26 November 2008

Peter Wicked by Broos Campbell

The third Matty Graves novel. Campbell seems to have really hit his stride with the series - this one was the most enjoyable yet. Graves is a refreshingly down to earth character, quite a contrast to the more usual naval hero who is honourable to a fault. The picture drawn of the United States Navy's early days and the ad hoc foreign policies of colonies in the Carribbean are fascinating too.

19 November 2008

The Wolf Sea by Robert Low

I was very impressed with Low's first novel, The Whale Road, and this second one carries on in the same vein. It's rough and brutal, with a human side from our narrator's point of view. This story begins in Constantinople, with Orm losing the sword he got at the end of the first novel. The rest of the story involves his attempts to track it (and his old enemy Starkad) across the western Mediterranean, and trying to keep his Oathsworn alive and be a good jarl.

Overall, it's a fantastic adventure, and I'm left unhappy that I have to wait at least six months for the third novel.

13 November 2008

An Evil Guest by Gene Wolfe

In this novel, Wolfe gives us his take on Lovecraft. It's set in the future, and centers on an actress who gets involved in some strange goings on. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

There's a lot of fun to be had in working out what he is referring to obliquely (or not so obliquely, as with 'that darn squid god').

11 November 2008

Trail of Cthulhu: Additional

Session two of this went very well. This was more action than investigation oriented, with our brave academics confronting several deep ones behind the murders.

This gave us plenty of opportunity to test the combat and fleeing rules. These flow pretty well, and both have a good sense of the back and forward of scuffles and chases. Although coming very close to it, none of the investigators were killed (although one was seriously wounded). On the other hand, they didn't actually kill any monsters either.

After getting out of the ritual chamber (which the creatures did not seem keen to leave), they decided to dynamite the place closed and return to Arkham and ponder the discovery that something called a Cthulhu will wake when the stars are right, and that this is in about six months.

I got to have a lot of fun with the one character who has 'in the blood' as their drive, too. Good times.

02 November 2008

Flint & Silver by John Drake

I wasn't especially optimistic about the idea of a prequel to Treasure Island, but it is quite enjoyable. In his afterword, Drake says that he wanted to write the story so that he knew their history. He also has written the book for adults rather than teenagers. It's been many years since I read Treasure Island, so I'm sure I missed a bunch of stuff, but it was still a good adventure story. Long John Silver is the hero, and Drake paints an almost believable portrait of a honourable man who becomes a pirate, and how he leads a crew to be less brutal than they might otherwise. He also has to deal with Flint, a treacherous psychopath who is probably just as unrealistic a pirate in the other direction.

A good read. There is to be a second volume, as well, but I think I might re-read the inspiring work again next.