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Tillabooks: Will's Book Blog

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Four more quickies

The Iron Tongue of Midnight by Beverle Graves Myers. Scottsdale, Arizona: Poisoned Pen Press, 2008. ISBN: 978-1-59058-232-9

This is “A Tito Amato Mystery,” and “The Fourth Baroque Mystery” by Myers. The sleuth is an 18th century opera singer, who just happens to be a castrato (if you don't know what that means, look it up!), who nevertheless is happily married. My assessment: fairly light and frothy. If you like mysteries with historical, musical background, this might be for you, but it's no literary masterpiece. Marginally recommended for those thrive on this kind of fare.

World Without End by Ken Follett. New York: Dutton, 2007. ISBN: 978-0-525-95007-3.

This is, of course, the highly successful sequel to Follett's acclaimed Pillars of the Earth, a historical novel set in medieval times, and focusing on the building of a cathedral. This tale takes place two hundred years later, and involves descendants of the original story. Essential reading for anyone who enjoyed the first book, the basic story line is not quite as compelling as the original, but equally entertaining. Once you get into it, you'll love the good guys and hate the bad guys just as intensely as the original. Highly recommended.

Rumo and His Miraculous Adventures by Walter Moers. Translated from the German by John Brownjohn. Woodstock and New York: The Overlook Press, 2006 (The original was copyright 2003 by Piper Verlag GmbH, München, 2003). ISBN: 978-1-58567-725-2

A note on the title page says “A novel in two books illustrated by the author,” and the book does contain imaginative and delightful illustrations throughout, which appear to be black and white pencil and/or pen and ink drawings. This is a truly fanciful fantasy, in which dogs that learn to walk upright and speak are known as Wolpertings, often fearless and ferocious fighters. They inhabit a universe in which fantastic creatures, both good and ill, abound. Rumo, our own heroic Wolperting, goes through a series of adventures that can only be described as fantastic. Charmingly written, this fantasy will appeal to adults and teens alike, especially dog lovers.

The Sons of Heaven by Kage Baker. New York: Tor, 2007. ISBN: 978-0-7635-1746-9

“A Company Novel,” says the cover, and so it is. Is it the LAST company novel? I suppose that only time will tell, but it could well be, given the way it ends. You shouldn't read this book unless you've read all of the previous Company novels, several of which are reviewed elsewhere on this blog (see the Science Fiction index), and a listing of earlier titles in the series is available in my review of her fantasy novel, The Anvil of the World.

Suffice it to say that this novel FINALLY gets us past the date in 2355, the future date which has featured prominently in all of the Company novels, the date past which no time traveler can go, and beyond which no one knows what the future holds. Now we get to find out what happens. Essential reading for anyone following the series, but it probably won't make much sense to anyone who hasn't. Start at the beginning, and work your way here for a truly rewarding time travel series par excellence.

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