Thursday, November 23, 2017

Books read in 2017: No. 42 -- The Diary of a U-Boat Commander

by Sir Stephen King-Hall

Started: Nov. 21
Finished: Nov. 23

Notes: Having just read a couple of pirate novels, I thought I'd continue my maritime readings with this book of the First World War as written or edited by a British naval officer. Presented as the discovered diary of a German u-boat commander, there is to this day some question as to whether or not this is fact or fiction since Sir King-Hall was not only an active naval officer on duty during the war but was also a known writer of fiction.

Mini review: Upon reading this, my guess would be this is a work of fiction somewhat akin to the likes of Moby Dick, including factual and perhaps historical information but mostly consisting of a contrived tale. This book is split about evenly between the officer's time aboard a U-boat fighting a war and his time on leave, mostly with a lover named Zoe. In the end, it is his connection with Zoe that is the culmination of this tale, more so than his actual commanding of a submarine. However, it is interesting seeing the officer's change of attitudes towards the war over time.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Books read in 2017: No. 41 -- The Sea-Hawk

by Rafael Sabatini

Started: Nov. 3
Finished: Nov. 20

Notes: Since I just read Steve Goble's new pirate novel, I only thought it fitting I pull this one out of my TBR pile where it's been languishing for some while. I've read a couple of Sabatini novels before and always enjoyed them, so I expect good things here.

Mini review: This one didn't thrill as much as the other works of this author I've read. The writing wasn't bad, but it was hit and miss with some chapters being interesting while others dragged. In all fairness, it's my understanding this was one of Sabatini's earlier works, so perhaps he wasn't fully up to snuff just yet. Anyway, an English lord is kidnapped and sent off to slavery but through fortune becomes a Muslim pirate. That's the bare bones of this tale, and actually that's not a bad plot, though I'm leaving out a lot. Though this wasn't a favorite, it wasn't so bad as to ruin Sabatini for me, so I'll likely read more of his work at some point.

Friday, November 03, 2017

Books read in 2017: No. 40 -- The Bloody Black Flag

by Steve Goble

Started: Nov. 1
Finished: Nov. 3

Notes: I'm quite excited to read this debut novel from my friend Steve Goble. It's far beyond time this man had his first novel published. And a murder mystery aboard a pirate ship? What's not to like?

Mini review: This was one hell of a yarn. Not an action tale, though there is a fair amount of action, this is a true mystery novel. Reluctant pirate Spider John Rush finds is best friend murdered aboard a ship full of murderers, and it's up to Spider to figure out who killed his friend and to gain revenge. All while a mysterious bauble has gone missing aboard the ship, other pirate vessels pose dangers on the sea, and an English frigate sails not far behind in pursuit. The story keeps flowing well right until the very end.