Friday, November 28, 2008

A bit of history

If you're a fan of Bernard Cornwell's Sharpe novels then Mark Urban's Rifles is for you. Instead of being fiction, Urban follows the 95th through six years of war, and puts you in the shoes of these legendary fighters.
The book mainly focuses on the campaign in Spain, and finishes with the battle of Waterloo. Using the letters, diaries and other writings of the soldiers themselves, Urban does a good job of showing the reader what it would have been like to fight with these men. The book also shows just how hard life in the ranks was, were casual brutality and a lack of proper provisions was the least of your worries.
Well worth picking up if you are interested in the Napoleonic Wars or want to know more about the inspiration for Sharpe.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Right Man for the Job

Garth Ennis's run on The Punisher is a great read and adds an extra element to this often one-dimensional character. Instead of confining Frank Castle to the USA, and especially New York, Ennis has him in Russia, Afghanistan and other places, as Frank's war on crime comes to include international criminals.
Ennis has an eye for tough guy characters, and is suited to writing the story of this iconic character. Sure the violence is over the top, as Castle blasts his way through masses of bad guys, and how many times can he be wounded and get up and continue the fight. But the story flows, and adding the international angle with the expected amounts of politics, dirty deals and corrupt individuals helps to show Frank's moral core, and unwavering belief in what he is doing is right.

Look for the trade paperbacks as each one collects a storyline and break the run up into chapters.

Also Ennis's version of Fury is a lot of fun as he is in pure bad-ass mode.

Monday, November 17, 2008

For the love of books ...

Sometimes libraries surprise you with the books you can borrow from them. I put a hold on Twenty Years After by Dumas and waited for the only copy in our extended service to show up. And what a beauty it turned out to be.
The book was catalogued by the owning library in 1924 and is a beautiful leather bound edition which is slowly falling apart but still retains enough charm to make you want to just hold it. Yes the binding is going, and the pages starting to fall out, but this is a book built to last. I doubt many paperbacks will still be gracing our shelves in 80 years time.
Reading it is a pleasure as you turn the whisper thin pages, and peer at the small type.
I am enjoying reading this immensely and the age of the book is adding to the enjoyment as well.