Friday 4th January 2008

Well here we are folks, a brand new year. I’m now back from my hols and beginning – beginning, mind – to get my head around it. 2007 was such a mad year for me and my lovely girlfriend Laura that we found we had to spend the last couple of weeks in total hibernation to recover. For Christmas we rented a cottage on the UK’s Cornish coast, and spent a week basically alternating between looking at the sea and looking at the insides of our eyelids – it was wonderful. In fact even since we got back I’ve been sleeping about ten hours a night, snoozing like it’s an Olympic sport! But now, like some unwieldy bear-creature, I’m stretching, groaning, yawning, and gradually pulling myself together for the year ahead – which is a bit daft really, because my next book is going to be published this Jan 17th. Yikes!

Before we crack back on to business again with that, I’ve just got to tell you about a couple of particular highlights from my HOLIDAY READING (hurrah!) These were:

THE FADE, by Chris Wooding. This guy is simply one of the best fantastical action thriller writers around: when I saw he’d got a new one out I pounced on it with great glee, and let me tell you, I wasn’t disappointed. THE FADE has echoes of classic old-school prison-break stories like Papillon or even The Great Escape. But the book’s fantasy setting and its hard-as-nails female assassin narrator make it something else again. Fast, fresh and very VERY cool, this will grab you from page one and never let you go. And-

THE PYRATES, by George MacDonald Fraser. I’m a huge FLASHMAN fan so I’d been meaning to catch up with this one for ages. I’m happy to tell you it was an absolute hoot from start to finish. Wipe those lacklustre ‘Caribbean sequels from your mind: if you’ve got a Piratical itch to scratch this book has got THE LOT – swordfights, sea battles, dashing heroes, dastardly villains and of course, shiploads of rascally bewhiskered rapscallions who say ‘ARR!’ To my dismay, on my return to t’internet I discovered that the author has recently died [there’s an obituary here]. But he’s left the world a stack of wonderful books to enjoy. Hope I get the chance to do even half as much before my time comes.

For details of these and other book recommendations, check out my LibraryThing Five Hundred Fine Books profile.


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