2017 in Books

Prior entries: 2015, 2016

Over the past few years, I’ve lowered the total of books I hoped to read, in an effort to better savor my reading and also because there’s a glut of very long books on my To-Read shelf.  Thus, I aimed to read 125 books in 2017 and surpassed that goal, reading 130.  The majority were, as is usual, physical books, though 20% of the total were read on my Kindle.  The full list, with fancy charts and whatnot, can be found here.

Genre

My genre classifications are never exact, yet they give some sense of what I spent the bulk of my time reading.  Leading the pack this year was generic Fiction, with 22 books.  This was followed by Historical Fiction (15) and Poetry (12).  The fuzziness of my categories is apparent from the fourth and fifth places on the genre list, Academic (11) and History (10) respectively.  I truly have no idea where I drew the line between the two (similarly, between fiction and historical fiction).

Authors

E.C. Tubb, the author I read most in 2016, once again topped the list with 9 books this year.  In a close second came Bernard Cornwell with 8.  In both cases, these authors offered quick diversionary reads that I could power through in a weekend during breaks from academic work.  Jane Austen, about whom more later, was third with 4 books, followed by  a four-way tie between George MacDonald Fraser (3), Ernst Junger (3), Dante (3), and J.G. Farrell (3).

Notable Books

These are books that I thought were especially excellent and that I would recommend to others.  Many of them were rereads and a number I have written about before.

Rereads

The Leopard by Giuseppe Di Lampedusa – One of my favorites.  Previously mentioned in 2015.

Mani  by Patrick Fermor – Probably my favorite of Fermor’s books.  He was my favorite author of 2015, and I talked him at greater length in that entry.

Inferno, Purgatory, and Paradise by Dante – My love of Dante has been discussed at length.  He also made both previous instantiations of this list. In 2017, I picked up the Esolen translation, which I thoroughly enjoyed, though the Mandelbaum remains my favorite.  

The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene – I am a huge fan of unconventional portraits of sainthood (see also Waugh’s Helena), and Graham Greene’s writings were an instrumental part of my conversion many years ago.  Like many of the characters that populate the books on this list, the Whiskey Priest is someone who has never left me since first I encountered him miserably cowering in the depths of Mexico.

Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky – My favorite book by one of my favorite authors.  Raskolnikov, the sweltering streets of St. Petersburg, poor Lizaveta, and the haunting grace of Sofya have taken up permanent inhabitance in my mind.

Beowulf – Much like in the case of the Odyssey below, I’m not certain what I can say about Beowulf that is not trivial, a true classic.  Incidentally, if you get a chance, you should seek out the Seamus Heaney audio version.  His voice is everything you could possibly want.

Troubles by J.G. Farrell – My discovery of Farrell’s Empire Trilogy many years ago inaugurated a profound change in both the way I read and what I read, and his books have always had a place on my list of favorites.  Thus, I felt I owed him a re-read and was pleased to find that this second time around only confirmed their excellence.  Troubles is, to my eyes, the best of the trilogy, though I would strongly encourage anyone to read all three.

Drama of the Divine Economy by Paul Blowers – An excellent study of the place of creation in the development of Late Antique theology, has played a major role in the development of my own thought on the matter and on shaping the course of my research in general.

The Journey of the Mind to God by Bonaventure – One of the most profound and dense works of theology I’ve ever encountered.  Truly beautiful.

Storm of Steel by Ernst Junger – One of the greatest books about war ever written, perhaps my favorite outside the Iliad.  Striking in its unique tone, Junger truly loved war, reveled and thrived in it.  The final chapters are one of the most gripping descriptions of battle I have ever encountered.

New Books

The Odyssey by Homer – I’m ashamed to say that I’d never finished the Odyssey prior.  It’s, of course, one of the greatest pieces of literature in human history, and you really ought to read it in order to consider yourself literate at all.

Out of the Ashes by Anthony Esolen – All too often, traditional thought becomes mired in diagnosis, a jeremiad bemoaning the state of the world and a desperate search for what went wrong.  Esolen, whose translation of the Divine Comedy I mention above, offers much needed practical advice for what should be done.  Unlike the other entries on this list, I would not recommend Esolen for anyone not convinced of his basic critique of liberal modernity at the outset.  Indeed, I debated including it for that reason.

Four Quartets by T.S. Eliot – My appraisal of modern poetry has never been particularly high (see also, modern art, modern architecture).  So, I was shocked to find how much I enjoyed Eliot.  Haunting and beautiful.

The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens – An utterly joyous, delightful book.  One of the most singularly enjoyable books I’ve read in ages and were it not for a later entry on this list an easy choice for my favorite new book of the year.  Truly wonderful, very funny, read it.

Submission by Michel Houellebecq – A truly disturbing book that speaks to the core of the profound sickness at the heart of the modern world.  Another book that I debated leaving off the list, but I could not in the end ignore it.  Maybe the most accurate and therefore horrible portraits of acedia (the characteristic sin of our world, that I always tell myself I will write about and then fail) I have read.

Before Church and State by Andrew Jones – Fascinating study of the world of Louis IX’s (i.e. St. Louis’s) France.  A marvelous work of scholarship, but also a compelling portrait of an alternative to the modern, liberal order, one fundamentally directed toward peace and salvation.  A true must-read for both those interested in the Middle Ages and critics of the contemporary order.  I hope to write more extensively on it soon.

The Aran Islands  by John Milton Synge – Read in preparation for my trip to Ireland.  A fascinating account of life on the edges of the Atlantic.  Beautiful and it will make you want to explore the islands for yourself (regrettably, my visit to them was only a few hours), though the world Synge depicts is assuredly lost to time.

Science, Politics, and Gnosticism by Eric Voegelin – One of the most insightful works on politics I have ever read (though I don’t claim to be particularly well-versed in the subject).  Voegelin’s contention that modern through is essentially a form of (somewhat oddly defined) gnosticism is both compelling and illuminating.  He’s a formidable intellect.  I have so many notes that I’ve taken on this book that I’ve quailed at typing them up more times than I can count, and his New Science of Politics is sitting near the top of my current To-Read pile.

The Death of Napoleon by Simon Leys – In an odd circumstance for this list, I remember very little about this little book aside from an emotion it engendered.  Not a sadness exactly, but a sense of indescribable small completeness, reminiscent of John Williams’s marvelous Stoner.  Leys wrote my favorite book of last year, The Hall of Uselessness.  

The Crisis of Western Education by Christopher Dawson – Engaging study of the history of education and the problems afflicting its modern form.  Sadly, Dawson was far too optimistic about the potential for Catholic education to preserve true learning in the time immediately following when the book was written (indeed, that period witnessed an almost wholesale collapse of the ideal he espouses).  Nevertheless, that is no reason for despair, and his ideas remain vital and worthwhile.

Pride and Prejudice (along with Northanger Abbey and Sense and Sensibility, [Emma which barely missed being included in the 2017 list, will be on my list next year]) by Jane Austen – For years I put off reading Jane Austen because I had placed her in the same category as many 19th century authors, wonderful but long and involved, works that you needed to get yourself into the proper mindset to read and which occasionally become a slog, even though you enjoy them.  I could not have been more wrong. Austen is wonderful, hilarious, and brilliant.  Her books fly by, the characters are marvelous, and I cannot stress enough how fantastically humorous, while at the same time profound (Austen is a terrific moral philosopher) they are.  Unquestionably the winner of my AUTHOR OF THE YEAR award. Pride and Prejudice is my favorite book of 2017 in a landslide, immediately entering on to my list of my favorite books of all time (and it is quite close to the top of that list).  I cannot rave enough about how much I loved these books.

Demons by Fyodor Dostoevsky – The last of Dostoevsky’s major works that I had yet to read, typically excellent.  I might even place it second in my list of personal favorites, though that’s pending a re-read of Karamazov.  Like all of Dostoevsky’s great novels it remains disturbingly relevant (the chapter describing the meeting of the revolutionaries was amazing on this account) and yet rooted in a Russian time and place that it’s fascinating to explore with him.  And like all of his novels, the characters are magnificent.

As always, I finish this post exhausted.  I write with the hope that it will inspire you to pick up at least one of these books, all of them are great, all worth your time.  Reading exposes us to so many magical worlds, explore them!

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2016 in Books

Overall, I feel that 2016 was an average year, reading-wise.  In part, this stemmed from a lack of ambition on my part.  In 2015, I really strove to improve my knowledge of poetry and had the grand scale project of reading the complete works of Shakespeare, both of which were immensely enjoyable.  This year, there was a lot more rereading, no grand ambitions, and I tried to generally be better about not spending all of my money on books.  So, a lot of the books I flagged as especially notable in 2016 were re-reads, which Lindsay assures me is super boring.

Nevertheless, breaking things down (the complete list can be found here):

I read 158 total books in 2016, the majority (71%) of which I read were actual physical books.  I did get a new Kindle for Christmas, and consequently read 48 books on that.  The Kindle is great for travel, but I really prefer hardcopies and don’t know that that will ever change.

Genres

The most popular genre, by far, was Science Fiction, with 26 books.  After that came Academic works at 16.  Surprisingly low considering that I spent much of the Fall reading and rereading sources in order to revise my dissertation, but I realize that this involved a lot more reading of individual chapters, reading articles, hunting for specific passages in indexes, etc.  In terms of sheer bulk, academic works undoubtedly made up the majority.  Contributing also to the low number is that I’m inconsistent about classifying primary sources, something I’m trying to be better about this year.  Travel literature came in third with 12 books, again surprising me.  Frankly, I’d forgotten a lot of them by the end of the year.  After this was General Fiction at 11 and Poetry at 7 books.

Authors

In terms of authors, the most popular by far was E.C. Tubb with 10 entries.  That’s misleading, however, as I actually read 16 of his books (meaning also that the number for science fiction is too low).  Six were collected in an omnibus edition that I only counted as a single book.  Tubb, a relatively obscure figure, is the author of the Dumarest books, a rip roaring series of planetary romances recounting the adventures of Earl Dumarest on his never-ending quest to find his lost home, Earth.  These books were excellent quick diversions whenever I had a spare day or so and wanted to read something light and exciting.  Although formulaic, they maintained a certain quality throughout, and I think they’re unjustly forgotten.  Worth a look.

After Tubb, Jack Vance was the second most read author.  I read 8 of his books and have already sung his praises. Then a large drop-off after Vance, Patrick Fermor, my favorite author of last year, made the list again with four books, primarily because I reread his wonderful trilogy in preparation for Linz and my honeymoon in Central Europe.

Notable Books

These are books I thought were especially excellent and that I would recommend to others.  As I mentioned above, many of these were rereads.

Rereads

Space Viking  by H. Beam Piper – A brisk and yet surprisingly deep sci-fi romp.  The story of a quest for revenge that fosters the birth of an empire.  Far more interesting than many other ostensible classics of the genre and, above all, fun.

Brief Reader on the Virtues of the Human Heart by Josef Pieper – I’ve written about Pieper a number of times, and specifically about this book back in January.  An excellent, very brief primer on virtue.

The Divine Comedy by Dante – A legitimate candidate for my favorite book of all time.  I’ve reread at least part of it every year for the last four years and am doing so again as I write.  Almost unbearably beautiful.  I hope one day to be able to teach Dante in full, as discussing him with students is a truly fantastic experience.

The Rings of Saturn by W.G. Sebald – A wonderful, melancholy rumination on memory and loss.  Whenever I read it, I have a sense that there’s something momentous looming just behind the words, something that I just can’t grasp.  One day, I’ll be able to say more, but I’ll probably have to reread it another three times before that day comes.

The Inner Game of Tennis by Timothy Gallwey – The best book on teaching and coaching that I’ve ever read, deeply insightful and a must read for anyone engaged in pedagogy.  Ideally, this would the basis of my own teaching/coaching, but I worry that my attempts have largely been a failure.  I wrote a little about Inner Game in conjunction with Pieper’s writings on virtue here.

In Defense of Sanity by G.K. Chesterton  – Simon Leys, who will make an appearance later on this list, described Chesterton as “a poet who dances with a hundred legs,” and I doubt I can say anything that better captures the spirit of the man.  Perhaps my favorite author of all time and likely the greatest mind of the 20th century.  This book is a “best of” collection of his essays, every one brimming with insight, wonder, and joy.

The Intellectual Life by A.G. Sertillanges – Years ago, I read a blog post about “Companion Books”, books that truly count, that nourish your inner being and shape you.  I’ve come to realize I have a number of these, perhaps too many, and Sertillanges’s masterpiece is one of them.  His portrait of the intellectual life is what I aspire to and yet fall short of far too often.

The Long Ships by Frans Bengtsson – Perhaps, you’re growing tired of me saying that a book is one of my all-time favorites and heaping effusive praise on an author.  If so, my apologies, because this is one of my all-time favorite books.  Indeed, it’s probably the fiction book that I most often recommend to others.  Most of all, and this seems to be a theme that I hadn’t noticed until this moment with the books I enjoyed most last year, there’s a sense of fun here, a joy in the adventures of Red Orm that I find incredibly endearing, and I think you will too.

The Transylvanian Trilogy by Miklos Banffy – A series of books that I always intend to write more about but stumble when confronted with the enormity of speaking intelligently about Banffy’s trilogy.  The collapse of the old order in and immediately after the First World War fascinates me, and this book is a particularly gripping account of the Austro-Hungarian side of that collapse, written by a man who experienced it first hand.  Aristocrats while away their lives at glittering parties, as around them the world collapses.

Moby Dick by Herman Melville – Another book that I eternally hope to write about, even more so than Banffy’s trilogy.  Most of the books that are considered to be great classics are considered to be so because they are truly excellent, and Melville’s magnum opus is no exception.  Don’t be put off by the occasionally meandering survey of whaling implements, this is a magnificent book.

The History and Topography of Ireland by Gerald of Wales – One of my favorite medieval works and, like almost all of my favorite works from that era, it’s a survey of the bizarre and wonderful.  In this case, Gerald details the surprising things found in that distant and barbarous land of Ireland in the wake of the Norman Conquest of that Island.  I’ve written about Gerald here and here and will be presenting some more developed thoughts on the subject at Kalamazoo this year.  Also, I’ll be visiting Ireland in June and am very excited to see some magic wells and self-castrating beavers.

New Books

The Peregrine by J.A. Baker – A weird, obsessive, and beautiful book documenting one man’s obsession and seeming identification with the falcon.

The Glory of their Times by Lawrence Ritter – Again, the appeal of this oral history on the early years of baseball is joy, the joy of playing, of camaraderie, and of youth.  Fascinating stories that wash over you, transporting you to the simple and sun-dappled world of the ballpark.  My enduring impression is of the sounds of the game, the purity of the crack of a hit, the thud of a ball into the outfielder’s glove (I always treasure this, whether it’s the squeak of shoes on a basketball court or the click of pool balls on the table.  There’s something magical about these simple sounds).

In the First CircleWarning to the West, and One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzhenitsyn –Solzhenitsyn is the winner of my coveted Author of the Year award, and I’ll have more to say about him in future posts (I promise, with the worry that it will be a promise unfulfilled).  He’s an author that I’ve put off reading for far too long, particularly given my affection for Russian novelists.  His fiction brings home the grinding, stupid banality of the Soviet Regime in all its horror, and his collection of speeches in Warning to the West shed a harsh light on the moral failures of the “free” world.  Those cancerous failures have only gotten more serious in subsequent decades as the liberal order agonizingly rots from the inside out.

The Hall of Uselessness by Simon Leys  – Although Solzhenitsyn was the author whom I discovered this year that I most enjoyed, The Hall of Uselessness was my favorite book.  More than anything, the essays collected in this wonderfully-named volume make clear that Leys was a man who genuinely loved books, loved literature; its characters, its twists, and its turns.  That love shines forth from every page, and if you too love books, you should read this one.

He Leadth Me by Walter Ciszek – A gripping portrait of sainthood amidst the horrors of the Soviet gulag.  Ciszek was a young Jesuit who sought to evangelize the communist world, was snapped up by the Soviets in their invasion of Poland, and spent decades ministering in prison camps.  Deeply moving and almost impossibly heroic.

Saving the Appearances by Owen Barfield – A profound meditation on the consequences of recent scientific discoveries on our metaphysical picture of the world, particularly our understanding of the past.  Staggering in their implications, Barfield’s conclusions are such that I’m only barely able to grasp their import.  This is what real philosophy, or at least real speculative metaphysics, ought to look like.  As with many of these books, I hope one day to write in more detail about it, but, unlike with many of the others, with Barfield I barely know where to start.  Not easy reading, but strongly recommended none the less.

Phew, that’s it.  I truly hope that at least some of these books seem interesting to you, dear reader.  Every one is absolutely worth your time.  Read more.

2015 in Books

Every year I read a lot of books and spend far too much time playing around with spreadsheets tracking them all.  I then promise myself that I’ll use that tracking data to write a lengthy summary of my reading, only to break that promise as soon as humanely possible.  This year, I shockingly didn’t break my promise, but I did wait a full month before writing this post.

Thus, my year in books. This will be my longest post on the blog by far.

Stat Sheet

So, 171 books total, the vast majority of which were read in actual book form, rather than Kindle or e-books.

Authors

Unsurprisingly, the authors who I read the most were those who wrote series.  Bernard Cornwell tops the list at seven books, although I’d frankly come to dislike his writing by the end of the year.  His Saxon and Arthur tales just weren’t on par with the Sharpe series that I devoured last year, largely because I found the voice of the (very similar) protagonists in both series grating.  Jack Vance was next with six books.  Vance is good stuff and unique.  I’ll talk about him more when we get to my list of “notable” books.  Neal Asher, another relatively pulpy series writer whose Cormac series I burned through in December had five books on the list.  It’s enjoyable enough sci-fi, if that’s your bag.  Tied with him was Patrick Fermor, who I’ll also get to later.  He’s excellent, as are the two writers that round out the top five (er, six), Evelyn Waugh and Josef Pieper.  Pieper I recently posted about, and Waugh has written some of the best fiction of the last century.  Both are well worth seeking out.

Genres

Assigning a book to a genre was a relatively unscientific process, so the numbers aren’t anything near perfect.  Scholarly books (18) topped the list, although I certainly read fewer than I should have, followed by Poetry (17), Historical Fiction (16), General Fiction (16), and Sci-Fi (15).

Notable Books

These were the books that I thought were especially excellent, which I’m likely to reread (some going immediately into the pile for the upcoming year), and which I’d recommend to others

The Complete Shakespeare – My big project for the year.  Turns out that Shakespeare is excellent and should be read by just about everyone.  I thoroughly enjoyed the entire read through. My power ranking of the plays, based on nothing but personal enjoyment:

Historical

  1. 1 Henry IV
  2. Henry V
  3. Richard III

Tragedies

  1. Macbeth
  2. Julius Caesar
  3. King Lear

Comedies

  1. Merry Wives of Windsor
  2. Much Ado About Nothing

The astute reader might be able to guess my favorite character from this list (hint).

A Time of Gifts, Between the Woods and Water, and Mani by Patrick Fermor – The first two of these chronicle Fermor’s journey on foot from the hook of Holland to Constantinople and are the most wonderful bits of travel literature I’ve ever encountered.  The third is a similarly excellent account of the southern Peloponnese. Fermor is a wonderfully engaging character (another recommendation goes to Ill Met By Moonlight, the gripping account of one of Fermor’s escapades in World War II written by a close friend) whose personality shines through the page, and his prose makes you fall in love with the land he explores and the people who populate it.  Lurking behind it all is an air of tragedy, stemming from our knowledge that these places, the time, and the people were on the verge of being consumed by the great destruction of the Second World War and the communist occupation which followed.  The book instilled a profound desire to visit every place he mentioned and an even stronger wanderlust which afflicts me to this day.  My strongest recommendation.  I consider these to be my favorite books of the year and award Fermor the soon to be extremely prestigious AUTHOR OF THE YEAR award.

The Art of Loving God by St. Francis de Sales – An eminently readable, practical, and moving work of devotion.  If you’re the type of person to have a spiritual library, Francis de Sales should be in it.

Inferno by Dante – Duh.  Although it should be noted that this is my least favorite book of the Comedia.  I wrote about it here, and I’ll be reading this again for class in a few weeks, something I’m looking forward to very much.

The Leopard by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa – I mentioned Banffy’s Transylvanian Trilogy in my last post, and this book, while very different from Banffy’s work touches on many of the same themes.  I apparently have a thing for decadent, decaying aristocracies on the verge of destruction.  It’s a beautifully written book, which wonderfully conveys a mood, sweltering and heavy with meaning.  Very strongly recommended.

Georgics by Virgil – Dryden called this “the best poem by the best poet.”  Works for me.  I quoted some passages here and here.

Meditations by Marcus Aurelius – Practical philosophical meditations written by perhaps the closest thing to an actual philosopher king we’ve ever seen.  Stoicism isn’t perfect, far from it, there’s  a gaping hole at the center, but you could do much worse than taking the maxims here to heart.  Brandon at Siris has written some very good posts on the Meditations starting here, and continuing with Book II, Books III-IV, V-VII, VIII-X, and XI-XII.

Leisure: The Basis of Culture by Josef Pieper – My previous post outlined why I’m a fan of Pieper, this is perhaps his most famous work.  You’ll never think about the weekend the same way again.

Poems of a Mountain Home – Saigyo – This was the favorite bit of poetry I read all year, and I’ve been meaning to post about it for months.  Prior to reading it I had no real experience with non-western poetry, aside from a brief foray into a few Indian poems in undergrad.  Saigyo captures something beautiful in his poems, making the sparseness of the form the engine which make it so evocative.  I never feel qualified to really talk about poetry, so I’ll just not that these have stuck with me, lodged deep in the gut.

Sundrun’s Garden, The Green Pearl, and Madouc by Jack Vance – Vance is probably my favorite sci-fi author.  He has a mysterious quality that others lack, an odd sort of creativity that just makes his works different than everyone else.  These books are a fantasy trilogy, and they display all the wonderful inventiveness that characterizes the best of Vance.  There was one major downside to this series though, far too much sexual violence, not vividly described, but lurking so much that the read became actively unpleasant at times.  It’s a testament to Vance’s skill that he was able to maintain my interest despite this, and a mark against him that he felt the need to include it in the first place.

Helena by Evelyn Waugh – Waugh, it should be clear by now, is one of my favorite authors and this book is a delightfully weird retelling of the life of St. Helena, mother of Constantine, as if she were a member of the British upper class.  It’s a fascinating book, an extremely unconventional portrait of sainthood, which I’ve enjoyed more and more each time I’ve read it.

Selected Stories of Anton Chekov – I don’t feel like I have much to add here.  It’s a short story collection of one of the most famously excellent short story writers in history.  Deeply affecting stories, despite the fact that you know where they’re all going thanks to his constant, inferior, modern imitators.

The Intellectual Life by A.G. Sertillanges – An admirable book, one which I’ve attempted (and likely failed) to take as a model of what my academic vocation should be.  I re-read it every few years to remind myself of where I’m going wrong and how I might set myself right again.

If Not, Winter  by Sappho – Mentioned here. I read this, or at least read the first half, in a tent during a terrible storm which I had narrowly escaped.  It left an enduring image in the memory, akin to reading the suicide forest passage of the Inferno in front of a crackling fire, which is inescapably linked with the poems in my mind.  Whether it was that moment or the poems themselves, I really enjoyed these fragments.

Song of Roland – More poetry!  Stabbing! Charlemagne! Blowing on a horn! What more could you want?

The Alexandreis by Walter of Chatillon – Written about here and here.  Another medieval poem, one which has been unfairly (to my eyes) neglected by subsequent generations.  It’s a fun epic, with some very interesting content, especially in later books, that I only scratched the surface of in the linked posts.  I might actually make this the focus of some research down the line, when I finally escape the clutches of my dissertation.

On the Incarnation by Athanasius – Back when I played Kingdom of Loathing, my favorite and most used familiar was named Athanasius.  This is to illustrate that I’ve always had a soft-spot in my heart for the combative bishop of Alexandria, and this is his greatest work.  The Boethius post I promised awhile ago and which I promise I’ll finish one day will have some further reflections on this text, which I found to have some truly great depth on this my 3rd or 4th re-read.

Out of the Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis – Prior to re-reading the trilogy, I considered Perelandra to by my favorite of Lewis’s series.  On this read, I was shocked by how little I enjoyed that work and how much I found to enjoy in this one.  Like all the best of Lewis’s fiction (i.e. Til We Have Faces) combines tremendous depth with an outwardly simple style that makes it a joy to read, re-read, and reflect upon.

Rogue Male by Geoffrey Household – A book that can best be described as “visceral”, it’s a roaring story of a man’s descent into animality as he flees merciless assassins into the cultivated wilderness of Britain.  It’s the type of book that punches you in the gut in a good way, an excellent adventure novel.

That was far longer than I expected.  Apologies for any typos which may have crept in, and I hope it’s at least given you some ideas of books you might also enjoy.  Read more.