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  1. The latest book by Stephen King. Billy Summers is an ex-US Marine. He was a sniper and killed many people whilst on tours of duty in Iraq. On leaving the military he is recruited by a ‘handler’ who provides him with work as a hitman. But Billy will only kill ‘bad men’, people who in Billy’s eyes have done very bad things and probably deserve to die. One day Billy gets a call from a known associate with a too big to miss offer of two million dollars to do a hit. The man is a ‘bad man’ and with the money Billy can finally retire and disappear using one of his already established aliases. Up until this point the story is tight and believable, we hear how Billy moves to an area close to the intended hit, rents a house, has a cover story etc, and prepares for the hit. But of course, something goes wrong, and the story then moves in a slightly different direction. It is a story of revenge now. As to be expected from King, the story is fast paced, the characters well drawn, a definite page turner. And this is a straight novel, no twisting reality, no supernatural just a story to be told and it is told well. Except for my comments in the spoiler part below. Apart from that the book is a good story. Not one of his best but far from one of his worst.
  2. Thanks Luna, another one added to the TBR.
  3. During the first lockdown I started making a list of all the gigs I'd been to. I still have 99% of the tickets so it was fairly easy. I then researched on Google to find out the support acts. Produced a very interesting if completely person list. Good memories.
  4. Mankind's Great Divides: Amazon.co.uk: George R Mitchell: 9781910745779: Books George R Mitchell writes for DC Thomson and I believe the Telegraph. In this book he pulls together writings about his travels to countries where there is division. Physical, mental, emotional or all three. Among the countries he visits are Israel and Palestine, Belfast and unrecognised and invalidated Nagorno-Karabakh in the Caucasus I found a lot of what he had to say was superficial and clichéd, revealing his 'amateur' regard to research. Each chapter felt like an introduction to a full book on the area, the people and the politics. The chapters lacked depth, due of course to the lack of space within a book of this nature and that left me feeling a bit short changed. That said, I did find the book interesting and informative about places or conflicts I wasn't aware of and I'm glad I read it. But as previously said, I wish it went into more depth and backed up his assertions with quotes and references to government publications. Too much of it felt like hearsay rather than verifiable fact. I think if I had read the chapters on Schengen and Russia, which showed his political beliefs, first, I would have had a different understanding of the other chapters. I found the chapter on Russia interesting and I can see a comparison with the UK in recent years. The collectivism, the nationalism being spouted and used to stir up xenophobia, to cauterise the wound that is brexit seems all too similar to the reinvention of Russia. The, blame everything on The West/EU, the rewriting of history, the control of media (in Russia by the government in UK by nom dom billionaire Tory Party donors) all seems to be on a self-fulfilling prophecy path. In a 'we told you the EU/the West was bad now we'll blame all our mistakes on them and re-enforce your blind obedience to us' way. And so we end up with a sleepwalking populace understanding nothing and caring only for their prejudices, never looking up from their hypnotic and self-induced lack of awareness screens. 1984, the novel, now a prescient mirror on the act of the successful brainwashing happening right in front of us. If you’re interested in world politics and why some countries never seem to be at peace then this book may be a good jumping off point but whichever country interests you, further reading would definitely be required.
  5. I've never read any of these books and I've got so many other books on my TBR I doubt I'll ever get round to them.
  6. I saw Rainbow in 1980 at the Royal Highland Exhibition Hall in Edinburgh in 1980 but the singer was Graham Bonnet. Dio had already left to join Black Sabbath. I have to be honest I found the gig a bit boring, very self indulgent on Blackmore's part, long drawn out guitar solos that only seemed to please him. I've seen Deep Purple and the Ian Gillan band as well. But never saw Dio or Black Sabbath. I probably wouldn't have chosen to read this book anyway but after your review Luna I definitely won't be.
  7. Thanks Viccie, another one added to the TBR.
  8. Just finished re reading this. This time on audio and I found the text dryer than I remembered. Perhaps the narrator, perhaps the film, perhaps just the blending of time and more knowledge of the subject affected how the text played out for me. That said I still enjoyed the book, Schindler is a conundrum of sorts. A complicated simple man or a simple complicated man? He rose above his 'allotted' role in life, industrialist, womaniser and drinker, to find the value of life and the knowledge that for one to be free we must all be free. In a world where the far right is once again on the rise, where hatred of the other is being encouraged by certain politicians and media outlets we may soon be in need of more men like Oskar Schindler. As Keneally says in his updated afterword to the book, The Third Reich began with name calling and proceeded to destruction. In too many places in the world the name calling has never stopped and is becoming more prevalent in established 'civilised' countries that should definitely know better.
  9. It was mid 80's when I lived there Madeleine. I think I must have visited it but I can't remember for definite. Drink was taken rather frequently back then which does tend to affect my memory of those days 😀
  10. Thanks for this Viccie. I loved An Officer and A Spy and have wondered if his other books are of the same quality. I'll add this and the Conclave and Munich ones on to my list.
  11. After the Mauritius Command I didn't know if I'd read anymore, I found it so slow. But Desolation Island was excellent and Fortune of War not far behind. As Ting says a lot of the narrative takes place in Boston concentrating on Maturin more than Aubrey. The spying aspect of Maturin is a clever addition to the books, and his lack of seafaring knowledge but almost maniacal fascination for wildlife. I very well crafted character.
  12. I used to live in St. Ives, only about half an hour from Ely and I like a detective novel so another new author added to the TBR.
  13. It does sound very good Heather, unfortunately not playing any dates in Scotland so I'll have to miss it.
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