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Thomas Black (West Midlands, UK)

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The Inquisitor's Handbook (Dark Heresy)
The Inquisitor's Handbook (Dark Heresy)
by Alan Bligh
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars Essential buy for Dark Heresy players, 21 May 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I and my friends are about to start playing this role-play game by Fantasy Flight Games, with myself as GM (Games Master), and my research showed this book will expand on what you read in the Core Rulebook, adding extra rules, character creation options, wargear and seriously expanded background section on religion in the 41st Millenium and what it actually means to be an Acolyte in the service of the Emperor's Holy Inquisition.
Whilst not essential, I would recommend getting this book before starting out, if only for the expanded character creation rules and the extra background materiel - all will I feel lead to more satisfying roleplay, especially to players not already familiar with Warhammer 40K lore.


Sigma 18-50mm f2.8-4.5 DC OS HSM Lens for Canon Digital SLR Cameras with APS C Sensors
Sigma 18-50mm f2.8-4.5 DC OS HSM Lens for Canon Digital SLR Cameras with APS C Sensors

2.0 out of 5 stars OK for a casual, poor for an amateur/semi-pro photographer, 21 Mar. 2012
I bought this lens for my 500D to replace my kit lens and to give me the option of taking some wide-angle shots at F2.8, which would have been good for my live-music photography.

What I got was a lens which, whilst well made and sturdy, was well below-par in terms of picture quality and sharpness. A quickl test shoot with the lens - of a vase of flowers - looked fine when you didn't look too close at it. However when you loook up close at it, zoom in at the details, you see the picture quality is very blocky. There is no sharpness to the image when there should be. The optical stabiliser, which should compensate for camera shake, needs about half a minute to 'warm up', and when you need to take a concert photograph this is not a plus. I was very disappointed with this lens and I returned it within two weeks of getting it, having tried and failed to get it to work to my satisfaction. Kudos to Amazon, though, for a quick and no-fuss refund.

In short, this lens would be OK for the casual photographer whose pictures may never go under close scrutiny. But for photographers who take pictures for public or commercial consumption (in my case, promotional and website material for a local band) this lens is no good. You're better off saving up your money a little bit longger and getting a proper Canon lens.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 11, 2013 4:10 AM BST


The 33 Strategies Of War (The Robert Greene Collection)
The 33 Strategies Of War (The Robert Greene Collection)
by Robert Greene
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.18

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Useful Everyday Guide to Life., 12 April 2011
Life is a struggle. It is one fought against other people, whether it be against a rival politician in an election, relatives in a family feud, or against bosses and bullies at work. Anything that can help out in these situations is always a help for those who could be considered underdogs, and this book is a very good attempt at this.
Whilst the book's title would seem to be aimed a wannabe generals and military commanders (wherther in real life or in a virtual game-playing one), the various strategies can be applied to any walk of life. It talks you through the strategies and how they were applied in real life. With a little re-wording on your own part, you can then apply them to your own problems.
Machiavellian in its approach, this book and its strategies will not be for everyone - I myself found some proposed strategies quite excessive if not heartless and just as likely to cause more problems than they solve. But sometimes you can only fight fire with fire, and let's face it, everyone who has faced a bullying boss at work (I certainly have) will want to give them a taste of their own medicine - and some ideas in these pages will help you do so whilst keeping your slate clean.
This book - and the other two written by Robert Greene, also sold here on Amazon - are useful guides on one-upmanship, but I would caution people to not take these lessons too much to heart, for as I have already said, making yourself the office Machiavelli will make you numerous enemies, and that leads to more problems in the long run. Otherwise, an entertaining read and a useful guide to life and its bullies.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 6, 2015 4:29 AM BST


New Model Army
New Model Army
by Adam Roberts
Edition: Paperback

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, thought provoking start. Confused finish., 12 April 2011
This review is from: New Model Army (Paperback)
'New Model Army' got my attention based on its premise - the existence of small armies available for hire to small nations to prosecute their wars but in a new, higly flexible and highly democratic manner, and their apparent success against older, more hierarchical armies (Ie; the armies of nations as they currently stand).
The first half of the book has the underlying debate of the merits of their brand of democracy - the old, Athenian model, where all the citizens had a vote on each matter and all could individually have their say on them - and argues that such a thing could be implemented today in our society given our prevalence of communications technology. The result of this in the NMAs is the pooling of thoughts and experience to come up with solutions to tactical problems. It is well thought out and well argued, and compares this near-utopian ideal to our current system. Just don't take it too much to heart!
However, the second half got confused I thought, or at least it got so complex that my mind could not keep up, looking at the ideas of the merging of human thought and artificial thought - I think. If there was a moral here it eluded me.
On the whole, as my title implies, it is a book of two halves. The first half is full of thought-provoking debate about the merits and faults of our political system. The second half I feel lost its way, or went off in a direction that I lost track of. It left me feeling disappointed, hence my three-star rating.


Behemoth
Behemoth
by Scott Westerfeld
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars A Very Good Sequel to 'Leviathan', 12 April 2011
This review is from: Behemoth (Hardcover)
'Behemoth' picks up from where 'Leviathan' left off, with our two main characters aboard a giant living airship-beast-thing, and straight into another set of adventures.
Scott Westerfeld has created a living, breathing steampunk alternate history, based largely on the events of our own World War One - only with walking tanks and giant ship-eating krakens!
Westerfeld's inclusion of artwork of scenes from the story helps put an image in the readers mind, telling you more with a glance than a few hundred descriptive words could. This is a feature than makes this collection of books stand out, if only because few other authors use such illustrations in their own books. It allows a reader to focus their attention on the story.
Overall, I find this collection of books very good so far, and I eagerly await part three of this series.


Demon Witch (Sorcerers of the Nightwing # 2)
Demon Witch (Sorcerers of the Nightwing # 2)
by Geoffrey Huntington
Edition: Paperback

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another superb book in the series!, 6 July 2006
After reading 'Hellhole' I immediately bought the sequel. I was not disappointed!

As you would expect with books of this callibre, some questions asked in the first book are answered, others aren't, and new ones are added. Huntington's style of writing makes it exciting, keeping you guessing about what is going to happen next, and yet easy enough to read in a day.

As with the first, you will not want to put this down until you've finished reading this latest adventure for Devon and his friends!


Hellhole (Sorcerers of the Nightwing # 1)
Hellhole (Sorcerers of the Nightwing # 1)
by Geoffrey Huntington
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Thrilling and Engrossing!!, 6 July 2006
'Hellhole' is excellent value for money. If you want a thrilling book with a taste of the supernatural, that can be read in a day, then this and it's sequel 'Demon Witch' are what you need.

Think Anthony Horrowitz's Alex Rider series of books with sorcery and demons added; you would not want to put it down until you have finished!

I really cannot wait until Huntington brings out the next one!


Achtung Panzer!: The Development of Tank Warfare (CASSELL MILITARY PAPERBACKS)
Achtung Panzer!: The Development of Tank Warfare (CASSELL MILITARY PAPERBACKS)
by Heinz Guderian
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!, 21 Jun. 2005
This book is a great buy for anyone with even a passing interest in tank warfare. From those who do it for a hobby to the serious military historian, this book is recommended to anyone who either want to see why the German Panzers did so well in the 1939-1941 period, or wish to study how the tank became such a dominating force in land warfare for half a century, or simply want to read how the tank turned from a slow, unreliable, subbordinate arm of the army to the fast, decisive force it became. The editor's introduction is helpful in giving pointers for Guderian's main points, as well as clarifying for the confused reader what Guderian was saying. A must-buy for any budding military historian.


The Reason Why
The Reason Why
by Cecil Woodham-Smith
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good read, but not academically brilliant, 21 Jun. 2005
This review is from: The Reason Why (Paperback)
As a student of War Studies, I bought this book to aid me with a project involving the Charge of the Light Brigade. At first glance, the book appeared to be everything that was required to help me with the question of 'Who was to blame' for the blunder.
Woodham-Smith's narrative style of writing makes for an easy-to-follow flow of reading and keeps you gripped. Yet it cannot be helped but feel that her arguement - that Lord Cardigan and Lord Lucan are most to blame for the ill-fated charge - lacks actual analysis into the events surrounding the charge. Instead, Woodham-Smith gives a very detailled background into the two men - their past, their personalities, their weaknesses - and then use the readers' growing (and understandable) 'hate' for these two men to believe that they MUST be resonsible for the blunder because they were easily despiced men. Yet it misses the point; their personalities and histories played practically no role in the reasons behind the blunder. In short, the book provides no real answer to who is responsible.
For those with a passing interest in the charge of the Light Brigade, this is a good read, but for the academic it isn't that useful, unless you want to see what sort of self-interested, feuding nobles and lords were left in charge of Britain's armies during the Victorian era.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 14, 2010 2:47 PM BST


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