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.

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.

Author: Michael Drinkard
Copyright: 2006
Publisher: Harcourt, Inc.

Started: 8/5/08
Completed: 8/9/08

I spotted this one in the bookstore on the discount table. The cover has a picture of an old tall-ship on it and the lettering is in a colonial/pirate style font. And, a glance at the cover blurb suggests this is about a dope-smoking character during the American revolution.

Seemed worth a $6.98 gamble. I think it would have been a waste of much more, though. It’s not a bad book, but not a great one either.

The Thirteen-Gun Salute

August 3, 2008

Author: Patrick O’Brian
Copyright: 1981
Publisher: Norton

Started: 7/26/08
Completed: 8/5/08

I’ve read this book a few times now. I grabbed it off my shelf when I finished On Stranger Tides and didn’t have a chance to get back to the library. I’m a huge Patrick O’Brian fan and this is one of my favorites. It finds Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin sailing to the South China Sea and an island nation where Stephen climbs a volcano to visit an ancient Buddhist monastery.

I started it and read it a few days but left it for a few days at the Beach house. So, I read Coyote Blue for a few days and then picked this one up where I had left off.

Johnny One-Eye

April 10, 2008

Author: Jerome Charyn
Copyright: 2008
Publisher: W.W. Norton

Started: 4/10/08
Completed: 4/16/08

This is a picaresque sort of a novel, set in New York City during the Revolutionary War. The main character is a ne’er-do-well who is caught up in events and bounced around among the leading players of that part of history. The book cover features a blurb by Michael Chabon; always a plus on my book.

Last One In

March 14, 2008

Author: Nicholas Kulish
Copyright: 2007
Publisher: Harper Perennial

Started: 3/14/08
Completed: 3/16/08

A gossip columnist from New York makes the wrong mistake at the wrong time and ends up embedded with the US military in the invasion of Iraq. This is a good little Iraq-war story. It’s not Catch-22, but not a bad effort at all.

Author: David Cordingly
Copyright: 2007
Publisher: Bloomsbury

Started: 2/2/08
Completed: 2/10/08

I am a great fan of Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey/Maturin series, which follows the career of a fictional British Naval Captain during the Napoleanic wars. That Captain, Jack Aubrey, was based on the real British Naval hero Thomas Cochrane. As was Horatio Hornblower, lead character in a series of novels that captured my imagination as a youngster.

In this book, Mr. Cordingly offers a biography of Cochrane that helped fill-in details and historic fact about Lord Cochrane. It was not as engrossing a story as the individual novels offered, but that is often the difference between real life and fiction.