After purchasing Prof. Heather's earlier two books, I felt I was up for the experience of round three. If you just plug in the earphones, or other device and press play, the narrator's voice will rather quickly fade into the background as your mind drifts into that fugue state of grocery lists or a replay of last night's nonsense. The next thing you know you are jerked back into the present as Mr. Robertson announces, "Chapter 3".
In order to fully be able to absorb the depth of the human drama and scope of empires competing on the battlefields of Eurasia that this book describes, you must maintain a low to mid level of physical exertion. Try this: get a map and find a hilly trail of some kind that will take several hours to walk. Listen to this audiobook as you meander along and you will quickly get into the story. My method was to go fishing, but I made sure that the spot I was going to fish was on the far side of the lake and required some effort to get to. Anyways, stay active and your mind / attention span will follow along.
Probably Prof. Heather's earlier book about the Fall of Rome. As these two book's timelines somewhat overlap to a degree, this book reviewed and added some narrative to the last book's ending chapters.
I really enjoyed Prof. Heather's coverage of the Byzantine Empire. I was amazed at the resiliency of the Byzantines as they responded politically when possible and militarily when necessary to the arrival of westward migrating ethnic groups like the Avars, Bulgars, various Slavs and others I cannot recall at the moment. Meanwhile old adversaries such as the Ostrogoths in Italy, Visigoths all the way out west in Spain, Serraphids (sp.?) in Persia / Mesopotamia in the east constantly trying to wrest Armenia and other Trans-Caucasian territories from Constantinople's rule, were a constant internal and external threat that required troops on the ground and their heads on a swivel. And don't forget the Vandals making mischief in North Africa!
The Byzantine's were flat out busy as hell trying to keep things together and nobody ever really seemed to want to help. Talk about death from a thousand wounds.
But through the waves of screaming Avar horse mounted spearmen, the masses of revenge crazed Vandal heavy infantry, and back stabbing, trash talking Serraphid archers the Byzantines dominated the scene with their detachments of uber warrior Varangian Guard studs and, straight out of a Bulgar commander's nightmare, heavily armored mounted cataphract warriors. If I only had a time machine! I would just about give anything to see a detachment of Varangian Guardsmen withstand an onrushing Avar cavalry charge and then once the melee really hots up, systematically "snick" off the hapless dismounted horsemen's helmeted heads with their heavy axes mounted on 5 foot wooden shafts. Sounds rather gory, but welcome to mid 600's world of post Roman Empire southern Europe. It just never seemed to stop, and the Byzantine's were right in the middle of the action with a big bull's eye on their heavily armored cuirasses.
When the Western Roman Empire went down the Byzantines stood up and stood like a cliff of righteous granite against wave after wave of determined and highly skilled horse peoples. The Byzantine Empire held firm. Their place of honor in the pages of history is forever secured.
As you by now can see, after listening to this book I have really upped my respect for the Byzantine Empire and what those people accomplished in the midst of a truly chaotic situation on a continental scale. Prof. Heather took this fur ball of information and laid out the story in a fashion I can only describe as masterful.
Kudos to Prof. Heather for reaffirming to this Cal Poly '92 history major why I chose my course of study! I loved this stuff back then and I still do today thanks to books like this. My Late Antiquity history "batteries" have been recharged.
I am truly a better person for listening to this audiobook.
Varangian Guards - you want to see what armor and a warrior should look like? Look no further!
I loved this book! I can honestly say that before this review, through the hundreds and hundreds, maybe thousands, of pages of various reports and other essay-type endeavors I have written / typed, I never had the opportunity to type the words Varangian Guard before today. These guys, mostly from Denmark, Norway and England by the way, were flat out warriors who were game changers whenever they stepped onto the field. Go online and type in Varangian Guard (yeah! one more time...) go to images and check out the armor package these guys wore in battle. I have seen many variations on the armor theme over the years, and I can truly say that I am impressed x 6 with the protection these soldiers wore. What a sight they must have been!
Ray Chase Crushes
I really can't think of another non-Post Human series book that compares to Inhuman. Even if there was a book out there, do you really care about what I chose or why I chose it? Hopefully the answer is NO.
My virtual bookshelf is groaning under the weight of all the Ray Chase narrations I have purchased / listened to. Ray Chase is a narrator of the first water. When I scroll through newly released books and I spot his name in the narrator slot, it pretty much doesn't matter what the book is because I've already tossed the audiobook in my cart.
Inhuman.......Tune in as Oldtimer bitch slaps evil from Venus to Earth and back again.
I loved to listen to Janet's squeaky chatter as she chirped with Rich - the gravel voiced badass who had Oldtimer's back. I pressed play at 4:30 this morning and marathoned this gem straight through as I did my morning fishing trip followed immediately by the obligatory Pacificofest by the pool. This story started fast and never slowed down. Ray Chase kept the story charging ahead and made me chuckle at least 26 times just from the way he made the characters sound. No one does Super Self Important Man in Command guy like Ray Chase. It's kind of like a mix of bravado and gruff world weariness wrapped around battle-hardened confidence. Or, maybe not. Whatever.... Buy the audiobook. It's worth the dough and you will enjoy the ride.
Absolutely. In every way imaginable. And when I get around to actually buying the book I will be even more convinced of the audiobook's superiority.
Does anyone really care what I compare anything to? Hell, I'm the one typing this and couldn't give a rodent's rectum about what book I might compare with this one. For the sake of nothing in particular, how about - Confessions of a D-List Supervillain. Why? Same author, main character and narrator.
Cal gets the vast majority of the time in this audiobook - as it is about him. I dig his sarcasm and jaded outlook on the lot people find themselves in through almost no fault of their own. I also liked that supervillain chick that blew around super fast and talked 1000 mph when excited. I forget her name, but I got a kick out of her part in the story.
I got kind of choked up when an important character met an extremely undeserved spot of terminal bad timing. Cal's reaction to having that backstabbing son of a bitch known as Fate reach down his throat, yank his heart out of his gullet and then chop it into tiny bite sized pieces and what he did in commemoration for the loss of the best thing that ever happened in his life bucked him up several steps on the ladder of respect. He had something really special going, something clean and totally positive that was ripped from his life that could never be replaced.
Oh, other than the above mentioned heart wrenching event that destroyed what was left of Cal's belief in the promise of a better tomorrow and all of that bullshit, there are tons of laughs throughout this audiobook. I never knew there could be so many flavors of superhero / villain. The guy who was connected with moss really made me squirm when he talked about his carnal adventures.
I wish this audiobook was available before Confessions..... came out. I don't know if it was purposely timed in this fashion, but when I listened to Confessions a couple of years ago there was a bunch of scenes that I thought needed some backstory. Well, now I know.
Good book. Worth your time and your dime. MechaniCal is a supervillain you can root for. Now I am going to press play on Confessions to keep the saga going.
Outcast scores a competitive 9.16 on my Modified Integrated Listening Fun (MILF) Scale. Why? Because it just does. Cody Riggs, Adrienne the Oxford educated fair haired rocket who also is the sister of Cody's murdered girlfriend (nice scenario B.V., you sick bastard) , the Master Sergeant and Marvin - the greatest "artificial construct" in the Milky Way Galaxy all find themselves in deep intergalactic excreta through no fault of their own. Cody told the Captain to go armed to the feast - you will know what I mean very early in the story.
Marvin. He is the driver of the action, the brains of the operation and, when all hell breaks loose as humanity is 9/10's through its collective circling of the toilet flush of extinction, the ultimate savior of Earth based sentient life.
Marvin got the word that his dreams of finally assuming command of a ship were crushed after Cody recited the "Law of Trover" pointing out that Marvin never left the ship. I had a mind camera playing that showed Marvin drooping at what you may call his waist, all of his once flagellating arms limp and his head bowed in a posture of total resignation and defeat. I felt so sad for him. However, as is always the case, Marvin found a way to circumvent the situation and through sheer force of personality and shameless manipulation persuaded Cody to brevet him as Warrant Officer thereby elevating him to de facto Captain Marvin. I felt so proud of Marvin.
I didn't cry. This wasn't really a "get the tissues ready" kind of audiobook. I did laugh a bunch of times whenever Marvin inserted his presence. As I have said before, and I will say it again, Marvin is the greatest non-human character in the history of everywhere. It doesn't matter what he says, I just start smiling and usually end up thrusting both hands in the air and shouting "Marvin!" I guess that is kind of extreme.
Get this audiobook. New characters, some old ones, conniving homicidal carnivorous panda bears and tons of laser beam firing kill vehicles. Even the smarmy Crustacean professor guy is in the mix. All I can say is thank you Mr. Larsen for keeping Marvin alive as a character. My day got a bit brighter and lighter as I listened to Outcast.
Even though Overlord was a long listen, the story buzzed along. There are several compelling storylines interwoven with the overall plot. The book is filled with valiant knights in armor and rat faced bastards, plus Matchstick - the hero.
Nothing really comes to mind. I tend to take each book as an original story with its own little functioning world within itself.
First time listener. He did a top notch job. Kept the story moving. I will look for his other narrations.
As much as I have extreme reactions to anything these days - I have slowly, yet inexorably slouched into a rather tiresome jaded state of being over the last 22 1/2 years for reasons I shall not go into, and for the fact that you probably don't really care about in the first place.
The ending part of the audiobook when one of the rat faced bastards and his MIB posse finally caught up with a group of the good guys saddened me tremendously. I remember uttering a pained "No!", getting a lump in my throat, and, as I looked down onto the ground slowly shaking my head back and forth.
Purchase Overlord! You owe it to the poor sods in Beijing and Mumbai - you will know why by about the 2/3 mark of the audiobook - and above all others, Matchstick.
This audiobook is loaded with solid action / combat scenes in the sea, land, air and lower Earth orbit. Once I pressed play I couldn't press stop.
Brigadier General Stan "The Professor" Higgins. His grasp of military history and battlefield leadership basically kept the U.S. armed forces from getting their collective asses handed to them by the Chinese. What put him in the top slot was a statement he made to one of his underlings when the lieutenant questioned his decision not to disengage and conserve ammunition during a bombardment of Chinese forces defending a river crossing somewhere in Northern China after there were indications of Chinese starting a "Bugout Boogy" - "No son, We'll remain here to deal death." Needless to say, the bombardment continued.
Solid narration that kept the action flowing. Professional job by a quality narrator.
My belief in the ability for our species to lower the bar of cynical ruthlessness and depraved inhumanity was confirmed through the Chinese leader's murderous machinations and the counterproductive, myopic, conniving back stabbing act of the American Militia forces.
This series ended not with a boom, but with multiple radioactive mushroom clouds. Vaughn Heppner's Invasion America series was a joy to listen to. I highly recommend this final book and the rest of the series.
By the way, my choice of headline was inspired by Howard Cosell's historic call during the Ali v. Frasier fight, but I am sure you already figured that out.....
The author wrote the book for people who like to know about the world / universe around them - people like me. He provided 2.38 gazillion factoids about a bunch of different subject areas and didn't clutter up the scene with techno babble or other superfluous speed bumps. I really enjoyed the audiobook.
As this is a book about the speed of a bunch of different things - I guess my favorite character was the 10 snowflakes. Why? Mr. Berman dropped in a golden nugget regarding water molecules and sand that made me say to myself "Wow, I didn't know that. That's amazing!" I found myself saying this or something closely related at least 31 times over the course of this listen.
Again, or is it the first time I need mentioning - THIS IS A SCIENCE BOOK, not a character driven fiction piece. Enough of this.... Hey Audible, do me a favor. Can you all at least provide relevant topics for me to work from, as I am doing my damndest to give high props for this wonderful book I am trying to review? All you seem to be doing is tossing roadblocks in front of me for no reason other than laziness, negligence or spite.
I wish there was someway to have a menu of topic options to pick from that would make reviews more relevant instead of getting needlessly tied up by irrelevant topics that have nothing to do with the work being reviewed. But hey, it's only the year 2014, and it's not like you are owned by some company like AMAZON.COM that can dig in its pockets for some loose change and fork out some dough for an application that is not all that hard to include on your review webpage.......
Are these topics randomly selected through some bug-infested 1980's era algorithm, or is there some clueless mono-brow mouth breather nephew of the assistant in charge of reviews who needed a summer job picking these topics? I bet it's a combo of both.
A moving moment? Refer to the above typed plea for someone to care about review topics.
For the sake of anyone still reading this - there wasn't a "moving" moment in which I got all choked up or stopped in my tracks and had that "listen to this, this is really something" moment that comes along every once in a long while, but it is not the fault of the author or narrator - they both did a splendid job. I will say for the last time before I leave, this a science book about how everything that is something, and that includes everything, is moving to some degree. How this movement interacts with us, the Earth, Solar System etc. is an underlying theme throughout this book.
Maybe a moving moment was when I finished listening to this audiobook. I thought to myself something like, "I just learned a bunch of interesting tidbits about a bunch of different things. I am a better person now than when I woke up this morning because of this audiobook."
Kudos to Mr. Berman. His astronomy articles are top notch and so is this book. I had an enjoyable day listening to this audiobook and will listen to it again in the near future.
Buy this audiobook. It won't break the bank and you will learn many interesting things about a wide range of subjects you may not have thought about before.
At least now I know exactly how high I can jump from and not be "back in the mud," as Logan Nine Fingers, one of the greatest fictional characters in the history of everything everywhere, would say.
Yes, but I'll give it a few. Got to keep the story fresh. This is an easy listen with a funny storyline and likeable characters.
The whole Atlantis thing - 100:1 male to female ratio and the whole women wear the pants scene while the guys are fired up to clean and get their hair done. Different take on roles makes the story funny in a kooky way.
Luke Daniels is a flat out pro. He made this book flow. I bought Spell or High Water this morning and just finished it - almost 11 hours of audiobook and I feel refreshed. The author made the right choice in hooking up with Luke Daniels.
Is Martin up to the challenge of winning Gwen's heart? Stay tuned to see what gets stuck in Martin's mouth - Gwen's tongue or his foot!
Get this book. The price is right, Luke Daniels comes up strong and Philip wakes up next to an "untraditional" vixen and doesn't even think about pulling a coyote.
Yes. Bucketfuls of solid military SF action, McGill, the main character, trying to bang every female in the galaxy (and he pretty much succeeds), blood thirsty aliens and so much more!
I don't know, how about Lint Island..... I don't really compare books as such. Instead of wasting valuable thinking time and brain wear, I look upon each new book as a unique story that should stand on its own. This book has action and characters that no other book has.
Mark Boyett is a pro. He can belt out a wide variety of character voices. I have a bunch of B.V. Larson's books with Mr. Boyett, so I am familiar with his repertoire. I like his female voices - they all sound like the gal is from the Banat region of western Romania.
When the whole Varus Legion is up on some pretty serious charges for some sort of malfeasance or willful destruction of something the Nerbs (at least that is what these asses' name sounds like) hold dear, one of the judges sounded like Marvin - the robot from another B.V. Larson series who is my all time favorite non human character. When I heard that voice I gave a hearty "Marvin!" shout and scared the crap out of some lady and her kid who happened to be walking by about ten yards to the prop side of where I was kicking back under a tree this morning ( I didn't see them walking by..... ). I thought the woman was going to fall over but she merely rocked on her heels and did a swerve. As this gyration was unfolding she gave a spontaneous shriek that sent at least two dozen birds cachooming out of the nearby trees. I calmly watched the two nervous nellies recover, stare at me for about 2 minutes, and then briskly walk away with expressions on their faces I can only describe as fearful indignation. As I was wearing sunglasses, I was happy to take in the whole scene with little chagrin and found it all rather amusing.
Great book. The native gal had me from the first crossbow shot. She was a woman with a definite plan when it came to McGill, and I'm not talking about the 8 or so homicides she perpetrated on this guy throughout their blood-drenched (95% was McGill's), dysfunctional quasi-relationship. Concerning one scene in particular, after the warrior princess's explanation why she bolted out of the water registered, if I was McGill, I would pretty much be toweling myself off in about 2.4 seconds, making sure that damn crossbow is out of reach, and, as the junk is in recharge mode, initiate "Operation Yes, I Totally Agree With Everything You Say" as I suggest that we go kick back under the shade of that tree over there for a bit.
Yes, especially if the person is familiar with the series. I dig this saga for its entertainment and its well thought out doses of intelligent surmise about various technical and social matters. It also doesn't hurt that there are some pretty lively human v human and human v multi pieholed live bait eaters with quirky reproductive cycle space duels.
The author comes up with different alien races in every book. This book's version had me smiling as I envisioned what these hermaphroditic, motile, heterotrophs would look like sitting across from me at a table in a restaurant. Also, the nasally, squeamish in a fair fight, backstab Euro Confederation gets a healthy dose of beat down for their craven nano attack on Columbus (see previous book). Revenge is always best served cold. Or, in this case, the chill is from the USNA through subconscious memetic subversion through the systematic corruption of the Confederation's AI network. Either way, it left a mark that may not get out in the wash. Operation Luther - nice use of the famously flatulent and chronically constipated old monk's name Mr. Douglas!
The above described beings were in a fur ball of a battle off of one of those god forsaken hellhole planets that seem to fester in every quadrant of our local arm of the Milky Way. As his / her ship was being vaporized around him / her, he / she cursed his / her blood thirsty gods as he / she started to feel the need to start popping out kids from various oral openings. Stress will do strange things, I suppose. The author offered a few choice observations on this noble race's views on reproduction and the not all that comprehensive role of the family unit in bringing up baby. Real "food for thought".
Yes. When a holographic facsimile of one of our current scientific A list thinkers is dusted off and carted out at some cerebro-rama get together finished his schpeel about something or other that I must admit got a bit twitchy towards the end, President Koenig has his 12 seconds of "My god, the ramifications of this new reality has such profound........." and then seamlessly slipped into facing a new challenge as old as the forest from which we crawled out of at the dawn of humanity, "How can I get that perky ex-senator Hardbody, or something like that back into my life, back in the sack, back at my shack?" The transition was deftly played and kind of gave me hope for the future of my species.
Solid addition to a solid series narrated by a pro. Dark Matter is not the end, but a link in the continuing saga of the USNA America - battered, broken but still pissing venom and cracking foreign and domestic enemies with malice aforethought, and executed with extreme prejudice.
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