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Black Van Man (Scotland)

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The Stone Circles of Britain, Ireland and Brittany
The Stone Circles of Britain, Ireland and Brittany
by Aubrey Burl
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 45.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars CAUTION - Hardback and Paperback are NOT the same book, 24 Mar 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
A word of warning - Amazon appear to have created a confusing situation here.

A. Burl has two books with very similar titles. The one shown here (Hardback) is "The Stone Circles of Britain, Ireland and Brittany" an updating of his 1976 "The Stone Circles of the British Isles".
The paperback listed under other buying options is "_A Guide to_the Stone Circles of Britain, Ireland and Brittany" the 2005 (very slightly) updated version of his book of the same title first published in 1995.

Do not make the mistake I did and buy the paperback listed here expecting the content shown above! I have rated the book 5 stars in the hope that people will see this warning - I have yet to.

It is very disappointing that Burl (and Yale who publish all the books mentioned) has given two quite different texts such similar titles though Amazon should really pay better attention.

Note that all the attached reviews for 'paperback' will be for the other book also.

The Seeker's Guide to Harry Potter - Audible Audio Edition - of the DVD by Reality Films
The Seeker's Guide to Harry Potter - Audible Audio Edition - of the DVD by Reality Films
Offered by Audible Ltd
Price: 11.65

4.0 out of 5 stars WARNING! Audio book offered is NOT of this book., 22 Feb 2013
The Audio book listed here is NOT an audio version of the Book but of the far poorer DVD of the same title. Seekers Guide to Harry Potter [DVD] [2010] [NTSC] See the author/presenter's own review of the DVD for more. Not sure what Amazon are playing at.

Hawk Meets Penguin
Hawk Meets Penguin
Price: 8.00

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ignore most of the other reviews!!! NOT a Hawkwind album, 14 Feb 2010
This review is from: Hawk Meets Penguin (Audio CD)
As only one other person has pointed out 8 of the reviews here (all 1 star) are for a completely different album.
This album is NOT by Hawkwind and is not of sub-bootleg quality. It also features no Hawkwind tracks as should be quite obvious from reading the track listing on the image of the rear sleeve.
I bought this AMON DUUL album on vinyl when it first came out and enjoy it still. Nice meditative, swirly space-rock psychedelia as you might expect from this later incarnation of Amon Duul.

The Modern World (GOLLANCZ S.F.)
The Modern World (GOLLANCZ S.F.)
by Steph Swainston
Edition: Hardcover

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More Castle for your pleasure., 16 Aug 2007
Wow. Tour de Force.

'The Modern World', the third book in Steph Swainston's Castle series (and if you haven't read the first two - why not?) is a fantastic piece of writing. She started out a good writer but now.......words fail. To say that I was `blown away' by this latest volume would about cover it.

The book begins with a real `chuck `em in at the deep end' bang - the brutal carnage, devastation and loss following a night attack by the Insects is dropped in your lap without any warning or set up. She then effortlessly shifts a gear to give a wonderfully observed description of our narrator Jant's flight from the frontlines back to the Castle. The unfolding landscapes below him, the physical thrill of flight even in such terrible circumstances; beautiful, rich and stark description. You can really feel the benefits of Swainston's commitment to research - I understand she goes gliding to better understand the experience of a central character that flies.

From this bravura beginning, which has a brilliant twist, the story barrels along at a tremendous pace. A new and shocking development in Insect aggressive capabilities results in the raising of the largest army ever seen in the Fourlands and the Emperor San taking the unprecedented step of leaving the Castle to lead his forces in the field. The tension and uncertainty of fighting what is almost a new enemy - previous strategies are now worthless and new ones must be found - is conveyed with perfect pitch. Running through this you have the driven obsession of Frost the Architect to carry out a grand plan and then attempt to make good the unforeseen catastrophic results of her scheme. The fortunes of war reflected in an individual psyche.

However, this is anything but merely a story about hacking at the Insect invaders with inventive use of Medieval and Renaissance technologies (and her understanding of these technologies is another testament to deep research) there are other stories and subtexts to enjoy. The main protagonist, Jant, whom I would hesitate to call the 'Hero' as I don't think the Castle stories are that simple, finds himself revisiting past haunts, and past life-styles, to hunt for the wayward daughter of a fellow Immortal. This chase is underscored by what I see as a primary subtext in this book; the passage of time, the matter of maturing, the (necessary) differences between generations and the problems of communication across that divide. This theme culminates with an incredibly tense finale between father and daughter (without an Insect in sight) that faked me out completely as to where it was going but ended in retrospect the only way it could.

Such hiding of `serious' content in the structure of what is at the surface a fantasy roller-coaster is nothing new for Swainston. The previous volume No Present Like Time has a juxtaposition of philosophical and political systems with the Darwinian meritocracy of the Castle's Circle coming up against the classic democracy of the island of Tris - with predictable misunderstanding and consequences. The real beauty of these subtle depths to her narratives though is their unobtrusiveness. There really is no need to go into the deeper reading to enjoy a rollicking fantasy adventure but, if you do, the whole is enhanced.

Even with all I've said there is much more in the book to savour and enjoy. The return to Shift - that strange surreal world that reads like a cross-between Lewis Carroll, Salvador Dali and early Clive Barker - which in this volume takes on a very scary face indeed. The insights into San's past and that of some of the other immortals - the archer Lightning even gets to narrate a chapter of his own past, before Jant's time. The extensive cast of characters, each with their own very individual traits and foibles, and the complex evolving web of relationships they create. The beautifully detailed description of architecture and landscape.

Now I have to make the time to have a more measured read of all three books. My usual practice is to only read sequels after rereading their predecessors - to totally get the through line. But this time I was just too keen to see what was going to happen. This book is genuinely "unputdownable" - I hold Steph Swainston responsible for my current Sleep Debt and look forward eagerly to the next volume.

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