Misfortune

February 23, 2008

Author: Wesley Stace
Copyright: 2005
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company

Started: 2/23/08
Completed: 3/4/08

This is another by Wesley Stace, whose By George I enjoyed so much recently. That book, his second, was good enough that I wanted to try this one, his first. It was worth it. This is quite a book. It seems influenced by the work of Charles Dickens, but takes turns within 19th Century society that Dickens would never have followed.

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Gold

January 30, 2008

Author: Dan Rhodes
Copyright: 2007
Publisher: Cannongate (First American Edition)

Started: 1/30/08
Completed: 2/1/08

I cannot tell a lie. I choose this book by its cover. It features a quirky, drawn portrait of the main character and the corners are rounded. It looked interesting; one of those English novels about an outsider learning about a small town’s life and people, in this case a young woman who visits a small Welsh town each year.

And it proved to match that literary tradition. Quirky, alive, and touching. A small story about a small place but well told and satisfying with a slightly quizical ending.

Sword Song

January 25, 2008

Author: Bernard Cornwell
Copyright: 2008
Publisher: Harper (First Edition)

Started: 1/25/08
Completed: 1/29/08

This novel is subtitled The Battle for London. It is another in Cornwell’s long line of early military historical novels. This one set in the last part of the ninth century in England. It is the fourth volume in his series The Saxon Tales. I’ve read and greatly enjoyed the first three. I was looking forward to trying this one out.

I was not disappointed. An enjoyable book!

Flashman

January 4, 2008

Author: George MacDonald Fraser
Copyright: 1969
Publisher: Plume (Reprint, 1984)

Started: 1/4/08
Completed: 1/9/08

This was a re-reading, for at least the fourth or fifth time, of a favorite classic. I decided to revisit this novel after learning of the death of GM Fraser on January 3. This is the first in a wonderful series developed around a minor character from Thomas Hardy’s Tom Brown’s School Days. Harry Flashman is a coward and a cad, but he always lands a hero. Fraser uses Flashman and his adventures as a vehicle to carry us back into history.

If you are at all a fan of history, humor, and/or anti-heroes, you should read this series.