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Tim62 "history buff" (London, UK)
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The Peenemunde Deceptions
The Peenemunde Deceptions
Price: £0.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very good wartime gumshoe novel, 18 Nov 2014
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Thoroughly enjoyable period piece. If you like your gumshoes Chandleresque and world-weary - then step forward (or should that be limp forward) Otto Fischer. A hero of Nazi Germany, complete with the Knight's Cross, hideously burnt in combat on the eastern front, this cyncial ex-Fallschirmjager and former Berlin cop is called in to investigate a muder in the heart of Germany's rocket programme - based at Peenemunde on the Baltic.

I am sucker for gumshoe stories, and having read all of Philip Kerr's Bernie Gunther series (which inhabits the same dark Nazi German world) I was keen to give this a go. However, as it was being sold at a knock-down Kindle price of 99p, I was prepared for some ho-hum writing - of a writer with the enthusiasm but not necessarily the skill to be a good crime author.

I need not have worried, McDermott is a great find. His writing is clean, clear and crisp - and the novel is shot through with flashes of dark humour.

It is historically well-done.Who murdered a top German rocket scientist at the height of the 18 August 1943 RAF raid on Peenemunde, and why? For much of the story we are as in the dark as Fischer - which works, although I did find the final confrontation and plot exposition slightly too-clever and tortuous for its own good.

However, the author's historical afterword showed me why it stood on strong historical grounds. And it certainly didn't stop me awarding this five stars.

Add in several similiarly damaged ex-Luftwaffe types to the brew, complete with a running joke about 'Douglas von Bader', a beautiful Polish blonde (and a woman with whom Fischer once had a one-night stand) a trombone-playing forced labourer - never mind the historical characters of Wernher von Braun and Walter Dornberger - and you have a great recipe for a war-time crime novel.


Waterloo: The French Perspective
Waterloo: The French Perspective
by Andrew Field
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £17.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars L'Armee du Nord's view of Waterloo, 28 Oct 2014
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Andrew Field has done all of those who are interested in Waterloo a great service by bringing together French contemporary accounts of this battle, many of them accounts that have for too long previously been missing from English language versions of this climatic battle.
If you want to know why Napoleon lost at Waterloo, then you really can't do it from any better place than here. The author sets out to examine the conduct of battle through Napoleon's orders and the actions of his subordinate corps and divisional commanders, highlighted and illuminated by soldiers who wrote accounts of the battle in the days and years afterwards.
If you've every puzzled as to why Ney launched those mass cavalry attacks when he did, why d'Erlon's infantry divisions adopted their very broad columnar formations to assault the allied line, and the impact of the Prussians on French deployments as the day wore on, what went wrong for the French at Hougoumont - then you should read this book.
The plentiful chapters are clear and often short - the sequence of events of this complex battle are broken down into comprehensible chunks.
At the end of the book, there is the added bonus of a tactical review - which runs through some of the tactical issues not easily covered in the narrative of the battle itself. Some of those are the questions I've mentioned above, and the last two take in French generalship and whether Napoleon could actually have won.
Clear, concise, easily readable. Highly recommended.


Hour Zero
Hour Zero
Price: £1.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Neo-Nazis coming to an island near you, 22 Oct 2014
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This review is from: Hour Zero (Kindle Edition)
Dull, dull, dull and cliched tale of north American neo-Nazis on an island - against a feisty woman and her boyfriend. This felt like a self-published work, so while I applaud the author for this, it didn't work for me.
On the plus side the plotting was fine, but the characters seemed far too two-dimensional and cartoon-like. Sorry.
But full marks to the book's designer. When in doubt stick a swastika on a red cover - never fails.....;)


In the Line of Fire (A Donald Cameron Naval Thriller)
In the Line of Fire (A Donald Cameron Naval Thriller)
Price: £2.99

2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 22 Oct 2014
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********* Spoiler alert ************
This was disappointing. I had high hopes of this as I'd been looking forward to reading it for a while. But the central chracter never really come alive - he's very much a cipher. Indeed sometimes this reads like a Ministry of Propaganda flag waver circa 1942. The details of life aboard a destroyer are momentarily interesting, but the writer loses me by piling Pelion upon Ossa with his list of disasters to hit the ship, with ultimately Cameron winning through. As the casualties mounted, I started keeping a mental tally and laughing at points where I am certain I wasn't meant to be.

I'd hoped for something akin to Douglas Reeman, but sadly this doesn't match up. Sorry.

You don't know enough to really care one way or the other about Cameron or his Wren - in fact many of the other secondary characters are better drawn. Sorry


Rome Unbound: Whispers of Rebellion
Rome Unbound: Whispers of Rebellion
Price: £2.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Okay for passing the time, 22 Oct 2014
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It was okay, but I can't say it left me wanting more. It was also a lot shorter novel than I was expecting. It is not the worst Roman action adventure out there - but it's not particularly memorable. Sorry.


The Regiment
The Regiment
Price: £2.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars By the numbers, but still entertaining, 20 Oct 2014
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This review is from: The Regiment (Kindle Edition)
This the first of a trilogy about a family in a fictional British cavalry regiment, the Royal Western Dragoon Guards. Written in the late 80s and republished by Endeavour. I missed it when it came out, but am going to read all three now.

It is a by the numbers account, but it is still entertaining enough covering of some of the minutiae of regimental life and politics away from Imperial soldiering (this is set in the period before WW1).

There are the usual cliches:
Every woman who ever meets our hero finds him sexually attractive.
The central character, Murdoch Mackinder bears a charmed life (even though he picks up his fair share of wounds) brother officers fall by the way over the years, but not him.

But away from these familiar tropes the writing is efficient and entertaining enough. It is an enjoyable look back at a vanished military world.


Operation Neptune
Operation Neptune
Price: £0.49

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worthy but worthwhile, 7 Oct 2014
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This review is from: Operation Neptune (Kindle Edition)
A workmanlike review of naval operations off the beaches of Normandy by a senior naval officer. This is an important addition to anybody's bookshelf if you are serious on the Normandy campaign - because it reminds you what was going on off-shore as the campaign unfolded - but it is probably best thought of as a work of reference, rather than a narrative in its own right.


Fighting Times IV: Military Matters Past and Present
Fighting Times IV: Military Matters Past and Present
Price: £0.96

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Curate's egg, 7 Oct 2014
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I am glad that the team is perservering with this, but at the moment I feel that it is a bit of a curate's egg of a magazine. In this issue, the article on Allenby and Gaza was very interesting, but the rest did not grab me so much, I felt I was familiar with it, or that it was a series of too-short articles and book reviews. Maybe other editions have been better-received. I will still try this again, as I love military history


In Search of England
In Search of England
by H. V. Morton
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.79

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good book, unpleasant author, 19 Sep 2014
This review is from: In Search of England (Paperback)
Morton may have been a lyrical writer, but he made up much of what he wrote (not in itself a crime with travel writers). But unlike the lone genial traveller he portrays himself to be, his own private papers and diaries show him to be a womanizer and fascist sympathizer - see his recent biography In Search of H. V. Morton by Michael Bartholomew http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/3616573/A-very-English-hypocrite.html

The book is well-written, but it describes an England that never was.


The Veiled Assassin, A Novel of the Late Roman Empire (Embers of Empire Book 1)
The Veiled Assassin, A Novel of the Late Roman Empire (Embers of Empire Book 1)
Price: £0.77

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I admire the writer for choosing a period that's not ..., 3 Sep 2014
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I admire the writer for choosing a period that's not often covered in fiction, but I couldn't take the modern language in which it was written - I doubt the Romans ever 'duded up'. It may not be a deciding factor for other readers, but it was for me. Sorry.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 23, 2014 12:30 PM BST


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