Thursday, March 24, 2011

22. Whirlwind

By:  James Clavell
Rated:  4.5
From:  Library
Format:  Hard Cover Book

This is not the exact cover from the book but from some sort of game but I liked it much better than the book covers so I used it instead.  It is the first book by James Clavell that I didn't give a 5 star rating.  That in no way indicates that this book was not just as well written or as convoluted as the others, it's just that the the subject matter was not as interesting to me as his Asian based novels were.

Whirlwind is one of his later books. They are all connected although this one is a lot more loosely connected than the others. Andrew Gavalan is a Director of The Noble House and is operating a fleet of helicopters in the Middle East.  This setting allows the author to give the reader is an insight into why the Middle East is as it is and why it reacts as it does to 'infidels." Although the writing is somewhat dated  I certainly learned a lot more than I ever wanted to know about Iran and the Iranian revolution. Some of the characters from Noble house are carried over  and put in cameo appearances but the Noble House Tai Pan has retired and there is a new Tai Pan who was one of the minor characters from the previous book.  Without Ian Dunross the Noble House is not the dynamic force that it was.  Disappointing.  Also another one of the characters who puts in a brief appearance from Noble House is Profitable Choy.  Sadly he has turned into a villain. :(  I kind of liked Profitable Choy.

From Library Journal
Andrew Gavallan, based in Scotland, runs a helicopter company operating in Iran during the Shah's reign. When Khomeini comes to power, Gavallan must get his pilots and their families, and his valuable helicopters, out of the riot-torn country. Complicating matters is his power struggle with his company's secret owner, the Noble House of Hong Kong. The pilots' escape efforts form the basic story but as usual in a Clavell novel the action sweeps across many lives: lovers, spies, fanatics, revolutionaries, friends and betrayers. British, Finnish, American, and Iranian, all are caught up in a deadly religious and political upheaval. Clavell effectively portrays the chilling and bewildering encounters when Westernized lifestyle clashes with harsh ancient traditions. This novel, the fifth in what he calls his Asian Series ( Noble H o use, King Rat, Tai Pan, Shogun ) is certain to be in much demand.

21. Great Railway Bazaar

By:  Paul Theroux
Rated:  5 Stars

I love this author. He paints such beautiful word pictures that I feel I am right there on the train with him.

Publisher's Summary
In 1973 the novelist Paul Theroux made a decision that dramatically altered his career and changed a genre. He would travel Asia by train (from London to Japan and back), write copious notes, and, on his return home to London, write a book about the experience. Published in 1975, The Great Railway Bazaar achieved a popular and critical success rare in publishing. The book became a classic of travel writing and created a model for the genre that today remains vibrantly alive. (The very interesting back story of this seminal work is relayed by Theroux in his 2008 book Ghost Train to the Eastern Star.)
Chapter one begins: "Ever since childhood, when I lived within earshot of the Boston and Maine, I have seldom heard a train go by and not wished I was on it. Those whistles sing bewitchment: railways are irresistible bazaars." Muller, with these first sentences, displays his mastery of phrasing and timing; his subtleties of intonation; his coloring and fluent shifts of emphasis and stress. Throughout The Great Railway Bazaar he displays the incomparable quickness and assurance with which these exceptional narrative qualities develop and transform at every turn of phrase, change of scene, and development of plot. This astonishing ability is Frank Muller's modus operandi, making him one of the greatest and most popular audiobook narrators of all time.

19. The Three Muskateers

By Alexander Dumas

Rated 4.3 Stars

I love these free downloads.  The readers are all volunteer and it's kind of catch as catch can to find one you really like but this one was very good.

I have been using this for a book to listen to when I quilt.  It's really pleasant to be entertained while doing needlework.  Of course this story is dated but it's so dated that it doesn't matter a bit.  It's probably the only story about France that I have ever enjoyed.  France and Ireland are just two countries I can ever get enthusiastic about.  The U.S., Canada, India, China, England and Scotland are much more my cup of tea.

Publisher's Summary

Mixing a bit of seventeenth-century French history with a great deal of invention, Alexandre Dumas tells the tale of young D'Artagnan and his musketeer comrades, Porthos, Athos, and Aramis. Together they fight to foil the schemes of the brilliant, dangerous Cardinal Richelieu, who pretends to support the king while plotting to advance his own power. Bursting with swirling swordplay, swooning romance, and unforgettable figures---including the seductively beautiful but deadly femme fatale, Milady, and D'Artagnan's equally beautiful love, Madame Bonacieux---The Three Musketeers continues, after a century and a half of continuous publication, to define the genre of swashbuckling romance and historical adventure.