The Cuckoo's Calling is one of the best detective books that I have read in several years. The writing is clever; the main characters are likeable, complex and yet flawed. The chemistry between the primary characters is outstanding – the story itself is funny, suspenseful and interesting. Rowling shows that she can master a completely different genre from the Harry Potter series. This is the first listen that I have for Robert Glenister but I must say his narration was first rate. There were a fairly large number of characters in the book and Mr Glenister was able to give each a distinct vocalization. It just all came together nicely to make a great book that I would strongly recommend, well worth the credit. Hopefully this is the beginning of a series and future offerings will bring back the main characters and also the narrator.
I wasn’t sure that I wanted to waste one of my credits on this novelization of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark and I must say I was pleasantly surprised. The middle of part I started to get a little dry, but the pace picked up very quickly in the second part. The second part has all of the elements of a good suspense novel. For a large portion of part 1 I didn’t really like any of the characters, but as the story progressed you could empathize with several of them. It kind of reminded me of Game of Thrones in that regard.
The narration was well done and I loved the afterward with the authors talking about the evolution of this timeless story and how the modern day renditions are probably quite different from the story that was probably used during Shakespeare’s time. I plan on trying one of their other novelizations. This one is worth the credit.
The Harry Bosch series is probably my favorite detective series and the Narrows may be the most enjoyable of the entire series. It has some very funny stuff, a really interesting story line that is suspenseful and fast paced and it has great chemistry among the characters. Len Cariou is the best of the Bosch narrators and he does an excellent job in this one. The character development and interaction is exceptionally well done. This one is so good that I have listened to it multiple times - if you are a Harry Bosch fan you will really enjoy this one, I would recommend listening to City of Bones, Lost Light and the Poet first to better understand the plot of the Narrows.
Empires of the Sea is an excellent book, well worth the credit. I found it to be interesting, informative and well written. I had no idea of the magnitude of the slave trade that was perpetuated by the Ottomans and the Barbary Corsairs from their raids of Italy and Spain. Entire populations on some islands and towns were captured and taken away into slavery. The book is actually very suspenseful as it goes into very detailed descriptions of people and soldiers undergoing a siege. The leadership of the defenders at Malta was another aspect that I found to be incredible.
I also found it interesting that the author suggests that economic impacts from gold and silver discoveries in the New World may have been one of the greatest factors in the decline of the Ottoman war machine.
Narration was top notch.
If you enjoy European history you will enjoy this book. I would also recommend the great siege by Ernie Bradford as a complementary book to this one
Prior to reading this book I had no idea that the Bronze Age seemingly ended so suddenly. The author presents a number of potential causes, although a strong case for an exact cause is still lacking. Only issue I had was I had hoped to learn more about the "sea peoples" that were referenced by he Egyptians and several other Mediterranean cultures. It is still uncertain who they were or where they came from. It was amazing to see not only the amount of trade that was taking place across the Mediterranean in the 13th Century BC, but also some of the correspondence between rulers and empires.
The Narration was decent, but not great.
I have enjoyed several offerings of the Great Courses Lectures on Historical events and this was one of the more interesting ones.
Professor Gallagher has done an excellent job in detailing all of these interesting leaders within Lee’s high command. I especially like the balance he utilizes in showing both the strengths and weaknesses of the individuals. With very few exceptions the assessments are even handed, although there are one or two officers that his take seems to be more of a personal like or dislike than one of looking simply at the facts. A few things in the book really stuck out – first was the incredible attrition rate of the officers in the Army of Northern Virginia due to deaths/wounding in battle. There were rarely back to back battles in which the same command structure was actually in place, other than Lee himself. There was a constant need to reshuffle leadership following the engagements. Another interesting analogy made by Professor Gallagher was his comparison of Lee’s role with that of Dwight Eisenhower, who also had to deal with strong, aggressive and competitive personalities of subordinates such as Patton and Montgomery, with Lee that role was even a greater necessity as a large number of his Senior Leaders seemed to stay in perpetual conflict with each other. On numerous occasions there were officers arresting other officers for what seemed to be more out of a competition than any real military error. Lastly, it was really amazing to see how successful many of the officers were at one level, then as they gained rank they become ineffectual or only marginally successful – the Peter Principle.
If you are interested in the make-up of the officers in the book then you will really find the book interesting. I will say though, if you are more interested in details of their actions taken in famous battles; this book may not be what you would be looking for. The Battles are only described in the most general of terms.
I was hoping to glean some ideas for organizing and uncluttering and this book delivered in a big way. Have already started applying some of the principles from the book and can see real value in so many of the ideas that he presents in the book. The length of the book was about right, it moved at a fairly fast pace and the narration was very enthusiastic. The book is very comprehensive – goes over everything from photos, cars, keys, gifts and a great deal more than just clutter.
I found this book to be implausible and predictable but somewhat entertaining. The Reacher character is really closer to a Superhero than a detective. I think if you are a fan of this series then you would not be disappointed in this one. The books in this series that I have read all seem to have somewhat preposterous story lines so if you prefer more realistic detective books then I wouldn't recommend using a credit on this one. This may be a case where watching the movie is the better alternative.
From the beginning of the Plantagenet Dynasty thru the end of the reign of Richard, the history of the Plantagenet’s is simply riveting. These leaders, though called Kings of England, were actually French Norman until well into the 14th Century. The marriage alliances, the intrigues, the betrayals, the pure brutality, the military campaigns, the plagues and ultimately the advances towards modern day governing all contribute to make this a fascinating book. The Kings and leaders were certainly not gentle people, yet many of actions they took played a significant role in how England, and ultimately Europe developed into what it is today. I guess I thought there was more National identity during these times than there actually seemed to be – the spheres of influence were in actuality more aligned with ruling families than nationalistic. Most of the coastal areas of modern day France were frequently under the rule of the Plantagenet Kings, until nearly the 15th century. Through each ensuing reign, you can see small advances in curbing the ultimate power of the Kings to the point of removing later Kings Edward II and Richard II. And while the Kings power was slowly being curtailed, the power of the legislative part of Government slowly grew – from the inception of the Magna Carta during King John’s reign until the removal of King Richard II. If you enjoy History of the middle Ages you will enjoy this book. Well worth the credit.
Regardless of what one think's of Bill O'Reilly, this is a fascinating book. The only negative thing aspect for me was that it did start a little slow, bogging down in detailing some of the final battles/skirmishes of the Civil War, but once the book began detailing the personalities involved in the plot it became fascinating. O'Reilly is a polished narrator from his time on the Factor, and he is very gifted in making strong arguments. I don't agree with all of the perspectives that were presented in the book, but there were truly a lot of strange coincidences for it to have been solely the work of the conspirators that were ultimately found guilty. Equally strange were some of the post war incidents that involved so many of the people closely involved with the investigation. I would certainly recommend this book as it is immensely entertaining. Judge for yourself what parts that you deem plausible and which seem conjecture.
The Gods of Guilt may be the best book of the series so far. Very riveting story, well read by Peter Giles. It is clear Connelly envisions Mickey Haller to be Harry Bosch’s alter ego. While on opposite ends of the legal process, and with perspectives from both of those extremes, both view their jobs as missions for justice, neither character will not stop in their pursuit of what they perceive to be justice and both seem haunted by their shortcomings as a result of it. While he is not as likeable as Connelly’s other main character, this series has developed into one that I look forward to reading each new installment in the series. If you have enjoyed any of the other Lincoln Lawyer books then you will enjoy this one. As I am a commuter listener, the story was a little difficult to follow at the beginning but quickly picked up to finish with a bang. The ending was very satisfying.
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