09 March 2009

Books Catch-up Post 2

The Goddess and the Bull by Michael Balter: An account of the excavations at Catalhoyuk in Turkey, and overview of what has been discovered about the stone age town there and more generally the region. Lots of information about the people involved in the archeology, too, and a history of the various fashions and arguments that have gone through the discipline (as they relate to that site). Fascinating stuff, reawakened my interest in prehistoric human civilizations.

All the other Vorkosigan stories by Lois McMaster Bujold. Solid space opera with a mystery/thriller (and occasionally romance) twist on them.

Zoe's Tale by John Scalzi. Good, but not stunning. I found this retreaded the story of The Last Colony a little too much for my liking (I realise that he wrote it for a different audience, so this probably is not that big a deal). It did, however, clear up some problems that the other novel had so it was nice to see what was supposed to be happening with those.

Billy Boyle by James R Benn. A mystery novel about a Boston cop drafted in the Second World War and attached to Eisenhower's staff through a family connection. In London, he immediately ends up investigating some unusual goings on. It's a good story with some satisfying twists and a really good main character.

The Magicians and Mrs Quent by Galen Beckett. This is from a similar inspiration as Strange & Norrell, although this story is significantly lighter. It begins as essentially a fantasy take on a Regency romance and takes a detour through gothic too. Not really very serious, but fun and exciting. I am looking forward to the second in the series.

The Company by K J Parker. A group of retired military veterans start up a colony at the behest of their old unit leader. Things steadily begin to fall apart as their old rivalries come up, old secrets are revealed and so on. The fact that the leader has kind of stolen an island off the government is just one of the problems that they have to face. An exellent character study of things falling apart, reminiscent of Fargo (without the jokes about accents).

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