Reviews

History

The Soviet Century by Karl Schlögel

Reviewed by Ian Lipke Readers of Karl Schlögel’s books could be forgiven for measuring them on an avoirdupois scale. The latest The Soviet Century: Archaeology of a Lost World is over 900 pages in length and deliberately draws the readers’ attention to spatial concepts with its strange title. Its saving grace rests with the author’s

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History

Emperor of Rome by Mary Beard

Reviewed by Richard Tutin There is the thought that not much more can be said about the history of the Roman Empire. Mary Beard though breaks through this thought and has dug a little deeper to reveal more about the Emperors between Julius Caesar (assassinated 44 BCE) and Alexander Severus (assassinated 235 CE). Beard though

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History

The Menzies Watershed edited by Zachary Gorman

Reviewed by Ian Lipke The second volume of Zachary Gorman’s work is called The Menzies Watershed, a singularly appropriate title for the second of a research study which will eventually cover four volumes. Volume No. 1 focussed on Menzies’ career in 1884 – 1942 and covered the journey of a politician in his earliest years.

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History

Heroes, Rebels and Radicals of Convict Australia by Jim Haynes

Reviewed by Richard Tutin History can be interesting when the right book comes along. All too often we are offered books that contain good facts but whose prose can be very dry and droll. We feel the need for a good story or two to liven things up. This is where Jim Haynes’ latest book

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General Fiction

The Rewilding by Donna M Cameron

Reviewed by Rod McLary The Rewilding is an intriguing and engaging novel – part romance, part thriller and part polemic – with two attractive protagonists who at least initially are at loggerheads with each other. Jagger [named by his mother after the lead singer of the Rolling Stones] Eckerman and Nia [meaning ‘resolve’ or ‘brilliance’

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Young Adult

Gus and the Missing Boy by Troy Hunter

Reviewed by Rod McLary Gus and the Missing Boy successfully blends the features of a detective story with the tropes of a YA novel.  Through the course of this novel, the author canvasses the existential issues facing thirteen-year-old Gus as he struggles with caring for his seriously injured mother, the vicissitudes of being gay and

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Crime/Mystery

The Accident by Fiona Lowe

Reviewed by Rod McLary The Accident begins with a car crash – and the effects of which reverberate through the subsequent events in the novel.  Jamie McMaster – fiancé to Hannah Simmons – is killed while driving on an unsurfaced country road in a red Porsche.  When the initial shock of his death fades a

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Historical Fiction

Testament by Wilbur Smith

Reviewed by Richard Tutin I need to state from the outset that I am a long-time fan of Wilbur Smith’s Ancient Egyptian Adventures series. It probably stems from my great interest in things historical especially the empires of Egypt and Rome. The key character in the series is Taita who though a slave has managed

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Crime/Mystery

Body of Lies by Sarah Bailey

Reviewed by Rod McLary This is the fourth book by Sarah Bailey featuring Detective Sergeant Gemma Woodstock but the first one which I have read – an oversight which I intend to rectify as soon as possible. DS Gemma Woodstock is an engaging, multi-dimensional protagonist who is balancing the demands of a baby daughter, a

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Crime/Mystery

The Consultant by Im Seong-Sun

Reviewed by Ian Lipke Imagine a young writer who never writes that one smash hit. He’s bored and disaffected. He knows his writing is not substandard but can never write that elusive bestseller. Employed by ‘The Company’ in the position of ‘The Consultant’ he is tempted to write using his employer supplied materials. Tempted further

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Non-Fiction

The Intuition Toolkit by Joel Pearson

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve This guide, written by respected psychologist and neuroscientist, Professor Joel Pearson, is both thought provoking and practical. It entertainingly conveys how the boundless capacity of the unconscious can be trained to use intuition in a scientific way.  As the title suggests, it is ‘a new science of knowing WHAT without knowing

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Non-Fiction

The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World by Bettany Hughes

Reviewed by Wendy Lipke Professor Bettany Hughes OBE FSA is an award-winning historian, author, and broadcaster, who has devoted the last 25 years to the vibrant communication of the past. Her speciality is ancient and mediaeval history and culture. Her published books cover classical antiquity and myth. In recognition of her contribution to research, she

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Memoir/Biography

Don’t Dream It’s Over by Jeff Apter

Reviewed by Richard Tutin I often wonder as I listen to a piece of music or a song on the radio about its backstory. Why was it written? What was the inspiration behind it? I also am interested in those who sing the song and provide the musical backing. What drew them into the music

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General Fiction

Greater City Shadows by Laurie Steed

Reviewed by Rod McLary William Boyd – an English author and an excellent short story writer – once said [in A Short History of the Short Story in Prospect 17 April 2018]: [a short story] seem[s] to answer something very deep in our nature as if, for the duration of its telling, something special has

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