Happy Halloween Everyone!
So, what horrors has everyone had this year? What books/films have people been watching? I can recommend some of the offerings from BBC Radio.
Anyhow, while you await your Appointments With Fear, here are some treats for you.
1) The Great Siege by William Napier. Really good novel about the Siege of Malta in 1565. If you like Zulu you might like this.
2) Freedom’s Pilgrim by Edward James. Much of this is set in Mexico shortly after the Spanish Conquest. If you want to find out about how the Aztecs fared have a read of this.
3) A Small Hand by Susan Hill. I listened to the audiobook of this novel and this is a very good tale from the writer of The Woman in Black.
4) The Rik Mayall: Bigger than Hitler, Better than Christ. The very funny autobiography of the actor who tragically died last year.
So, enjoy the rest of Halloween and don’t have nightmares…
Summer’s here… apparently. Well, they say a heatwave is on the way so here’s hoping.
Now, I bet you’re all wondering what I’ve been plundering from the local libraries, aren’t you? Well, here we are:
1) I Belong to the Earth by J. A. Ironside. Taking a break from historical fiction (‘Whaaaat?’ I hear you all cry) I enjoyed this very much. A classic ghost story with elements of fantasy added for good measure.
2) Assassins’ Creed: Renaissance by Oliver Bowden. Although I’ve not played the game I’m tempted to give the first one in the series another go and move onto this. A good adventure story with a good mix of historical characters and events.
3) Thief’s Tale by S. J. A. Turney. This is the first in the Ottoman Cycle series. Gives a good account of life in Istanbul shortly after the Ottoman conquest. If you liked the Marius’ Mules series, you’ll like this too.
4) Empire of the Moghul: Raiders from the East by Alex Rutherford. I’m glad I gave this a go. I know very little about this time and place so it’s good to try something new.
I also finished The Tower by Nigel Jones that I started last month. One of the best non-fiction books I’ve read in a while. There will be a Tower of London post at some point. Honest.
Did anyone else think March was a long month. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing but is summer coming anytime soon?
Anyway, to while away the last thirty one days, here’s what literary delights flowed into my eyes (yes, that does need some work…)
1) Fatherland by Robert Harris. I read this before a long time ago and thought it was time to give it another read, especially with the adaptation of The Man in the High Castle which is another alternative history of life after the Second World War, had the Nazis and Japanese won.
2) Emperor: Blood of Gods by Conn Iggulden. I loved the previous books in this series and enjoyed this too. I can also recommend the Conqueror series and have just started Stormbird set at the beginning of the Wars of the Roses.
3) 1602 by Neil Gaiman. Do you like graphic novels? Superheroes? Alternative History? All three mixed together? Then read this – the story of Sir Nicholas Fury, Peter Parquagh, the Four of the Fantastick and many more. I liked this very much.
4) Walls of Byzantium by James Heneage. First he sold good books. Now he writes great books. I loved this novel, set in the late fourteenth century at a time when great empires clashed: the Byzantines, the Ottomans, Mongols, Venetians and Genoans. I look forward to reading the next one.
As for my work, the latest round of edits for the Alternative History are finished. All that needs now is a visit to some locations where the action takes place (any excuse for a holiday) and then it can go round the agents, hot on the heels of The Lenin Plots. While I plan where the series goes from here I’ve started another novella. All that needs to be done is another visit to where it takes place. Just as soon as the weather eases up…
Happy Easter, one and all.