Nov 14, 2019

Review: The Murder on the Links

The Murder on the Links The Murder on the Links by Agatha Christie
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My brother used to read Agatha Christie books often when he was studying for medicine. That was the first time I heard about the author. Even though he had recommended reading I was not interested.

So many years have gone, I saw this book in Prime reading and choose to read. I was hooked to her writing style, the twist is unexpected and I will soon follow reading Hercule Poirot adventures.


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Nov 2, 2019

Early Indians: The Story of Our Ancestors and Where We Came From

The author has brilliantly summarized the findings of ancient DNA in this book. Though I had Genetics in my college years, I did not find difficulty in the genetical terms. The author Tony Joseph has taken much pain in explaining the basic concept of genetics. 




The book looks into how and when modern humans, or Homo sapiens, first arrived in India, what evidence they left behind for us to see, who their descendants are today, who else followed them as migrants to this land of ours, how and when we started farming and building the world's largest civilization of its time. And also he has explained why this civilization declined and what followed after.

The evidence from prehistory is better known and understood by us is through the archaeological excavations, objects made by ancient people, fossils and the DNA of the individuals who were ancient and who are now living.

The author also pointed out why he had published this book. Tony Joseph was fascinated by the Harappan Civilization and the questions left behind by them, what happened to the people who built the largest civilization of the time and where did they go? The book was substantiated by the facts provided by David Reich, Vagheesh Narasimhan, K.Thangaraj, Lalji Singh, etc.

The author has provided the groundwork needed for us in understanding the basics of genetics, mutation of genes, haplogroups, mtDNA and Y - chromosome, the climatic conditions that have prevailed during the study period.

65,000 years ago, Out of Africa migrants entered India, there they found strong competition between archaic humans who were living previously. The migrants endured and they were termed as the First Indians. By 4700 BCE or so, Iranian agriculturists from the Zagros region intermingled with first Indians who then went on to create the Harappan Civilization. The people of Harappan civilization is a mix of the descendants of the First Indians and the Iranian agriculturist migrants.

The author has allotted one entire chapter to the Indus Valley Civilization which he calls "The Harappan Civilization". He also points out the language of the Harappan people is Dravidian, he also provides facts given by David W. McAlpin from his book "Proto Elamo -Dravidian', the similarities between Elamite language and Tamil such as 'umi' (chaff), "ellu' (sesame), 'ni' (you), 'kattil' (cot or throne).

(Image from Harappa.com)

 
In chapter four the author touches the controversial subject of Aryan migration. It is been clearly proved beyond doubt by DNA analysis that people from Steppe who dominated Europe entered India during 2000 BCE or 1900 BCE, by this time only they find evidence of their particular Y- chromosome (R1a-Z93) which came from the Eurasian Steppe region.

A remarkable book, an eye-opener and a detailed study on the DNA of ancient Indians. This book made me purchase another book titled "Who We Are And How We Got Here" by David Reich.

Oct 9, 2019

Operation Copperhead Chapter 1

Copperhead - adventure, drama, secret, even a dash of romance.

I thank Net Galley and Europe Comics for providing me with a copy for review. The graphic novel Operation Copperhead Chapter 1 is by Jean Harambat who is the author and also the Illustrator. The story is that a girl serving tea in the set of Death on the Nile, asks Niven and Ustinov, how long they know each other. And Peter Ustinov tells her that, they were known to each other since Copperhead. And the girl questions them about what is the meaning of Copperhead? Both Niven and Ustinov elaborate the story.


In actual life, Niven and Ustinov served the British Army. Ustinov as private later Batman to Niven, while he was working with Army Film and photographic unit for the morale-building film. Niven had a minor part in the deception operation. The graphic novel is based on this fact of these two actors.

The story is told in flashbacks and the author has intelligently used anecdotes from biographies of Niven (The Moon's a Balloon) and Ustinov (Dear Me), blurring the fiction. Another example is the private talk of Niven with Winston Churchill.

The artwork is not bad in some frames it is outstanding. I had difficulty in reading some frames as the font is thin and narrow.


Sep 25, 2019

Review: Eye of the Storm

Eye of the Storm Eye of the Storm by Jack Higgins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another superb thriller by Jack Higgins. The author has created alternate history involving bombing of No.10, Downing Street. A cat and mouse game between Sean Dillion and Martin Brosnan and cameo of Liam Devlin.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book.

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Sep 19, 2019

Review: One Day Wonders

One Day Wonders One Day Wonders by Sunil Gavaskar
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A superb book on the Benson and Hedges World Cup 1985 held in Australia and Rothmans Cup in Sharjah. A detailed account from the Ace opener Sunil Gavaskar on his captainship, Indian batting and bowling especially Srikanth, Kapildev and spin legend Sivaramakrishnan.

A must book for cricket fans.

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Sep 14, 2019

Review: Sita - Tamil

Sita - Tamil Sita - Tamil by Amish Tripathi
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

My brother told me about Amish Tripathi and the books he had written. Keeping that in mind I choose the book 2 of The Ram Chandra series. The characterisation and the management of Lord Ram explained by my teacher Mathi Srinivasan in my college days also piqued my interest to read this book. But I was very much disappointed that Sita is depicted as a warrior and the adventures of her look like water down version of Lara Croft - Tomb Raider.

In the story, Hanuman teaches Sita about martial arts! Hanuman has been known to her before Lankan episode looks ridiculous enough that made me stop reading the book.

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