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.

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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.

Good Omens

December 4, 2008

Author: Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman
Copyright: 1990
Publisher: Harper

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

Pratchett and Gaiman are two of my favorite authors. I have read this book before, but when I ran across a new paperback edition in the bookstore I decided to revisit. This is silly fantasy, with an English absurdism sensability. It is an “end of times” novel, but the angels and demons are not quite what you would expect.

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.

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.

Stardust

October 28, 2008

Author: Neil Gaiman
Copyright: 1999
Publisher: Harper

Started: 10/27/08
Completed: 10/29/08

I am a huge Neil Gaiman fan and I loved the movie that was made from this novel a few years ago. So when I spotted this edition on the shelf in the “Science Fiction” section of my bookstore while I was looking for the dragon series I just tried, I had to grab it. It’s fast read, but great fun.

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 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.

The Gun Seller

August 22, 2008

Author: Hugh Laurie
Copyright: 1996
Publisher: Washington Square Press

Started: 8/22/08
Completed: 8/28/08

Yes, that Hugh Laurie. The star of the TV show House. This book is from the 1990s, though, from a younger Hugh Laurie who was then more a star of British television.

According to the cover, it is a suspense novel and a screwball, British humor-style comedy. But it does have a good hit of action and suspense and mystery. Well done!

Author: Iain Banks
Copyright: 2007
Publisher: Macadam/Cage

Started: 7/4/08
Completed: 7/12/08

Members of the fourth generation of a wealthy family deal with the potential of a sale of the family firm to a multinational. This is a family drama set in and around Scotland and the north of England. It has some humor, decent drama, and nice descriptive writing. A very enjoyable little mystery too!