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Just because I don't say thank you, doesn't mean I'm not grateful. All reads, rates, comments and messages are genuinely appreciated. Thank you for taking the time.

Reviews written

since 28/03/2003


Best Western Plus Coniston Hotel, Sittingbourne 31/08/2015

Quirky Coniston

Go Set A Watchman - Harper Lee 30/08/2015

Other Sins Otherwise Seen

The Mystery of Tunnel 51 - Alexander Wilson 29/08/2015

Send for Wallace!

The Mystery of Tunnel 51 - Alexander Wilson Major Elliot of the Sappers and Miners is heading up to Simla. It's the wrong time of year to be going ''to'' a hill station. Everyone else is heading back down to the plains. But Elliot is on a mission… …it is one he will likely not survive. He has a set of plans to deliver: a set of plans that at all costs must be kept out of the hands of the Bolsheviks. We're not given any kind of date for the events of ''Tunnel 51'' but the book was first published in 1928 and it's fair to assume it was contemporary. The British are over-lording India and the fear of the day is destabilisation by the Bolsheviks (not the Russians note, specifically the Bolsheviks). The seeds of the future cold war are scattered through these pages, but there's also a sprinkling of hope that maybe communism won't quite take hold, that maybe Russia might return to the kind of imperialism that was the order of the day – and more to the point that maybe it would do so in a fashion that would leave Britain to her own Empire for a while yet. Reading the story now, knowing how everything panned out in the next eighty-odd years, it all seems more than a little bit far-fetched even in its premise, let alone in plot detail. But no doubt, at the time is was plausible enough. As for the plot, of course it's far-fetched. This is spy drama. It is full of coincidences and random happenings and unworkable disguises and all the glorious clichés of the genre that we expect. At the risk of spoiling the first 20 or 30 ...

Soldier of Fortune - Edward Marston 28/08/2015

Spare the (King's) Shilling

Soldier of Fortune - Edward Marston In 1685 Dan watches his father ride away from the family farm to fight in Monmouth’s rebellion – and return to get caught up in the Bloody Assizes and strung up on Judge Jeffreys orders. Some 20 years later Captain Daniel Rawson finds himself in Paris, spying for the English – serving under Churchill, Duke of Marlborough – or at this precise juncture serving the beautiful but bored Bérénice Salignac. A spy must do whatever a man can get away with. Other than the fact that it was Marlborough (back at Sedgemoor) who first put a sword into the young Dan’s hands – the pertinence of the opening prologue never really becomes clear. The real opening chapter however is the one upon much of what happens later is to turn. There might be a war going on, but personal jealousy (of wife as possession, rather than the sexual kind) does have a tendency to take precedence. In the stories at least. Narrowly escaping being caught in flagrante, our hero heads home to make his report to the Duke, visit his father’s grave and capture another fair maid’s heart before returning to the European campaign. What follows is a bloody trail against the French, heightened by the personal vendetta against Rawson – and the spirited response of the young English debutante. However, touting the book on its sleeve and frontispieces as ‘the first in the Rawson series’ removes any shred of suspense that should attend the adventure. This ‘marketing’ ploy is just one of a number of elementary errors that ...

The Terminal Spy - Alan Cowell 27/08/2015

True Spooks

The Trout Opera - Matthew Condon 22/08/2015

So, there was this Giant Trout....

No Place to Die - Clare Donoghue 21/08/2015

Waking up to an even bigger nightmare

Strange Telescopes - Daniel Kalder 10/08/2015

Post Soviet Meanders

Witches Abroad - Terry Pratchett 01/08/2015

Once Upon A Time...

The Traveller - Ron McLarty 31/07/2015

A Stray Bullet?

Personal - Lee Child 26/07/2015

To Catch a Killer

Personal - Lee Child If you've never read a Lee Child novel but have seen the trailers for a film starring Tom Cruise… can I seriously suggest you read at least one of the books before seeing the film. To be fair, I haven't seen the film and Cruise might do a decent job of whatever script they've given him… but Jack Reacher he isn't. No offence, Mr Cruise, (or indeed Mr Walsh) but it's like asking Bradley Walsh to play James Bond. Just wrong on every single level. Reacher, for those who haven't come across this all-American hard-done-by hero, created by a Brit from Coventry is ex-US-military police. His official bio reads: Name: Jack Reacher Born : October 29 Measurements: 6'5", 220-250 lbs., 50" chest Hair : Dirty-blond Eyes : Ice Blue Clothing: 3XLT coat, 95 cm. pants' inseam You get my point? Moving on… Personal is the 19th Reacher outing. Typically for thrillers you don't have to have read any of the others to thoroughly enjoy this one. And typically for the best thriller writers having read this one, you'll want to go back to the one before or the very beginning or somewhere in the middle. It won't matter. But you will want more. In Paris, someone has taken a shot at the French president. From a long distance away. Sniper-fire. He didn't miss. Fortunately for the president, things have moved on since the Day of the Jackal and the bullet-proof glass did its job: provided the necessary few seconds for the human security teams to do theirs. There are a limited number of people in the ...

Interesting Times - Terry Pratchett 25/07/2015

The Art of War

A Small Part of History - Peggy Elliott 15/07/2015

Life and Death on the Oregon Trail

A Small Part of History - Peggy Elliott Sarah won't tell us where she is now because my Papa always told me it was best to start a story at the beginning… [and] it all really began back in June of 1845. Back then, the Springers were in Idaho, with sunlight pouring through the poplars and people gathering in the summer kitchen, which was little more than an extended verandah – one wall and a roof, three sides open to the breeze and allowing the overspill of folks into the yard, and the orchard and the meadows. A verandah large enough to hold an oak table that would seat a crowd at harvest time – which the Springers needed because John Springer had just about the most prosperous farm in Vermillion County. Blessed in that regard, he was blessed with many friends and good neighbours, and also with his children: Daniel and Matthew, then later, Willie, Joe & Sarah. Less blessed in other regards – it had taken two wives to give him this brood of happy, healthy, curious, exuberant offspring – and the two had been taken from him by the good Lord. He'd brung the young ones up though. One way and another. Slightly wild and free, but respectful mostly. Wilful certainly – but that isn't always a bad quality. Except when your one daughter is approaching womanhood, 15 years old but still thinking like an extra brother to the others, and then you bring a third wife into the household. Sarah and Rebecca did not get on. That was to be expected. Rebecca certainly expected it, so she tried very hard… and got nowhere. At best ...

Troy: Fall Of Kings (Troy) - David Gemmell 11/07/2015

Helikaon, who is also Aneaus...and Co.

Reaper Man - Terry Pratchett 09/07/2015

Killing Time

Reaper Man - Terry Pratchett Hopefully by now you'll have got the basics of the Discworld set-up… so just a quick recap for those who've been asleep for the last 25 years: Somewhere, or when, in a probably different dimension there is the Disc. A round flat planet that spins (in a fashion I haven't quite fathomed some 40 novels later) whilst being supported on the back of four elephants who ride the back of A'tuin, the great turtle that swims slowly through the vast voids of space. It is a place populated by people very much like earthbound humans, with histories (or at least stories) very much like our own. It is however, ever so slightly mediaeval in true fantasy tradition. Except it veers towards the industrial revolution and the steam age on occasions… and has some truly modern concepts on others, even though they're slightly back-dated. I'll stop trying to explain. Better you just go read. Oh, yes, and it is a place of magic and wizards and helpful species such as golems and dwarves and werewolves and… well, enough for any suspecting librarian to be happy enough to have been magically transformed into an orang-utan to want to stay that way. Whatever its mystical qualities however, the people of the disc, like people everywhere do eventually die. Some sooner than others. But all of them sooner or later, have to face the grim reaper: the skeleton in the dark cloak, on the white horse, with the scythe. Naturally for most inhabitants this is just a metaphorical construct, but as Death himself ...
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