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Cracking read, l couldn’t put the book down. By the end of the story I felt as though I’d been on a journey with the characters, and we are now good friends. I can’t wait to see what they get up to in the next book.

AFC Hillman

Just read Steve Cox's 'As the Sparks Fly Upwards' and found it a most enjoyable and entertaining book.
It's set in English Civil War times; not a period with which I'm overly knowledgeable but set in my native county of Dorset. It combines fact, real people, locations I know and the author's fictional characters in a fine blend to create a compelling story.
I'll be looking forward to any of Tom Tyler's future action, from the past!
A recommended read in my opinion.

Robert W


I enjoyed this far more than I expected. I was drawn into the characters and cared about what happened to them.

Jane Cox

As the Sparks Fly Upwards is a fast moving and very entertaining adventure story which greatly benefits from the huge amount of research author Steve Cox has done into English Civil War era Dorset. The novel feels authentic, not just in its period details and background, but in the attitudes and ways of thinking of its well-realised and engaging cast of characters. These are people, especially Tom, the young protagonist, that you get to like and care about as they struggle desperately to survive in a country torn apart by war.

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Gary Daulkin

I haven't read a historical fiction novel before, it's not usually my sort of book, but this story was an adventure that I couldn't put down. From the first chapter I was rooting for Tom the main character, and always hoped for the best for him and his new friends as they found themselves in all sorts of trouble and danger. I'd recommend this to anyone who likes an exciting read, and I can't wait for the next book to come out.

Rowena Cox

I have to say that I haven't been able to put it down!

I have to say that I haven’t been able to put it down! I’m not a huge reader these days but I have found the book absolutely gripping and sometimes shocking. Much more gripping than shocking though! I love your ability to describe the environment, the details of foliage, streams, bridges, direction, and in the context of the period, such that the reader is on the journey and ‘there’, which in turn leads to wanting to know what happens next. I like the way that you have woven in Christian truths into the dialogue too. Richard is going to read it now and then we will pass to our neighbour who is in a book club. If she likes it, she might recommend it to them. Really hope it’s a success for you and look forward to the next one. Happy New Year.

Jackie Last

My daughter gave me a copy of 'As the Sparks Fly Upwards' for Christmas as she knew that I'd be interested in the subject matter - the complex English Civil War.

I really appreciate my Kindle but I still prefer to hold a paperback (and use my favourite bookmark to keep track of my progress). I like the design on the cover of this book and I also like the unusual, almost waxy texture of it.

I only had time to read the first couple of chapters that particular evening but I was hooked from the start by the story, language, dashes of humour and intrigue. The descriptions had just the right amount of detail without slowing the book's pace. It also helps that the novel was inspired by real events and people - which to my mind, always gives storytelling an edge.


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Paul William Miley

Considering its not the kind of genre I would generally find myself gravitating towards... I'm so glad I read this book! Found myself really swept up in the story and the characters and as the book gathered momentum - struggled to put it down! Hence my 2 am review ...and on a work night!! ;-)

Loved that the story was created around a true historical event. That many of the places mentioned are in my county and I could imagine a version of them through the writing. You found yourself rooting for the characters, flaws and all - 3 dimensional, human.

I look forward to finding out more on Tom's adventures and of characters such as Effra - he's very intriguing!


An enjoyable first novel from Steve Cox... Set during the civil war in the 1600's and located in familiar localities in Dorset, I almost felt I could smell the smoke from the fires and hear my stomach rumbling with the hunger!! It'll be great to see what the characters do next...

Lol Scott-Farnell