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C M Silver "Foxtrot Lima" (Egypt)

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Sphinx Mystery: The Forgotten Origins of the Sanctuary of Anubis
Sphinx Mystery: The Forgotten Origins of the Sanctuary of Anubis
by Robert Temple
Edition: Paperback
Price: 18.90

5.0 out of 5 stars Written in Stone, 10 May 2014
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Great authors, great subject. For the first time, all exploration accounts translated and compiled in one book. Worth every penny.


The 9th Girl
The 9th Girl
by Tami Hoag
Edition: Paperback
Price: 3.85

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Spark-less, 20 Jan 2014
This review is from: The 9th Girl (Paperback)
I have read all of Tami Hoag's books, and had her name not been on the cover I would have spared myself the time it took to read and saved the cover price.

It is as if someone else has attempted to replicate a work of hers by using her characters, in a genre in which she is known to write, about contemporary events usually with a murder or two and a love story. This book is not written in Tami's usual style, does not use her turn of phrase and format, or show off her incredible skill of characterisation and her ability to create deep suspense through plot line. It does not have the Tami Hoag sparkle.

The book read in places more like a news report of crime. I was not creeped out at all by Doc Holiday, or by the horrible school friends' clique, and found no surprise at all in the actual murders and motives. There was no love story and hence no way for Tami to showcase the accomplished way she deals with this facit. I did not find any of the usual Tami similies or metaphors until Chapter 34. I found the references to ipods, ipads, cyber stalking boring and repetitive. The zombie genre is banal, as is all the twitter newspeak.

Every journey has a start and an end, the Tami Hoag journey was excellent to travel, but I am sorry to now be at the end. To sample true Tami Hoag, read Dark Horse, Dust to Dust and Ashes to Ashes!

My overall impression of The 9th Girl: disappointing.


Inferno: (Robert Langdon Book 4)
Inferno: (Robert Langdon Book 4)
by Dan Brown
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 9.00

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Stucco on Page 217, 19 Jun 2013
Lovingly accepted this book as a present from dear friends, and carried it from Oban to Luxor anticipating an enjoyable read after hard days visiting temples. This heavy hardback tome has defeated me - I am stuck on page 217 and cannot find the energy to lug it to hotel pool one more time.

It has been treated gently, but almost from the beginning the pages, printed on inferior paper stock, started to fall out.

It is almost like part of the plot, will I be able to finish the whole book before it self-destructs and is lost in the desert sand for ever?


Dark Horse
Dark Horse
by Tami Hoag
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars 6 star Thriller, 6 April 2012
This review is from: Dark Horse (Paperback)
Dark Horse was the first novel I read by this author. I picked it up expecting the title not to be about horses but alluding to a spy thriller or some such, but was surprized and intrigued to find it was, and had to see how this author would tackle the subject - I was not disappointed. I give her 6 stars.

Elena Estes was a police woman. Most people who choose this career do it out of issues where they lacked control or ability to set things to rights in their own lives. Elena, who was adopted, was raised in a monied background, where she had the benefit of a good education, lacked for nothing, had horses and competed in dressage events, yet rejects all this to be a crusader protecting the weak and championing truth. She feels those things not under control are out of control.

Using her female intuition during a police operation she considers to be badly planned, she chooses to step outside the plan, spearhead the mission without authority, not waiting for a team directive or back up. It results in a dead colleague, and herself horribly injured. She is branded as a dangerous loose canon.

The story commences two years later when she has left the police, partially recovered from her injuries, and has taken sanctuary in the competition stables of a rich friend and a bottle of pain killers. Dressage is a sport of absolute control in a show arena. The effortless direction of a beautiful athletic horse, using invisable aids, through highly intricate physical set moves, sometimes to music. This is in direct contrast to the life of Elena now: she dispises her horribly scarred body, she has hacked off her long hair, wears no makeup. She will not allow herself any physical or mental sustenance. She mistrusts her judgement and generally withdraws from the world. She has become the trauma she vowed to protect the world from.

The story is set in Florida, a half sunken-land of swamps and alligators, and is a metaphor for the types of people who commit crime there.

Her old spirit of "protecting the weak" is reawakened by Molly Seabright, a 12 year old going on 40, who tries to enlist her help to find her older sister Erin. I will not spoil the plot by detailing it here. Although she is not a private detective, Elena cannot abandon Molly to a world where no one seems to care, or is willing to assist her, including her own parents. Elena must step back into the ring, and in doing so, must learn to face herself.

The intensive knowledge of police techniques, and dressage and showjumping allows this story to move at a gripping pace weaving in events and characters of all shades. The no nonsense Elena, is symbolic of Tami's own no nonsense style; there is no irrelevant padding, every fact and line is pertinent, which keep the pages turning and turning.

Elena is so focussed on her crusade, she is rude and abrassive to those she feels have less commitment and when she meets the off beat crumpled suited Detective Landry, both try to ignore the deep attraction as irrelevant. He knows only her reputation, has read the cold hard facts of her final mission in her records. Initially, they are like two hedgehogs, moving around eachother very carefully. His career experiences have caused him also to mistrust the rich and the beautiful, and when he inadvertently observes her scarred body, as she exits a swimming pool, instead of being repulsed, can empathize and fully understand what she has been through.

This book is a real Dark Horse, and like horses in racing anything can happen, and sometimes does. Having been involved with policemen and horses over long periods of my life this book really touched a nerve for me. It spurred me on to read all her other books. The most harrowing being Dust to Dust and Thin Dark Line, preferring her thriller genre much more than the pure romances of her early work, but see it was there she learned her craft.

Sometimes I find American writers' styles difficult to read through awkward use of grammar or terminology, but had no such problem here. I have read this book three times, and feel a forth coming on.

RECOMMENDED


The Crystal Sun: Rediscovering a Lost Technology of the Ancient World: The Most Secret Science of the Ancient World
The Crystal Sun: Rediscovering a Lost Technology of the Ancient World: The Most Secret Science of the Ancient World
by Robert K.G. Temple
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars History Magnified, 29 Mar 2012
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Scintillating! Facts, facts and more facts, with ample footnotes, diagrams, photos, explanations for everything mentioned in this amazing 642 page tome (paperback version) and for a highly technical subject it is written in an easy to read way. I now own four amazing books by this author, and hope he writes more before he shuffles off this mortal coil.

This book will truly make you see history in a different light literally, as proof now exists of lenses in ancient history. The implications of reflecting and refracting, measuring, and magnifying, which explain The Pharos of Alexandria, Roman towers used for sending signals, minute carvings, Archimedes' death ray, how the Dogon tribe know about Sirius B's eliptical period, the Comma of Pythagoras, and how the Giza Pyramids were set out.

Illuminating and recommended.


Down the Darkest Road
Down the Darkest Road
by Tami Hoag
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 10.59

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Dark Road less travelled indeed !, 8 Feb 2012
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This review is from: Down the Darkest Road (Hardcover)
It is rare to find a book you need to make preparations to read, Down the Darkest Road is one.

Set aside a complete day free of any kind of interruption, prepare snacks, drinks, warm clothing, and a good reading light, as once you start this book you cannot put it down, which if anything like me, was way into the wee small hours!

The story is set in Oak Knoll, and there are walk on parts by characters from Tami's two previous books, but the story can stand perfectly alone without their support. Even the name Oak Knoll instills dark forebodings bringing to mind the Romans and the Nazis use of oak leaves for insignia, and Knoll as in grassy knoll in the JFK assassination!

Despite having everything a woman dreams of, tragedy arrives at the door of Lauren Lawton when a stalker abducts her elder daughter. The story starts six years later, after an in depth police investigation, a media storm, and after no body is found and no one is charged.

They relocate to Oak Knoll so that she and her younger child can move to the next phase of their lives in a house Down the Darkest Road. Lauren makes some iffy choices, which have stark consequences, all of which will keep you sitting on the edge of your seat.

Through a clever and detailed plot, we are led, step by step, page by page, in the treads of Lauren's plan to provoke a conclusion to the awful situation.

Detailing the plot here would spoilt it for other readers.

This well-written book is not for the feint of heart; it is graphic, it is passionate, with a powerful finale. It has the intensity of Ashes to Ashes, and had the promise of Dark Horse.

Tami has a gift for metaphor and simile: on page 117 we learn of Lauren's purchase of a full-size male silhouette at the gun target range! and on page 151 Lauren feels her interaction with the police is "another verse in a poem of futility".

I will think of this book each time I fill my washing machine!

Fulfilling, enjoyable read. Recommended.


Stirk of Stirk
Stirk of Stirk
by Peter Tinniswood
Edition: Hardcover

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I LOVE THIS BOOK, 23 Dec 2010
This review is from: Stirk of Stirk (Hardcover)
I LOVE THIS BOOK! There has to my knowledge never been another book written quite like this. The descriptions, the action, the humour, the characterisations, in fact EVERYTHING is so amazing. I can only wonder at the miracle of it and the ideas behind it. The clever use of verse, of language, of plot, of metaphor, of rhyme, of hendiadys, of puns, lampooning and lambasting.

I have read it many many times, it is my travelling companion. I lend it to new friends, and their assessment of it can reflect on whether they are true "friend" material or not. And everyone who has read it is equally amazed and amused, and some I have had to wrestle it back from (some more than once).

One long term partner and I used lines from it as humourous banter throughout a 10 year relationship!

The storyline basically is: the hero, only ever referred to as The Stirk of Stirk, on a quest, with his astounding companions, on their admirable steeds to find Robin Hood (whether he wanted to be found or not). He encounters the baddies, he encounters temptations, he encounters adversity but overcomes it all to return at last to his wife. Whereupon one of the best last lines in fiction is found. It is a page turner and never does one expect the final outcome.

I tried to read other books by the author, and wonder how the same author could create such differing output.

Read and enjoy.


Savages
Savages
by Shirley Conran
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Shark infested frolic, 23 Dec 2010
This review is from: Savages (Paperback)
I bought this book as I had thoroughly enjoyed Lace and Lace II and WOW what a book! And what a story!

It starts off with the ladies anticipating a bit of R&R, and ends up turning them into Savages, hence the title. It is an interesting study of female personality traits with plenty of action leading up to a harrowing conclusion.

I will give no spoilers here as to the plot, only to say that this book has a fantastic twist and the best last line (shared equally with The Stirk of Stirk, Peter Tinniswood) of any book I have read.

RECOMMENDED


The Tutankhamun Prophecies: The Sacred Secret of the Mayas, Egyptians and Freemasons
The Tutankhamun Prophecies: The Sacred Secret of the Mayas, Egyptians and Freemasons
by Maurice M. Cotterell
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Stranger than fiction, 17 Oct 2010
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An extraordinry book by an extraordinary man containing extraordinary material supported by photographs and documented facts.

That there were advanced civilizations previously is without doubt given the amount and location of megalithic structures which we with all our technology cannot yet replicate. Even with their abilities they could not stop their demise. This being so, it is hardly surprizing that clues were left by them for us, which we can only discover once we have reached a certain level of education and technology. Maurice Cotterell seems to have decoded such information, using the univeral unchanging language: mathmatics.

So much of what we see around us is like fiction: the soap operas, self-serving religions, scary news, banking scandals and fabricated wars. By contrast I see a truth in Mr Cotterell's work. There are several interviews and presentations by Mr Cotterell on Youtube which are well worth watching.

I hope the conclusions in this book are true, for it truely gives a meaning and reason to life.

RECOMMENDED.


Jump!
Jump!
by Jilly Cooper
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 12.91

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Have you heard the one about the vicar and the tree surgeon?, 27 Sep 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Jump! (Hardcover)
Was it worth the wait since the last novel.... personally I say YES. Unlike Polo and Riders national hunt racing has for most people a rather unexciting cloth-cap, raincoated rain soaked north country image, tainted by animal rights activitists campaigning against the sport because of the many equines that do die, unlike the glamourous summer flat racing with its high points of Royal Ascot, Glorious Goodwood et al, which despite all her ability to deal with the subject is reflected I feel in the other reviews so far submitted. Frankly, I am surprized Jilly chose jump racing over flat racing for her novel.

Jilly has taken great effort not to "over-horse" this book based around horses. She has skillfully taken enough ingredients to give it a distinct flavour, but not drowned the overall plot in barrow loads of jargon or bored the non-initiated with attempts to explain the nuances of day to day racing life or its connection to hunting. It is this that allows the plot free rein (pun intended) to canter through the tale as if actually travelling in a race: slow in places, taking hurdles, tackling bends, but carrying us eventually helter-skelter twice round the course to a satisfactory finishing post then safely home to a nice cosy warm stable and a bran mash.

I actually learned more about how to plant up my flower borders in deep shade conditions than about horseracing!

Yes all the usual suspects are mentioned from the other books, together with an update of what has happened since their last appearances, plus interesting character studies of every stereo-type we are likely to encounter in modern life in person or via the news. Most current social foibles ie dogging, smoking pot, using i-pods, texting, email, pubs closing down, WAGS, price of petrol, supermarkets taking trade from village shops, hedge funds failing, pension crisis, terrorism, senile dementia, arms dealing, plastic surgery, immigration, religious fanatics of all denominiations, gay marriage, crisis in the church, falling congregations, animal cruelty, pornography, the devaluing of older women, adultery and many others find a place in the storyline. I wonder if, like when one reads Jane Austen and learns of the life and times in her books, this book will inform and amuse those in years to come as a kind of social commentary of our times.

Yes there are times you will laugh out loud at the antics and events (I will give no spoilers here), but you will experience sorrow and tears too.

I enjoyed her use of simile ie comparing The Berkshire Stand at Newbury Racecourse to meringue peaks on page 253!
I was irritated by the continual quoting of poetry as a form of banter between the "luvvies".

For real horseracing fiction I will stick with Richard Pitman, John Francome, Dick Francis, but for an extremely enjoyable dalliance into this genre, Jilly Cooper has done it again.

Reading the acknowledgements at the end of Jump is like a Who's Who and what's what of racing, and given the knowledge and experience of those named I wondered if these pages actually related to the story I had just read, or merely reflected how long and how deeply Jilly researched her subject in order to decide what to leave out as superfluous to the story or as source material for her next book..................... we will have to wait and see. As possible new titles for Jilly I suggest "Whip-It" (usual characters involved in a Greyhound racing caper) or "Give Tongue" (re fox hunting - this is the technical term for the noise fox hounds make, lol).


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