[book review] AD Swanston: Incendium

cover incendium

AD Swanston, Incendium, (London:  Bantam Press, 2017)

This is the first in a new series, and much as I love this period (and am increasingly interested in historical fiction) I’m not convinced I’ll follow Christopher Radcliff’s adventures. Not, at least, at full price.

Continue reading “[book review] AD Swanston: Incendium”

The Boar’s Head Bookshelf update

bookshelf hand removing book

“A bookshelf is as particular to its owner as are his or her clothes; a personality is stamped on a library just as a shoe is shaped by the foot.”  Alan Bennett

This year my book buying AND reading have grown exponentially.

Continue reading “The Boar’s Head Bookshelf update”

[book review]: PF Chisholm, A Famine of Horses

cover famine of horsesPF Chisholm, A Famine of Horses (London:  Head of Zeus, 2016)

This was a promising start to a series by Chisholm, who also writes as Patricia Finney. Although our hero is a historical figure, and some of his exploits are based on actual events, there was something refreshing and interesting about setting the novel so far from the usual world of court intrigue and plots to kill Elizabeth. Neither is our hero conventionally heroic, or handsome, or some kind of Elizabethan übermensch, as we see too often in historical fiction.

Continue reading “[book review]: PF Chisholm, A Famine of Horses”

[book review] Rory Clements: Revenger

cover clements revengerRory Clements, Revenger, (London:  John Murray, 2010)

(subtitled: ‘do you know who I’m related to?’)

Continue reading “[book review] Rory Clements: Revenger”

[book review] SJ Parris, Treachery

cover treachery

SJ Parris, Treachery, (London:  HarperCollins, 2014)

There’s a tang of salt in the air as Giordano Bruno and Sir Philip Sidney head to Plymouth in this fourth instalment of his adventures. Drake is about to set out on another quest for fame, glory, and riches, plus of course the opportunity to pull a few Spanish beards … until one of his crew is murdered.

Continue reading “[book review] SJ Parris, Treachery”

[book review] Shirley McKay: Fate & Fortune

Fate and Fortune

Shirley McKay, Fate & Fortune (Edinburgh:  Birlinn Ltd, 2010)

This second Hew Cullan mystery begins two years after the events of the first.  It is 1581: Hew has returned to St Andrews on the death of his father, a man rendered a stranger to him through time and distance. 

 

 

 

Continue reading “[book review] Shirley McKay: Fate & Fortune”

Half Term Book Haul (May 2019)

carrying too many books
Too many books?
I think you mean ‘not enough shelves‘ …

It’s become a habit, when visiting a second-hand and/or independent bookshop, never to leave empty-handed.

I think that’s all the more worth thinking about this week, when the Guardian reports that two ‘iconic’ British bookshops are closing.  Like our libraries, it’s so obviously ‘use them or lose them‘ …

So, my travels taking me a little further afield than normal, I wanted to give a bit of free publicity to the excellent two bookshops I came across:

Broadleaf Books, in Abergavenny; and

Second Chapter Books, in Shrewsbury (who have a highly respectable – and rare – Science Fiction section)

 

Continue reading “Half Term Book Haul (May 2019)”

[book review] Shirley McKay: Hue & Cry

cover Hue and CryAlthough this novel (published 2011) begins the Hew Cullan mysteries, I arrived having read the latest, ‘1588:  A Calendar of Crime‘ (2016) – whose review you can read here – first.

In many ways, therefore, this felt like a prequel, assembling the cast and creating several relationships I’d already become familiar with.

Think a far superior version of Star Wars episodes I-III …

Continue reading “[book review] Shirley McKay: Hue & Cry”

[book review] Patricia Finney: Firedrake’s Eye

firedrake's eyeI came to this novel via Finney’s nom-de-plume, PF Chisholm, and her entertaining Sir John Carey novel, A Famine of Horses.

Appropriately enough, Firedrake’s Eye is an entirely different beast …

Continue reading “[book review] Patricia Finney: Firedrake’s Eye”

Book Review: Shirley Mckay’s 1588 – A Calendar of Crime

1588

As we hit mid-March, and I hit 25 books (about half of which have, unusually, been historical fiction set in the Tudor period), this is my favourite read of 2019 so far.

Continue reading “Book Review: Shirley Mckay’s 1588 – A Calendar of Crime”