If you’re still deciding whether too buy it, this will persuade you! Just click on the book cover to the right and that will take you right to the review.
Perth Festival of the Arts is one of the events here in Scotland where you will often find me out and about. I have just had a wonderful Bank Holiday weekend attending a run of concerts at Perth Concert Hall, which I have reviewed for The Mumble, Scotland’s audience-participation review site. Follow these links for my reviews of The Proclaimers, the BBC Philharmonic c. Andrew Gourlay and trumpet soloist Tine Thing Helseth, and Courtney Pine with Zoe Rahman. Three very different gigs, all very satisfying. By the way, I’ll be out and about again at Perth’s Southern Fried Festival, Edinburgh International Book Festival, and Edinburgh Fringe.
Just the other day, reviewer Nikki Mason published a quick but glowing review of Lyz Russo’s Solar Wind IV: Raider. You can find the review over at BestChickLit.com – the page also contains links to where you can buy this cracking read online. Don’t miss out! Grab a copy of the previous four in this series while you’re at it!
Nikki Mason from BestChickLit.com is the first reviewer of Marie Marshall’s teen-vampire novel From My Cold, Undead Hand. The review is to be found in the site’s ‘Young Adult’ section. Nikki describes it as “a great adventure book”, and we can testify to that! You can read the review here.
Michael Fry & Angus Konstamm: using the past to glimpse the future
Edinburgh International Book Festival
Royal Bank of Scotland Garden Theatre
20th August 2014
Previously published at The Mumble, 21st August 2014
Confronting a nation’s history involves confronting its national myths. If the country is our own, that can move us right out of our comfort zone. As we in Scotland get closer to the referendum on independence, the issue of our history seems to take on more importance, and we are reminded of George Orwell’s words, from 1984, ‘He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.’ Looking at the past, for the purposes of this debate, were historian-authors Michael Fry and Angus Konstam. Their chairman Joseph Farrell described them as ‘heavyweights’, and although Angus Konstam suggested that if the conversation flagged the two of them might entertain us with a bout of sumo, the chairman was clearly referring to their intellects.
To Michael Fry, control of the past, as in the publication of books on Scottish history, has been left too long in academic hands, and has been a one-sided account of social and economic history replete with statistics. His bias was towards culture, society, and politics, in the search for what has kept Scotland Scotland; he has found that when a historian undertakes research he finds things which relate, albeit perhaps as echoes, to today, and that what we recognise are not the products of sudden upheaval but have deep roots.
In his book A New Race of Men – the title being a phrase taken from observations made in 1845 by the Rev. George Cruden, one of the few kirk ministers to have taken part in the Statistical Accounts of Scotland in both 1794 and 1845 – Fry presents a picture of a nineteenth-century largely at peace, with a conservative constitution (if I can use such a word) that supported that of England, union with the rest of the United Kingdom long since a ‘done deal’. Scottish capitalism was in the hands of men who had served their time as apprentices and shared social roots with the men who worked for them, giving rise to a sense of egalitarianism. In movements such as public health, it was recognised that contagion did not stop at the edge of working-class areas, and that therefore health belonged to all, not simply to the bourgeoisie.
Ideas like this didn’t fail to draw dissent from the floor. A questioner from North East England challenged the assumption that the nineteenth-century Scottish working class was any less exploited than the working class in his own area – and indeed the supposed difference that Michael Fry had suggested between the Scottish and English concepts of class did seem to sit rather awkwardly with a previous statement to the effect that the North East of England, for example, shared much of Scotland’s perceived remoteness from London and Westminster. Another questioner challenged the idea of the ‘done deal’ with its roots going back to the eighteenth century, citing the verse in ‘God Save the King’ about ‘rebellious Scots’; unfortunately her point merely perpetuated the canard that the verse is insulting to the Scots as a whole, when it is actually specifically directed at the Jacobites. Fry made this point in reply, however – that in the ‘age of revolution’, between 1789 and 1848, while the death toll in political causes in other countries was high, there was a total of twenty-three in Scotland. “I counted them’” he said.
Angus Konstam, although principally a maritime historian, has been fascinated by Robert Bruce since reading a ‘Ladybird’ book about him. In his book Bannockburn, according to the event pre-publicity, Konstam ‘debunks some myths about the legend of Robert the Bruce’. He describes the modern popularity of Bruce as ‘a national talisman… wrapped up in romantic guff’. The definition of Bruce’s wars as ‘Wars of Scottish Independence’ was a later one, as are those of a nationalist or a class war, both of which would have been lost on Bruce himself. The thirteenth- and fourteenth-century conflicts were fought to ‘solve purely medieval problems’, and in them even Bruce himself changed sides more than once. Nevertheless, by the time of Bannockburn there was an unprecedented and unfamiliar wave of specifically Scottish patriotism that must have lent something to the subsequent sense of Scottish identity.
For all that, the presentation did leave me wondering what myths were going to be debunked. It is more than forty years since Nigel Tranter’s Bruce Trilogy was published, moving into popular fiction what historical study had long made known – Bruce’s career as a serial turncoat, and his murder of a rival. I listened to the account of Clifford’s unsuccessful charge against the Scottish infantry, and muttered to myself that surely the knowledge that horses will pull up before a solid mass of footsoldiers was known as far back as the Greek phalanx. However, we were brought back to popular myth when Konstam reminded us of the legend of Bruce and the spider – “It’s in the Ladybird book, so it must be true,” he said with a smile – for which there is no evidence beyond its existence in popular folklore.
Of the two books foregrounded, it strikes me that Michael Fry’s is probably the more controversial. However both authors were kept busy signing copies of their books after the event. I have to say I was left wanting more time for public discussion with the two authors – to drill down into some apparent contradictions in what Michael Fry said, to challenge Angus Konstam further about whether the myths about Bruce were actually as powerful as he assumed. Joe Farrell did make the point that the pair seemed to have been drawn together simply because they were historians. This was the first time I had attended an event at the Book Festival when I wondered if either of the authors on stage was thinking to himself “If I were Germaine Greer or George R R Martin I would have this stage to myself. Obviously I’m considered second division!” I am happy to give the Edinburgh International Book festival the benefit of the doubt on this issue, because it does what it must to pack so much into its schedule, and by-and-large gets it just right.
Major-Minor: Languages and Nations
Edinburgh International Book Festival
Scottish Power Foundation Studio
16th August 2014
Previously published at The Mumble 17th August 2014
“In this age of globalisation, the English language has become increasingly dominant online and on the page. As an author writing in a different national or minority language how does this dominance affect your ability to tell your story and find an audience? Gaelic writer Martin MacIntyre and Arno Camenisch, who writes in Rhaeto-Romanic and German, join acclaimed translator Daniel Hahn to discuss.” (blurb on the Festival web site)
It’s difficult to know how to review a discussion. One angle from which to look at it might be the structure and the way it was chaired. Considering that it was to last forty-five minutes with fifteen minutes for questions and answers at the end, and to include readings by two authors, on that account it was spot on, tight, and well presented. Much credit goes to the chairman, David Codling. Of course a lot also depends on the qualities of the members of the panel, so let me introduce them.
Arno Camenisch looks like a diminutive version of Simon Baker, right down to the disarming smile. He has stage presence, whether reading in his native Rhaeto-Romanic – a ‘minority language’ from southern Switzerland – or talking about his work. Despite, or maybe because of, his occasionally having to appeal to fellow panel-members for help with a word or phrase in English, he displayed a dry wit and an unconventional way of looking at things. “My choice of language depends on the weather,” he says. “If it is raining I write in Rhaeto-Romanic. If it is windy or sunny, German… I grew up in a polyphonous village. There were many languages… But television was king. We believed more in TV than god.”
To Arno ‘the sound is the soul of the text’. Martin MacIntyre agreed, speaking of ‘music’ as being the key, and praising the sound of Arno’s reading. Martin was born in Glasgow to parents originally from South Uist, and learned Gaelic from them. His spoken Gaelic is precise and clear, and when he read from a recent novel we could hear that he was not simply bilingual but effectively trilingual, and the Gaelic was interrupted by both English and Glaswegian. Frankly, that was the first time I had ever heard a passage of Gaelic with the word ‘woggle’ in the middle of it! “What excites me about Gaelic is that everyone who reads it can also read English,” he said. “There’s a tension between the two.”
Both writers translate from their ‘minority’ language into a neighbouring ‘majority’ language – from Rhaeto-Romanic to German, and from Gaelic to English. Daniel Hahn, national programme director of the British Centre for Literary Translation, said “Translation is never about the language, it is about languages. The relationship between languages… We use the big languages as a bridge for translation of minority languages. This is not an unproblematic relationship.” He highlighted this problematic characteristic by the example of a translation from Welsh to English of the words of an old man who spoke only Welsh and knew no English at all. During the question-and-answer session I had the opportunity to ask him to clarify this. I made the point that if I was reading, say, I Claudius, I suspended disbelief and simply accepted that I was reading the words of a native speaker of Latin who was writing to me in Greek; so how was a translation from Welsh to English any more problematical?
Daniel agreed, up to a point. “There’s a kind of sleight of hand going on when you read a translation,” he said. “We collude in that. We pretend we are reading it in the original language.” But then he made the very valid point that the relationship between Welsh and English, particularly in the context of the novel in question, is highly political, involving the identity of people where ‘to speak one is not to speak the other’. Martin MacIntyre reinforced this when he mentioned New Zealand writer Glen Colquhoun, who said that the problem was not that speakers of a majority language couldn’t ‘see’ the speakers of the minority language, but rather that they ‘couldn’t see themselves’. There is so much creativity in translation, not simply in how best to render a text literally, but how to find equivalent, analogous, or even vaguely similar concepts in two different cultures. “With modern Gaelic vocabulary, you are restricted in usage. It forces you to hone your prose in a different way,” said Martin MacIntyre. Such expressions sent us away from the event with much to think about.
Protest! The Rhetoric of Resistance
Edinburgh International Book Festival
Scottish Power Foundation Studio
16th August 2014
Review first posted at The Mumble, 17th August 2014
“Spoken Word performance can be a tool of dissent, it can give a voice to the dispossessed – and it’s not all ranting these days. Join Phill Jupitus as Porky the Poet, Elvis McGonagall, Hollie McNish and Hannah Silva as their deft rhetoric confronts, parodies and overturns issues of political, domestic and social injustice. Fun performance, clever words, serious intent.” (blurb on the Festival web site)
Sometimes it’s a pity to have to review a one-off event and to publish that review in retrospect. How better it would be to be able to tell your friends “Go and see this!” I’m in that position as I write. I wish ‘Protest!’ was mid-run and you could all queue for returned tickets at the Box Office. As it was, the theatre was full for this one-off ‘shard’ (as Master of Ceremonies Luke Wright called it) of the Festival’s ‘Babble On’ series, and you couldn’t have got a return for love nor money.
We were launched into the stream of comic dissent by Phil Jupitus who, in the 1980s, quit a civil service job to become a poet, and who got gigs supporting bands “because I was cheaper than a support band”. Instantly there was a post-punk feel to the proceedings. To me this was a little odd, as though poetic dissent had started when Margaret Thatcher became Prime Minister, as though John Cooper Clarke, Gil Scott-Heron, and Allen Ginsberg had been forgotten; or further back – the polemic verse of left-wing poets of the 1930s, Percy Bysshe Shelley’s political diatribes, Chaucer’s and Juvenal’s satire. Irony was never far away from Phil’s performance; praising the subversive nature of comics like The Beano and The Dandy, he led us in applause for D C Thomson, a newspaper publisher who (correct me if I am wrong) stubbornly maintained an anti-trades-union policy. Phil’s paean to The Beano had the kind of robust rhyme-and-metre scheme that lends a hobnail boot to humorous poetry. The audience couldn’t help laughing, in fact they couldn’t stop. Especially funny was his series of ten-line poems built up from the titles of Fringe shows (although I sincerely hope he decides to give ‘Sex with animals’ a miss this year!)
Phil provided what he and Luke referred to as the ‘glue’ between the other poets. Next up was Elvis McGonagall, and although this will irritate him no end, the comparison with John Cooper Clarke is inevitable. Substitute a Dundee accent for a Salford one, and you have the same facility for using rhyme, rhythm, and refrains. It’s tight, precise, and rapid-fire, with the likes of Margaret Thatcher (yes, she can provoke even from the other side of the veil) and Nigel Farage in his sights. There was a wonderful recitation of clichéd phrases in David Cameron’s voice, and, evoking Sir Harry Lauder, an address to Scottish voters who had not yet made up their mind about independence – ‘Stop your Swithering, Jock’!
There was an instantly obvious dichotomy between the male performers’ work and the females’. The latter’s humour was gentler, the seriousness ramped up. Hannah Silva instantly grabbed our attention by speaking a series of broken semi-syllables into her microphone. Operating a recording loop by foot-switch and varying the same vocal sounds in pitch and stress, she built up multi-tracked layers in what can only be described as music, and suddenly over the top of that filled in all the missing semi-syllables to repeat and repeat Ed Milliband’s response to public sector strikes. Intricate, well thought-out, and damnably clever. I can say the same about her other pieces, one of which almost worked like a cumulative folk or children’s song where extra elements are added on at the end of each verse. Except there was nothing folksy, nothing juvenile in her gender politics, her direct expression about prostitution and the female underclass. What is difficult for me to describe is how this use of technology coupled with fragmentary speech built up atmosphere, evoked such a strong emotional response in me. Her repetition of the fact that forty percent of all soldiers fitted with a prosthesis return to war was particularly evocative in the hundredth year since the start of the Great War.
Hollie McNish got her points across by words alone. She sustained her technical power right through each long poem without flagging. Again it was sexual politics that were foregrounded. She was able to address serious issues in a vernacular setting – the facility with which she and her elderly grandmother can converse about earthy subjects which are an embarrassment to the mother/daughter generation between them. Hollie presented us with a wonderful poem about what turns her on, starting with bricks, going through a whole lot of other things including the laughter when a fart interrupts foreplay, before returning to bricks. Probably her best poem of the session was the one she wrote when breast-feeding her baby in a toilet, whilst being confronted by a poster of a young woman in a bikini tacked to the back of the door.
I spoke to Hollie after the performance, and put it to her that although it was possible to be more outspoken, more vitriolic, more insulting in an overtly comic work of art – a poem or a cartoon, say – the very fact that it is comic tends to draw its venom, to make an audience take it less seriously. By contrast, someone who enthralls an audience the way that she and Hannah Silva do and puts across a serious point, albeit with distinct threads of humour, has a greater effect and is not so easily dismissed. Hollie was happy and relieved to hear my opinion, as she had feared that the laughter her male colleagues got was a sign of greater impact. Not so, I kid you not.
Part of the ‘mission’ of South African indie publishing house P’kaboo is to be a springboard from which to launch authors to bigger things, to be the first step for an author in getting himself or herself noticed by mainstream publishers in the wider world, particularly in the UK and USA. With that in mind, this agency, as the UK representative of P’kaboo, would like to bring three books to your attention.
Each one is available on request, for consideration by any commercial publisher in the UK, the USA, or worldwide. Just email this agency!
Although the three books here may all be classified generally in the ‘fantasy’ genre, this is only one of the strings to P’kaboo’s bow. Their list includes a range from children’s books to music manuals.
Solar Wind I: The Mystery of the Solar Wind
This is the first of a series – the author has completed No.IV – and the most obvious place to start. Although this novel and its sequels may fit the ‘fantasy’ genre, this one may be thought of rather as a mystery novel in a futuristic setting.
The year is 2116. Captain Radomir Lascek sails his pirate ship, the Solar Wind, around the oceans, collecting outlaws and fugitives and dodging the authorities. But then he hires three young musicians in Dublin – the Donegal Troubles. Radomir Lascek, with all his wily schemes, is about to learn the real meaning of ‘trouble’.
Here is what some readers and reviewers have had to say. Firstly in the Father’s Day issue of South Africa’s Your Family magazine:
Mystery of the Solar Wind… is a heart-warming and sometimes breath-stopping tale of murder, flight, and friendship. The Solar Wind’s crew is more than a motley one. They are a bickering, eccentric clan, full of shenanigans and loyal to the death… which might just be around the corner.
Fran Lewis, book reviewer and author of the Bertha series, says:
Secrets, mysteries, lies, deceptions, intrigue and murder are just some of what you will encounter when you board the Solar Wind for your journey into the 22nd century. This will not be just any ordinary journey, it will keep you spellbound, alert, terrified, inquisitive and more, about the new world powers of the year 2116 and just what changes are in store for you. With a cast of characters so diversified, yet so alike, you will want to not only learn the reasons why each crewmember signed on to the Solar Wind, but go along with them on their dangerous journey to find freedom and safety in a world filled with fear.
Other readers say:
The fast-moving and often surprising action leaves one quite breathless, rather like gypsy music played at a rousing pace. Yet one has time to get to know the characters, so that one can’t help but be drawn into their differing mind sets. Interesting how these diverse characters are tied into an intrinsically functioning unit, without the reader even noticing the natural ease with which the author does this. – The book raises some thought-provoking questions and leaves one looking forward to more from the pen of this intriguing author.
This book is a definite must-have for your library. A gripping tale from beginning to end, with characters so vividly described and with such varied and interesting personalities (one can’t help thinking of them as friends), you feel as though you know each of them personally. After reading this book all I can say is – Ahoy! Off to the next adventure!
Leslie Hyla Winton Noble
Beautiful and brilliant young Lady Regina-Valerie, only child of a wealthy lord, has everything. Everything, that is, except friendship and happiness. Her Siamese cat Tickle has a lot to say, but not much she can understand … until suddenly, she does. Then she is swept from her modern world into a wild adventure in the Warrior Magic Circle land where war is the main thing and ‘non-combat creatures’ like women are looked down upon. She and Tickle are kept very busy in a battle not only against evil forces and terrifying creatures, but also against the silly customs. To top it all, Regina has to fight with her own nature. After combating overwhelming obstacles with the help of a prince and princess, a wolfhound, a shy Scottish admirer, horses, and a martial eagle, she and Tickle are set the task of solving an impossible conundrum and tracking to his lair a malevolent creature powerful beyond imagining.
Fantasy lovers of all ages will be captivated by the excitement, humour and imagination in this epic tale of a quest with a difference.
The Everywhen Angels
In these turbulent times with everything streaming towards its final demise, who can be a normal kid and simply go to school? Caught in the maelstrom of events in what may be the ‘Last Days’, the Angels are there when they are needed, preventing accidents, saving lives. They feel like heroes, invincible… until things start going wrong. Their story is told through the eyes of three youngsters from a comprehensive school on the outskirts of London. Angela is a poet, a rebel, and a questioner of how things seem. Charlie is a boy with great dreams, but who seems unaware of the troubles of his own mind. Ashe is young, strange, and very special. Join them as they uncover more questions than answers.
Scottish author and poet Marie Marshall wrote this novel for teenagers as a response to a challenge to set a fantasy in a school, and produce a novel as good as anything that a certain famous and wealthy compatriot of hers could write. Well, mission accomplished… and maybe even exceeded!
Here are some reviews and comments. Firstly from Nikki Mason at BestChickLit.com:
Three extraordinary kids. Three astounding stories. What will you believe?
Angela is just an ordinary teenager until the day she falls through a fence at school into the alternative reality of the Guardian Angels, a group of twelve teens who are tasked with protecting people in the build up of the final war between good and evil. But no one will answer Angela’s question: why?
Charlie knows he is special. Of course he’s a Guardian Angel. But he is also a Yellow – the GA’s rivals who try to prevent all their good work. But why is everyone suddenly ignoring him?
Ashe is diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome and yet he can open doors between worlds and time. He understands what it really means to be a Guardian Angel but can he cope with the knowledge alone?
Marie Marshall tackles big subjects in The Everywhen Angels from religion and science to war and politics. All this rages on in the foreground of the lives of three teenagers who are trying to find their place in their world and be comfortable in their own skin. Action packed, full of crazy tangents, incredible ideas and stunning description, the novel is completely different to anything I have read before. It can at times be confusing, but bear with the story – the mind-boggling themes and plot diversions will be explained and will feed the curious minds of young adults.
Other readers say:
Writing of this quality ought to win the Carnegie Medal or something.
Straight up, no bull, the best book for this age-group that I have read in a long, long time.
The book is something special. The characterisation is convincing. The narrative is entertaining and gripping, but at the same time shows a wealth of knowledge and research and introduces challenging food for thought on abstract matters.
The Everywhen Angels by Marie Marshall is told through the eyes of three different teenagers in a school somewhere in England, as they take on the function of angels. They discover along with a small band of others that they have supernatural abilities which they are obliged to keep secret, however. How they put these abilities to use, for good or bad, that is the matter of the story. This book challenges its reader to face deep, existential questions; about life, the nature of the universe, the ‘ending times’ and what they mean (from several different perspectives); what is good and what is bad, or is there, and if so, by which right or logic do we interfere in what happens to others. The story left me feeling somewhat rattled and as though my cupboard of philosophies has received a good airing and spring-cleaning, and I now need to put things back and decide what to keep. It is an excellent book; one of those ‘clingy’ ones that stays with you for days after because you have to think about it.
It’s tough to capture the sheer suspense of this book in mere words.
If you would like to know more about P’kaboo Publishers please feel free to visit their web site. There you will find details of their entire list, plus other information. If there is anything else you would like to know please contact this agency or P’kaboo direct.
Due out soon – Marie Marshall’s From My Cold, Undead Hand, a non-stop teen-vampire story, the first of a planned trilogy. More news as we get it…
Marie Marshall‘s stunning second novel, The Everywhen Angels, is now available worldwide in print and in Kindle format from Amazon, and direct from the publisher in eBook form. P’kaboo Publishers, for whom this agency is the UK ‘face’ is an indie publisher from South Africa. Though they might not have the clout, nor the advertising budget, of larger companies, they are in no way a ‘vanity publisher’. They offered Marie a commercial contract for her first two novels, Lupa, and The Everywhen Angels, and commissioned her to write a teen-vampire novel (From My Cold, Undead Hand – possibly to be published later in 2014). However, as a small publisher, P’kaboo acknowledges that it is in many ways a ‘first step’ for authors, and that if they can have their books taken up by one of the larger publishing houses then they should do so. P’kaboo’s blessing to them and recommendation to the other publisher can be taken for granted.
So, this agency’s next task is not only to promote the novel to readers, but also to UK publishers – starting here and now. If you’re reading this and are from a publishing house in the UK, the USA, or anywhere in the English-reading world, you have your next YA best seller right here!
The novel was written in response to a lively discussion Marie Marshall had with friends about the merits of a series of books by a fellow Scot, set in a school for wizards. Responding to a challenge, she wrote an intriguing story, full of twists and turns, setting it in a Comprehensive school somewhere on the outskirts of London, in which groups of teenagers appear to find themselves coming together to skirmish on what might turn out to be the battlefield of Armageddon. But does this really have anything to do with the ‘End Times’? They struggle with teenage problems – relationships, bullying, parents, and each other – whilst trying to make sense of a world in which sense becomes harder to grasp. The plot twists, turns, runs backwards, contradicts itself, asks very deep philosophical questions, but still turns out to be enthralling and enjoyable. The author takes risks with it, but she says: “I believe children can handle difficult philosophical questions. They can handle stories told in a strange way. Young readers are much more intelligent than adults give them credit for.”
Publishers – get in touch, don’t let this opportunity slip by. Here are some comments about the novel.
Nikki Mason at BestChickLit.com says:
“… Three extraordinary kids. Three astounding stories. What will you believe? Angela is just an ordinary teenager until the day she falls through a fence at school into the alternative reality of the Guardian Angels, a group of twelve teens who are tasked with protecting people in the build up of the final war between good and evil. But no one will answer Angela’s question: why? Charlie knows he is special. Of course he’s a Guardian Angel. But he is also a Yellow – the GA’s rivals who try to prevent all their good work. But why is everyone suddenly ignoring him? Ashe is diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome and yet he can open doors between worlds and time. He understands what it really means to be a Guardian Angel but can he cope with the knowledge alone?
Marie Marshall tackles big subjects in The Everywhen Angels from religion and science to war and politics. All this rages on in the foreground of the lives of three teenagers who are trying to find their place in their world and be comfortable in their own skin. Action packed, full of crazy tangents, incredible ideas and stunning description, the novel is completely different to anything I have read before. It can at times be confusing, but bear with the story – the mind-boggling themes and plot diversions will be explained and will feed the curious minds of young adults…”
Other readers comment:
“… the book is something special. The characterisation is convincing. The narrative is entertaining and gripping, but at the same time shows a wealth of knowledge and research and introduces challenging food for thought on abstract matters…”
“… The Everywhen Angels by Marie Marshall is told through the eyes of three different teenagers in a school somewhere in England, as they take on the function of angels. They discover along with a small band of others that they have supernatural abilities which they are obliged to keep secret, however. How they put these abilities to use, for good or bad, that is the matter of the story. This book challenges its reader to face deep, existential questions; about life, the nature of the universe, the ‘ending times’ and what they mean (from several different perspectives); what is good and what is bad, or is there, and if so, by which right or logic do we interfere in what happens to others. The story left me feeling somewhat rattled and as though my cupboard of philosophies has received a good airing and spring-cleaning, and I now need to put things back and decide what to keep. It is an excellent book; one of those ‘clingy’ ones that stays with you for days after because you have to think about it…”
P’kaboo publishers are offering a limited number of copies of four of their most popular books as free-of-charge e-books. This is in conjunction with the second stage of their ‘Facebook Share’ contest, but if you download one of the offered books there’s no obligation to enter the contest. If you do enter, all you have to do is write a review of one or more of the books – you could win a printed copy signed by the author. We’ll let you know how and where to submit your review in due course. You can access P’kaboo’s online bookshop by clicking on the picture above. The four titles you’ll be looking for are as follows, hurry while free stocks last:
Solar Wind I: The Mystery of The Solar Wind, by Lyz Russo. This is the first in a series of futuristic adventures. Once you’re into it you’ll want to read the whole series and sail with Captain Radomir round the oceans of the future.
Lupa, by Marie Marshall. What is reality and what is illusion? This short, punchy novel, suitable for adults, young adults, and older children asks that question by means of the strangely parallel stories of a female gladiator in ancient Rome, and a Bosnian Serb refugee in late twentieth century Rome.
Almost Dead in Suburbia, by Doulgas Pearce. If you’re wondering why the person opposite you in the train is chuckling, it’s probably because he’s reading this witty, macabre mystery. Two friends are involved in an accident. However, only one is really dead, the other was only a little hasty…
Tabika, by Leslie Hyla Winton Noble. A precision-write for children. Life on Green Farm will never be the same after Tabika the cat is ‘magicked’ there from Johannesburg by a grateful fairy. The farmer says “I don’t believe it!” – so will you, and you’ll want to read Tabika 2.