The Peshawar Lancers

December 16, 2008

Author: S. M. Stirling
Copyright: 2002
Publisher: ROC

Started: 12/16/08
Completed: 12/25/08

My brother Matt loaned me this book. It is an alternative-history novel based on the premise that a natural disaster in the latter half of the 19th Century interrupted history. The novel is set in a 21st century that is still using steam-based technology. It is a good adventure story and an interesting sorta-science-fiction story.

Empire of Ivory

December 11, 2008

Author: Naomi Novik
Copyright: 2007
Publisher: Ballantine Books

Started: 12/11/08
Completed: 12/16/08

This is the fourth in the Tremeraire series that I have been reading the last few months. Reading this will catch me up on the whole series; a long story about fighting dragoons in the service of the English during the Napoleanic wars. Very good book.

Throne of Jade

November 28, 2008

Author: Naomi Novik
Copyright: 2006
Publisher: Harper

Started: 11/28/08
Completed: 12/4/08

My brother Matt loaned me this book. It is the second in the Tremeraire series, which he suggested to me in the first place. I’ve now read the third book, and the first (out of order) and the fourth is on my “to-read” shelf. This series assumes that there were dragons in the military arsenals of the combatant nations in the Napoleonic wars. Tremeraire is a dragon; a sentient creature who carries a captain and crew into battle. The series follows their story and examines the relationships among the crew and with the dragon.

The Black Tower

November 17, 2008

Author: Louis Bayard
Copyright: 2008
Publisher: Twelve

Started: 11/17/08
Completed: 11/23/08

This is a literary, historical, mystery novel set in Paris of the early 1800’s. Bayard wrote Mr. Timothy, another historical mystery and one that I thoroughly enjoyed. So this seemed worth a try.

It centers on Eugène François Vidocq, a figure from French history who had served time in prison but later become the first modern detective. According to Wikipedia, he inspired both Jean Valjean and Javert, the police inspector who pursued Valjean in Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables.

The Whiskey Rebels

November 3, 2008

Author: David Liss
Copyright: 2008
Publisher: Random House

Started: 11/3/08
Completed: 11/12/08

This is a historical novel set in the early United State; immediately post-Revolution. It has two main story lines that intersect and connect. It is told in two first person voices, and telescopes through time in places.

The plot, involving financial plots, is complex and can be confusing, but there is action and good descriptive writing. This is an enjoyable book about a period of US history that we don’t read about as often.

His Majesty’s Dragon

October 30, 2008

Author: Naomi Novik
Copyright: 2006
Publisher: Ballantine Books

Started: 10/30/08
Completed: 11/3/08

This is the first in the Tremeraire Series that my brother Matt pointed me toward. I started the series by reading the third in the series; I found that at the bookstore before finding this one at the library.

This is a great book. Probably better than the third, to be honest. But in any case, I’m on the lookout for the second book.

Black Powder War

October 20, 2008

Author: Naomi Novik
Copyright: 2006
Publisher: Ballantine Books

Started: 10/20/08
Completed: 10/27/08

This is part of a series of novels recommended to me by my brother Matt, who shares some of my tastes in reading. The series assumes that the British military had access to dragons (flying dragons) duirng the Napoleonic wars. Matt is not normally a fan of fantasy, but has a keen eye for a well crafted historical or military novel and enjoys a good series as much as I do. This is the third in the series. I couldn’t find books one and two. But I wanted to give it a try.

And it turns out to be worth it. I will look forward to finding, and reading, the rest of this series.

The Little Book

October 6, 2008

Author: Seldon Edwards
Copyright: 2008
Publisher: Dutton

Started: 10/6/08
Completed: 10/12/08

This is a time-travel book that the author worked on over some 30 years. I enjoy time-travel books both for the feeling of “being there” and for the twisted plot logic that they can bring. This is a very engaging novel. It is one of those that you hate to finish, because it has been such fun to be in this world.

Missy

October 2, 2008

Author: Chris Hannan
Copyright: 2008
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Started: 10/1/08
Completed: 10/6/08

This is a modern novel about the American West. It deals with the role of women, and with drug abuse. It is a dark novel, but an interesting read.

The Electric Michelangelo

September 7, 2008

Author: Sarah Hall
Copyright: 2004
Publisher: Faber and Faber

Started: 9/6/08
Completed: 9/13/08

This is a story about a man who leads a curiously solitary life as a skilled tattoo artist. It follows him from youth to old age as he grows up in a shabby English sea-side resort, apprentices to a crabby older artist, moves to America and Cony Island and ultimately back to England to settle into old age. It is what I would call a lyrical novel, with description and action interspersed with ruminations on life, art, nature, and mankind.