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text 2019-07-17 18:14
Alaric the Goth - Marcel Brion
Under the Black Flag: The Romance and the Reality of Life Among the Pirates - David Cordingly
Morning of Magicians - Jacques Bergier,Louis Pauwels
The Secret History of Ancient Egypt - Herbie Brennan
History of the Goths - Herwig Wolfram, Thomas J. Dunlap (Illustrator)
Beneath the Pyramid - Christian Jacq
The Advance Man: A Journey Into the World of the Circus - Jamie MacVicar
Original Magic: The Rituals and Initiations of the Persian Magi - Flowers, Stephen E., Ph.D.
The Triumph of the Moon: A History of Modern Pagan Witchcraft - Ronald Hutton
A Brief History of Chocolate - Steve Berry,Phil Norman

1. Alaric the Goth by Marcel Brion. Biography that reads like a great Barbarian story.

2. Under the Black Flag by David Cordingly. Real pirates!

3. Morning of the Magicians by Jacques Bergier, Louis Pauwels - history of magical practice

4. The Secret History of Ancient Egypt by Herbie Brennan

5. History of the Goths by Herwig Wolfram

6. Beneath the Pyramid by Christian Jacq

7. The Advance Man: A Journey Into the World of the Circus by Jamie F. MacVicar

8. Original Magic: The Rituals and Initiations of the Persian Magi by Stephen Flowers

9. The Triumph of the Moon by Ronald Hutton

10. A Brief History of Chocolate by Steve Berry, Phil Norman



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review 2018-09-08 00:00
The Lincoln Myth
The Lincoln Myth - Steve Berry

American history hasn't ever been my favorite, although I'm thankful for my citizenship. So when I discovered Berry's latest Cotton Malone book was contrived around Lincoln, I didn't have great hopes that I'd enjoy it much.

I was wrong. This is a good book: well written, informative, fast-paced. Berry's developed characterization of Malone is spot on, and the author never short shrifts his female characters by relegating them to supporting roles. The plot is a little complicated if you're not up on American history, but I don't think its complexities would ruin a read. And Berry's depiction of Mormons and the culture of Mormonism is respectful, but he doesn't shy away from some of the difficult history behind the sect.

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review 2018-09-08 00:00
The King's Deception
The King's Deception - Steve Berry Steve Berry excels at fanciful story lines (although nothing compared to Clive Cussler), and The King's Deception doesn't disappoint in this regard. Cotton Malone is back, as is his son, Gary. They wade through a good bit of creative British "history," nick a terrorist, threaten Northern Irelenad with a resurgence of The Troubles, and interact with a street kid used as a tool to draw Cotton and Gary into the plot. As I think is typical of Berry, his characterizations are believable, and his writing lean.

If you enjoy history, as I do, and look for quick summer reads, The King's Deception might be an excellent choice. Not great literature, but written in a fast-paced, interesting style that is uniquely Berry's.

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review 2017-06-01 23:38
Reading progress update: I've read 475 out of 475 pages.
The Templar Legacy - Steve Berry

I wasn't quite prepared to give ths four stars, but it was better than 3.5.  If there had been a 3.75,, that would have been perfect.


The plot is nicely complex, with several unexpected twists and turns.  Again, it's easily compared to Dan Brown's blockbuster The DaVinci Code, but this is by far the superior book.  Plot, characters, everything, head and shoulders above.


Recently retired Justice Department agent Cotton Malone is settling into his new entrepreneurship as a bookseller in Copenhagen when he's pulled into a deadly quest to locate the long-lost treasure of the Knights Templar.  Much of the action takes place in the environs of Rennes-le-Chateau in southern France and incorporates the same background "facts" as the Brown book, generously borrowed from Holy Blood, Holy Grail.


The extensive borrowing became annoying to me after a while, but probably only because I've read HB/HG several times -- I have my own tattered copy -- as well as some of the fan fiction/fact-tion that grew up around it and some of the source material.  Berry goes into a great deal of detail, maybe more than he needed to.  That pulled the rating down for me.


But the writing is good and the characters very well done.  I like books where I can easily imagine the characters as real -- I can hear their distinct voices in my mind as I read, see their actions and even facial expressions -- and Berry accomplished this. His characters are also varied, they have baggage and doubts, and they aren't perfect.


There were a couple of small bloopers that didn't really impact my enjoyment of the story, but did bring me out of the action for a while and left me alert for others rather than being completely absorbed. 

The first blooper was that Malone didn't check his rental car for a tracking device.  The second was that the back window of that rental car was shot out, but he continued driving through the rain storm and never mentioned anything about the car being wet inside.

(spoiler show)


The ending veered into the too good to be true end of the spectrum, and I wasn't entirely comfortable with some of the moralizing, but it wasn't bad.


I have a couple more of Berry's books and may take a look at them when I have time.

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text 2017-06-01 18:15
Reading progress update: I've read 324 out of 475 pages.
The Templar Legacy - Steve Berry

I sneaked in some extra reading time this morning.


Can I finish it today?  Maybe.


Although author Berry really lays on the details of history/mythtory, the plot is intricate enough to keep the action moving.  At times the background does become intrusive -- and repetitive, especially for someone who has already read Holy Blood, Holy Grail and The DaVinci Code and any number of others on the same theme.


But there are some intriguing twists, enough to keep it interesting.

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