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Kasablanka (England)

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Sea of Glory: The Epic South Seas Expedition 1838-42
Sea of Glory: The Epic South Seas Expedition 1838-42
by Nathaniel Philbrick
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.99

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A tale of tyranny, 9 Aug. 2007
A lot of people will have heard of Captain Bligh or the Mutiny on the Bounty, but compared to Lt Charles Wilkes, Bligh was a saint. It is Wilkes that made this book fascinating for me. You will really want to see justice done in the end. Wilkes endurance however is something to be admired " If Wilkes drove his men hard, he drove himself harder. Every night, he worked well past midnight on his charts Surgeon John Fox reported that Wilkes averaged no more than five hours a night, and often went for days at a time with no sleep at all. Sleep deprivation leads to a loss of emotional control as well as a failure to make complex social judgements-just the areas in which Wilke's personality was already lacking'.

If you like books about the sea this is well worth reading.


Zoo Station
Zoo Station
by David Downing
Edition: Paperback

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Atmospheric and authentic, 8 Aug. 2007
This review is from: Zoo Station (Paperback)
Being a fan of Alan Furst's books, I snatched this up this hoping it would be like one of his. The attention to detail is the same and the fact that both the Russian and British intelligence services are involved in the story is also the same.

I thought it was well written; had a likeable protagonist, and was tense at the end. There is a sequel on the way.


Wolves Eat Dogs
Wolves Eat Dogs
by Martin Cruz Smith
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, 7 Aug. 2007
This review is from: Wolves Eat Dogs (Paperback)
I've read this twice. It may not be as exciting as some of his other books but at least it is original and far better than the cliched badly written so called bestsellers. It contains interesting information about Chernobyl. There is as always in the author's books, an interesting bunch of characters.


The Power Of The Dog
The Power Of The Dog
by Don Winslow
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent, 6 Aug. 2007
This review is from: The Power Of The Dog (Paperback)
This is one of the best crime novels I've ever read. It might make you cry; cheer; feel angry; thrilled; and exhausted. It will certainly not leave you unmoved. For those who just want action, then there is hardly a chapter without action. For those who want an interesting and intelligent read, it is that as well. It is like a cross between 'The Godfather' and 'American Tabloid'.

The core of the story is the crusade of Art Keller, an American-Hispanic DEA agent, against the Barrera family, Mexican drug barons, who he meets as a young man at the beginning of his career, is initially friendly with, but soon becomes their dedicated enemy. The fight between them lasts nearly thirty years.

It is also a tale of political expediency; cynical pragmatism and corruption.
The Mexican government feels it cannot afford to crack down on the drug trade; The American government have their own agenda in South America, in their fight against communism; and the Catholic church wants a way back into Mexico. So the result is a deadly minefield for anyone who dares to try to do some good.

There are five main characters, whose lives criss cross over the years. Art Keller, the constant outsider, who understands the mentality of the barrio;Adan Barrera, who, rather like Michael Corleone, in the Godfather, turns to 'the dark side' after a brutal act of violence against him and wants into the family business; Father Juan Parada, the decent, brave priest who always speaks his mind; Nora Hayden, the call girl with a heart; and, Sean Callan, the hitman who wants out, but keeps being dragged back in. There are many more great characters.

I raced to the end of this book and was sorry I had finished it.


Stalin's Ghost
Stalin's Ghost
by Martin Cruz Smith
Edition: Hardcover

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As good as always, 1 Aug. 2007
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Stalin's Ghost (Hardcover)
Having read all the Arkady Renko novels, I bought this as soon as it was available in the UK. I read it far too quickly and have now got wait a year or two I guess, for the next one !

'Gorky Park' is my favourite of the series so far and probably always will be for it's sheer originality.

This one and it's predecessor, 'Wolves Eats Dogs' are more social commentaries on Russia as much as thrillers, which makes them interesting, but perhaps just that little less thrilling. However, as soon it as became clear who the main villains were, it really kicked off for me. They are two ex-black berets who fought in Chechnya and returned as heroes. But, they have a secret to hide, and kill for. They are now cops, working alongside Renko. One of them, the charismatic Isakov, is a candidate of an ultra-nationalist party that is cynically using the memory of Stalin to gain popularity. Isakov's side kick, Urman, is the usual type of thug that the author puts into his stories :
To Renko: "You never let up", Urman said.
"It's an innocent question. Anyway, you're going to kill me as soon as you get the nod"...

There are few other bad or sleazy guys, among them, two American political consultants. As usual the chief prosecutor is not a big fan of Renko.

As for Renko's friends and allies, there is his alcoholic partner, Victor; and the bad tempered Chess Grand Master, Platonov, who looks over Zhenya, the child chess prodigy. Zhenya prefers to play for money to the annoyance of Platanov.

As in 'Gorky Park' and 'Red Square' there is a love triangle, this time, between Renko; his girlfriend, Eva and Isakov.

There is an interesting development late in the book involving the finding of large numbers of dead soldiers, murdered during WWII. One of many strands to the story.

I think you really need to have read at all of the previous Renko stories, in order, to fully appreciate them, and understand some of the references. For instance, Irina is mentioned in this book

Thank you, Mr Cruz Smith. Please continue to write more, anything really !


Lost in Translation [2004] (Region 1) (NTSC) [DVD]
Lost in Translation [2004] (Region 1) (NTSC) [DVD]
Offered by passionFlix UK
Price: £4.66

5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A subtle work of art, 29 July 2007
Those who do not like this film possibly would not appreciate a beautiful landcsape in the middle of nowhere, either. Things do not have to happen to be interesting. There is such a thing called subtlety.

I thought this was Bill Murray's best film so far and also that of Scarlett Johnansson. There are some scenes which are very funny. The soundtrack is excellent.

If you like intelligent, thoughtful, different films then watch this. I think the ending is perfect.


The Station Agent [DVD] [2004]
The Station Agent [DVD] [2004]
Dvd ~ Peter Dinklage
Offered by A ENTERTAINMENT
Price: £7.75

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun and Uplifting, 29 July 2007
This is one of my favourite films. it is a drama, with some comic moments, about friendship and acceptance. The acting is faultless. All the characters are interesting.

It takes a serious turn about three quarters of the way through but ... well, cannot give away the end. A feel good film.


Enigma
Enigma
by Robert Harris
Edition: Paperback

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More than just about a code, 24 July 2007
This review is from: Enigma (Paperback)
If you have seen the film, do read the book as well as there are some crucial differences. There is far more to the plot and the ending is kind of different, so it is well worth reading.

This is not just a story about the enigma code. There is plenty more.


GBH [DVD] [1991]
GBH [DVD] [1991]
Dvd ~ Julie Walters
Offered by rileys dvds
Price: £31.00

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb drama, 24 July 2007
This review is from: GBH [DVD] [1991] (DVD)
Michael Palin shoud try more straight drama, he is just so good. There is such good acting all round in this. I found it very moving at the end; Lindsay Duncan's parting words to the character, Michael Murray are poignant.


Fortunes Of War (Three Discs) [DVD] [1987]
Fortunes Of War (Three Discs) [DVD] [1987]
Dvd ~ Emma Thompson
Price: £7.95

30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quality drama, 24 July 2007
Another drama of quality from the BBC. So many good actors, and so many entertaining characters. There are a lot of witty lines in this as well as scenes of sadness. I was really moved by some of the scenes, especially at the end.
Guy Pringle thinks everyone is extraordinary. Unfortunately because he wishes to help and befriend everyone, he neglects his wife, who he does actually love. He loathes and despises facism, and refuses to let the war stop his teaching or putting on a play.
I would disagree with another review that states that the Pringles and their friends are not aware of the realities of the war. They do experience the ill fortunes of war in various ways, as follows:
The disappearnce of Sacha Druker and the arrest of his father.
The death of Prince Yakimov.
A boy killed by an unexploded bomb.
The crippling of a young officer.
Aiden Pratt, 'haunted' by the deaths of children he shared a lifeboat with.
The 'separation' of Harriet and Guy.
This is something you can watch more than once. I have, several times.


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