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text 2017-08-13 17:15
An Old Man's Vanity
Winter Quarters - Alfred Duggan

Alfred Duggan wrote in the nineteen fifties and compared to a lot  of contemporary fiction set in the ancient world his books are slow. The emphasis is not on power struggles and battles but on the mind-set of the period. Rather than creating characters who are  like his contemporaries but dressed in togas, Duggan tries to depict individuals who are conditioned by the cultural norms of their time.

 

When Gallic nobles, Camul and Acco, become polluted by killing a bear sacred to a local goddess, they are forced to leave their community and enlist in the Roman army where they become involved in the ill-fated expedition of the plutocrat, Crassus, against the Parthians.

 

Duggan's uses the contrast between the outlook of the Gauls, in which everything is seen through the prism of honour, and the ruthless, pragmatic politics of Rome to great effect. The campaign of Crassus, which at first seemed a glorious enterprise, gradually emerges in its true light as the vanity project of an elderly businessman with no understanding of war.

The highlight of the book for me is the portrait of Crassus dressed in the trappings of an imperator, waiting to receive the Parthian envoy: 'his face bore the strained expression of the deaf, and his wrinkled neck sagged with age.' By contrast the Parthian looks and acts like a real general. As Camul watches this meeting unfold  he understands that the campaign is doomed, but like all the others, legionary or auxiliary, he is caught in the juggernaut of Crassus's ambition and there is nothing he can do but play his part in what will inevitably be a terrible slaughter.

 

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review 2017-08-11 17:13
Morning My Angel (Angel Enterprises, #1) by Sue Brown
Morning My Angel - Sue Brown

Loved the humor, it compensate nicely for a few negative things that I came across.

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review 2017-08-10 03:12
Steamy and romantic
Absinthe - Winter Renshaw

Winter Renshaw has a writing style that pulls a reader in and doesn't let go. Absinthe is wonderfully written and is a bit different than most romances. It's not a quick love story where two people meet and fall head over heals. Instead, it's a love story that spans years and keeps a reader guessing about the outcome. It is steamy and there's the bit of taboo with the principal/student attraction, but everyone is an adult. Ford is young for the position he holds and even though Halston is technically still a teenager, legal but still a teen, but given her childhood, she's wise beyond her years. Actually, there's less than ten years between them and with the circumstances, I didn't get the creep factor that sometimes comes with teacher/student relationships. There's just something about this pair and their love for one another that is quite compelling and makes you want to see them together. Overall, the story flows very well and held my interest from start to finish. Renshaw has another winner!

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review 2017-08-10 02:08
A WINTER SCANDAL by Candace Camp
A Winter Scandal - Candace Camp

A baby is found in the manger in the church where Thea's brother is vicar. She goes after the man she thinks is the baby's father who turns out is not but she's involved in the mystery of who left the baby and why. As she gets to know Lord Morecombe she throws conventions to the wind as does he. They may both think they are focused on the baby but, as anyone with a pair of eyes sees, they are more interested in each other. The baby brings out sides to them that they would never have discovered by following convention.

I liked this story. I liked Thea and Gabriel. They make a good couple. She does not let him mow her over and he discovers there is more to a woman than companionship in bed. The mystery is good as Gabriel must unravel the past and realize his mistakes. I plan on reading the rest of the series.

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