Fantasist & Futurist
- Nov 23, 2002
Another month, another set of books to work through.
The main novel I'm reading is The Eagle and the Raven by Pauline Gedge, a story about the iron age Britons during the first century AD - and the Roman conquest that came. I tried one of her other books but didn't get sucked in, but this one has a wonderfully rich setting - so that even when not much seems to be happening (such as at the start!) the novelty of living this life really gets under my skin. We also have some interesting characters, and though I'm still not far into it, it's clear we're going to see family conflict and potential tragedy from that.
My evening read is another historical fiction, The Assyrian by Nicholas Guild, about Tiglath Ashur, one of the many sons of Sennacherib, King of Kings. It's first person with a lovely sense of voice, and brings alive an ancient setting few writers ever touch. I'm very much savouring this one.
Also, a few non-fiction books:
1. A Cabinet of Roman Curiosities - a quick, interesting, and often funny read. It's nothing more than short excerpts and observations of life in ancient Rome, by taken from classical literature. Halfway through and definitely recommended for both it's entertainment and scholarly value.
2. Obedient Unto Death by Werner Kindle - subtitled, A Panzer Grenadier of the Leibstandarte-SS Adolf Hitler Reports. I had hoped for a close autobiography of life of a SS soldier, but that aspect doesn't come up so much. Where it does it's priceless, but too much of the book is a collection of secondary sources describing troop movements. Which makes it a little disappointing overall.
3. Black and British by David Olusoga - a study of Africans in Britain through history. I especially wanted to see how involved they were in the ancient and mediaeval periods, but it's also interesting to see how the subject develops through the later ages. A surprise reveal by context, but not mentioned, is that the "Indian boy" who causes a rift between Oberon and Titania in Shakepeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream would have been a West Indian boy - something that is clearly described as an established fashion by the Georgian period.