If murder be the food of love, slay on

I am extremely choosey about my mysteries.  I am often extremely wary of them failing me as the plot goes on, particularly if they boast a more intricate storyline.  And yet, I still feel complete confidence that the book I am currently reading will not disappoint me.  This is even more odd considering I’m a good way into it and not that much about the actual mystery plot has been revealed.  What hath wrought this miracle???

 

Thirteenth Night by Alan Gordon.  It boasts (spoiler-free):
-A JESTER in the role of detective.

-A Guild of Fools who secretly run the world via influencing politics, economics, etc.  Is that not just everything you’ve ever wanted?

-This Guild of Fools is a secret branch of the Catholic church! In other words, they are like Division in Nikita, only with motley!  This is a show that I need to see, some day.

-Shakespeare is involved.

-Random other folks like Francis of Assisi wander through.

-Depictions of medieval saint day observations are always fascinating and usually hilarious.

 

Hence, I already know that no matter what happens with the actual murder mystery, I will be happy reading the rest of this book, as well as the others in Alan Gordon’s Fool’s Guild series.

 

Note: This book has quotes atop every new chapter.  I have yet to come across a book that does that which I have not enjoyed.  Correction-I have yet to come across a book that uses real quotes atop each new chapter that I didn’t like.  There was one that had clearly made up sayings from people like Attila the Hun on them that…was a bit like popcorn with too much salt.  It still served its purpose as snack food and tasted fine for awhile, but then left you feeling thirsty with dissatisfaction and the knowledge that you have had much better.

 

John Crabbe (The John Swale Chronicles)

John Crabbe (The John Swale Chronicles #9)
By: David Pilling
(http://pillingswritingcorner.blogspot.com/)
Musa Publishing 2012
an historical fiction review

 

John Crabbe returns the chronicles to tempestuous Scotland, with pirates at the helm.  Notorious pirate John Crabbe finds himself facing defiant nobility on and off the water.

Pilling deploys his excellent introductory skills to meld excitement and tension into the debut of his first sea bandit.  The pace whips everything along so briskly that this short work feels even shorter than it really is.  The variety of conflicts, both internal and external, keeps John Crabbe in choppy emotional waters while the action keeps it salty.  It’s a harsh voyage to read, but one that offers all the expected thrills of piracy within the darker context of Scotland’s impending warfare.

Colossus: Stone and Steel

Colossus: Stone and Steel

By: David Blixt

(http://www.davidblixt.com/)

Sordelet Ink (April 23, 2012)

An historical fiction review

Filled with factions and smarting from insults, ancient Judea rebels against Nero’s Rome.  With both sides sporting an injury, the insurrection sparks a war complete with heroes, poetry, and slaughter.  Through the eyes of twin masons, Judah the warrior and Asher the scholar, and the opportunistic leader Yosef, Blixt builds Colossus: Stone and Steel into a story where perceptions are paramount.  Where do you come from?  Who is your god?  What is your history?  Do you truly know your real purpose in life?  And above all, what would you sacrifice to prove your chosen answers real?

With broad strokes of suspense and meticulous details of authenticity, this novel asks a lot of its readers.  Blixt taxes memories and asks for tithes of understanding by refusing to create a simple narrative or reduce the questions brought up by dissension.  The conflicts in this work are myriad: cultural, political, religious, moral.  Even asking these difficult questions, Blixt’s writing assaults the emotions.  The reader gets entangled in the confusing mixture of attempted reason and subjective response that the characters experience.  It’s an absorbing work, driven by characters as much as ideas.  Tied to the fortunes of Judah, Asher, or any other noteworthy player, Colossus: Stone and Steel offers joy, relief, and thrills.  The historical reasons and horrifying barbarities of the war provide a different kind of appeal.  As usual, Blixt’s novel invites intellectual debate.

Like a Roman legion, Colossus: Stone and Steel attacks its subject thoroughly, aggressively, and with the full weight of history, symbolism, and authority behind it.  Only under Blixt’s command, destruction becomes a lens to study the world, as well as a call to comprehend its peoples.