Category Archives: Books 2010

The Golden Spiders

Another Nero Wolfe mystery, this one from the 1950’s. Even though this is obviously much later in Rex Stout’s career, he made a conscious decision to not have his characters age over time. Archie has still worked for Wolfe for about ten years. Archie is still in his late 20’s, early 30’s, Wolfe is in his mid-to-late 50’s. The only changes to the brownstone and the rest of the environment is the presence of a television set which Wolfe never watches for more than a minute or two at a time before he turns it off in disgust.
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Some Buried Caesar

And it’s back to the Nero Wolfe mysteries for the 15th book of the season. This one gets its title from The Rubiayat of Omar Khayyam, specifically the line “I sometimes think that never blows so red The Rose as where some buried Caesar bled” – although in this case the Caesar in question is a prizewinning bull named Hickory Caesar Grindon.
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Black Powder War

This is book three of the Temeraire series, and book 14 of the Books 2010 project. This installment sees Captain Laurence and Temeraire recalled from their diplomatic mission to China. They are to stop in Istanbul and receive three dragon’s eggs that the British have purchased from the Sultan after years of negotiation. The details are scanty, but the wording of their orders is clear and urgent – they are to depart at once. Unfortunately, the dragon carrier that brought them to China has been damaged, and won’t be seaworthy for months. Laurence and Temeraire decide to emulate Marco Polo and make the journey to Europe over land.
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The Jennifer Morgue

Lucky book thirteen of the Books 2010 project, and reviewed on the 13th as well… Not that there’s any significance to that, of course.

This is the sequel to Charles Stross’ book The Atrocity Archive, and it continues to follow the life of Bob Howard. Bob is a computer geek, a systems administrator, a civil servant and a member of a highly secret British government agency tasked with preventing incursions of brain-devouring Creatures from Beyond. Stross does a masterful job combining Lovecraftian horrors, computer geekery, spy adventure and government bureaucracy into a fun universe.
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Mean Streets

Book Twelve of the Books 2010 project is a collection of four urban fantasy novellas. The main draw for us was the Jim Butcher’s story, “The Warrior,” set in the Harry Dresden universe. It was a great addition to the continuity of the Dresden series, but I don’t think it would work well as a standalone story – without the knowledge of the greater continuity, there’s just too much background knowledge to fit into sixty some pages. If this were the first Dresden Files story I’d ever read, I’d be completely lost.
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Shambling Toward Hiroshima

The book is written as an autobiography (or suicide note – the writer hasn’t decided) from the perspective of retired “B” movie monster actor Syms Thorley. He spends most of his time traveling from hotel to hotel on the monster movie convention circuit, greeting the fans, sharing tales of old Hollywood, and dealing with the aftermath of his role in ending World War II.
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Dan Simmons Hyperion is the tenth book of the “Books 2010” project. It’s a pretty hefty sci-fi book – the 1990 Hugo Award winner – and it has a nifty bit of writing that I like because it lets me show off some stuff I learned back when I was getting my English degree…
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Throne of Jade

This is book two of Naomi Novik’s “Temeraire” series, and a return to the Napoleonic Wars and the Dragon Corps. This novel deals less with the military aspects of the world, and more with the diplomatic fallout of the first book.
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His Majesty’s Dragon

Every so often, Amazon will have a free Kindle book available for a limited time. Usually it’s the first book in a series, and they’ll time the giveaway to coincide with the release of a new book from that series. I’ve gotten a couple of books this way. Some of them I’ve read, shrugged, and deleted; others I’ve sought out the rest of the series. This book was one of the latter.

It starts out as a rollicking* high seas adventure of Britain in the Napoleanic wars. This has been a fertile source for fiction, giving us the Royal Navy adventures of the Horatio Hornblower novels, the Royal Army exploits in the Richard Sharpe books, and now the Royal Flying Corps books of William Laurence.

Yes, yes, I know the RFC didn’t exist until World War One. But when you’ve populated your historical-fiction world with dragons, it only makes sense that they’d be used as an air force.
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Dead to the World

Book seven of 2010 is Charlaine Harris’ fourth Sookie Stackhouse novel. I actually finished this yesterday, but I didn’t want to double-up on posts. Also, since my wife hasn’t read this book yet, I’m going to try to avoid spoilertastic details, which means this review is going to be pretty short.
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