River God (Wilbur Smith)

river-god-coverSpoilers ahead…If you are tired of the same old same old, I suggest you give this first novel of a 4 part series a go and treat yourself to a read that will stir your imagination like few others can. This is bloody long though, too long. But for sheer imaginative scope, River God is enthralling. This chronicles a transitional period in ancient Egyptian history of approximately forty years. The story is narrated by the charming eunuch slave Taita, whose secret passion for queen Lostris surprises us. For all his protestations of being no soldier he manages to be in the front lines of many battles, and his tales of them will have you on the edge of your seat. [Read more…]

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Hell In The Pacific (USA 1968)

indexIgnoring the ridiculously abrupt ending, Hell in the Pacific is excellent in its structure. A great concept–two men are lost together on an island in the Pacific. The Second World War is over, but prejudices remain, as one man is Japanese, one American. They don’t share a language, so there is basically no dialogue. There is only survival. How do you make a feature length film about this without stretching the idea thin, without boring the viewer, without resorting to clichés of makeshift boats and coconut to eat? You don’t. [Read more…]

Barry Lyndon (UK/USA/Ireland 1975)

barrylyndon07Like the sustained cinematic fugue it is, ‘Barry Lyndon”s opening scenes provide a theme that will be treated to increasingly virtuoso variations throughout. Barry’s father is killed in a duel. Barry loses his virginity to a woman playing a role while playing cards. These are the great threads – Fathers, Duels, Mother, Sex, Women, The Unattainable, Masks, Games, Gambling – weaving into the web that will eventually trap Barry Lyndon. Fate, (through Michael Hordern’s sonorous narration) is like a spider picking him off sadistically limb by limb.
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A History Of Scotland (2008 Britain)

Kilchurn CastleA ten part series packed with info about Britain’s northern most country. I don’t know if is all factual but it is interesting. Neil Oliver walks over wind-swept green countryside, talking over his shoulder at times about plenty of bloodthirsty, malevolent events that Scots people have suffered down the centuries. This is a romantic, dramatic and turbulent history. [Read more…]

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