This short 64 page story was originally a promotional give-away with the purchase of "Sharpe's Fortress" at W.H. Smith book stores.
Evidently the origThis short 64 page story was originally a promotional give-away with the purchase of "Sharpe's Fortress" at W.H. Smith book stores.
Evidently the original pamphlet was not very well written and created problems with book stores that weren't part of the promotion. Cornwell decided to re-write the story in 2002 and gave it to the Sharpe Appreciation Society to publish with proceeds going to both the Society and the Bernard and Judy Cornwell Foundation that provides scholarship assistance for young people.
It is a fast read, to say the least. The story, which takes place in August 1812, literally zips along culminating in a skirmish between French forces trying to interdict Wellington's supply lines and Sharpe's small command in place to protect a bridge and a small fortress on the Tormes River in Spain.
As always the battle scenes are exceptionally well done. As you might imagine, there's not a lot of character development. Without having read some of the earlier novels, I suspect the reader could be somewhat confused.
No matter, I enjoyed the story immensely and my only criticism is that it was too short. ...more
Written almost 20 years ago, this is a fine example of Burke's writing style and shows off his talent and ability to not only write contemporary crimeWritten almost 20 years ago, this is a fine example of Burke's writing style and shows off his talent and ability to not only write contemporary crime thrillers but also historically based western fiction.
This particular story follows the fortunes of Young Son Holland and the more experienced Hugh Allison as they escape from a Louisiana Prison work camp and make their way to join up with Sam Houston's army and fight in the battle of San Jacinto against General Santa Ana.
I was somewhat disappointed with this book. I wanted an improvement over the first book in the series, Genghis: Birth of an Empire. Iggulden seems toI was somewhat disappointed with this book. I wanted an improvement over the first book in the series, Genghis: Birth of an Empire. Iggulden seems to focus on the more dramatic happenings and does not get enough into the depths of the history as I would like. I had the same problem with his "Emperor" series.
This book basically covers Genghis Khan's uniting of the Mongol tribes and his subsequent invasion of China which foundered on the walls of present day Beijing. There is a great deal of bloodshed and what seems to be gratuitous violence especially in the Mongol camp. I cannot fault Iggulden's research which he summarizes in the back of the book but some of the events seem unrealistic. Without any proof, I think he does a lot of speculation as to what Genghis Khan's relationships were with his brothers and his sons.
I was fascinated at the description of the Mongol Army's tactics and its make-up, including not just the warriors but everyone's family as well. Just feeding such a mass of people must have created immense logistical problems, though they depended, to a certain extent, on ravaging the countryside for rations.
It is an exciting book, for sure, and was an easy read but I wanted more. ...more
Another fantastic effort for the premier writer of spy stories going.
This one takes place, as you might guess, in Warsaw just prior to WW II. The majoAnother fantastic effort for the premier writer of spy stories going.
This one takes place, as you might guess, in Warsaw just prior to WW II. The major protagonist, Lieutenant Colonel Mercier, is the Military Attache' at the French Embassy.
The story starts slowly but gains momentum with each succeeding chapter until I found it very difficult to put the book down. The initial focus is on a German engineer, Herr Uhl, who is honey-trapped into sharing German armament secrets with the French.
From there the story expands to include secret missions, abductions, seductions, and a grand plan to infiltrate the German High Command in order to obtain their invasion plans should war with France eventuate.
As always Furst's characterizations are excellent, Polish Army officers, Polish nobility, Nazi thugs, Diplomatic personnel, arrogant French officers, Russian spies, German spies, a most believable love interest, etc.
The plot has enough suspense and twists to keep the reader guessing and anticipating. The prose is spare and elegant as usual.
The realization that I've only got one more Furst novel left to read saddens me. ...more
Furst is an absolute master of the spy novel as literature. This offering does nothing to detract from that mastery.
This is basically the story of a RFurst is an absolute master of the spy novel as literature. This offering does nothing to detract from that mastery.
This is basically the story of a Russian, poet, editor, emigre', lover, I.A. Serebin. Living in German occupied France in 1940, he decides to "do something" about the spread of Nazism throughout Europe.
The plot is delicious as are all the characters, some of them recognizable from previous novels such as Count Polanyi, the Hungarian spy-master, the arrogant British intelligence officer known only as Mr. Brown, the mad Russian chef at Henninger's Brasserie, Zubotnik. As is usually the case, all of Furst's characters become alive as he introduces them into the story.
The thing I like most about his writing and what differentiates it from that other spy story master, LeCarre, is that I am transported into another time and other places in ways that very few authors can accomplish. This is especially admirable because much of the story happens in Eastern Europe in places I have little knowledge of.
I'm down to the last two of Furst's books and that thought makes me sad. ...more
In this excellent story, the reader is re-introduced to Jean Casson, the movie producer from The World at Night. In the previous book he jumped into tIn this excellent story, the reader is re-introduced to Jean Casson, the movie producer from The World at Night. In the previous book he jumped into the water from an English escape boat to rejoin his lover Citrine. Ironically, she disappeared and eventually married someone else. As a result, penniless and friendless, Casson is back in Paris, hunted as an fugitive by the Gestapo.
He gets involved with a group of Vichy officers who want to resist the Germans and try to enlist the Communists as allies. He endures a number of close calls and becomes involved with, Helene, a Jewess who is hiding her identity. As is so typical of Furst, many interesting minor characters come and go, the plot advances in fits and starts and somehow Casson stumbles around and still manages to complete the tasks he's assigned.
Furst's most obvious talent is to set a mood and draw the reader in so that you feel like you are in German occupied Paris, living in seedy hotels, constantly afraid, always hungry but still somehow bravely doing what needs to be done.
One of Furst's better efforts. No one writes better "espionage fiction" than Alan Furst. As I've said before his books are more literature than thrillOne of Furst's better efforts. No one writes better "espionage fiction" than Alan Furst. As I've said before his books are more literature than thriller.
This story, which takes place in 1938-39, follows Nicky Morath, a Hungarian businessman, living in Paris, who is also a part-time diplomat and part-time spy. The style Furst employs here is slightly different from his other books. He does not use a lot of transitions but jumps to the next event without them. I had no trouble following the story, though, and rather liked the efficiency of just moving the narrative along.
Nicky is a fascinating, likable, admirable character. His love affairs are open and honest, his dealings with his friends are transparent and yet he somehow manages to carry off a number of assignments that require great imagination and bravery, all in the service of keeping Hungary out of Hitler's clutches and trying to avoid the inevitable world-wide war on the horizon.
The minor characters, as is always true of Furst's novels, are unforgettable and interesting on their own. They will also often pop up in another story. Various locations like Henninger's Cafe also appear here and in most of his other books.
As the story unfolds the reader learns more and more about Nicky and his past as a cavalry officer in WW I, his family including his Uncle Count Janos Polyani who is his mentor, his master, and his good friend and his abhorrence of violence and war. Each assignment, each tryst, each social event all contribute to fleshing out this fascinating character.
I don't want to spoil the ending except to say, as with many of his stories, Furst leaves the reader wondering what will happen to all these fascinating characters from now on. We may never know but it sure is fun to speculate....more
I'm not sure exactly why I enjoyed this book so much. Was it because it takes place in Hong Kong, my home for the last 16 years? Was it the descriptioI'm not sure exactly why I enjoyed this book so much. Was it because it takes place in Hong Kong, my home for the last 16 years? Was it the description of pre-war colonial Hong Kong? Was it the insightful comments about the nature of both Hong Kong people and mainland Chinese? Was it the interesting juxtaposition of four separate stories? Was it the ending which left me creating my own version of "what happened next"? I guess it was all of those things.
The plot is not that well drawn. It's more of a narrative than a plotted novel. The characters are somewhat stereotypical but not overly so. Yet, I was somehow carried along and finished the story in a short time.
If you wish to learn about Hong Kong - the way it is and the way it was plus avoid the usual travel guide drivel, I highly recommend this book....more
I was disappointed as I had heard so many good things about Ruth Downie's Roman novels. The book wasn't bad, just a victim of my high expectations.
ThiI was disappointed as I had heard so many good things about Ruth Downie's Roman novels. The book wasn't bad, just a victim of my high expectations.
This story introduces Gaius Petreius Ruso who has just arrived in Britannia after a divorce. Not thinking clearly, he rescues an injured slave girl, Tilla, from the hands of her abusive owner after serving a 36 hour shift.
Unfortunately Tilla won’t talk, can’t cook, and attracts trouble like road kill attracts flies. As a result, Ruso gets caught up investigating the mysterious deaths of prostitutes working out of the local bar. He must solve the mystery while keeping himself from becoming a victim.
The plot is interesting and well drawn but the characters are one dimensional and their actions are easily predicted. She continued the series. Hopefully, the quality of the writing improved.