What are you reading right now?

old_fat_and_hairy

LE
Book Reviewer
Reviews Editor
The Blessed Sir Terry Pratchett if you don't mind sir.
Excellent choice
I'm re-reading ( intermittently) all his Discworld stuff for about the twiddly-umptyth time. Just finished Maskerade and now on Wyrd Sisters. Love all his work.
 
I'm re-reading ( intermittently) all his Discworld stuff for about the twiddly-umptyth time. Just finished Maskerade and now on Wyrd Sisters. Love all his work.
On a bit of a whim I checked my collection and found I was missing four of his books, I can only assume I'd leant them out and they've not been returned. So I've just ordered replacements and may start re-reading them.
 
Red Metal, Mark Greaney & Hunter Riply Rawlings iv (LtCol, USMC), 600 pages.

What can I say; absolutely stonking read, demolished it in 2 days because I could not put it down. Rawlings I have never read previously, Greaney is one of the newer authors who has done some of the Tom Clancy continuation books since the great mans death. Between the two of them they have produced an accurate (within OPSEC boundaries), magnificently crafted piece of military fiction with some believable characters suffering their own everyday foibles and problems.

The tale is around an overly ambitious Kremlin plot and features military action in both europe and Kenya. That is all I will say to not make a spoiler.

This is the same as Clancy at his absolute finest, well worth the read and on my own readability/enjoyment scale I give it an easy 5/5.
 
John Keegan's offering on The American Civil War. Reasonably good read, considering many Civil War history books are heavy going.

Also re-read the first 4 novels in Alexander Fullerton's Nicholas Everard series. Always good fun.
 

diverman

LE
Book Reviewer
Re-reading 'Sobibor' by Jules Schevlis, a survivor of the death camp whose family were murdered on arrival. Why the surviving perpertrators were never executed following the war cnsidering some of them were living openly. A sad and sickening read but adversity courage rebellion revenge and escape for some.

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And a total contrast. An RAF pilot and some of the things he did and shouldn't have, scrapes he got into and out of and he survived, and being a reluctant instructor.

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old_fat_and_hairy

LE
Book Reviewer
Reviews Editor
Red Metal, Mark Greaney & Hunter Riply Rawlings iv (LtCol, USMC), 600 pages.

What can I say; absolutely stonking read, demolished it in 2 days because I could not put it down. Rawlings I have never read previously, Greaney is one of the newer authors who has done some of the Tom Clancy continuation books since the great mans death. Between the two of them they have produced an accurate (within OPSEC boundaries), magnificently crafted piece of military fiction with some believable characters suffering their own everyday foibles and problems.

The tale is around an overly ambitious Kremlin plot and features military action in both europe and Kenya. That is all I will say to not make a spoiler.

This is the same as Clancy at his absolute finest, well worth the read and on my own readability/enjoyment scale I give it an easy 5/5.
Totally agree with you on this. I read it last week and it was, as you say, unputdownable. Well written and seemed very authorative in their detail, both of tactics and equipment. Incidentally, I have just started ( on the basis of that book) another Greaney novel, 'Mission Critical' No idea if it is good yet, literally just read first page.
 
Totally agree with you on this. I read it last week and it was, as you say, unputdownable. Well written and seemed very authorative in their detail, both of tactics and equipment. Incidentally, I have just started ( on the basis of that book) another Greaney novel, 'Mission Critical' No idea if it is good yet, literally just read first page.
Mission Critical is the latest of his own 'Gray Man' series of books, so you have started at the tail end with those.

You can actually see Greaney developing as a writer as the Gray Man series progresses. Some of the stunts and feats of derring do performed by the hero are just over the line of impossible yet he seem's to maintain his balance and pulls the reader back in. From what I have heard in the shooting/tactical community here Mr. Greaney goes out of his way to try the stuff he writes about, albeit at commercial schools. Though I think when he was allowed to use Mr Clancy's quill that probably opened some official doors to him as I think will Red Metal. Hopefully he will continue to improve, crafting even better works as he learns more about the world he is writing about.
 
I finally finished Final Solution - The Fate of the Jews by David Cesarani, which took some persistence. not because of the writing style, a saving grace, but the inevitable, page by page, tragedy. I persisted mainly because I wanted to find out more about three aspects of the Holocaust: how much the German civpop knew about what was going on (answer - plenty), how much local help the Germans got (answer - plenty) and what exactly happened to the scattered remnants of European Jews when the war ended (answer - generally they made their way home to find anti-semitism pretty much as it was pre-war).

Anyway, for something completely different I have started this and made huge inroads. No synopsis needed I'm sure:

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And for my concurrent fiction book, having raced through The Kissing House by Michael Pert (recommended), I have jumped into the second book of the Millenium trilogy by Stieg Larsson, The Girl Who Played with Fire.

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Synopsis:
Lisbeth Salander is a wanted woman. Two Millennium journalists about to expose the truth about sex trafficking in Sweden are murdered, and Salander's prints are on the weapon. Her history of unpredictable and vengeful behaviour makes her an official danger to society - but no-one can find her.

Mikael Blomkvist, Millennium magazine's legendary star reporter, does not believe the police. Using all his magazine staff and resources to prove Salander's innocence, Blomkvist also uncovers her terrible past, spent in criminally corrupt institutions. Yet Salander is more avenging angel than helpless victim. She may be an expert at staying out of sight - but she has ways of tracking down her most elusive enemies.
 
McMafia by Misha Glenny.
Nothing like the glamorous BBC TV series last year starring James Norton as a money laundering fund manager, but a detailed and factual description of how the fall of communism, misguided imposition of sanctions against certain former soviet bloc countries, and those countries' stumbling efforts to come to terms with democracy and capitalism led to an explosion in organised crime.
 

ches

LE
I finally finished Final Solution - The Fate of the Jews by David Cesarani, which took some persistence. not because of the writing style, a saving grace, but the inevitable, page by page, tragedy. I persisted mainly because I wanted to find out more about three aspects of the Holocaust: how much the German civpop knew about what was going on (answer - plenty), how much local help the Germans got (answer - plenty) and what exactly happened to the scattered remnants of European Jews when the war ended (answer - generally they made their way home to find anti-semitism pretty much as it was pre-war).
A superb book I thought. One of the best about the Final Solution.

I dipped into a book my missus enjoyed.

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My lass has suffered from degrees of mental illness for a long time so this struck some chords with her but her recommendation came cos its bloody funny, well written & thought provoking. Bryony Gordon is a funny girl & her dive here into her own hellish journey is well worth a read not least cos at times she writes like a squaddie with her terms of phrase & lack of PC approach. Give it a try esp if you know someone, or yourself struggle with MH problems
 

danielwayne

Swinger
Staring at God, by Simon Heffer (this man is a God of historical non-fiction; unfortunately I haven't been able to find a well-kept version of his biography of Enoch Powell).

Ken Follet's The Man from Saint Petersburg (an amazing storyteller KF is, but, jesus, his plots are always the same).

Daredevil by Frank Miller Omnibus (one of the the best runs ever written).
 
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Just finished rereading my Dhofar trilogy:

Where Soldiers Fear To Tread by Ranulph Fiennes. He was a Scots Grey platoon leader who volunteered for a 2 year tour of duty with Sultan of Oman's forces during the late 1960s' when there was a Marxist insurrection in the southern province of Dhofar. He was put in charge of the Reece Platoon of the Muscat Regiment (one of the 3 regiments at the time that comprised the Omani army).

The book was written following his return to Oman in 1973 after the present Sultan had overthrown his father and instigated some monumental changes in the country improving health, education and infrastructure. He was able to interview a number of former guerrilla fighters who had defected to the Sultan. My book is second-hand and is signed by the author.

Muscat Command by Peter Thwaites who was, ironically, Fiennes's commanding officer in Oman. An officer in the Grenadier Guards, he also volunteered for a two year tour in the Omani forces. He actually went back to Oman after his retirement and served as the Chairman of the country's Joint Staff. It offers a fascinating insight into the problems of command and control at a time when the Omani armed forces were not well equipped and on the back foot. There is also an insight into loyalty when he became aware of a potential coup against the then Sultan whose conservatism was fuelling the fires of the insurrection that was raging at the time. Thwaites' died before he finished the book which was done by his former adjutant, Simon Sloane.

In The Service Of The Sultan by Ian Gardiner, a Royal Marine officer who volunteered for Omani service but unlike the previous books, his service was in the mid-1970s'. He had a distinguished service after Oman commanding a rifle company in the Falklands War and commanded 40 Commando amongst other achievements. During Gardiner's time in Oman the Dhofar campaign was structured around a defensive line with the intention of restricting the rebels from reaching the more populated areas of Oman while a hearts and minds operation was being waged to convince the Dhofari population on the Jebel to side with the Sultan or to pressure the rebels into changing sides.

All 3 are worth reading for insights into this still not well known war which was successfully brought to a conclusion where Oman is now one of the more stable countries in that region. There are lessons in each book as to what it takes to win a counter-insurgency campaign.
 
Willie Carlin's book - 'Thatchers Spy' which I mentioned earlier, has the author appear on BBC's news programme - Hard Talk interview this morning. .

Worth a viewing / listening to. FRU gets some good PR under Col. Kerr' s stewardship.

Willie at 71 years old, looks like he's had a hard paper round. Outside of his 'professional ' life, he's had an inordinate sad time with the loss of his children and an inability to see them buried. God Bless him.
 
I rattled through Painting the Sands by Kim Hughes pretty rapidly - a great read. and thought provoking. Was it all worth it?

I'm following that with this:

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Synopsis:

The first ever true story told by an MI5 officer - an explosive, shocking and honest account revealing never-before-seen detail into MI5's operation.

'I do it because it is all I know. I'm a hunter of people and I'm damn good at it.'


Recruited after the 7/7 attacks on London, Tom quickly found himself immersed in the tense world of watching, following and infiltrating networks of terrorists, spies and foreign agents.

It was a job that took over his life and cost him dear, taking him to the limit of physical and mental endurance.

Filled with extraordinary accounts of operations that saved countless lives, Soldier Spy is the only authentic account by an ex-MI5 officer of the round-the-clock battle to keep this country safe.
 
An Orc On The Wild Side, Tom Holt

40 pages in, laughing my head off. I may need to stop taking my beta blocker just in case, as I'll probably lag myself at this rate of giggles.

If you know his work, you'll be pleased to know it's his usual p1ss take of the highest order. No doughnut's appeared yet but there's lots of pages to go.

He's no substitute for Sir Pterry and this is how it should be, as in many ways he's his equal.

Highly recommended!
 
Just finished Agent Running In The Field, John le Carré’s latest spyfest.

Maybe not a return to the Smiley days but a great modern spy thriller. A few continuity errors and a few gaps to fill in (“How did that happen then?”) but excellent nonetheless.

For the faint hearted he is not a big fan of Brexit. Or Trump. And much of the plot revolves around the former.

Plenty of positive reviews online. If you like le Carré you will like this.

Once again he has demonstrated that he is not just a great spy writer but a great writer full stop.
 

Awol

LE
I have today started listening to the Painting the Sand and it bodes well....... Except for one thing. The narrator (not the author, but speaking in the first person) is talking about 'his' dog, left behind in the UK. Named 'Sabot' after, he tells us, a piece of ammunition. That's pronounced 'Sa bott' apparently, with a hard T.

I know the bloke's just a hired voice who has probably never been near a tank in his life, but how difficult would it have been for the publishers to run the finished audiobook past someone, anyone, who has worn green for a couple of months.

A minor gripe, but it rankles.
 
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The British Army's considerable contribution to The Korean War 1950 - 1953 was largely composed of 'conscripts' or national servicemen. Plucked from civilian life on a 'lottery' basis and given a short basic training, some like Jim Jacobs volunteered for overseas duty and suddenly found themselves in the thick of a war as intensive and dangerous as anything the Second World War had had to offer. As a member of 170 Independent Mortar Battery RA from March 1951 to June 1952 Jim was in the frontline at the famous Battle of the Imjin River. By great luck he evaded capture - and death - unlike so many. He returned to the UK only to volunteer again for a second tour with 120 Light Battery from March 1953 to March 1954. During this period he was in the thick of the action at the Third Battle of the Hook during May 1953. In this gripping memoir Jim calmly and geographically recounts his experiences and emotions from joining the Army through training, the journeys by troopship and, most importantly, on active service in the atrocious and terrifying war fighting that went on in a very foreign place

Excellent
 
I have today started listening to the Painting the Sand and it bodes well....... Except for one thing. The narrator (not the author, but speaking in the first person) is talking about 'his' dog, left behind in the UK. Named 'Sabot' after, he tells us, a piece of ammunition. That's pronounced 'Sa bott' apparently, with a hard T.

I know the bloke's just a hired voice who has probably never been near a tank in his life, but how difficult would it have been for the publishers to run the finished audiobook past someone, anyone, who has worn green for a couple of months.

A minor gripe, but it rankles.
I have the same issue with the film Ronin when DeNiro is ripping Sean Bean a new one...................."..........what colour is the boathouse in Herford"?
 

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