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Simon Hale (Worcestershire, England)
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The Reavers
The Reavers
by George MacDonald Fraser
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I ve had more fun at the dentists, 6 Aug. 2008
This review is from: The Reavers (Paperback)
Firstly, I have to make the point that I have generally loved the work of this great man. The Flashman books are fantastic, and even the poorer installments of histories best anti hero are well worth a read due to their humour and above all, their historical accuracy.

I am sorry to say that I would rate a trip to the dentist as being less painful as reading 'The Reavers'.

I dont say this lightly, and I know that the previous reviewer enjoyed the book, but it wasnt for me at all.
This book was set in Elizabethan times, but frankly it could have been set during the time The Martians landed outside 10 Downing Street, because its about as hisorically accurate. I cringed throughout and in the end had to give up.

I am so sorry this was his last book, because he cant improve on this poor effort. I only seem to comment on books I have enjoyed, but in this case my huge disappointment spurred me on.

Keep away from this book, read all about Flashman instead, this is how i want to remember George MacDonald Fraser, and not for this book.


May on Motors: On the Road with James May
May on Motors: On the Road with James May
by James May
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Top Toilet Read, 6 Aug. 2008
I must start off by saying that I love Top Gear, and if i were to admit to having a favourite presenter, it would be James May.
This book is made up of articles from James May's Daily Telegraph Column. they are thoughtful, funny and intelligently written, and because the book is made up of short articles, each one is a perfect length read for that essential 10 minutes of piece and quiet most men can only get in the smallest room.
It isnt a book I would neccessarily buy for a holiday, as unlike a novel, its not a gripping, cant put it down sort of book, because there is no plot, it does not develop to reveal 'who done it'. But saying that each entertaining bite size snippet of Mays view of life and motors makes up for that.I loved it.


Down Under: Travels in a Sunburned Country
Down Under: Travels in a Sunburned Country
by Bill Bryson
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The best way to plan a holiday., 15 April 2007
Bill Bryson, an expert at writing about places he is comfortable with,an example, the USA a place where he was born and brought up, and no doubt the source of many a storey and much inspiration, England a place where he lived and worked for many years and again is ery familiar with.

So what happens when he visits a land virginal to him.Well what happens is that you have a very informative and hugely entertaining book that for me was perhaps his best of the lot.

Not only do you get a run down of the nations history and its increadible history, but you also get a larger than life appreciation of its people and unique wild life. The book is as diverse as the landscape and its people who have adapted in line with their surroundings. I very much enjoyed the book and it gave me a feel of what the real Australia must be like. As a result of the contents of this book it inspired me to visit Australia. This book was the only travel book that I have read that didnt leave me disappointed when faced with the reality of the actual place.

The book was so so acurate in many many ways and is recommended whether you plan a trip there or not.


Flash for Freedom! (The Flashman Papers, Book 5)
Flash for Freedom! (The Flashman Papers, Book 5)
by George MacDonald Fraser
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shiver me timbers., 13 April 2007
Fantastic! It is impossible not to give any Flashman a 5 out of 5 and this one certainly does not disappoint.

Who would have thought that a simple game of pontoon with the ladies could have led to the latest enstalment of trouble that our Anti Hero Lt Harry Flashman manages to get himself into.

Its a rollercoaster ride that takes Flashman on a slave boat owned by his father in law, firstly to the West Coast of Africa and then, not without incident across the atlantic,chased by the US Navy, to New Orleans and then on the run through the new world as our resident coward and womaniser attempts to make his way to his beloved Enland without getting intered by the authorities, shot by aggrieved husbands or forced into marriage by large breasted brothel owners. A Flashman book would not be the same without running into notable characters in history, and believe me, as normal you will not be disappointed. This is a hugely funny book, and although it has an important message regarding our history, it gives this message without taking us away from the reason we are reading this book, and this is to have fun. Believe me you will have fun.


Flashman in the Great Game (The Flashman Papers, Book 8)
Flashman in the Great Game (The Flashman Papers, Book 8)
by George MacDonald Fraser
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply The Best, 11 April 2007
I have to confess that I am a real Flashman fan, I have read many and am never ever disappointed by the writing of George McDonald Fraser.

The Flashman books follow the military career of Harry Flashman (the same Flashman as the bully in Tom Browns School Days), and follow his cowardly womanising exploits as he attempts to run away from military campaign after military campaign with the most hilarious results.

The Great Game is maybe the 5th book in the series and follows Flashman across India detailing his involvement and observations during the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857.

All the Flashman books are extremely funny and at the same time histrically accurate with the Flashman character fitting nicely into historical events. I learnt more about this unfortunate period in history from this book than 3 years of a history degree, which seemed to involve more drinking than study.

If you are familiar with Flashman you will find that the Great Game is extremely humorous, but the humour and womanising is finely balanced and helps to raise the mood as the horrific events of the rebellion are laid down in a very graphic way before you.

This book is absolutely impelling, not only the best read in the series so far, but most definately the best book I have read for a long long time. My imagination ran wild from the start of the book to the end. Harry Flashman is simply the greatest Anti Hero ever created. As you read this book you know that really you shouldn't like Flashman, you know that he is a bully and a cheat and you know that if he was real he would be the man who desperately tries to sleep with you wife. But it is absolutely impossible not to find yourself willing him on, and dare I say it even liking him.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough and even found myself Googleing many of the characters,(all of whom you will find existed)so carried away with story I actually got.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 11, 2013 12:45 PM GMT


The Italian Secretary: A Further Adventure of Sherlock Holmes
The Italian Secretary: A Further Adventure of Sherlock Holmes
by Caleb Carr
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.00

0 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable read., 10 April 2007
I bought this book with no prior knowledge of the previous works of the author,so I had nothing to compare it with.

My knowedge of Conan Doyle is quite extensive in a Basil Rathbone kind of way but having only seen the 1930s films. I have however read several of the original Sherlock olmes books since reading this entertaining attempt.

Having read quite a few 'who done it' novels of various standards I decided to give it a go.

What you have to appreciate when reading this book is that it is in effect a forgery, written in the style of Conan Doyle, and a brave attempt it is too. The story flows well and the atmospher the book mentally creates can actually take you back to an age long gone.

Occasionally I was pulled from the Victorian age by the authors clear attempts to put modern views and standards into the storey, something that was inappropriate in view of the fact that the Victorians did not have our enlightened views on certain subjects that would today be taboo.

The plot was not a classic murder mystery as the outcome is something that can be worked out by the reader some time before the author feels fit to reveal it to us. What it is however is a realy good read, a good storey and something I looked forward to reading each night.

If you are into historically accurate novels that will make your ribs ache, then I strongly recommend the FLASHMAN PAPERS, a series of books by George McDonald-Scott. Brilliant read.


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