Petersen, David. Mouse Guard: Fall 1152.

Fort Lee, NJ: Archaia Studios Press, 2007.

I’m unfamiliar with this artist/author and his work, but this seems to be intended as the first in a series. The premise is a culture of anthropomorphic mice living in a fantasy land that resembles medieval Europe, and the color art is very nice, but Petersen is a better visualist than writer.


Published in: on 29 June 2013 at 8:57 am  Leave a Comment  
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Matyszak, Philip. Ancient Athens on 5 Drachmas a Day.

NY: Thames & Hudson, 2008.

I recently read the author’s similar “travel guide” to ancient Rome, and I found this one, for Athens of about 431 BC, just as informative and entertaining. That period probably was the peak of Attic culture, just before the long and destructive and war with Sparta and also, Matyszak says, before the city had lost what remained of its innocence.


Crombie, Deborah. The Sound of Broken Glass.

NY: Morrow, 2013.

This author’s latest, the fifteenth in her generally first-rate series about Detective Superintendent Duncan Kincaid of Scotland Yard and his wife, DI Gemma James, shows her very much at the top of her game. I only discovered Crombie a year or so ago, so I was able to read my way through the whole series in short order, which made it obvious just how much her work has matured.


Published in: on 25 June 2013 at 8:37 am  Leave a Comment  
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Ellis, Warren. Gun Machine.

NY: Little, Brown, 2013.

I’ve read and enjoyed a couple of Ellis’s graphic novels, but this is a new departure for him. NYPD detective John Tallow, who seems to be slowly beginning the “don’t give a damn” phase of his police career, follows his partner into an aging apartment building where a naked man with a shotgun has been reported, only to have said partner blown away in front of him.


Cherryh, C. J. Angel with the Sword (Merovingen Nights, #1).

NY: DAW, 1985.

A “shared universe” fiction series can be an interesting proposition, depending on who creates the universe and who provides the subsequent contributions. In this case, Cherryh, a master of world-making and society-inventing, has done the basic work, setting the story in a backwater of her Alliance-Union future.


Published in: on 21 June 2013 at 10:18 am  Leave a Comment  
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Connolly, Peter. The Ancient City: Life in Classical Athens & Rome.

NY: Oxford University Press, 1998.

There’s nothing like precise, clear artwork to enhance a volume of ancient history and archaeology, and this is one of the best around. Athens and Rome were the two most important urban centers in the ancient world (relative to the development of Western culture, anyway) and about half this oversized volume is given over to each city.


Published in: on 19 June 2013 at 5:14 am  Leave a Comment  
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Cherryh, C. J. Intruder.

NY: DAW, 2012.

This thirteenth episode in what I have found to be a thoroughly compelling saga more or less wraps up the story arc from the previous two volumes and also sets the stage for what is to come.


Rankin, Ian. Let It Bleed.

NY: Simon & Schuster, 1996.

This is the seventh in the series featuring the brilliant but difficult-to-live-with Detective Inspector John Rebus of the Edinburgh CID, and I think it’s best in the series to this point.


Squires, J. C. If It Had Happened Otherwise; Lapses Into Imaginary History.

NY: Viking, 1931. (Reprinted as: If, or, History Rewritten.)

Yes, Virginia, there was alternate history before Turtledove. I acquired this volume at a used bookstore in high school, back around 1960, and it’s what made me a lifelong fan of “what if” speculative writing.


Cicero, Quintus Tullius. How to Win an Election: An Ancient Guide for Modern Politicians.

Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2012.

Marcus Tullius Cicero (the Victorians called him “Tully”) was best known to generations of Latin students as the essayist and orator most to be emulated, but he was also a very successful courtroom lawyer and politician


Published in: on 11 June 2013 at 5:45 am  Leave a Comment