Category Archives: Book review

Review of ‘Ardennes 1944’ by A Beevor


Review of Ardennes 1944 by A Beevor

I have read a few accounts of the German attack in 1944 in the Ardennes, ‘The Battle of the Bulge’, over the years. This is a really good one.

It looks at both sides day by day, it looks at the build up and the aftermath of the battle. It has a full order of battle and good maps. It shows the brutality of both sides and the heroics of many men. It shows the dissension in both command structures which lead to more deaths than needed. It also shows the loss of civilian life from both sides actions.

A very good read with lots to learn from reading it. It highlights the fighting ability of the common soldier on both sides and also the hell they had to endure. Well worth reading.

The best book I now have on the whole campaign.

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Review of ‘Stalin’s Ghost’ by Martin Cruz Smith


Been reading this book which is not of a type I normally read. It is part of a series about Arkady Renko a Russian investigator set in the end of the cold war and post cold war era’s. As I started reading I was not sure I would enjoy reading it but as I got into the book I was intrigued about where the story was going. It was not a conventional cop story but quite involved with multiple story lines. In the end I really enjoyed it and must look out for some of the other books in the series.

Review of the ‘Athenian Murders’ by J C Somoza


This is a very strange book, it takes some getting into and understanding. It is set in ancient Athens and is about a murder and all the investigation of it. However it is not a classic murder mystery this one has two stories going on the one its supposed to be about and one by the supposed translator of the book. It takes a while to understand what is going on but at the end it becomes clear if you keep going. I will not spoil it by telling you how it works out, just say its a hard book to get started with but worth the effort at the end.

Review of ‘The Lost Victory’ by P Bonnecarrere


A interesting book I got in hospital and read while there. Its all about a WW2 mission to find and extract a German Jewish nuclear scientist. It goes along at a fair pace, with multiple story lines all leading together. The ending is very interesting and a bit of a surprise. It reads like a Bond story with at least one girl, as well as espionage between the USSR, the USA, UK and Germany.

A good read while lying in hospital feeling unwell.

Review of ‘The Last Kingdom’ by B Cornwell


The Last Kingdom, is another series of books like Sharp but this time in the time of the Saxons and Vikings. Very similar to  Sharp in some ways it looks at the story of a boy, Uhtred, captured by the Danes and then later on recaptured by the Saxons of Wessex. It looks at his growing up a Dane but at heart wanting to regain his own home in the Northumbria.

Well written as all his books tend to be, turned into a TV series and full of history around the time of Alfred the Great. I enjoyed reading it having already seen the TV shows. I might well look out the other books in this story as I will be interested to see what happens to Uhtred of Northumbria.

I am not so taken in by the battle scenes as I was by those in Sharp but they work. Some historians cast doubt on the way the Danes fought in a sheildwall. Or whether they fought more like Romans using the shield for protection while using more personal attacks, rather than overlapping shields and standing linked in line just attacking those in front. We will never know the truth of this and the fights work well with the story.

Well worth reading if you come across a copy

Review of ‘Swords for a Dead Lady’ by Jim Webster


‘Swords for a dead Lady’ is a interesting book, at first sight it is a murder hunt but it becomes much more. Each chapter pulls you forward into a new adventure and twist, meeting new heroes and villains and some who are both.

I read this on holiday and found it hard to put down at times. A short book of 180 pages but it packs a great story and kept me interested the whole way.

“Enjoy the quiet life of a middle aged cartographer. Well it was quiet until somebody finds the naked body of a young woman hastily buried in a marsh. The journey to discover her identity and hunt down her killer leads our protagonists across the Land of the Three Seas, through ambush, civil strife and even light opera.” This fully explains the idea of this book, our middle aged hero is not all he seems nor is his love of Roof Running, find out about that and many other interesting quirks when you read this book.

Review of Behind The Throne by M J Dougherty


This book is a roaring run through the life of Alvin and how his honor and word effected his life and the kingdom of Valdir. Political intrigue and multiple wars run through this book as well as jealousy and love between man and woman and between men.

No magic except maybe for White Eagle, but lots of action.

A great read, in fact once or twice I just had to keep reading for another chapter or two to find out what happened.

Well worth reading if you like semi historical action, I had it as an e-book