We are back with our monthly blog letting you know what we are reading outside of work, have you read any of these books? What are you currently reading? Let us know below.
A History of Ancient Britain by Neil Oliver, as the shout line so concisely states, is ‘The epic story of a nation forged in ice, stone and bronze’.
Epic it definitely is. This is the story of the emergence of the modern human in Britain and of the land as we know it. It covers the period from the end of the last Ice Age (and before) to the Romans and is an unbiased, well-researched account of a period the author is clearly fascinated by. It takes the time to explain itself, without talking down to the reader and is succinct, fast and compelling.
If you’re new to ancient history, you will be learning something at least every page; if you aren’t, this book is a refreshing, vibrant dip into a period of time that you’re already interested in. It will see you reading 101 pages before you’ve even blinked and even comes with handy full-colour pictures. You can’t say fairer than that.
A History of Ancient Britain is published by Phoenix and can be bought for £7.29 in Foyles.
I am doing another re-read this month as I delve back into the world of Preacher with part two in the collection – Until the End of the World. Preacher is perhaps my favorite graphic novel of all time (although at intermittent times I also claim it is Transmetropolitan, Y:The Last Man, Batman: The Killing Joke, Superman: Red Son and Pride of Baghdad to name a few.)
Until the End of the World picks up where Gone to Texas, the introduction to the series, left off. We follow Jesse Custer as he searched for God to hold him to account for abandoning humanity. In this installment that journey takes him to the southern America where he confronts the extremely dysfunctional family that abused him as a child and planted the original seeds of his disillusionment with the world.
This is a spectacular follow up to the amazing Gone to Texas and manages to match, if not better, the first installment for wit, pace, violence, intrigue and quite simply amazing writing. Oh and let’s not forget the artwork, which is just beautiful!
Preacher, Volume 2: Until the End of the World is published by DC Comics and has an RRP of £14.99.
I have been a huge fan of Anne Zouroudi ever since @LitAgentDrury and I stumbled over The Messenger of Athens, which turned out to be the first book in her series called variously, The Seven Deadly Sins or The Mysteries of the Greek Detective. The latter is a bit of a misnomer, for the fabulously wealthy Hermes Diaktoros – apparently named after the messenger god by his classicist father, who enjoyed a joke – is not your normal, every day investigator (his response, when asked if he’s with the police, is, ‘I answer to a far higher power’.) The fat man (he’s not actually obese, more well-breakfasted) generally finds himself on some hard-scrabble Greek island far removed from the Maeve Binchey covers of brilliant blue skies, azure waters, peopled with young men with bodies like Greek demi-gods and young women who would vie with Aphrodite herself for the shepherd’s apple . . . no, Zouroudi’s Greece is what’s left behind when the tourists go home: the back-breaking work to grow anything on the arid soil, the family feuds that grow, generation after generation, behind the faded wooden shutters, the careless unkindness of the young and the vicious unkindness of the old for whom all choices have now vanished . . .
This, sadly for me, is the sixth of the series (unless they invented some more deadly sins when I wasn’t paying attention), and this time Diaktoros is forced to pull in to the harbour at the island of Mithros by a faulty engine. That means he’s on hand when a man who recently arrived on the island penniless and with no ID after being thrown off a merchant vessel by his travelling companions and swimming to shore, is found dead in an old well . . . and it’s not long before Diaktoros is unravelling years of deception and despair. At the heart of this particular book is an ancient artefact, a Minoan bull, which went missing shortly after it was found, but has resulted in a useful tourist trade for the island as people come to hear the story, to buy knock-off copies and to wonder if it will ever be returned to its ancient home . . .
In fact, I have no idea why I’m still here and not sitting outside under the roses finishing this wonderful book. Αντίο, ελάφια μου.
The Bull of Mithros is published by Bloomsbury and is available for £7.99 at Blackwell’s.