Category Archives: Book review

How to Talk Science and God by David Jeans

This booklet is part of the Grove series on Mission and Evangelism, it is also written by the person who was principal of Church Army College while I was in training there.

Subtitled Biblical perspectives on the Big Questions of Life and the Universe. and the is what the booklet does. It looks at the principles of the challenge between science and faith, and how to engage in said discussions. to looking at the issue of life elsewhere.

In its 27 pages it covers a lot and leaves you thinking about the issues. David is a man of faith who was also a science teacher and so has had to work through how the two work together. They do work together, both are looking at different parts of the same whole. Science looks at how things are and faith looks at why they are.

A good starter to the subject and worth reading.


The Silver Pigs by Lindsey Davis

Although this is the second book of Lindsey’s I have read, first one here, it is the first in her run of books on investigations in Rome. As it was the first I can forgive the fact that I found some of it quite boring, however it was an interesting story line and I enjoyed reading it. The story goes from Rome to Britain and back again looking for the reason a young lady died. There are some interesting twists and turns in it. It also like the other book shows up the political dynamics in Rome and how it affected all strands of life. You can even see links to how USA politics work.

Mary the Worshiping Mother by Helen Collins

This Grove booklet takes a look at Mary, Jesus mother, and sees what examples she can bring to being a christian mother today.  How to balance child care with finding time to worship, how that worship might look and finding time for God during all the busyness of being a mother. How she dealt with the big change in her life and how that can help a new mother.

All in all a very good and instructive book.

Review of ‘The Making of the British Army’ by A Mallinson

‘The Making of the British Army’ From the English Civil War to the War on Terror by A Mallinson

A interesting if odd book, it claims to look at how the British Army was made which in some ways it does but I found it a very hit and miss story. Allan seems to have made a decision to only stories of wars and battles which linked into his story. He was making the point that it was the years of experience which made the fighting man of the British army and the regimental system.

I am not sure I totally follow his logic, often he was saying it was inspired generals or other officers other times the fighting spirit of the men which counted. Sometime it was about being outnumbered and under-gunned other times it was the opposite.

I have no problem that a army is based on its history, the Romans worked on that theory as well, they also used standards and legion loyalty to boost morale. However they still lost more often than won  the empire was built upon resilience more than anything else. So this story could be told for many armies I think.

In the end I thought of this book more as a potted history of the British Army over the years. It glossed over the big loss of the 13 colonies rather looking at the success in Canada. It touched on the vast number of foreigners fighting for us who did not fit into the regimental system, but did not acknowledge how it help bring victory.  Waterloo is a classic example, won by the British soldier the story goes and their steadfastness. However the number of British units was small and it was the Prussians turning up which brought the victory.  As often El Alamein is stated as the turning point in WW2 ignoring the effect of the war in Russia and Stalingrad.

A interesting read but not a book I would recommend

Review of ‘The Ides of April’ by Lindsey Davis

‘The ides of April’ is a detective story set in Rome in 98AD, it is an enjoyable read. Lindsey knows her background so as you read you get taken back to Rome under the emperor’s with the terror of the state as well as how the normal people lived. The hero, Flavia Albia, is a woman which makes for an interesting story as women had few rights in ancient Rome. The plot is neat and convoluted, even if I had worked it out before the conclusion.  As I got further into the story I found I just wanted to keep reading to find out what was happening next.  This is Lindsey’s new adventurer book after 20 novels about Marcus Falco, I must leek for some of those as well as I expect they are equally as good to read.

A book well worth reading I think most people will enjoy it.


Life in a Medieval….. book review

Life in a Medieval City; Life in a Medieval Castle  by Joseph and Frances Gies

Two books I had for Christmas, I have been reading them between other things. The Bible mainly as well as Role Playing books.  Both of these books are great for a good understanding of medieval life and although old are still very relevant and have been used by many others to guide there novels.

Both books start by looking at the context then looking at daily life for different people, Knights, Craftsmen, farmers ext. They look at religion, commerce, fashion, death, marriage,  education and war. There are many books out there with deeper knowledge but known I have read which give such a good coverage in general.

Interested in Medieval history in general, for setting of Role Play games or for writing a novel then you need to read these.

Battle Mage a review

Battle Mage by Peter Flannery


Synopsis from his web site []
The world is falling to the burning shadow of the Possessed and only the power of a battle mage can save it. But the ancient bond betwen battle mages and dragonkind is failing. Too few dragons are answering the summons and of those that do, too many are black. Black dragons are the enemy of humankind. Black dragons are mad.

Falco Dante is a weakling in a world of warriors, but worse than this, he is the son of a madman. Driven by the need to understand his father’s actions Falco makes a decision that will bring disaster to his people and drive him to the brink of despair. As he tries to come to terms with everything that has happened Falco follows his friends to the Academy of War, and all the time the shadow of the Possessed draws closer.

If the kingdoms of Wrath do not stand together they will fall. Only Queen Catherine de Sage can see what needs to be done, but the other kings are stubborn and her rule is constantly being challenged by the rising power of the magi, a powerful body of scholars and magic users who seek to rule the land themselves.

As Falco struggles to unlock his power so the dark forces of the enemy work on the minds of weaker men. The magi are determined to stop him and even the Queen has her doubts. Will Falco succeed in becoming a battle mage or will he be lost to madness and murder, like his father?


I enjoyed this book, it draw me in as I got to know Falco and his friends and enemies. As he grew in power and suffered loss. I love the idea of demon possessed people and the fight to stop this evil. The battle scenes make sense and the internal logic of the story works. By the end I could not put the book down [although I was reading a e-book]. Just as I thought I knew how the story would go it twisted and off it went drawing me in again.

By the end I was thinking about the christian story, particularly with the Hermit, The Healer and the Fisherman. Sacrifice redemption and faith struggling with temptation.

Well worth reading