Helpful votes received on reviews: 82% (18 of 22)


Top Reviewer Ranking: 533,912 - Total Helpful Votes: 18 of 22
The Riddle of the Sands (Vintage Classics) by Erskine Childers
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
The second half of the novel, I gather, is truly exciting, but I have only reached half-way and so far it has been unutterably tedious. It is full of shipboard talk that land-lubbers like me find difficulty with. Take this from chapter 6: 'They were sailing-barges, something like those that ply in the Thames, bluff-bowed, high-sterned craft of about fifty tons, ketch-rigged, and fitted with lee-boards, very light spars, and a long tip-tilted bowsprit. (For the future I shall call them 'galliots'.)' I presume Childers is in deadly earnest, but it would be easy to believe he was actually taking the mickey out of the jargon-infested narratives of those literal-minded non-fiction writers who… Read more
The Crimson Ribbon by Katherine Clements
The Crimson Ribbon by Katherine Clements
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A finely-judged style, 22 April 2014
I will forgive a book almost anything as long as it is well-written, and The Crimson Ribbon is undenaibly well written. Katherine Clements has got the balance and alternation between dialogue and description absolutely spot-on. Although her characters speak fluently and with clarity, they do still sound like real people as they articulate their response to those events they are caught up in and shape others. It is always tricky with historical fiction: how do you represent speech so that it feels authentic without actually being faithful to what we know of the English of the day? Part of Katherine's secret is to shun the long, grammatically convoluted sentence; the economy of her style, fed… Read more
The Death of King Arthur by Simon Armitage
The Death of King Arthur by Simon Armitage
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Blood and guts galore, 6 Jan 2012
This is not quite as good as Armitage's version of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight - as far as content and level of sophistication are concerned - but that is the fault of the original medieval poem which I seem to remember from my student days was regarded very much as a second-rate text. But if you like Armitage's robust and athletic style and rich word-hoard you will not be disappointed.

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