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The Lighthouse: The Mystery of the Eilean Mor Lighthouse Keepers
The Lighthouse: The Mystery of the Eilean Mor Lighthouse Keepers
by Keith McCloskey
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.98

4.0 out of 5 stars A classic mystery. Resolved?, 27 Feb. 2015
A very readable modern day investigation into the mysterious disappearance of three lighthouse keepers from a remote Scottish Isle in 1900.

The author takes us through various well-researched and engagingly told historical, geological and mythological theories, before proposing his own on the basis of his investigation.

Whether or not you agree with his viewpoint, this is a good read and a reminder, for me at any rate, of a classic real-life tale of mystery.


The Glorious Deception: The Double Life of William Robinson, aka Chung Ling Soo, the Marvelous Chinese Conjurer
The Glorious Deception: The Double Life of William Robinson, aka Chung Ling Soo, the Marvelous Chinese Conjurer
by Jim Steinmeyer
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Simply magic, 27 Feb. 2015
From an early age, many people have a fascination with magic and those famous 19th/20th century performers, who really created many of today's grand illusions.

From an early age, many people have a fascination with magic and those famous 19th/20th century performers, who really created many of today's grand illusions.

The tale of the notoriously dangerous bullet catching trick, which took the life of Chung Ling Soo on a London stage in 1918, was legendary in my schooldays.

Jim Steinmeyer tells his life story, which proves to be even more deceptive than his tricks. Interweaving the history of stage magic with tricks from contemporary greats, this is an absolute must for anyone who still hankers after the great age of conjuring.

Immerse yourself in the magic as he spirits you away to another world.


The Healing Land: A Kalahari Journey
The Healing Land: A Kalahari Journey
by Rupert Isaacson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.99

4.0 out of 5 stars The best kind of quest, 27 Feb. 2015
The author follows his own personal quest for family roots in Botswana and to understand the oppression of the Kalahari Bushmen.

Engagingly written, you feel his frustrations with life and his wonder at discovering new things which challenge establishment views.

A spiritual journey, personal travelogue and highly-charged story.

An eye-opening and thought-provoking must-read for anyone who has an interest in travel, people, Africa or history.


72 Hours
72 Hours
Price: £5.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A taut, tense, true thriller, 31 Jan. 2015
This review is from: 72 Hours (Kindle Edition)
Written like a taught thriller, this highly readable true story chronicles the tense international rescue effort to save seven Russian submariners from a certain and lonely death, below the cold seawater off a deserted coastline.

The book neatly weaves in the history of submarine rescue as teams from England and the US battle time, weather and idealist bigotry to test procedures and equipment in a challenging underwater environment, where their Russian hosts can only match cutting edge technology with rusting metalwork and insufficient engineering support.

This is a really incredible tale of a point in time when the cold war thawed momentarily and a few key Russians focused on the common good rather than political doctrines, allowing the English team to do their stuff. The principal characters are well written and the tension and team frustrations are clearly brought to life.

The only reason I can think of for not reading this book is a susceptibility to claustrophobia, but even that should be pushed aside.


Botswana Time
Botswana Time
by Will Randall
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Time out in Africa, 28 Jan. 2015
This review is from: Botswana Time (Paperback)
In a delightfully told tale, Will Randall haphazardly arrives as a school teacher in Kasane, Botswana, via an accidental stint as a cook on an overland travel trip through Namibia and a drunken conversation and a wedding in South Africa.

Learning the ropes of the school, having first repainted it, he brings to life the colourful characters amongst his pupils and their parents and paints an idyllic picture of life in a country, where travelling six hours across the bush through bureaucratic border controls to play a football match, or dealing with the impact of AIDS on family life, are part of his new daily spectrum.

He deals with wildlife, the officious school inspector and the local villain, in the same affable writing style and consistently produces some wry observations on his new surroundings.

This book has the same gentle take on Botswana life that Alexander McCall Smith fictionalises in his No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series and will be liked by fans of these novels and by travel readers alike.


The Circle
The Circle
by Dave Eggers
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Share and share alike, 20 Jan. 2015
This review is from: The Circle (Paperback)
A modern horror story where the supernatural is replaced by the supranational.

Set in the very near future, the main character is not especially likeable and that discomfort for the reader marries with the themes of this novel, which explores the potential power of an internet organisation called The Circle, which is a fictional mash up of Pay Pal, Facebook, Linked In, Instagram, Twitter, Vine and, of course, Google, mixed with a manic human preoccupation with minutiae.

A chilling take on where the obsession with knowledge sharing could go and the absurdity of mankind. For me the introductory scene setting was too long, but the story is good and worth reading through to the action, as momentum builds to a well worked climax.


Sisters Of Sinai: How Two Lady Adventurers Found the Hidden Gospels
Sisters Of Sinai: How Two Lady Adventurers Found the Hidden Gospels
by Janet Soskice
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.68

4.0 out of 5 stars A real gem, 16 Jan. 2015
Despite my enthusiasm for exploration, especially in the Victorian era - when the world was unveiling secrets at an incredible rate, the names of Agnes and Margaret Smith were unknown to me. As was their incredible story.

Having just finished this hugely readable history of their exploits and their unbelievable discovery in an old chest in a monastery in the Sinai desert, I am amazed that everyone hasn’t heard of them. Maybe they have and it was just me.

In any event, the sisters discovered of one of the oldest manuscripts of the Gospels, pushed the boundaries of education, built a new college in Cambridge University and won international recognition (in their day), despite established prejudices.

This is a surprisingly gripping story, well told and is a must for anyone looking for inspiration. I thoroughly enjoyed this unexpected treasure.


Albert Jack's Ten-minute Mysteries: The World's Secrets Explained, from the Real Loch Ness Monster to Who Killed Marilyn Monroe
Albert Jack's Ten-minute Mysteries: The World's Secrets Explained, from the Real Loch Ness Monster to Who Killed Marilyn Monroe
Price: £8.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Why wouldn't you want to know why, or how?, 6 Jan. 2015
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A great repository of entertainingly written explanations to many mysteries and conundrums. My favourite is the Loch Ness Monster – although I choose not to believe it. A fun book and good for dipping in an out of.

This is a great sense of satisfaction about the unravelling of mysteries and Mr Jack does it with aplomb.

Immerse yourself in this book.


The Devil's Cup: Coffee, the Driving Force in History
The Devil's Cup: Coffee, the Driving Force in History
by Stewart Allen
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.98

4.0 out of 5 stars A heady brew, 6 Jan. 2015
Seldom has a drink seemed to dominate culture as dramatically as coffee.

It has been discovered, banned, popularised and promoted and this book covers its history and then takes you on a whirlwind tour around the world in search of its meaning.

Well written and engaging, the book takes you through many countries, societies and customs to enlightenment, via research, history and travel on many modes of transport.

Read it and enjoy your next cup of Java with even more richness.


History Without the Boring Bits: A Curious Chronology of the World
History Without the Boring Bits: A Curious Chronology of the World
Price: £4.80

4.0 out of 5 stars Quick and dirty history, 6 Jan. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
An intriguing title and one it lives up to.

Many juicy characters, historical notes, curios and events are served up in these pages for the reader to enjoy, without having to wade through lengthy introductions or explanatory scene setting.

There are no boring bits in this book – it is interesting, fun and not too frivolous. Read it and enjoy travelling through time, without the baggage.


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