Friday, 3 February 2012

More reading

First flowers of the year

The Coffee Trader by David Liss
Gripping yarn based in Amsterdam in 1659 where a merchant gambles everything on the early futures market.  Many twists to the plot.  David Liss also wrote A Conspiracy of Paper - another good yarn. 

The Reluctant Hero by Michael Dobbs
Sort of OK thriller

This Thing of Darkness by Harry Thompson
A big, wonderful book about the voyages of The Beagle and in particular Captain Fitzroy who turned a dumpy little surveying brig to one of the most efficient and famous ships in the Royal Navy.  It was Captain Fitzroy who invited Darwin to accompany him on his trip to the South Atlantic.  This book tells their story and tells of the physical, psychological, moral and spiritual challengest they faced.  It charts their extraordinary discoveries, the early stages of the destruction of native peoples in the lands they visited and the gradual destruction of the principles and beliefs of people like Captain Fitzroy, the true hero of the novel.  There is humour and sadness in this book which was long listed for the Man Booker Prize.  Even more remarkable and sad that it is the debut novel of a man who died too young to write more.  I got it in a charity shop and it was the best 50p I ever spent.