direct sequel to #7 taking place in Rimini where brutal condotierre Malatesta holds sway while Tom Swan has to navigate very treacherous waters as andirect sequel to #7 taking place in Rimini where brutal condotierre Malatesta holds sway while Tom Swan has to navigate very treacherous waters as an envoy of Bessarion, recruiter of troops from Malatesta's superfluous ones, while trying to get back the ring that was stolen in the previous book and of course get back at the beautiful and strong willed Demoiselle Iso who used Tom so handily in the earlier volume - of course if on one hand he can resist her and on the other if her father doesn't object as now Tom is fully in his power, while it is still not clear what Malatesta could object to, Tom resuming his affair with Iso, or Tom not resuming his affair with Iso or both; trickery, deception and overall very treacherous waters to navigate for our hero
Overall same general comments as for #7 (see below but essentially that the Italian installments are the best so far and this is no exception) and excellent stuff, the only complaint is that Belgrade is still kind of far and a change of scenery may do the hero good...
prose did not work out for me; from what I browsed including the last several pages, the novel is a generic mil sf/space opera book so if you like theprose did not work out for me; from what I browsed including the last several pages, the novel is a generic mil sf/space opera book so if you like the subgenre it's worth taking a look...more
YA stuff which breaks any suspension of disbelief in a few pages, though it has great narrative energy; a more adult book from the author would be intYA stuff which breaks any suspension of disbelief in a few pages, though it has great narrative energy; a more adult book from the author would be interesting...more
interesting book for sure - the subject and first 100 pages or so had great promise but later the novel loses coherence or maybe better put cannot susinteresting book for sure - the subject and first 100 pages or so had great promise but later the novel loses coherence or maybe better put cannot sustain the combination of adventure/discovery/marooned heroes with outsider/very different narrator and cliches like "good tribes"/"bad tribes" as well as muddled story-lines follow, with everything rushed badly
overall hoping for a cross between two superb books - Leo Africanus and Mappamundi and getting something like that for maybe about half, but then losing the plot in a very rushed and muddled second half...more
And for the moment he is in Rome of 1455 when a Pope has just died, another has to be elected, the Cardinals are locked in the VaticTom Swan is back!
And for the moment he is in Rome of 1455 when a Pope has just died, another has to be elected, the Cardinals are locked in the Vatican, bribery, intimidation and violence are the order of the day in Rome, and Tom's boss, Cardinal Bessarion would have a good chance of being the next Pope, only if he would accept to bribe enough as well as cut his beard so not give his detractors an excuse to brand him as a heretic Greek Orthodox in his heart despite his conversion...
And on the Greek mainland, the parts still in Greek hands are in imminent peril of falling to the Turks, rumor has it that Mohammed the Conqueror wants Belgrade next, city which is the key to Hungary and Vienna, the Holy Roman Emperor mistrusts the young king of Hungary, while the king hates his former regent and the greatest general of the age, Iancu of Hunedoara - also known as Janos/John Hunyadi - so the Sultan may have a clear path as Christianity is disunited and there is no Pope...
So Bessarion has to decide where to use his limited influence and money - help his former countrymen or help Hunyadi, though for now as all is in chaos and he is locked in the Vatican, he may find out he has no palace, no guard and no money on return...
Great peril for Tom and his friends as the house of Orsini, their powerful enemy, is on the war path, while salvation may lay with brutal condotierre Malatesta, if he chooses to side with Bessarion and if his price can be met; add in the mix Iso, his beautiful and strong willed daughter, which Malatesta - rumor has it she is his mistress too, but Malatesta is rumored to be guilty of all possible and impossible sins anyway - treasures a lot, daughter that takes a shine to Tom and that may lead to him becoming Malatesta protegee or road kill as the condotierre's whim will have it, and we have an installment of non stop action, desperate fights, intrigue, romance, though all takes place in Rome despite the title
A great ending that closes the chapter well and opens the way for the 8th part which is another asap. As mentioned in earlier reviews, I think that when the action is in Italy, the series benefits the most as Tom Swan's talents seem much more natural in the small world city state intrigue than on the big world stage, but we will see how we get to the siege of Belgrade and how that will be handled soon I expect
Overall an excellent installment, great promise for next, and I highly recommend everyone to try this mini-series as it offers an excellent ratio of superb stuff per page...more
One of Adam Roberts "personal" books like Splinter, new Model Army or Land of the headless, beautifully written technically and with lots of clever woOne of Adam Roberts "personal" books like Splinter, new Model Army or Land of the headless, beautifully written technically and with lots of clever word play that rarely feels contrived;
These kinds of books though "live or die" mostly on how you feel about their "one or few notes" subject, here these being farming, animals, the English countryside, all in a sfnal context with musings on the nature of consciousness and AI described well in the blurb and since my interest in all the above is limited at best, I thought ulti9mately the book to be a clever but lifeless exercise that left very little impression and especially towards the end starting wearing thin its Bete/canny animals premise
The other main shortcoming of the book is the view of humanity as "predators" on nature, when imho it's simply that humans are just cleverer, hence most efficient, but there is no such thing as living in harmony with nature, as predators prey, prey reproduces and while the equilibrium may last more than our human limited view-span, it's fragile and easily shattered as the whole history of climate changes, extinctions and evolution shows
Overall, clever but lifeless unless you care about the books' themes which i do not really......more
while not as accomplished as the superb Station Eleven which brought the author to my attention and made me get all her novels to date, The Singer's Gwhile not as accomplished as the superb Station Eleven which brought the author to my attention and made me get all her novels to date, The Singer's Gun is a page turner that one cannot put down, full of interesting characters - most notably Anton and his desperate quest for "normality", though cutting corners and having a troubled past may catch with him at any moment, and Elena, a Canadian illegal (!!) who also wants a regular life; the concerned US policewoman (ok State Dept investigator into smuggling of illegal aliens and fake id's) and the hard gangster Aria, cousin of Anton, are more cliched and a bit over the top, while the plot has way too many coincidences and stuff that seems a bit illogical (how his company treats Anton, the way the agent runs her investigation, why Elena who is a Canadian native, simply cannot reinvent herself in Toronto or Vancouver if her life falls to pieces here and she has to leave NY and the US, as it's not like Toronto is her native Northwestern Territories wilderness but a modern and accomplished city as almost any in the US, choice that undocumented immigrants from poorer places simply do not have), but that is par for the course for thrillers and one reason i rarely read them unless there are strong reasons like here.
The structure is also good, again not as accomplished and complex as in Station Eleven, but on the same lines, alternating past with present, slowly dripping revelations...
A very good ending - both open and close enough for satisfaction - and of course the writing magic itself and a book I again heartily recommend ...more
somewhat disappointing as the novel never manages to integrate its disparate elements or find a voice that is compelling; there are some plausibilitysomewhat disappointing as the novel never manages to integrate its disparate elements or find a voice that is compelling; there are some plausibility issues regarding the events 10 years in the past and their echo today and the main character's thoughts regarding the main dramatic event of the current day's story struck me as unlikely at best
overall though i think that the major problem of this book is muddle, while the big plus is keeping one turning pages to see where it goes - though it's ultimately a bit of nowhere ...more
here I would add that book 3 brings the series to a satisfying end and explains most of the mysteries from the first two books but the suspension of disbelief required is even more, the cast/world is not fresh any more and I mostly kept turning the pages to see what happens rather than being engaged in the action ...more
here I would add that book 2 is more unitary and has more coherence but the suspension of disbelief required is even more, the cast/world is not fresh any more and I mostly kept turning the pages to see what happens rather than being engaged in the action...more
less engaging than volume 1, maybe the English language translation will sound better but I really did not care that much about the characters here
I aless engaging than volume 1, maybe the English language translation will sound better but I really did not care that much about the characters here
I also felt the ending very weak as a series ending since I understand that at least for now no more volumes are forthcoming for whatever reason (originally the series was planned as a trilogy at least)
maybe a third volume would change my opinion but unless such appears, give this one a pass beyond checking out the resolution of the cliffhanger...more