I’m really struggling with my fantasy reading (aside from a foul-mouthed, hilarious comedy fantasy series, I have zero enthusiasm for the genre at present). With that in mind, I’ve decided to go for a few things outside of the fantasy genre to try and keep my reading up even if it I can’t enjoy a bit of swords and sorcery.
There is one book on this list, from the aforementioned comedy series, as it seems to be the only fantasy thing I can really get excited about sinking my teeth into. Yet even that is progressing far slower than I would like.
I’m somewhat late to the party with a couple of these, what with their authors having passed away some years back. Cannot wait, though.
Without further ramblings, here is a brief list of the things I’m looking forward to reading and listening to over the coming weeks:
Master & Commander by Patrick O’Brian
Genre: Historical Fiction
Master and Commander is the first of Patrick O’Brian’s now famous Aubrey/Maturin novels, regarded by many as the greatest series of historical novels ever written. It establishes the friendship between Captain Jack Aubrey RN and Stephen Maturin, who becomes his secretive ship’s surgeon and an intelligence agent. It contains all the action and excitement which could possibly be hoped for in a historical novel, but it also displays the qualities which have put O’Brian far ahead of any of his competitors: his depiction of the detail of life aboard a Nelsonic man-of-war, of weapons, food, conversation and ambience, of the landscape and of the sea. O’Brian’s portrayal of each of these is faultless and the sense of period throughout is acute. His power of characterisation is above all masterly.
Critical Failures 6 by Robert Bevan
In the wake of their recent loss, the Caverns & Creatures gang are left hanging. Do their choices amount to more than waiting around to die of thirst and leaping to a quicker death? Probably, or else this would have been a much shorter book.
Caves of Ice by Sandy Mitchell
Genre: Science Fiction/Warhammer 40k
On the ice world of Simia Orichalcae a spate of mysterious disappearances is causing unrest amongst the mine workers, and, as senior officer of the Astra Militarum, Commissar Ciaphas Cain is nominated to investigate. Unbeknownst to him, the planet is right in the path of a major ork incursion, and, as the savage greenskins attack, a malevolent evil begins to stir deep in the ice caves.
Something Fresh by P.G. Wodehouse
Genre: Historical Fiction/Comedy
This is the first Blandings novel, in which P.G. Wodehouse introduces us to the delightfully dotty Lord Emsworth, his bone-headed younger son, the Hon. Freddie Threepwood, his log-suffering secretary, the Efficient Baxter, and Beach the Blandings butler.
As Wodehouse wrote, ‘without at least one imposter on the premises, Blandings Castle is never itself’. In Something Fresh there are two, each with an eye on a valuable Egyptian amulet which Lord Emsworth has acquired without quite realizing how it came into his pocket. But of course things get a lot more complicated than this…
The Rats by James Herbert
The terror begins. London is struck by an invasion. Women, children, old and young, none are safe from the deadly menace. The attacks are swift and sure, escape is impossible. A state of emergency is declared. Evacuation seems the only solution in the face of a growing panic and mounting death toll. War is declared on the public enemy number one. The Rats!