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Have You Read...?

Postby Slava » Mon Jan 08, 2007 10:55 am

While not strictly word-related, would the Agora welcome a board section for discussing books recently read? It could be about how the author uses certain words. How well, or poorly, written people consider it. Is it worth reading?

The population of the Agora seems well-behaved, so I shouldn't imagine it would get out of hand. Though authors whose books get savaged might not agree.

What do you think?

Slava
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Postby gailr » Mon Jan 08, 2007 10:13 pm

Why not send up a trial balloon for your first nomination here, Slava, and see what happens?
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Roman Blood - Saylor, Steven

Postby Slava » Wed Feb 28, 2007 8:00 pm

I can't believe it's taken me so long to get around to this, but here's a shot:

"Roman Blood" is Saylor's first novel, and a beauty. If you are a fan of mystery stories set in the past, this is one for you. It's not a new novel, it first came out in 1991, but it is set in ancient Rome.

The hero, Gordianus, is called The Finder, and is called upon to help solve things people need solved, as is generally true of PIs. However, what makes this book so great is that most of it is historically true. It's not just the aura, the feel that the author creates. He uses real history and threads his tale into it. I feel it was exceptionally well done and well worth reading. In fact, I've ordered all the rest of his Gordianus books from Amazon.
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So, as you see, what I'm thinking of here is a kind of Agoran's Book Review section. Books we've read that we enjoyed, or hated, so that the perhaps-like-minded people here may read and agree or quibble.

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Postby Stargzer » Sat Mar 03, 2007 1:13 am

From Stephen Saylor's web site:

ROMAN BLOOD
The novel that began the series. The city is Rome, the year is 80 B.C. When an aspiring young advocate named Cicero takes on his first big murder case, he draws the wrath of the dictator Sulla...and turns for help to Gordianus the Finder. “Gripping...A combination of Hitchcock-style suspense and vivid historical details.” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)


This sounds familiar. Isn't this the one where the penalty for patricide is to be sewn up into a bag with rabid dogs and thrown into the Tiber River? It is well-written, and goes into the seamier side of life in Rome, like the HBO series Rome.

Another series, Oath of Empire by Thomas Harlan, is also set in the context of the Roman Empire, but it's an alternate history / fantasy world with magic as well as military conquest.


Oath of Empire is a series of four alternate history/fantasy books (Shadow of Ararat, Gate of Fire, Storm of Heaven, The Dark Lord) which follow the adventures of a handsome Roman prince (Maxian), an Irish lad (Dwyrin MacDonald), a young Latin woman (Thyatis Julia Clodia) and an Egyptian priest (Ahmet) through triumph, trouble and epic conflict between the Roman and Persian Empires in the 7th century AD.

Oath of Empire has love, romance, slaughter, intrigue, enormous battles, high sorcery and sacrifice... a Cinerama / De Mille movie on paper!


I've only read the first in this series, but I plan to get back to it "one of these days."

I've also read the first two novels in his other series, In the time of the Sixth Sun (Wasteland of Flint and House of Reeds).

The Japanese refugees (the Nisei) arrive in North America in about AD 1200, and the events of Wasteland (and following books) occurs in the AD 2400's. ... Unlike Oath of Empire, which is set in an alternate past, the Sixth Sun novels are set in an alternate future and past. ... Two of the primary characters [are] Mitsuharu Hadeishi (a Terran Federation lieutenant commander, serving aboard the Imperial M鸩ca Navy Astronomer-class destroyer Henry Cornuelle) and a University of New Canberra xeno-archaeologist, Gretchen Anderssen.
Regards//Larry

"To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them."
-- Attributed to Richard Henry Lee
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Roman Blood - Saylor, Steven

Postby Slava » Sat Mar 03, 2007 10:48 am

Yes, this is the one with the patricide punishment. Rather gruesome, no?

I've read the first two in the series, and should be getting more any day now. A new one is coming out this month, and I've already ordered it, so when it's published I'll get it and all the others I'm missing.

Regards,

Slava
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Different book

Postby skinem » Tue Mar 06, 2007 10:38 am

The last two books I read this week was Acts of Treason by a forgettable author. It was Tom Clancy-lite. The democratic running mates for president were behind in the polls and the vice-presidential candidate arranged an attack on their motorcade with the presidential candidate's wife as the target, hoping for (and recieving) the sympathy vote Typical book about the hunt for those responsible.

The better book this week was The March by E. L. Doctorow. It followed a collection of characters (soldiers, convicts, deserters, plantation owners, grifters, newly freed slaves and Sherman himself) during Sherman's march to the sea and then into North Carolina. Accurate, sad, interesting, and the quality of writing was above par.

As you can see, I'm reading really quality stuff lately... :oops:
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