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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Lance Thrower - Jack Whyte

The Lance Thrower is the next-to-last book in the Camulod Chronicles by Jack Whyte, historical fiction writer. This book introduces Clothar the Frank, who mythically becomes known as Sir Lancelot.

This book begins with an aged Clothar, making one last visit to Brittania to make some things right by his old friend, Merlyn. He remembers his adventures...

...which start as a young boy in what today is France. The person he has always believed is his father, is Ban, king of Benwick. The story unfolds with Clothar learning of his true heritage and that he is to study under famed bishop Germanus, in Auxerre. Germanus has a school for boys, catering to the noble-born to learn high academics, leadership and warfare.

Once Clothar is finished with his school, he is on an errand back to his home when his world is turned upside down. His train is attacked and he finds himself alone in country. He eventually finds a mercenary that is willing to travel with him and guide him to Ban's army.

The middle portion of the book deals with the feuding that follows Ban's death. Ban's oldest son, Gunthar is an evil sociopath but Ban decreed that his second son, Samson is to be king. This causes what Clothar refers to as Gunthar's war, which ends abruptly and causes Clothar to reconsider his life, which has been war for many months.

Clothar decides that he is going back to see Germanus and serve his mentor. Germanus, who must soon leave for Italia to meet with the pope, sends messages to people in the far-off island of Brittania. One message is to be delivered to the bishop there, to have him orchestrate the crowning of a new high king. A young man named Arthur.

Clothar makes his way to Brittania, but his travels are not smooth and his initial months there frustrate him. He misses the coronation of Arthur and he has trouble finding Merlyn. But once he does, he delivers his messages and goes to find Arthur.

Most of this book is the building of Clothar's character. This is an excellent book with less narrative than some of the author's other books in the series. At times it is fast-paced but is also contemplative. As always, the historical background is full in Jack Whyte's books. This book leads into the final book in the series, The Eagle.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

DNA - W. Craig Reed

In a race against time (and a crazy terrorist), George Anders and a few bad-luck bio-chemical scientists must stop the spread of a toxin that can go undetected in the human body and can kill in little more than twenty-four hours. It'd be a lot easier, though, if George and the terrorist, Fahkir, weren't reenacting the movie "Face/Off". 

In this pulse-pounding page-turner, W. Craig Reed takes Anders and a motley cast on a race to save the world from Satan's Sister, a chemical that could potentially kill off the planet's "simple humans" and make room for those enhanced by the fabled, but somehow concocted, "Elixir of Life". Strange concept, but Reed makes it work with unique characters (Anders' fellow SEALs are a humorous bunch) and unusual twists (who would've thought you could rob a top-security building of secret plans using a tube of lipstick?). 

Overall, I found it to be an exhilirating tale, along the lines of the Splinter Cell series. Pick it up if you need a little action near your bed (besides, know).

Sunday, October 5, 2008

A Psychic Perspective, 10 Steps to More Love, Wealth, and Personal Happiness by Phillis King

A Psychic Perspective, 10 Steps to More Love, Wealth, and Personal Happiness by Phyllis King is a practical, common sense sort of book about perspective and finding happiness. It doesn't require very much psychic intuition to discern the power of positive thought, the importance of taking action, and what patience and persistence really mean in daily life. It does take a skilled hand to integrate all of those affirmatives into something genuine and meaningful. The best parts of this book are exactly that.

How to make better choices and enjoy the outcomes of that fills this book. The book is roughly divided into four parts. By far the largest part, the first 99 of the books' 195 pages, is a biography of the author. The next fifty pages define the Perspective the author draws from her personal experiences. Then there are the 10 Steps to More Love, Wealth, and Personal Happiness the book is named for. There is also a 30 day plan "to jump start your life".

This book makes for a very quick read. The approach the author took is intuitive and pleasant. If you are looking for a cookbook for personal happiness with exact measures of ingredients, this book is not for you. On the other hand, if you are comfortable with measures like a pinch of this and a dash of that, this book reads as though the words are spoken by a friend.

Everything promised on the cover is here. There is more too. There are frank discussions of creating love, wealth and finding truth. To find it, you must practice enough patience and persistence to actually read the book. It's worth it.