Late October Books
Time for another list of books! I try not to get too far behind on these or it takes too long to update things.
I just finished Stephen White’s Compound Fractures, the last book in his series featuring psychologist Alan Gregory. I’m pretty disappointed that this series has ended and I’m a little disappointed in the way it has ended as well! I won’t post any spoilers here, but things were left largely unresolved for the main characters, and I really hate that at the end of a book! The reader knows what happened behind the scenes, but there just wasn’t any resolution and the problems that were covered in this book and the last volume could still crop up again at some point in the future.
Before that was James Lee Burke’s latest, Light of the World starring Louisiana sheriff’s detective Dave Robicheaux and his longtime pal Clete Purcel. Once again on vacation in Montana, Robicheaux and Purcel and their families fall into a pit of trouble that ends with an amazing amount of death and destruction. I think I mentioned the last time I read Burke’s work that I wasn’t quite sure why I was still reading these books. It’s sort of the same story over and over again – Robicheaux and Purcel, just trying to make their way in the world, run into some psychotic, sadistic, crazy, mobbed-up – you name it – villain and then have to resort to guns a-blazin’ to fight their way to victory at the end. There used to be good stories to accompany this theme, but I keep feeling like the story aspect is getting more and more lost. A little disappointed with this one.
By far the best of this bunch was Blood of Tyrants by Naomi Novik, the latest in her series of “Temeraire” novels set during the time of the Napoleonic wars. SO disappointed to know that the eighth book will be the last in this series, but I suppose after you’ve visited just about every continent in the world and (presumably) will see Napoleon defeated at the end, what’s left? Temeraire and Lawrence retire to write poetry in China? Not so interesting. In this latest book, we find the heroes shipwrecked off the coast of Japan. Lawrence is washed ashore with no memory of his exploits as an aviator over the past seven or eight years. Eventually, he is reunited with Temeraire, they adjourn to China, which had been their original destination, and become involved in uncovering a plot to overthrow the Emperor. Finally, leading a cohort of Chinese battle-dragons, they wing to Russia, where Napoleon has invaded in his crusade to conquer the whole of Europe. This is another book that ended without resolution, but I didn’t mind so much since we have the next volume to look forward to and the story is much too big to be confined to one book! Once again, we see the way different nations interact with their dragons – it’s not pleasant in Russia – and the book ends with the first snowflakes of the Russian winter falling on the near-defeated Russian army. We know how Napoleon’s attempted invasion of Russia ends in our world – we’ll see how it turns out in Ms. Novik’s imagination.