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We, the Drowned
Carsten Jensen
A Short History of Nearly Everything
Bill Bryson
A Short History of Nearly Everything
Bill Bryson
We, the Drowned
Emma Ryder, Liz Jensen, Charlotte Barslund, Carsten Jensen

Fateful Choices: Ten Decisions That Changed the World, 1940-1941

Fateful Choices: Ten Decisions That Changed the World, 1940-1941 - Ian Kershaw superb analysis!!!
a great read.

The 9th Judgment (Women's Murder Club)

The 9th Judgment - James Patterson, Maxine Paetro

The book began with a murder, the murder of the wife of a famous screen actor. And the murder took place on the same night when a burglar took off with the precious jewels from the house.
Well if you were San Francihso Police Depart. You should be relieved because what follows next was unimaginable . An unknown sociopath killer hit his first target , a mother and her toddler without any trace and that also in the middle of the city.
Well it doesn’t end here as both the culprits have the knack of transgressing their own limit time and again . So..

This is the ninth instalment of women murder series , but can be read as a stand alone also as it is fairly easy to grasp the story, with minimum reference to previous novels.
The idea of two parallel plots has worked in the favour of the book rather I would say having two simpler plots intertwined together made this book more fun to read. The plot line is good nothing exceptional and the characters are well bred (8 books old, almost like ages), effortlessly sticking in and out of the story as per requirement .
More importantly , I expected more from James Patterson , and this wasn’t it. And secondly this book was not even a full blown novel , using a bigger font than average and ending the chapter after every two pages do stretch the book to 300 pages but doesn’t serve the purpose. That being said , I will also add that there was no lack of intensity anywhere in the story (finesse of the master story teller), it is full drama and action but it only feels like being rushed in and out of a situation. I would have appreciated the book more if some more page would have been spent in nurturing the plot more.

Anyhow, I shouldn’t be too hard , this was only one book . There are many more to go.

The Associate

Pair de l'Empire (Trilogie de l'Empire, #2) - Raymond E. Feist A brilliant law student, Kyle is just about to complete the college and become a full fledge lawyer. And being of a lawyer’s family , he had his work cut out . He is going to practice full time as a lawyer to the immigrants at the dock rather than being an associate at the big players of New York. Life was all good when Kyle’s past caught up with him , Apparently there has been a crime committed during Kyle’s early years at the college . That chapter of Kyle’s life was lying close but now it seems that some guys have some solid evidence against him which may convict which of the wrong doing. And that’s not all, they are blackmailing him into committing something even more horrendous.

Well, it’s a John Grisham and it’s bound to be addicting .The book took up slowly allowing you to grasp all the finer points of the plot. But once the story gets going there is no stopping it. The story is good rather great and the characters are well defined, not a lot in number but just enough to suit the story .
For it was a good read but I must add the ambiguous ending of the book caught me unaware . I mean just finishing the book without catching the main culprit does not make not make any sense, right?? Unless there is a sequel to it.
All said and heard this book is a good read overall.

Brothers at War

Brothers at War - The second part of the empire of the Moghul quintet narrates the story of the Mughal emperor Humayun.

This tale begins where it left at the end of the first book,'the raider of the north'. Humayun the newly anointed Mughal emperor is trying to establish himself as the supreme ruler of the vast Mughal empire. The empire which his father bequeathed him lacks in nothing, it has limitless wealth, has a formidable military strength and stretch from the Khyber pass in the west to the Bengal in the east, one of the largest in the whole of India. For Humayun what can possibly go wrong except for the fact that his own half brothers are plotting against him to control the throne. And this commence the lifelong struggle of Humayun to ensure his survival as well as of that of his empire. Amidst the stench of trust, betrayal and struggle lies the immortal tale of Humayun's struggle to reestablish the his legacy.

Being a fan of historical fiction as a genre I always acknowledge the fact that the author of this genre faces a herculian task of weaving a fictional account of popular history, which is already known to the readers. So any scope of the intriguing story plot and surprises are nullified, which leaves the author with pretty much only narration to play with. What I mean is that this genre doesn't allow its author much of leverage to play with, Its' the narration with the addition of a few minuscule fictional characters along with some minor plot twist. That's all an author can afford , and that is all which differentiate a good historical fiction from an average one. And to my pleasant surprise Alex Rutherford scores in all the relevant departments, this book is fantastic read, not very detailed but detailed just to the right degree to make it a light read. The narration is good and the plot's pace is consistent throughout. I would even say this book is better than its predecessor.

The portrait of the protagonist Humayun is one of the scoring points of the book. the evolution of the frail young, opium addicted emperor to a seasoned and shrewd warrior is something which makes you admire him and overlook his anomalies. His love for his family and his passion for his legacy are unmistakable traits befitting a hero, who we all like to support and relate to. For me, this book provided a whole different perspective on Humayun's character which was unbeknownst to me .

Now that I have finished the book, I can move on to the third book of the series. Two down , Three to go.

Devoured (Hatton & Roumande Mystery 1)

Fields of Play: Constructing an Academic Life - Laurel Richardson London, Victorian London is the place and the time is nineteenth century . London, the capital of the mightiest empire on the face of the earth in ushering in the new age of science and technology. New invention and discoveries are the call of the day. One such novelty is Forensics, a new branch of science dealing with examination of cadavers and crime scenes. And this one of the many reasons why the elite class of London is finding it hard to accept and Our protagonist and the purveyor of this science is Prof. Adolphus Hatton , the chief forensic examiner at the St. Bart hospital.
One fine morning Prof. Hutton was summoned by Scotland Yard’s Inspector Adam to assist him in the murder of a wealthy socialite in the suburb of London .Dr. Hatton and his French assistant Roumande are bewildered by the strange crimes engulfing the street of London and the bodies just keep on arriving at the morgue at the St. Bart. As the trio investigates the murder, they embark on a journey which hen

Devoured , has parallel plots running at the beginning and had me stumped at times but at the end it came in together to fit into a befitting ending. I was rather taken by surprise by the book , it is too good to be the debut novel.

This book is brilliantly researched as is evident in the story . And about Prof. Hatton , he is a remarkable character , he is brilliant , astute and quite archaic (Archaic to me but quite modern to the citizenry of 19 th century London.) This character of Prof. Hatton shows a lot of promise and can be a remarkable one but he has a long journey to cover , a lot more to evolve to get itched in the pages of history books. The most amazing thing about the book is the exemplary narration and that’s include its description of the of Victorian London, it’s immaculate and it transports you straight onto the streets of London without any effort.
It was a brilliant read , true to the effort of the author and justifying your effort in reading this book.
And the one of the most notable thing about the book is the cover design , simply superb. Hats off to the design team.
Having said that I will also add that this book also had some disappointments, foremost of them was the length judging by the pace at the start of the book I felt that the story was truncated at the end .It fell short by some fifty pages. (And of course it is a matter of personal perspective and an author can only do his/her best.)
Devoured , the debut novel of D.E Meredith is a runaway hit , all in all it’s an attractive prospect.

The Hope

The Hope - Herman Wouk 1948, the year succeeding our year of independence and thus is of not much of significance for us but this was the year which carried the beacon of hope for the million Jews scattered around the globe. This was the year when much disputed state of Israel was created by the British as they prepare to embark on the journey back home. After the slaughtering by the hands of Germans in the second world war , it was felt that the Jews need a state of their own in order to survive and that gave birth to a state called Israel. The state of Israel thus created was puny in size and was in the state of grave annihilation even before its birth as all the Islamic countries surrounding it were preparing to lay their claim on the holy land Jerusalem which was in Israel territory. Thus with the birth of a nation began its struggle for survival and a book by Harman Wouk.
This time span covered in the book is from the birth of Israel till the year six day war took place circa ’66 .’The hope’ gives a superb description of the scenario faced by the Jews during those troubled times , especially the political scenario. This book encapsulates all the actions right from the home politics, actions at the frontier to the debates in the assembly hall of U.N and that also with great aplomb. The most intriguing emotion which the author captured through the story is the failing hope of the Jews toward Israel , due to the hostility of the surrounding nations not everyone was optimistic about the chances of this state. But at the end the courage of a few handfuls outranked the hostility of the millions and hopelessness of the thousands.
The main attraction of this book is the two wars which commence and finish the book, because the spellbinding narration that will take your breath away and you will be praying for the success of the Israel state without fail.
What I found good about this book is the gripping narration and the aplomb with which the story progresses. The author claimed that all historical facts are accurate with some minor alteration to suit the story which I cannot vouch for as I have no idea about the history of Israel . Mr. Wouk waived a very beautiful and apt story amidst all these histories which make it impossible to stop reading. The author has taken the liberty of including the fictional character and some of them inspired by the real life character to suit the story. This book spanning some eight hundred pages doesn’t feel like one thanks to the superb narration.
Therefore do I recommend this book?? Of course I do but if and only if historical fiction is your forte otherwise not to mention eight hundred pages will look like a lifetime.

Code to Zero

Code To Zero - Ken Follett The year is 1958 , in the midst of the cold war. The Soviets have steered ahead in the space program with the launch of their first satellite and their American counterparts are reeling under pressure to launch their first satellite. And the launch in question has already been delayed twice due to some mechanical shortcomings.
Unaffected by all this a man wakes up in a public toilet of a railway station without any memory of his previous occurrence. Such was the condition that he couldn’t remember his name. Anxious and puzzled by his own state he set on the path to rediscover himself and the cause of his present state. Page by page the mystery unveil and the different events cohere together to unveil the bigger picture.

Although the story by itself was nothing out of the ordinary, it was the Mr. Follett narration which kept me glued to the book till the very end. So much so that many may predict the end halfway through the book but as I said it’s the narration which score over the plot. Mr Follett superb eloquence makes this ordinary story a pleasure to read. His ways of mixing fact with fiction has to be commended as it leaves a very faint distinction between the two.
The admirer of this genre can pick this book anytime for a quick and entertaining read.

Modesty Blaise (Modesty Blaise series)

Modesty Blaise - Peter O'Donnell
Oil has been recently found in a small country near Iraq which goes by the name of Malaurak. The sheik of Malaurak has granted the British govt. Concession on the oil in return for ten million pounds worth of diamonds. Sir Gerrad Tarrant of British Intelligence is concerned about the security of the diamonds because as per the rumours the diamonds are the raison d'être of a heist. Sir Tarrant knows exactly the person who can help him secure the diamonds.
Modesty Blaise a retired criminal agreed to help Sir Tarrant in exchange for information of the whereabouts of Willie Garvin, her sidekick.
Modesty along with Willi Garvin have a daunting task in front of them, they have to find not only the person who is trying to steal the diamond but also where the heist is going to take place.
A journey that began in London traces its path through France, the Mediterranean , Cairo ends up on a small island near middle east .A small island, is where Modesty met her arch rival Gabriel in her attempt to salvage the diamonds.
The story is average, the narrative is gripping but there is nothing to encourage you to go an extra mile to finish this book. It’s less of a thriller and more of an action sequence.
And as far as our protagonist, Modesty Blaise is concerned, she is unbelievably talented. This new degree of talent is very hard to comprehend and even harder to appreciate. Had the author made Modesty Blaise a little bit flawed in trait, she would have made a hell of a character, only if.

The Doomsday Conspiracy

The Doomsday Conspiracy - Sidney Sheldon It is not often that the hunter becomes the hunted, so why is naval intelligence officer Commander Robert Bellamy is being hunted across the globe by half of the world ‘s special forces.
It all began on the strange morning when he received a phone call from his office at 4’o clock . He was asked by his general to trace several witnesses to air balloon accident carrying secret military equipment. Robert found it rather amusing until the general gave the warning “you don’t have to contact any of your contacts, you are on your own”. Nonetheless he agreed to do the job.
But then it all turns fishy when Bellamy learned that all witnesses he has traced were all dead under mysterious circumstances. Robert was too well trained to know what next, THEY ARE COMING FOR HIM.
What was so important in that air balloon that people are dying and he himself is being hunted?? Robert ponders; what if it wasn’t an air balloon at all? What if it was something out of the world…
Ok, to be honest this book not out of the league , it’s just an ordinary thriller with a kick ass guy who outsmarts his foe on every occasion save one (no point for guessing). But (wait for it) nothing is as it seems, is it? So what’s different ?Aliens , yes you read it right they got aliens who have decided to take over the earth and enslaves every human being and our guy has to brave his way through every obstacle to stop this doomsday conspiracy.
An absolute page turner , thriller to the hilt. you can’t put it down and actually you will be done with the book by the time you find anything to complain about.

Black Coffee: Novelisation

Black Coffee  - Agatha Christie, Charles Osborne What I like about Agatha Christie novels are that they are like slow poison , they work slowly taking their time and at their epitome they are too good to put down. And black coffee is exactly the same.
Sir Claud Amory has devised a new explosive which will take the world by storm. But to his dismay the formula is stolen by someone from his own house. And so Sir Claud calls upon the services of one Mr. Hercule Poirot to get his formula back before it reach in the wrong hands.
But Sir Claud is killed before Mr. Poirot can lend his help. And therefore Mr. Poirot is left with a murder and a theft to solve in a household which is a motley of bizarre people.
This book is a lighthearted and quick read.although it is difficult to hang to the story in the beginning but as it catches speed it‘s all fun.

The Danger

The Danger - Dick Francis Here is not much difference between a kidnapper and Mr. Andrew Douglas, they are almost synonymous except for the part that they are each others adversary. One does it and the other prevents it.
Most of us get hysterical by mere mentioned by the word kidnap forget about actually tackling it but you see, for Andrew it’s a piece of cake, it’s his bread and butter it’s what he does for a living . So if you deal with something on a daily basis then you become exceptionally good at it and so is Andrew, in dealing with kidnappings. So when this case in Italy pops up, it doesn’t get more than its share of attention. This case involved a female jockey named Alessia who also daughter of a millionaire being abducted. And then there were complexities , the ransom job was bungled by the Italian carabenerie.
But alas Alessia was rescued with the payment of the ransom money behind the police ‘s back. Victim rescued , kidnappers nabbed, therefore case closed.
But then there were two more kidnappings of similar types in London and Washington and both related to the racing world, this made Andrew sceptical about all these cases being related. Is it a job of single mastermind, then what about the kidnappers who were caught in Italy??? Were they a deceit to allow the original kidnapper to flee??? With all these questions Andrew embarks on the journey to unveil an intriguing tale of money, fame and deceit.
This is my chance encounter with Mr. Dick Francis, in the absence of my regular mystery writers I gave Mr Francis a chance. And to my surprise I was quite taken aback with his novelty and style.The story is terse yet elaborate,simple yet complex . The story is able to catch and hold your attention at the exact precise time as a suspense should do.
The only shortcoming which I felt was the story lack a central plot to stick to , like a liaison which can connect all the aspect of the story other than that I think Mr. Francis did just fine.

The Glass Palace

The Glass Palace - Amitav Ghosh ‘The glass palace’, the title of the book which is as ambiguous as it gets, for not divulging anything about the book but in itself is a beautiful title to have . But just to be clear the title refers to the Burmese royal palace and this book is all about Burma and its struggle which makes her what she is now.
To be exact this book begins with the British invasion of Burma which sent the last king of Burma into exile at some remote place in India called Ratnagiri.
There is a teenage boy , Rajkumar who having lost his parents in India works at the stall of on Ma Cho, witnesses the invasion and the exile of the royal family. He is also in love with a girl named Dolly, the queen’s maid.
There is Saya John who is a respected person in Burma and later employee of Rajkumar.
There is Uma and her husband who being the collector of Ratnagiri, is also responsible for personal well being of the exiled king of Burma.
It’s like you have opened the mystery box, where one after another character appears in connection to one another without invading each other’s space. With tons of character and their intricately related life spanning over a hundred years pretty much sum up ‘the glass palace’. With love, grievance, divided loyalty, patriotism etc the author takes you through various emotions hounding the characters.
It’s hard to ignore the author’s attention to detail, which is immaculate and that’s what that made this story even more effortless to read , much less to conjure. Even though I haven’t been to Burma but Mr. Ghosh’s narrative teleported me to the days of 1900’s as the whole tale unfolds.
There is not much to complain about other than the slackening pace at the beginning and the mad rush at the end which of course subjects to individual taste.

A Corner of a Foreign Field: The Indian History of a British Sport

We're Going on a Lion Hunt - Margery Cuyler, Joe Matheiu Owing to the atypical bailiwick of this book with atypical title , I was not sure what to expect of this book but I gave it a read owing to the reputation of the author.
And to say that this book is an absolute stunner would be an understatement because this book is beyond comparison, a master in its own league.
As the title of the book says , this book regale the illustrated history of Indian cricket, a sport bequeathed from the Britishers. The likes of Palwankar Baloo, C.K Naidu, Jamsheb Ranjisinghji etc who are generally unheard of, are described in great details in this book.
The major theme of this book is the Bombay Quadrangular tournament played between Hindu, Parsi, Muslim and European gymkhanas. This tournament took place for almost thirty years and had the great fan following in those days .It is during those years of quadrangular that players like the Baloo brothers, Naidu come into public glares. The controversy surrounding the communal nature of the tournament is also very well documented, highlighting the views of various Politician, editors and cricketers. Even after the termination of the quadrangular, the popularity of the sports failed to diminish and soon after India’s assents to her independence the people began to cherish the national team. Even though the hockey team in those days was taking the world by storm with its gold medals plunder in the Olympics its popularity does not faze the popularity of this game. In the later part of the book the focus shifts to Indo–Pak rivalry and the advent of the modern cash rich cricket in Independent India.

The most beautiful part of the book is the incorporation of the political and the sporting ambience of that time. The struggle of the game and its patron to survive in those difficult times make this book even more worthwhile. The author has captured the very essence of the India of that time , struggling for independence and enjoying cricket to ease her difficult life.
This book is beautifully written and is easy to read and can be called belles-lettres in spite of being very informative.

Russka: The Novel of Russia

Russka: The Novel of Russia - Edward Rutherfurd
It took me thirteen days straight to finish this book but at the end it’s very satisfying because this book is worth the every effort and the time it demands.
Spanning across 1800 years, this book describes the fictional account of Russian history. The story commences from the time when Russia was no more than an unoccupied steppe half covered in snow, and covered the whole history of Russia up till the early 90’s .The story revolves around the bloodline of two families whose several generation’s experience through the times of Russia nearly compiles whole of the book.
The author has laid more emphasis on the medieval period of Russian history encompassing and describing in great details the times of Ivan the terrible, Peter the great and Catherine .Also the author has gone into great detail to describe the rule of various tsar in terms of society , religion , military Etc. . All the important events in Russia’s history are incorporated in the story along with the actual outcomes and due to the author's eloquence it’s very easy to incorporate.
It was rather interesting to read about the advent of the revolution which destroyed the rule of the tsar. The involvement of important personalities like Lenin and Stalin stir up the interest in the story and although there is not much but their role in the revolution are impeccably described.
All in all hats off to Edward Rutherfurd for pulling off such a marvelous work

Passenger to Frankfurt

Passenger to Frankfurt - Agatha Christie By the time I finished the book I was astonished by the turn of events. This was the first novel by Mrs. Christie that hasn't gone well with me. And I think for that Mrs. Christie herself is to be blamed entirely. Firstly for choosing espionage as the center theme for this book. And secondly for writing this book.

Well if anything, one thing is assured and that's espionage is not Mrs. Christie forte. As much as I appreciate Mrs. Christie's work, this book fails to impress at all.

This book begins with intriguing plot involving a diplomat and mysterious look alike girl who thinks her life is in danger. And then the plot thickens for some next few pages as this diplomat tries to search this girl, he even succeeded and then right in the middle of the book Mrs. Christie loses the plot and started babbling about god knows what for the next 200 pages and then in the end she again catches your attention and finish off in style like always.

This book suffers from a few drawbacks. To begin with, the story fails to pick up at any point of time, it was rather like reading excerpts patch together to assemble a book. The story is little disoriented as in, the beginning and the ending are so much out of sync that it felt like they came from two different books. Also the story sways from one character to another a lot, so it actually tricky to comprehend what actually is going on. The lack of a dedicated protagonist also works against the benefit of the book. Moreover there are several questions left unanswered which leave the reader pondering at the end and rather gives an impression of an incomplete story.

These are a lot of drawbacks to even deserve two stars but there are also a few things which work in favor of Mrs Christie like the eloquence of this master story teller which make this novel an easy read despite of its flawed story.

I would say if you are not a die hard Christie fan you can give this book a pass and devour something worthy.

A Bridge Too Far

A Bridge Too Far - Cornelius Ryan A war has so much to teach, if only you are willing to learn.

This book gives a detailed account of the allies invasion of Holland under the operation 'Market Garden'. Operation 'Market Garden', which was a major debacle on the allied side, costing thousands of soldiers their life and thousands were injured not counting the several thousands who were taken POW. Although casualties were on both sides it was the allied group who suffered a major dent in their morals.

It was very disheartening to learn the ordeal which the Dutch citizenry had endured amidst this invasion. The suffering of the soldiers and the sacrifices they made were even more horrendous than the war itself. Even through the suffering, the gallant effort put by the soldiers are very commendable even after this many years of battle.

Cornelius Ryan has done a commendable job in capturing the very essence of the whole operation. The author has done a very meticulous research and hasn't spared any detail in the description of the aftermath of the bloody war.