The novel "The Last Queen" is set in an important and action packed Era unfortunately the author has chosen to portray them through the eyes of a hapless historical character, Juana, who based on the historical facts presented, made no significant contribution. The fact that she was a women is presented as an excuse but it rings false given that at about the same time a number of strong women made their mark (ex. the lives of her own mother and sister). The author strives mightily to make the banal goings on important but fails. Take warning - this is a bodice ripper and not a great one at that.
Rather than a thoughtful and well organized presentation of the challenges and potential for a manned Mars mission the book is a stream of consciousness discourse that features long digressions into if the space chimps were masturbators and whether or not any pornography has been filmed in zero-g. This book feels like a missed opportunity as it is clear that the author did considerable research.
This is my first Boris Akunin novel and I consider it a wonderful find. Refreshing as it presents a non-anglo view of world events. Based on this I will be reading more of this authors work.
The novel "Consider the Elephant" is a well crafted re-telling of the story of John Booth's assassination of Lincoln as told through the eyes of his brother. The author brings the times to life by providing rich detail about the lives of the celebrated (at the time, infamous now) Booth family as well as the era itself. I recommend this book but it took me some listening to overcome the lisping delivery of the main character. The production is marred by a gunshot that punctuates the start of each chapter recorded at a level well above that of the narration and is the audio equivalent of being punched in the head about every 20 mintues. The use of background noise to set the scene generally works but I could swear that the people murmuring in the background of crowd scenes are speaking Spanish!
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