I read three very enjoyable books this week and have almost finished my pile of library books – must take a trip into town on Friday to get some more.
The first book of the week was The Strangled Queen by Maurice Druon, translated by Humphrey Hare. Here is the blurb:
The King is dead. Long live the King.
Philip IV is dead and his great kingdom is in disarray. It seems the fatal curse of the Templars is plaguing the royal house of France.
His son has been enthroned as Louis X; but with his disgraced wife Marguerite imprisoned in the Chateau Gaillard for her adultery, Louis can produce no heir with which to secure the succession. But neither can he marry again while she lives…
The web of scandal, murder and intrigue that once wove itself around the court of the Iron King continues to draw in his descendants, as the destruction of his dynasty continues apace.
And this is my three star review from Goodreads:
A strange book to read as it was a translation of a French work of the 1950s and also part 2 of a series. George R R Martin apparently endorsed the series as the “original Game of Thrones” and I can sort of see what he means by that. The book is set in early 14th century France and is full of the political machinations and intrigues of the royal family, the aristocracy and their followers. Towering politicians are toppled, others rise and women and the poor suffer. Like the modern world?
I am not sure if I will read others in the series, but may well do if I come across another in the library some time.
The book was interesting to read but also quite hard to follow in places because so many of the characters shared very similar names. The most common were Louis, Philippe , Margeurite and Jeanne, amongst others! I must say that I am glad that I was born in the 20th century as women had such a hard time in this period.
My next read was Gregg Hurwitz’ Orphan X, part one of a series. This is what the blurb tells us about the book, which I awarded four stars:
The Nowhere Man is a legendary figure spoken about only in whispers. It’s said that when he’s reached by the truly desperate and deserving, the Nowhere Man can and will do anything to protect and save them.
But he’s no legend.
Evan Smoak is a man with skills, resources, and a personal mission to help those with nowhere else to turn. He’s also a man with a dangerous past. Chosen as a child, he was raised and trained as part of the off-the-books black box Orphan program, designed to create the perfect deniable intelligence assets—i.e. assassins. He was Orphan X. Evan broke with the program, using everything he learned to disappear.
Now, however, someone is on his tail. Someone with similar skills and training. Someone who knows Orphan X. Someone who is getting closer and closer. And will exploit Evan’s weakness—his work as The Nowhere Man—to find him and eliminate him.
I really engaged with this book and wrote the following:
I am not sure if this lives up to all of the hype, but it was a jolly good thriller, particularly the second half of the book. The first part took up a bit too much space setting the scene and repeating elements, such as the posh vodka, rather too many times. Anyway, it was a good romping read, very exciting, and gripped my attention so that I read it in one day. Oh, and the interminable descriptions of weapons got in the way a bit. Just cut to the chase!
Now to reserve more in the series on the library website.😄
I now have three books waiting for me at the Library – ooh, the anticipation!
The last book I read this week was C J Carver’s Spare Me the Truth, part one in her Dan Forrester series:
Dan Forrester, piecing his life back together after the tragic death of his son, is approached in a supermarket by a woman who tells him everything he remembers about his life – and his son – is a lie.
Grace Reavey, stricken by grief, is accosted at her mother’s funeral. The threat is simple: pay the staggering sum her mother allegedly owed, or lose everything.
Lucy Davies has been forced from the Met by her own maverick behaviour. Desperate to prove herself in her new rural post, she’s on the hunt for a killer – but this is no small town criminal.
Plunged into a conspiracy that will test each of them to their limits, these three strangers are brought together in their hunt for the truth, whatever it costs. And as their respective investigations become further and further entwined, it becomes clear that at the centre of this tangled web is a threat more explosive than any of them could have imagined.
This was another four star read:
An excellent thriller with three strands to the story which eventually twist together to become one. At over 500 pages, it was almost too long, but the fast paced plot kept me gripped right to the end. It was also good to read a book where everything is nicely rounded off. Then I saw that there are more books to come, so I did my usual thing of reserving part two from the Library. Well worth reading if you are a fan of British thrillers.
This has left me with an unusual decision. I have one more book to read from the library, but I have since found out that the plot doesn’t make sense if you have not already read the previous books in the series. So, do I try to tackle it? Or, do I find an ebook instead from our library service’s digital offerings? Mmmm…
Well, I will tell you what I eventually decide next week.