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Mu*a Ru*ng



Joined: 24 Aug 2006
Posts: 162
Location: Home where the heart is

PostPosted: Sat Nov 18, 2017 6:46 pm    Post subject: Re: Wilbur Smith Reply with quote

Wildflower wrote:
For a very different view of Southern Africa, racism, tribalism, and for sheer adventure and suspense, I heartily recommend those books. Both series. ten

Anyone interested in Africa, especially Southern Africa, I also recommend Laurens van der Post's books.

The action/adventure part is first-rate, if sometimes implausible - Too many coincidences. Like when the Ballantyne siblings go look for their father who disappeared in Africa's hinterland 8 years before. And in all the vastness of the continent, Robyn just happens to stop at the village where her father stopped and left incontrovertible trace of his passage. How likely is that? Rolling Eyes

Laurens van der Post is less prolific, but I like him better, especially A Story like the Wind and A Far-Off Place. Avoid the Disney movie at all costs, van der Post must have cried all the way to the bank! wink
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Kerowyn
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Joined: 04 Sep 2011
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 01, 2018 3:33 am    Post subject: Daniel Silva's spy books series Reply with quote

I discovered Daniel Silva through a post by Murat (a post that disappeared when the site crashed) reviewing "The Black Widow".

I bought and read that book and enjoyed it very much, so I bought a couple of others by the same author.

To date, besides "The Black Widow", I've read "The English Spy", "The English Girl", and am about to start on "A Death in Vienna".

This is no spy à la James Bond, it's very serious, based on current events, extremely well researched and very well written. Occasionally very dark. I'm not crazy about the main protagonist, an Israeli master spy named Gabriel Allon, but he sort of grows on you a bit, and I like the secondary characters, especially Mikhail Abramov and Christopher Keller. The female characters, with the exception of Madeline Hart, "The English Girl" of the title, are mostly rather têtes à claques, unfortunately. I'd gladly slap a couple of them. But the plots are all very good, very complex, very well thought-out. I recommend them.

I started with the latest book and am working my way backwards, that is kind of fun. Very Happy Of course that way there's a lot of spoilers, but I don't mind those. wink
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murat



Joined: 13 Dec 2005
Posts: 1388
Location: New York

PostPosted: Mon Jan 01, 2018 3:45 am    Post subject: Re: Daniel Silva's spy books series Reply with quote

Kerowyn wrote:
I discovered Daniel Silva through a post by Murat (a post that disappeared when the site crashed) reviewing "The Black Widow".

I kept the review. Here it is again.

Franz-Olivier Giesbert
The Black Widow by Daniel Silva
A network of terror.
A web of deceit.
A deadly game of vengeance.

Legendary spy and art restorer Gabriel Allon is poised to become the chief of Israel’s secret intelligence service. But on the eve of his promotion, events conspire to lure him into the field for one final operation. ISIS has detonated a massive bomb in the Marais district of Paris, and a desperate French government wants Gabriel to eliminate the man responsible before he can strike again.

They call him Saladin …

He is a terrorist mastermind whose ambition is as grandiose as his nom de guerre, a man so elusive that even his nationality is not known. Shielded by sophisticated encryption software, his network communicates in total secrecy, leaving the West blind to his planning—and leaving Gabriel no choice but to insert an agent into the most dangerous terrorist group the world has ever known. Natalie Mizrahi is an extraordinary young doctor as brave as she is beautiful. At Gabriel’s behest, she will pose as an ISIS recruit in waiting, a ticking time bomb, a black widow out for blood.

Her perilous mission will take her from the restive suburbs of Paris to the island of Santorini and the brutal world of the Islamic State’s new caliphate, and eventually to Washington, D.C., where the ruthless Saladin is plotting an apocalyptic night of terror that will alter the course of history. The Black Widow is a riveting thriller of shocking prescience. But it is also a thoughtful journey into the new heart of darkness that will haunt readers long after they have turned the final page.
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Romentic



Joined: 16 May 2007
Posts: 527

PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2018 9:48 pm    Post subject: Re: Daniel Silva's spy books series Reply with quote

Kerowyn wrote:
I started with the latest book and am working my way backwards, that is kind of fun. Very Happy Of course that way there's a lot of spoilers, but I don't mind those. wink

That's one way to do it, LOL.

Personally, I find that the plot and writing improves with time. The first books were almost boring, then the more recent ones got to be page-turners. Though I don't think his latest, "The Black Widow", is his best. It's great as far as "ripped from the headlines" thing is concerned, what with all the terrorist attacks in the last couple of years, but though I kind of felt sorry for the heroine, she never really "grabbed" me. Whereas the "English Girl" (who turned out NOT to be English - blanking out the spoiler) is really likeable. The plot was (I guess it had to be) too convoluted for comfort. Do you agre?
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Asteria



Joined: 11 Oct 2010
Posts: 937
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 5:00 pm    Post subject: Re: Daniel Silva's spy books series Reply with quote

Kerowyn wrote:
I discovered Daniel Silva through a post by Murat (a post that disappeared when the site crashed) reviewing "The Black Widow".

I, too, discovered this author and series through a friend. I've read about half a dozen books by now. Like you, I read it not in order, because I didn't know what the order was. So I, too, read the series backwards. But now I have a better idea of the sequence, so I'm filling in the blanks.

For example, the trilogy on the Nazis looting artworks and stashing them and money in Switzerland - I only found out it was a trilogy when I read the last book of the series ("A Death in Vienna") - Now I went back to the first book, that I happened, by chance, to have ordered ("The English Assassin") - Now I'm ordering the middle book, "The Confessor". But since each book stands alone quite well, it's not too much of a problem.. Except that it makes for spoilers... You know such and such a character will not die because he or she is featured in a book you already read. And you know the plot twists. But spoilers have never bothered me. Very Happy
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RiderofRohan



Joined: 03 Jan 2008
Posts: 95
Location: Rohan

PostPosted: Sat Jan 20, 2018 9:23 pm    Post subject: Re: Daniel Silva's spy books series Reply with quote

Kerowyn wrote:
I discovered Daniel Silva through a post by Murat (a post that disappeared when the site crashed) reviewing "The Black Widow".

I bought and read that book and enjoyed it very much, so I bought a couple of others by the same author.

You made me curious. I'll give Daniel Silva a whirl. Very Happy
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Anémone



Joined: 04 Jan 2008
Posts: 1081
Location: France

PostPosted: Fri Jan 26, 2018 1:33 am    Post subject: Story of a Young German Reply with quote

I'm reading, in French, this gripping book about a young German man who couldn't stand the rise of Nazism in his country and fled to England. This book should be required reading for all our young people for whom WW2 and the evil of Nazism are now Ancient History.

Sorry, this is in French, and I don't have the time or skill to translate it. (Except for the foreword, see below). But many of our members do speak French.

https://books.google.fr/books/about/Histoire_d_un_Allemand.html?id=SfiFAwAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=kp_read_button&redir_esc=y

The link to the English version of the book has been posted in the Entertainment forum.

Jeune magistrat stagiaire à Berlin, Sebastian Haffner s’est exilé en 1938, tant il jugeait exécrable l’atmosphère politique et culturelle en Allemagne. Etabli en Angleterre, il y vécut dans une précarité accablante. L’éditeur Warburg lui commanda alors le livre qui devait devenir l’Histoire d’un Allemand, récit, par un témoin oculaire, de ce qu’était la vie des Allemands pendant l’instauration du nazisme. Mais la guerre éclata, et le manuscrit ne fut jamais publié. En 1954, Haffner retourna en Allemagne et devint un journaliste et historien de renom. Il est mort en 1999 sans avoir jamais cherché à publier sa très personnelle Histoire d’un Allemand, rédigée soixante ans plus tôt et cachée au fond de son bureau. Publié pour la première fois en 2000, après sa découverte, ce récit remporta un succès considérable en Allemagne.

Extrait du texte (chapitre 1)
Je vais conter l’histoire d’un duel entre deux adversaires très inégaux : un Etat extrêmement puissant, fort, impitoyable et un petit individu anonyme et inconnu. Ils ne s’affrontent pas sur ce terrain qu’on considère communément comme le terrain politique ; l’individu n’est en aucune façon un politicien, encore bien moins un conjuré, un “ennemi de l’Etat”. Il reste tout le temps sur la défensive. Il ne veut qu’une chose : préserver ce qu’il considère, à tort ou à raison, comme sa propre personnalité, sa vie privée, son honneur. Tout cela, l’Etat dans lequel il vit et auquel il a affaire, l’attaque sans arrêt, avec certes des moyens rudimentaires mais parfaitement brutaux.
En usant des pires menaces, cet Etat exige de l’individu qu’il renonce à ses amis, abandonne ses amies, abjure ses convictions, adopte des opinions impo- sées et une façon de saluer dont il n’a pas l’habitude, cesse de boire et de manger ce qu’il aime, emploie ses loisirs à des activités qu’il exècre, risque sa vie pour des aventures qui le rebutent, renie son passé et sa personnalité, et tout cela sans cesser de manifester un enthousiasme reconnaissant.

Mais, tout cela, l’individu le refuse. Il est mal préparé à l’agression dont il est victime : il n’a pas l’étoffe d’un héros, encore moins celle d’un martyr. C’est un individu moyen, avec de nombreux défauts, et il est de surcroît le produit d’une époque dangereuse. Mais, ce qu’on exige de lui, il le refuse. Et c’est ainsi qu’il choisit le duel – sans empressement, plutôt en haussant les épaules, mais paisiblement résolu à ne pas céder. Il va de soi qu’il est loin d’être aussi fort que son adversaire, mais, en revanche, il est plus souple. On le verra feinter, rompre, se fendre sans crier gare, temporiser, parer de justesse les coups violents qu’on lui porte. On conviendra que, pour un individu moyen sans vocation particulière pour l’héroïsme ou le martyre, il s’en tire à son honneur. Et pourtant, on le verra pour finir aban- donner la lutte – ou, si l’on veut, la transposer sur un plan différent.

L’Etat, c’est le Reich allemand ; l’indi- vidu, c’est moi. Notre joute, comme tout match, peut être intéressante à regarder – et j’espère bien qu’elle le sera ! Mais je ne la relate pas seulement pour distraire. Mon récit a un autre but, qui me tient encore plus à cœur. (...)

Extrait du texte (l’auteur)
Je ne suis pas intervenu dans le cours des événements, je n’étais même pas un témoin oculaire particulièrement initié, et nul ne peut se montrer plus sceptique que moi-même à l’égard de l’importance de ma personne. Et pourtant, je crois – et je demande qu’on n’y voie nulle outrecuidance – qu’avec l’histoire fortuite et privée de ma personne je raconte une partie importante et inconnue de l’histoire allemande et européenne. Importante – et plus essentielle pour l’avenir que de révéler qui était l’incendiaire du Reichstag ou de rapporter les paroles échangées entre Hitler et Röhm.

Avant-propos de l’éditrice
« Nous, les enfants de l’Allemagne aurions tous voulu avoir un père ou un grand père qui nous eût parlé comme le fait Haffner avec une grande clarté de son expérience intime, qui nous rendît palpable l’existence du mal, l’infiltration et la prise de pouvoir lente et perfide de la pensée raciste et fasciste ... »

Editor's Foreword
"We, Germany's children, would have liked to have a father or grandfather who'd have talked to us, as Haffner does, with great clarity, of his intimate experience, which would have let us see in a concrete way the existence of evil, the infiltration and taking of power slow and perfidious of the racist and fascist way of thinking... "

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RiderofRohan



Joined: 03 Jan 2008
Posts: 95
Location: Rohan

PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 7:39 pm    Post subject: Re: Daniel Silva's spy books series Reply with quote

RiderofRohan wrote:
Kerowyn wrote:
I discovered Daniel Silva through a post by Murat (a post that disappeared when the site crashed) reviewing "The Black Widow".

I bought and read that book and enjoyed it very much, so I bought a couple of others by the same author.

You made me curious. I'll give Daniel Silva a whirl. Very Happy

I did give it a whirl, and I'm hooked! Though, curiously enough, I like the secondary characters (like Christopher Keller for example) better than I like Gabriel Allon, the hero of the series...
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DarkWind



Joined: 18 Jun 2011
Posts: 957

PostPosted: Tue Apr 24, 2018 1:16 am    Post subject: Disclosure by Michael Crichton Reply with quote

Very good book about sexual harassment on the work place, with a twist: This time it's a female boss who harasses a male employee.

Crichton points out how Political Correctness can take you overboard. Recommended.
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Mr. Write



Joined: 21 Dec 2008
Posts: 551
Location: USA

PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2018 10:02 pm    Post subject: State of Fear, by Michael Crichton Reply with quote

I only started on this book (I'm at page 150 of 800!) but the climato-skeptics among us would probably love it. Michael Crichton is such a skeptic himself, and tries to prove that Global Warming is just a theory that hasn't been proven, with plenty of evidence to the contrary that is suppressed by the "baddies".

This is the Overview from Wikipedia:

State of Fear is, like many of Crichton's books, a fictional work that uses a mix of speculation and real world data, plus technological innovations as fundamental storyline devices. The debate over global warming serves as the backdrop for the book. Crichton supplies a personal afterword and two appendices that link the fictional part of the book with real examples of his thesis.

The main villains in the plot are environmental extremists. Crichton does place blame on "industry" in both the plot line and the appendices. Various assertions appear in the book, for example:
    *The science behind global warming is speculative and incomplete, meaning no concrete conclusions can be drawn regarding human involvement in climate change.
    *Elites in various fields use either real or artificial crises to maintain the existing social order, misusing the "science" behind global warming.
    *As a result of potential conflicts of interest, the scientists conducting research on topics related to global warming may subtly change their findings to bring them in line with their funding sources. Since climatology can not incorporate double-blind studies, as are routine in other sciences, and climate scientists set experiment parameters, perform experiments within the parameters they have set, and analyze the resulting data, a phenomenon known as "bias" is offered as the most benign reason for climate science being so inaccurate.
    *A key concept, delivered from the eccentric Professor Hoffman, suggests, in Hoffman's words, the existence of a "politico-legal-media" complex, comparable to the "military-industrial complex," of the Cold War era. Hoffman insists climate science began using more extreme, fear-inducing terms such as "crisis," "catastrophe," and, "disaster," shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall, in order to maintain a level of fear in citizens, for the purpose of social control, since the specter of Soviet Communism was gone. This "state of fear" gives the book its title.

Numerous charts and quotations from real world data, including footnoted charts which strongly suggest mean global temperature is, in this era, lowering. Where local temperatures show a general rise in mean temperature, mostly in major world cities, Crichton's characters infer it is due to urban sprawl and deforestation, not carbon emissions.

Crichton argues for removing politics from science and uses global warming and real-life historical examples in the appendices to make this argument. In a 2003 speech at the California Institute of Technology, he expressed his concern about what he considered the "emerging crisis in the whole enterprise of science—namely the increasingly uneasy relationship between hard science and public policy."

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