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Jippu (Oxford UK)

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To Kill the President: The most explosive thriller of the year
To Kill the President: The most explosive thriller of the year
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bad men never die, 9 Oct. 2017
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Sam Bourne/Jonathan Freedland, a Guardian jounalist has written a very timely book about Donald Trump and his entourage. Here the most evil person in a Steven Bannon-like character who uses Maggie Costello, the highly intelligent and resourceful presidential assistant who has remained in the White House although she loathes the president and his acolytes The big shame and secret of Maggie Costello is that it was she who noticed that Hillary Clinton had used her private e-mail to conduct official business and thus causes her defeat. Now she is put to discover an (intended) conspiracy by two highly placed men in the president's cabinet to kill the president because of his mental instability and danger to the world peace. She duly discovers the culprits but fails to warn the president in time. The president does not die and the Bannon-like character enjoys hugely to tell Maggie how she has been used. But Maggie gets the last laugh. Here the characters are quite frightening because so real and it is easy to believe that the real Donald Trump would react in the manner of the fictional president. Still, Bourne/Freedland makes it a bit too easy in the final pages. Yet the possiblity of a presidential coup in the aftermath of a murder attempt is not impossible. Anything is possible with Donald Trump.


The Chosen One
The Chosen One
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4.0 out of 5 stars No place for chance, 9 Oct. 2017
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This review is from: The Chosen One (Kindle Edition)
Sam Bourne/Jonathan Friedland has writteh two books about the White House, the first of an obama-like president who resigns as a result of a damaging revelations from his past and the second of a trump-like president who has to step down because of a very trumpian scandal (where the president has several of his competitors and obstructors killed by the CIA and almost succeeds to stage a coup in the United States. In the Chosen One, as the title reveals, there is a worldwide conspiracy to find and help fitting politicians who can be made to obey the wishes of the financial elite because they have damaging information on them. To leave nothing to chance, is the main principle. So when the president resigns, the next one is already in the works. The conspiracy uses innocent activists to their own purposes by having complete control over their movements and private lives. So the hero in Bourne's book is extremely intelligent and resourceful and has very computer-savvy helpers, only to find them being murdered and finally that her revelations are only one step in the conspirators' plot (she is chosen as the person to deliver the final blow to her political hero) Freedland's world is truly filled by very dark conspiracies and very evil people so that the good ones are just pawns in the hands of political demons. In the latter book there is a glimmer of hope, but only just. The chosen one is totally black. One evil man is eliminated, another one fills his place.


Pantheon
Pantheon
Price: £3.49

4.0 out of 5 stars Eugenics conspiracy, 9 Oct. 2017
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This review is from: Pantheon (Kindle Edition)
Sam Bourne is the former pen name of Jonathan Freedland, the Guardian jounalist. Bourne has written several books on high politics where the lead character is Maggie Costello, lately assistant to the President of the United States. Pantheon is completely different. The main character is a former athlete, wounded in the Spanish civil war, married to another athlete, with one child. He has lots of issues from the war, and is subject to uncontrolled rages and blackouts. His wife is understandably worried and decides to leave with the child, not only because of him but to be safe from the expected attack by Germany in England (they live in Oxford). So she disappears and it takes some time for the main character to understand that she has left for the United States, together with several other Oxford mothers and chldren, and organized by his friendly protector, somewhat reminding of Sidney and Beatrice Webb (who were not connected to Oxford). He succeeds in getting to Yale, where the mothers have headed but has no success in finding his wife and son. Instead, he discovers a plot to keep the USA out of the war in order to clean Britain from genetically inferior elements, And improve the stock by saving the genetically best from the war. The book is full of very nasty quotations for historical documents showing what the eugenics movement was up to. At times the main plot is no more than flimsy support for the eugenics discussion but there is still some action. The war trauma of the main character heals quite suddenly and the evil professor of the drama is not quite believable. But if you like Oxford and are interested in the eugenics movement, you'll find the book interesting. For a journalist, Freedland is really into conspiracies in his fiction.


Research
Research
Price: £4.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A ghostwriter's revenge, 9 Oct. 2017
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This review is from: Research (Kindle Edition)
Philip Kerr is a specialist on Nazi Germany and its actrocities, described though the eyes of a former socialist police man, later SS officer and and highly placed policeman (who meets all the main Nazis in the books) who survives the war and lives among other in Argentine, Cuba and France until he finally returns to Germany as fugitive. This book is not about him, but a complete diversion where the main character is a ghostwriter for an extremely successful author who produces only well-researched plots and lets his colleagues (the Atelier) to finish them. The author decides suddenly to dissemble his atelier and start writing books by himself, bringing his coworkers instant misery, as they do not have any rights to royalties on the finished products (although they are mentioned in the books as having helped him). The plot is quite complicated and in order not to reveal all the twists it is impossible to describe the in detail .Suffice to say that in the end, the roles have been turned and the ghostwriter has become a succesful author whereas the former succesful author in now his anonymous assistant, producing plots. The book is intended as a satirical description of the bestseller industry and the ambitions of the authors to become real writers. There are lots of direct and indirect intertextual references and real authors (who probably figure also in more masked guises). Also the luxury life of these succesful authors is satirized (one million dollar Rolexes, 600 pound wines, ridiculous cars - the two protagonists drive in a Bentley through Europe, just to discard it in a car park in Paris!). The plot has lots of funny turns and there are no nice people in the lineup, only vain authors, greedy underlings, unpleasant wives and girlfriends, deceptions and betrayals. And I suppose somebody would like to sue Philip Kerr, but I think he has guarded himself. I don't know if it is intentional, but there are lots of minor sloppy mistakes in the book, which somehow give the impression that the book is really manufactured by a less keen ghostwriter...


Munich
Munich
Price: £9.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A bit early for the Munich anniversary, 9 Oct. 2017
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This review is from: Munich (Kindle Edition)
Robert Harris is one of my favourite authors in the faction (= documentary fiction) category. He writes about real historical events but creates a plot which makes them more alive and prevents you from knowing everything beforehand. In this case Harris retells the famous Munich "peace for our time" capitulation when Hitler still could have been stopped - maybe. All the important protagonists are there with their own names, except some invented minor actors, like the main character, the most junior private secretary of Chamberlain, Hugh Legat. Even his German counterpart and co-conspirator, Paul Hartmann is based on a real historical character who was executed after the failed attempt at Hitler's life in 1944.
In the case of Munich, the timeline is only a few days, from Chamberlain's failed attempt to get Hitler to accept a delay so that Czechoslovakia could organize a plebiscite, to the signing of the Munich agreement and the euphoria of Chamberlain's return. Most of the action takes place in the fringes, like the failure to arrest Hitler (which depended on the refusal of the British and the French to accept the agreement so that Hitler would decide to attack), the attempt to get Chamberlain to see documents which showed clearly Hitler's true intentions as well as a lot of technical stuff about translating, typing and communicating. The main historical figures are described a bit more in detail and the portrait of Chamberlain is quite symphathetic. He is described as a person who is extremely unwilling to take the risk of leading Britain into a war when the previous one was only 20 years away. This puts him in a very difficult position when the opponent is a person who is all too willing to get into war, even though his generals believe that it is much too early (but who are ready to start a war a bit later). It was probably too late already in 1938 to stop Hitler, but that is impossible to know. The friendship between the two main characters, Hugh and Paul, dives the book an extra dimension. The details are interesting: Munich in 1938, during the Oktoberfest, Hitler's special train, the atmosphere in the German foreign ministry and the much more cramped surroundings of the 10 Downing Street. Less so the failed marriage of Hugh, which is an unnecessary English trope (coming from Le Carré and others).
The productivity of Harris is impressive, so impressive that one would think that he is being used a model of Philip Kerr (see my review of Research) of a famous and extremely productive author, but at least in the book, there is no hint that Harris would be using ghostwriters. In any case, his books are extremely readable and fascinating for the historically inclined who does not want to wade through long historical tomes. The only thing is that it takes a lot to time to produce a new book (several month's in Harris's case) whereas it takes just a few hours of intense reading to get through it, So there should actually be a factory producing monthly Harris books to keep us readers happy!


A Legacy of Spies
A Legacy of Spies
Price: £9.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great le Carré, again!, 1 Oct. 2017
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This review is from: A Legacy of Spies (Kindle Edition)
John le Carré has been a favourite author for a long time. After the demise of the Soviet Union he lost a bit of his touch, it seemed to me. Plots were a bit too simple and he had difficulty finding really interesting evil types. Or let's say, his bravura has always been ordinary people who do evil things and more or less good people who get into situations where they must do evil. A Legacy of spies is a glorious return of the good old le Carré. Here a long since retired minor figure (Peter Guillam) from the old times is invited to London to account for a case where two agents got killed. He is extremely reluctant to delve into the matter (refuses first even to remember the name of the case) but is forced to do so by the weight of evidence. Whenver possible, diens everything or lies as much as he can. His opponents are young, persistent bureaucrats who are prepare to let Peter Guillam get the blame as long as the agency is not involved. So we get back to the old times with a vengeance. Even the one Soviet agent who never was caught, the head of one branch of the services, has here an important role. And even though we don't meet George Smiley until the last pages of the book, he is the central person here, crerating a scheme which is contained in a scheme so that in the end I was a bit confused. Which of the East German eagents was supposed to be saved and which was sacrificed for the greater good? Had to reread the last 20 pages. Well, anyway, a great book and hope there will be more to come!


Prussian Blue: Bernie Gunther Thriller 12
Prussian Blue: Bernie Gunther Thriller 12
Price: £4.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Gunther squeezed between Bormann and Mielke, 5 Sept. 2017
This is the last Bernie Gunther so far (another is announced for next year) and moves, as is the customary pattern, between the horrors of Nazi Germany and post-war Europe. In both, Bernie Gunther is in danger (more so in 1956 France and Germany). This time Gunther is sent to solve a murder in der Führer's (who, for some reason is translated as the Leader in the book) house in Berchtesgaden. He is away and it is urgent that the murder solved before he comes to celebrate his birthday. Gunther is sent there by Heydrich, who also wants to gather incriminating stuff against the notoriously corrupt Martin Bormann, Hitler's right hand. We get a very precise description of the house and the workings of Hitler's closet men, while Gunther succeeds in solving the crime and catching the criminal close to the French border, in Saarland. This is where also the second plot ends, when Gunther is caught by Erch Mielke's (his old protagonist whom he has helped save three times) goons, led by his old colleague from the Berchtesgaden case. So the plot is quite complex, but not excessively so, the dialogue is typical Kerr and the nazis are just as horrible as you would expect, except for some honest Nazis who admire Hitler but not his henchmen (Bormann's brother, or the architect responsible for some of the better designs of Hitler architecture, Gerdi Troost). The evil Germans in post-war Europe come from the GDR, where they are often old nazi policemen, but of course there are lots of Old Comrades in the West, who in the end help Gunther to get a new identity. The contrast is, that in nazi Germany, Gunther is the one who gives orders and makes things happen whereas in the postwar Europe he is the one who is being ordered about and pursued like a hunted animal. A change to the previous books is that Gunther has no women who fall for him or leave him, only a mild attachment to Gerdi Troost. So it is only violence, terror and racy dialogue between men that we get. Gunther still smokes and drinks copiously, but very unrealistically is still in a condition to run and ride a bike and use heavy handed violence as an older man. Anyway, this is as good a read the previous ones, perhaps even better. Nothing for those who dislike wanton violence and sexist gender stereotypes!


The Pale Criminal: Bernie Gunther Thriller 2
The Pale Criminal: Bernie Gunther Thriller 2
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5.0 out of 5 stars A good cop among the nazis, 3 Sept. 2017
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I discovered Philip Kerr only recently and have read all the Bernie Gunther books during the summer. Consequently I have difficulty in separating what is what and discussing details of all the books. Bernie Gunther is a policeman who, in the beginning of the series, is working in the Berlin Criminal Police in the 1930's, before the nazis take power. With the nazis in power, he is first a hotel detective and then gets to work in the worst of the worst, SS and SD. After the war and imrisonment in the Soviet Union he has to hide and travel so that in the latest books, he is again working in a hotel in France. The idea in the book is that a cynical, world weary anti-nazi survives among all the worst criminals of Nazi Germany and experiences all the worst atrocities of Nazi Germany (with the exception of Auschwitz) withoug himself being compromised. All his protagonists are aware of his background, but find it useful. The books include a full cavalcade of war criminals, from Göring, Goebbels, Himmler, Eichmann Heydrich to smaller, but even worse fry. In later books we encounter Erich Mielke, the head of Stasi, with whom Gunther has a very complex relationship (saving his life not once but twice). In afterwar Germany we encounter old nazi organizations which protect their own and cynical American CIA types who collaborate with the nazis. In all, it is a very improbable, but well-weaved web of stories, where Gunther sometimes survives by killing the good guys, when they don't believe him. And his conscience is always wighing him down. The only happiness he finds is in beautiful women who strangely fall for him, just to betray him later on, after some passionate and complex sex. In addition, Gunther drinks copious amounts of strong alcohol and chainsmokes, with the quality of cigarrettes being a good indication of the position of his interlocutors. At times, the plots are tortuous, but never boring and the reader will get aqcuainted with most of the worst places of the nazi war crimes (and some Russian, such as Katyn). All in all, it is quite a ride! As to the details, they seem correct and well-researched. There are some disturbing mistakes in the german names and a preference for russian phrases the correctness of which i wouldn't vouch for. There was a strange error about the date when Finns got out of the war (1944, not 1943) which may mean that even other smaller details may not be correct. And why write about Hitler and "the leader" when der Führer would have been much more natural escpecially as there are many other German words used routinely? In any case, I warmly recommend the series for history buffs and those who like the hard-boiled genre of Eric Ambler, Dashiell Hammet, Len Deighton et al.


KKmoon Ultra thin Slim Bluetooth 2.0 Wireless Keyboard Keypad for iPad iPhone Sony PS3 Smart Phones PC & Mac Laptop Desktop Netbook HTC Nokia Sony Ericsson Motorola Samsung LG Blackberry
KKmoon Ultra thin Slim Bluetooth 2.0 Wireless Keyboard Keypad for iPad iPhone Sony PS3 Smart Phones PC & Mac Laptop Desktop Netbook HTC Nokia Sony Ericsson Motorola Samsung LG Blackberry
Offered by LiQian Tech
Price: £9.95

4.0 out of 5 stars Not bad, 4 Mar. 2016
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Nice gadget for my little daughter. And pretty cheap as the alternative would have been a Macbook!


Hidden Moon: An Inspector O Novel (Inspector O Novels)
Hidden Moon: An Inspector O Novel (Inspector O Novels)
Price: £5.27

4.0 out of 5 stars North Korea noir, and it works, 11 Feb. 2016
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I have now read three O novels and well on my way in the fourth (where North Korea is about to crumble and run over by criminal gangs) and I must say that they are extremely fascinating and beautifully written. About the crimes you get to know almost nothing (a dead woman, who has been in New York and possibly in Pakistan, but nobody knows anything about her). everything is extremely secretive and the different services fight with each other hand and tooth. Mysterious foreigners appear and disappear in the country but never get to meet anybody. O finds a crumbling very secret compound which is supposed to be making important military equipment but is actually just fake. And he gets to travel in Geneva and makes long walkts there, meeting different mysterious people and even falls in love (very improbable!). And finally everything clears, or not quite. And O is back in his dreary office in Pyongyang. All this against the background of the famous famine which disrupted life in North Korea severely. Soon I'll start to believe that this is really North Korea! (Hope I wrote about the right novel, they all get mixed up... and the atmosphere is always the same)


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