"Aye, shiver me timbers, matey!" The late Michael Crichton's estate found this finished manuscript in his files after his death. When is the last time a good pirate book was published?
This story has all the essentials: A flawed hero: Captain Charles Hunter; his sleek sloop, the Cassandra; his crew of 60 lost souls; not one, but three fair maidens; the corrupt governor of Port Royal, Jamaica; a more corrupt assistant; the Spanish villain, Cazalla, the captain of the warship El Trinidad; stolen treasure beyond imagination; a sea monster that defies sensibility; a helmsman who is a true artist; a tongueless Moor assassin; a French pirate who is not what he appears; blazing cannons; swashbuckling swords; menacing muskets; barrels of rum called kill-devil; the development of what is known today as grenades; remote island paradises inhabited by cannibals; sea-battling-sinking-ships; wooden-legged spies; a treasure map of sorts; bawdy wenches; and plenty of action and sex. The only thing missing from this book is a parrot.
Parrot be damned! This story hooked me from the title page. It has been a while since I read Crichton. I forgot how visual his books can be. Hollywood will undoubtedly purchase the rights and cast a spirited crew of actors. Until then, reading this book will have to fulfill all those dormant piratical needs.
The Handmaid's Tale is set in the near future in the Repuplic of Giliead, a country that was formed when the United States was overthrown by racist, chauvinistic, theocratic military coup. The story is told from point of view of a slave named Offred (of Fred, referring to the man she serves) who is a "handmaid" – a woman kept for reproductive purposes by the ruling class. Margaret Atwood explores many social issues including: gender roles, reproduction and sexuality, caste and social classes, and religious fundamentalism. The author gives the reader a thought provoking view into a future society.
This book would make an excellent choice for a book discussion group as it could lead to spirited discussion on many issues and provokes "What If" thinking.
Bryant and May on the Loose recounts the most recent events of London's Peculiar Crimes Unit. Although they are on permanent hiatus, a headless body found in the environs of the work being done in anticipation of the 2012 London Olympics sets the group back in to motion. Thinking it is the work of gangs, nobody, including the Prime Minister wants this information to get out and ruin the building and rebuilding that is going on in London's King's Cross neighbourhood.
Like all of the Bryant and May mysteries you have to love London history which plays a pivotal role in every case. And the history of this case goes all the way back to pagan times as more headless bodies turn up in the area.
John May uses his relentless logic and understanding of human nature and Arthur Bryant uses his unusual interest in history and the occult to solve the murders. The head of Homeland Security has given them four days to solve the mysteries or their permanent hiatus will become a permanent ending. Can they do it?
I wish this Young Adult book was written about 4o years ago. The story is simple and tragic. Two young teenagers; one German and one American, long to enter the armed forces to defend their country during WWII. Both are underage and fear that their window of opportunity to become a hero is rapidly closing. Both were raised in good families and taught values.
However, values can vary country to country. Dieter believes every word that he heard while in the Hitler Youth. Spence is driven more by the love of a girl that loves another.
Mid-teens is universally the rough stage for growing up. Boys who should still be playing with toys want to prove their manhood. During a world crisis, boys are compelled to mature more rapidly; especially if they insist on pressuring their parents into allowing them to enter wars underage.
This story is a good rite-of-passage. It's two different perspectives on the war and one's responsibilities. In today's world conflicts, reading this book before making the decision to enlist would be worthwhile. There is nothing more noble that wanting to defend one's country with honor. This book tries to make the point that there is a lot of baggage that accompanies that journey and being true to oneself is paramount.
On July 16, 1942, thousands of Jewish families who were Paris residents were rounded up by French police. They were locked up in the Velodrome d’Hiver, an indoor stadium, for several days under appallingly inhuman conditions. From there, they were sent to Auschwitz where they were gassed. Ten-year-old Sarah Starzynski and her parents were one of those families. With the police pounding on their door in the middle of the night, Sarah was desperate to save her little brother. So she locked him in a bedroom cupboard and promised to return for him.
Sarah's story intertwines with that of Julia Jarmond, an American journalist living in Paris in 2002, who is investigating the 1942 roundup at “Vel d’Hive.” Julia’s research leads her to a trail of long-hidden family secrets that link her to Sarah, compelling her to delve deeper to find out what happened to Sarah. Probing into Sarah's past adds some serious uncertainties to her own future, causing Julia to question her own place in France, and to reevaluate her marriage and her life.
Tatiana de Rosnay offers us a vivid and compelling snapshot of France under occupation and reveals painful details that surround this episode in France’s history.
If you have seen the trailers for the film version of Men Who Stare At Goats, you may assume the book is full of absurdity, one-liners and pratfalls. And even though there is plenty of humor throughout, Ronson is exposing a very disturbing part of our military tactics that have had a real impact on the way we fight our wars and torture our prisoners. Top military officials developed "new age" techniques of training which incorporated psychic training. The program was actually called "Project Jedi". As indicated by the title of the book, the psychic battalion spent a substantial amount of time in a secret location trying to stop a goat's heart by staring at it. Men Who Stare At Goats is a fast, fascinating read. It does contain some rather disturbing descriptions of torture, but that is balanced well by the humorous tone of the writing. Overall, an enjoyable and eye-opening read.
If only her uncles and others had waited to install Jane Grey AFTER Queen Mary and before Elizabeth, the line of ascension would be with the Grey family. But the populace would hear of no heir other than Mary, born of a true king and queen. The Sisters Who Would be Queen recounts in great detail the lives of the Grey sisters. Jane was the oldest, but Katherine and Mary were also considered such threats to Queen Elizabeth that she imprisoned them for almost all of their adult lives.
The subtitle of the book "A Tudor Tragedy" captures their lives completely. Katherine, the most unfortunate, fell in love with another royal and planned a secret marriage with him. Considered not as intelligent as Jane but the best looking of the sisters, Katherine who had no designs on the throne, still posed a threat because there were people who held her as the true heir.
For this, Elizabeth threw her and her husband and their new baby in the Tower. They were able to bribe a guard and spend a few nights together creating another child. This enraged Elizabeth and she separated them from their children and each other once the second child was born. Katherine never again saw her children or her husband.
Mary Grey, hoping to avoid the same fate, married a man not of royal birth, a man considered well-below her. Because of this marriage she would be prohibited from ever taking the throne. Still, Elizabeth separated them and kept them imprisoned in far locations from each other. They, too, never saw each other again.
Its a different Queen Elizabeth that we get to see in de Lisle's account of the lives of the sisters. This Elizabeth is frightened and vengeful and never sure of her place on the throne even though she serves for over 40 years. She never names an heir because she fears that the heir will be preferred over her.
This very detailed book notes all of the behind-the-scene machinations that occurred throughout Edward VI's (Henry VIII's sickly son) reign and beyond into the time of Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth. While it is good to be queen, it is never good to be almost queen.
This is the 2nd installment in the Eddie LaCrosse series. I am still confused why it is cataloged as Science Fiction instead of a Mystery. The dead body appears by page 17.
Eddie is a medieval sword-jockey; the equivalent of today's private-eye/gun-for-hire/bodyguard. He is of royal blood and as learned in the 1st novel, gave up his privileged life when the Prince's sister, while under Eddie's protection is brutally killed. The years that followed were dark for Eddie. He joined the army and later became a ruthless mercenary.
Midlife has mellowed the big brute. He lives with a young, independent twin, Liz, who runs a 1-wagon UPS business. He has mellowed so much that Eddie evens befriends a horse and mourns his loss when he, the horse and a near-naked blond are attacked on a forest road and left for the vultures. A new fire is lit in Eddie.
Fire is one of the reasons that Eddie was attacked. He stumbled upon a damsel who had information that a cult of fire-eating-dragon-freaks coveted. Eddie vows to find the mysterious blonde's killers and get some justice for the slaughter of his horse, Lola.
Alex Bledsoe knows how to hook his readers. The day I checked out this book I also got new novels by Stephen King, Michael Connelly, James Patterson, Andrew Vachss, and a couple of others. I read some chapters from each book and chose this one to finish. I like authors who don't take themselves too serious. Try reading the book jacket and Bledsoe's bio tells that he once lived near Elvis and Tina Turner: two things that must be important in order to become a serious, successful writer.
Harry Pappas head of the "Persia Desk" at the C.I.A is surprised to receive an E-mail from an Iranian scientist indicating he would like to share info on Iran's nuclear program, this is the start of this tense spy thriller. The author is a mideast expert and columnist for the Washington Post so you get the feeling you are really getting the inside scoop. The tale leads Pappas to his counterpart in British Intelligence and has them racing against time to find the Iranian Dr. before the U.S administration attacks Iran. I think this book would appeal to readers of LeCarre and those who enjoy political thrillers that are not led by action and violence only.
How do you define a "great book"?
Technically, this is science fiction. It's a story of time travel, a contrast between the years 2048 and the 1300's; between a time proficient in science, particularly medical science, and a time of horrifying physical want and disease. Between future scholarly Oxford and a medieval rural community struggling to be self-sufficient miles outside ancient Oxford.
But at it's core, this is a study of people trying to survive, and human relationships. What happens when history stops being an academic study and becomes a personal experience? When names carved in stone become living, breathing individuals?
I think I've mentioned in other reviews that I am coming to understand that a "great book", to me, is a book that changes the way I see or understand the world. The Doomsday Book did that.
It doesn't surprise me that this book won the Nebula and the Hugo Awards, the top awards in the sci-fi field.
I have also read Connie Willis' Bellwether. I enjoyed it very much. I'm beginning to feel that if I see her name on the spine of a book, I want to pick that book up and jump in. Wanna join me? We might have some great discussions!