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The Midnight Swimmer
The Midnight Swimmer
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great Cold-War Spy Novel, 25 April 2014
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The Midnight Swimmer is the third book in the authors Will Catesby Cold war spy trilogy.

Catesby is a spy working for SIS/MI6 and one that has evident left wing views. This puts him inevitably at odds with the US who think he’s working for the Soviet Union, a fair assumption given the treachery of the Cambridge spies who were being unmasked at the time. However, Catesby is unequivocally loyal to his country and has a profound devotion to the Suffolk fishing town that he grew up in. This paradox governs much of the novel and, without revealing too much, it’s certainly interesting the situations his British paymasters put him in.

What I found fascinating was that 1950’s Britain was seemingly not the US's lapdog but a country that had to bend all the rules of allied warfare to ensure survival. The theory being that before ICBM’s, Britain was the number 1 target for a Soviet strike in response to a US threat.

I’m a big fan of Cold War spy books and this isn’t far from the likes of Le Carre and Greene in evoking that unique murky atmosphere.
It I wasn’t so stingy with my 5 stars this would get the maximum rating. Highly recommended.

Pyramids: (Discworld Novel 7) (Discworld Novels)
Pyramids: (Discworld Novel 7) (Discworld Novels)
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4.0 out of 5 stars Vintage Pratchett, 18 Feb 2014
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Terry's take on ancient Egypt manages to successfully parody death, the UK Construction industry, philosophy, religion and (obviously) the pharaohs. If you haven't tried a Discworld novel this is a fairly good place to start as it features none of the repeat characters that the Nights-Watch and Witches books have.

The Simulacra (S.F. MASTERWORKS)
The Simulacra (S.F. MASTERWORKS)
Price: 3.49

4.0 out of 5 stars An under-rated Philip K. Dick Dystopia, 9 Feb 2014
Theres an awful lot going on here in this 1960's PKD sci-fi novel. Time travel, space travel, flying commercials that bite, paranoia (a constant theme in any PKD book) and a cyborg president. I note previous criticisms of this novel that there are too many characters and ideas for such a sparse read and thats probably fair. But for me you dont read a PKD book for strong characterisation, you read them for the themes that are explored.

Both witty and a bit depressing, The Simulacra is well worth a go if your a Philip K. Dick fan that wants to try a lesser know title. If however you've stumbled across this review by accident and are completely new to the author I'd recommend starting elsewhere perhaps with 'Ubik' or 'Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep'. As well as being widely accepted as science fiction classics, they are bit more accessible and convey PKD's ideas more effectively (in my opinion.)

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