This is my review of the book Alexander – Child of A Dream by Valerio Massimo Manfredi, which I have read recently. This is the first book in a trilogy, which I have been given, so reviews of the other two books will be forthcoming soon, especially if the rain carries on.
This is a story about life and times in Ancient Greece. Alexander is the son of King Philip of Macedon and Queen Olympias. This first book is about his childhood, and young adult years, until he becomes king.
Philip has the nickname of a Barbarian, so he ensures that Alexander has a time of schooling and training under Aristotle. He also has his friends Ptolemy and Hephaiston to help him.
Valaerio has managed to weave a story of adventure and passion, joining together the dots that make up the facts that have been handed down to us through history, making a really good story.
Not giving the game away too much, but Philip has made a long line of enemies, and sadly one of them arranges his assignation. Just who was behind the plot.. Well you will have to read the book for yourself and find out.
The story takes us up to the time when Alexander is king and is just about to start off on a great exhibition/campaign with his army and navy to conquer his neighbours and acquire new lands in doing so building his empire.
The story is a good mixture of action, intrigue and detail making an enjoyable read. I am looking forward to reading book two and so continuing the story. This was book 21 week 15 fiction 19 (audio book 4) non fiction 2
This is my review of the book “The Old Curiosity Shop” by Charles Dickens, which I listened to recently as driving. The version I listened to was a librivox recording https://librivox.org/the-old-curiosity-shop-by-charles-dickens-2/ and was beautifully read by Mil Nicholson. It takes over 24 hours to listen to so as you can work out I have been doing this for a number of weeks.
Maybe it is a male – female thing, but I found this story very hard to concentrate on as driving around, whereas Pauline had no trouble following the story. To me it was a series of Victorian cameo's about life in the mid eighteenth century, linked together as a tragedy.
The gist of the story line is as follows – To start with it is the story of Little Nell, a beautiful and virtuous young girl who lives with her grandfather in his shop of curiosities. Her grandfather loves her dearly, and Nell does not complain, but she lives a lonely existence without friends of her own age. Her only friend is Kit, an honest young lad who works at the shop, and whom she is teaching to write.
Unbeknownst to Nell, her grandfather is obsessed with their precarious financial position and is attempting to make Nell a good inheritance by winning at cards. He keeps these nocturnal activities a secret, but borrows heavily from the evil Quilp, a dwarf, in order to raise new capital. In the end, he gambles away what little money they own, and Quilp seizes the opportunity to take possession of the shop and make Nell's and her grandfather's lives a misery.
Indeed, her grandfather suffers a breakdown, which leaves him bereft of his wits. Courageously, Nell decides to escape Quilp, and she and her grandfather run away to the country to live as beggars, travelling into the Midlands of England. Quilp and his sly minions and accomplices, try and chase them, until circumstances bring Quilp to a stop.....
This was book 20 week 15 fiction 18 (audio book 4) non fiction 2
Solo by William Boyd
This is my review of the book “Solo” by William Boyd, which I read recently. - Bond, the names, Bond as the saying goes. This story is all about James Bond in the late nineteen sixties. Though I have not read a James Bond story written by Ian Fleming, for a number of years I could recognise Ian's style in the plot line.
It has been written with great skill and detail, whilst adding the depth to the characters, the story goes along at a good rate, with several twists and turns along the way.
So getting back to the story, our hero James driven by revenge, sets out to try and stop a civil war in a small West African country called Zanzariun. He is there under cover as a journalist. Surprise surprise, he is aided by a beautiful accomplice, but all is not quite what it seems – To say more would spoil the plot, but I will say beware flying bullets.
He then gets drawn into a plot that takes him to America. Once in Washington the plot thickens. He is left with the dilemma – does he follow orders or solve the mystery, which he uncovered in Zanzarium.
To say much more could spoil a really enjoyable story. Other than to say it is one that has not been ruined by excessive use of gadgets, but rather skill and genius in making a fantastic atmospheric plot.
A very enjoyable book to read. It was book 19 week 15 fiction 17 (audio book 3) non fiction 2
This is my review of the book Asterix and the Picts written by Jean-Yves Ferri, which I greatly enjoyed reading recently. This is a book that continues the fantastic Asterix series by Goscinny and Uderzo.
Jean-Yves, the translator Anthea Bell, and illustrator Didier Conrad, have managed to capture the humorous spirit of the original series oh so well. This is a book that was so enjoyable, especially having now moved to Scotland.
The potential scope for fun was enormous and they have made full use of it, from having the loch Ness monster as a pet – Nessie to every type of humorous name variation starting with “Mac”. MY favourite was the “little brother” Macmini – of course he was not small.
Then there is “Malted Water” the picts national drink – the water of life, which along with the Gauls magic potion causes great commotion..amongst the corrupt Picts and Romans. They don't really stand a chance. Our heros manage to defeat them saving the day.
Caber-tossing, bagpipes, and tartans also come into the picture as well. So what is the story about – Asterix and Obelix rescue a Pict called MacAroon. They have to return him home to Caledonia, (Scotland), so he can return to his lady love Camomilla. But the rival chieftain MacCabaeus has other plans, and wants to claim the throne for himself with the help of the Romans..
This was a lovely enjoyable book to read. It was book 18 week 14 fiction 16 (audio book 3) non fiction 2
Gone Tomorrow by Lee Child
Friends this is my review of the book Gone Tomorrow by Lee Child, which I read recently. Previously, since I have been taking note of which books I have read, I have read one of the Jack Reacher novels before, which I enjoyed, so seeing a couple going for a song at a second hand book fair I snapped them up.
This certainly has a different plot line as a starter. Someone commits suicide in front of our hero Jack Reacher on a very late subway train. Jack then sets out to try and solve the mystery as to why she killed herself as she did not leave any message.
Sadly a lot of the story seems to involve various chases around New York City, and as a reader who has not been to that city, the story did lack depth, as one unknown street is very similar to another unknown street. So I don't know if these chases made sense or not.
So as not to totally spoil the plot for anyone who has not read the story, but it does involve politicians, FBI, terrorists and the local police. I will not reveal too much more, except of course Jack manages to escape several times from situations that seem impossible. A whole team of crack foreign assigns is no match for our hero as the body count rises.
It was an enjoyable easy read if one leaves reality aside for a few hours. This was book 17 week 14 fiction 15 (audio book 3) non fiction 2
One Good Turn by Kate Atkinson
Friends this is my review of the book “One Good Turn” by Kate Atkinson, which I have read recently. This is a book that I have had on my book shelves for some time, as originally read it a few years ago, probably in 2007 when it came out in the version I have got.
I was prompted to look this out having noticed that Kate won the Costa Novel Award, for her book Life after Life, which she was recently awarded in January this year. I am looking forward to reading that book, but for now I am writing about “One Good Turn”
This is a book about the hero Jackson Brodie, as ex-army policeman. He is in Edinburgh for the Edinburgh Festival, to see his partner performing in a play. There is a road rage incident, which he tries to help with, but leaves him as a murder suspect.
The body count then starts, helped along by “Mad Honda Man” and his baseball bat, as the lives of everyone involved in the road rage incident are changed for ever.
The characters are beautifully painted, allowing the read to really feel for them as they go through a whole series of nightmares. Which just brings out the black humour of the story. It is very addictive, not least due to the thought “what an earth can happen next”. This was certainly not the sort of run of the mill detective novel, but a really good mystery.
This was an enjoyable book – full of black humour and was book 16 week 13 fiction 15 (audio book 3) non fiction 2
Friends this is my review of the book Midges in Scotland by George Hendry, which I read recently. Though this is a factual book, it is a fascinating book, and would appeal to anyone who lives or has lived in an area where midges are found.
It gives all the details of the biting Highland Midge, explaining how to avoid getting bitten, along with the real reason as to why it is biting you.
The book also gives an historical overview of what has been done to try and prevent midge attacks, going from what the army did in the 1940's to the current day.
Though it is quite a small book, Dr Hendry still manages to answer most of the questions one wants to know about these horrible creatures, sorry lovely insects...
This is a fascinating read providing understanding of the ways of the midge, and a book I would recommend to anyone visiting the Highlands of Scotland, or any other location where biting midges are common. Sadly this is quite a lot.
This was a good and interesting read as book 15 week 12 fiction 14 (audio book 3) non fiction 1
Dyslexic doodles on photography, food (growing, cooking & of course eating), faith and other fascinating things. This is a personal blog expressing my views.