Dare to Read

January 24, 2011

Fantasy writer’s use of history, legend, & myth by Jenny Moss

Filed under: On Writing,The Enchanted Inkpot — carmenferreiroesteban @ 1:57 pm
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Please join us at The Enchanted Inkpot (http://community.livejournal.com/enchantedinkpot/80746.html#cutid1) for our Monday blog.

Today read and share your views on how fantasy writers use history, legend and myth in their stories.

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January 15, 2011

Becquer: The Unknown

Filed under: Becquer,Garlic for Breakfast — carmenferreiroesteban @ 2:59 pm
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Click here

http://www.becquerdesconocido.es/

to watch a fantastic documentary about the life and work of Gustavo Adolfo Becquer, the Spanish poet I stole as the undead protagonist of my paranormal novel Garlic for Breakfast.

I just spent an hour watching it and loved every minute of it.

Who said research is boring?

Enjoy!

June 24, 2009

The Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff

Filed under: Books, Reviews — carmenferreiroesteban @ 10:48 am
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In Rosemary Sutcliff’s books the history of Britain comes alive through sensuous descriptions of luscious forests and ragged mountains, and characters so deeply imagined that linger in your mind after the book has ended, like childhood friends untouched by time and the drudgery of life.

Her books are not popcorn historical fiction novels with anachronistic characters dressed in the costumes of the time but keeping the ideas and sensibilities of their XX/XXI century authors. The people Rosemary Sutcliff’s creates are imbued with the beliefs of their own time. And so it is that Marcus, the young centurion protagonist of The Eagle of the Ninth, pay tribute to Luth, the sun god, while the pagan tribes of Northern Britain worship gods that take animal shape in the night of the horn moon and believe the golden eagle the Roman legions carry in their standard is the Roman god.

At the beginning of The Eagle of the Ninth, Marcus, following in the steps of his father (supposed dead when his legion disappeared ten years past in northern Britain) has given his oath to Mithras and taken command of his first cohort in the southern part of the island.

Marcus dreams of a legion of his own and of an early retirement to a farm in the Etruscan hills that once belonged to his family. But fate has it that, in his first battle, he’s seriously injured and forced to leave the army.

During his long and painful recovery, Marcus hears rumors that the Roman eagle from his father lost legion is being worshipped by one of the pagan tribes up in the north.

Eager to restore his father’s honor and steal the eagle that could be used as a rally symbol against the hated Roman invaders should a revolt ever break anew among the dark barbarians, Marcus and his British freed slave, Ecca, travel north. All through the summer, they crisscross the wild regions beyond the wall that keeps the untamed tribes from the Roman world in search of the eagle.

Rosemary Sutcliff’s takes her time in creating her characters and their world. As a result The Eagle of the Ninth is not the fast paced adventure you find in an action movie, but a well crafted and realistic tale that is, at the end, much more satisfying.

In my mind, a masterpiece.

April 22, 2008

The Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwell

Filed under: Books, Reviews — carmenferreiroesteban @ 9:03 pm
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Saxon by birth, Dane at heart, Uhtred—and Britain—Struggles for Survival

 

I must confess I owe my introduction to Bernard Cornwell, the writer, to Sean Bean’s debonair performance as captain Richard Sharpe in the screen version of his Sharpe’s novels. And for that I will forever be in debt to Mr. Bean, because Bernard Cornwell’s writing is a rare, most satisfying treat.

 

Uhtred, the protagonist of his on going saga The Saxon Tales, is again a young warrior. Strong, handsome, fearless, and impetuous, Uhtred is nevertheless a devoted friend and a passionate and faithful lover.

 

Saxon by birth, Dane at heart, he is like his country (Britain in the ninth century AD) torn between two peoples, two cultures, two gods.

Raised by Ragnar the warrior Dane who killed his family and destroyed his village when he was ten, Uhtred grows to love his adoptive father and his Viking ways. But, as Uhtred reminds us repeatedly, the three sisters under the Tree of life spin the threads that are our lives and the boy’s world is again turned upside down when his new family is also killed and he, left to wander in the warring landscape that was England at the time.

 

Circumstances force Uhtred to swear his alliance to Alfred, the only Saxon king still fighting the Danes. Bound to him by honor now, he must help this king he despises, even as he knows that Alfred’s victory will impose a religion and a new order that will eventually destroy the world he loves.

 

Action packed, and terribly amusing, this is historical fiction at his best.

April 16, 2008

Book Review

Filed under: Books, Reviews — carmenferreiroesteban @ 12:44 pm
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The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner

 

Clever and Cunning, The Thief is King

 

No one said marriage is easy. The one between Eugenides, the spy/thief of Eddis and his sworn enemy the queen of Attolia seemed doomed from the start, a marriage of political convenience, imposed on Attolia by their rival kingdom. For how could the thief possibly love the queen responsible for the loss of his hand?

 

But Eugenides is anything but predictable and has married the queen for love, even if by doing so he must leave his beloved Eddis behind.

 

As the third book in this excellent series starts, Eugenides is stranded in the Attolian palace. Ridiculed by the Attolian courtesans, despised by the Queen guards and his own attendants, he endures their daily pranks, pretending to be a guileless idiot while weaving a web of intrigue to gain his queen’s heart and bring his enemies to their knees. If only he lives long enough.

 

Cleverly plotted and beautiful written, the story moves at a fast pace to a satisfying conclusion that answers many questions while posing new ones, 

 

Is the Queen pregnant as her fainting may suggest?

Where is Sophos, the heir of Sounis? Would he marry the Queen of Eddis?

Would the political situation in a not distant future set Eugenides against his cousin, the queen of Eddis?

 

The only thing I know for sure is that I’m impatiently waiting for the King’s return.