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J. Wise "Jon Wise, Sunday Sport" (Ardwick)
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Wars of the Roses: Stormbird (Wars of the Roses 1)
Wars of the Roses: Stormbird (Wars of the Roses 1)
by Conn Iggulden
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 7.00

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Conn Storms Back, 10 Oct 2013
You know, if you half closed your eyes you could be reading a Bull-Dog Drummond or Richard Hannay yarn, such is the ripping tone of Conn Iggulden's latest adventure.
If they'd taught history like this at school we'd have been fighting to get into class, not fighting the will to live.
Iggulden's a man who knows how to press all the buttons that make a British-born man's blood course and thrill, his juices flow, his mind run riot in a world where actions speak louder than words, and the words are pretty damn loud.
He did it with his Julius Caesar and Genghis Khan series, and now he's taken what is for many a subject as dull as ditchwater and turned it into living, bleeding, aching, loving, scarred flesh.
Stormbird delivers the background and build-up to the Wars of the Roses: A limp-d***ed king, a b*****d of an enemy within, a well-fit and feisty queen, an uppity French noble, a loyal but doomed diplomat and a home-grown troublemaker with a rag-bag army hell-bent on violent revolution.
Thrown into the boiling pot are characters made up to drive the tale along and keep it gripping your mind and guts: An all-action, dangerously devious spy, and a dispossessed war veteran with a mighty longbow arm.
Though historians might quibble, every inch of this book is believable, not least the battle in the stinking streets of London at night...you can feel yourself slipping in the filth and blood.
This is a serious MUSCLE book with just enough gore to satisfy the animal within and enough intrigue to keep readers eager.
In short, it's yet another masterpiece by Conn Iggulden.
The Wars of the Roses may be just beginning but he's already won the prize...King of Historical Fiction.


U & I: A True Story
U & I: A True Story
by Nicholson Baker
Edition: Paperback
Price: 8.99

0 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Phew & I, 5 Jan 2012
This review is from: U & I: A True Story (Paperback)
THIS sex-fuelled classic is said to be the book a young and voluptuous Monica Lewinsky gave to Bill Clinton which had the filthy president whipping out his cigar for her entertainment.
Getting a well-deserved re-release, it's about a couple who enjoy erotic chats over the phone, and gets steadily filthier, in a tasteful way.
The Internet has changed the way people do these things but like sex itself, it doesn't matter so long as it's done properly.
Baker does it as well as it can be done, producing a horny masterpiece.
And if there's a better mutual-masturbation scene in literature, I've yet to read it!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 20, 2012 4:31 PM GMT


The Victim
The Victim
by Kimberley Chambers
Edition: Paperback
Price: 9.09

4.0 out of 5 stars The Business, 5 Jan 2012
This review is from: The Victim (Paperback)
EASTENDERS. It's all about gay angst, screeching harridans and PC villains, right?
Not in Kimberley Chambers country it ain't. Her nasties mean snarling business in a world where bygones are never going to be bygones.
Ever.
The Victim, the latest and maybe the best in her Fued series, gives a proper taste of East End Essex; Laughs, yeah, but with a vicious growl behind them.
A fine bit of writing, and anyone who disagrees is looking for a barney they'd better be able to finish.


Blood Rose
Blood Rose
by Margie Orford
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.99

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bloody great!, 28 Aug 2011
This review is from: Blood Rose (Paperback)
BLOODY hell, where's Margie Orford been hiding? This is a corker of a crimer that has all the regular ingeredients plus a bucket-load more.

If you enjoy your killer-thillers you'll feel comfortably at home here, even though it's set way down there, in Namibia. Hellhole town, seething with crime and lowlife slime.

When young lads start turning up butchered the serious and sexy shrink that's Clare Hart is on the job. She's soon immersed in a darkly colourful world of desperate doings down by the squalid docks. A few wists and turns on and she's looking over her shoulder and not liking what she sees.

Margie: Great name, gret talent. She's just been hiding it under Cape
Town's bushells.


Eat Pray Eat
Eat Pray Eat
by Michael Booth
Edition: Hardcover

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hungry for more, 28 Aug 2011
This review is from: Eat Pray Eat (Hardcover)
THREE certain facts mark the fate of all men: You will be born, you will die, and somewhere in between you will have an urge to own a Harley Davidson or start wearing inappropriately tight trousers.

In Eat, Pray, Eat, Michael Booth describes his own mid-life crisis, one which works out a lot happier than most. He drags his family to India and hauls them round ghettoes in a bid to write the difinitive Inadian cookery book. Can he do it before he goes mental? Well, let's just say there are hopeful twists and honest lessons to be learnt in this book of man-wisdom.


The Hanging Shed (Douglas Brodie)
The Hanging Shed (Douglas Brodie)
by Gordon Ferris
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gorbals blimey! What a book!, 28 Aug 2011
THIS is hard and nasty. But you'd expect that for 1940's Glasgow.
The war is over but it's still hell in the Gorbals where drugs, crime, rats, cut-throat razors and poverty are rife. Into this human mess walks Brodie, back on his home patch to save a mutilated mate from the hanging for a crime he didn't commit. Sling a knuckledustered fistful of bent cops, pervy priests and ruthless gangsters into the sordid mix and you've got a book that'll keep you awake at night and a damn sight more wary during the day.
Not to mention grateful you were born anywhere but there and then. A stonker of a book.


The Dead Sea Deception
The Dead Sea Deception
by Adam Blake
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.59

34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deceptively good, 17 Aug 2011
This review is from: The Dead Sea Deception (Paperback)
I'd stuck this book so far down the pile of "to reads" it might have been passed off as one of the sacred scrolls itself. I count among the ranks of Holy Blood and Holy Grail nerds, and I was miffed at Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code, even though I enjoyed the film (Tom Hanks's hair: what a scream!). I just assumed The Dead Sea Deception was just another wannabe.

I was wrong. It's a clever romp and very tidily put together too, for the most part. It has an intriguing build-up, characters you can care about and a plot which draws you along until suddenly you're thoroughly enjoying yourself in totally implausible country.

You have a mercenary with a mountain of baggage, a lesbian cop with plenty of hassles to deal with, a Yank cop of the Tommy Lee Jones No Country For Old Men variety, and a religious psycho leading a small army in his image. After an explosive start the book gets down to business. A nutty and soon-to-be-dead professor has sussed out a secret in one of the Dead Sea Scrolls, a secret a fanatical sect want kept under wraps. Adam Blake takes this straightforward idea and runs with it. Runs with it so far, your mental jaw will drop. But he had me convinced and I was looking up details on the Internet just to check out the possibilities, and I've since learnt a stack more than the fact that Blake is a fine storyteller.

Now I've realised, late in the day, that I rather enjoy this genre and I'm going to have to move them further up the tottering pile. If they're all as good as this it could be a life-changing move.


32 Programmes
32 Programmes
by Dave Roberts
Edition: Paperback
Price: 10.70

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Roberts scores a blinder, 2 Aug 2011
This review is from: 32 Programmes (Paperback)
IMAGINE loafing in your favourite armchair, old mates around, beers and bites on hand, humour high, watching and discussing re-runs of memorable football matches.

Sounds good, doesn't it? Well it's not far off what you get with Dave Roberts' delightful homage to the Beautiful Game, and the part his life has played in it. The simple premise...he's got to whittle his lifetime collection of match programmes down to 32...is probably cobblers, but it allows him to relate the story behind each one.

So we have a book full of the joys, miseries, near-misses, hopes, failures and fun of life, in this case a football obsessive's, but it's one we can all find something to identify with.

A heart-warmer, people. Up there with the best of `em.


The Negotiator: My life at the heart of the hostage trade
The Negotiator: My life at the heart of the hostage trade
by Ben Lopez
Edition: Hardcover

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth a king's ransom, 1 Aug 2011
K&R sounds like a Midlands plastics firm, or a shabby used furniture shop just off the High Street. In Ben Lopez's business it stands for Kidnap & Ransom, and his job is trying to arrange happy outcomes to such crimes.

He's a negotiator, like the ones you see in films only real, and he deals with very real, very nasty people. Popping up anywhere on the planet at short notice with his shadowy team, he puts words into baddies' brains, not bullets. It's a technique that seems to work; he hasn't lost a hostage yet.

This book takes us along for the harrowing ride into the what has to be the most difficult of situations. We get to see all the activity going on behind the scenes, smell the testosterone flooding the hair-trigger hot-spots, feel the desperation, the anger, the fear, and marvel at the composure and restraint of a well-schooled pro in action.

Stuffed with eye-opening facts about the kidnapping "industry" and enough tension to snap jaw muscles, The Negotiator is an astonishing, must-read real-lifer of a telly series just waiting to be made.


The Caspian Gates (Warrior of Rome 4)
The Caspian Gates (Warrior of Rome 4)
by Harry Sidebottom
Edition: Hardcover

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars There's no pace like Rome, 21 July 2011
Surely it'd be puerile to point out that Harry Sidebottom's Roman adventure features a character called Mastabates? Not that it seems in any way awkward in his latest work, a book that stands out for its earthy, army dialogue, something the very learned Mr S has really got the hang of, though I'm sure he doesn't use it in his university lectures.

His Warrior of Rome series, following the battles of the rugged Ballista both on and off the bloody pitch, form a body of man-reading girlies would struggle to understand. There's history and detail to satisfy the keenest speccy-wearing buff, of course. But there's also blood'n'guts a-plenty to feed those primal urges.

In The Caspian Gates all of this is coming at you from the off, with the delightful Goths giving our civilised heroes headaches of a viciously literal kind. Ballista has to face these murderous bastards, as well as deal with plots and intrigues, but manages to keep a manly hold even when the fan's clogged with the sticky stuff. The tale takes us over land and sea with a pace that switches from brisk to high heart-rate quickly and often enough to make you glad you fitted low-energy lightbulbs.

If there's a fault in the book it's, well, arguably not a fault: It's just that sometimes I was getting a shade too much Latin detail in places, stuff I didn't really need to enjoy the story. It can sometimes act as a bit of a sea anchor on yarns this exciting.

That said, I think Harry's cut from the same cloth as Conn Iggulden, up there with the best of them. Certainly his word-smithery is on a par, and Warrior of Rome is at least the equal of the Emperor series, in my view. I've tucked first editions of both into my collection. Between Conn and Harry a man can head off to the fictional wars of history and never have to come home. Or want to, for that matter.

The Caspian Gates is a winner, like all the best heroes!


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