Niccolò Rising by Dorothy Dunnett

(Moderate Spoilers) I forget where I first heard of Dorothy Dunnett, but I suspect it was either Guy Gavriel Kay or Sherwood Smith talking about her. Names whose taste I respect. Then the most excellent commander of cursed, Para, read it, and as a result it ended up on the mental shortlist. And now I […]

The Iron Hand of Mars by Lindsey Davis

(Mild Spoilers) Wanted: One Private Eye to traipse around parts of the Roman Empire, solving local problems while taking on the Emperor’s worst missions. Duties involve pointing out interesting historical and local details for readers, acting tough while being a soft touch, general wittiness, and having a ‘lively’ romance with the glamourous and competent leading […]

Sharpe’s Company by Bernard Cornwell

(mild spoilers) What makes a good villain? A capacity for destruction, surely. But should they be malevolent or unwitting? Coldly amoral or black knights? Sympathetic or strangely repellent? There’s so many possible attributes to pick but, in the certainty column, I would add that they have to mean something more to the character than all […]

Sharpe’s Gold by Bernard Cornwell

(moderate spoilers) As I talked about in my Sharpe’s Eagle review, the character of Richard Sharpe lives a life of glamouous masculine adventure with just enough filth and grit to keep it balanced. And in Sharpe’s Gold, the second book of the series, Bernard Cornwell shows just how true that is. Take the set up. […]

Sharpe’s Eagle by Bernard Cornwell

(mild spoilers) For those of us of a certain generation and mindset, Richard Sharpe and his various adventures were the dog’s danglies. He even had their own TV show, featuring Sean Bean in the one role in his life where you knew he probably wasn’t going to die. There was lots of fighting, impassioned denunciations, […]

Dawn Wind by Rosemary Sutcliff

(considerable spoilers) Another day, another book I have to talk about immediately. Broadly speaking, I do not get overly emotional at books. I’m not much of a crier, I don’t talk of getting destroyed. Yet after finishing Rosemary Sutcliff’s Dawn Wind, I had a ten minute lie down in the dark just to clear out […]