A book review and some notes   3 comments

It’s amazing how if you let a day go by without blogging it becomes so easy to just let it all slide into oblivion.  I want to keep this entertainment journal going, but it seems like there’s always something better to be doing.  Thus, I find I have almost a week’s worth of comments to catch up on.

I made a long list of the comics I read last week, but I don’t have it with me, and it’s all last week’s news.

I finished a book this morning.  Yay!  Book review follows.

THE MUSKETEER’S APPRENTICE by Sarah D’Almeida.  New York, Berkley Prime Crime, 2007. $6.99.

It seems to me that there is no greater pleasure for a reader to meet old friends from his youth again in new books, having new adventures, sharing new insights, never growing old and stale.  This delight in being in the company of the great characters of literature, or even the not-so-great, is the reason why authors write so many sequels, and why other people write sequels to the sequels long after the original author is dead.  I wonder what Arthur Conan Doyle would say if he could see all the spin-offs from his Sherlock Holmes stories. 

             And I am no different.  A chance to read the new adventures of some old friend will make me pick up a book faster than anything.  Thus, when I discovered the Musketeer Mysteries by Sarah D’Almeida (really Sarah Hoyt, but I don’t blame her a bit for taking the pseudonym—after all, her main characters all used false names), I, who am not much of a mystery reader, could not help but pick up the books and start reading.  I have just finished the third in the series, THE MUSKETEER’S APPRENTICE, and I enjoyed it very much.

            I bet you didn’t know that Porthos (whose true name was Pierre du Vallon) was a sword master and teacher of swordplay before he entered the Musketeers.  As our tale begins he had taken a new apprentice, an ambitious lad who wanted to learn to fight.  When the boy was late for his appointment, Porthos went looking, and found the boy dying, poisoned with deadly nightshade.  It didn’t take Porthos long to bring his friends, Athos, Aramis, and D’artagnan into the case in a quest to find out who killed Guillaume and why.

           A poignant revelation was that the boy was Porthos’ own son from his earlier liaison with a farm girl back home.  Now the murder was not only a serious threat to Porthos, but also personal.  Someone must pay.

             What I like most about this book is the further insight into the lives of the Musketeers.  D’Almeida explores their characters in a way that Dumas—much more plot oriented—would never have considered.  She also weaves her mysteries into the greater story of The Three Musketeers, and as a reader you get a little frisson of pleasure each time you recognize something from Dumas’ tale—a foreshadowing of the grand and tragic adventure that is yet to come for our four friends.

            If you ever thrilled to the adventures of the Three Musketeers, seek out these little books by D’Almeida.  The swordplay is rudimentary—I doubt if she knows a foible from a forte, but the storytelling is very fine indeed.

 -Ken St. Andre

Aug. 19, 2009.

In Runescape news, I achieved Level 91 (out of 99) in slayer last week.  That’s a lot of dead pixel creatures, let me tell you.  I also pushed my cash in the bank up over 20 million coins.  While these are both enormous sums, they are by no means anywhere near the real top rank of Runescape players.  I am currently working on getting Runecrafting 72.  I have used up all my pure rune essence and am still a few thousand points short.  But I will get it soon.

On the comics front now, I am currently reading: Spider-Man: With Great Power and The Invincible Iron Man: The Five Nightmares.  These are brand new graphic novels that just arrived in the library in the last three days.  No place better than a library for getting the new stuff. 

I have reached page 147 of the Book of Swords by Hank Reinhardt.  Hank was quite a weapons expert, and I have learned a lot. The most enjoyable parts of the book are when he gives examples from old sagas and chronicles.  But after a while it becomes hard to tell the difference between a falchion and a cutlass, a broadsword and a tuck, a scimitar and a saber.  Reinhardt makes a point that back in the day no two swords were exactly alike.  Each one was made according to the ideas and abilities and materials that the blacksmith had available.  So classes of swords somehow seem to fade into other classes of swords.  One thing he spends a lot of time on is how swords were affected by armor, and vice versa.

And speaking of swords, I am still reading the adventures of Captain Alatriste, the hard-bitten Spanish adventurer with the heart of gold in the series written by Arturo Perez-Reverte, Spain’s foremost novelist these days.  I’m now on page 55 of  THE KING’S GOLD.

That’s all for now. 

–Ken, a troll

Posted August 19, 2009 by atroll in Uncategorized

3 responses to “A book review and some notes

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  1. No wonder you don’t have time to blog, reading all those books at once!

    • I haven’t even mentioned all the other books I’m sort of reading at the same time. It’s the internet that takes all my time. How’s life in Maine? Job? Carrie adapting to the east?

  2. Hey Trollgod, nice to find your new Intarwebs home. I love comics too, probably more than gaming these days, so you’ve got one more loyal reader in me. Keep up the musings, and go see if you can find the Astonishing X-Men graphic novel compilations. Whedon & Cassiday made a great 1-2 punch for issues 1-12. 13-25 weren’t as good but the entire 25 issue run was on the whole, quite fantasgreat!

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