“Death’s End”, by Cixin Liu (2010 — English translation 2016)
This is the third volume in Liu Cixin’s trilogy, “Remembrance of Earth’s Past”. In spirit, this seems much closer to the first volume (“The Three Body Problem”) – a well-told complex fast-paced plot, with many twists & turns.
The invasion fleet from the unstable planet Trisolaris is on its 400 year journey to the Solar System, but by the beginning of the 23rd Century Earth had discovered what was effectively a form of Mutual Assured Destruction, leading to a limited cooperation stand-off with…[Read more]
“The Dark Forest”, by Cixin Liu (2008 – English translation 2015)
This is the second volume of Liu’s trilogy, “Remembrance of Earth’s Past”. It moves the story forward, but seems to lack some of the punch of the first volume. It is an interesting question as to whether that is mainly the ‘second volume sag’ which seems to affect some other trilogies, or whether it is in part a reflection of having a different translator from the first volume. There is a sense that this translation is closer to the style of the Chinese original.
The people of present-day Ea…[Read more]
“The Three-Body Problem”, by Cixin Liu (2006 – English translation 2014)
ISBN 978 0-7653-8203-0
This Sci-Fi novel is the first volume of a trilogy by Cixin Liu (or Liu Cixin, to use the Chinese name order). A review of this book alone might be as meaningless as a review of only the first volume of Tolkein’s “Lord of the Rings”. However, it is worth passing along that this volume is well-written and thought-provoking, and deserves every award it has been given. It is a definite “must read” for anyone with an interest in Science Fiction.
Make no mistake – Mr. Liu writes genuin…[Read more]
“Lincoln County and its Wars”, by Nora True Henn (2017)
Nora True Henn spent about half a century in Lincoln County, New Mexico and assiduously collected all the information she could find about the Lincoln County War of 1878, now collected in this posthumously published volume.
In a world where statues of Abraham Lincoln himself are not safe from the terminally woke, why should anyone care about a grubby little affair from a century and a half ago? To quote Ms. Henn: “New Mexico’s Lincoln County War was a power play gone berserk”. It has happened before, and i…[Read more]
“In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette”
Author: Hampton Sides
This is an absolutely compelling book, thanks largely to the excellent writing by Mr. Sides — definitely his best book.
It tells the forgotten tale of an ill-starred effort in the late 1870s to explore the Arctic Ocean and the North Pole. It is strange to realize how little was known about big areas of the globe only 150 years ago. There was a theory that once explorers got through the ice at the Arctic Circle, they would find an open ocean and possibly…[Read more]
The Year of the French, by Thomas Flanagan
Published by Henry Holt, 1979
This novel is built around the true events of one of those forgotten chapters of history. In 1798 while Napoleon and Admiral Nelson were squaring off in Egypt, the French landed a small force in Ireland, having been (over-)promised that the Irish would rally to their flag and rise up to throw off hated English rule.
The French forces had some initial success against the occupying English army, in part by using their poorly-armed Irish allies as cannon fodder. But the ultimate outcome was…[Read more]
“After the Prophet”, by Lesley Halzleton, Anchor Books, 2010. ISBN 978-0-385-52394-3
A very readable account of the origin of the Sunni-Shia split which developed in Islam after the death of Mahomed, populated by a cast of all-too-human characters who prove that history can be stranger than fiction — and very engrossing!