Baboon Pirates

Scribbles and Scrawls from an unrepentant swashbuckling primate.

My Photo
Location: Texas, United States

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Book Report

This Is Kind Of A Long Post. Go Get A Drink!

Remember that big ol' stack of books I got a while back?

Only a couple left unread... I'm expecting another three books from Amazon in the next day or so, and will spend my weekend seeing how Book 5 of the Song of Fire & Ice (Game of Thrones) series is, along with #3 from Larry Correia's Monster Hunter series.

So, how were they?? Glad you asked!

There were two by Tom Kratman, who does mil-skiffy stuff. 'The Amazon Legion' is the 4th book in his 'A Desert Called Peace' series. It's good escapist fiction, especially if you harbor no fondness for Islamic jihadistas and the transnational huggy-feely crowd. This one's focused less on the main protagonist of the series, but there's plenty of action.

'Countdown: The Liberators' is also full of Mohammed's Minions getting a harsh tuneup followed by a dirt nap. It's kind of a how-to on setting up a mercenary regiment, then using that force to put the stomp on be-turbaned bad guys.

Quite similar in theme are 'The Profession' by Steven Pressfield, and 'Those In Peril' by Wilbur Smith.

Pressfield's is set 30 years in the future, where megacorps contract with mercenary outfits for protection & security. It's a look at what might happen when the merc forces get large enough that they start to set national policy. Or, just set up their own nation...

If you haven't read any of Pressfield's books, you're missing out. 'Killing Rommel' and 'Gates of Fire' are absolutely amazing reads.

I've been reading & enjoying Wilbur Smith's works since high school. My only gripe is that the last decade he's shown a decline in his storytelling, and three of the last 5 books have a distinctive "Mary Sue" feel to them.

'Those In Peril' is OK, for the most part. An oil exec's daughter is kidnapped by Somali baddies, and a ex-SAS Brit security operator goes to get her back. It doesn't end like you'd expect. Worth a look.

'Pillars Of The Earth' by Ken Follett was a huge chunk of paper to plow through. Set in the 1100's in Merrye Olde Englande, it's about the building of a cathedral, and the lives of those involved. Special Guest Stars are Thomas Becket, Henry the Second, and Eleanor of Aquitaine.

If you want a better novel on life in the Dark Ages, read 'Sarum' by Edward Rutherford, and a better novel on huge stone construction is 'Stonehenge' by Bernard Cornwell.

'The Hot Gate' by John Ringo is the third in his Troy Rising series. It's interstellar warfare between the plucky humans and the tentacled googly-eyed critters from Ceti Alpha & points beyond. The first book ('Live Free Or Die') was by far the best. This one seemed a bit choppy.

'Hard Magic' is book one of Larry Correia's new "Grimnoir Chronicles" series. It's set in post-WW1 America, where magic is real, and gangsters can whack you with more than just tommy guns.

Correia tells a great story, and his characters are well thought out and believable. My only beef was the amateurish drawings placed throughout the book. They're so bad they actually distract from the story, and include misspellings of character's names. I won't even comment on the day-glo dog poop on the cover...

Last up is one that's been on my "To Be Read" stack for a while. 'The Phoenix Guards' by Steven Brust is a fantasy re-envisioning of Dumas' Three Musketeers. I'm enjoying the book a great deal. The highly-mannered dialogue, the oblique plotting, and the humor add up to a fun read. It's not laugh-out-loud humor. I guess the best word to use would be droll.

F'rinstance, here's a chapter description that had me chuckling:
Chapter The Eleventh - In Which the Plot, Behaving in Much the Manner Of a Soup to which Corn Starch Has been Added, Begins, at Last, to Thicken

So, what have you been reading lately??