What are you reading right now?

If you liked BM you will probably like the Slough House series of novels by Mick Herron (MH said BM is his favourite writer).

There are 11 novels in the series and it is worth reading them in order. The novels are about a dumping ground for failed spies who screw up, have addictions, are mentally damaged etc led by a disgusting wretched apology for a human being.

Very well written and exceedingly funny.


I made a horlicks of that post.

Mick Herron said Charles Cumming was his favourite espionage writer.

Herron's Slough House/Slow Horses novels are still excellent though.
 

Poppycock

War Hero
Three Days in June

Probably (hopefully) the closest I'll ever get to understanding the grim reality of combat: outstanding read

3 days in june.jpeg
 
Not reading quite yet, but I just bought some works of Mervyn Peake (Gormenghast, Titus Groan etc.) I didn't realise he started work as an artist and did illustrations for books of poetry. He later wrote his own poems before the Gormenghast trilogy, so I ordered a couple second hand from Amazon (one of them for 33p). Report to follow.
 
Not reading quite yet, but I just bought some works of Mervyn Peake (Gormenghast, Titus Groan etc.) I didn't realise he started work as an artist and did illustrations for books of poetry. He later wrote his own poems before the Gormenghast trilogy, so I ordered a couple second hand from Amazon (one of them for 33p). Report to follow.
When you finish them watch the mini series
Good books with a almost faithful adaptation
 
When you finish them watch the mini series
Good books with a almost faithful adaptation
Read the trilogy and saw the adaptation. Which is why I wanted to know more of his life and works. He was raised in northern China by medical missionary parents. UK education from age 12 and then art school. Excellent artist, then poet and finally novelist, illustrating his own works. He served in WWII but suffered fragile mental health all his adult life. Worth a dig into his works I think. I'll let you know.
 
Just reading The Counterfeit Candidate by Brian Klein, a “what if” novel exploring Hitler surviving and having a son, blah blah.
From the Amazon reviews you’d think this was The Day of the Jackal or Jaws when first released in the 70s.
Thankfully I only paid 99p for the kindle version but that’s a Greggs sausage roll I will never now enjoy. Although the plot is interesting the writing is dreadful, with little character development and too many in one bound he was free type moments.
Avoid.

However, also on Kindle, The Force by Don Winslow, is worth every bit of its £2.99 download price. Very well written in a hard-boiled Ed McBain/Elmore Leonard style. Good plotting, crackling dialogue, and characters you care about even after just one or two introductory sentences. This apparently is the book newcomers to his work are recommended to start with. Less than a quarter the way through and I’m looking forward to reading the rest of his novels.
 
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Poppycock

War Hero
Just started 'The Phoney Major', a fresh look at David Stirling's role in establishing the SAS.

First impressions are it's well written & informed

Full title: "David Stirling: The Phoney Major: The Life, Times and Truth about the Founder of the SAS"

 
Your post made me realise that I hadn't read "Treasure Island" since I was a child and I suspect that was an abridged version. I popped into my local Free Book Shop yesterday and managed to find a Regent Classic edition which isn't dated but I believe they were published in the 1950s. Sadly it does not have any of the superb illustrations that yours has but I'm looking forward to reading it.

I think I've posted somewhere on here before about John Drake's series of prequels to "Treasure Island" - "Flint and Silver", "Skull and Bones"and "Pieces of Eight". I was initially sceptical but found them really well written and excellent compliments to the original, filling in the gaps around the main characters, explaining for example how Long John Silver became a pirate. The author has obviously done a lot of research on the original and his books tie in very cleverly.

Coincidentally I also spied a copy of "Jim Hawkins and the Curse of Treasure Island" by Francis Bryan (2001). Worth a punt.

I also found another of Andrew Martin's "Jim Stringer, Steam Detective" series. Titles include "The Lost Luggage Porter" and "The Necropolis Railway" and follow the work of a former train fireman turned railway company detective in Edwardian Britain. Not my usual reading but after the first one I was hooked and am now on my fourth.
Thanks for telling us about John Drake, as I've never heard of him before. I'm definitely going to give his books a try, as his "Fletcher" series sounds interesting.
 
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Military Operations from Kosovo to Kabul

In this highly unusual role for a lawyer, the author found himself in 1998 having to learn on his feet at a frightening pace as the newly promoted senior legal advisor to the charismatic General Sir Mike Jackson, the commander who led the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps into strife-torn Kosovo the following year to restore some sort of normality in the aftermath of the NATO bombing campaign.

A peace deal was finally signed, only for Russia to intervene at the eleventh hour. The author was asked to provide rules of engagement for NATO to eject a stubborn Russian unit from Pristina by force, amongst fears of starting World War III, one of the few occasions when he thought perhaps civilian legal practice might not have been such a bad idea after all.

Ten years later the author was back at HQ ARRC, promoted to Colonel. The culture shock on this occasion was not so much, spending six months in Afghanistan as being professionally embedded in a large American military legal office led by a hyper energetic US officer from the 'deep south'. Unlike the short, sharp Kosovo experience in central Europe, this war in central Asia was the longest in the history of the USA, although for the British it was just the latest in a succession of operations going back two centuries to the 'Great Game'.

Trying to apply the law, balancing the need for aggression with compliance with Western notions of human rights, and vain efforts to win over the hearts and minds of a proud but impoverished people historically blighted by conflict proved to be unimaginably fraught.


Very good so far.
 

Themanwho

LE
Book Reviewer
I have finally got round to starting "Jews Don't Count" by David Baddiel. As a fully paid up member of the lefty-wokery-Islingtonian mafia, Baddiel is in the uncomfortable position of also being openly Jewish. This book explores the schizophrenic nature of those (mainly on the left) who are smugly secure in their belief that they're on the right side of history: anti-racist, anti-sexist, anti-homophobic, antidisablist and so on, but also anti-Jewish.

Not bad so far.
 
I finished reading The last stand of the tin can sailors, excellent read if anyone wants a historic ww2 sea story, quite horrific in places, but it's the US Navy at their best. But I can't say the same for Admiral Halsey. He lost a lot of shine off his stars over this episode. Many of the Tin can veterans were bitter at how Halsey cocked it up and left them to face incredible odds and when they were in the water being eaten by sharks, he dithered and cocked up again over sending a rescue for them, further more he threw a fellow Admiral (under his command) under the bus by blaming him in his memoirs, the book rightly points out that Halsey might have had a ship in his name, but the honor of having a class of ship in his name was usurped in favor of Nimitz and Spruance. I wondered why I'd not heard of this heroic episode before someone here recommended this book, the Navy buried it for years after the war, they didn't want the bad press to effect funding. In effect it's America's charge of the light Brigade. A very moving story.
last stand of the tin can Sailors.png
 
I finished reading The last stand of the tin can sailors, excellent read if anyone wants a historic ww2 sea story, quite horrific in places, but it's the US Navy at their best. But I can't say the same for Admiral Halsey. He lost a lot of shine off his stars over this episode. Many of the Tin can veterans were bitter at how Halsey cocked it up and left them to face incredible odds and when they were in the water being eaten by sharks, he dithered and cocked up again over sending a rescue for them, further more he threw a fellow Admiral (under his command) under the bus by blaming him in his memoirs, the book rightly points out that Halsey might have had a ship in his name, but the honor of having a class of ship in his name was usurped in favor of Nimitz and Spruance. I wondered why I'd not heard of this heroic episode before someone here recommended this book, the Navy buried it for years after the war, they didn't want the bad press to effect funding. In effect it's America's charge of the light Brigade. A very moving story.
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I stand to be corrected but I think they have not long ago found the wreck of the USS Johnston. Just Googled it, found 2019 but only positively identified 2021. The wreck is in 20,000' of water and is the deepest shipwreck ever surveyed.

USS Johnston
 
d is the deepest shipwreck ever surveyed.
There is little left of the hull, the Depth charges went off at depth while she was going down, the book mentioned the uncomfortable feeling the crew felt floating in the water above, instant enema. But they were relieved to be in one piece.
 
My recent visit to the Tank Museum saw me coming home with some of the books on special offer, always heard about this book, it's constantly mentioned by authors explaining aspects of tank evolution. I'm in the early chapters so far he has explained the German experience in the trenches, use of chemical weapons against the French, and how it was a double edged weapon, he's just touching on the Genesis of the tank in the chapter I've just started. It's the first book I've read that describes the German side of things, as such it's fascinating. I'll report later on how it progresses and how the Panzer grew in the conscience of German Generals.
actung panzer.png
 
My recent visit to the Tank Museum saw me coming home with some of the books on special offer, always heard about this book, it's constantly mentioned by authors explaining aspects of tank evolution. I'm in the early chapters so far he has explained the German experience in the trenches, use of chemical weapons against the French, and how it was a double edged weapon, he's just touching on the Genesis of the tank in the chapter I've just started. It's the first book I've read that describes the German side of things, as such it's fascinating. I'll report later on how it progresses and how the Panzer grew in the conscience of German Generals.
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Didn't he start off as a signals officer and it was his idea to put a radio in each Panzer which led to the success of the Blitzkrieg? I think his nickname was Snell Heinz.
 

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