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Joseph Bagstock

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Red Country (First Law World 3)
Red Country (First Law World 3)
by Joe Abercrombie BA
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 6.80

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another cracker from Abercrombie, 24 Oct 2012
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As a longtime fantasy fan, particularly of Fritz Leiber's Swords series and Robert E. Howard's work, I don't know whether I should like Abercrombie's books. There's little heroic in them, for a start - nothing like Conan or Fahrd! But having now read all his books I'm very much a convert, despite being initially wary of another muscly barbarian in an already overcrowded field.

I enjoyed Red Country as much as I have his previous books: and there are now enough of them that people fortunate enough to discover Abercrombie now have a right treat ahead of them, with six books (including RC) to read. Although this book can stand alone, it only makes complete sense if you've read from the beginning of this loose series.

For those lucky people who haven't read his books, don't buy this, buy 'The Blade Itself' and start there. You should have got to the Red Country pretty quickly.

Blood and Rage: A Cultural history of Terrorism
Blood and Rage: A Cultural history of Terrorism
by Michael Burleigh
Edition: Paperback
Price: 9.99

8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 8 Feb 2011
Michael Burleigh wrote a well-received history of the Third Reich some years ago, so I thought that this would be a well-researched, balanced and useful book.

I was much mistaken.

There are a number of errors made on things I do know about, like the Troubles in Northern Ireland. This undermines my faith when Burleigh's talking about things about which I know nothing. For example, the old canard about the 'IRA = I Ran Away' graffiti's repeated. As Brian Hanley's shown in History Ireland, there's a single, unreliable source for this, who claimed to have seen graffiti of which there are no photographs. Again, Burleigh claims that the Red Army Faction had 'extensive' contacts with the IRA. These appear to be contacts known solely to himself. And there's the rather bizarre claim that IRA prisoners could exert such dominance over a prison that many prison officers committed suicide. No source for this, interesting though it'd be to follow up.

There's also some dishonesty involved. When he says that Sinn Fein got 65% of the vote in the 'southern' 26 counties of Ireland and 48% throughout the island as a whole in the general election of 1918, it's easy to forget that Sinn Fein won 73 of 105 seats and that some seats were uncontested, so presumably had no vote.

Again, when talking about the anarchists he declares that there was an anarchist 'Black International' in the late 19th and early 20th centuries because there was an anarchist conference of five people in 1881, which did not 'reconvene' until 1907. Which would suggest to me that there was not in fact an anarchist international plotting murder and assassination.

The mixture of error, dishonesty and perverse interpretation of evidence leads me to give the book a poor score.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 5, 2012 1:27 AM BST

Solomon Kane [DVD]
Solomon Kane [DVD]
Dvd ~ James Purefoy
Price: 5.14

34 of 66 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Robert Howard would be turning in his grave, 10 Jun 2010
This review is from: Solomon Kane [DVD] (DVD)
I was very much looking forward to seeing this film, so I was very disappointed that the film was so awful.

For a start, throughout the Howard books Solomon Kane is a puritan, and puritans were famous for, among other things, having no truck with Catholicism. So having him recovering in a Catholic monastery is a no-no for a start! And, of course, there were no monasteries after the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the 1530s, well before Kane's time.

Secondly, throughout the Solomon Kane cycle Howard shows him as being a humanitarian. He would never have countenanced the things Kane does in the opening scene of the film. Kane was never a pirate - a privateer like Francis Drake, perhaps, but never a rapacious thief and vicious murderer as he's portrayed in the film.

Thirdly, Kane's background would be far more likely to be of the squirearchy then the aristocracy: for example, in 'The Homecoming of Solomon Kane', he goes to the tavern in his native town, and wonders what became of a girl he would have liked to see again. There is no way that he came from a castle in the middle of nowhere.

This film, which could have easily used Howard's stories as a basis for the plot, showed Kane as a travesty. It's telling how many other reviews are by people previously unaware of Solomon Kane - I hope they turn to the books, but I think they're in for a surprise if they do. For people who want to see a decent film from a Howard book, Conan the Barbarian's a good one. This isn't.
Comment Comments (9) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 24, 2010 4:18 PM BST

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