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review 2020-06-19 20:26
Tamburlaine Must Die
Tamburlaine Must Die - Louise Welsh

I thought of all of this as I lay in the high, damp grass of the churchyard, listening for the sound of pursuers. Tiny insects plied their trades, bustling to and fro like costermongers setting up stall on market day. The smell of earth and meadows reminded me of childhood and I remembered listening to my brothers’ calls as they searched for me one long hot afternoon. I’d watched them from my hiding place, refusing to be found, relishing the power concealment brought. It was a long time since I’d thought of those days and the remembrance added to my unease, for surely every man remembers his beginnings when he is about to die.

I had two reasons for picking this book: 1. The reference to Marlowe (author of Tamburlaine the Great) and 2. that cover. 

Other than that I knew nothing about the book when starting this. 


As it turns out, this is a novella about the last few days in Christopher Marlowe's life but it is also story of crime, plague, vengeance, betrayal, and a ultimately also a bit of a mystery.


There were a few things that didn't work for me: we're thrown right into the story, without any introduction, and the speed of the story seems to just rush through events. 


Now part of the problem I had may have been because this is such a short work. It could have done with more ... story, more time to unfold the story.


However, part of what I liked about it, too, was that it was pacy and seemed to have been told in haste, which makes perfect sense by the end of the book. 


In any case, I look forward to reading more by Welsh. I really appreciated her tone and interjection of a somewhat poetic style which, no doubt, was to fit with Marlowe as the narrator. I really want to find out how her writing compares in other books, and whether / how she develops her characters in full-length novels. 

Last night I received a summons to a house in Deptford. There I will be held to accounts, which cannot be squared. Life is frail and I may die today. But Tamburlaine knows no fear. My candles are done, the sky glows red and it looks as if the day is drenched in blood. I finish this account and prepare for battle in the sureness that life is the only prize worth having and the knowledge that there are worse fates than damnation. If these are the last words I write, let them be,


A Curse on Man and God.

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review 2020-02-12 10:16
The Man who went into the West, Byron Rogers
The Man Who Went Into The West - Byron Rogers

I can't remember reading such an out-right entertaining biography before (not that I've read a large number) and certainly never one so funny which is a bit surprising considering the subject, a man many found forbidding, even a little scary. Yet Rogers finds the genuine comedy in the man's life as well as the humour Thomas displayed to the people who could get past the facade to the human underneath.


It seems like Thomas found it very difficult to express his emotions in any way other than through his poetry. This caused many problems, leaving his only child extremely bitter, for instance, and alienating many who he could not engage with on an intellectual front. Yet many of his parishioners found him endlessly patient and considerate in times of trouble, illness or bereavement. And so it goes on, developing a picture of a compicated man, full of contradictions, in search of something he never really found, that he probably couldn't name. Perhaps closest to it when bird watching, alone in a wild space.


Rogers, who knew Thomas, also offers helpful insight into the poetry and the social context of Wales in Thomas's lifetime, necessary to anything but a superficial understanding of the man. I strongly recommend that anyone interested in R.S. Thomas, the man or the poet, read this - it won't be a chore.

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review 2020-02-02 23:24
The Story of Wales
The Story of Wales - Jon Gower

The perception of Wales has changed over the past two millennia not only within its own borders, but also how others look at it.  The Story of Wales by Jon Gower follows the 30,000-year history of the land that would one day become Wales that’s story is still being told today.


Beginning with a prehistoric burial during a warm period of the Ice Age era, Gower takes the reader through the human occupation of the 8,023 square miles that would become Wales.  Until after the Roman occupation, the people within Wales were apart of the larger Briton culture, it was only after the Anglo-Saxons came that Wales came into being and the Welsh identity began to be formed.  While both the evolving English and the evolving Welsh had many petty kingdoms eventually the English unite while the Welsh didn’t not, resulting in the larger kingdom slowly beginning to influence its smaller neighbors.  After the Norman conquest, the Welsh were almost always on the cultural defensive until they finally were overthrown by Edward I.  As a conquered people the Welsh attempted to keep themselves united but the things changed with the Welsh-descended Tudors making their leaders important but also saw them annexed by England resulting in English laws and language being more and more forced upon them for the next 400 years.  Gower goes into the effects of the Reformation and later Nonconformity upon the Welsh as well as how the land, or more importantly what’s under the surface, lead to the nation becoming the first to be industrialized not England.  Yet even with all the work, the Welsh were still oppressed as outside—English—money and ownership dominated them resulting the rise of labor unions resulting in first Welsh liberalism then later Labour beliefs in the 20th Century.  Gower ends the book about how modern Welsh identity has been centered around saving the Welsh language and how it’s unique cultural traits are being revived and saved along with how the successes of Welsh Rugby have united the nation over the past century ultimately resulting the political devolution.


Boiling down millennia of history is not easy, but Gower does a remarkable good job at juggling the political, the cultural, and everything in between.  However, how accurate some of the details are is a little questionable especially in relation to other nations as Gower has several mistakes especially relating to English history—Henry Tudor is mentioned as both a Lancastrian and Yorkist claimant within a few paragraphs—thus making it not a perfect book.  Yet it feels that Gower, a Welshman himself, knows his Welsh history and facts thus making this a very reliable read.


The Story of Wales is fascinating read of a small nation that has survived its uniqueness throughout almost two millennia of facing a large political and cultural entity on its doorstep.  Jon Gower knows Wales and its history thus making this a very good read for anyone of Welsh descent—like me—interested about where their ancestors came from.

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review 2019-09-11 17:13
Impressions of Wales
Impressions of Wales - Martin Knowlden

The average standard of these photos doesn't come up to that of its companion, Impressions of the Brecon Beacons, which is a little disappointing. Some seem too conventional or obvious, others on the other hand are delightful. A lot of what you would expect is here; castles, waterfalls, beaches, mountains but additionally some urban views that add interest.

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review 2019-06-28 15:24
different and different is GOOD!
Shifter Protection Specialists, Inc Box Set - SA Welsh
Independent reviewer for Archaeolibrarian, I was gifted my copy of these books Kale’s brother drags him to the Shifter Protection Specialists when a deranged fan starts sending threatening male. Kale doesn’t want close protection, but when the mountain of a man walks into the room, Kale knows he would suffer anything to be with this man. Aleski’s sabre tooth tiger takes a shine to Kale, and he quickly realised they could be mates. But the fan is getting closer, and more deadly, and not even Aleski knows if he can keep Kale safe. I have a soft spot of shifters of a different sort, and you don’t see many (not EVER!) some of the animal halves of these shifters who work together and a sabre tooth tiger is somewhat different and I really rather enjoyed this! There isn’t that MINE moment, at least not right away, and I loved watching Aleski and Kale fall for each other. Kale calms Aleski’s tiger, stands up to the man where others would run a mile. Oh Aleski would LOVE that Kale ran away, if only for his tiger to play chase with the much smaller model! But Kale isn’t others, and he knows that Aleski is the man and the TIGER for him. I did not see who the fan might be coming at me, not at all, so well played there! It’s sexy and sweet, steamy and emotional and I really did enjoy it! 4 solid stars **same worded review will appear elsewhere** Protecting his asset tags: debbie, 4 stars, male/male, romance, shifters, military dudes I had read this book previously, but when I went back to read my review, I couldn’t pull it up, cos my review really did not give anything away, so I read it again. This is my original review, though. George knew his father was bad to the bane, he just didn't think he'd go as low as he did. George needs help. The sort of help Scott and his brothers provide. But George has secrets he didn't know he had, and those secrets could kill Scott. I liked this, a lot! I've not read book one in this series, and I think it would have helped me to. Its just for me, it doesn't affect my star rating or my reading experience. I'll probably go back at some point and read it. This is told from both Scott and George's POV, so we get to hear from both of them/ It has drama and danger. Some twists I did not see coming. Some interesting shifter types too. Snakes, lizards, phoenix and dragons as well as the usual bears and big cats. It was an easy read, with just enough information filtered through, all in the right places, to keep you on your toes and interested. Its the first I've read of this author. I will, as I said, go back and read book one in this series. I should also like to read any future books too. Some hints were made to possible future story lines and I would like to see them through. 4 stars. **same worded review will appear elsewhere** Guarding his Mark, 4 stars, male/male, shifters, military dudes, romance, crime/thriller Khan was subjected to experiments as a child, and as an adult tries to steer clear of hospitals. But when he comes across a sexy man who is testing the use of snake venom on children with cancer, Khan can’t stay away. He needs to make sure that Casey is actually doing what he says he is. He also needs to keep the man safe, cos someone is clearly out to get Casey. This one is my favourite of the three! Khan is a King Cobra, and his venom is helping Casey find a cure for his niece. But someone else wants Casey’s research, and not for what Casey intended it for. Casey and Khan have instant and powerful attraction right from the start, and it burns hot and bright right through the book. It’s super hawt! I am really enjoying reading about these guys, there are a few of them who have tales to tell, I hope. I can’t find any more than these three though, and I do hope the author hasn’t left them other things! I almost read all three books in one sitting, but the darn day job got in the way. I would have, though, had it not. I loved these. Definitely different, and different is ALWAYS good in my book! 4 solid stars across all three books.


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