Monday, September 19, 2011

48. Enigma

By:  Robert Harris
Rated 4.5 Stars
From Library
Hardcover Book

Well here I am, once again reading on Connie's coat tails.  I watch her lists very carefully.  I always find at least one book that I wouldn't normally find out about that turn out to to gems and this is one of them. Very well written and extremely atmospheric.

Publisher Summary:

 A fictional account of the desperate efforts to break the Nazi's Enigma code takes place in a British railway town, a struggle that becomes complicated by the pivotal disappearance of a beautiful cryptographer. A member of a top-secret team of British cryptographers, Tom Jericho succeeds in cracking "Shark," the impenetrable operational cipher used by Nazi U-boats, but when the Germans change the code, Jericho must break the new code before the traitor among his group can stop him.

47. Waterloo, A Captain Richard Sharpe Adventure

By:  Bernard Cornwell
Rated:  5 Stars

I have loved this series for a long time and it's a little sad that this is the last book.  But as Douglas McArthur said "old soldiers never die they just fade away" Richard Sharpe certainly deserves to sheath his sword and fade away into comfortable retirement.   If I have missed any of the books in this series it was by sheer accident.  If I was really, really rich I would collect them all in audio format to listen to when I am in a nursing home and beyond reading. :)

But Cornwell certainly ended the series with a great big bloody bang with this book.  His battlefield descriptions were about as graphic as I have ever read.  And his description of William of Orange's character made me go running to Wickipedia to see if this was the same William of Orange that was the scourge of Ireland and despised by Clan McDonald.  He wasn't.  That King William reigned in England with his wife Mary from 1689 to 1694.  The William of Orange that Cornwell is writing about in this book was born in 1792 and was subsequently King of the Netherlands.  He may or may not have been the jerk Cornwell protrays him as but after the hatchet job he did on Alfred the Great in his Saxon series I don't entirely trust him.  What I do trust is his accuracy as far as events are concerned and anyway this is fiction so Cornwell can write whatever he pleases.  But I can grumble about it. :)

Publisher's Summary

With the emperor Napoleon at its head, an enormous French army is marching toward Brussels. The British and their allies are also converging on Brussels - in preparation for a grand society ball. And it is up to Richard Sharpe to convince the Prince of Orange, the inexperienced commander of Wellington's Dutch troops, to act before it is too late. But Sharpe's warning cannot stop the tide of battle, and the British suffer heavy losses on the road to Waterloo. Wellington has few reserves of men and ammunition, the Prussian army has not arrived, and the French advance wields tremendous firepower and determination. Victory seems impossible.
In this, the culmination of Richard Sharpe's long and arduous career, Bernard Cornwell brings to life all the horror and all the exhilaration of one of the greatest military triumphs of all time.

46. Absolute Truths

By Susan Howatch
Rated:  At least 5 Stars
Audio Book

This is my first attempt in my current plan to listen to all of these books that I can find in audio format this year.  I have, for no logical reason started with the last book. (!)  It's a variation of the old "Read the Last Page of the Book Syndrome."

Audible has Glamorous Powers, Mystical Paths and Scandalous Risks as well as this one available.  Glimmering Images and Ultimate Prizes are available at outrageous prices in cassette tape format.  I think I will pass on them but I will reread them in book format.

I re-read these books every once in a while.  I am always amazed at how much I am attracted to these books because they are not the kind of books that generally appeal to me.  I think it's the writing.  Susan Howatch is a magical writer.  I don't really like most of the characters in these books but the sincerity of their faith and the fact that they really really try to be good Christians comes shining through.  It is non judgmental Christianity without the meanness and bigotry that has become so much a part of what passes for Christianity today.   It's almost enough to restore one's faith.

Publisher's Summary

Charles Ashworth, the bishop of Starbridge, is a man of great accomplishment, confidence, and conviction, with a reputation as a no-nonsense bishop - until his beloved wife dies. Bereavement overwhelming his spiritual equilibrium, his strict morality is quickly revealed to him to be nothing more than a facade. Spiralling downwards, Ashworth knows he must find his way out of the maze of his own psyche. In doing so, he must face the absolute truths - both good and bad - of his past that may be the only keys to his future.

45. When the Emperor Was Devine

Julie Otsuka
Rated: 4 Stars
From:  Library

A very interesting story and a shameful part of our nation's history.  But sad, very sad.  Our government succumbed to public hysterics' after Pearl Harbor and . . .  dare I even say it, then to greed.  I seriously doubt if any of the U.S. citizens of Japanese ancestry were ever reimbursed by as much as one penny on the dollar of what was robbed from them.  I blush to think of it.

Myself, I am of thirty one thirty seconds German ancestry and no one messed with my family during WW2.  Because we didn't look different.  Racism is not just a recent phenomena

Publisher Summary The story is told from five different points of view--a mother receiving the evacuation order, her daughter on the train ride to the camp, the son in the desert internment camp, the family's return home, and the final release of the father after years in captivity--chronicles the experiences of Japanese Americans caught up in the nightmare of the World War II internment camps.