Jan 30, 2017

Review: Masoom Thrillers #1

Masoom Thrillers #1 Masoom Thrillers #1 by Nisar Masoom
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received this free E book from goodreads kindle group. The book is collection of five short stories each having its own twist, mystery and dark horror. A small book with 116 pages can be read in one sitting.

The five stories are:
Henna
Witness protection
Ghosts of Iraq
Valentines Night
Red Carpet

Out of these I very much liked Witness protection. Unlike other stories from beginning to end the story has twist and the end is unpredictable. This story has good character development.

After Witness Protection I liked Red Carpet story and Ghosts of Iraq has potential to be written as a novel.


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Jan 29, 2017

Review: Trojan Odyssey

My second outing with Dirk Pitt adventures. From the blurb;

"When a hurricane unexpectedly blows up off the coast of Nicaragua, a giant floating hotel lies in its path. With no escape for the helpless passengers and crew, it's left to Dirk Pitt and NUMA to launch a rescue and save the day. But in the storm's wake, Pitt and his team discover clues that point to an ancient mystery with shocking implications for today.

As Pitt investigates further, he uncovers a plot by a mysterious billionaire called Specter to dramatically alter the Earth's climate, leaving him in control of the only solution. With foes attempting to stop him on every side, Pitt is in a race against time to prevent global catastrophe".

The story opens in 1190 B.C. with a wooden horse left by Achaeans outside the fortress of Ilium, the Dardanians takes possession of wooden horse, & you know the rest of the story of how Troy fell. The story continues with the legendary Odysseus sail across the great green sea with the treasures of Troy.

Present day a hurricane 'Lizzie' blows up off the coast of Nicaragua. Same time seventy miles northeast of the Dominican Republic in Navidad Bank, Dirk Pitt's twin children Summer and Pitt were checking the mysterious brownish contamination which had hampered the sea life in and around Nicaragua. Summer finds out a stone cave with an ancient artifact, comes to know it belongs to Celts.

The odd findings of Celtic treasure near America reopens the life of Celts and the Trojan war. A new theory that Trojan war is fought by the Celts and not Greek, the war is for tin which strengthens copper.

Through analysis the mysterious brownish contamination found in the ocean waters were of natural formation. Dirk Pitt and his sidekick Al Giordino after saving the floating hotel from the hurricane visits the spot and finds out that they were dumped into sea by an organization called Odyssey headed by a mysterious figure Specter.

As one of the reviewer has pointed out that Dirk Pitt is culmination of James Bond and Jacques Cousteau, Dirk and Al infiltrate into the underground tunnel and comes to know that they are into an act of altering the Earth's climate and reap the riches by selling fuel cells to the World.

Did Pitt save the Earth from the catastrophe? Who is the mysterious man named Specter? What happened to the treasure of Odysseus? all these are answered in the end. I enjoyed reading the book, the adventures of Dirk and Al inside the tunnel and escaping unhurt, the episode made me so nervous, Pitt's shrewdness in finding out the bomb placed in their experiment boat and capturing Rita who had killed one of his associates are worth mentioning. I smiled at the end when the author comes to the wedding of Dirk Pitt.

Revealing Specter's real face made me remember the climax of 1975 MGR movie Ithayakani (Heart Fruit). In the cover it is mentioned that Clive Cussler is a Grand Master of adventure, I agree 100%.


Jan 23, 2017

Bibliomania

I like to reproduce a post from Facebook page of one of my favorite author Steve Berry, it is about Bibliomania.

Do you like to collect books? That is something many dedicated readers do. There have been many book collectors throughout history that have amassed large collections. A few people take it to the extreme by furiously or compulsively collecting books for the mere lust of possession, collecting books which have no value to the collector. This is know as bibliomania, an excessive preoccupation for acquiring and possessing books. It’s different from bibliophilia, the love of books. A bibliophile or bookworm is an individual who loves to read books.


Image from Marimihai.com

This 1809 book, “BIBLIOMANIA; OR BOOK MADNESS; CONTAINING SOME ACCOUNT OF THE HISTORY, SYMPTOMS AND CURE OF THIS FATAL DISEASE” (London, 1809), by the Reverend Thomas Frognall Dibdin, was one of the first to describe bibliomania. Although the book is a fictional work, many of the characters in the book are modeled after the author’s friends and acquaintances. 

In the upper classes in Europe and England during the 1800s, the social elite and scholars did whatever they needed to do to collect books regardless of the cost. Some collectors spent everything they had to build their personal libraries. English book collector Richard Heber started collecting books in 1804 and ended up with eight houses bursting with over 146,000 rare books, a collection he spent an estimated 100,000 pounds to accumulate. Others built their libraries by stealing the books.

One such collector was Dr. Alois Pichler, a librarian at the Imperial Public Library in St. Petersburg, Russia in 1869. A few months after he started working there, the staff noticed an alarming number of books were disappearing. The staff and guards started looking for unusual behavior and noticed Pichler acting strangely. They noticed that he constantly wore his large overcoat and refused to remove it, and he left the library several times a day. In March 1871, Pichler was found in possession of over 4,500 stolen library books on everything from perfume making to theology. He was tried and convicted of theft and sent to Siberia.

More recently, Stephen Carrie Blumberg from Ottumwa, Iowa was arrested in 1990 for stealing over 20,000 books worth around $5.3 million over a twenty year period. The books had been stolen from universities and museums in 45 states, 2 Canadian provinces and Washington, D.C. He was tried and convicted and sentenced to 71 months in jail. Although the FBI tried to identify the owners of the books and return the books to them, in many cases it was impossible to identify the owners since Blumberg had removed marks of ownership from almost all of the books.

Jan 20, 2017

Review: Sri Harsha of Kanauj: A Monograph on the History of India in the First Half of the 7th Century A.D.

Sri Harsha of Kanauj: A Monograph on the History of India in the First Half of the 7th Century A.D. Sri Harsha of Kanauj: A Monograph on the History of India in the First Half of the 7th Century A.D. by K.M. Panikkar
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I came to know about this book from Facebook page of Indian History. I liked Harshavardhana from my school days. I still remember the life of Harsha and his sister Rajyasri, through the teachings of my history teacher.

Contemporary of South Indian King Narasimha Varman, this book has given some insight into the life and times of Harsha. Bana's Harsha Charita and accounts of Chinese traveller Hueing Tsang has shed more light on the life of the king.

I was taken aback when I came to know that Harsha did not married, he is the last Hindu Emperor. After his time the Mohamedan conquered India. Not only the author covered about Harsha but also about the Nalanda university. The 7th Century is a period, India was advanced in studies, rule and way of life.


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Jan 19, 2017

Review: Parthiban Kanavu

Parthiban Kanavu Parthiban Kanavu by Kalki
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This the sequel to Sivagamiyin Sabatham, the book is short compared to Sivagamiyin Sabatham and Ponniyin Selvan.

Parthiban is Chola King who is paying tax to Pallava empire. When Narasimha Varman went to war with Pulikesi, Chola king stopped to pay taxes. Narasimha Varman successful return after defeating Pulikesi he summons the Chola king to pay the taxes. But Parthiban who knows his army is not match to Pallavas ask them to wage war. He takes his son Vikraman to his secret room and shows his dreams of free Chola kingdom. Vikraman takes vow that he will fulfill his father's dream.

In the war Parthiban is defeated while on his death he meets a mystic monk (Saivite saint) who promises in helping Vikraman to realize his dream, before the king closes his eyes he comes to know who the monk is.

Years go by Vikraman tries to hoist Chola flag in his kingdom and he gets arrested by his own uncle who is the commander of Chola under Pallava rule. Narasimha Varman gets suggestion from his daughter Kundavi and so he deports Vikraman to an island, before he sets sail he sees a beautiful girl Kundavi in the port, love at first sight. After reaching the island Vikraman becomes the King.

Some years later Vikraman disguises as Gem merchant comes back to Mamallapuram on the way to Uraiur he was ambushed by his uncle and Kabala Bairavar and was saved by a Pallava spy (mystic monk). He gets the horse from the spy and tries to see his mother in Uraiur but he meets with an accident and fell ill gravely.

Did Vikraman saved from the illness? how did Vikraman gets back his kingdom? Who is the Saivite Saint? Who is the Maha Kabala Bairavar? All these are answered in the end.

From Sivagamiyin Sabatham the non fictional characters Narasimha Varman and Paranjothi now called Siruthondar reprise their roles. There is addition of Ponnan boat rower and his wife Valli, interesting characters who adds pace of the story. Those who have read Sivagamiyin Sabatham will not like the way the novel is written. The story has lot of twists, mysteries, political back stabbings and also the shrewdness of Narasimha Varman explained in detail. The story has potential to be big novel but the author has rushed in many places.


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Jan 14, 2017

Review: Payment in Death

Payment in Death Payment in Death by fleetway
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

After 30 plus years I am reading this comics and I vaguely remembered the story. I was searching for Lawrence and David adventures in Google for couple of years and I did not get the answer. Later I came to know through a blog that Barracuda and Frollo were the real comic character names for Lawrence and David which the Tamil publishers has given an easy to recognize name for the characters.

In the Chennai Book Fair I went to the Lion comics stall and found 4 titles of Lawrence & David adventures. I purchased this book "Payment in Death" in Tamil it is renamed as Flight 731. In Tamil edition they have not only changed the names of heroes but also the evil organisation as Aa.Ko.Thee.Ka. (Azhivu - Destruction, Kollai - Plundering, Theemai - Evil, Kazhagam - organisation) I think the English edition mentioning the organisation is WAM (War Against Mankind).

To the story, the Leader of the WAM dies of old age. And the members wanted a new Leader, so they make a contest by selecting 7 members from organisation. Their task is to kill Lawrence (Barracuda). They create a fake scenario and Lawrence takes the bait and steals the secret documents. Both Lawrence and David (Frollo) take microfilm of the secret document and travels from Sydney to London.

The 7 contestants list (no idea what where their English equivalent comic names are) Surjo Ismail from Indonesia, Mary Ling from Hong Kong, Bajlul Bhutto from Pakistan, Mohamed Ali from Middle East, Naisarith from Thailand, Timothy from Balkan and Bismarck from West Germany.

The Flight 731 travels from Sydney to London and has many stop overs. Each of the contestants try their best to kill Lawrence. Did Lawrence and David escape from the killers? Did they know the secret document is fake? All are answered in 100 plus pages of the comics.

I liked the part in Thailand, the art work is superb, the action scenes are breathtaking.


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Jan 12, 2017

Review: The Policewoman

The Policewoman The Policewoman by Justin W.M. Roberts
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Story is, Sarah Michelle Dharmawan from Densus-88 (Detasemen Khusus-88 (Antiterrorist Unit of the INP) was inducted to Interpol to assist the Ministry of Defense of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in locating all members of the Irish Drug Cartel and their headquarters, drug manufacturing plants and distribution centers. And Sarah is very special, she can pray in Spanish, speak French with her boyfriend, curse in Dutch and talk German with her German Shepherd dog. She is well trained in combats, very intelligent and born leader.

Her assignment involves working with SAS member Michael, as story develops they became a loving pair.

The Irish Cartel is run by ex army men. Taking them is very difficult. The remaining part of the story narrates with little twist and mystery, how the Irish Drug cartel gets perished. Did I not tell about the villains? they are also very intelligent, especially I despise one character that is Niall, he is one of the member of the Irish drug cartel who enjoys disemboweling female victims alive. I can feel his strong desire to torture Sarah.

I have read some books about police procedures but I have not read this kind. The narration tells the author's in-depth knowledge on the procedures and technical terms used in military and police. The author has written the action scenes so well it looks like we are watching an action movie. Apart from the above I appreciate his effort in quoting classical sentences, types of battles etc. and using them in the appropriate time. In the end the author has given glossary which helps to us to understand more about the technical terms.

There are many instances that I got agitated while reading I like to mention one when Michael and Sarah goes to Carluccio where they were attacked by 24 thugs with weapons.

A fast paced action novel, I liked the story and enjoyed reading. I received this eBook from the author for a honest review.


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Jan 9, 2017

Review: James Bond #3

James Bond #3 James Bond #3 by Warren Ellis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In this issue, after Bond exits, Slaven asks Dharma to track Bond, if he leaves the garage lab alive he ask Mr.Masters to be ready for multiple contact. Bond goes to the garage lab. A few minutes later Bond understands it is a trap. He kills all the guys in the lab, too much gore, blood, shattered skull and bones in every panel. Exit wounds are shown in full detail!

Dharma sends the message that Bond has come out alive from the trap. Mr.Masters goes to Berlin Station imagining that Bond will be there. As instructed he kills every contact and finds out that Bond is not there, like a psychopath Mr.Masters question whereabouts of Bond with the corpse .

End of third issue.

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Jan 4, 2017

Review: James Bond #2

James Bond #2 James Bond #2 by Warren Ellis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Like the first book the second installment is packed with action. The art work is great. In the second book, Bond catches a flight to Berlin, the Lufthansa flight touches down from Berlin Embassy station Dharma Reach contacts Bond and takes him to her car, with her armored glove tries to kill Bond.

click this link for detailed review


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James Bond #2

Dynamite with Ian Fleming Publications have published James Bond comics titled Vargr (old Norse meaning – Wolf or evildoer). The story written by Warren Ellis and art by Jason Masters. I have already reviewed James Bond #1.

JamesBond01CovKExclu1stPrintJusko

In #2, the Lufthansa flight touches down in Berlin, from Berlin Embassy station Dharma Reach contacts Bond and takes him to her car, with her armoured glove tries to kill Bond. oo7 kicks the driver and makes the car to hit an oncoming truck, the car driver gets hit seriously while she lose her hold. Bond acts as if he taking the gun from his side arm (we know that he was allowed to travel without any fire arms) she gets out of the car and disappears.

Bond0025

(Dharma Reach’s death grip, the two images from Dynamite website)

Later Bond walks to the Embassy and he gets a hint from Carney the Station chief about a rich scientist Slaven Kurjak  who works on pharmaceuticals and powered prostheses. His own left hand is an example of his work. He gives the address for garage lab which process c0caine.

While coming out of the Lab, Dharma Reach seen hiding behind a muscular person.

End of James Bond #2

Jan 1, 2017

Review: Colorful Notions: The RoadTrippers 1.0

Colorful Notions: The RoadTrippers 1.0 Colorful Notions: The RoadTrippers 1.0 by Mohit Goyal
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wonderful story, down to earth characters and beautiful narration. This is the successful second give-away I have received.

Ab, Sasha and Unnati are the three characters taking up a road trip around India and at the same time want to capture it as a documentary. Ab is the producer and Unnati is the voice over.

Start, it looked like an adventure, but the author has given back stories to three main characters with sub plot to Ab's mother. The story does not slow down as there are only 3 persons, like the car 2010 mini SUV Ecosport the novel is fast paced. I thoroughly enjoyed the book. I am eager to read his 2.0 Road Trippers.

Thank you Mohit for the story and also for the free give away.


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