Welcome to my Inner World. I am a French self-taught artist, and these past twenty years I have made Norway my home. Moving to the Lofoten islands was the greatest present I ever made to myself and the Arctic landscapes are indeed a true treat for any artist’s eyes. I live with my British soulmate,… Continue Reading
Be Prepared, January 15, 2007
By J.Brian Watkins
Staggering. This book is a litany of failure and not so subtly the failure of western civilization itself; however, there is a surprisingly redemptive streak running throughout. Simmons is a tremendous author, capable of producing masterworks in any genre of his choosing and he is at the top of his powers in this work, which though ostensibly historical fiction owes a debt to mystery, biography, horror, and science-fiction with liberal doses of Shakespeare, sociology and philosophy.
More than a retelling of the Franklin expedition to find the Northwest Passage, “Terror” is the story of Captain Francis Crozier who commands HMS Terror. Crozier has to overcome bad food, poor leadership, even poorer subordinates, mutinous sailors, cold, scurvy and a Monster, in order to reconcile himself with the future that he has seen but fails to understand. Strangely the journey through this dark and 750 plus page novel is ultimately reaffirming and as voiced by a character late in the novel, salvation was always waiting for Crozier who just had to make his choice.
Though ostensibly about failure, this book summarizes the triumph of man over adversity. Though ostensibly about discovery, the book details the tragedy of men dying needlessly within reach of the very survival skills they refused to seek much less adopt. This duality of themes gives great weight to the story; indeed, Simmons quotes liberally from Hobbes, Shakespeare, Homer, Poe and probably several others that I missed. And for fear of spoiling the read, suffice it to say that the author’s erudition serves his purpose of rendering the tale disturbingly modern. It is a cautionary tale and in his wisdom, Simmons leaves us to determine what we take from it
At Borough Farm, on North Devon’s rugged, spectacular coast, David Kennard and his dogs are embarking on a new shepherding year.
Part diary of one man and his remarkable dogs, part Herriot-like homage to the countryside and its characters, A Shepherd’s Watch is that rare thing: a portrait of a real life that is at once authentic and evocative, warm, and compelling. Here, David Kennard presents twelve months with his working sheepdogs, Greg, Swift, Gail, Fern, and Ernie, as they face a never-ending series of challenges: from rescuing ewes stranded on the Atlantic cliffs to running the gauntlet of psychopathic rams and officious farm inspectors, from spring lambing and summertime shearing to fending off the ever-present threats nature has in store for the 850-strong flock. All this, in the midst of a harsh economic climate for farming and a landscape that is among the most picturesque, yet wildly unpredictable, in the British Isles.
David Kennard has been a shepherd since he left school at the age of seventeen. In this, his first book, he draws on half a lifetime’s experience to paint an honest and affectionate, often comic picture of a year in the life of a sheep farm and its very different canine and human personalities. As he follows the changing seasons, observing nature’s inexorable journey through the dark days of winter to the rebirth and renewal of spring, he also offers a gentle meditation on man’s relationship with his environment, and a poignant elegy to a rural way of life.
Here begins an extraordinary alliance—and a brutal and tender, shocking, and electrifying adventure to end all adventures.
It starts with a simple note. Roger Bascombe regretfully wishes to inform Celeste Temple that their engagement is forthwith terminated. Determined to find out why, Miss Temple takes the first step in a journey that will propel her into a dizzyingly seductive, utterly shocking world beyond her imagining—and set her on a collision course with a killer and a spy—in a bodice-ripping, action-packed roller-coaster ride of suspense, betrayal, and richly fevered dreams.
From the Inside Flap
Bingtown is a hub of exotic trade and home to a merchant nobility famed for its liveships–rare vessels carved from wizardwood, which ripens magically into sentient awareness. The fortunes of one of Bingtown’s oldest families rest on the newly awakened liveship Vivacia.
For Althea Vestrit, the ship is her rightful legacy unjustly denied her–a legacy she will risk anything to reclaim. For Althea’s young nephew Wintrow, wrenched from his religious studies and forced to serve aboard ship, Vivacia is a life sentence.
But the fate of the Vestrit family–and the ship–may ultimately lie in the hands of an outsider. The ruthless pirate Kennit seeks a way to seize power over all the denizens of the Pirate Isles…and the first step of his plan requires him to capture his own liveship and bend it to his will….