Time and Again by

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Restoration by

ISBN: 9780340936436 Read with HistoricalFavorites I am, I discover, a very untidy man. Look at me. Without my periwig, I am...

Tree and Leaf by

I propose to speak about fairy-stories, though I am aware that this is a rash adventure.

This, in many ways, is the perfect book for the Once Upon a Time Reading Challenge as it contains fairy tales and myth and fantasy. It is a collection of shorter works by Tolkien, and begins, not with a story but, with an essay, On Fairy-Stories and surprisingly, I found this the most interesting aspect of the book. Tolkien writes about the origins of fairy stories, why he believes them necessary. He also defines what he means by a fairy story. A very different thing from the tale relegated to the children’s nursery, although somewhat related. Possibly the first defence of the fantasy genre.

Rules of Engagement by

25 May 2003
The tip-off came from a Fleet Street contact that Saturday evening: something serious was brewing in the media, something ‘pretty big’. I’d been under the cosh for the last week after being accused of war crimes, so I wondered how much bigger it could get.

So, do I admit at the start or the end of this review that I was anti the Iraq war? Does that political inclination mean that my opinion of this book is biased? I’m not sure, I do however know that this book did not get off to a good start with me, as the dedication is “to the soldiers of Ireland who left their native land to fight for the Crown so that small nations might be free.” That grates. It is meant with the best of intentions, or at least I suppose so, and I’m guessing he is talking about in modern times, but it still grates. After all, Ireland is one of those small nations that had to fight against the Crown so that she might be free.

The Sunne in Splendour by

Richard did not become frightened until darkness began to settle over the woods. In the fading light, the trees began to take on unfamiliar and menacing shapes.

We all know the myth of the “princes in the tower” and their evil uncle, Richard, who murdered them. Mainly because of Shakespeare’s play. This novel attempts to recreate the life of Richard of Gloucester, and the times in which he lived and died. And it does a great job of bringing the era to life. It also does an excellent job in dispelling many of the rumours about Richard and his rule. But more importantly than that Penman creates real characters that are entertaining and believable. The one huge problem with historical fiction, especially those novels written about real people is that you know how it the story is going to end.