Thursday, 23 December 2010

The Books of 2010 Part 2

The second entry looking at the books I've got through this year.

Starting with another childhood favourite Biggles. Capt William Earl Johns fought as a pilot in the First World War and the books about the young Biggles during this period are by far my favourites.

Mum had a large collection of Biggles books (there were 96 of them not counting omnibus editions) and they all got thrown out at some point - probably when we moved to Blackpool in the mid 1970s. I found the one on the left in an antiques warehouse and paid quite a lot for it and then found that a lot of the early books have been reprinted and can be bought from Amazon! Most of the WWI books are collections of short stories with only a couple having a single storyline throughout.

Then there were several more series that I was partway through. Simon Scarrow's Cato series follows a couple of Roman Centurions through their adventures in Britain and the wider Roman Empire. Clive started me off on these and I'm now up to date and reading them as they are published. Gladiator has a good story but it depends on a rather unlikely coincidence...!

The Burning Land by Bernard Cornwell is the latest in a series that I've been reading since it first started so there have been gaps throughout the reading as I wait for him to write each book! Set in the time of King Alfred it deals with the rise of Wessex from the brink of disaster whilst being centred around a disinherited Saxon lord from Northumbria who is determined to win back his land. This is the fifth in the series, which started in 2004, from the author of the Sharpe series.

Mr Midshipman Fury is the first in a series of two (so far) about John Fury and written by G.S. Beard. I bought the second in the series as a make-up in a 3-for-a-fiver cheap bookshop about two years ago and had been looking for this one since then. Similar stuff to the Bolitho books and covering the same period of the Napoleanic War.

Stephen Leather's series about undercover cop Dan "Spider" Shepphard is a tough, no punches pulled set of books. I've lost all sense of order of the books but this was the second one I'd read.

And so on to authors I haven't read before. Ben Elton's Blast From the Past was a non-challenging read but never quite achieved that sense of not being able to put it down. It won't make me search out his others I'm afraid, but as I always say: my opinion only!

Clive was raving about this one too and I have to admit he was right. It's about a boy with a blood mark in his eye who takes up with a band of Vikings and starts with a squirmingly vivid description of the infamous Blood Eagle rite. There's another in this series. I wouldn't be at all surprised if I buy it soon! If the name Giles Kristian sounds familiar, then it should. He was lead singer of the boy band Upside Down whose formation was the subject of a BBC documentary and who went on to have four top-20 hits in the UK. A cracker of a book too!

That Clive has a lot to answer for... How many new series can he introduce me to?!? Wounds of Honour by Anthony Riches is again, the first of a series which I'm going to have to follow. I'd not like to have to decide between this and the Cato series so will not try and will follow both! The next one is out already, but I have a good half of 2011's reading already lined up...

And now they are all trying to get in on the act!!! Chrissie leant me this one by Philip Pullman. Northern Lights was filmed a couple of years ago as The Golden Compass but, as always, the book is easily 100x better than the film and I can't wait to read the next of this trilogy!

I'm currently halfway through the second in the Crowner John series mentioned yesterday and there's a definite must-buy due out in paperback on 6 January: Jasper Fforde's Shades of Grey!

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