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The Watchers: A Secret History of the Reign of Elizabeth I
The Watchers: A Secret History of the Reign of Elizabeth I
by Stephen Alford
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.28

5.0 out of 5 stars History writing of the highest standard., 15 Feb. 2016
This is a superb book. I find that occasionally, history books can lack pace and verve; not this one. Taking the religious situation in late Elizabethan England as the backdrop, this book skilfully and stylishly examines the people involved in protecting protestant England from plots and foreign threats against both the country and Elizabeth herself. It is absolutely fascinating and difficult to put down. I have a huge interest in Elizabeth and her reign and this is right up there with the best books that I have read about this period - it is highly recommended. I have recently learned that the author has also written a biography of William Cecil, who features prominently in this - that is now a 'must read' for me.


The Medici: Godfathers of the Renaissance
The Medici: Godfathers of the Renaissance
by Paul Strathern
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.38

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars History made accessible, 19 Jan. 2013
This is an excellent account of the Medici family's rise and fall in Renaissance era Italy. Each member of the dynasty is given the correct amount of time and the author skilfully interweaves these profiles with the turbulent events of the time. Concentrating initially on Florence, inevitably, and then later Rome, the rest of Italy and wider Europe, this is as much a history of renaissance Europe as a history of one family. And I must complement the authors style, which is pacey, never patronising and really arouses one's interest in the subject. Recommended.


Foucault's Pendulum
Foucault's Pendulum
by Umberto Eco
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Agonising, 1 Oct. 2012
This review is from: Foucault's Pendulum (Paperback)
I really wanted to like this, especially as The Name of the Rose was so good. But the prose is borderline incomprehensible with little or no cohesion from one paragraph to the next. And I would agree with another reviewer - the reviews on the back of the book are incredibly misleading. Umberto Eco is someone I admire greatly but this seemed just a vehicle to advertise his massive intellect at the expense of a readable story. I persevered to the end but it was excruciating.


The Count of Monte Cristo
The Count of Monte Cristo
by Alexandre Dumas
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An absolute classic, 4 Jun. 2011
This is, in my opinion, the greatest book ever written. It has everything you could wish for in a book, and more; the length of it may deter someone from reading it but in my opinion you don't really realise the size of the book as you become so embroiled in the story. And what a story it is.

It centres on the wrongful imprisonment of a sailor, Edmond Dantes, his encounter with a fellow prisoner and his eventual escape to riches and revenge on those responsible for his incarceration. One reviewer has already highlighted the various appeals of the book and I agree with them totally - loyalty, despair, revenge, history (several periods), politics, culture, philosophy, humour....I could go on. It was, for me, utterly stimulating both as a great story and as an education.

There is an extremely large number of characters but one part of the book's genius is how they all link together and how their fates become entwined as the various plot threads come together. I wouldn't want to give away any more than that!

I confess I have only read this book once - it had such an impact that I had to share this - but I will read it again because I am sure that will only add to the experience.

This book is life-enhancing and my advice to anyone is to read it and not deprive yourself.


The Whisperer
The Whisperer
by Donato Carrisi
Edition: Paperback

7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Too clever by half, 23 April 2011
This review is from: The Whisperer (Paperback)
The premise of this book promised much but unfortunately delivered little. It is definitely true that a sense of 'creepiness' pervades much of the story but what the reader encounters is a catalogue of implausibility. It's all very well having twists and turns but there were developments here that were laughable. When there's a psychic nun involved, you know you're at the bottom of the barrel.

The personalities of the main characters are also inconsistent and you don't feel that you really know them at all; the lack of a specific location is disorientating (are we in America? The UK?) and you sense that the author is just trying to cram as many shocks as possible into the story.

I read a lot of books but this is the first time that I have felt the need to share my anguish. I have read the favourable reviews and all I can guess is that some people are very easily pleased.....this is a book to be avoided at all costs.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 13, 2011 5:59 PM BST


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