Update. Next Publication is: Under Strange Suns, available digitally August 2015, print version due December 2015, Twilight Times Books.

Between the Covers

“What are you reading, Ken?” I assume you are asking for purposes of today’s post.

I’m glad you asked. As usual, I have several books going at any one time. This week I finished “The Hunted” by Elmore Leonard. Typically outstanding work. It is also an example of how cell phones have changed everything. The same story could not be written as a contemporary piece. Still, excellent 70’s-vintage Leonard.

I also finished “The Dark Defiles,” the third of Richard K. Morgan’s “A Land Fit for Heroes” grimdark fantasy trilogy. I don’t want to say too much about it here. I’ll note that Morgan is a gifted stylist. The man can write. I’ll also note that I called it pretty close as to the fate of one major character, but I don’t want to explain my reasoning here. Suffice it to say that is one check mark in the negative column. At the same time, Morgan kept me guessing throughout and I do appreciate that, whatever else I might think about the story. So, due praise for originality.

I’m about three-quarters of the way through a re-read of the complete Sherlock Holmes stories. It’s been decades since the first read through, though of course I’ve read through an individual story here or there across the years. But in the main, I’ve managed to forget the stories well enough that I’m almost experiencing them for the first time, able to puzzle out the mysteries or be surprised. Good fun, though often more grim and sobering than I’d remembered.

I’m working my way gradually through a history of the Thirty Years War as well as a history of the early campaigns of the Hundred Years War.

I started “Under the Volcano.” So far so good. It takes a few pages to adapt to the pacing of early Twentieth Century literature after extensive immersion in more recent genre fiction. But as I tend to read rather widely — and, in fact tend to read more older fiction than new — the style doesn’t present any problem. I’m already intrigued. The far south of Mexico during the early years of World War II isn’t familiar ground for me. All the early references to the Emperor Maximillian’s legacy are hitting the target as it was only a few years ago I read a history of Max and his ill-fated wife.

And I’ve picked up the sequel to Tim Willock’s “The Religion.” I’ll see how bloody is the follow up to Matthias Tannhauser’s involvement in the Siege of Malta. This one is called “The Twelve Children of Paris” and is set during the Saint Bartholomew’s Day Massacre. Just getting into it, so I’ve yet to form an opinion. Loved “The Religion” so my hopes are high.

I’ve got three more lined up. But other books might bump those from the queue, so I’ll withhold titles.

Now, I’ve got time for some more reading before the HA wakes from her nap.