Darkness Rising by A. A. Dhand (Review #6)

Darkness Rising by A. A. Dhand

Blurb

Detective Inspector Harry Virdee has a lot on his plate. His team is facing government cuts, tensions are building between Bradford’s two rival drugs gangs and his wife Saima is due to give birth any day now.

So when bodies start turning up in the old industrial district, the pressure is on to get the case wrapped up as quickly as possible, or risk a full-scale gang war.

But the man behind the murders is ruthless and pushy. And things are getting personal. Harry must think fast and bend the rules if he wants to keep his city, and his family, safe . . .

Review

I picked this up because I was craving a quick and easy read and I always find the Quick Reads series perfect for this. As soon as I picked this book up and started reading it I couldn’t put it down. 

I really like the character of Harry Virdee. Harry wants to protect Bradford, he wants to make it a good place again because it is his home and he has happy memories there as well as painful ones. However, Harry doesn’t always play by the rules that a man of the law should play by. He likes to bend them slightly to get the results he needs. 

Along with cleaning the streets of Bradford from crime with a skeleton team due to cuts he also has a heavily pregnant wife at home who could go into labour at anytime. This can lead to quite a stressful situation when multiple murders suddenly take place and Harry must try and find the murderer.

This book is fast paced and action packed and keeps the reader engaged from start to finish. And unlike certain Quick Reads books it feels like a proper story and not a cut down or rushed story. Although the book doesn’t give much chance for the characters to develop or for the reader to learn the characters’ history, it is a perfect introduction to the series where you hope that you will learn more about the main characters. 

I really enjoyed this book and I plan on reading the next book in the series as soon as it arrives because I am not willing to abandon the characters just yet. I give this book 4 out of 5 Dragons. 

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Purchase Links

Book Depository | Foyles | Waterstones | Wordery

(All purchases made using one of the above affiliate links gives a small percentage of money to myself with no extra cost to yourself. All proceeds go towards the upkeep of this blog. Thank you ever so much, your support is gratefully received.)

About the author

A.A. Dhand was raised in Bradford and spent his youth observing the city from behind the counter of a small convenience store. After qualifying as a pharmacist, he worked in London and travelled extensively before returning to Bradford to start his own business and begin writing. The history, diversity and darkness of the city have inspired his Harry Virdee novels.

Etsy

Goodreads Monday: 16/01/2023

Goodreads Monday is now hosted by Budget Tales Book Club.  All you have to do is show off a book from your TBR that you’re looking forward to reading.

Happy Monday!

I hope everyone has had a good start to the week so far. I have had an interesting day at school, recorders filled with polystyrene, sticky ukuleles and sticky practice diaries. I’m not sure what these children do with their instruments. Truthfully, I probably don’t want to know.

My chosen book this week is one that I really want to read and one that is from the Persephone Books publishers. Persephone books in Bath is possibly my absolute favourite bookshop.

Most of these stories focus on the small, quiet or unspoken intricacies of human relationships rather than grand dramas. The use of metaphor is delicate and subtle; often the women are strong and capable and the men less so; shallow and selfish motives are exposed.
The dates of these stories range from 1909 to 1986 and there are thirty in all. The ten stories which are already in print in Persephone editions of their work are by Katherine Mansfield, Irène Némirovsky, Mollie Panter-Downes (twice), Elizabeth Berridge, Dorothy Whipple, Frances Towers, Margaret Bonham, Diana Gardner and Diana Athill. The ten stories which have already been published in the Quarterly and Biannually are by EM Delafield; Dorothy Parker; Dorothy Whipple; Edith Wharton; Phyllis Bentley; Dorothy Canfield Fisher; Norah Hoult; Angelica Gibbs; Penelope Mortimer; and Georgina Hammick. And lastly the ten stories which are new are by Susan Glaspell, Pauline Smith, Malachi Whitaker, Betty Miller, Helen Hull, Kay Boyle, Shirley Jackson, Sylvia Townsend Warner, Elizabeth Spencer and Penelope Fitzgerald.

I plan on trying to read a short story a day.

Please drop me a comment if you have taken part in Goodreads Monday and I will head over for a visit.

Happy Reading

Etsy

Politically Correct Holiday Stories For an Enlightened Yuletide Season by James Finn Garner (Review)

Politically Correct Holiday Stories For an Enlightened Yuletide Season by James Finn Garner

Blurb

Holiday tales have long delighted and entertained us, but until now they’ve always been burdened with society’s skewed values and mores. Stories that reinforce the stifling class system (Dickens’s A Christmas Carol), legitimise the stereotype of a merry, over-weight patriarchal oppressor (Santa Claus in The Night Before Christmas), and justify the domestication and subjugation of wild animals (Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer) abound in the literature and lore of this season. Now James Finn Garner has stepped in to revise and improve these familiar tales to free our social consciousness from the ghost of prejudice past. From the newly revised “Nutcracker” to “Frosty the Persun of Snow”, these stories rekindle the true holiday spirit and redefine the idea of “good will to all men” to include womyn, pre-adults, and companion animals as well.

Review

I picked this up from a National Trust second hand bookshop. When I saw the book I immediately picked it up because I thought it looked like quite a fun read. The book was clearly brand new as well which also added to the appeal. 

At only 99 pages I thought this would be quite a quick read for me but it turned out that it took me a while to read rather than flying through it like I normally would. This is probably because I didn’t really gel with this book and wasn’t so keen to pick it up and read it.

I can understand the appeal of this book because it is political correctness in overdrive and it kind of has a funny appeal to it but after a while it just started to get on my nerves. My favourite story was the retelling of A Christmas Carol. This was because of Scrooge’s fantastic reactions to the spirits that visit him especially the last spirit. In fact I was a little disappointed with the ending because I really wanted Scrooge to act on his new philosophy. 

Rudolph the Nasally Empowered Reindeer was probably my least favourite story as Rudolph was just too irritating. 

Overall, I did enjoy this book but it didn’t really hook me in and didn’t have me as gripped as I expected. This is definitely a book that I could take or leave and I give this book 3 out of 5 Dragons. 

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About the author

James Finn Garner is an American writer and satirist based in Chicago. He is the author of Politically Correct Bedtime Stories, Tea Party Fairy Tales, and Honk Honk, My Darling.

Etsy

Scenes of Clerical Life by George Eliot (Review)

Scenes of Clerical Life by George Eliot

Blurb

George Eliot’s first published work consisted of three short novellas: ‘The Sad Fortunes of the Reverend Amos Barton’, ‘Mr Gilfil’s Love-Story’, and ‘Janet’s Repentance’. Their depiction of the lives of ordinary men and women in a provincial Midlands town initiated a new era of nineteenth-century literary realism. The tales concern rural members of the clergy and the gossip and factions that a small town generates around them. Amos Barton only realizes how much he depends upon his wife’s selfless love when she dies prematurely; Mr Gilfil’s devotion to a girl who loves another is only fleetingly rewarded; and Janet Dempster suffers years of domestic abuse before the influence of an Evangelical minister turns her life around. 

Review

One of my all time favourite books is Silas Marner so I hoped that Scenes of Clerical Life would be just as good and thankfully I was not disappointed. I truly loved reading this book and could not put it down. 

The Sad Fortunes of the Reverend Amos Barton

One of the first things I noticed about this short story was how church hasn’t really changed from when Eliot wrote this story to the present day. As a church organist who has regularly attended church for many years I couldn’t believe how close the past and present are. The Rev Barton is almost in constant battle with his congregation because the congregation think they know better and there are always disagreements about the music. 

The Rev Barton always tries to do his best and always tries to help those in need as much as possible even if this means his family suffers because of his generosity and the one who suffers the most is his poor wife. Mrs Barton never complains and spends all her time trying to provide for her ever growing family. Even when she goes to bed she continues with mending the children’s clothes. However, Mrs Barton’s efforts go mainly unnoticed by her husband but when Mrs Barton dies the poor Rev Barton realises just what a treasure he had in his wife.

I loved this little story and it is the shortest out of the three stories in the book. You can tell this is Eliot’s first story but you can see the promise of the amazing author she is going to become. I found the story funny, sad, frustrating and beautiful. 

Mr Gilfil’s Love-Story

This is another sad tale from Eliot but a beautifully written one and one where you can see a more polished author. The story is a romance of unrequited love, of a room preserved through time and rarely opened, a room which holds painful memories for Mr Gilfil. 

I love how this story shows how the parishioners all gossip around the village. How the ladies who were born and bred in the village look down their noses at the newcomers to the village especially if they are from town and not country people. We soon see all the different characters of the parish who Mr Gilfil, the vicar, watches over and they over him. 

In this story we meet Mr Gilfil as an old man living in the vicarage and we learn his sad past by being transported back in time to when Mr Gilfil was a young man with his whole future ahead of him. 

This was another story I couldn’t put down and one I thoroughly enjoyed. 

Janet’s Repentance

This is the longest story in the book and I must admit I did find that it dragged at times but I still really enjoyed the story. 

Janet starts off as a sad character who has a horrible home life but to everyone in the village she is nothing but sweetness and kindness. Janet helps out where she can and always has a smile for people but at home she is a the victim of domestic abuse. Her husband is positively cruel to poor Janet and she lives in fear of him. Her mother in law who lives with them refuses to see any fault with her son and blames everything on poor Janet because she sees her as a bad wife. The only person Janet can confide in is her own mother.

Eventually it all comes to a head and Janet seeks help and she finds it in the form of a dear friend and the Methodist Minister Mr Tryan. Mr Tryan is making waves in the village and because of this there is a divide between the people who follow Mr Tryan and the people who go to the village church. The main supporter of the anti Mr Tryan club is Janet’s husband. 

This story shows the love and support people can show to those in need and how people can rally around to help. However, the story also shows the darker side of humanity where people turn a blind eye to what they can clearly see. Janet has lived as the victim of domestic abuse for many years and people have chosen to not see this fact. 

I really enjoyed this book and found it beautifully written. I also found many similarities with the modern world in it because people have really not changed much. Overall, I give this book 5 out of 5 Dragons. 

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Purchase Links

Book Depository | Foyles | Waterstones | Wordery

(All purchases made using one of the above affiliate links gives a small percentage of money to myself with no extra cost to yourself. All proceeds go towards the upkeep of this blog. Thank you ever so much, your support is gratefully received.)

About the author

Mary Ann Evans, known by her pen name George Eliot, was an English novelist, poet, journalist, translator and one of the leading writers of the Victorian era. She was born in 1819 at a farmstead in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, England, where her father was estate manager. Mary Ann, the youngest child and a favourite of her father’s, received a good education for a young woman of her day. Influenced by a favourite governess, she became a religious evangelical as an adolescent. 

Etsy

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The Black Mountain by Kate Mosse (Review)

The Black Mountain by Kate Mosse

Blurb

It is May, 1706. Ana, a young Spanish woman, lives in a small town on the north-west coast of Tenerife with her mother and twin younger brothers. The town is in the shadow of a mighty volcano, which legend says has the devil living inside it. However, there has been no eruption for thousands of years and no one believes it is a threat.

One day, Ana notices that the air feels strange and heavy, that the birds have stopped singing. Tending the family vineyard, a sudden strange tremor in the earth frightens her. Very soon it will be a race against time for Ana to help persuade the town that they are in danger and should flee before the volcano erupts and destroys their world. Will they listen? And Ana herself faces another danger . . .

Review

I will be honest I have a quite a collection of unread Kate Mosse books. I see one of her books and think that looks good and buy it but never read it. However, after reading this book I will be rectifying that situation. This is definitely my favourite Quick Reads book that I have read so far. 

The story is fast paced and although predictable I still really enjoyed it. The main character Ana has a lot on her shoulders for someone so young, she tends the family vineyard, tries to keep an eye on her younger twin brothers and helps and looks after her mom. If life wasn’t hard enough for Ana now there are strange things happening with the mountain her family’s vineyard and home is on but that is not the only danger. 

Thankfully, Ana has some remarkable friends in the form of Widow Silva, Antonio and Rudi. Antonio is a mysterious man who nobody knows much about but Ana knows she can trust him because her father trusted him. Widow Silva makes her living smoking fish on the beach but she also keeps an eye on Rudi who is a young boy sadly crippled because he was born too early. Rudi is my favourite character and is truly adorable, he starts off so shy and vulnerable but slowly you see his true nature and you can’t help but smile every time he is mentioned. 

I loved this book and read it one sitting and yes I know there could have been more character development but it is deliberately a short novel so lacks the space for the extra development. In a way I think that helped because it kept the novel fast paced. I loved Kate Mosse’s writing and will definitely be reading more of her books soon, although I realise a lot of her books are a lot longer than this one which is only 136 pages. I give this book 5 out of 5 Dragons. 

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Purchase Links

Book Depository | Bookshop.org | Foyles | Waterstones | Wordery

(All purchases made using one of the above affiliate links gives a small percentage of money to myself with no extra cost to yourself. All proceeds go towards the upkeep of this blog. Thank you ever so much, your support is gratefully received.)

About the author

Kate Mosse is an international bestselling author with sales of more than five million copies in 42 languages. Her fiction includes the novels Labyrinth (2005), Sepulchre (2007), The Winter Ghosts (2009), and Citadel (2012), as well as an acclaimed collection of short stories, The Mistletoe Bride & Other Haunting Tales (2013). Kate’s new novel, The Taxidermist’s Daughter is out now.

Kate is the Co-Founder and Chair of the Board of the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction (previously the Orange Prize) and in June 2013, was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for services to literature. She lives in Sussex.

Etsy

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All Systems Red by Martha Wells (Review)

All Systems Red by Martha Wells

Blurb

“As a heartless killing machine, I was a complete failure.”

In a corporate-dominated spacefaring future, planetary missions must be approved and supplied by the Company. Exploratory teams are accompanied by Company-supplied security androids, for their own safety.

But in a society where contracts are awarded to the lowest bidder, safety isn’t a primary concern.

On a distant planet, a team of scientists are conducting surface tests, shadowed by their Company-supplied ‘droid — a self-aware SecUnit that has hacked its own governor module, and refers to itself (though never out loud) as “Murderbot.” Scornful of humans, all it really wants is to be left alone long enough to figure out who it is.

But when a neighbouring mission goes dark, it’s up to the scientists and their Murderbot to get to the truth.

Review

I had seen so many good reviews of this book and the series that I decided I had to read it so I downloaded the first book onto my Kindle ready for my summer holidays and devoured it in one sitting. 

I found Murderbot such an endearing character in this book. Murderbot was designed and built for a purpose and that purpose is a security unit for whoever needs it. Muderbot is part machine and part organic and is built sexless so has no chosen pronoun. SecUnits which is what Murderbot is, have choice in where they go or what they do, they just have to follow orders from the humans and most importantly protect the humans. However, Murderbot is special because it has become self aware, it has hacked its governor module and now it needs to work out exactly what it is and what it is going to do. It has also downloaded a lot of media and become somewhat of a TV addict. 

Even though Murderbot is rather scornful of the humans it is there to protect, it still does anything it can to protect the humans and as the story goes on it becomes quite clear that Murderbot becomes quite attached to its humans and the humans become quite attached to Murderbot. 

When the neighbouring mission goes dark it soon becomes clear a rescue mission must take place and this worries Murderbot who knows there could be trouble but the humans say a rescue mission is needed so Murderbot follows orders. 

Murderbot is uncomfortable around humans and quite shy so it only feels comfortable when hidden behind its helmet in full armour. Without the armour and helmet Murderbot feels vulnerable around the humans. Murderbot even uses cameras to look at the humans rather than face them directly. 

I loved this story and although it is really only the length of a novella the action kicks off straight away on page 2. I loved the characters but my favourite was Murderbot, I loved seeing it grow and develop and start to work out what exactly it is and what it wants to do with its existence. As soon as I finished this book I downloaded and started to read the next book because I just could not leave Murderbot behind. I give this book 5 out of 5 Dragons. 

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About the author

Martha Wells has been an SF/F writer since her first fantasy novel was published in 1993, and her work includes The Books of the Raksura series, The Death of the Necromancer, the Fall of Ile-Rien trilogy, The Murderbot Diaries series, media tie-ins for Star Wars, Stargate: Atlantis, and Magic: the Gathering, as well as short fiction, YA novels, and non-fiction. She has won a Nebula Award, two Hugo Awards, two Locus Awards, and her work has appeared on the Philip K. Dick Award ballot, the BSFA Award ballot, the USA Today Bestseller List, and the New York Times Bestseller List. Her books have been published in eighteen languages.

Purchase Links

Book Depository | Bookshop.org | Foyles | Waterstones | Wordery

(All purchases made using one of the above affiliate links gives a small percentage of money to myself with no extra cost to yourself. All proceeds go towards the upkeep of this blog. Thank you ever so much, your support is gratefully received.)

If you enjoy reading my blog and would like to make a donation I would be very grateful. Thank you

Blind Spot by Paula Hawkins (Review)

Blind Spot by Paula Hawkins

Blurb

Since they were kids, Edie, Jake and Ryan have been the closest of friends. It’s been the three of them against the world. Edie thought the bonds between them were unbreakable. So when Jake is brutally murdered and Ryan accused of the crime, her world is shattered.

Edie is alone for the first time in years, living in the remote house that she and Jake shared. She is grief-stricken and afraid – with good reason. Because someone is watching. Someone has been waiting for this moment. Now that Edie is alone, the past she tried so hard to leave behind is about to catch up with her…

Review

I do love a Quick Reads book. The series has introduced me to so many amazing authors and sometimes I just fancy a quick book that I can basically read in one sitting. 

This book centres around the character Edie. Edie is married to Jake but since she was a child she has always been best friends with Jake and Ryan. The three of them are a team, Edie believes there are no secrets between any of them but when Jake is brutally murdered and Ryan is accused of the murder her world starts to unravel. 

Edie is left alone, living in a remote house that she shared with Jake. She is left with mounting bills, the debts she finds out that Jake had secretly taken out and the prospect that one day the house will fall off the cliff it is on. Edie has no job, no real friends and she is afraid. She is afraid because it soon occurs to her that someone is watching her, someone knows her every move. Edie’s past has come back to haunt her. 

I really enjoyed this story but I did find Edie very annoying. Edie was one of those people who happily ignores what is right at the end of her nose because it suits her circumstances. She is oblivious to anything other than herself or Jake and Ryan and anything outside of the trio she does not want to know. This way of thinking has been going on since childhood with damning consequences. 

I had no clue who the murderer was in this book until I got towards the end and started to have my suspicions. Considering the book was so small it kept me hooked and constantly wondering what would happen next. It was brilliantly written and I will definitely be reading more by Paula Hawkins. I give this book 4 out of 5 Dragon. 

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Purchase Links

Book Depository | Foyles | Waterstones | Wordery

(All purchases made using one of the above affiliate links gives a small percentage of money to myself with no extra cost to yourself. All proceeds go towards the upkeep of this blog. Thank you ever so much, your support is gratefully received.)

About the author

Paula Hawkins (1972) is a British author best known for the novel The Girl on the Train.

If you enjoy reading my blog and would like to make a donation I would be very grateful. Thank you

Roverandom by J. R. R. Tolkien (Review)

Roverandom by J. R. R. Tolkien

Blurb

J.R.R. Tolkien’s earliest children’s story.

While on holiday in 1925, four-year-old Michael Tolkien lost his beloved toy dog on the beach. To console him, his father J.R.R. Tolkien improvised a story about Rover, a real dog who is magically transformed into toy, and his quest to find the wizard who can return him to normal.

The adventures of Rover, or ‘Roverandom’ a he becomes known, include encounters with an ancient sand-sorcerer and a terrible dragon, by the king of wordplay, the story underwent a number of revisions and was originally considered for publication in January 1937, the same year as The Hobbit, was abandoned when the publishers asked instead for a sequel, which culminated in The Lord of the Rings. Roverandom was finally published in 1998.

Review

I love Tolkien and I have read The Lord of the Rings more times than I can count. So when I saw this in Waterstones I knew I had to get it and I was not disappointed. 

Roverandom is all about a little dog who due to being a little bit rude and not minding his manners to a wizard he ends up as a small toy dog instead. Roverandom ends up being taken from his home and his beloved ball and goes on all kinds of adventures meeting wizards, dragons, mer people and much more. 

This story is typical Tolkien but doesn’t flow with his usual style but I think this is because it wasn’t refined for publication by Tolkien. You can also clearly see that the wizards in this book were the starting points for Gandalf as Artaxerxes is a little bit similar to Gandalf. 

This is a wonderful little story that you can just imagine Tolkien telling his distraught son to help with the loss of his beloved toy dog. The story also has a very clear moral about the consequences of not minding your manners and being polite. Roverandom goes on his adventures and learns to be a better dog, a dog with manners who is polite and kind and thinks of others. It really was a beautiful little read that I give 4 out of 5 Dragons. 

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Purchase Links

Book Depository | Foyles | Waterstones | Wordery

(All purchases made using one of the above affiliate links gives a small percentage of money to myself with no extra cost to yourself. All proceeds go towards the upkeep of this blog. Thank you ever so much, your support is gratefully received.)

About the author

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was born on the 3rd January 1892 in Bloemfontein. He moved to England when he was three years old and was home schooled with his younger brother and taught by his mother. Tolkien served in the First World War and after the war he established a distinguished academic career and was recognised as one of the finest philologists in the world. He is best known as the creator of Middle Earth and the author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy. He was awarded a CBE and an honorary Doctorate of Letters from Oxford University in 1972. He died on 2nd September 1973 at the age of 81.

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Galatea by Madeline Miller (Review)

Galatea by Madeline Miller

Blurb

In Ancient Greece, a skilled marble sculptor has been blessed by a goddess who has given his masterpiece – the most beautiful woman the town has ever seen – the gift of life. Now his wife, Galatea is expected to be obedience and humility personified, but it is not long before she learns to use her beauty as a form of manipulation. In a desperate bid by her obsessive husband to keep her under control, she is locked away under the constant supervision of doctors and nurses. But with a daughter to rescue, she is determined to break free, whatever the cost…

Review

I do love Madeline Miller so when I saw this short story I immediately preordered the book off Waterstones. I read this short story over a mug of tea one afternoon between teaching. 

I know the story of Pygmalion which was first told in the now lost Hellenistic work “De Cypro” by Philostephanus and then retold in Ovid’s Metamorphoses. In Ovid’s telling, Pygmalion is a king and sculptor who carves a statue of a woman out of ivory and falls in love with the statue. Aphrodite answers Pygmalion’s prayers and turns the statue to a real life woman who he marries. The woman never actually gets a name in the original texts and the name Galatea which means “she who is milk white” was not associated with Pygmalion’s statue until approximately the early 1700’s. 

In Miller’s retelling of this tale the focus is on Galatea rather than Pygmalion which makes a nice change from the usual male perspective. In this retelling Galatea says she was made out of stone rather than ivory but this fits better with Miller’s retelling than ivory would. 

I did enjoy this little story and it was nice to hear Galatea’s voice because she doesn’t get a voice in Ovid’s version. As a reader you can’t help but feel sorry for Galatea who never had any say on her life from the moment Pygmalion carved her and you can see how she suffers. I really wish this story had been longer as I think it would have made an excellent book, as a short story I just didn’t feel like it had enough in it to really get me absorbed into the book like I have been with Miller’s full length books. I give this book 3 out of 5 Dragons. 

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Purchase Links

Book Depository | Foyles | Waterstones | Wordery

(All purchases made using one of the above affiliate links gives a small percentage of money to myself with no extra cost to yourself. All proceeds go towards the upkeep of this blog. Thank you ever so much, your support is gratefully received.)

About the author

Madeline Miller was born in Boston and grew up in New York City and Philadelphia. She attended Brown University, where she earned her BA and MA in Classics. For the last ten years she has been teaching and tutoring Latin, Greek and Shakespeare to high school students. She has also studied at the University of Chicago’s Committee on Social Thought, and in the Dramaturgy department at Yale School of Drama, where she focused on the adaptation of classical texts to modern forms. She currently lives in Cambridge, MA, where she teaches and writes. The Song of Achilles is her first novel.

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The Tale of the Tailor and the Three Dead Kings by Dan Jones (Review)

The Tale of the Tailor and the Three Dead Kings by Dan Jones

Blurb

A chilling medieval ghost story, retold by bestselling historian Dan Jones. Published in a beautiful small-format hardback, perfect as a Halloween read or a Christmas gift. 

One winter, in the dark days of King Richard II, a tailor was riding home on the road from Gilling to Ampleforth. It was dank, wet and gloomy; he couldn’t wait to get home and sit in front of a blazing fire.

Then, out of nowhere, the tailor is knocked off his horse by a raven, who then transforms into a hideous dog, his mouth writhing with its own innards. The dog issues the tailor with a warning: he must go to a priest and ask for absolution and return to the road, or else there will be consequences…

First recorded in the early fifteenth century by an unknown monk, The Tale of the Tailor and the Three Dead Kings was transcribed from the Latin by the great medievalist M.R. James in 1922. Building on that tradition, now bestselling historian Dan Jones retells this medieval ghost story in crisp and creepy prose.

Review

This story was originally part of a set of stories written down by an unknown monk in the fifteenth century. The medievalist and novelist M. R. James found these gems in 1922 and transcribed them. Dan Jones has now taken one of these stories and retold it in modern day prose. 

The story is set in the time of King Richard II and focuses on a tailor. On his way home this poor tailor encounters something terrifying and hideous. This poor tailor is then given a warning and if he doesn’t heed this warning there will be dire consequences for him. 

The story is a short story and was perfect for reading whilst enjoying a cup of tea. I didn’t find the story very scary but I did find it a bit gruesome at times. I also felt very sorry for this poor tailor who I really do not think deserved his treatment by the spirit. 

The book also contains the original latin which once my latin is better I hope to have a go at translating myself and seeing what the original story reads like. Overall, I enjoyed this little story but it didn’t wow me so I give it 3 out of 5 Dragons.

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Purchase Links

Book Depository | Foyles | Waterstones | Wordery

(All purchases made using one of the above affiliate links gives a small percentage of money to myself with no extra cost to yourself. All proceeds go towards the upkeep of this blog. Thank you ever so much, your support is gratefully received.)

About the author

Dan Jones is a historian, broadcaster and award-winning journalist. His books, including The Plantagenets, Magna Carta, The Templars and The Colour of Time, have sold more than one million copies worldwide. He has written and hosted dozens of TV shows including the acclaimed Netflix/Channel 5 series ‘Secrets of Great British Castles’. For ten years Dan wrote a weekly column for the London Evening Standard and his writing has also appeared in newspapers and magazines including The Sunday Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Wall Street Journal, Smithsonian, GQ and The Spectator.

If you enjoy reading my blog and would like to make a donation I would be very grateful. Thank you