Tuesday, June 25, 2013

History's mystery and book reviews

I used to say I'd never write historical fiction because it's too easy for someone to prove me wrong when they've really studied the subject. Perhaps that just means I'm too lazy to do the research, or else I'm too scared of my big brother who really does know way more than I ever will about history and politics. But then, if I write science fiction, won't I be subject to science advancing beyond my imagination? If I write of the present day won't someone else know better than I what's really going on? And if I write a book review, why should anyone value my opinion over another reviewer's? I guess I'll hide behind my character's knowledge, or lack thereof, when I write my stories. And my book reviews? Well, they're really just my personal response to the book's I've read. I hate to rate books because I don't feel qualified. But I'm always ready to grab another coffee and read some more.

So here, for your reading and coffee-drinking pleasure, are a few more reviews of a few more books recently read. Enjoy!

Starting with ancient history, Stag Hunt, by Laura DeLuca, is a beautifully evocative novella set among the tribes and forests of ancient Britannia. The king is dead and the queen must find a spouse. But she calls on the ancient ways, sending her suitors on a hunt for the sacred stag. The story's paired with a lovely piece of flash fiction which powerfully completes the tale. Enjoy this beautifully balanced tale with a well-balanced 3-star cup of coffee.

Moving forward to the middle ages and the time of the Spanish Inquisition, Lilian Gafni's Flower From Castile Trilogy starts with The Alhambra Decree. It's a long novel, starting a long trilogy, with complex details, lots of characters, famous, infamous and unknown, and fascinating history. There's a certain satisfaction to seeing the many separate storylines gradually draw closer together, but the story has an incomplete feel and readers will probably want to be able to follow further when they finish reading. Enjoy with a complex 4-star coffee for the complex plot, counter-plot, and history.

Robert Freese's 13 Frights is set in the present day but tells of timeless scares, ghosts and horrors ancient and modern, and gruesome death and destruction. Not for the squeamish, it's a smooth dark collection of truly haunting, well-written frights, best enjoyed with a rich dark 5-star coffee.

And finally, moving further into the realm of the mysterious and the mystical, Dan O'Brien's the Journey is a curious metaphysical trip through the various corners of a cross-roads in the world of dreams, death, and ethical mystery. Enjoy this intense metaphysical analogy with an intense cup of 5-star coffee.


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