Thanks to our Guest Star Michael for contributing the following reviews. He's becoming a regular book-reviewing wizard!
Like other Tom Holt books, you either get the humour or you don’t! Having read “May Contain Traces of Magic” by the same author, I was looking forward to another rather zany novel. The Ostar, who we later find out are actually intelligent dogs, have sent an equally intelligent bomb to blow Earth to smithereens, all because us humans are being very noisy. The bomb gets cold feet about the whole blowing oneself up bit and decides to send a probe down to Earth to see if it can find out why the natives are making so much noise and whether the defences are up to saving Earth from an alien invasion and whether it really can get away with a nice peaceful life.
So, lots of role reversal and personification of normally inanimate objects, an outsider’s rather skewed view of humans and a race against time to save the Earth.
THE FIELDS OF FORTUNE
I’m getting quite into period fiction, especially books set in either Victorian or from the first half of the 20th Century. However, this novel goes back a bit further to Scotland not long after the Jacobean Revolt (As an aside I’ve read John Wesley’s eye witness account of the panic caused in Newcastle by the advance of the Pretender and his army, I can’t really imagine how it would be to suddenly find an army on your doorstep!).
Anyway, Nicola Morrison and her sister Charlotte are the rather privileged daughters of John James Templeton, known as Lord Craigiehall and a senior judge in Edinburgh. Lord Craigiehall, I suppose like many of the landed gentry of the time, has plans to marry Nicola off to a much older other lord, in order to get access to land and mining rights. Nicola is having none of it, and runs away to her sister’s house in Edinburgh. There she meets Charlotte’s husband and his wayward brother, who is deep in gambling debts and with a supposedly valiant past in the American Civil War. Thus follows a tale of Nicola’s coming out into Edinburgh society, as her sister and her father expect, but this does not suit her and her preferences lie in a completely different direction. There’s a plot to bring about Lord Craigiehall’s downfall as well.
The author has put a lot of research into the lives of people of the period, and of Edinburghat that time, and this together with some strong characters makes a very good read. If you want something more working class than this book but set in the same sort of area but slightly later period, try The Hiring Fair, also by the same author and part of a trilogy.