra,
      I wanted a mix of genres in this series. There are lots of subgenres, especially in romance. This series the romance is the subplot. I think of this and Golden Chariot as romantic thrillers. On the first day of free downloads on Amazon, it went to #1 as action-adventure. The different labels don’t really concern me. Recently at a writer’s conference, the panel of editors and agents referred to the books of mix genres as “fiction cocktails,” and “cross genre” books.
      Chris K

  6. I don’t know, from what I’ve read in the first book and the excerpt of this one don’t sound so bad to me, but to be fair I didn’t expect a Dan Brown, just an entertaining book with an interesting setting.


    • Hi Ami,
      I’m also happy to hear a reader is enjoying my stories. Thank you for visiting with me again. The Dan Brown comment was from an Amazon reviewer on Golden Chariot. I was very flattered but at the end of the day, if you’re entertained and find the book interesting, then that’s great.

  7. I liked the first book, so I will give this one a chance as well, but I don’t see a problem with a book having a romance thread as well as one about archeology, I mean TV series like Relic Hunter have them as well and I enjoyed watching them.


    • I do not have a problem with the romance thread, there just was NO archaeology
      in it at all.

    • Hi Anas,
      I think if you enjoyed Golden Chariot, you’ll like Byzantine Gold as well. You get to see how the relationship between Charlotte and Atakan has grown. A number of the support characters return for this book too.

      There will be three free download days if you have a Kindle. They’re March 16, 30 and 31.
      Chris K

  8. Everyone their own, I guess, I liked the book, though.


    • Hi Jibriel,
      Thank you for joining me again. I’m so happy you liked Byzantine Gold as well as Golden Chariot. I hope to do a third in the series down the road.
      Chris K.

  9. I appreciate your honest review! It better helps show who this novel is for. I’m looking forward to giving it a try 🙂


    • Hi Chelsea,

      Nice to hear from you and to have you visit me again. I hope you liked Golden Chariot. I’m very happy you’re interested in Byzantine Gold. I enjoyed writing the book.

  10. As I trust your opinion Kriss I probably won’t pick up this one. As a professional in the field of entertainment, I can’t believe someone let the author use that picture but that is a different discussion lol.

    • Hi David,
      Thank you for coming by today.
      Chris K

  11. I picked this book up as a freebie just the other day and thought it was a stand alone. I didn’t see where it said Book II or anything. Luckily, I also picked up Golden Chariot a while ago. I love any books about the water, treasure….and your review has me disappointed. Still, we all have our own tastes and I am sure I will check it out for myself. I do appreciate your honesty in your review. Our tastes can differ, but still, a high rating means, not only do we like it, but it is well written. I am reading a tour book right now. The editing is poor and my rating will show that, even though the book knocks my socks off otherwise. It must be a total package.

    • Hi Sherry,
      Thank you for your interest in my books. As you said, we all have different tastes. With your interest in water and treasure, you may find you like them a lot.
      Chris K.

      • I’ll let you know, Chris. I am looking forward to giving them a try. ^_^

  12. Wow… not sure if we read the same book. I have read both of Chris Karlsen’s stories in this series and they are great. The Byzantine Gold is mentioned through out the book along with the archeologist divers who discover the gold. You mentioned negative caricatures of the terrorist group members, are there positive terrorist characters? Chris takes tons of time drawing the time and the places where the stories are set in making the reader feel like they are there. This makes me feel for the author with such a negative review posted. This book deserves much better.

    • Hey, hey, hey, Jenni. A review is an opinion. Kriss expressed her opinion and why she felt that way very, very well and you have no call to be coming here, on her blog, and attacking her for her opinion just because it doesn’t match your own. Everyone is going to have a different background coming into a book, and will see different things in a book. If the entire world agreed with you, wouldn’t you be bored as hell? So, stop and think before you go out jumping on someone else for their opinion.

      My apologies, Kriss, I don’t mean to bring dissent to your blog, but that statement was just out of line…

  13. Based on a few of the comments in this thread we seem to have a different idea of what constitutes a negative review. Negative is a dangerous buzz-word for an industry, it denotes the idea that a critic can only agree with consensus review and reader opinion or be dismissed as a sour curmudgeon with a desire to lambast anything that happens to cross their review desk. It shows that our industry fears critical review, and more-to-the-point it shows that we cannot handle any nay-sayers to our presupposed notions of what we may or may not like. Similarly comparing a critical review to other glowing reviews is not proof in and of itself of the invalidity of a “negative” review. A high score or rating in another review does not translate immediately to a book being well-written, with appropriate and believable character development and a driven story. If we wanted that can of worms opened we could debate William S. Burroughs and Hunter S. Thompson for an example of how people can be polarized on whether a given piece is well-written. I would state if you personally like a book, a differing opinion really shouldn’t matter to you, demonstrating a crusader-like fervor over a dissenting opinion shows a desperate belief that the review is a personal attack on you, and condescending to the critic who stated their opinion says far more about you than it does the reviewer. And as a final point on the subject of what an author “deserves”, an author who submits their work for review DESERVES an honest and critical review, they do NOT deserve fluff, dishonesty, or patronizing praise that is not sincere and heartfelt. Cabingoddess gave her honest opinion of the book, that she did not come to the same conclusions as you is not mark of either her or your intelligence or tastes as “negative”, and she should be treated with the same level of respect as was given the author when Cabingoddess decided to state what she felt honestly rather than give out a mediocre and false “positive” review. We should take a step back and critically consider where our indie industry is actually at in our development if we want to go forward with the idea that we will only accept mass-appeal opinions in our discourse.

    • Thank you. Said way better than I could ever do!

  14. I always appreciate honest reviews. Sometimes people tread the line between critiquing and book bashing, but I don’t see that here 🙂 This book sounds like something I’d like to give a shot though…I like books that have historical threads

    andralynn7 AT gmail DOT com

    • HI Andra,
      The history in Byzantine Gold is from that era. The wreck the recovery team is working is a ninth century ship. The first book in this series involves a wreck from the Bronze Age.

  15. Thanks for the honest review.


    • Hi Bn,
      Thank you for joining me again. It’s always nice to hear from you.

  16. There was no archaelogy in the book? I’m surprised about it, what was that about the picture used?


  17. I just started reading this book but it looks to be really good, be sure to check it out!

    fencingromein at hotmail dot com

    • Hi Shannon,
      Terrific, glad you like it so far.

  18. Kriss its your job to give an honest review, NOT sugar coat it for the author just because it is a tour. Otherwise you are lying to potential readers and others who trust your judgement and reviews on books.You should not have to say you liked it and thought it “was an amazing book” if you did not in fact think that. People like and dislike books for various reasons, you honestly stated your reasons for not liking it. If people cannot handle actual criticism on their books they need to get out of the business of writing until they develop a tougher skin. I understand being a fan of an author but It seems sometimes people take reviews a little to personally. I think I had had the best drive through coffee stands in north Idaho…it doesn’t mean other people feel the same way.

  19. Not all books are for all readers. I get that.



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