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J. Cronin "dudara" (Ireland)
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The Terror
The Terror
by Dan Simmons
Edition: Paperback
Price: 8.79

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chilling historical thriller, 23 Aug 2008
This review is from: The Terror (Paperback)
The Terror is based on the true story of the ill-fasted Franklin expedition to the Arctic in search of the Northwest Passage. Two ships, the Erebus and the Terror, set sail to find the passage and were never seen again by white men. Graves and artefacts were found by other later explorers but the story of the hundred plus men will never be fully known.

Simmons cleverly uses this true story as the base for this fantastically thrilling novel. The dark nature of the human psyche is the true monster in this tale, not the huge beast that is methodically slaughtering crew members. The decline of the human body and the human mind is brilliantly explored and proves to be more chilling than the brutal attacks of the white beast. The story is well researched and it's all too easy to imagine yourself there in the dark and the cold, wrapped in clothes that never fully dry out. The invasion of the white Europeans into the lands of the native Inuit is also introduced in this book through the use of Inuit mythology.

This is a large book and the pace is somewhat glacial, if you'll pardon the pun. However, it's well worth the read. Just wrap up warm as you read.


The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Millennium Trilogy Book 1)
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Millennium Trilogy Book 1)
by Stieg Larsson
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.99

642 of 703 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intelligent tense thriller with a conscience, 14 Aug 2008
Some incredible thrillers are coming from Scandinavian countries these days. Anyone who is a fan of the Kurt Wallander series of books by Henning Mankell will know what I mean. Now we have a new addition to the shelf, courtesy of deceased author, Stieg Larsson.

This is the first volume in the Millenium trilogy and after finishing this first book, I am very much looking forward to the next two volumes. Larssson died in 2004 soon after delivering the manuscripts for 3 crime novels to his publisher. It's a pity that this gifted author isn't around for a long time to come.

The tale is split between the shady secrets of a wealthy family and the murky dealings of a famous businessman. Mikael Blomkvist, a recently convicted journalist, is hired by Henrik Vanger to investigate the disappearance of his niece almost 40 years ago. Vanger promises Blomkvist the means to clear his good name as part of the payment and Blomkvist accepts.

The author manages to maintain an excellent pace throughout, but still delivers a strong social lesson while providing the thrills. It is an intelligent thriller with a conscience. Probably one of the best of its kind in recent years.
Comment Comments (12) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 5, 2011 9:56 PM BST


The Pirate's Daughter
The Pirate's Daughter
by Margaret Cezair-Thompson
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.39

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Captivating slice of history and romance, 14 Aug 2008
This review is from: The Pirate's Daughter (Paperback)
The pirate of the title refers to Errol Flynn, who finds himself washed up on the shores of Jamaica following a storm. He finds calmness and peace on the charming island, and seeks refuge there from the scandal that follows him in Hollywood. Ida, the daughter of a man who befriends Errol, develops a crush on him and their somewhat odd friendship develops over the years.

Ida grows into a beautiful young woman, and one day the inevitable happens. Ida finds she is pregnant with Flynn's child, but raises it herself, isolated and abandoned by the man she loves.

This charming tale follows both the lives of the mother and daughter. Around them, politics and strife rear their ugly heads as Jamaica gains independence from Britain and racial tensions rise to the surface.

This is a forlorn love story brought vividly to life with enchanting descriptions of the island and rich characters. A page-turning, engrossing, intelligent read.


Nefertiti: Egypt's Sun Queen
Nefertiti: Egypt's Sun Queen
by Joyce Tyldesley
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice introduction, 6 Mar 2006
Nefertiti is undoubtedly a dominant image from Egyptian history for most modern people. Along with the death mask of Tutankhamen, she gazes imperiously at us through the ages, in her famous blue-crowned bust.
However, little is known definitively about the life of Nefertiti, and even less is known about her death. She was married to Amenhotep IV, later known as Akhenaten. He is famous for rejecting the polydeities of the Egyptian pantheon in favour of a single sun deity, Amen. This led to a re-defining of Egyptian culture during his reign, as well as a relocation of the capital from Thebes to Amara. However, after his death, the cult of Amen was unable to sustain itself, and Egypt quickly returned to its old ways. This led later Pharaohs to deliberately remove the name of Akhenaten and his wife from moneuments, making it harder for the modern archaeologist to determine the truth of what happened.
As there is so very little known about Nefertiti, the author draws on her experience, as well as a wide range of sources, to provide us with detailed descriptions of the age. We learn about the Egypt that Nefertiti was born into, the changes that were wrought by her husband, her increasing significance as a member of the royal family, her decline into obscurity as she aged. When her husband dies, we learn how quickly his monodeitic dogma is abandoned and the immediate events afterwards.
This book uses Nefertiti as a valuable tool to provide information on a turbulent and short-lived era in Egyptian history, that has yielded two iconic images, namely, the bust of Nefertiti, and later, the death mask of Tutankhamen. A very worth while read for the amateur Egyptologist.


Shockwave: The Countdown to Hiroshima
Shockwave: The Countdown to Hiroshima
by Stephen Walker
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Riveting read, 28 Feb 2006
Shockwave is written in a novel-type style, of which I was not initially a fan. However, as I continued to read, the detailed accounts of the people involved lured me in, ensuring that I read this fascinating narrative in a very short time.
Firstly, this book is easy to read. After slogging through some very dry historical tomes, this was a refreshing change. The subject matter is truly horrendous, but the author handles it well, never making judgements or drawing conclusions. Instead, we are presented with all sides of the story, from that of the American president, from that of Groves, the man in overall charge of the completion of the Manhattan project, to Tibbetts, the man chosen to deliver to bomb and finally, and most tragically, we glimpse the lives of ordinary Japanese people who lived in the doomed city of Hiroshima.
Anyone, of any age, could read this book. It's not just for the history buffs. The author has resurrected a tragic era in history and made it live. Well worth a read.


The Night Crew (Wheeler Large Print Book Series)
The Night Crew (Wheeler Large Print Book Series)
by John Sandford
Edition: Hardcover

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Nighttime for Sandford, 9 Jun 2004
The novel opens as Anna Battory and her news crew race to a lab where animal activists have released lab animals. While there, they hear of a jumper, or a young man about to commit suicide. These happenings spark off a chain of events that include murder, stalking and a not very good novel.
The author writes from the female perspective of Battory, and never achieves a believable character as a result. As the killer murders any males he believes that Anna has been in contact with, I was frankly left wondering what was so special about this woman. Tension never builds in the novel, and even at the grand finale, you're left emotionally unperturbed.
A poor novel and a poor read.


The Da Vinci Code (Robert Langdon)
The Da Vinci Code (Robert Langdon)
by Dan Brown
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.48

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gripping adventure, 25 Mar 2004
Now here's a book I enjoyed. It's no classic of modern literature but a good adventure story that keeps you turning the pages. Robert Langdon is an expert on ancient symbology and is called in to assist in the investigation of the murder of a curator in the Lourve. It turns out that Langon had accidentally stumbled onto an ancient and well-kept secret, namely a secret sect charged with the protection and safe-keeping of the Holy Grail.
Brown weaves history, cryptology, religion and art together in an entertaining way to produce a fast-moving novel. Characterisation is weak, especially with the main character, whoe religious feelings at the end are out of keeping with the rest of the novel. This would be a great book for a trip or to read on the beach.


Witch Child
Witch Child
by Celia Rees
Edition: Paperback

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Teenage Writing, 25 Mar 2004
This review is from: Witch Child (Paperback)
Witch Child is a gripping, harrowing read from author Celia Rees. I bought this as a Christmas present for my younger sister, and when she'd finished reading it, she insisted that I read it also. And I'm glad I did.
Set in the aftermath of Cromwell, Mary has seen her grandmother tortured and hung in front of her eyes on the accusation of witchcraft. Mary hoever, is rescued and sent to the New World, America, on board a ship of Puritan pilgrims. She does her best to hide her past and avoid drawing suspicion on herself, but secrets will out.
A great read, covering a truly tragic period in history when thousands of women (and men) were horribly murdered for no reason. You'll feel the emotions Mary feels as author Rees skillfully weaves the story. A thoroughly recommended book for young teenagers.


The Devil Wears Prada
The Devil Wears Prada
by Lauren Weisberger
Edition: Paperback
Price: 3.85

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars So So, 9 Mar 2004
This review is from: The Devil Wears Prada (Paperback)
Ok. Let me start by saying that I don't think this book is quite as bad as other reviewers have made it out to be. On the other hand, literature classic it ain't.Andrea Sachs, college graduate and just back from worldwide travels has landed a job as personal assistant to Miranda Priestly, editor of Runway magazine. It's a job millions of girls would die for, as we are constantly reminded throughout the novel. Miranda is a demanding boss to say the least. Four-inch heels are de rigeur in the office and Andrea orders breakfast for her every five minutes in the morning, so it will always be warm when she arrives in. Excesses are the norm in this business.Characterisation is just not done in this novel. Miranda was the character I liked most at the end. I kept hoping Andrea would develop some spine and tackle relationships with her boyfriend and best friend, but no. The ending is weak and leaves you disappointed.


The Last Hero (GOLLANCZ S.F.)
The Last Hero (GOLLANCZ S.F.)
by Terry Pratchett
Edition: Hardcover

29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Collector's Item, 6 Jan 2004
This book makes a fantastic addition to anyone's collection of Discworld stories. First of all, it's described as a fable; in other words, it's short. But it is illustrated by the accomplished Paul Kidby who does magnificent work in bringing the Discworld and its motley characters to life.
Cohen the Barbarian and his now geriatric Silver Hoarde are determined to leave the world remembered as the heroes that they once were. To this end, they commissioned a ballad from a young bard and are off to blow up the mountain of the gods. Sounds simple eh?
However, to avoid them bringing about the end of the world, Lord Vetinari commissions the eccentric genius inventor Lenonardo da Quirm to build a craft to reach the mountain of the gods double-fast. (Kidby's illustrations include pages from Leonardo's notebooks, in the style of DaVinvci). Powered by dragons, who have been fed a very careful diet(!!), Rincewind, Captain Carrot, Leonardo and a stowaway Librarian head off into the void.
Hilariously funny, as all Pratchett's books are, there is also an underlying note to this tale, concerning the aged and their desire to be remembered for their deeds and not their decrepitude. This sombre thread is in line with the recent development of the Discworld novels, especially "Nightwatch".
With the appearance of a new character "Evil Lord Harry Dread", as a very evil and conniving Dark Lord indeed and his crew of the stupidest henchmen imaginable, you know you're going to enjoy this.


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