Sunday, 19 May 2019

Saints and Sinners - John Broughton, 2018


Surely, a great number of those who love historic novels were as well faithful students of the history subjects at school. I wonder, however, how many got the chance to enjoy lectures by those teachers who not only loved history but also teaching?
I consider myself very fortunate in that matter. I had the honour to learn about World History from a marvellous, tough and passionate teacher: Mrs. Izaguirre, who not only did walk me through the centuries across the continents and presented me with excitement the faces, the empires, the wars and the treaties but also seeded the hunger for the knowledge of our past.
Today, I’m posting a brief review of a historic fiction thriller: ‘Saints and Sinners’ that left me with the same taste after those fifteen minutes sessions of history at high-school. John Broughton grabbed my hand and put me in the end of the seventh century with my feet on the grass of Mercian land, the English Midlands.
With the turn of every page, I managed to know King Aethelbald, later Bretwaldas on his early years when he was prosecuted due to a false accusation for murder. I stood next to him on the fights, arguments and negotiations to appreciate his personality as an impulsive and sometimes aggressive man and how his friends and foes built the character of whom will become a Ruler of Britain and bring a period of prosperity for the Mercian domination. 
For those who are not savvy on geography – that’s my case – keep an eye on the map presented after the index.
I became his follower after reading “The Purple Thread” (Endevour Media, 2017) and I am certain that “Saints and Sinners” will attract more readers to him. I truly enjoyed this novel which is a master lecture of history, politics, war and – I am sure Mr. Broughton did it purposely – linguistics.
You have not read proper Historical Fiction if you have not read John Broughton’s work.
Very recommendable.
ISBN: 9781791708924

Friday, 3 May 2019

No Rest for the Dead - Andrew Gulli, 2011


Have you ever had a situation or memory that left a deep mark in your life? Do you carry any experience with you that has turned into a burden?
If you would ask me, likely I would answer affirmatively. Probably the point is, how each of us manage such episodes of our past: to learn and overcome, to grieve, to grow…
Former detective Jon Nunn will live a life full of remorse after the Rosemary Thomas’ case. A woman condemned to the death penalty for the murder of her husband Christopher. With all the evidence pointing at her, little doubt left that the humiliated wife of the successful curator and cheeky womanizer has taken revenge for the years of mistreat and embarrassment and was guilty. But, was she?
With nothing to lose after a career in freefall that left him with empty pockets and living by the day, Nunn will look to uncover the truth in this cold case. He will find that not everybody manages the guilt in the same way and, whilst some may hide, some others will simply move on and enjoy themselves and their wealth.
When I saw this book whilst browsing on the net, I felt compelled to get it provided the list of amazing authors those that participated in this project. Many of them already in my bookcase, such as: Katy Reichs, Jeffery Deaver, Tess Gerritsen (one of my star authors), Diana Gabaldon, Jeff Abbott, Mathew Pearl and David Baldacci.
It is hard to give a short description of the plot – at least for me – without giving away too many details of the story. But what I can definitely say is that there is no possible way to find out the truth behind the finding of the rotten human remains in the iron maiden at the German Historial Museum.
All the rest is for the reader to discover in this remarkable literary work coordinated by Andrew Gulli.
In a different note, I would like to mention that all profits from this book are sent to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Very recommendable.
ISBN: 9781471103957

Greeks Bearing Gifts - Philip Kerr, 2018


… in my experience you can’t be too careful when it comes to a past you are trying to shake off like a bad cold.

It is 1957 and the world is still trying to cure the hangover of the WWII. The Germans, either responsible or not, still carry on their shoulders with the guilt of the Holocaust. Detective Bernie Gunther amongst them. As much as he managed to stay out of the party during the whole Nazi era and with no innocent blood on his hands, he knows that he cannot be exactly proud of his past.
He has decided to leave his past behind, to lay low and let the time do his job. His new identity as Christof Ganz may work for some but he was a remarkable cop in Munich and there are individuals with a good memory for faces and names. An old acquaintance will offer him a new job which he won’t have other alternative but to accept and where his outstanding skills as a homicide detective can be of use.
“Claims adjuster” is just a polite way of describing someone who’s paid to find out if people are lying.
As expected, his good eye and sharp mind will be praised by his boss who will give him a new assignment in Athens which will result in a new risky adventure.
‘The Doris’ would be just another unfortunate boat shrunk with a juicy insurance to claim, but not when Bernie is in charge of assessing the facts and before he realises, he will be in the middle of a twisted and intricate plot and facing his past once again.
For all those who have followed closely this amazing character created by Philip Kerr, this story results likely one of his most sophisticated narrations. No doubt that this book was a great closure for Bernie Gunther’s tales.
With a heavy gut  is that I write this brief review which is also to present my respects for one of my favourite authors. May rest in Peace, Philip Kerr (1956-2018).
On the top of my list
ISBN: 9781784296551