Monday, September 27, 2010

Giant Squid

China Mieville's latest book Kraken revolves around the body of a giant squid or kraken kept in the Natural History Museum in London. But things start to get strange for curator Billy Harrow when the massive creature is stolen.
Harrow finds himself hunted by strange cults that rule the dark places of London because the kraken is seen as a god and some very different groups want the body for their own purposes. And because Harrow worked on the body he is seen as a prophet with a special connection to this god.

Mieville has once again written an astonishing novel. Full of ideas and wonderful concepts Kraken flies along at a cracking pace. From ageless assassins, to origamists who can fold solid objects into letters, to a speaking tattoo Mieville never lets the pace or strangeness slacken for a moment. A great read, and hopefully Mieville will write some more urban fantasy.

The Crimson Fists

The Crimson Fists are a proud chapter of Space Marines. They have defended humanity from all sorts of dangers. But in Rynn's World we read about the disaster that nearly destroyed them, and left them facing complete destruction.
Rynn's World is the home base of the Crimson Fist Chapter, but becomes the front line when Ork Warlord Snargrod, Arch Arsonist of Charadon lands his massive army to assault the Crimson Fists in their backyard. Chapter Master Pedro Kantor has to dig deep to lead his forces to victory and overcome this terrifying event, while the losses mount as the Chapter waits for relief from Imperial forces.

Steve Parker has written an exciting tale of action and brutality that focuses on the heroic actions of the Space Marines as their backs are against the wall in the worst day of the Chapter's history. Warhammer 40k fans will find inspiration for their battles in this book as well.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A Merciless Place

I must confess upfront that this book covered a subject I knew little about. Once I had finished however that was far from true. Emma Christopher has written a book called A Merciless Place, and it deals with the British Empire’s attempt to send convicts to West Africa before Australia was colonised.
After the American Revolution, Britain needed somewhere to send its convicts and it settled on West Africa as the place. But the inhospitable terrain and weather, coupled with awful conditions and soldiers and convicts working in the slave-trade, led to disaster.
This is a story of bad decisions and some truly awful human beings leading to even worse outcomes. A Merciless Place chronicles a dark chapter in the history of colonisation, and also sheds new light onto the eventual colonisation of Australia.
Overall this is a great book that is well worth reading. It will shock in places but it will also make you feel pity for the individuals who had no choice but to be caught up in this experiment.