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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kaputt Mundi
This is what genre fans would call - rightly - a history-mystery. The biggest mystery, however, is why it has taken ten years for this splendid thriller to be published in the UK and with a change of title from the original "Kaputt Mundi" which is a fabulous pun given the novel's setting: Rome in 1944 in the months leading up to the city's liberation from the Germans and...
Published 8 months ago by M. D. Ripley

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2.0 out of 5 stars It is mis -representative
It is misrepresentative

This book is written for an American and Italian market certainly not British and probably not German. The main character, Major Martin von Bora of the German Weirmacht, is a complex person who has his interests and intellect in many areas. The murder plots are solved but not resolved. There is far too much time spent on analysing Major...
Published 4 months ago by Frances Green


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kaputt Mundi, 13 April 2014
By 
M. D. Ripley "Mike Ripley" (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dark Song of Blood, A (Martin Bora Series) (Paperback)
This is what genre fans would call - rightly - a history-mystery. The biggest mystery, however, is why it has taken ten years for this splendid thriller to be published in the UK and with a change of title from the original "Kaputt Mundi" which is a fabulous pun given the novel's setting: Rome in 1944 in the months leading up to the city's liberation from the Germans and their remaining Fascist allies. It is the third in Pastor's excellent series featuring the wounded, aristocratic German army officer Martin von Bora as a reluctant detective investigating three suspicious deaths in a time and place where death is common place. Having a "good German" hero during the Second World War brings immediate comparison with Philip Kerr's Bernie Gunther series and although different in style and pace, the Bora books certainly hold their own. Pastor's writing, emotions and attention to period detail, however, stand comparison with the European spy stories of Alan Furst, which is a pretty exclusive club to be a member of. As with Furst, there are passages, often doom-filled poignant scenes, which stay long in the mind after finishing the book. In A Dark Song of Blood, there is a section where Bora meets his estranged wife and the result is absolutely heart-breaking, and also a supremely tense race-against-time to rescue his Italian policeman side-kick from a mass execution (a true incident) by the SS in retaliation for partisan attacks. Ben (Verbena) Pastor, an Italian, is pitch-perfect when it comes not only to her historical settings, but also to the psychology and frailties of a large cast of predominantly male characters (soldiers, political satraps and Vatican cardinals), though her female characters are equally well-defined and memorably tinged with sadness.
There is a fourth Bora novel (The Tin Sky) currently only available in Italian. Will somebody please make sure I don't have to wait for ten years for that one!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Dark Song of Blood, 9 April 2014
By 
S Riaz "S Riaz" (England) - See all my reviews
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This is the third novel featuring Martin Bora, following “Lumen” and “Liar Moon.” This book sees Bora in Rome and takes place from January to May, 1944. It is coming to the end of the Nazi occupation and, like “Liar Moon,” the novel features Inspector Sandro Guidi as an uncomfortable partner of Bora in an investigation. For those forced to work with the Germans will soon possibly be viewed as collaborators and there is an uneasy feeling in a city where the Allies are approaching and the Germans may be forced to pull out at any moment.

Guidi has been told to investigate the death of Magda Reiner, a secretary at the German Embassy, who fell to her death from her apartment. The main suspect is a man called Merlo; one of the highest ranking Party official in Rome. However, Guido’s superior officer seems unwilling to contemplate any other outcome and it leaves Guido wondering why he has been framed for the crime. Reunited with Bora, the two investigate while the war escalates and you cannot escape the irony of one murder being given such importance when the city is torn by reprisals, the resistance, curfews, oppression and hunger.

Those who have followed this evocative and intelligent series will already be aware of Bora’s difficult relationship with his wife, Benedikta. She figures again in this novel, visiting him in Rome, while Guidi becomes intrigued by Francesca Lippi – a young woman who shares the boarding house where he is staying. This book sees us explore more of Bora’s repressed personal life. Now damaged by war physically, as well as mentally, he finds his life as a German officer and his personal feelings begin to clash more and more. This novel will take us from the politics of the Vatican to torture and mass executions. It is no exaggeration to say that, at the end of this novel, you will feel emotionally wrung. However, if you are coming to this series for the first time, please try to read them in order – they are really best read in sequence . This is a rewarding, and different, crime series, which is both enjoyable and yet, at times, difficult to read. Still, I do hope that Martin Bora will figure in future books, as it is rare to find such a fascinating, if flawed, central character.
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2.0 out of 5 stars It is mis -representative, 3 Aug 2014
This review is from: Dark Song of Blood, A (Martin Bora Series) (Paperback)
It is misrepresentative

This book is written for an American and Italian market certainly not British and probably not German. The main character, Major Martin von Bora of the German Weirmacht, is a complex person who has his interests and intellect in many areas. The murder plots are solved but not resolved. There is far too much time spent on analysing Major Bora’s emotional and psychological issues. The character description does not ring true; he is an aristocrat, a Prussian and obviously Saxon. No Saxon spent so much time travelling through so many of their own emotions and analysing themselves. His parentage is half English (mother) but his wide spreading emotions are certainly not Saxon, he reacts like an Italian or maybe an American. Saxons are more capable of switching off and not being involved with issues and personalities; empathy and chewing over emotional issues is not really part of their make up. There is a degree of coolness and disassociation from emotional issues and people on many occasions I felt too that the character was speaking like John Wayne: is this for an American audience? Yes, I would say so. No Prussian educated in the 1920’s and 30’s would have such a vocabulary.
The book is based around the invasion of Italy by the ‘Americans’, that is the 5th Army, and the people refer in the book to ‘the Americans are coming’ and ‘when the Americans arrive’ etc. This is quite annoying and in fact incorrect. The 5th Army was huge. There are only two or three remarks about the British made, one is when they take an airport then lose it, and the other is about two British fighters strafing a road. Inflammatory in my ears as my mother’s brother was at Anzio fighting with all the Allies. In the 5th Army in Italy the USA had 109,642 killed, the British 47,452 and the French 27,671 from Sept 43 to May 45. These figures refer to Italy only and there is no mention to the huge amount of Commonwealth troops and indeed Brazilians also in Italy. I think this is more than the ‘Americans are coming’, this is pure propaganda. I did not like this book; it did not ring true either by character nor facts. Let me remind the author that in WW2 : British killed: 700,000 military and 60,000 civilians. USA military killed 416,000, civilians some hundreds. I could make some remarks about the ‘Professor of History’ writing under a pen name. I will spare myself the emotions.
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5.0 out of 5 stars No Fun for Martin Bora in German-Occupied Rome, 11 Jun 2014
By 
Steele Curry (Calgary, Alberta, Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dark Song of Blood, A (Martin Bora Series) (Paperback)
The third book in the author’s excellent series featuring Major Martin Bora, an aristocratic officer in the German Army, takes place in German-occupied Rome from January 8 to June 4, 1944, the date of the withdrawal of German forces from the city. Bora is tasked with investigating three high-profile murders together with Roman police Inspector Sandro Guidi who had also worked with Bora in the prior novel, Liar Moon. Bora becomes caught up in the power struggle between the German Army, the SS and the Gestapo while Guidi has to content with competing factions within the Roman police as well as the Partisans and resistance. The Vatican also exerts its own power and influence over events. The author masterfully describes the complexity of life in occupied Rome as well as the personal and opposing tensions experienced by Bora and Guidi as they struggle to solve the crimes. This is mystery fiction, a war story and a historical novel tightly woven together by a superb storyteller.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent period novel - slightly weak ending, 15 May 2014
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This is the 3rd book of the series but the first one I had read - ( I have since brought the first 2 books).

The " hero" of the story Martin Bora is a slightly disillusioned German officer but deeply loyal to his country and to the discipline of the army. A believable character who, almost against your better judgement, you come to respect and care for. The historical backdrop is very believable and the story weaves around real events and concerns.

An enjoyable story well told.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 10 Dec 2014
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Bradley Wood - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dark Song of Blood, A (Martin Bora Series) (Paperback)
fast service=happy customer
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A dark slow tale, 11 May 2014
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Matron loved the 'blurb' on this. And the period. How can you go wrong? And the idea of things from the Nazi side. But this was SO dull. Every page is dialogue. There's no sympathy for the characters. And after two chapters I am no wiser what the story is.

If an editor thought this was a good read then all Matron can say is that there must be plenty of hours in that day in that particular publishing house....

No sense of gripping the reader in the first chapter.

Perhaps we've just had enough of WW2...
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Dark Song of Blood, A (Martin Bora Series)
Dark Song of Blood, A (Martin Bora Series) by Ben Pastor (Paperback - 6 May 2014)
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