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The Musicians of Bremen (A Ladybird easy reading book. well-loved tales)
The Musicians of Bremen (A Ladybird easy reading book. well-loved tales)
by Jacob Grimm
Edition: Hardcover

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Funny, lovely fairy tale, 14 Nov 2010
The Musicians of Breman is probably one of the more obscure fairy tales in the classic 'Well-Loved' series retold by Vera Southgate. It is the tale of how lonely, abandoned/abused animals come together to defeat a band of robbers and it is rather funny in places with charming, engaging illustrations (love the donkey !) and Southgate's re-telling is a perfect treat for chidren of ages around 5-8.


Snow White and Rose Red (A Ladybird Well-loved Tales)
Snow White and Rose Red (A Ladybird Well-loved Tales)
by Vera Southgate
Edition: Hardcover

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful story, 13 Nov 2010
Another in the classic 'Well-Loved Tales' series told by Vera Southgate. The story of two young sisters, one golden haired, gentle and sweet, the other dark haired and lively and their attempts to help a horrible dwarf. The story is enchanting and children will enjoy the illustrations which are superb, vibrant with colour and beautiful to look at. By far the best version of the fairy tale that I have ever read.


CINDERELLA
CINDERELLA
by Vera Southgate
Edition: Hardcover

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Childhood Favourite, 13 Nov 2010
This review is from: CINDERELLA (Hardcover)
This is a lovely, lovely book bringing back so many memories of growing up in the late 60's/70's. The claasic tale is simple - beautiful daughter is reduced to household servant by her two mean sisters and forbidden to go to the all important ball and meet the Prince. Enter the helpful Fairy Godmother and her luck may change. The book has the one where Cinderella gets to wear three stunning dresses, each more beautiful then the last. The illustrations are charming, so colourful and fresh and the story line is perfect for children 5-9. Read and remember your childhood again !
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 12, 2012 10:26 AM BST


Parthian Shot (Marcus Corvinus Mysteries)
Parthian Shot (Marcus Corvinus Mysteries)
by David Wishart
Edition: Paperback

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rome's Best Detective Strikes Again, 22 Sep 2004
The wonderfully irrepressible Roman Marcus Corvinus is forced by "Higher Authorities" (the Emperor Tiberius)to investigate the attack on the aging exiled Parthian Prince Phraates by person or persons unknown. Rome is backing Phraates as the next King of Parthia and has a vested interested in his safety, but unfortunately various members of Phraates' family and the delegation from his home-land have motives of their own which the old boy may spoil. Corvinus has to battle to uncover a ruthless killer and cope with the various twists and turns of Parthian politics whilst trying to appear diplomatic, not an easy job for the hard-drinking blunt Corvinus.
The charm of Wishart's prose plus the likeable Corvinus and his wife make this an interesting, quirky novel. Not to mention the difficulties our hero encounters at home with his brilliant but awkward chef (Gordon Ramsey's ancestor ?)and the snotty major-domo, Bathyllus. All in all, highly recommended !!


The Eagle's Prey
The Eagle's Prey
by Simon Scarrow
Edition: Hardcover

44 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Much, Much better Mr Scarrow !!!, 22 July 2004
This review is from: The Eagle's Prey (Hardcover)
The Eagle's Prey is the best written of all Scarrow's Macro and Cato's adventures so far, in my opinion.
It begins with an attempt to trap the Celtic leader Caratacus by an increasingly desperate General Plautius, who is himself facing mounting pressure from the Emperor's freedman, Narcissus. However, under the weak leadership of the senior centurion, Maximius, Caratacus escapes with several thousand of his men. Infuriated, Plautius insists on a show of Roman disciplinary measures - decimation - to appease the Emperor. Unfortunately, Cato is amongst those singled out to be killed by his friends, which leads his loyal friend Macro to help him and the other condemmned escape.

Vespasion in turn comes up with a suggestion to restore the honour of the 2nd Legion by ordering Maximius to stir up the natives by brutal means so that Caratacus will retaliate and be forced into another trap. Cato is therefore trapped between the angry Celtic hoards, and the Romans who are determined to capture and carry out punishment.
Where this story excels is in the quality of writing which has increased in style and clarity. There are numerous fine descriptions of the landscapes, and of battlescenes that are both bloody and realistic. Both Cato and Macro develop more as characters too. Cato has to learn to lead his rag-tag followers by force of personality alone, and Macro becomes more reflective as though the two friends have undergone a personality swop. Cato's language becomes more like the colourful Macro's and Macro himself has to think hard in order to survive the fall-out from Cato's escape.
Scarrow shows also, that the brutal discipline of the Legions is in fact little better then that of the Barbarian Celts.
The ambition of the senior Roman Army men is all consuming to the extent that the men under them are considered expendable.
Several weakness do occur in the book however. Figulus seems to disappear at the end with no word as to what happens to him and
the dialogue Caratacus speaks is a little hammy. Overall though a great read, with a few hints as to the next episode for our beloved heroes.


Hadrian's Wall
Hadrian's Wall
by William Dietrich
Edition: Hardcover

19 of 25 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Holes in the wall, 26 May 2004
This review is from: Hadrian's Wall (Hardcover)
Set in AD 368, this is the tale of the investigation of Drago (a Roman inspector) into the mysterious disappearance of a young, beautiful Roman bride called Valeria who arrived in Britain to marry Tribune Marcus Flavius. Interrogating her slaves and various others who knew her, Drago hopes to be able to piece together what actually happened, and whilst at first this might seem an intriguing story, it falls flat for a number of reasons.
Firstly, there are hardly any likable characters in the book. The heroine Valeria is a spoilt, thoughtless, self-centered creature whose disappearance causes seemingly little discomfort to her priggish, dull husband. Her lover Arden Caratacus is one-dimensional, the villian Galba is boorish and implausible and the plot line lacks creditablity. For example, Valeria runs off in the night to warn her youthful admirer Clodius that he is being set up by Galba. Why not just send a message by a trusted slave ? How come she and her maid can speak fluent Celtic in a matter of days ? Would a well brought-up Roman lady adapt and prefer the rough tribal way of life so soon ?
The author also has Asa, (Valeria's Celtic love rival) compare someone to a lizard ! Lizards in Scotland ! The slave Odo is introduced and quickly disguarded as though the writer changed his mind half way through. Little feeling for the Roman military life is conveyed and the ending is lack-lustre.
On the plus side, the feeling of disintergration of the old Roman way of life is conveyed well, and the physical discriptions of the land round the Wall are good. In addition, the scenes with Drago and his prisoners have an vividness and a better quality of writing than the rest of the novel. However, Simon Scarrow, Linsay Davis and the other Roman mysery authors can rest assured that their readers won't be deserting them in the near future for this effort.


The Gleemaiden
The Gleemaiden
by Sylvian Hamilton
Edition: Hardcover

12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More Please, Ms Hamilton !!!, 17 Mar 2004
This review is from: The Gleemaiden (Hardcover)
The third book in the Bone-Pedlar series sees all our previous heroes back in action once again. Whilst still looking for his beloved Janiva, Sir Richard Straccan (bone-pedlar and acquirer of relics) is required for his penance of killing William de Breos in sanctuary, to escort a large bell from London to Durham. Accompanied by a motley group of hangers-on and pilgrims, the journey is beset by problems and sabotage is suspected.
At the same time, Miles is escorting a mysterious small boy called David and a glee-maiden or singer called Sorrow to safety from France to Scotland. Pursued by three murderous French knights, their journey too, is frought with danger.
To add to the mayhem, Larktwist is up to his usual spying tricks and uncovers a kidnapping plot against the Queen Isabel.
How all the various strands of plot-lines come together is a tribute to Ms Hamilton's marvellous skill as an author. Quirky, confident, witty, with wonderfully engaging characters whose world is full of magic, superstition and ghosts, the Glee-maiden is a truly original read. Highly recommended !!!


The Eagle and the Wolves
The Eagle and the Wolves
by Simon Scarrow
Edition: Hardcover

21 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars More depth needed, 19 Aug 2003
The 4th book in the Cato and Macro series sees our two heroes back in action again after suffering major injuries. Due to the increasing attacks of Caratacus and his allies, Roman supply lines have become dangerously overstretched. To alleviate the situation, Cato and Macro have been given the task of welding together an auxiliary force from the friendly Atrebatan army of King Verica of Calleva. To complicate matters however, there is a strong anti-Roman feeling in the town with disgruntled townsfolk all too willing to change sides and various Celtic noblemen who will stop at nothing to be named Verica's heir. The presence of an overly ambitious tribune adds fuel to the flames. The whole situation is thrown into further confusion by an assassination attempt on the King.
Cato himself has to struggle to adjust to his new promotion position aided/hindered by the blunt Macro.
So why only the 3 stars ? Well, after 4 books I was rather hoping for more detail on the background on the personalities involved. Take the lovely Macro for instance. All I can recall of his physical description is that he is short (squat) and hairy! No word about his family, reasons for joining the army or anything. Not a word in this book either about his failed romance with Boudicca. Vespasian seems to have become cold and
cruel without any indication of why.
In the interests of fairness there are good points as well;
Scarrow's writing is lively and conveys a good sense of conflicting loyalaties and the dreadful penalties to pay for choosing the wrong side. The battle scenes are stirring and imaginative. A rather bittersweet ending too.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 12, 2012 10:51 AM BST


City of the Dead (Egyptian Mysteries)
City of the Dead (Egyptian Mysteries)
by Anton Gill
Edition: Paperback

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tutankhamun's Murder Investigated, 25 Jun 2003
The third in the series of mysteries investigated by Huy, the disgraced former scribe. Tutankhamun is killed in a chariot accident but there are too many discrepancies for the liking of Ay, the old politician. Enter Huy, the discreet and solitary investigator who can be relied upon to carry the blame if things look too messy. Tutankhamun's pregnant widow is caught up in the battle for power between Ay and the ambitious, ruthless Horemheb and Huy finds himself battling for her survival as well as his own.
Gill's Huy is portrayed as a sad, but honourable man in a world dominated by powerful, untrustworthy figures. What really stands out for me however, is the quality of writing which is both gritty and dreamlike. Another great effort from a great writer.


Aristotle Detective
Aristotle Detective
by Margaret Doody
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.99

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Murder in Athens, 24 Jun 2003
This review is from: Aristotle Detective (Paperback)
Young Stephanos, the heir to an impoverished family is forced into defending his exiled cousin Philemon from a charge of murder. At first glance the charge seems absurd; Philemon can never return to Athens and some of the witnesses testimonies are dubious to say the least. Someone somewhere is determind to frame Philemon for the crime and in desperation Stephanos turns to his former tutor Aristotle for advice. Things become even more complicated when it transpires that Philemon has indeed be seen locally and even worse has a strong motive for killing the victim. Stephanos has to prepare a defence, unsure of whether to believe his cousin or not, and take on the powerful, well respected victim's family.
The book is well writen and Ms Doody has a real feel for the historical period. The only criticism I would make is that a glossary of terms used would be helpful to those unfamiliar with Athenian politics and the justice system.


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