Star Wars Catalyst – James Luceno

cata

This book is sort of a prequel to Rogue One, in which we see the prcoess in how the death star was constructed and the troubles along the way. We follow krennic as he manipulates Galen Orso into helping power the weapon. Outside of being  a prelude to Rogue One it doesn’t really add anything into the mythology of Star Wars.  It is a rather poor story when it stands on its own, plus there are no Jedi in it! It obviously serves as a necessary source of info for Rogue One since that movie introduces a lot of new faces that we have never met and portrays alot of information and back story that can’t be placed into a movies flashback scenes

I just failed to really get hooked by this book, which is disapointing as im a big star wars fan. Further cementing my view that movie tie-ins are never a good idea

The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window And Disappeared – Jonas Jonasson

The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window And Disappeared – Jonas Jonasson

Who needs to describe the plot when the massively long title does it for you. But for those of you who hadn’t already figured it out, the story is about a 100 year old man who yes climbed out a window but its a bit more complicated that. Alan (the 100 year old man) is in an old folks home, not really by choice, he was sent there for blowing up his home, but that is a long story. He has a nasty nurse who keeps taking his hidden booze off him, so when he finds out that the old folks home intend to throw a surprise 100th party for him he has had enough and wants out. Being limited in his options and mobility, he decides to climb out the window and run away albeit very slowly since he is 100.

First stop after a sloth like crawl out the window is the nearby bus station, a short walk away for most but for him it was tiring, he approaches the sales person and asks how far he can get for 500 crowns, well its set in Sweden so all the currency is theirs too. Google converter tells me its about 20 bucks. Which seems a far more reasonable amount for a senior to have on them.The money wont get him too far, guess bus travel is expensive over there. So while he waits a few minutes for the bus arrive he sits down. Then a stranger approaches him and asks if he could hold his suitcase while he goes to the bathroom, before Alan can respond the man is off running for the toilet, just as Alan’s bus arrives.

Here is where the story takes an interesting turn, Alan looks at the bus, then looks at the suitcase and pretty much thinks ahh screw it, and takes the suitcase. At the end of the bus journey Alan with the help of a new friend opens the suitcase and discovers it is filled with millions of crowns, not actual crowns of course but the currency used in Sweden, what follows is an hilarious adventure and accidental heroism that would put the Pink Panther or Mr Bean to shame.

A hilarious adventure of Alan avoiding the police looking for him (our of concern) and of the gangsters looking for their money, Along the way Alan gathers new friends including an Elephant. We find out all about Alan’s past including meeting Presidents, Dictators, Secret police. We learn of his albeit almost unbelievable good luck and Alan finds out once again what it means to feel truly alive.

A fantastic read full of laughs

 

 

 

Templar Series – Raymond Khoury

Templar Series – Raymond Khoury
Picked up the first book in this series along time ago but never read it. Didn’t even know it was part of series back then, i just saw it involved the Templars and thought it might be in a similar vane to Da Vinci code.
The Last Templar
The story in the is broken into 2 plot lines. The first set in the modern day world follows on from a heist at The Metropolitan Museum, where men on horseback dressed as Templars steal an artifact and the second plot line is set in the past first starting in 1291 and follows the Templars as they try and hide the artifact, as the city of Acre falls to invaders. Both lines do not initially discuss the nature of the artifact we find that out later.
What follows is very Da Vinci Code style hunt for treasure with Archaeologist Tess Chaykin(who was in the museum when it was robbed) and FBI Sean Reilly which leads them to a shocking discovery about the artifact. Which then leads us to the most disappointing part of the book. Tess talks about her job as an Archaeologist as uncovering the truth and how it is important to let the people decide etc, but then when she discovers what the artifact was she lets it be destroyed because it could upset some religious people, what a joke, a betrayal of her character. I just couldn’t believe this hogwash ending it just felt so wrong it almost turned me off the whole series luckily i persevered
The Templar Salvation
This book follows a similar vane with the same duo from the first book hunting down another Templar artifact. This time with a crazed Iranian hit man after them and the treasure. I never thought i would hope for a terrorist to win but after the bullshit ending in the first book i wanted the terrorist to find the artifact and reveal it to the world which was his intent.  Fortunately when the duo uncover it they too decide to share it and luckily it includes a copy of the artifact lost in the first book so their idiocy was undone
The Devil’s Elixir
I was disappointed to find that  this book goes on a different path and has nothing to do with the Templars. This one deals with figures from Sean’s past coming back to take him down and also to dispense a knew drug to the world with crazy hallucinations properties. I liked this one a lot, i thought it was going to go a bit too crazy with some of its mumbo jumbo but turned out there was a very logical basis for it. Very creative writing by the author.
Rasputin’s Shadow
My favorite book so far, the first book was the authors debut and now 8 years later with this book you can really feel how much the author has come into his own writing style and groove. This is much more structured and has the characters behaving in logical ways. Far better writing to be honest. The plot follows A Russian who is the son of a man very close to Rasputan, as he discovers a shocking secret behind Rasputan’s powers and builds a weapon following designs left by his dad. Realizing its power could be used by the wrong people he destroys it and flees to the US. Now in his last years of life he has been found and begins a race between the US n Russia to capture him and this deadly weapon before it is used
While originally i thought this was a series about Templar knights, its actually about Tess and Sean, which works since they are very like-able people and aside from some stupidity in the first book are quite fun to read. There are some issues from Seans past that are being slowly pieced together over these 4 books and looks like coming to a forefront in the next book. I’m really looking forward to it as i feel the author has come into his stride the characters make logical choices now and the plots and intrigue are just sucking me in each time. This series is very Da Vinci Code like for the first two books and then delves into a more thriller/adventure story as the themes move away from the Templars and focus more on Sean than Tess’s vocation.

No Second Chance – Harlan Coben

No Second Chance – Harlan Coben
Found another thriller by Harlan Coben in my to read pile. A man is shot and almost killed, when his wife is gunned down and his kid kidnapped. The ransom letter arrives and says no cops, no second chances but he makes the rookie mistake all people do in movies etc and calls the cops. Naturally an inside man tips them off and boom kidnappers disappear.
A year passes the investigation has pretty much stopped the man has tried to move on with his life when another ransom arrives. Will he make the same mistake as before or follow the instructions.
Great read loved every minute of it, the twists and turns. The heart wrenching conclusion. definitely one of my favorites of his works.

The Man Who Broke Into Auschwitz – Denis Avey

The Man Who Broke Into Auschwitz – Denis Avey

We live in a different time now, we have become numb to violence and hatred. We fear speaking out because the left wing nanny state fascists will accuse you of being a racist or intolerant.

This story serves to remind us of a time when people risked death to save another and didn’t give it a second thought, a time when people saw something was wrong and knew something had to be done to let others know what occurred. A far cry from today’s generation who only care for themselves (and their votes at the next election). All life is equal and it is only through the fallacies that are religion, Supremacy ideology and elitism that we seem to forget this. This story is a horrible insight into a difficult and appalling time but one that still offers a glimpse at the enduring human spirit.

What Denis did for a stranger is beyond words, but shows us what we were once made of. This story is even more emotional as not only are we given a glimpse into what occurred but we also follow the journey of Denis as years later, he discovers the consequences as a results from his actions.

A brilliant and emotional read….

Miracle Cure – Harlan Coben

Miracle Cure – Harlan Coben
This is one of Harlan’s earlier works that i had never got around to reading before now. Sometimes with musicians or authors their early works just aren’t up to the same standard as modern works, it takes an artist awhile to hit their groove. Harlan obviously knows this and has a warning in the front of the book saying. If this is your first book of his put it down and find another.  I was like wow he isn’t a big fan of it.
Because of that little intro of his i was very curious to see what it was like. It actually wasn’t bad, i did enjoy it. A clinic is developing a cure for AIDS, its still secret and not public knowledge but then someone starts killing off the patients that have been cured. Clearly someone doesn’t want it know they have a cure. The story deals a lot with the prejudices faced by those with the disease
I should be better at the picking the endings to his books but this one i completely got wrong. Good to see that some older works still  have the same impact as a modern novel. Great read and it definitely has aged well

Genghis Khan – Jack Weatherford

Genghis Khan – Jack Weatherford
Quite an informative read. We are taken for a walk through the life of the famous Genghis khan. From a nobody to the greatest commander ever. The man conquered more lands than any other and his empire was larger than all before him.
Unlike other conquerors he didn’t just bring pain and suffering but religious freedom, ended slavery, built economies,  and developed cultures. Then knowing his end was near he tried to ensure his death wouldn’t cause the end of his empire, tried to ensure his sons honored his wishes, They didn’t
After his death it wasn’t until 40 years later that the empire stabilized under kublai khan and extended to its furthest. The legacy left over wasn’t revered as it should be but tarnished and discredited by so many to the point that they were spoken of like scum, if one had a sick child it was said to be a mongoloid (essentially Mongolian) as a kid i even remember using that term as an insult to my sister, but to find out it was used by Europeans to mask their hatred of the Mongolians because of their conquest, Was like a blow hitting me i had no idea of the terms backstory
This and other revelations is what i found remarkable about this book. It is so true in our biased society that history is written by the Victors but that just makes it even more amazing when the truth comes through.