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K. C. Simm "kenart" (Lancashire UK)
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The Fourth Crow (Gil Cunningham Murder Myst 10)
The Fourth Crow (Gil Cunningham Murder Myst 10)
by Pat McIntosh
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.59

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Continued Excellence., 23 July 2013
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I am really glad I found these. So often we are told that a successor to Ellis Peters has been found. So often are we given a new hyped author of historical fiction to play with our tastes. And yet only rarely do we find one of this calibre.
The stories are clever, well researched, (which in my view is an essential component of such stories; I admit to being an historical pedant) and plotted well. They keep our interest throughout. Well they keep my interest but even so that could be seen as a fair yardstick.
We are sympathetic with the main protagonists and feel enough interest in the puzzles that are presented. Nowhere in these books did I feel, (as I do so often) that was a bit obvious. She or he did it after reading the first few chapters. Or at least if I am given a few hints they are subtle ones and keep me guessing.
Old Glasgow is a revelation. Descriptions are rich and feel true. Characterisation is spot on and all the main protagonists are well seen.
The language is going to be an issue, either for or against. I found I could understand the Scots well and the Gaelic well enough in context and neither distracted from the story or enjoyment of it.
Without being gushy this is an excellent read for intelligent adults.


Traitor's Field
Traitor's Field
by Robert Wilton
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 13.59

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Overcomplex, 21 July 2013
This review is from: Traitor's Field (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This should have been a remarkable book. This could have been an excellent read. The elements were all there. A fascinating period. Obvious and painstaking research, (perhaps a little too obvious). A good story, on the face of it, but not well told.
It was a struggle. An uphill struggle to get through all the hand written inserts that were there, one presumes to add aunthenticity. A struggle to understand the language used. A struggle to get used to the chopping and changing around of location over relatively short time periods.
Many reviews say this is a chance lost but in this case it really was.
I would have loved to love this book. It sounded just up my street. I couldn't and that was the worst let down.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 29, 2013 1:53 PM BST


The Name of This Book Is Secret
The Name of This Book Is Secret
by Pseudonymous Bosch
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Catching the Fashion., 23 Mar 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
There are others who will tell you the outline of this story but I wish to concentrate on the comparisons that are bound to be made between this and the seeming plethora of young readers books of this type that seem to abound at the moment.
Yes, this is a very readable book although the ending does seem somewhat diluted. There are empathic chracters and villans. There is a more than adequate story line and the first premise behind the secret book is an excellent idea. In fact apart from the apalling authors name there is nothing wrong with this book at all. Perversely that is just the problem. It shines but just not enough. It is well written, for the age group but does not have that extra sparkle that makes a Potter or a Lemony Sickert, Philip Pullman stand out. In short it is ok. I am aware of how sad an indictment that is and I apologise but the book simply does not raise the hackles enough. For me or I would suggest your average 11 yr old.


Heresy
Heresy
by S. J. Parris
Edition: Hardcover

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Comparisons, 23 Mar 2013
This review is from: Heresy (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Comparisons are always going to be made about this finely wrought historical thriller. Not least for the genre and of course for the time period.Fact is that this was a turbulent time in history and that makes it excellent fodder for such writings.
Having said that, I found this book to be very well written, strong in every area, characterisation, format, story telling and historical research. It more than bears comparison with others of this type.
The main protagonist Bruno is from the outset a well rounded empathic individual who, although he has his dark side, is intellegent and incisive. There are hints nd more into Bruno's darker past that will no doubt be fleshed out in further volumes. This is a well written and enjoyable first outing into a murky, dangerous but nontheless enjoyable world. Top marks.


Dog: An EM Faustus Novel: 3
Dog: An EM Faustus Novel: 3
by Mr Chris Davison
Edition: Paperback
Price: 9.91

5.0 out of 5 stars Woof!, 25 Sep 2012
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Now what to say about EM Faustus? He is a P.I. in the true film noir, Humphrey Bogart, Micky Spillaine, sense, even down to the trilby and smokes. Nothing PC about our hero.A well rounded, fully coloured in character. Even if the colour is mainly black. Come to that so are all the other character's, large and small, human and fantastic.
Trouble is EMF works on the streets. Now The Streets are a fantastic creation to rival the main protagonist himself. The Streets are really a character in the book and as such have a lot to say for themselves. The streets are the haunt of Vampires, (with speech impedements) the hosts of the Fae, muderous or otherwise, Werewolves, angels, demons and a whole cast of fantastic, interesting characters. All interacting well with our hero as he searches for the Dog in question, (amongst other things, this is not just a detective story about pets, in case you were wondering)
Mr Davison brings this whole mix to the boil time and time again. Holding extremly well onto the storyline whilst keeping the stew firmly readable and page turning (able).
I was suitably impressed with this first outing of Mr Faustus into print and I am sure and I hope that this is the precursor of many more to come. (I know there are many more adventures. Well at least one because it says so in the book) Finally I could not help but be reminded, (favourably) with Michael Moorcocks Jerry Cornelius novels.


Parliament of Spies, A (An Abbess of Meaux Mystery)
Parliament of Spies, A (An Abbess of Meaux Mystery)
by Cassandra Clark
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 16.52

9 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed but...., 20 April 2012
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To start with I enjoy historical whodunnits. I find they put flesh on dry old characters I learned about at school. Cassandra Clark is up with the best and her Abbess of Meaux is a believable and enthralling character, usually.
Clarks research seems from reading the past three novels to be on the button without distracting from the readability of the novel.
Having said this I now find myself feeling somewhat of a pedant. I am interested in falconry. Hawks, falcons and falconry are an integral part of the plot line in the latest mystery and yet Clark seems here to have done no research whatsoever. We hear that a hawk has killed a small deer at one point. No it has not. Hawks are too small and lightweight to kill even the smallest of deer. They may feed from deer carrion but will not actively hunt any of the native species of deer which are all much too large. Rabbit and hare being about the largest prey animals even a female Buzzard or possibly Goshawk (being larger than the male) will go for. (None of the falcons will)
We further hear that a hawk or falcon has taken a man's eyes out because he had some meat tied to his face. I suppose this is just about possible if not feasible. Raptors are trained initially to eat only from the falconer. They were in the days of this book manned by feeding them from the fist. The falcon,(I presume because the falconer was so upset when he had to pull it from the victims face and kill it) in question would have been an expensive Peregrine, Saker or Lanner. All birds suitable for a prelate such as the Archbishop of York (the rules for who could own what being very strict. He could not own a Gyrfalcon for instance or any of the eagles) would perhaps have fed on the carrion tied to the mans face, if nothing else was available. It is highly unlikely that these birds would not have been kept in peak condition and only kept hungry if they were about to hunt.
I would not be so pedantic about tihese incidents in such an elaborate and usually quite acceptable storyline if they had not been essential to the plot and consequently so jarring when read. Poor or no research in such a story really is inexcusable. This really has let the book down for me.
Comment Comments (10) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 2, 2012 1:09 PM BST


A Corpse at St Andrew's Chapel: The Second Chronicle of Hugh De Singleton, Surgeon (The Chronicles of Hugh De Singleton, Surgeon)
A Corpse at St Andrew's Chapel: The Second Chronicle of Hugh De Singleton, Surgeon (The Chronicles of Hugh De Singleton, Surgeon)
by Melvin R. Starr
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.29

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Re-reading, 19 Jan 2012
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I am in the process of rereading the first novels in this series to prepare myself for the latest fourth installment. Although on the whole they are enjoyable reads and competently written, I do have a few niggles. The first and most important is that I simply do not need to know everything that the main protagonist has for every meal. As medieval meals ran to three or four courses; three 'removes' (course) and a subtlety (dessert) this tends to take up quite a bit of the prose. In fact he mentions it so often you are tempted to think it is part of the plot. This can be quite important to those people like me who try to work out whodunnit throughout the book. (Hope I did not spoil it there)
The second point finds myself in agreement with previous reviewer's. The mistakes in the descriptions flora and fauna and the American spelling of certain words, (plow for plough for instance or the interchanging of brambles and nettles); the attempt to find a middle ground between modern and medevial speech, all do tend to grate on my admittedly purist ear. Lots of 'Twas's' and 'appen that way'. These are however trivial points. (The author is obviously a severe Anglophile) Overall the plot is workaday and quite enjoyable. It does not require much by way of thought. Some of the medevial wording is interesting in a triva quiz kind of way. In short a resonable way to pass time.


Meet You There
Meet You There
Price: 12.23

5.0 out of 5 stars Loved by me, 18 Oct 2010
This review is from: Meet You There (Audio CD)
My wife has been into this band for more years than she cares to remember but I had not really listened to them as much as I possibly should. (To keep the peace). This all changed when we recently saw them live on their Acoustic Tour. This is where we got this album. I can manage without more traditional folk usually but this superb album trancends such artificial and misleading boundaries. It is an instant classic without a weak note anywhere. An album penned by musicians that hits the right feelings everywhere. A joyous or maybe rich celebration musically and a thought provoking sound lyrically. As John Jones himself said that seems to be an Oysterband trademark. Joyful tunes and depressing lyrics was how he put it. Depressing this album certainly is not. Beautifully played, very tightly produced and exceptionally well written it is a remarkable listening experience and one that has converted me totally.
I must say however I still prefer the original Oysterband songs to the more traditional fare.
Well worth the buying and multiple listening. Oysterband have come of age, again perhaps.


Empire of the Moghul: Raiders From the North
Empire of the Moghul: Raiders From the North
by Alex Rutherford
Edition: Hardcover

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not so predictable., 25 Oct 2009
It has to be said there is a formula for this type of historical writing. In this the first of a quartet of novels the main protagonists are historical characters and of necessity action and timelines are telescoped to make the book more readable. Having said this I think Rutherford (the Rutherfords)make an excellent job of this story of the founding of the great Moghul empire in NW India during the 1500's. Characterisation is on the whole sound. Made easier perhaps by the fact that the main protagonist, the historical character Barbur was a prolific diarist. That is not to take anything away from this book. It is well written. Not too many modern colloqulisms. It is pacy and it sounds historically accurate. Finally one of the great problems for this type of writing would be we do know generally what happened. An empire was formed so it is difficult to keep the suspense neccessary up to a certain peak. What I call the Titanic effect. (The Iceburg did it). The team that calls itself Alex Rutherford have taken a difficult subject here and made it work. There are flaws but not too many and they did not for me spoil the enjoyment.


Beyond The Notes
Beyond The Notes
Price: 13.21

5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning, 10 Mar 2009
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This review is from: Beyond The Notes (Audio CD)
Never been a true afficiando of Deep Purple so I came to this album and Lord's music with no preconcieved ideas. I was rocked (no pun intended) back on my heels by how stunningly good this is.
Only once in a while do you come upon something that is as crystal, complete and as melodic as this beautiful collection. Each piece is remarkable in its own right and the music ranges from bouncy jazz to pastorale. In fact I would say that in Jon Lord the English pastorale music of Vaughn Williams,Elgar, Delius et al has found its true successor. That is not to say all the music on this very strong album is pastorale but the overall feeling is one of peace and tranquility without becoming stilted or oversweet. A real surprise of an album and a very lovely collection. Buy it and be gently amazed.


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