I started buying more paper books again. Second hand and only if they are cheaper than the kindle version, as I give them away again afterwards anyway. My favourite secondhand book dealer had a promotion, so I had a look at my want-to-read-list and came up with this…

Tad Williams was a recommendation by some of my reading buddies. Sansom and Hobb are the next books in ongoing series reads. And I‘ve been meaning to re-read Watership Down for a while now. It‘s been 30 years.

Top Ten Tuesday—the ten best books of 2021

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This week‘s topic / December 28: Best Books I Read In 2021

These books haven‘t necessarily been released in 2021, that‘s just when I read them… I left out all of my re-reads of Dragonriders of Pern, The Expanse, The Imperial Radch, etc. etc.:

Rovers by Richard Lange — A horror book with a different take on vampires. Of Mice and Men with vampires and a biker gang. 

Shards of Earth (The Final Architects Trilogy, #1) by Adrian Tchaikovsky — Space opera with a touch of The Expanse and Babylon 5, with a great ensemble cast on a scrappy scavenger ship, fighting against the odds and pretty much everything else. The proverbial underdogs against the universe.

Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir — Mark Watney in space! And he sciences the sh*t out of his situation… so, yes, very much reminiscent of The Martian. And then some. I loved it and could barely put it down. So much fun! 

The Prefect (Prefect Dreyfus Emergency, #1) by Alastair Reynolds — On the surface this comes along as a police procedural in a SF setting. Dreyfus is a cop with a strong moral code of right and wrong, committed to justice. My first association was Miller from The Expanse, with a bit of Blade Runner and minus any projectile weapons. Space opera, ultimately, with the many and very varied habitats of the Glitter Band, artificial intelligences, body modifications, uplifted mammals, many political systems, states of being and an elaborate polling system — fascinating! 

David Mogo, Godhunter by Suyi Davies Okungbowa — Gods have rained down on Lagos, the capital of Nigeria. We enter the story some time later, into the dystopian society that has developed here in the aftermath. David Mogo, our 1st person narrator, is a demi-god working as an illegal godhunter. An old wizard with dubious morals sends David Mogo off to catch two high gods, Taiwo and Kehinde. David is in need of money to fix his roof, so off he goes, despite his misgivings about this wizard. Obviously things don’t go as expected. 

Fugitive Telemetry (The Murderbot Diaries, #6) by Martha Wells — Muderbot is back in novella length. Snark and sarcasm abound. Just another crazy day, tracking down a murderer and making sure one’s humans don‘t come to harm. All the stars.

Leviathan Falls (The Expanse #9) by James S.A. Corey — A well done ending to the series. I did not expect it to go into the direction it did, so that was satisfying. It ends bittersweet, with some sadness, but also hope.

Revelation (Matthew Shardlake, #4) by C.J. Sansom — Historically pretty sound, as far as I can tell. Very homogenous. Full of suspense towards the end, could not put it down anymore. The murders are gruesome and reminiscent of a famous 90s movie. With the context of Henry VIII, his dissolution of the monasteries and the religious upheaval of that time it works well.

Wild Sign (Alpha & Omega, #6) by Patricia Briggs — The FBI shows up at the doorstep of Anna and Charles and asks for help. A village in the mountains has disappeared and something potentially evil lurks in the woods.

The Whale Library by Zidrou,  Judith Vanistendael — Pretty watercolours, a mature story about a whale who contains a large library, a postman delivering sea mail, his wife and a smattering of sailors, pirates, fish, sea turtles, octopi and more…

Besides this one I also read some very good more traditional graphic novels. But that probably needs another entry…

All revealed in the end…

Revelation (Matthew Shardlake, #4)
by C.J. Sansom

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The high chandeliers in the Great Hall of Lincoln’s Inn were ablaze with candles, for it was late afternoon when the play began. Most members of Lincoln’s Inn were present, the barristers in their robes and their wives in their best costumes. After an hour standing watching, my back was starting to ache, and I envied the few elderly and infirm members who had brought stools.

First paragraph

No idea whodunnit until shortly before the end. I am useless like that. I rarely figure out who the murderer is, unless it is really, really obvious… This had been sitting on my shelf for several years and the previous books were even further in the past. My taste has changed, as it does every few years. I rarely read mysteries or historical fiction. I was really concerned that this would bore me. Alas, I liked it a lot! Slow, with a nice amount of exposition. Good character descriptions, with well developed personalities. Historically pretty sound, as far as I can tell. Very homogenous. Full of suspense towards the end, could not put it down anymore.

The murders are gruesome and reminiscent of a famous 90s movie. With the context of Henry VIII, his dissolution of the monasteries and the religious upheaval of that time it works well. I also liked the side story of Shardlake‘s law case and his budding interest in Dorothy. Possibilities!

Bottomline, a very good book. I will definitely continue with the series.

Thoughts and mini-research:

Are serial killers a new development of the 20th century or did they always exist? I give you this list… Breaking the perpetrators by the wheel, quartering, beheading and burning at the stake seem to have been popular punishments. Gruesome.

What I do wonder about though is the discussion and exploration of medicine and especially psychology. Is that something that would have happened in the 16th century? Apparently it could have, I found this gentleman.

I also googled Westminster Abbey, its chapterhouse and the Book of Revelations. I could not find really satisfying representation of those panels, but here are some hints.

And Revelations 16 — don‘t peak, until you are certain why I am posting the link…

– Revelations, Audioslave
– Supermassive Black Hole, Muse
– Revelations, Judas Priest
– Bedlam, Michael Graves