Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Afghan by Frederick Forsyth

Forsyth shows his impressive BBC reporter side in this one. He has so much detail, and there is so much research backing it, and the scope is so vast, and complex that other authors would simply think embarking on a similar project themselves too difficult. So, they wouldn't do it. Making Forsyth the king, and one to be studied, and learned from. He is the professor of story telling, and his class in The Afghan is on tribal history, dialects, sociology in how they behave amongst themselves, with each other, and in the political arena. He weaves together with his story a history of Bin Laden, Al Qaeda how they came to be, and how America along with her closest friends the British deal with them. Mike Martin is an Englishman retired from British military service as an elite para trooper, and secret agent. He was restoring an old farmhouse when one night over a cup of hot tea in an orchard he agreed to come back into service for a clandestine operation that will infiltrate him into the Middle East. Intelligence Services has learned of a plot, but of course they don't know anything more. Mike Martin is  perfectly suited for the mission as he has a working knowledge of the area, the language, and the people from his past missions. Also as the child with parentage from the area he looks the part, and speaks the dialects better than most. One small problem may come up. He may run  into people who remember him from his past missions. People who know who he really is. This story is set in the time following 9/11 and Forsyth tells it as if he'd lived it himself. His depth of knowledge will satisfy any hunger for detail you as the reader may have. If you like espionage, or spy thrillers of any kind, you'll love this one. And, if you're a writer.  You may just be taught a thing or two.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Sparkle's Song by Samantha Hale Illustrated by Moriana Ruiz Johnson

A sweet little girl named Samantha with blue sparkly eyes looses her mom, and dad tragically one day. This sends her from a world of music, and happiness to one of utter despair with her aunt who hates music.  Her aunt insists on silence, and even takes Samantha's radio. She can't stop young Samantha from listening to the trees though as they dance in the breeze, or the yellow song bird, or the music from the forests. Will Samantha rediscover happiness with nature?  Will she be an influence on her aunt? This story isn't all doom, and gloom. It does have a happy ending. And, at the heart of it all is Sparkle's Song. A wonderful book for kids facing adversity. Highly recommended. 

The Dog Detectives by Fin & Zoa illustrated by Monika Suska

Lost in London is a wonderful children's book featuring adorable, lovable, dog detective jack, and his deputy Poco Loco. The Ravens at The Tower of London have disappeared, and it's up to this perceptive duo to find them.  According to legend the Ravens have mystical powers, and protect the kingdom. Their absence spells disaster if they are not found, and returned. Fortunately for our detectives they get hot leads from Rat Riddler the self proclaimed eyes, and ears of the city. This is an entertaining, and beautifully illustrated book for kids of any age. The book is huge making the pictures large, and colorful. The colors are bright as cartoon stills, yet have a warm feel as if done with water color paint. I would have loved, and treasured this one if it was mine as a kid. I highly recommend this for your little boy, or girl. It's simply charming.