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The Second Coming
The Second Coming
by John Niven
Edition: Paperback

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Decent time passer, 27 April 2012
This review is from: The Second Coming (Paperback)
Niven deploys a pleasant, conversational style in this story about the Second Coming. Essentially a book like this, in which Jesus meets the modern world, and show-biz in particular, has to be a satire. The trouble is, it's all a bit lightweight and predictable in that regard. It isn't going to make you see the world differently. I enjoyed the first half, but then the use of the present tense began to wear me down. A good time-passer, all the same.


The Unknown Soldier: The Story Of The Missing Of The Great War
The Unknown Soldier: The Story Of The Missing Of The Great War
by Neil Hanson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.24

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Passionate, powerful, occasionally flawed, 26 April 2012
This book is must for anyone interested in World War I. The idea of taking a trio of men who were killed on the western front - one English, one German, one American - and following their military careers through the conflict, is a great one. We get to know the men concerned; and their different experiences help build up a picture of how the war evolved, the shocking body count rising inexorably to a level that must have been virtually unbearable. It is also deeply involving emotionally.
If there is a flaw, it is that Hanson, in order to make his points as forcefully as possible (often points aimed at the senior officers who prosecuted the war) sometime reports rumour as fact. For example, he states that some French mutineers were executed by being herded into a field and there blown to pieces by artillery. This story circulated at the time, but, as far as I can see, has never been substantiated.
A few such instances of carelessness, however, do little to diminish a wonderful and moving account of war at its most wasteful and appalling.


The Return Of Captain John Emmett
The Return Of Captain John Emmett
by Elizabeth Speller
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.39

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good setting but a bit contrived in the end, 26 April 2012
This book appears to be carefully researched, witness the long bibliography at the back. The period details sound convincing and set the tone well. The central character is a bit of a cliche - the war-scarred veteran who is still partially traumatized by war but can't talk about it. The mystery - the apparent suicide of another war veteran - is quite engaging and pulls you along. However, the way the truth is revealed, through quite a long series of interviews and carefully spaced out letters, is clumsy and increasingly plodding. The finale is very stagy and feels distinctly dated.
In all, this is one of those books that works hard to be convincing in terms of setting, and is pleasantly written, but is let down by tired formula plotting.


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