I do enjoy reading and have got through a number of books over the summer months. I would like to share two of the books with you and hope that these reviews do them justice as I enjoyed them very much. They are very much different from one another, one is a piece of historical fiction and the other is set in the present tense and is very topical.
Ken Follett has become an author that is rivalling Bernard Cornwall in the field of historical fiction, anyone who has read Pillars of the Earth or the sequel World Without End will attest to this. His latest epic novel is titled Fall of Giants and is set around the period of World War One. The two giants in question are the German and Russian empire. The story is centred on a Welsh mining village and the country seat of Earl Fitzherbert whose land the mine is on. The main characters are the Williams Family from the mining village and the Fitzherbert family. Secondary characters are mainly visitors to the Fitzherbert country house. These include a military attaché to the German Embassy in London, an attaché to the Austrian Embassy, a Russian Princess from the Tsars’ family and an advisor to the American president; there are also two Russian Brothers who become embroiled in The Russian Revolution. The story opens in 1912 when 15 year old Billy Williams spends is first shift down the pit and Ethel Williams who becomes house Keeper to the Fitzherberts. The story follows all of the main characters has the approach the start of the Great War has it is often called, it takes you all through the war including the major events such as the horrors of the Somme and the Russian Revolution and ends with a strange peace and the start of the depression eventually ending in 1924.
I must admit I have never really understood how the assassination of an Austrian Duke led to a world war, the story takes you step by step and involves all the real historical characters and how they figured in events that led up to one of the worst conflicts of the 20 century. The story telling is fabulous and combines richly developed historical detail with fast moving action and powerful emotion, it brings together two people who are both madly in love and yet separated because they are on separate sides, it brings together two women from different backgrounds to stand side by side for the cause of votes for women. It brings the true horror of war to the reader has the telegraph boy delivers the fatal telegram to every other home in the mining village and it reveals how things can never be the same again for the residents of the big house.
This is perhaps the best novel I have read over the last few years, it is to be a part of a trilogy and it wouldn’t at all surprise me if this is not captivated on film or a major TV series. There is something for everyone in this tale and I highly recommend you to read it
My second book I’m introducing today brings us right back to the present and the piracy problems in Somalia. It is called Those In Peril by Wilber Smith. The first Wilbur smith novel I read was The River God which was a part of a trilogy set in ancient Egypt, I really enjoyed the richness of the way he describe that area of the world and he brings is knowledge of the ways and customs of the lawless area of Africa to this story.
The story centres around Hazel Bannock is the heir to the Bannock Oil Corp, one of the major oil producers with global reach. While cruising in the Indian Ocean, Hazel’s private yacht is hijacked by African pirates. Hazel is not on board at the time, but her nineteen year old daughter, Cayla, is kidnapped and held to ransom. The pirates demand a crippling twenty billion dollar ransom for her release. Complicated political and diplomatic considerations render the civilized major powers incapable of intervening.
When Hazel is given evidence of the horrific torture which Cayla is being subjected to, she calls on Hector Cross to help her rescue her daughter. Hector is the owner and operator of Cross Bow Security, the company which is contracted to Bannock Oil to provide all their security. He is a formidable fighting man. Between them Hazel and Hector are determined to take the law into their own hands. The story can be grim in places and not for those easily offended or squeamish. But it’s a very fast moving tales and has a much unexpected twist at its end. This is a story you will find very hard to put down.