If you're looking for 21st century noir, then Hanna Jameson has something to give you. Something You Are is a dark commentary on today. Nic Caruana isIf you're looking for 21st century noir, then Hanna Jameson has something to give you. Something You Are is a dark commentary on today. Nic Caruana is a modern everyman, the guy we could all become. Young, sharp, headed for the middle class dream, one stumble sent him into the dark world of paid assassins. But, for me, the most stunning part of this book is the question she poses in the title, Something You Are, and the dark, but insightful answer she gives....more
(This review previously appeared in the Historical Novel Review) Within the last year, we’ve been treated to Hollywood’s rendition of the most famous(This review previously appeared in the Historical Novel Review) Within the last year, we’ve been treated to Hollywood’s rendition of the most famous family feud in American history – The Hatfields and the McCoys. It was a long, drawn-out, bloody affair and made for great stage drama. But Dean King’s The Feud sets the story straight. This well-researched, scholarly account of the infamous Hatfields/McCoys brings the affair the sort of professional scrutiny it has long needed. Virgil Carrington Jones’s book The Hatfields and the McCoys, first published in 1948, was an excellent first effort, but King, author of the bestselling Skeletons on the Zahara (Back Bay, 2005), has taken the country’s most famous feud light years beyond that.
King meticulously pieces together, through records and oral history, the origins of the quarrel and shows that there was far more to it than just a stolen pig, as some accounts would have it. What King does is bring flesh and sinew, blood and passion to ancient county records, and breathes life and color into old family tales. No matter what you knew, before reading The Feud, you will find your opinions transformed, sometimes wrenchingly so.
My only criticism is that there is sometimes too much information provided, information that does not always seem germane to the topic. But, in the final analysis, if you are interested in the Hatfield & McCoy debacle, The Feud should be your first stop....more
(This review originally appeared in the Historical Novel Review)
William Dietrich’s sixth foray into the swashbuckling world of Ethan Gage easily lives(This review originally appeared in the Historical Novel Review)
William Dietrich’s sixth foray into the swashbuckling world of Ethan Gage easily lives up to his previous efforts. If you like your swordplay spiced with a dash of witty repartee, ala The Three Musketeers, then Gage is the hero for you. In this entry, Gage, a free-booting American who had sold his sword to Napoleon, sneaks back into France determined to take revenge on the French leader for kidnapping his son, Harry, and attempting to kill Gage’s wife, Astiza. He and Astiza hatch a plot to ruin Napoleon’s coronation by switching the French crown with the Cross of Thorns, allegedly worn by Jesus Christ at the crucifixion. But when their plot is revealed, Astiza once more finds herself at Napoleon’s mercy, and Gage has made a run for it to England. By time the book is finished, Gage and the British have joined forces against the French to foil Napoleon’s ambitions, and Gage’s relationship with Napoleon becomes even more confused, as the American saves the Little Corporal from drowning. A varied cast of characters, including Robert Fulton, who invented the first practical submarine, adds color to the conspiracy-laden plot. All the threads come together at the Battle of Trafalgar, where Gage, of course, plays a key role. The battles, plots and counterplots make this a delightful read, and the depiction of Napoleonic Paris is excellent. If you like historical thrillers set during the early American period, if you love a carefree rogue whose heart is in the right place, then you won’t be disappointed. Recommended. ...more