Friends this is my review of the book The Sensorium of God by Stuart Clark, which I read recently. This is the second book in his series of books about great historical astronomers. He adds a layer of fiction to the facts making a really interesting read.
The three astronomers that are the subject of this book are Isaac Newton, Robert Hooke and Edmond Halley. Stuart manages to weave a tale of fiction one assumes based on documented truth of arguments, theft of ideas, and long held grudges and resentment.
The main thrust of the book is that Isaac Newton stole some of his ideas from Robert Hooke and passed them off as his own, and the consequences of this. I have no idea if this is true or not, but it does make a very good read.
Stuart has evidently done a lot of research into his subjects, and the time that they lived, the late 1600's and has portrayed, a very realistic story, making a very enjoyable read.
This was book two in the Sky's Dark Labyrinth trilogy and having now read the first two books I am looking forward to reading the final one.
Though the book is full of factual discoveries I am still putting it down as a work of fiction, all be it historical fiction. So this was book 41 week 31 fiction 38 (10 on audio) non fiction 3
Friends this is my review of the book The Last Man by Vince Flynn, which I read recently. There is a popular saying that “it does what it says on the tin” and this is the case with this book. It does what it says on the cover.
The book is a thriller about the Hero Mitch Rapp, and his personal mission to kill all American “baddies” he comes across. Cross him and you wind up dead, and his reputation goes before him. The baddies just quake in their boots when his name is mentioned.
So this book is set in the present day with America pulling out of Afghanistan. The CIA is helping to set up the new government by paying the terrorists to change sides and become good and loyal citizens. Of course when there is lots of money slushing around people want to pinch it, especially if there are corrupt politicians.
The story crosses over the boarder into Pakistan, and its secret services. Are they trying to get a hold of the money as well. Add a contract assassin that has been given the task of killing a high ranking CIA officer as well and you have all the ingredients for a fast moving thriller. Of course the real puzzling is just how true is all this. Is it a complete work of fiction or based on some truth?
My only down point is what a sad reflection of life in our times this book reflects, if that is what it does do? Money is portrayed as the ultimate god, which is just not the case. The thought that people would even consider doing such things for money is in my view mind blowing.
This was book 40 week 31 fiction 37 (10 on audio) non fiction 3
Friends this is my review of the book The Snowman by Jo Nesbo, which I read recently. This book continues the saga of the maverick detective Harry Hole. Harry investigates a number of recent murders of women around Oslo, and finds links that leads him to realise that he has uncovered a serial killer.
Each of the victims are married mothers, and of course there is a snowman near the murder scene.
Harry gets a new partner Katrine, and they get drawn together, both physically and as detectives. Things then get very complicated for Harry, especially as he starts to suspect someone known to him as the murderer. But all is not what it seems.
At the same time Harry's superiors want a scapegoat to cover up the scandal for allowing a serial killer to be on the large and of course Harry is the person they choose.
Can Harry solve the crime and clear his name.. Well yes but the true perpetrator is not who is expected.
A good story but fairly gruesome and graphic in parts. As the saying goes sometimes less is in fact more. Still I will read the next book in the series.
This was book 39 week 30 fiction 36 (10 on audio) non fiction 3
Friends this is my review of the book “The Hanging Valley by Peter Robinson, which I read recently. When sorting out things for moving I have found that I have come across several books that I had purchased at some time in the past (often from a market stall or charity bookshop), but have never got round to reading, and this was one such book.
The hero of the book is Chief Inspector Banks, and he is given the task of solving who has murdered a faceless corpse, which has been found in a tranquil valley near Swainhead. The trouble is that no one wants to talk about it. Finally through a set of dentures the body is identified, and it seems as if this case is linked with an unsolved one from a few years ago.
Then it is a case of working through the suspects and looking at the history, which includes an excursion to Canada, to meet a lady in a British pub. The real question is can the Chief Inspector solve the crime before the next murder happens.. It is a race against time with lots of drinking along the way.
This was book 38 week 29 fiction 35 (10 on audio) non fiction 3
Friends this is my review of the Five Red Herrings by Dorothy L Sayers, which I listened to as an audio book the other day when travelling. (Fortunately I should only have a few more commutes between Northumberland and Galloway, so my listening to books will become much less)
I had read this book a number of years ago, and thought it would be good to renew my acquaintance with it again, as we are now living just down the road from where it was set in Galloway back in the 1930's. (We have had a meal at the pub where Dorothy stayed when she was writing this.)
There are 7 talented artists living in the area, but one Sandy Campbell is a notoriously quarrelsome drunkard. He is found dead in a stream, with a half-finished painting on the bank above, it is assumed at first that he fell in accidentally, fracturing his skull. Lord Peter Wimsey, who is in the region on a fishing holiday, points out the inconsistency which makes it impossible for Campbell himself to have worked on the painting. So we have a murder.
Six other artists in the region are talented enough to have achieved this, and had also had public brawls with Campbell in the recent past. Now Lord Peter has to figure out "who done it" and who the five red herrings are. The task is made difficult because almost all the suspects are behaving in a suspicious manner; some have left the district unexpectedly and without explanation, others have given statements which are obviously inaccurate, or are clearly concealing facts. Also the policemen investigating other aspects of the case come up against inexplicable dead ends.
The six suspects are all eventually traced and give statements in which they deny killing Campbell. Some have convincing alibis, but others have none which can be verified.
Finally only Lord Peter manages to work it out, and as the reader have we found all the clues before the final reveal. Lord Peter reconstructs the crime to prove his point and the killer then confesses.
All good fun. That was book 37 week 29 fiction 34 (10 on audio) non fiction 3
Friends this is my review of the book The Partner by John Grisham, which I read recently. - What an addictive book, seemingly we know exactly what has happened within the first 50 pages. Then through a legal investigative process what we thought was true gradually becomes unravelled. The story is all about how this process is carried out.
So not spoiling the plot too much Patrick a partner in a lawyer firm disappears, and it is assumed that he has died in a car crash. Large amounts of money then go missing. Four years later he turns up in a small town in Brazil, where he is kidnapped and tortured. His kidnappers are trying to find what has happened to the money.
The FBI, and the press become involved, and the local legal system is played off against the state one. Everybody starts legal actions against everyone else, and it looks like Patrick will be charged with murder..
The twists and turns were very clever, and I did not imagine any of them before reading the solutions.
A very enjoyable book as book 36 week 29 fiction 33 (9 on audio) non fiction 3
This is my review of the book The Defiant Agents by Andre Norton which I listened to recently as a Librivox recording.
This book continues the story of the Time Traders and is book 3 in the series. The star travelling secrets brought back by time travellers have been unravelled, and both the Americans and the Russians are intent upon colonizing new worlds.
In a desperate move, the U.S. government decides to use a group of Apache volunteers in an experimental attempt to colonize a primitive planet. Travis Fox and a band of fellow Apache American Indians have their racial memories and survival abilities enhanced by the Redax machine and are sent to the planet Topaz, one of the few worlds of the ancient star empire that the US has voyage tapes to.
Sadly the Reds have “snooped” the tapes and get there first, and have a nasty surprise waiting for any ship that does not have the proper identification. This causes their ship to crash. Travis and some of his fellow Apaches survive the ensuing crash landing…but can they defeat the Reds and win Topaz for themselves?
Full of intrigue and adventure, this classic novel is a must, and listening to it meant the long journey went by very quickly. I was so intrigued with the story that I listened to it to the end even though the journey had finished.
A very enjoyable book as book 35 week 28 fiction 32 (9 on audio) non fiction 3
This is my review of the book Waiting for Sunrise by William Boyd, which I have read recently. Yes – There are not many books which result in a debate between Pauline (who had also read the book recently) as to the ending of the book but this one did.
It is a book that has been written in different parts, and certainly in my view the parts are of varying quality and interest. Some of the text seemed very boring and if the book is abridged, I am sure would just be cut out. Other parts of the text are really frustrating, or maybe just very clever as there are gaps which you as the reader have to fill in with your imagination. Depending on how you do that, effects the story line. Then finally there are other parts of brilliant descriptive story telling enjoyment.
Anyway that being said what is the book about. It starts off in Vienna during 1913, and the star of the story is Lysander Rief a young gifted English actor. Then through a set of seemingly random circumstances he meets and falls for Hettie Bull. They start an affair, that has terrible consequences.
Time moves on and the war has started Lysander finds himself in debt to the British Government, and to clear the debt he has to become a spy. There is an agent for Germany causing great damage with the information that is being leaked. Lysander is given the special task of finding who this is, and becomes entangled in the dangerous web of wartime intelligence.
Of course the big question is does he find who the spy is or not??
Over the years I have read several of William's books and this one did not disappoint. This was book 34 week 28 fiction 31 (8 on audio) non fiction 3
Friends, this is my review of the book The Light House by P D James, which I read a few weeks ago. The observant will have noticed a slight gap between posts, but do not worry I still have been reading or listening to books just been too busy to write up and post my reviews.
This was a classic P D James, Commander Adam Dalgliesh mystery. Someone dies is it suicide or a murder?? Well of course it is murder and in the vane of all good murder mysteries, the murder occurs on an island. The island, Combe Island, has very limited access, so one of the residents present at the time of the murder must have done it. This is a very exclusive island getaway, with a small permanent staff and the guests who want to can get away from all the pressures of everyday life. Of course the Island has a lighthouse and this plays a central theme to the latter part of the story
The staff that includes a doctor and priest (both having left the mainland in semi-disgrace). Dalgliesh and his two assistants DI Kate Miskin, and Sergeant Francis Benton-Smith, quickly finds that most of the people on the island have a motive for murder.
The plot becomes more complicated as one of the guests infects Adam with SARS forcing him to his sick bed. Kate then takes over but Adam still manages to solve the crime.
This was a very enjoyable read as book 32 week 27 fiction 29 (7 on audio) non fiction 3
Friends this is my review of the book The Unbearable Lightness of Scones by Alexander McCall Smith, which I read recently, or as I like to think of them – My next Bertie fix.
So this continues the saga of characters that have become well known to us, wrapping them around everyday life in Edinburgh. To start with Matthew and Elspeth get married and go off to Australia for their Honeymoon, where poor Matthew is attacked by a freak wave, and suffers at the hands of the Australian Police.
We then have a large Glaswegian gangster dropping dead on the steps of the Art Gallery and the consequences of this with respect to the stolen painting he was trying to get rid of.
But this is all eclipsed by Bertie wanting to join the scouts, to his mothers displeasure, but he ends up as a scout cub with Tofu. Then much to Bertie's horror Olive his non girlfriend becomes their sixer. This leads to several adventures with Olive eventually being demoted.
Then of course there is Dr Fairbairn's replacement Dr Roger Sinclair and how Bertie deals with him.. This is not to mention the Jacobites, and the exploit’s of Cyril the dog, but to say any more would just spoil the plot.
This book is a fantastic humorous snapshot of life, and a really enjoyable read. This was
This was book 31 week 24 fiction 28 (7 on audio) 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.