Saturday, January 5, 2013

Bad Luck in Berlin - A Short Story by Tom Wood

Bad Luck in Berlin: An Exclusive Short StoryBad Luck in Berlin: An Exclusive Short Story by Tom  Wood
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The intrigue around Victor the assassin grows!!! The Hunter left Victor caught between a rock and a hard place. With no choice but to become a contract employee for CIA, Victor feels out of his depth while going about his everyday work.

Bad Luck in Berlin sets up the premise for Victor's career in CIA. Even  as Victor thinks of himself as a man without ties or any feeling of emotions, he plays the Samaritan to perfection while rescuing a pretty bartender from a fate worse than death even without her knowing it while earning a new nemesis for himself in the meantime. All this while doing his job of looking after his next target.

With this short story Tom Woods sets up a nice outline for his next book The Enemy where he continues Victors story.

The Hunter - Tom Wood

The HunterThe Hunter by Tom  Wood
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Great Debut!!! Tom Wood has set his protagonist as an Assasin a typical villan and the antagonist as CIA Agency.

The basic plot premise is imaginable, the chase sequences are exciting, but it is the insight and the view into the life of an assasin that scores Tom Wood an additional star from me.

I liked the book and am looking forward the read the follow-up short story and the next book set in the series.

The 13th Tablet - Alex Mitchell

The 13th TabletThe 13th Tablet by Alex Mitchell
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Bad. This word sums up my feelings on this book precisely. The burb on The 13th Tablet was intriguing which made me pick up this book. I was soon left regretting this decision.

Meet Mina Oswald -  modern day Cleopatra - as the author would like us to believe. She's an archeologist, a professor, a Ph.D student and beautiful to boot. What's not to like? Except for the tiny fact that she's dumb as a dodo and lets not talk about common sense.

The book came across more of the author trying hard to make the reader like Mina rather than focusing on the plot. Speaking of the plot, its bizzare as to how simple things are for the lady Indiana Jones to find out about the missing 13th Tablet. Talking about the tablets, the author starts off with 1 clay tablet which has a stone tablet hidden inside it which in a roundabout way leads the illustrious lady to another tablet.... I mean which one is the 13th is a mystery that is not solved even when the book ends.

Following the lady - as she trapises around the globe meeting scholars - like a lovesick puppy is Retired. Major John Hillcliff. He's so in love with his lady that the basic common sense soon deserts outs hero while is he's out trying to save the world beside his lady love. Add to that a more characters who fall in love/lust with Miss Oswald as soon as they lay their eyes on her (this includes the villan) the whole thing becomes boorish to the extreme.

There is no reason why the reader to empathise with Miss Oswalds quest, the Major comes across as a macho gone wrong, the author is confused between who to make the villan in this tale, the greedy bilionaire or the cultist leader and all it leaves the reader is a massive headache and a healthy dose of apathy towards the protagonists.

By the end of this book I couldn't care less if they succeeded, I just wanted the damn book to end.

Rare Earth - Michael Asher

Rare EarthRare Earth by Michael Asher
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

One of the best books that I have read in recent times. Set away from the usual hotspots like America, UK, Afghanistan, Pakistan, UAE or Europe, Rare Earth is an Africa based thriller. Michael Asher waves a spell binding tale of corruption, greed and power games over the rarest of the rare minerals found in a desolate part of Sudan occupied a nomadic tribe known as the Sanghrana.

Rare Earth follows the journey of archeaologist Dan Truman who gets drawn in the power struggle between two mining corporations over the rights to the patch yielding untold riches. Caught between them, Truman feels increasingly out of sync with the world as he currently knows it and finds peace at the very place he is sent to disturb.

Adapting the nomadic lifestyle and their customs Truman finally feels at home only for the outside world to make it appearance in the form of savage genocide waged against his people.

The rest of the plot is about how Truman walks a fine line between both the worlds to save his new home.

Ashok Banker - The Mythology Man

Mythological Stories are the part of every culture’s folklore and have a special place and significance in introducing the younger generation to the morals and values of their ancients and the Hindus are no different. The ancient Indian civilization was the hot bed of cultural, philosophical and scientific thoughts and these facts are well known throughout the world.

What’s not very well known is the scale of Indian mythology. In a generation and time obsessed by everything western, it’s very easy to forget the very rich school of thought inculcated by the Indian Mythological stories.

The world’s longest poem “The Mahabharatha”, the spiritual thought espoused by “The Bhagavat Gita”, the stories of Ayodhyan Prince Rama are just a few examples known throughout the world.

Children in my generation learnt about these works on the laps of their doting parents and grand-parents and through popular serials like “Ramayana” & “Mahabharatha”. It was sheer joy and pleasure to know and understand these stories of exemplary courage, devotion, brotherhood, friendship and so on. These epics taught me to see the world not in terms of black and white but in shades of grey. While it taught me that War is the ultimate reality, every effort that can be made to foster peace should be made before embarking on War and once you embark on War there should be no mercy, no empathy for the enemy until they are dead or defeated.

I missed those great days when these stories enriched my life and gave me new avenues of thought. But no more… There is hope on the horizon for the next generation of children to learn about these towering figures in the history. One Indian writer has embarked on a journey so enormous that it will take a lifetime to complete. It will be a journey of perseverance through odds but if anybody can pull it off it would be him.

Who? You ask. Ashok Banker – I say.

He is the Indian Mythology Man. The world has always been fascinated with Alexander the Great, Ptolemy, Rameses, Herod and so on... the list of Greek, Persian and Egyptian Kings is well known and well documented; so let me not regurgitate these names about which so much has already been written and so much more is being written.

Indian history on the other hand is not so well known or well complied, but that does not mean we lack great kings or that the achievements of these kings are any less significant that those mentioned above.

For example the King Sudas and his victory against the combined army and might of ten kings led by Anu in the battle of Dasarajna is a classical David vs. Goliath story. Just because it has been extensively document does not mean that is less of an achievement. It was this victory that laid to the foundation of the Bharata nation. Similar is the stories of the kings from the southern India like Raja Raja, Krishnadeva Raya, the Chola  and the Pandya kings of the old who lead their conquests far into the heartlands of Thailand and Indonesia. It is really very sad that we no longer remember these figures or are even taught about them but even today our history lesson are fraught with British conquest and Congress-led independence movement due to which we are aware of every British Viceroy of India starting from the East India Company to Mountbatten of British Empire.

Well I digress.. talking about Ashok Banker and his retelling of Indian Mythology, the Ramayana Series has won him the rave accolades and also got his books on the first 3 spots of the bestselling books on the internet list, Ashok Banker has embarked on an endeavor that will take an entire lifetime to complete.

He is planning on writing an Epic India Library comprising of more than 70 books and which can be categorized into Mythology, Itihasa, History and Future History.

The Mythology sections retelling of popular Indian Epic on a global scale like
  1. Ramayana (8 Books in all, all released) 
  2. Krishna Coriolis (8 Books in all, 7 Books released so far on the website)
The Itihasa section contains:
  1. Mahabharatha (18 books in total, 2 released so far on his website) As per the latest on this the Mahabharatha will now be a Pentalogy comprising all the 18 books into 5 Volumes. 
The History sections contains:
  1. Dasarajna (released).It has now been re-released as Ten Kings
  2. Mahavira
  3. Siddhartha
  4. Mauryavansh
  5. Ashoka
  6. Delhi Sultanate
  7. The Moghuls
  8. Saffron White Green
The Future History section contains:
  1. Vertigo
  2. Gods of War
  3. The Kali Quarter
  4. Saffron White Green
The full information about Askok's complete collection of books (released and to be released) can be found on his website

The Tick Tock Man by Terence Strong

The Tick Tock ManThe Tick Tock Man by Terence Strong
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Tick Tock Man -  the title comes across as a yet another serial killer book. The book is anything but that. The book takes a peek into the lives and attitude of those who are rarely mentioned except when they fail, the BOMB DISPOSAL MAN.

Our Tick Tock Man is Major Tom Harrison a veteran in disposing bomb in the conflict spread Ireland. One of the best things I liked about this book is that it is set not in Af-Pak, not in Iraq but in UK. It's set in a conflict that was as deadly as it was real in Ireland.

The book highlights the fact that be it Ireland or be it Middle East, the people killed in a bomb blast are all innocents who did not deserve to die. It highlights the fact that terrorism has no religion, and it speaks the universal language of violence and extremism to prove a point.

The plot line in this novel focuses on the secret talks between the British government and all the political parties in Ireland. Well as except one the Provisional IRA which soon learns about the secret talks and is not happy at being excluded from the same. Now they want a place at the talks and are ready to bomb their way in.

The only difference is this time they decide to strike in London the capital instead or good old Ireland. The infamous AIDAN bomb team enters London and starts a series of bomb campaign in an attempt to undermine the talks. In desperation the government brings in Major Harrison who is an expert in defusing bombs and is somewhat familiar with AIDAN as they have done their test campaign in Belfast before making their way to London.

What follows is a series of cat and mouse game between Major Harrison and the AIDAN cell.. One trying to prevent the bombings and the other trying to cause as much chaos as possible. Read the book to understand what happens next...

It was a fitting end to my 2012 in finishing off my target of reading 50 books in an year with this one. One of the best books that I enjoyed in 2012.

View all my reviews

I'm Back!!!

After a small hiatus, where I had lost some of my motivation to blog about the books that I have read in this year; I'm back...

First things first HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!! to all of you reading this post. Here's to wishing a year full of more good books and some extremely good moments with friends and family.

Ok here's the plan ahead, I'm gonna post some comments on some of the best books that  I have read in 2012 and then maybe start off about 2013.

So far its a new year and no targets on what to read in the new year. Maybe just maybe this year I'll finally give literary fiction a try like my friend P has been asking me to.

Ohh and +Akki make sure u read more that the 72 books that u read last year!!! Bro let me know which were the best books that you read last year... and i'll give it a lookin this year.