Tag Archives: #Loyalty

Farrugia, Nathan; Interceptor (Helix III) (2016)

Helix 3 - Interceptor cover

Sievers turned his lapel out so Denton could see him reaching for a small, slender tin. He crouched and opened the tin on the floorboards, then stepped back. Inside, a large stainless steel and glass syringe. The liquid inside the syringe burned with the colors of molten lava.

“You already know what this is,” Sievers said. “And you’ll need it, if you intend to live long enough to find what you’re really looking for.”

Denton took a step toward him. “You’re using my people to get what you want.”

For the first time, Sievers smiled. White teeth flashed between his black beard. “And you are doing precisely the same.”

Colonel Wolfram Sievers and Lieutenant Denton have lived a long time. Both are willing to go to extreme lengths to achieve what they want. For Denton that seems to be world domination through Project Gate. Sievers appears to be playing another game. That game could be called chaos. Peace would probably be boring business for his superiors. Obvious suspects for such superiors might be arms manufacturers who may or may not work with biological/genetic research firms like Intero. As far as I can tell, the various countries (certainly many politicians) in the Helix world (and real) are simply pawns in the hands of these entities.

As I have said in previous reviews, one of the major appeals of Farrugia‘s stories is that they could happen. Reactions of the general populace would probably (and do) fit his description of the election of the Purity party’s leadership into Poland’s government. Fear of people with genetic mutations is increasing among the population, thereby legitimizing the Purists going after our “heroes” with the aim of targeting/turning off their mutations.

In Exile, Sophia met an operative from the Fifth Column who self-destructed when Sophia attempted to de-program her. This time around, she meets a completely different type of agent. Who or what these new operatives belong to becomes a pressing question. So does the question of DC’s loyalties. Will Jay, Nasira, Damien and Aviary be able to infiltrate Intero’s data system and what about finding Val. How is that going for Olesya and her team? And who the hell are the Benefactors?

From the various links, you would be correct in presuming I had fun with Interceptor. There is so much going on, I cannot help but dig. At the same time, I do have to stop digging and write a review. Once again, definitely recommended.


Farrugia provided me with a reviewer’s copy of Interceptor.


Interceptor is available at Amazon


My reviews of:

  1. Helix Episode I
  2. Exile (Helix II)
  3. The Chimera Vector (Sophia)
  4. Seraphim Sequence (Sophia II)
  5. Phoenix Variant (Sophia III)

Jackson, Ros: Melody of Demons – Quote

“You chose Moreus over me,” she said. “Over all of us. You know what, the more I think about it, the easier it is to understand. That’s not so hard to forgive, after all.”

“It isn’t?” Gauce said, surprised.

“No, it isn’t. I mean, I’d choose Moreus over you any time.”

“You knew my brother?” Gauce asked, his shoulders slumping.

“Oh, no. Never met him.”

Location 6191 of 9046

Rust, Angelika: Ratpaths (Istonnia I) (2013)

Yes, I went looking for ratpaths and the history of the Sicilian Cosa Nostra. There really was no choice after reading what Ms. Rust had to say about her inspiration for the story.

Poverty is something I think about a lot. Not because I am poor, but because I have escaped it. My dad could have been Nivvo. When his father was arrested for underground work during WWII, my grandmother slowly but surely went mad with paranoia. My dad would have been six at the time his father was arrested and his little sister four. They went from getting by to being hungry a lot. But things never became as dire as they did for Nivvo and his mom (and soon after his sister).

I suppose this is one reason why I like Nivvo so much. There is no doubt in my mind that given the right/wrong people in his life, my dad could have become a Nivvo. Whether his sister would have been a Reka I do not know. Both characters are survivors and very likeable. Both love each other and do their best to take care of each other – and others in need. Again this is very much like my father and his sister.

Reka has grown up without her mother and was taken care of by a poor fire priest. At the beginning of the story, Bappo Andori had died not many months previously. At this point Reka is thirteen years old. In many places today being thirteen and poor grows you up awfully fast. With the help of Nivvo’s contractor, she gains control of the estate and keeps up the good work for the homeless.

Nivvo is a thief and a good one. The underworld’s boss, Vicco Cambrosi, wants Nivvo as part of his organization, but that would mean loss of freedom to choose assignments. Nivvo does not want this, but fears a point may be reached when he no longer has a choice.

Ratpaths is for the most part about Nivvo stealing a person, and the mess that makes of life in Istonnia and Nivvo’s life. Ratpaths also gives us a look at Nivvo’s past and gently prods us toward realizing a vital thing about him. Ratpaths was a fun and flowing story.

Definitely recommended.


Reviews:


Ratpaths available on Amazon


The Daily Mail: The secret world of Italy’s other Mafia. Jim Shelley goes underground to uncover the organisation that is scarier than La Cosa Nostra

The Seattle Times: Going underground: In Vienna, a maze of tunnels and cellars beneath the city contains variety of treasures

Wikipedia: Sicilian Mafia

Edwards, Nigel: Garrison (2011)

Editing and cover design by Tim C. Taylor Cover images by KireevArt and fotola70
Editing and cover design by Tim C. Taylor
Cover images by KireevArt and fotola70

Garrison is a military fantasy in novella format. It is set in another time and place with pre-industrial technology and strange creatures. Whether these people are human, I do not know. That is just a presumption on my part.

Von was the most interesting person of this story. His exact role within the company wasn’t completely clear to me. While regular soldier seems to have been his official title, his role was more likely as some kind of troubleshooter. New soldiers saw him as a father-figure. Being just another soldier seems to have given him an in that was not open to the officers. The two newbies were highly visible in Garrison, but their role seemed to be as supporting characters to Von.

I liked Von and I enjoyed reading Garrison and Nigel Edwards’ writing.


Reviews:


Garrison on amazon.com | amazon.co.uk | iTunesUS | iTunes UK | Smashwords | Barnes & Noblediesel | Sony | Kobo

Adina, Shelley: Brilliant Devices (Magnificent Devices IV) (2013)

Brilliant Devices - Shelley Adina
Cover art by Claudia at Phat Puppy

I admit it. The whole Magnificent Devices serial sent me off on tangents of exploration causing me to spend about as much time exploring as I did reading the novels. I become overwhelmed by curiosity when I sit down to write some reviews and find that I “just have to” see what I can dig up about whatever it is that sets me off. Below are some more links.

Did you know that there was actually a Dunsmuir that was the richest man in Canada at the time Adina Shelley placed the Earl of Dunsmuir there? You didn’t? I’m shocked. Well now you do. That Dunsmuir (James) was machinist, entrepreneur, industrialist, politician, and lieutenant governor. I’m thinking someone must have looked into the area before she wrote her novel. Not mentioning any names or anything.

Not only the US was a place of “Wild West” during the European invasion. People had to be killed and one-sided treaties signed. I am reworking my review on Zane Grey, going into more detail, and man is it ever depressing. Canada’s Wild West mirrors the US Wild-West in many ways. Humans are the same wherever we invade.

In Brilliant Devices Queen Victoria and her spy Isobell Churchill work for the protection of the Equimoux. In our history, Queen Victoria did no such thing. She probably would have put you in Bedlam for even suggesting such a thing. That Davinia and John Dunsmuir are on their side is something Isobell Churchill does not know. I wonder why the Queen did not tell her.

I like the beginning of Brilliant Devices when Lady Claire Trevalyan, Mr. Andrew Malvern, Ms. Alice Chalmers, the Mopsies, Tigg and Jake pull off a miracle using the invention of Andrew, Claire, Tigg and Dr. Craig. It is fun the way Shelley Adina throws in little technical challenges along the way for the gang.

Claire and her little flock are as always ingenious and independent. The Mopsies are as obedient as always, spying for Claire whether she wants them to or not. I wonder at Claire’s reticence, considering how often the Mopsies have come in handy. I guess Claire struggles with her own prejudices and her own fears, constantly forgetting that her charges have been exposed to dangers long before Claire entered their lives. All four charges prove their abilities several times.

Alice Chalmers is another character I like. She turns up in Magnificent Devices saving Claire three times and Andrew once. Alice continues her life-saving in Brilliant Devices. Both the Dunsmuirs and Graf von Zeppelin are impressed by her inventiveness. Her role is not limited to one of invention and rescue but also functions as an addition to the personality of Brilliant Devices.

As with the other three novels in the Magnificent Devices serial Brilliant Devices is a fun and adventurous addition giving me a few hours of fun.


Review:



My review of:

  1. Lady of Devices
  2. Her Own Devices
  3. Magnificent Devices

Cooper, Elspeth: The Raven’s Shadow (The Wild Hunt III) (2013)

the_ravens_shadow
Illustration by Dominic Harman
Design by Sue Michniewicz

You know, Ailric is a douchebag. He is about as power-starved as you can possibly get and Tanith is his way to the throne. Talk about being willing to do and say anything to get his way. Humans are less than dirt to him and his jealousy knows no bounds. As if he has anything to be jealous about. Tanith tells him over and over and over again that she is not interested and could he please stop touching her. Being the third in line for the throne of the “elves”, Tanith feels pressured by many of the folks at home to bind herself to Ailric as the joining of their two families is seen as a good match.

According to Psychology Today a person with a narcissistic personality disorder is one who is arrogant, lacks empathy for other people, needs a lot of admiration. Narcissists are cocky, self-centered, manipulative and demanding. They are focused on unlikely outcomes (I don’t know – like becoming consort to Tanith) and feel they deserve special treatment. For some reason they have a high self-esteem – which goes along with their arrogance. If their self-esteem is threatened they may become aggressive (like Ailric’s threats and actions toward both Gair and Tanith) even though their self-esteem is rooted in the bedrock of who they are.

Holy cow, this is soooo Ailric. He manages to match all of the qualities. Like I said: a complete and total douchebag.

Gair is your basic good guy. He’s not perfect, not by a long shot. In fact he is feeling pretty murderous when it comes to Savin. I get this need for vengeance. Not that anyone has ever effected the killing of one of my loved ones, but there have been people I would have liked to, at the very least, beat up. People who hurt my children in any way come to mind – even if mine are adult now. In real life I prefer the good guys (and women). I happen to be married to one of the most decent men on earth. Like Gair they are all flawed in some manner, but something shines through. This strange quality is what Ms. Cooper manages to catch in her writing. Someone like Gair is often presented in a manner that makes me wriggle uncomfortably due to their unbelievability. But Ms. Cooper stays far, far, far away from that trap. Gair is a guy I would like to hug just because he is huggable. I guess he could be good-looking but that is not what I am remembering – and I finished The Raven’s Shadow at 6 am this morning.

I kid you not. I am 49 years old in a few days and I read through the night. What’s an old woman doing with an all-night-read? Shame on you Ms. Cooper for keeping me up all night. That seldom happens any longer, but I just had to finish. Now I have to wait another year or two for the next installment. What I have just done is a basic case of hurry up and wait. Oh, well. Old age is no guarantee for learning from experience. I choose to blame it all on Ms. Cooper. No personal responsibility at all – oh no!

Teia is the other extremely interesting main character. Poor girl. Once it was discovered she had the talent, she has had to be extremely careful about letting on how strong she was/is. Not only has she needed to watch out for the clan speaker, but she has also had a less than ideal relationship with the clan chief. Well, relationship is a bit strong. Before she was 16 he abused and raped Teia until he had impregnated her. Good thing she ran away even if it did lead to her becoming banfaith of the Lost Ones. A banfaith is a prophetess or oracle. Understandably, Teia feels awfully young for the kind of responsibility she holds. In a sense she is considered next to Baer (their chief) in authority. The Lost Ones ask for her guidance on where to travel which is kind of natural as Teia sees where they need to go. Where the Lost Ones need to go is to the enemy to warn them of the pending invasion.

Ytha is Teia’s old teacher. She is the one who should have made certain that Teia received proper training for a Speaker. But Ytha is afraid of what would happen if someone has more power than she. Anything (including murdering people perceived as obstacles) is acceptable to achieve her goals. Ytha’s goal is to lead all of the Nimrothi clans into the old home-land – together with her chief Drwyn as chief of chiefs. I would not like to get into her way.

Elspeth Cooper’s writing has appealed to me from the beginning. She is one of those rare people who has a gift. In all likelihood Ms. Cooper works hard to provide us with a novel of this quality. But, you know, there is that extra indefinable something that gifted people have.

———————————–

Reviews:


  • Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz (15 Aug 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575134380
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575134386

My review of:

  1. Songs of the Earth
  2. Trinity Rising

Canavan, Trudy: The High Lord (The Black Magician III) (2010)

The High Lord - 7 covers
Top left: French cover
Top 2 left: French cover
Top 2 right: Cover art by Matt Stawicki
Top right: Turkish cover
Bottom left: Indonesian cover
Bottom center: Cover art by Les Petersen
Bottom right: Russian cover

My son and I recently finished reading The Black Magician trilogy together. What he discovered is that sometimes favourite characters die. He felt that was kind of cruel of Canavan. It is one thing when the bad guys die, but good guys (especially ones you really like)? Oh, well. It is unlikely this is the last time he experiences this. Despite that, he really enjoyed himself during our adventure. As did I.

The High Lord answers all our questions about why Akkarin uses black magic. It also shows us that the powers that be sometimes make long-term decisions that are seemingly wise at the time but turn out to be bad for future generations. Accidental deaths can cause a lot of trouble down the road.

I’m still impressed with Sonea. I think that growing up rich and powerful blinds you to the reality that most people live under. Peggy McIntosh discusses this phenomenon in her White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Backpack. Sonea growing up in the slums has made her aware of the harsher sides of life and made her more open to the possibility that status quo must change. Even Rothen and Dannyl, who are open-minded for wizards, fail to understand exactly how privileged they are.

My dad grew up under extremely difficult conditions. His mom was a paranoid schizophrenic and his dad disappeared after he had enjoyed German hospitality in prison camp. Torture got the better of him and alcohol was used to self-medicate. That left my dad as the responsible person at home from a very young age. His mom did her best, but, you know, being a paranoid schizophrenic without access to medication does not help in creating stability for your children. My mom’s childhood sucked as well. Her dad was an alcoholic and her mom worked her tail off to provide for them. When my mom has told me what it was like to drag a drunk dad up three stairs to get him inside the apartment – after he had pretty much spent his earnings on booze – well, I wonder how she made it????

But that childhood made them into pretty awesome people who have always been concerned with the greater good. They turned what could have made them bitter into something that helps others each and every day (even when they are now ancient =) ). Like Sonea, not all of their decisions have been wise. But like Sonea, what they have done is try to be true to the motto of “not doing unto others what you would not like to have them do unto you”.

Sonea grew up without her parents but was fortunate enough to get to live with her aunt and uncle. This is probably what saved her (and the rest of the city). Her hunger, poverty, the Purge, being bullied by the other novices and being suspected of everything “bad” by the adult wizards did not stop her from being true to her own values. Sonea’s situation is in no way unique in the world (except for the magic that is). Poverty, war, captivity, orphanhood and homelessness are all part of the lives of a huge amount of children and adults. That people are actually able to rise above their experiences and make the world a better place is amazing. Yet people do it all the time – just like my parents have. Which is why I find Sonea utterly believable. Her decisions regarding Akkarin seem inevitable and sensible considering the kind of person she is.

Sonea and The High Lord_by_ceara_finn24-d27a8o2
Picture photoshopped by Lauren Kelly Small

Tayend is my other favorite person of this story. He is our lad from Elyne. While homosexuality was not accepted in Elyne, homosexuals were not persecuted. Unlike Dannyl’s experience in Kyralia. Being a fan of the underdog, I would have thought that Dannyl would be the one to appeal the most to me. But Tayend has an innocence about himself that seems true. When that innocence is challenged, as it is in The Novice, Tayend rises to the occasion. He is loyal to Dannyl, in love with Dannyl and willing to avoid meeting with Dannyl if that is what it takes to protect him from the wrath of the magician’s guild. I wish I could have gotten to know him better.

Cery is back and this time he finds himself with a mysterious customer who seems willing to help him find whatever Sachakans arrive at Imardin. She turns out to be different from what he had originally thought, and that causes friction. But Savara still manages to be of assistance to Cery when he needs her help most. Who to trust or who not to trust when you are a Thief, that is the question.

Reading The Black Magician trilogy with my son was my third time through the series and I still had fun and learned new things about myself and the world.

In The High Lord Trudy Canavan gifted me with really fun words to read. During part of the book she had used the words Sachaka, Akkarin and Takan a lot. My mouth was having so much fun saying those sounds. Sometimes it is really awesome to be an autist (aspergian).


Reviews:


  • Paperback: 656 pages
  • Publisher: Orbit (4 Mar 2010)
  • Language: French
  • ISBN-10: 1841499625
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841499628

My review of:

  1. The Magician’s Guild
  2. The Novice