This is my review of the book “The Day Without Yesterday by Stuart Clark”, which I read recently. This is the third book in his series of great historical astronomers, being mainly about the life and times of Albert Einstein and Georges Lemaitre. The second was “The Sensorium of God” and you can read my review of it here The first was The Skys Dark Labyrinth and you can read my review of that on here
Having read the previous two books and really enjoyed them, this is a book that I was looking forward to reading and it did not disappoint. Maybe because there is so much on the TV at the present about the first world war, but the fact that the book starts in Berlin Germany in 1914 made it all the more interesting.
Having studied Physics and Chemistry in the past and been taught various laws and theories attributed to these men, it made it all the more interesting to read and understand some of the history that went on in the process of coming up with their ground breaking discoveries.
Stuart manages to add the colour to a black and white image by filling in the emotions, and feelings of the characters in between the key historical dates, in a way that brings them to life just as if it was real. A fantastic achievement.
This is a really interesting and enjoyable book about two great men who provided us with our modern understanding of the cosmos. I know Stuart says in the notes that these three books have been a work in progress over the last decade, and it shows by the detail and quality of the stories presented. Not a series of boring facts but an engaging drama bringing these facts to live.
This was book 34 week 28 fiction 31 (audio book 8) non fiction 3.
This is my review of the book “Bernard Treves Boots A Novel of the Secret Service by Laurence Clarke”, which I listened to recently as a librivox recording. The observant will have noticed that there has been a slight gap in my reviews – well this is not because I have stopped reading or listening to books, but rather communication issues with the internet, due to travelling, power and BT Internet but hopefully now things back to normal and I will be able to catch up with my reviews.
One of the things I like about librivox is that it allows one to find new authors that I have never heard of, listen to them for a bit. If one does not enjoy what one is listening to move on to something else or listen to the full things.
I had never heard of Laurence Clarke before, but the title so intrigued me that I thought it would be worth giving it a go.
What a fascinating lovely story about a secret service agent in the first world war. How he manges to impersonate a corrupt army officer addicted to drugs and prevents a major attack on Portsmouth. This all takes place during the First World War, with a lot of action on the Isle of Wight.
An exciting story that has lots of twists and turns, and secret agents at every turn, either working for the British or the Germans. Far too complicated to go into any detail other than to say listen to it yourself on librivox
A very enjoyable book - This was book 33 week 28 fiction 30 (audio book 8) non fiction 3.
This is my review of the book “Worth Dying For” by Lee Child, which I read recently. This was the second Jack Reacher book that I mentioned in my previous post http://fullersfolio.weebly.com/1/post/2014/02/-gone-tomorrow-by-lee-child.html which I got from the second hand book shop, and have finally got round to reading.
Like the last Jack Reacher book, the plot line is very different. Jack is out in the wilds of Nebraska, and comes across a small town that is totally under the thumb of a local clan the Duncans. He tries to help a local, and uncovers a case of a missing eight year old girl, that has not been solved. He starts investigating and the Duncans don't like this, so they go after Jack.
Added to this the Duncans as a trucking business, are shipping more than just corn. A mysterious illegal package, that various parties are interested in. The underworld food chain. The Duncans blame Jack for a delay and they all want to come and investigate what is going on.
Just the perfect setting for a massive battle with Jack at the centre. This was not really a complex plot like the previous Sherlock Holmes Mystery – the biggest question was – what was the illegal cargo, and who besides Jack would be left standing at the end of the story.
All good fun really, the book was an easy page turner – This was book 32 week 24 fiction 29 (audio book 7) non fiction 3.
This is my review of the book “The Sign of Four” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, which I listened to recently, as a librivox recording. This is a story that portrays Sherlock Holmes in our modern eyes, in a less than favourable light with his extensive drug taking, though at the time it was a perfectly acceptable thing to do. Similar to taking an alcoholic drink nowadays.
A young lady asks Sherlock to investigate what happened to her father when he disappeared 10 years earlier. The story slowly reveals a very complex plot of stolen treasure beyond compare, corrupt prison guards, double crossing and a secret pact among four convicts. Hence the name of the story.
Added to this Sherlock’s friend Dr Watson falls in love.
It is a good story but the fact that the last chapter has Sherlock going into great detail how all the elements have come together to form the whole, explains how complex it is, and certainly there is no way the mystery could be worked out as the reader went along.
As each new twist and turn was revealed we played guess the outcome, and sadly did not manage to get it right once. This was an enjoyable story, though very complex – not one for listening to when driving through a city, but one for an open road with little traffic. That being said well worth listening to.
This was book 31 week 24 fiction 28 (audio book 7) non fiction 3.
This is my review of the book By the Mast Divided by David Donachie. Having not read any of David's books before, I was a little apprehensive on reading this as to weather or not I would enjoy it. Especially as I do enjoy reading Patrick O' Brian's stories, and from the cover this did seems as if it could have been in a similar vain.
But I need not have worried, though they are both nautical and set in a similar time frame they are very different in style and content and both really enjoyable.
So getting to the plot line – Our hero of the hour is a certain John Pearce, who is illegally press ganged from the Pelican Tavern onto the HMS Brilliant, a frigate on its way to war, against the French.
Initially John tries to escape, but when he finds that this is not possible he forms a friendship with a group of other press ganged landlubbers. They form the gang of Pelican's and aim to look after themselves, with John as the leader. The narrative is very clever in so much as they are the bottom of the pile as far as the Navy goes and the description of life on board for these men is very realistic giving one real sympathy with them and their plight.
So HMS Brilliant goes off to war chasing a French Privateer along the channel. John shines and uses his natural skills to help the situation despite the captain.
I found it an enjoyable book, that brought back past memories of sailing in the channel – not chasing after a Privateer, but fighting against the wind and the waves. This is the first book in a series and I will be looking forward to reading the next, to see what happens to John. Though I somehow doubt that he manages to escape from the Navy otherwise there would not be a series of books about John on the High Seas.
This was book 30 week 23 fiction 27 (audio book 6) non fiction 3.
This is my review of the book The League of the Scarlet Pimpernel by Emma Orczy, which I listened to recently whilst travelling around as a librivox recording.
This is the second Scarlet Pimpernel book that I have listened to having enjoyed the first one so much. The book is a collection of short stories all about Sir Peter Blakeney, as the Scarlet Pimpernel and his friends – telling tales of how they rescue various Astrio's from the French citzerns court.
In most cases it involves some form of disguise, sometimes with a really bad cough. So as soon as someone mentions that a person has a really bad cough one knows that the Scarlet Pimpernel is on the case.
After a few of the stories they did become a little predictable, and it would have probably been better if they had been written as slightly longer stories, with fewer of them, as the characters did not really have time to develop.
That apart it was all good fun and whiled away around nine hours of travelling time. The strange thing was that some of the short stories were much longer than others, it made one speculate as to why this was. Was Emma Orczy but against a publishing target and had to get the book finished by a certain deadline.. Who knows
I will be listening to more of these stories as time progresses as there are several completed books in the Librivox catalogue about our hero The Scarlet Pimpernel.
This was book 29 week 23 fiction 26 (audio book 6) non fiction 3.
This is my review of the book “an Officer and a Spy by Robert Harris” which I have read recently. Up to now I have enjoyed all of Robert's books and this one did not disappoint, though it was a little slow to start with, but it quickly made up for this towards the end.
But let us move to what the story is about. It is set in 1890's France, and a certain Captain Alfred Dreyfus is convicted of spying. The twenty thousand spectators call for his death crying 'Death to the Jew'.
George Picquart, is witness to this as an army officer. He is then promoted to colonel and put in charge of the “Statistical Section” - the undercover spy and intelligence section.
As George progresses with his job, he uncovers another spy operating. Could there really have been two spies, or had Dreyfus somehow been framed. Gradually things go from good to bad, the more George uncovers. This is all the more compelling as it is a recreation of the scandal that became one of the most famous miscarriages of justice in modern times.
Though this is about an event that took place over 100 years ago, the comparison with the present day is frightening – justice corrupted in the name of national security and intelligence agencies covering up the truth, and perverting the course of justice. A small group of people standing up for what they believe in truth and justice.
Moving back to the book Robert manages to tell the story in a manor that is generally gripping, exciting and enjoyable. Made all the more so by the historical element to the narrative.
This was an enjoyable book and a good read. This was book 27 week 19 fiction 24 (audio book 5) non fiction 3.
This is my review of the book “The Hunger Games – Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins”, which I have just finished. This is the third book in the Hunger Games trilogy. The story line continues one month on from the end of the previous book “Catching Fire”. Normally I don't read one book after another with the same author, but the suspense left at the end of the last one made me want to just start reading this new book.
It continues the story line of Katniss Everdeen, and her friend Peeta Mellark. (Though is he still her friend??). Katiness has managed to escape from the last “Game” along with some of her fellow victors, and is now a leading light in the uprising against the power of President Snow in the Capitol.
Sadly to get to this point they have suffered badly both mentally and physically, and need to recover before they can prove their usefulness.
Katniss as the Mockingjay has come to symbolise the rebellion. As such she needs to be filmed fighting for the revolution, as an inspiration to the fighters, but obviously this has significant risks.
Sadly Peeta was not rescued when the other competitors escaped, so they need to mount a rescue mission to free him from President Snow's grip.
The story then progresses through a series of battles to the Capitol – Can Katniss get the president or will the peacekeepers, along with various automated defensive horrors kill her off first.
This book is a fantastic end to the story line portrayed in the trilogy, and keeps up the suspense right to the end of the book. It is as much a page turner as the previous one.
A really good, enjoyable, exciting, story – all be it in three parts. his was book 26 week 19 fiction 23 (audio book 5) non fiction 3. Half way through my 52 books that make up this list.
This is my review of the book “The Hunger Games – Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins”, which I have read recently This is the second book in the Hunger Games trilogy. It continues the story of old Katniss Everdeen, and her friend Peeta Mellark.
By forcing the government to save her and Peeta at the end of the first Hunger Games, she has challenged the authority of the Capitol. This challenge sparks a rebellion in the districts that supply the Capitol.
To save her family Katniss has to comply with the wishes of the government, especially President Snow, and does a victory tour of the Districts. Sadly this does not squash the rebellion, so the government comes up with a new set of games. The contestants this time are chosen from the victors of previous games.
Can Katniss survive this new challenge the game presents. Sadly the mortality rate is much higher, with the game itself killing off the constants as fast as they kill each other..The fictional world in which they are interacting is realistic cleverly structured and believable. I won't reveal any more so as not to spoil the plot line for anyone who has not read the book or seen the film, other than to say it has a pretty amazing twist near the end of the book.
This is a real page turner, and really exciting. I have not read a book like this for quite some time. The chapters were cleverly structured so that at the end of each one, there was a cliffhanger, just prompting one to carry on reading, so much so that I will be reading the third and final book in the trilogy next.
My only criticism is that this book would not make much sense if one has not read the first one, but other than that it was a great read. This was book 25 week 18 fiction 22 (audio book 5) non fiction 3.
This is my review of the book “The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy” which I have listened to recently as a librivox dramatic reading https://librivox.org/the-scarlet-pimpernel-by-baroness-emmuska-orczy-2/ whilst travelling up and down the motorway.
It is a really engaging story, and whilst one I sort of knew the plot, having seen either film or TV versions before, I found I did not really know it.
This book is the first in the Scarlet Pimpernel series, where we get to meet all the main characters. Sir Percy a wealthy English baronet who rescues French individuals (Astros) sentenced to death by the guillotine. He soon reveals himself to be a master of disguise, an imaginative planner, a formidable swordsman and a quick-thinking escape artist. With each rescue he taunts his enemies by leaving behind a card showing a small flower—a scarlet pimpernel. To hide his true identity, Sir Percy presents himself in everyday life as a dim-witted, foppish playboy. His secret is kept by a band of friends known as the League of the Scarlet Pimpernel.
But poor Sir Percy Blakeney's wife is being blackmailed to reveal the Scarlet Pimpernel. In exchange for her brothers life. Little does she know that in doing so she is putting her husband at risk as he is the famous Scarlet Pimpernel.
Only once she has given the game away not realising at the time that she is condemning her husband, does she realise what she has done. There then follows a chase across England to Dover and then over the Channel to rescue Sir Percy from the French.
A great story full of suspense, detail and atmosphere, especially the descriptions of the innkeeper and their inn in France. A very enjoyable book, so much so that we are now listening to the next one in the series. But as it is nearly 9 hours long it will be a few weeks before it gets reviewed here.
So this was book 24 week 18 fiction 21 (audio book 5) non fiction 3.
Dyslexic doodles on photography, food (growing, cooking & of course eating), faith and other fascinating things. This is a personal blog expressing my views.