This is the next spy novel that follows on from Tinker Taylor Soldier Spy, and is centred around Jerry Westerby, a spy working for Smiley - a former newspaper reporter and occasional SIS secret agent. It is set in the 1970's.Jerry Westerby is sent to Hong Kong to find out all about Russian and Chinese spying that is going on in the area. Of course drugs play a keen part in the tale and the good old U S of A comes steam rolling in.
The story is long and complicated roving over the far east with wonderful vivid descriptions, that bring the whole story to life. Just fantastic for audio listening on a long car journey. They almost made me believe I was there rather than rain and wind swept home.
Wikipedia has a very long and very comprehensive summary of the plot, so I won't go into here, other than to say I felt really sad when the CIA kidnapped Nelson snapping him from the hands of the British. Smiley is retired off with a pension. This is book 14 week 14 (audio book 5) The next audio book I am listening to is back to France in the 1600's with our friends the Musketeers_
_ The year is September 1920 and lunch time when Lower Manhattan was blown apart, and Americans started wondering who could hate them so much. The day the word “terrorist” became part of our vocabulary, and the country rallied to war.
“It was lunchtime. An overloaded horse-drawn cart was parked in front of J. P. Morgan’s bank, jamming traffic. A taxi driver got out of his car, ready to chew out the cart man, but he was nowhere to be found. Then the cabby heard an odd noise. He put his ear to the burlap: ticking. Seconds later dozens of people were dead. To this day the crime remains unsolved.”
Jed takes a real life mystery that has not been solved and offers an explanation, using a wide range of characters both fictitious and real to offer an answer. Into this mix he manages to weave Sigmund Freud, and Madame Curie, a world war one mystery, and gold all making for an intriguing mystery thriller that has double dealing on a grand scale.
This was the follow up from his previous 2006 novel, “The Interpretation of Murder,” which I have also read some time ago and is just as good or if not even better. This was a really enjoyable read just bringing the 1920's to life. Book 13 Week 13 Still just on target
Rain Soaked Autumn Splendour
Rain Drops on Autumn Coloured Acer Leaves
_ The other day we were out exploring the byways of the Borders enjoying the fantastic autumn colouring before all the leaves blew off – surprise surprise in the rain, when for a few minutes at least the rain stopped allowing me to take these three shots of rain washed leaves.
_ Though the light was bad and the wind kept blowing making focusing very difficult I think they came out quite well. (There was a large number that got deleted as nothing was in focus, but that is the wonders of a digital camera, compared to film.)
Rain Covered Red Acer Leaves
_ The leaves go their fantastic colours in some autumn trees results from the loss of chlorophyll simply unmasking the yellow carotinoids that were there all along. But red coloration comes from a pigment called anthocyanin, which has to be made afresh as autumn takes hold. Why trees would bother to spend energy doing this as things are winding down for the winter has been widely debated and no-one really seems to know. Still this does not stop us appreciating the Acer's lovely colour even if we don't really know why.
Pregnancy, Birth and Shepherds
_ I always like it when driving around and seeing all the Christmas lights in peoples gardens and on their houses. We always try and put up several sets of lights around suitable parts of the house and on a tree that is handy. Maybe something for the next few days as have not had time to do this yet.
When we consider the original story of Christmas, the lights present we not of the electrical kind but those generated by angels. The details of the study can be found here and the main passages can be found in Luke
One of the amazing things we noted as a group was that the angels basic premise when talking to Mary is that Nothing is impossible with God. This is something that is a real challenge for us now, as much as it was a challenge for Zechariah.
When he was told that his wife was going to have a son, (who later became John the Baptist) even though they were past normal child bearing ages he became mute for around 10 months until the child was named. As he doubted what the angel said to him.
But when Zechariah spoke again at the naming of John he was inspired by the Holy Spirit to say these wonderful words (Luke 1 67-79)
Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel;
he came and set his people free.
He set the power of salvation in the center of our lives,
and in the very house of David his servant,
Just as he promised long ago
through the preaching of his holy prophets:
Deliverance from our enemies
and every hateful hand;
Mercy to our fathers,
as he remembers to do what he said he'd do,
What he swore to our father Abraham—
a clean rescue from the enemy camp,
So we can worship him without a care in the world,
made holy before him as long as we live.
And you, my child, "Prophet of the Highest,"
will go ahead of the Master to prepare his ways,
Present the offer of salvation to his people,
the forgiveness of their sins.
Through the heartfelt mercies of our God,
God's Sunrise will break in upon us,
Shining on those in the darkness,
those sitting in the shadow of death,
Then showing us the way, one foot at a time,
down the path of peace.
So next time you see Christmas lights glinting in the sky just remember - “Nothing is impossible with God”
__ This was a nice simple book to read. The plot line just ticked along, the characters were believable, and it had a good twist at the end. It is all about corruption, defence contracts, and spying in the land of the law firm. The only downside was that the ending was a little predicable, but it was still good fun. As the print on the page was fairly large along with lots of spacing I do wonder how many words the book was, certainly a lot less than the last one. So this is book 12 week 12 still on target
Borders Autumn Gold
An Acer in it's Autumn Glory
A few days ago we were very fortunate to be able to go out and explore the Borders countryside, before the wind and the rain blew off all the golden colouring.
Golden Beech Tree
Fortunately this beech tree still had the majority of its leaves
Golden Beech Leaves
As can be seen by this close up of some of them.
The intense red colour of this Acer was almost unreal. It was just as if someone had got out a box of paints and daubed the leaves.
Who can Predict the Future?
_ All we need to do is open up the paper this weekend and it is full of gloom and doom predictions about the future due to the Euro and banking crisis. The amazing thing is that a week ago the papers were full of predictions as well, and I wonder how many of them got it right as to what happened during the course of the week.
Making predictions about the future is something that lots of us love to do, but sadly so often we are wrong in what we think is going to happen. In our recent Home Group study we looked at some of the Prophecies that had been made prior to Jesus' birth about his birth, life and death. The amazing thing was that these predictions had not been made a few weeks, months or years before the event but hundreds of years before. Also they were not made by just one Prophet but by several – we looked at more than 10 made over a range of 300 years, and more than 400 years before the birth of Jesus. Quite mind blowing really.
The really good thing is that Paul reminds us that we can all be prophets in his book to the Corinthians if suitably inspired by the Holy Spirit. Here such prophecies come true.
Yesterday after checking up on how many books I had read and updating the blog, I was troubled as I was sure I had read/listened to more than this. I then went back and checked and realised that the entry I had put in at the end of last month on the The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas, was missing. This failure does raise the wider issue of using The Cloud. Should the user save everything locally first before updating the cloud in case of failure during the updating process. I think this is something I will be doing from now on, as the alternative to check that it is live and online after updating is too time consuming. This is the first failure in six months so it is not that bad a record, but as the saying goes once bitten twice shy.
Sadly this blog system does not allow retrospective entries, so it will have to go in here, as book 11 week 11 (audio book 4). I listened to this from a librevox recording. http://librivox.org/the-three-musketeers-by-alexandre-dumas/
The story brought back fantastic memories of the film I watched as a child and all the wonderful antics D’Artagnan gets up to. Amazingly during the course of the story for the majority of the last sixth of the book Milady de Winter is the real star, as it recounts what happens to her and how she tries to seduce her way out of captivity. A fact I don't remember at all from the film. Really looking forward to further long journeys when we can listen to the next instalment.
A Storm of Swords – Part 2 Blood and Gold by George R R Martin 52 Books in 52 Weeks
Book 10 week 11 – I am beginning to think that the length and complexity of my book choice is becoming important in this process, as I am now behind my target. This book certainly did not help. It continues with it cast of seemingly hundreds. The appendix that lists the characters and their respective families covers 54 pages! Fortunately during the course of this book lots of the main characters were killed off, though he did have an unexpected recovery in the final chapter.
The worlds described here are truly breathtaking in there detail, and totally believable, even if the odd helpful bit of magic comes along to help the plot along. I can't wait until I start the next book, which is waiting on the side, but it will not be for a few weeks yet as need to give myself plenty of time to read it. I will also have to get ahead in the book number to week ratio as it will knock this back due to the time required to do it justice.
David – The End of a Dream
So we finally come to the end of the Home Groups studies on Old Testament King David. Here David sets out who will succeed him (his son Solomon) and then it is detailed all the goods, and materials that have been collected together in preparation for the construction of the temple. The quantities of precious metals and jewels are truly mind blowing. If the physical temple building had not been destroyed a few hundred years later then it would have probably been one of the wonders of the world.
As it was the end of his reign we considered some of the highlights and low lights of David's life. It is strange how society changes it's views as to what is good not so good and bad over time. David is/was considered a great King even though he committed adultery and had the husband killed so he could marry the wife. I think we agreed at the group that his main strength was that he trusted God, and owned up when he made mistakes. He was honest with God
Dyslexic doodles on photography, food (growing, cooking & of course eating), faith and other fascinating things. This is a personal blog expressing my views.